Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Pick Six

Creating a preseason top 25 poll is a fool's game. And because I am neither a fool nor an Associated Press sportswriter*, I shall do no such thing.

I will, however, offer my opinion on the 25 teams who comprise the preseason rankings, and whether I think they are over-rated or under-rated. Meaning, do I think they ultimately will finish higher or lower than where they sit today, the first day of the COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WHOO HOOOOO!!

Being from Chicago and financially savvy, I'm denoting my bullish** or bearish opinion with those logos. A dash ( -- ) means I think they will finish approximately where they are slotted, +/- one slot.

1. Georgia
2. Ohio State3. USC4. Oklahoma
5. Florida

( -- )

6. Missouri7. LSU8. West Virginia9. Clemson10. Auburn11. Texas 12. Texas Tech

( -- )

13. Wisconsin

( -- )

14. Kansas15. Arizona State

( -- )

16. Brigham Young17. Virginia Tech
18. Tennessee19. South Florida20. Illinois21. Oregon22. Penn State

( -- )

23. Wake Forest24. Alabama25. Pittsburgh

So having said that, here's my "pick five": Ohio State, Auburn, Texas, South Florida and Wake Forest. OSU has been dependable for me lately and has a clear path to 11-1 or 12-0. Auburn also has been steady, but faces a tough SEC slate. No one else in 6-10 impresses me. Texas was my least confident pick...but they are still better than the other two XII options or the Wisky/ASU options. South Florida is a pride pick...Jim Leavitt is a former Hayden Fry guy. I think Matt Grothe will improve with another year at the helm. And Wake: well, I just don't believe in Clemson, Va. Tech has serious injury issues, and I think Wake is in a position to capitalize on being outside the ACC spotlight. They have a steady QB in Skinner and a pretty solid defense.

And finally, my foolhardy Pick Sixth. Everyone on the BGS board is going to pick Notre Dame, so you aren't going to separate yourself from the crowd there. Besides, I think 6 or 7 wins is admirable for this squad, which maybe gets you into the low 20s. Likewise, I'd love to pick Iowa. But that would be homerism, and there are just too many questions. I'll root for them anyway.

I do believe Michigan State will be better this year, but that would require rooting for them (kinda) in their games against Iowa and ND. So poking around the fringes of the Top 25 and the Phil Steele book, I found....California.

Well, not the whole state, the Cal Golden Bears. They went 7-6 last year after a 6-0 start, finishing with a solid bowl win. Coach Jeff Tedford is something of a QB guru, although he never made Brady Quinn great like Charlie Weis did. He's 50-26 as a head coach in six years, and has two options at QB this year. Sophomore Kevin Riley will start the opener vs. Michigan State...we'll see how smart/foolish that looks in November.

Aside from MSU, the non-conference games are manageable: at Maryland (unafraid) and Colorado State (hippies). I'm not impressed with Oregon or Arizona State, but both come to Berkeley. The USC game looks unwinnable. I mean, USC is the No. 3 ranked team in the country! Impossible, right?

That's the Pick Six man. As the Red Stripe guy would say....Hooray, Football.

* -- They are not fools either, they're just required to do it as part of their job.
** -- Yeah, that's the Wall Street bull. (I used to live in New York too.) I'm not aware of a sports team with a bull logo here like Da Bears.

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