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New BlogPoll Released, Illinois Fans Contribute to Record Site Traffic

First, we BlogPollsters cast our votes. From these ballots, a preliminary preseason poll was compiled.

Thereafter, we BlogPollsters defended our rankings. From these arguments, a consensus (of sorts) was forged.

Finally, we BlogPollsters cast revised ballots. From this, the final preseason poll was produced.

Rutgers alumna Kristin Davis was pleased to learn that the Scarlet Knights held steady at No. 21 in the second preseason BlogPoll.

Southern California remains firmly ensconced as the nation's No. 1 team, having received 39 of 44 first-place votes. (Yes, the number of voters went down between preseason polls. As someone whose undergraduate degree was in political science, I can tell you that turnout usually goes down between the general election and the run-off.)

The remaining five nods for the top spot were distributed evenly between No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 West Virginia, No. 5 Texas, No. 7 Florida, and No. 8 Virginia Tech. Curiously, L.S.U. checked in at No. 2 as the only top five team not to have received a first-place vote.

The Bulldogs held steady at No. 14, but Auburn dropped two spots to No. 17 and Tennessee fell three places to No. 20. Arkansas, meanwhile, rose four poll positions to No. 16 and South Carolina narrowly missed the cut, collecting 3.1 points per ballot, just behind the 3.2 gathered by No. 25 Texas A&M.

Alabama, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma State all were among those also receiving votes.

Interestingly enough, numerous squads from the Southeastern Conference were adjudged overrated, although BlogPollsters with S.E.C. affiliations (most definitely including me) typically thought the Gators and the Razorbacks were being given too much credit, while webloggers claiming other conference connections considered Auburn, Georgia, and Tennessee to be more hype than substance.

Concerns along the offensive line were among the principal reasons given for downgrading the 'Dawgs and the Plainsmen. Perhaps a similar justification explains why the Gamecocks, who confront the same issues, were replaced in the top 25 by T.C.U. For my part, I upgraded both South Carolina and Texas Christian on my ballot.

Don't blame him; he voted for Duke.

In other news, although I will be authoring a diary to this effect over the weekend, MaconDawg and I are pleased to report that, earlier today, August officially became the sixth straight month of increased site traffic here at Dawg Sports, as well as the third consecutive month in which new records were set both for visits and for page views.

As I say, I will cover this in the diaries (not on the main page) after all of the numbers are in, but we are grateful to all of our regular readers and occasional visitors. I am especially grateful to the Fighting Illini message board posters who, taking issue with my selection of this week's national game of disinterest, offered the following pithy rejoinders, to which I provide the ensuing retorts:

I understand the perception is still around, but the SEC blinders are too obvious.

Yeah, that's me, all right . . . constantly ragging on the Big Ten. You've sure got me figured out there, bub.

Don't confuse the issue. This isn't about a dispute between the Big Ten and the S.E.C. This is about the fact that Big Ten fans and S.E.C. fans alike agree that the Illini are lousy.

I also don't recall being picked to finish 11th.

I would recommend picking up a copy of Street & Smith's. They picked Illinois to finish last in the league.
As opposed to the groundswell of interest in the Georgia-Oklahoma State game as evidenced by the requests for press credentials from as far away as Chattanooga, Valdosta, and Ardmore, OK.

Right. It's a game of purely local interest. It's not like Texas fans in Indiana are interested. Also, it's not like it's a nationally televised ESPN night game or anything.

By the way, I am reliably informed that, although Saturday's Illinois-Missouri tussle will be played in the border city of the states represented by their respective flagship institutions, roughly equidistant between Champaign (approximately 150 miles away) and Columbia (roughly 125 miles away), it was still possible to get 12 seats together as of this morning. That, my friends, is disinterest!

Until Georgia stops underachieving I really don't care what this clown has to say.

I'm going to keep repeating these data until the arithmetically challenged come to grips with them: That's underachieving? Thanks for the compliment, pal. I guess I always thought "underachieving" was a term that could be used to describe a program that---despite being a charter member of the Big Ten, the school that produced Red Grange, Dick Butkus, and George Halas, and a school that won the most recent of its 15 conference championships in 2001---still managed to find a way to go 1-11 in 2003, 3-8 in 2004, 2-9 in 2005, and 2-10 in 2006, all while losing two in a row to Indiana, four in a row to Iowa, five in a row to Michigan, three in a row to Minnesota, four in a row to Northwestern, three in a row to Ohio State, three in a row to Penn State, four in a row to Purdue, and four in a row to Wisconsin.
You and 3 other people somehow managed to find that site.

Yeah, four people is roughly correct. MaconDawg and I are toiling in obscurity here at SB Nation, a blogging network that hasn't amounted to much of anything and whose president, Tyler Bleszinski, wields very little influence. The aforementioned six straight months of traffic growth and three straight months of record-setting visits and page views shouldn't in any way dissuade the Illini faithful from believing only four people stumbled across Dawg Sports by random chance.

Finally, some clever soul fell back upon the last recourse of the ignorant Georgia-basher, posting all sorts of funny images reminding us that the Bulldogs have lost 15 games to the Florida Gators in the last 17 seasons. Naturally, this datum is not an argument for any team other than the Saurians, so I don't know why an Illinois fan is making it, but to each his own, I suppose.

For the record, Georgia leads the all-time series against Florida with a 46-37-2 ledger. In the 19 years just prior to the Gators' recent 15-2 run, the 'Dawgs were 15-4 over the Orange and Blue, and, despite Doug Gillett's negativity and Sunday Morning Quarterback's doubts, a Georgia win this year is all but inevitable.

Is it football season yet?

Go 'Dawgs!