SAN JOSE -- Well, the Associated Press did it again. The eminently respected news organization asked me to participate in its top-25 football poll again -- and it took about a nanosecond for me to accept.
Here's the preseason ballot I submitted a few weeks ago, with comments and each team's AP rank for comparative purposes.
AP rank: 3
Comment: Defensive line should dominate with the nation's best ends, Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo.
AP rank: 4
Comment: Quarterback Landry Jones will thrive in his final season. But the Sooners must be more consistent defensively to reach their potential.
AP rank: 6
Comment: Coach Mark Richt, who was on the hot seat a year ago, has his best team since the 2007 Sugar Bowl winners.
AP rank: 1
Comment: How the defensive line performs against Stanford, Utah and Oregon will frame USC's season. If the unit holds up, a national championship just might follow.
AP rank: 5
Comment: The Ducks are well stocked at 21 positions but need the new quarterback (Marcus Mariota) to avoid major mistakes in order to make their fourth consecutive BCS appearance.
6. Florida State
AP rank: 7
Comment: 'Noles are overrated every year. But with a veteran quarterback (EJ Manuel) and ferocious defensive line, this might be the season they reach expectations.
Comment: If the Hogs get past Alabama (at home) in Week 3, they may not lose for a long, long time.
8. South Carolina
AP rank: 9
Comment: The October schedule is brutal, but quarterback Connor Shaw and tailback Marcus Lattimore make the best backfield tandem in Steve Spurrier's eight years.
AP rank: 2
Comment: Last time the Tide won the BCS title (2009), it lost three games the following year. Get ready for a repeat this season.
AP rank: 8
Comment: Opener against Alabama (in Arlington, Tex.) will determine whether Wolverines have a special season ... or merely a good one.
11. Kansas State
AP rank: 22
Comment: Wildcats are loaded on offense behind quarterback Collin Klein. Another 10-win season is well within reach.
AP rank: 25
Comment: My sleeper pick: Veteran team, weak conference, soft schedule -- it all adds up to enough victories to propel the Cardinals into the top half of top-25.
13. Virginia Tech
AP rank: 16
Comment: One of the three returning starters on offense is multi-talented quarterback Logan Thomas, who gives the Hokies a chance to win the ACC.
14. Ohio State
AP rank: 18
Comment: Urban Meyer won nine games in his first year at Florida, and he didn't have the defensive talent the Buckeyes possess.
15. West Virginia
AP rank: 11
Comment: Inaugural year in the Big 12 would be far more daunting if the Mountaineers didn't have Geno Smith -- one of the top quarterbacks in the conference and the country.
AP rank: 12
Comment: Another soft schedule and the return of tailback Montee Ball give the Badgers a chance to reach the Rose Bowl for the third consecutive season.
AP rank: 17
Comment: There's plenty of experience on both sides of the ball, but the schedule could prevent the Cornhuskers from equaling last year's win total (nine).
AP rank: 15
Comment: Coach Mack Brown has the roster to get himself off the hot seat and into the BCS. But the quarterback play must improve by an order of magnitude.
AP rank: NR
Comment: Expecting a big year from the Utes, who have the nation's best defensive tackle (Star Lotulelei), a veteran offense and a schedule that doesn't include Stanford or Oregon.
AP rank: 14
Comment: Tigers seem a tad overrated at No. 14 given how they stumbled down the stretch and looked positively dreadful in the Orange Bowl (a 70-33 loss to West Virginia).
21. Brigham Young
AP rank: NR
Comment: Another team that I think will exceed expectations, largely because dynamic quarterback Riley Nelson returns.
AP rank: NR
Comment: Vols have 19 returning starters in what should be a turnaround season under third-year coach Derek Dooley.
AP rank: 21
Comment: In addition to losing the best college quarterback of the past 15 years, Stanford must replace the best guard in school history: David DeCastro, the key to the running game.
24. Michigan State
AP rank: 13
Comment: Why not higher? Because the schedule includes Boise State, Notre Dame and Ohio State in the first month and then Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska back-to-back-to-back in late October. Yikes.
AP rank: 23
Comment: Teams I also considered: Texas A&M, Washington, Notre Dame, Cal, Ohio, Boise State, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian and South Florida.