CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If my doorbell rings tonight, there is an even chance it'll be a decked-out neighborhood kid in search of treats on Halloween, or a member of Big Blue Nation wielding a pitchfork.
The 2013-14 Associated Press preseason men's college basketball poll will be unveiled this afternoon at 1 p.m. Yours truly is a first-time voter in the weekly hoops poll, the only Mountain State participant.
Much to my wife's chagrin, my initial top 25 became a time-consuming obsession until it was time to hit the send button. Teams were moved up and down in the top 25, in and out of the rankings, as each morsel of information was unearthed and considered.
It is widely expected that the Kentucky Wildcats will be No. 1, just as they were in the USA Today Coaches poll released last week. Perhaps UK will make its way to the top spot on my ballot - and quickly - in the regular season. In the preseason, however, the Wildcats came in at No. 11 in this sportswriter's top 25.
(To express disgust and/or to poke fun of my rotund physique, please find my work email and Twitter handle at the end of this column).
The Wildcats have one of the most decorated and hyped incoming freshman classes in college basketball history: eight newcomers and six McDonald's All-Americans. That is unprecedented, and watching John Calipari mold and mesh those youngsters will be one of the season's most interesting storylines.
This column is preemptive. A few weeks ago CBSSports.com's basketball gurus released their top 25 rankings. The college hoops crew there all ranked Kentucky No. 1 - except analyst Doug Gottlieb, who had the Wildcats at No. 7.
The at-home pundits raced to Twitter to fire their thoughts back at Gottlieb, who is sort of a polarizing media figure as it is. My rankings aren't an act of a contrarian, but my personal belief in how to approach the preseason poll. This is the information I have now, and that will inevitably change when the games begin.
That is why Oklahoma State is No. 2 in my poll. The likelihood is good that the Cowboys aren't ranked that high in anyone else's preseason poll. The Cowboys, however, return 94 percent of their scoring from a 24-win team and have one of the best (proven) players in the nation in Marcus Smart.
There are many variables that could derail Oklahoma State's season and prevent the Cowboys from reaching a No. 1 seed, as it would seem my preseason poll forecasts.
It is, in fact, difficult to tell at this point. Consider these numbers: