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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Who's Number Two?

Homerism orients the preseason version of my power poll towards perceived team strength, as opposed to my in-season poll, where I try to focus on actual achievement. The basic premise: if Team X and Team Y met up at Hamill Field on a Saturday afternoon in October, who wins?

Rivalries, momentum and whatnot are irrelevant. The team that I think has the best chance of beating everyone else is one, the team with the second-best chance is two, and so on. Bear in mind that this is not a prediction of how the season will actually turn out. With that caveat in place, here goes:

Blatant Homerism Power Poll: Preseason

1. Florida
The Gators certainly aren't unbeatable, but they're as clear-cut of a preseason number one as we've seen in a while. Not much more to say.

2. USC
3. Oklahoma
4. Texas
To be fair, USC, Oklahoma and Texas could be arranged in just about any order and it would still look right to me. I have the Trojans ranked second in this case based on talent and track record. Despite breaking in a new defense and questions about who will take over at quarterback, Florida is the only team better athlete for athlete. Additionally, Pete Carroll has demonstrated an unmatched ability to pump his squads up for high-profile matchups. Texas took the Trojans down what seems like oh so many years ago, but that has proven to be the exception to an otherwise ironclad rule. All things being equal, I'll put USC just ahead of the Sooners and Longhorns. The Sooners may have the slightest of edges from a star power standpoint, leading to their higher ranking ahead of Texas.

5. Alabama
There's less distance between 'Bama and the top four than you think. Nick Saban's team oozes talent all over the field, particularly on defense. The biggest flaw with this bunch looks like quarterback. OK, so it may not be fair to call it a "flaw," but without anything really to go on in the way of Greg McElroy, we're left to wonder if he can not mess up enough to keep the Crimson Tide in the thick of the SEC race. I suspect McElroy's inexperience will hurt 'Bama coming out of the gate, but this team will come on strong late.

6. California
Watch out for Cal. That team was much better than its record indicated last season. The Golden Bears certainly deserve mention as a potential dark horse for the national title. Besides constantly losing to USC, Cal typically finds a way to ruin an otherwise impressive season with a befuddling loss like the one inflicted on them by Maryland last year. Stay on point for an entire season and this group becomes a tough out.

7. Ohio State
Homerism can't wait to see Terrelle Pryor in the pistol, but there are so many questions about the defense.

8. LSU
9. Ole Miss
10. Penn State
None of these teams knock my socks off. Ole Miss looks like the SEC West favorite, but that's simply because the Rebels have such an easy road. Same goes for JoePa's bunch. Someday, LSU fans will look back with regret at the "great day" coach Les Miles turned down Michigan to remain in the Bayou.
(Outside looking in: Georgia, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Arkansas, Virginia Tech)