Category:NCAAF
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:04 am
 

Alabama should not finish #1

........Wait....What? How dare I question the legitimacy of an SEC team being #1, but I'm doing that. Heck, they shouldn't even be #2, and it's beyond pathetic that they'll win another National Title so Alabama can claim another undeserving National Championship. Don't worry though SEC honks, the #1 team is from the SEC so you can win your 6th National Title in a row, and try convince other people that it somehow helps your team, and that the 12th best SEC team could win 8-9 games in every other conference and that the only reason those teams suck is because of the greatness of the SEC.

Now, why should Alabama not finish the year in the top 2? It's pretty simple actually. Just compare the resumes of the the Alabama Crimson Tide with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and the LSU Tigers as well. Oklahoma State will finish the season with 4 wins over teams in the top 16, and that doesn't include wins over Texas, and Missouri who both finished just outside the top 25. Alabama on the other hand beat a top 5 Arkansas team(Who for the record is not a top 5 team), and LSU on a neutral field. Oklahoma State has the higher SOS then Alabama, and for the longest time we've heard of when all things being equal we should look at who played the Strength of Schedule, and Oklahoma State beat Alabama. Alabama may have the better loss, but Oklahoma State played the tougher schedule, and had 6 very good wins, while Alabama had 2 very good wins. There is no reason that Oklahoma State shouldn't finish above Alabama, and quite honestly when your best argument is, "Well, we lost to a better team" then you should shut up right there because that is a tired argument.

On the other side the comparison between LSU, and Alabama is also quite interesting. The LSU Tigers beat the Big East Champion, the Pac 12 Champion, the BCS National Champion, a Top 5 Arkansas team, and a top 20 Georgia team. Like said earlier in this post, the only wins of note for Alabama is a win over LSU on a neutral field, and Arkansas at home. While you may say, "Well, Alabama beat LSU easily on a neutral field" you also forget that LSU beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa so if you're going to bring up the game just played, why can't I bring up the game played a few months ago. As far as I'm concerned they cancel out, and LSU went on a great win with quality after quality victories as they put together one of the best College Football resumes in recent memory.

The thing probably worst about the evening though, is the fact that we had this game played anyways. Alabama already had their chance when they had the more favorable SEC Schedule with their two toughest challenges for the SEC West being played in Tuscaloosa. It should've never happened as Alabama already blew their chance, and it should've been Oklahoma State playing all along, and even if the Cowboys would've gotten blown out it wouldn't have changed my opinion that the Cowboys deserved their shot at LSU. We hear so often how College Football is the only sport where every single game matters, and using this logic there is clearly one team that deserves to be #1, and that is the LSU Tigers. At the same time there is one team that deserves to be #2, and that is the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Alabama may have won the National Title in 2011, and while I should be happy because I picked them in the preseason, I'm not. As a grave injustice was done to College Football when these two teams had to play again, and for so long we heard how you have to win your conference to play in the National Title Game.....Guess that isn't the case when it involves Alabama. Next time ESPN, be consistent, and not hypocritical.
Posted on: August 23, 2009 12:59 am
 

Illinois, The Only Real Threat to PSU and tOSU



Say what???? Thats right.....Take this one to the bank, and if this isn't true you can call me at the end of the season, but the Illinois Illini are the only real threat to Penn State and Ohio State in the Big Ten. Yes, I know they just finished a 5-7 season, and yes I know who their coach is, but despite that they have the most favorable schedule in the Big Ten, and the best offense as well.

Last year was a tough one for the Illini. They were coming off of a Rose Bowl season, and had high expectations for the first time in a long time. Some people thought they would be able to challenge in the Big Ten, and be a top 15 team, but that never materialized, and they struggled to a 5-7 team.

From last year, the Illini return 13 starters, and they are once again led by QB Juice Williams. Last year, Juice took a step back, and despite throwing for 22 TD's he also threw 17 INT's....Expect the TD's to stay about the same, but the INT's to be about half from what it was last year. At RB they return Daniel Dufrene, and Jason Ford. Now, neither guy is as good as somebody like Rashard Mendenhall, but combined they rushed for nearly 1000 yards. Expect Jason Ford to really step up this season, and rush for nearly 1000 yards while Dufrene puts up similar numbers to what he did last season. Illinois also has one of the best group of WR's in the country. Arrelious 'Rejus' Benn is the best WR in the country this side of Dez Bryant, and is an absoloute freak of nature. Jeff Cumberland is solid, and Michael Hommanawanui is a solid TE, but the real story might be the arrival of UF transfer Jarred Fayson. He'll force teams to not double cover Arrelious 'Rejus' Benn, and allow Benn to get into the endzone more this season. One the Offensive Line they lose Xavier Fulton, and Ryan McDonald, but expect improvement from last season with 3 returning starters.

