The good folks over at "College Football Live" will soon be unveiling their spring Top 25. I was asked to submit a ballot as part of the panel of experts (and I use that word lightly), and as you know I'm not shy when it comes to embarrassing myself with predictions.
Here's how I see things shaping up right now. Remember that it's only early April, though, and much can change between now and the time the ball is kicked off. I reserve the right to change my mind, possibly many times, between now and then.
5. Boise State
7. Florida State
9. Ohio State
11. Oklahoma State
12. South Carolina
14. Texas A&M
16. Michigan State
17. Virginia Tech
18. Notre Dame
22. Mississippi State
23. West Virginia
25. South Florida
I know what the first thing you'll say about this list will be: Why do I have West Virginia ranked ahead of South Florida when I had the Bulls first in my pre-spring power rankings? Well, as I said, things can change. I always believed West Virginia had more potential than South Florida this season. And after seeing the Mountaineers in person and getting reports of some shaky offensive performance by USF in its spring game, I'm now leaning toward WVU as my 2011 Big East favorite (sorry to all those in gold and blue for that kiss of death, but it's not set in stone yet).
That I've got two Big East teams in the Top 25 is an upset in itself and probably makes me an outlier in this poll. Somebody has to show the league a little respect, and I do like USF more than I like some other teams that have garnered preseason rankings, like Arizona State and Missouri.
I've got a whopping eight teams from the SEC in the poll, which is probably way too much. On the other hand, that league has earned those kinds of accolades. I also like bounce-back years for Florida, Texas and Georgia, who are too talented to be as bad as they were in 2010.
I'm not sold on Oklahoma as a preseason favorite after the way the Sooners have floundered in big games, and I'm giving TCU a lot of respect despite how many valuable players the Horned Frogs lost off their Rose Bowl championship team. Next year, when TCU is officially a Big East member, I look for multiple league teams to make everybody's preseason Top 25.