Pre-Season Top 10, er uhm 25ish poll and National Championship Prediction and stuff...
Written by Curt Popejoy on 06/02/2010
Parity in college football has created two things. First is a strong push toward a playoff system (which I will talk about in another article), and second it means the importance of the first poll of the year is greater than ever. Where you start the season is tough to take away from you, if you win, but if you get a crappy draw opening week, how far you can climb is going to be limited. You all know I don’t ever do a real Pre-Season Top 25, mainly because it’s just not that big of an issue. Odds are, a team in the first top ten will win the title, so beyond ten, it’s a serious climb to a BCS birth beyond a Conference Title. So without further ado, my Pre-Season Top Ten, all the rest in whatever order, and my National Championship Prediction sure to go wrong.
1. Alabama -The National Champs stay at No.1 until they lose. While I think the Tide are worse on Defense this year, they should be better on offense especially in the run game with Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, and his super backup Trent Richardson pounding the football. The SEC is theirs for the taking and assuming they can get past back to back roadies with Tennessee and LSU, an undefeated season seems to line up for them.
2. Boise State - The Broncos really have to get a nod this high to start the season. They have lost nearly no starters, have tremendous talent in Heisman candidate Kellen Moore at QB, and THAT home winning streak. They will know in a hurry if they are in the BCS picture with a September 6th matchup with Virginia Tech in Washington DC. They get past the Hokies, and the only world beater they have left is Oregon State and they get them on that nasty blue turf.
3. Ohio State - The Buckeyes get this lofty ranking basically because they play in the Big Ten and because they return nearly all their best players. Their schedule is super favorable, with only a road game against Iowa to give fans pause. No reason to believe the Buckeyes don’t win out.
4. Florida - Here’s where things get dicey. 4-8 are all really close. I give the Gators the nod here mainly because they are so deep at the skill players. Their defense got pillaged in the draft like a Viking village. Assuming they can re-load a little on D, all that talent on offense will continue to put up points in huge chunks. Roadies against Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida State will test them in a big way.
5. Oregon - Almost put the Ducks at 4, and I actually had them at 3, until that dope Jeremiah Masoli decided to being a two bit burglar. Dear Jeremiah, you are an embarrassment to the Ducks program. Love, LaGarrette Blount. The Ducks were touched by an angel that RB LaMichael James was only given a one game suspension for his random act of idiocy. The rest of the team returns largely in tact and in a PAC-10 that is just itching for someone to step up as the best, Oregon even minus moron Masoli might be it. That December road game against the Beavers could be another faux PAC-10 title game.
6. Texas - The Colt “don’t’ call me Vince Young because I’m not that talented” McCoy era is over. The fact that I am even talking about a team with so many questions as the 6th best team is a good sign of just how wide open the National Title is. The Longhorns obvious have the road game that really isn’t, in the Red River Shootout, they travel to Lincoln the following week. A nice test to see if new starting QB Garrett Gilbert has what it takes to be the next great Longhorn starting QB.
7. Virginia Tech - Honestly, I’m not convinced that the Hokies are an elite team, but as I am researching my Best of the Bunch articles, I realized they may have the best offensive backfield for running the football of any team in the nation, with two 1,000 yard backs, and a QB in Tyrod Taylor who can beat you with his legs and his arm. And he’s got weapons to throw to as well. A ton will hinge on how they replace 7 starters on defense, but that offense is going to be scary good.
8. Nebraska - I always have to give a bid nod to teams that can hold onto starters, and can replace them, and it looks like Nebraska has done some of both. Yes, they lost Ndamukong Suh, but most in Lincoln don’t think the defense will miss a beat with Jared Crick in the forefront. And on offense returning ten starters is a big positive. The key will be more consistent play out of their QB. The defense will be there, even minus Suh.
9. TCU - Another team that gets the nod largely because they return so much talent on offense. No doubt the defense will need to step up and replace some great players, but you know that for a school like this, built around bringing in athletic defensive players, there will be guys they can plug in for their new alumni drawing NFL paychecks. They have to rally after looking awful in the Fiesta Bowl, and QB Andy Dalton has to show some growth and maturity. We’ll know pretty quick when Oregon State comes to town early in the year. Circle that road game against Utah in November. They could be undefeated and ranked very high at that point, and getting a Utah team in a down year.
10. North Carolina - If Nebraska can be ranked in the Top 10 because of defense, than so can the Tar Heels. This defense looks to be even better than the top ten unit from a year ago. But they can’t hope to get an ACC title winning games 12-9. I give them the benefit of the doubt, because I think Butch Davis understands that even a dominant defense can carry you so far, and he’ll find some creative ways to score points, and keep them right in ACC Title hunt.
Oh, and if you want my teams 11-15, that could have been swapped out for most any team 6-10 it goes a little like this.
Oh, and 16-25 that could replace those guys?
16. Oregon State
17. Florida State
19. Georgia Tech
20 .Notre Dame
21. Penn State
24. Miami (FL)
So, in the final analysis, which of these teams has the best shot to do what has to be done? Get into the top 2 of the BCS and stay there? It really starts and stops with Boise State and whoever makes it out of the SEC. I know it sounds like a broken record, but those are talented teams in the SEC, with Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, and even LSU and Tennessee loaded with players. You simply have to exclude some of them because they will beat each other up and a loss is poison in the BCS. I think Broncos head coach Chris Petersen will have his team focused and ready to play all year long. That’s one thing that has always impressed me about Boise State. There are no let down games. Could a team from the PAC-10 or Big 12 like USC or Texas win out and get in there? Of couse. Those are the only types of schools that get big boosts in the BCS and pass up teams with the same record. But I am going to say that regardless of the opponent, this is the year of the Bronco and Boise State will finally get their BCS title bid and will make the most of it.
Last Edited: 06/02/2010