Thursday, September 7

How can 60k sports fans be so dumb? allows users to rank the top 30 teams in college football, vote on the best backfield duo, etc etc. Fun times. And to start the season, readers can also make predictions about who will win their division, their conference, and the MNC in January. Let's take a look at how 59,982 people had voted as of last night. My votes are in bold, and and seemingly strange votes are in italics.

1) Which team will win the ACC Atlantic Division?

50.1% Florida State
20.2% Wake Forest
17.7% Clemson
7.4% Boston College
2.8% Maryland
1.7% NC State

2) Which team will win the ACC Coastal Division?

47.9% Miami (Fla.)
24.7% Duke
13.9% Virginia Tech
9.8% Georgia Tech
2.5% North Carolina
1.2% Virginia

3) Which team will win the Big 12 North Division?

49.4% Nebraska
16.9% Missouri
16.1% Iowa State
10.2% Colorado
4.8% Kansas
2.7% Kansas State

4) Which team will win the Big 12 South Division?

48.6% Texas
20.7% Oklahoma
20.4% Baylor
5.5% Texas Tech
2.8% Texas A&M
1.9% Oklahoma State

5) Which team will win the Big East?

40.7% West Virginia
26.5% Louisville
19.3% Connecticut
3.2% Pittsburgh
2.9% South Florida
2.9% Cincinnati
2.3% Syracuse
2.3% Rutgers

6) Which team will win the Big Ten?

39.4% Ohio State
18.6% Indiana
16.4% Michigan
8.3% Iowa
6.7% Penn State
2.8% Northwestern
2.5% Illinois
2.4% Michigan State
1.6% Purdue
0.8% Wisconsin
0.6% Minnesota

7) Which team will win the Pac-10?

36.1% USC
24.4% California
22.0% Arizona State
4.7% Oregon
4.6% UCLA
2.3% Arizona
2.0% Stanford
1.4% Washington
1.3% Washington State
1.2% Oregon State

8) Which team will win the SEC East Division?

42.1% Florida
20.5% Vanderbilt
18.1% Georgia
8.6% Tennessee
6.7% South Carolina
4.0% Kentucky

9) Which team will win the SEC West Division?

41.1% Auburn
23.7% LSU
20.7% Mississippi State
6.9% Alabama
5.7% Arkansas
1.9% Mississippi

10) Which of these AP Preseason Top 25 teams will win the national championship?

20.0% Arizona State
14.5% TCU
10.8% Ohio State
7.9% Notre Dame
6.7% Florida
6.3% West Virginia
4.6% Auburn
3.6% Clemson
3.2% Texas
2.6% Michigan
2.4% Florida State
2.1% USC
2.1% Iowa
1.9% LSU
1.8% Nebraska
1.7% Miami (Fla.)
1.6% Penn State
1.6% Oklahoma
0.9% Tennessee
0.8% Louisville
0.8% Virginia Tech
0.7% California
0.7% Georgia
0.4% Texas Tech
0.4% Oregon

Total Votes: 59,982

Let's just move on down the list from top to bottom.

ACC Atlantic: In my opinion, it's a no-brainer that FSU wins this division. Clemson may challenge them, but Wake Forest? 20% idiots.

ACC Coastal: Despite their loss to FSU last night, I think Miami is a little stronger than Virginia Tech. Now, Duke got shut out by Richmond, and nearly a quarter of voters liked them? Did somebody think this was a basketball poll? That's my only possible explanation.

Big 12 North: Big Red is back... er, on their way back. Everyone else still sucks.

Big 12 South: Texas is the clear favorite now that OU has again lost their starting QB. Baylor... well, if this was women's basketball. Five wins last season was the most their football team has had since 1995 in the old SWC days.

Big East: West Virginia and Louisville are the only legit teams, with Connecticut on the rise.

Big Ten: Ohio State is not just the conference favorite but the preseason #1. Indiana, on the other hand, is one of the worst teams in the conference year in and year out. Again, were people thinking basketball?

Pac 10: USC has proven that they are not actually a Pac 10 team. They are in the SEC far-west.

SEC East: Florida's a solid pick, but I like Georgia's defense and special teams. Vandy... now, come on. That wouldn't even work in basketball.

SEC West: LSU may be better than Auburn, but they play a tougher schedule. When the two face off Sept 16, the game will be on Auburn's home turf. Mississippi State will be lucky to make a bowl and should finish 5th or 6th in the division.

National Champion: So why'd I pick USC? In the real estate business, they say location is everything. In a football season with no complete team, it comes down to location location location. West Virginia plays in the Big East, and they face the biggest cupcake schedule of them all, which only got easier when Louisville lost Michael Bush for the season. Next in line of the big boys in terms of a schedule that shouldn't give them a loss is USC. The Pac 10 is a notch above the Big East for sure, but certainly not on par with the SEC or Big Ten. On top of that, USC's two supposed challenges this season - Cal and Notre Dame - looked to be greatly overrated on opening weekend, which makes their road to the MNC game much easier than say Ohio State's or even Texas's, which has drawn criticism for three creampuff nonconference games and should only be challenged by Ohio State, OU, and possibly Texas Tech. And let's not even talk about the possibility of an unbeaten SEC team, because with four teams in my top ten and another at #11, it just ain't happening. Miami's already lost, and FSU and VT probably aren't good enough to run the table. So our most likely MNC matchup will feature USC vs West Virginia, and the Mounties simply cannot keep up with nor slow down the kind of offensive firepower that USC brings to the table.

That said, this prediction is far from a certainty. Last season, everyone knew that USC would be in the title game, and that they'd either face the Texas-Ohio State winner or possibly Miami (preseason hype) or Va Tech (looked good for a while). Indeed it wound up being Texas-USC in a game for the ages. This season, every contender has a major flaw to overcome, and some (Ohio State, the SEC teams, FSU) have several games that would challenge a champion. Just putting that out there -- it could be a crazy season, folks.

Now the other picks. 20% Arizona State? Only 22% think they can even win their conference. They barely survived opening weekend against Northern Arizona, they're one of the ten worst defenses in the country, and they have no running game to speak of. 14% TCU? Well I admit, all they have to do is beat Texas Tech and the rest of their schedule are teams who couldn't beat the Texas high school champ. So there's a strong possibility that they could be one of two or less unbeatens, and hope the BCS computers aren't too tough on them. But that only means making it to the title game. How in the world is this team going to actually win it? They barely beat Baylor on opening weekend. If they play Texas, USC, OSU, even WVA, it'll be over by the end of the first quarter.