Originally created 08/21/05

Preseason picks never come easily



Editor's note: Morris News Service writer Adam Van Brimmer has been selected to vote in the weekly Associated Press poll. Here is how he voted this week.

The preseason ballot is the toughest to fill out because there is nothing current to base rankings on. That leaves the voter with two approaches: Fill out the ballot based on a combination of how teams finished last year and who and how many players they have coming back; or rank them based on how he or she thinks the teams will finish the season.

I took the first approach. When I sat down to fill out my ballot, I looked at the final 2004 AP poll and how many starters each team had returning. I didn't factor in schedules at all. If I did that, Texas would not be No. 2 - the Longhorns have two giant obstacles this year in Ohio State (at the Horseshoe) and Oklahoma (a team they haven't beaten this millennium).

You will likely see teams move up and down my ballot throughout the season. One of the AP's guidelines for voting is "Don't hesitate to make significant changes in your ballot from week to week."

A team like Georgia, for example, can move up significantly in the early weeks. I left the Dogs out of the top 10 because of the significant personnel losses at the skill positions and on defense. They play quality opponents early (Boise State and South Carolina in the first few weeks) and will jump up my ballot with wins.

I will not penalize teams for "unimpressive" wins late in the season. The goal is to win and the only way a team loses position on my ballot is if I deem another team to be significantly superior.

Preseason Ballot

Rank -- Team -- '04 ranking

1 -- Southern California -- 1

2 -- Texas -- 5

3 -- Tennessee -- 13

4 -- Michigan -- 14

5 -- Florida -- NR

6 -- Virginia Tech -- 10

7 -- Miami -- 11

8 -- Oklahoma -- 3

9 -- Louisville -- 6

10 -- Ohio State -- 20

11 -- Iowa -- 8

12 -- Auburn -- 2

13 -- Boise State -- 12

14 -- Florida State -- 15

15 -- Utah -- 4

16 -- LSU -- 16

17 -- Georgia -- 7

18 -- Fresno State -- 22

19 -- Boston College -- 21

20 -- Texas A&M -- NR

21 -- California -- 9

22 -- Bowling Green -- NR

23 -- Pittsburgh -- 25

24 -- Arizona State -- 19

25 -- Southern Mississippi -- NR