Friday, August 17, 2007



Here it is, my preseason top 25. I based my list on two primary factors, last year’s success and returning assets. It’s fluid as all hell and will change a ton between now and September 4.

This isn’t a prediction of how teams will finish, and schedules were not examined. This is simply my perception of the country’s top 25 teams as they stand right now. There’s obviously a lot of guesswork here, and I made a special effort to not look at other preseason rankings. It seemed like there were a few teams that belonged in the top 10 but that there was an abundance of teams that should be in the 10-20 range. Here goes…

A very easy one here with essentially the entire defense back from a damn good team. JD Booty has a year of experience and the offensive skill players are a group of plug-and-play 5 star blue chippers.

2. West Virginia
A dangerous offense returns all of the skill players and the best running back recruit in the nation in Noel Devine.

3. LSU
Absolutely incredible depth to offset losing the #1 NFL draft choice.

4. Michigan
Many schools have “triplets,” but none are better than Henne, Manningham, and Hart.

5. Oklahoma
No QB? No problem. OU has superb talent at every position and a new QB will make their margins of victory smaller, that’s all.

6. Texas
They had a hiccup year after the 2005 MNC, but things seem to be coming back together in Austin. Everything is bigger there, after all.

7. Virginia Tech
On top of being everyone’s sentimental favorites, the running game and defense are going to be top notch, especially with one of the best linebacking corps in the country.

8. Louisville
The nation’s best drop-back passer is surrounded by a big, physical team. I wouldn't want to play them.

9. Arkansas
The pairing of the best player in college football and the most underrated running back in college football will be a tough tandem.

10. UCLA
20 starters back on a strong defensive team. Skill players a-plenty, too. Consistency will be key considering the blowout loss that followed the upset of USC.

11. South Carolina
The ‘Cock defense has had some growing pains but almost all of them are coming back and they’ve gelled as a unit. Losing Cory Boyd will hurt, but you can count on Spurrier to find decent receivers.

12. Florida State
I tried to ignore coach change hype (see ASU) but this team is loaded to the gills with talent and they were probably held back by jump-ball Jeffy. Watch out for a brewing QB controversy, too.

13. Tennessee
They’ll always have a good line and run game, but Erik Ainge has matured and seems ready to lead this year’s Vols.

14. Ohio State
Tressel will do just fine with a green RB and no passing game, just like he did in 2002.

15. Cal
They’re losing some absolute badasses on defense, but DeSean Jackson has a skill for making people look bad and he’s complimented by another great Tedford back in Justin Forsett.

16. Penn State
This is Penn State at it’s finest: Good QB, good linebackers, and average skill players. It will leave them looking up at Michigan and Ohio State in the Big 10, however.

17. Georgia
A good team last year that lost focus in a few games and it cost them. Stafford is a year better but a lot of little question marks on both sides of the ball keeps them from being higher.

18. Boston College
Matt Ryan has been anointed the best QB in the ACC and they bring a ton back on defense.

19. Oklahoma State
Here comes the offense! They can play some D, but they’ll be this year’s Texas Tech and beat a few teams by simply outscoring them.

20. Hawaii
The Hawaii Bowl taught me that these guys can actually play. They’ve got a mean, physical defense and some quarterback named Colt.

21. Rutgers
Ray Rice, all day long. Schiano built this program the right way and depth is developing everywhere.

22. Florida
Losing nine defensive starters and a starting QB leads to a mid-20s mercy ranking for the champs.

23. Clemson
One of the better running back tandems in the country with Spiller and Davis. They could get over the hump this year and challenge for the ACC title.

24. San Jose State
Ahhh, a sexy mid-major upset pick! Everyone else is jumping on USF’s jock but this Spartan squad is good. Dick Tomey has a solid defense and some big athletic receivers that are raising eyebrows on the West Coast. The more I read on them the more I like them.

25. Oregon
A defense returning a lot of playmakers and an offense with Jonathan Stewart could overcome Belotti’s QB flip-flopping.

I’m well aware of ASU’s absence, but a team with so many defensive questions does not deserve such a ranking. Add to that, last year’s quarterback play wasn’t exactly lights out and the receivers were downright terrible.

Who got left out and why:

Alabama: I’m not convinced Saban is the second coming of the Bear…yet. Arizona: Offense
Arizona State: Defense
Auburn: Cox isn’t that great of a QB and a lot of starters are gone
Kentucky: Defense and last year’s luck (+15 TO margin)
Maryland: they won 9 games last year, but against whom?
Missouri: I’ve heard the have a great QB, but I haven’t heard anything else
Nebraska: Sam Keller can’t do it alone… or can he?
Oregon State: They’re going to miss Matt Moore A LOT
South Florida: Sorry, I’m just not buying it.
TCU: SJSU got my sexy mid-major pick. Sorry.
Texas A&M: the coach Fran unexciting factor
Texas Tech: Yarr, defense matey
Wake Forest: Last year was luck, luck, luck. And a weak ACC.

EDIT: As an observant reader was quick to point out, I totally forgot about Wisconsin. The Badgers have to replace QB Stocco but they have another one of those huge yet mysteriously quick backs and you know Wiscy is always powerful in the trenches. They probably deserve to be wedged somewhere in between Michigan and Penn State, but damn if I know who to bump.

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I hear Wisconsin is supposed to be pretty good too.
Sumbitch, honest mistake.
Penn State, good quarterback??? Is there a different Penn State that I don't know about?
Hey, man. If you watched Mike Shula for four years, then saw that Saban team, you'd know that there's a new crew in town. That game was amazing, even if the opponent was shitty.
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