I love preseason polls. They're the purest expression of how programs, coaches, returning players, and incoming talent are regarded in the abstract. From this point on, the polls will, to some degree, be simply a measurement of the longest active win streaks, but in the preseason it's all about how good the voters think a team should be.
So when the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll came out, I dropped everything to gulp it down. For the most part the voters and I agree. We both think Indiana and Kentucky should be really good, and we both think Cincinnati and Texas should be borderline Top 25 teams. Still, there will always be a few instances where I think the voters are out to lunch. (They, on the other hand, never think that about me. Or shouldn't.)
Mind you, what we're discussing about these teams is merely what we should think about them now. Once the games start, surprises that no one could have seen coming will occur, and we'll all adjust accordingly. But based on the information we have in October, here are six AP rankings that I can envision turning out to be misplaced:
Michigan Wolverines (No. 5)
I do think the Wolverines are being overrated slightly, but this is actually a trickier case than your run-of-the-mill overrated team. Basically I, like just about everyone else, expect John Beilein's group to be in the mix near the top of a Big Ten that will have some of the best teams in the country. Michigan will win most of its home games against such teams and lose most of its road games against tough foes.
But I guess what I'm having trouble getting past is my own uncertainty regarding exactly how the Wolverines will excel.