The defensive end is a little different story. On the Defensive Line they lose David Lindquist, Will Davis, and Derek Walker from last season, but they do return Josh Brent, and Doug Pilcher. Last year, Illinois struggled against the run, so they do needed improvement on the DL. At LB they lose leading tackler Britt Miller, but they do return Martez Wilson, who finally lived up to the hype last season. Expect Wilson to have another huge season. At DB they lose 1st Round Pick Vontae Davis, but despite this they return plenty of guys with experience, so even though they lose their top guy to the pros expect this unit to improve.

Also, last season Illinois had 27 starts missed because of injury, and were outgaining their opponents by an average of just over 85 yards a game...Not to mention the fact they should be able to limit the turnovers more this season.....All of these factor into them having a better season then last.

Now, the real reason that I see Illinois being this good is because of the schedule....They have a very favorable schedule, and should be able to go at the very least 5-3 in conference, while more likely going 6-2.

Here's how I see the team breaking week to week:

Sept 5th Missouri(St. Louis)-Missouri has won the last 2 games in this rivalry, but don't expect it this year. Missouri lost Chase Daniel, Tommy Saunders, Jeremy Maclin, and Chase Coffman from last year's team, and from what I've heard Blaine Gabbert is pretty much all hype. The defense probably won't improve even though they have a great group of LB's....Expect a 14-17 point from the Illini.

Sept 12th Illinois State-ISU is not a very good team, and with this game being at home, expect an Illini beatdown.

Sept 26th @Ohio State-This is probably the best time for any team to be playing this young Ohio State team, and that is in the begginning of conference play. The Buckeyes will still be young, and inexperienced in this game, but very talented. Last year, Illinois outgained Ohio State last season, but lost by 10. Expect this game to be closer, and it will come down to the end, although I do think that Ohio State pulls it out.

Oct 3rd Penn State-In my honest opinion, this is the game that Penn State is most likely to drop this season. It's on the road, they'll be coming off of a tough game, and it'll be Big Ten Home Opener for Illinois. Penn State has some major concerns in their secondary, and just like last season I expect Arrelious 'Rejus" Benn to burn them big time. This game could go either way.

Oct 10th Michigan State-I'm not buying into the MSU hype like everybody else it. Michigan State does have one of the best defenses in the Big Ten, but I think the offense will have some problems this year. I think that losing Hoyer will hurt more then they expect, and Ringer meant so much to that offense. This game should a lower scoring affair, but Illinois should be able to pull away in the 4th.

Oct 17th @Indiana-Perfect week for Illinois....They play 3 straight tough games, and get rewarded by playing the worst team in the Big Ten.

Oct 24th @Purdue-The Boilers aren't as bad as IU, but they're pretty bad as well. I do think this game should be close going into the 4th mainly because it's on the road, but Illinois should be able to win this one by 10-17 points. Expect a big day from Juice Williams, and the Illini Receiving Corps.

Oct 31st Michigan-teddydupay4's Wolverines should be able to improve this season, and not have the worst D1 QB ever behind center, but the offense will most likely have to play catch up with Illinois all day, and they aren't built for that.

Nov 7th @Minnesota-This is a huge trap game for Illini. I don't think that Minnesota will be that great next season, and even though they return a lot of starters with a much harder schedule they'll probably struggle more. Last season, Minnesota was able to take advantage of some Illini turnovers, and win despite giving up 550 yards of total offense. Minnesota should be able to put some points up, but I don't think they'll stop Illinois' offense. Close game here though, slight advantage to Illinois.

Nov 14th Northwestern-Last year the Wildcats were able to destroy Illinois' bowl hopes in the final game of the season, and win the rivalry game over the Illini. They return a fair amount from last year, and should be a bowl team again this season, although I do see a dropoff from last season. It's a rivalry game so anything could happen in this one, but Illinois should pull this one out at home.

Nov 27th @Cincinnati-Last year the Bearcats played in arguably the most boring BCS bowl game ever losing to Virginia Tech 20-7. The Bearcats lose a lot from the defensive side of the ball, but they do return 10 starters on offense so they should be able to put some points up. I see the Bearcats taking a step back, and finishing 3rd-5th in the Big East, That being said I think Cincy has a good shot to knock Illinois off. This game should be played in the 30's and 40's

Dec 5th Fresno State-Well, Illinois broke the cardinal sin, and decided to play in December....Still, at least they did a good thing, and decided to schedule a half decent team....That being said I don't see Fresno State being as good as people and say. With the loss of Pascoe, and Brandstater I don't think they can win this one in Champaign. In Fresno this game is a complete different story, but the Illini take this one.


