I don't know if I'll be using the preseason poll as I continue to post weekly polls once the season starts. I'll also be having a later one where I'll have where I think teams will be finishing, many projections yet to come from me, including the conference standings and possibly bowl games (though not likely, if requested, then fine, I'll try). Without further ado, my preseason top 25.
Edit note: I had completely forgotten to include Clemson. It wasn't as if I hadn't forgotten about how good Clemson could be this year, it's that I thought I had included them, so I had it in the back of my mind and just went on. Sorry ECU fans..The Pirates are no longer on the list. I hate admitting my mistakes..but this was a REAL slip-up on my part.
1. Louisiana State Tigers - I, like some posters here, feel that you can't dethrone the previous national champion until they go down. I like LSU as preseason #1, even though it's likely they won't finish there. With the whole Ryan Perrilloux (sp) situation, can the Tigers keep focus on the season at hand with whomever they choose at QB?
2. Oklahoma Sooners - With Sam Bradford at the helm and Bob Stoops being the mastermind that he is, expect Oklahoma to make a big push this year. Some of Oklahoma's toughest tests include Texas Tech, Texas, and Kansas, there will be plenty of chances to slip up. Oklahoma won't have to face Missouri until the Big XII championship game (assuming both teams make it there).
3. Ohio State Buckeyes - They have been to the last two national championship games and have failed in both of them. With a huge meeting with USC within the first couple weeks of the year, can the Buckeyes pass the test, win the Big Ten, and go to another national championship game? Not to make it a three peat this year.
4. Southern California Trojans - With QB Mark Sanchez finally taking the lead for the Trojans' offense, will he be able to lead this team to more national prominence? Having one of the most talented backfields will definitely help. Can Patrick Turner step up and play to his potential? That Trojan defense are not a bunch of pushovers either, to say the least.
5. Georgia Bulldogs - Knoshown Moreno, a name just about every college football fan should know. Will Matthew Stafford prove to all of the doubters out there that he is the QB that will lead Georgia to the national championship? Two young players will help decide the fate of this Bulldog team.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers - With the always entertaining Pat White at QB, the Mountaineers should once again be the full-fledged favorites of the Big East conference. Noel Devine has a big void to fill with Steve Slaton leaving early. Not to mention Owen Schmitt is gone also. Darius Reynaud is gone also, but that won't stop the dangerous West Virginia spread offense.
7. Missouri Tigers - If there is one thing I did learn last year that will stay in my head for the following year to come, it's that Chase Daniel is one of the best QBs in the nation. The Missouri Tigers' offense is still very formidable as they look to replace the loss of Tony Temple. No worries. They have one of the best TEs in the nation also in Chase Coffman.
8. Florida Gators - There is no doubt that Tim Tebow can contend for the Heisman trophy once again as he is back for more in Gainesville. Despite the Gators' defense (the secondary especially) being suspect, the offense may have enough firepower to move through that. The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party will definitely be one of the most interesting match ups this year.
9. Wisconsin Badgers - The Badgers are returning some very solid players here this next coming season. They are replacing QB Tyler Donovan with, who I believe is a very talented QB, in Allan Evridge. Can the Badgers steal the Big Ten from the Buckeyes?
10. Arizona State Sun Devils - Coach Dennis Erickson led this team out of nowhere and had them going undefeated for awhile, until they sort of..well, kind of collapsed near the end of the season. No worries, the Sun Devils return the gun of Rudy Carpenter as he'll be looking to sling more TDs this year.
11. Virginia Tech Hokies - Can Frank Beamer continue his excellent coaching at Va Tech? Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor will both be competing for playing time, well, at least both will be used throughout the season. Will we continue to see Beamer Ball at it's best?
12. Auburn Tigers - This could quite possibility be a team that is ready to overtake the LSU Tigers in the SEC West. The Tigers will be doing it a lot more with their offense while maintaining their great defense, despite the loss of their defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.
13. Brigham Young Cougars - This could quite possibility be the team that becomes a BCS-buster. With Max Hall returning for Bronco Mendenhall, this offense will be ready to go. The biggest match up of the year will be the last game, on the road at Utah.
14. Texas Longhorns - Could the Longhorns' Colt McCoy take another step back, or will he be stepping forward this year? There's no doubt this kid is tough and gritty, but that doesn't stop me from calling him an overrated QB. Nevertheless, the Longhorns are in the hunt for the Big XII South title once again, but can they get over the hump of just beating a spunky Texas A&M team?
15. Tennessee Volunteers - With all of the buzz that is around the teams like Florida, Georgia, Auburn, and LSU, people may be forgetting that the Volunteers are the defending SEC East champs. Can Jonathan Crompton lead this team back to the SEC title game? It's definitely not outside the realm of possibilities.
16. Clemson Tigers - This Clemson team certainly has the talent to pull through the ACC this year, but will Tommy Bowden finally get it done? It seems like he's been on edge for forever, and this will definitely be the year that he can secure his job. Or this could be yet another disappointment for the fans of Clemson.
17. Illinois Fighting Illini - Coach Ron Zook definitely has Illinois going in the right direction. Despite the loss of Rashard Mendenhall, Juice Williams can still run this offense w/ his legs and quite possibly with his arm. If Arrelious Benn can continue to play like he did as a freshman, there's no doubt Williams will get the ball to him. And this year, Ohio State comes to Champagne.
18. Texas Tech Red Raiders - People are wondering, is this the year that the Red Raiders breakaway from the shadows of Texas and Oklahoma? The defense is certainly better than most years under Mike Leach. Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree form the best QB/WR duo in the nation. Will Harrell throw for another ungodly amount of passing yards this year?
19. South Florida Bulls - The Bulls really slowed down last year after defeating West Virginia and catapulting themselves all the way up to number two in the nation. Matt Grothe returns once again and will hope to lead the Bulls past the Mountaineers. They lost two valuable corners and will hope to replace Jenkins and Williams.
20. Wake Forest Demon Deacons - I admit, I've liked this team ever since they made it to a BCS bowl a couple years back. With Riley Skinner back at QB, the Demon Deacons will go for another 9 win season under head coach Jim Grobe. Maybe another ACC title will come to Winston-Salem if they play the right cards.
21. Kansas Jayhawks - Nobody, I mean just about nobody, expected the Jayhawks to come out of nowhere like they did last year. After ending the year impressively by beating Virginia Tech last year, will the Mark Mangino and his Jayhawks prove it was no fluke? Hey, Todd Reesing will definitely have a lot of say into it as the season rolls around.
22. Fresno State Bulldogs - The Bulldogs will have to get through a somewhat tough schedule in non-conference play if they want to play in a BCS bowl game this year. There's no saying they can't. Coach Pat Hill has put together a great team and will be looking to take down Boise State and Hawaii in the WAC.
23. Cincinnati Bearcats - Coach Brian Kelly did a great job working with Wake Forest transfer Ben Mauk. If he can't return, will Grutza have what it takes to lead the Bearcats to another successful season? We'll wait and see.
24. Florida State Seminoles - Will Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fischer help Drew Weatherford lead this team back to where it once was? Well, maybe not all the way to the top, but the Seminoles can still quite possibly compete for an ACC title. Weatherford has underachieved in his time at Florida State and will look to change all that this upcoming season.
25. UCLA Bruins - Quite possibly my sleeper of the year, under the tutledge (however you spell it) of new coach Rick Neuheisal (once again, however you spell it), the Bruins, if their QB situation ever gets sorted out, could have a very formidable team in the Pac-Ten. They have a tough non-conference match up with possible BCS-buster Fresno State along with a game at Brigham Young and against Tennessee.