AP Poll Thoughts, Early Picks, and Convention Time
photo credit: mhermher.blogspot.com
If there ever was a signal that the world is ending, this is it. I will be starting a Twitter account (follow me @Jpickens15) to post my articles and picks every week. If you are ever sitting on your couch on a Saturday wondering whether Pickens is 12-3 or 11-4 that day, Twitter will have all the answers. If this season goes to plan, my winning picks and analysis should result in more followers than Justin Bieber by December.
After the AP Top 25 College Football Poll was released Saturday, I did an extensive analysis. I will get to my thoughts on where teams are ranked later, but in my last post before I start picking let’s talk politics. With the recent dominance of the SEC, College football has now fully become a Republican sport. I used current polling data to look at the presidential election on a state by state basis. Of the 25 teams, five are in swing states in the election (Wisconsin, FSU, UF, Virginia Tech, Ohio State) five are in for sure Obama states, (USC, Oregon, Stanford, Michigan and Michigan St.) and FIFTEEN are in for sure Romney states.
On Thursday August 30th, Romney will be addressing the nation on the final day of the Republican National Convention. It’s likely a coincidence that the convention was placed in the way of college football’s opening night, but Mitt would be a fool not to capitalize on it. Conventions are about rallying the base and appealing to the independents. By invoking the national sport of Republicans, Romney just may have a shot in this race. I suggest that Romney mention college football throughout the speech, then segue into sending viewers to watch the second half of South Carolina at Vanderbilt (or Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech) at the conclusion of his speech. Romney often struggles to shake his image as an elitist, and his embrace of college football could do wonders for his campaign’s “Believe in America” message. (As long as he avoids saying he is friends with all the school presidents and trustees) In the ideal situation you would hear this sound bite from an Ohio undecided voter. “That Romney guy is rich and has a lot of bank accounts and tax issues, but he likes Ohio State football just like me.”
Thoughts on the AP Poll
Arkansas – I understand why the Hogs are ranked 10th, but I think they finish the year at least 5-10 spots lower. John L Smith was 22-26 in his last stint as a head coach at Michigan State and will be overwhelmed by the pressure this season, Arkansas will badly miss Bobby Petrino and the Hogs defense still isn’t good enough to beat Alabama or LSU.
USC – I understand how excited the nation is for Matt Barkley and the Trojans prolific passing attack, but given recent history Alabama or LSU should be number one until proven otherwise. While USC’s offense may be the best in the nation, their lack of depth defensively could prove costly late in the season. Trips to Utah and Washington have upset potential in October, and the Trojans likely would need to beat Oregon twice to end the year number one.
Virginia Tech – The Hokies are ranked too low at 16. VT will rack up wins against an inferior out of conference schedule and QB Logan Thomas will continue to improve. With ten starters returning on defense, the Hokies will be tough to beat in the ACC. VT has to travel to Clemson, but gets FSU a few weeks later in a showdown in Blacksburg.
Michigan – Denard is one of my favorite players in the country and I’ll likely pick Michigan +12 next week, but the Wolverines are ranked too high at number 8. Playing Bama week 1 and then facing road games against Nebraska, ND, and Ohio State, it could be tough for Michigan to finish this high. One AP voter even gave Brady Hoke’s squad a number one vote. This pick is a win-win for me because I usually root for Michigan. Either I’m wrong (which is often the case) and I go watch Michigan in the Rose Bowl, or I impress my readership.
Early looks at Week 1 games
Boise State at Michigan State -7
This is finally the year to open your season with Boise St. The Broncos return just five starters and East Lansing will be a tough place to play at night. I’ll be jinxing the Spartans next week.
Navy +17 vs Notre Dame (Ireland)
ND will be breaking in a new quarterback and I think this Irish coronation will be a bit tougher than expected. Look for ND to step up in the second half but Navy keeps the margin at 10-14
Tulsa at Iowa State +1
New Tulsa QB Cody Green wasn’t good against Big 12 competition when he was at Nebraska. Don’t expect anything to change on the road against an up and coming Cyclone team in Ames.
Spoiler alert - I will be picking Miami to beat Boston College
Other games I will be picking include Western Michigan at Illinois, South Carolina at Vandy, Kentucky at Louisville, and Idaho State at Air Force. It’s week one so expect about 15-20 picks total.
@Jpickens 15 Flying to 10 college football games a year isn't easy, but someone's gotta do it. I'll be striving to make sure you are on the right side of every 28 point blowout this season. My team biases and over-analysis blind me sometimes but you'll learn to deal with it.