Before we get to the ballot, there are a few things I'd like to say about how I arrived at these rankings and how things will be done once the season starts.
* We're not big fans of pre-season rankings since they are based solely on previous and expected performance instead of actual games. If we had our druthers, there wouldn't be a poll released until at least three weeks into the season, but until one of us hits the lottery, cuts off all contact with our friends and family, and finally devotes the time and energy necessary to turn Roll Bama Roll into the single greatest sports blog ever to appear on the internets, so much so that our power and influence will determine how and when rankings are determined and released, it looks like we'll be doing a preseason ranking.
* Once the season starts, I intend to use the Resume Ranking method to determine my Top 25, but since this is a pre-season poll, I pretty much just took the top 2-4 teams in the BCS conferences and a few mid-majors that will likely finish the season undefeated or with only one loss against a powerhouse team and jumbled them together. For example, the Top Ten is comprised of the likely Pac-10 champ (and likely MNC), the top two SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 teams, the likely ACC and Big East champs, and Hawaii since they'll probably go undefeated and wind up in the top ten. The rest of the the ballot was constructed in similar fashion.
So here it is, with notes on why teams were moved up or down from my initial rankings below.
Also considered: Arkansas, Arizona State, Rutgers, BYU, Georgia Tech, Oregon
* Oregon was dropped since Cal and UCLA will likely finish ahead of them in the Pac-10, and three Pac-10 teams in the top 25 was enough.
* Florida State fell out of the top ten since the ACC will still likely be down this year, and they could still wind up in the ACC Title game with two or three losses.
* I moved Hawaii into the top ten since I expect them to go undefeated and if that isn't top ten worthy, then what is?
* Similarly, I moved Boise into the top 25 since Hawaii looks like the only team to stand between them and an undefeated season.
* I moved Alabama up to 14 and Florida down to 16, partly out of homerism, and partly because I think Tennessee will finish second in the east ahead of Florida (and thus, they were moved up to #13) and Alabama will finish second in the west behind LSU, but will also have a loss or two that keeps them being ranked higher.
* Nebraska got a bump since they're the favorite to win the Big 12 North, but they'll probably lose to USC and have a couple of conference losses as well, leaving them in the lower teens.
* I was tempted to move Penn State down and Wisconsin up, but decided to stick with my guns on this one.