Also, consider that there are different voting philosophies. This season, as West Virginia's AP voter, I tried to pin down which schools had the best collection of talent and ranked them accordingly. The poll is about the best teams, correct?
Others, however, look at schedules and rank schools based on how they believe they'll finish. WVU has benefited from that line of thinking in previous preseason poll voting.
After this preseason vote, I was deluged with hate from Louisville fans upset I voted the Cardinals No. 21, six spots lower than any other voter and 12 below the Athl..., er, consensus.
My question: Can you tell me - with a straight face - the Cardinals have a better team, heading into the season, than Florida State, Florida or LSU? They might have a better quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, but a better team?
The reason Louisville is ranked so highly - aside from Bridgewater - is because it has one of college football's worst schedules and enough talent to breeze through it.
Here's Louisville's schedule: Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, at Kentucky, Florida International, at Temple, Rutgers, Central Florida, at South Florida, at Connecticut, Houston, Memphis and at Cincinnati.
That schedule is ranked in quality by experts anywhere from No. 98 to 100 among the 126 FBS teams. Now, do I believe Louisville will win many games? You betcha. Do I believe Louisville is better than LSU? No way. Nor do I believe it's better than Oklahoma, Nebraska, Miami, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Arizona State ...
You get the drift. Now, if Louisville proves me wrong, good for the Cards. Great. That's what the regular-season polls are for - rewarding earned stripes. Go ahead and whip a strong Ohio team in Game One. That would be a good start.
See, my research tells me Florida State has the most players other than Alabama headed to the NFL. So I voted the Seminoles No. 2. I like Arizona State - with eight returning defensive starters, including All-America tackle Will Sutton - to win the Pac 12 South.
According to Pollspeak, a website that compares voters, such selections make me "extreme" and "bad." Upset fans from schools like Louisville vote to make the case.
I, though, am sleeping well, thank you very much. I didn't copy from Athlon, even though I did write a preseason story for the mag. I didn't copy from any other publication or the (perish the thought) coaches poll.
Extreme? Maybe. You can call me that. I was, after all, the only one to vote for Jadeveon Clowney as last season's AP Player of the Year.
And damn proud of it.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.