This is the part of the poll where I'm supposed to complain about the worthlessness of preseason polls, how their outsized significance alters the landscape of the entire season. And I'd be right to say that.
But I say that every year. Instead of regurgitating that trope, how's about we do a little speculating?
I have Alabama first, mostly because nobody is better on one side of the ball than the Crimson Tide is on defense. Saban returns three projected first-round draft picks in the secondary alone, and Hightower and Upshaw rushing the passer should ensure they won't have to wait long for the ball to be delivered.
Virginia Tech at #2 might be a reach, but VT coaches have been raving about Logan Thomas at quarterback, he has three experienced receivers to target and a big, senior-laden line. The defensive line is young, but otherwise VT's defense is typically loaded. Most importantly, they don't play Florida State and have exactly one potentially tricky road game (at Georgia Tech).
It could be a bad year for Boise. The Mountain West, now without Utah and BYU, carries about as much computer poll weight as the 2010 WAC. More importantly, the SEC remains the SEC -- if anyone gets out of the SEC West with one loss, they should be playing for a championship -- and, at least on paper, the ACC and Pac-12 have built-in elimination games. If Virginia Tech or Florida State runs the table in their conference, they would likely make it to the mythical national championship game. Ditto that for the champion of the Pac-12 North, likely the winner of Stanford and Oregon. Throw in the possibility of Oklahoma going undefeated and a lot of dominoes have to fall for Boise State to make it. Of course, if they did make an improbable title run, Boise would probably just ask the Mountain West conference commissioner to move the game to Boise anyway.
Michigan State in the top 10 is insane, I know, but MSU has the best returning Big Ten quarterback who actually ties his shoelaces, the best set of skill position players, and 13 starters from a team that went 11-1 in 2010. With the rest of the Big Ten looking a bit down this season, a couple more good breaks could get Sparty to Pasadena.
The rest of this is a crapshoot. I trust Will Muschamp's ability at Florida based on virtually no evidence whatsoever. I dropped Oklahoma State for losing Dana Holgorsen and Ohio State for losing Jim Tressel, and probably docked both too many points. I think far too little time has been spent discussing the fact that Nebraska has to adjust from having 20 years of institutional knowledge of its conference opponents to having none. I think far too much attention has been paid to the Michigan offensive philosophy and its effect on Denard Robinson. And Lane Kiffin is in there just to be the prettiest girl at the ball.
As always, this goes in the trash as soon as we get the first kick Thursday. The Blogpoll is back, y'all.