Preseason Top 10
Well, it's that time of the year. Is anybody else going through withdrawals? With about six weeks until the start of college football season it's time to start discussing the preseason polls.
I have always been a little leery of preseason polls. Some years there are just too many questions. Other years we're lulled into believing the hype of this team or that team. My opinion is to wait 3 weeks until putting the first poll out. It won't have a dramatic effect on the end of the season and it may help avoid the uncomfortable issue that raised its ugly head in 2004.
Anyway, My top 10:
1. Texas- This one is easy, the champs get to keep the top spot until they are dethroned. They have some issues with 2 freshman QB's but the defense will keep them in the close games. Jamaal Charles is going to have a great year. The potential loss of Ramonce Taylor will be a blip on the screen, potential because the ruling on his status has yet to come down.
2. USC- Call me a homer, but being the runner up in the greatest college football game of all time should count for something. They will have a lot of new faces in the backfield but like Texas their defense will keep them in the close games. They are loaded with talent. This will be John David Booty's coming out party. Will he be able to answer the bell? The receiving and linebacking corps are some of the best in the country.
3. Auburn- My sleeper team this year. I think they have an excellent chance to get to the NC game this year. In their minds they will have a lot to prove. Being left out of the mix in 2004, the recent scandal and such should motivate this program to perform and prove their detractors wrong. Cox, Irons and Taylor will be ready to roll when the season starts and the defense will be outstanding.
4. LSU- With the year they had last year because of the hurricane LSU really stepped up and had a great year. Jr. QB JaMarcus Russell will be the starter but with thee talent they have at QB if he falters Les Miles won't hesitate to make a switch. 8 home games will make the season a little easier but road games at Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida will really be the test.
5. Oklahoma- I'm not yet convinced that they have regained the luster that they had in 2004. I felt that Auburn not OU should have played USC In the Orange Bowl. Yes. OU did go undefeated that year but with drubbing that SC gave them that year a lot of people were left scratching their heads with that less than stellar result. Adrian Peterson needs to have a superman type year if he wants to win the Heisman. Rhett Bomar needs to take charge and show that he can rise above his off-season transgressions.
6. Ohio State- They have the talent to win on offense but the defense has a lot of rebuilding to do with only two starters returning. They have a little bit of an easier schedule with 7 home and 5 away games. The Texas game in Austin will set the tone. If they can come away with a win it will be a big boost to their confidence. Iowa away will also be tough and will be their toughest road game out side of their trip to Austin.
7. Florida- Urban Meyer's second season will be the most watched in CFB. With one of the best recruiting classes in the country we will finally start to see how his plan takes shape with big time players in a big time conference, apologies to BlockU. I think 2007 will the year that UF really breaks out but it will be fun to watch this year. Can Chris Leak finally be comfortable in Meyer's scheme or will freshman phenom Tim Tebow get the call? I attended my first UF game last year at the Swamp vs. Tennessee with a good friend of mine, what an experience! So I will have more than just a passing interest in them this year.
8. West Virginia- Their impressive win against UGA in the Sugar Bowl opened some eyes and Rich Rodriguez is getting the attention he deserves. His new contract takes that distraction off the table and WVU will try to pick up where the left off. The Big East isn't what it used to be but WVU did what it was supposed to do, win its conference. They will have a little more of the spotlight on them this year. Was the win against UGA a fluke or are they the real thing? We'll see.
9. Michigan- Lloyd Carr must have nine lives. Going 7 and 4 last season was a real low point in the Wolverine Den. They have plenty of starters returning on both sides of the ball so the talent is there. But is the attitude and swagger that only Michigan can produce. Sometimes things get worse before they get better. So hopefully they are on the up swing. Their toughest games this year are on the road; ND, PSU, Minn. and tOSU. Not having UM in the mix is like having a Dodger Dog without the bun. The season just seems more complete with Michigan in the mix. Lets hope they can put a good string together.
10. Notre Dame- All eyes are on South Bend this year and the 4-letter network is already stoking the fires of their hype machine. It seems that Brady Quinn has already won the Heisman. Why bother coming to NYC to pick it up when they just can just FedEx it to him. If ND has a better year this year than last year ND fans will have to endure the same type of attention that befell the Trojans last year. I hope they can handle the heat when SC fans give 'em as good as they got last year from the Irish faithful. ND fans will come out of the closet, out from under the bed and even up from the grave to celebrate the 2nd coming. God, I'm going to be sick...