There you go, I know a lot of people agree, and disagree with me on this one....Just provided how I see it breaking down, and I think Illinois will go anywhere from 8-4 to 12-0 this season.  Should be a great season though....


GO BADGERS!
Posted on: September 21, 2008 1:00 am
Edited on: September 21, 2008 1:55 pm
 

The Best Damn Poll in the Land after Week 4

Another great week! LSU was able to stun Auburn on the plains, UGA was able to win in the desert, the Terrelle Pryor era started, Alabama made a statement, ECU's BCS run has ended, and Boise State's has begun. The number in parenthesis are where I ranked them the previous week. I'm going to guess I'm the earliest to post my ballot.

Southern Cal. Trojans logo1. USC(1)-The Trojans didn't play anyone this week after dismantling the Buckeyes last week. They do kick off the Pac 10 season next week against a team that suprised them a few years ago. Next Week: @Oregon State

Georgia Bulldogs logo2. Georgia(2)-The Bulldogs looked awfully good against a pretty good team in ASU in a hostile environment. Knowshon Moreno put on a show and continues to be in the running for the Heisman. AJ Green had a breakout game, and Matt Stafford looked solid again. This team looked really good against a pretty good team, but they do have a huge game next week against the Crimson Tide. Next Week: Alabama

Oklahoma Sooners logo3. Oklahoma(3)-The Sooners had a bye this week after whipping Washington last week. Next Week: TCU

Florida Gators logo4. Florida(4)-The Gators looked terrific against Tennessee and they didn't beat them with their offense. The defense was able to shut down the Tennessee offense, and the UF special teams were able to make huge plays. Imagine how good this team will be if the offense starts playing like last year? They might not have to with the way they're playing on the defensive side of the ball. Next Week: Ole Miss

LSU Tigers logo5. LSU(5)-What a game! The Tigers offensively struggled throughout the 1st half, but they were able to pick it up, and pull out a thrilling victory on the road against Auburn. Jarrett Lee was able to make some great throws, and Charles Scott looked great at running back. This team looks like it is the class of the SEC West early on, but I repeat for LSU fans. You guys aren't guaranteed to win the SEC West even with this great win. Next Week: Mississippi State

Missouri Tigers logo6. Missouri(6)-The Tigers offense continues to put up huge numbers, and the offense is going up and down the field. Chase Daniel continues to be a leading Heisman Candidate, and Jeremy Maclin is also helping his Heisman cause. The defense though isn't struggling still, and if they want to win the Big XII they need to improve that. They had a bit of trouble this week, but I think it's more because of Buffalo then Missouri. Next Week: Bye

Wisconsin Badgers logo7. Wisconsin(7)-The Badgers had a bye week this week, but they kick off the Big Ten season next week against Michigan. Next Week: @Michigan

Texas Longhorns logo8. Texas(8)-The Longhorns continue to impress, and Colt McCoy is putting up huge numbers for the Longhorns. The running game doesn't look great, but the Longhorns continue to put up huge numbers. The defense has looked a lot better compared to last year, but until they play a legit team we won't know. Playing Arkansas is not a legit team, and I expect the Longhorns to roll. So far, so good for Texas. Next Week: Arkansas

Alabama Crimson Tide logo9. Alabama(14)-The Tide continue to roll as they were able to dominate on the defensive end of the ball and they continue to run the ball well. Glen Coffee, and Mark Ingram are an excellet running duo, and Julio Jones is starting to make plays at receiver. Still, the face of this team is a smash mouth defense, and a run based offense. Huge game next week against UGA. Next Week: @UGA

Penn St. Nittany Lions logo10. Penn State(10)-I'm not going to move up this team anymore till they play a real team. The offense looks really good with Daryl Clark at quarterback, and the skill position players, but until they play somebody they aren't anything higher then #10. The defense continues to look good even without Sean Lee, and the real season starts next week. Next Week: Illinois

Auburn Tigers logo11. Auburn(9)-Auburn fought hard, and hadn't been for the 3rd quarter they would've been able to pull out a win against LSU. The quarterback play looked a lot better, and so did the offense. They were able to put up 21 points on a really good defense. The defense also looked pretty good, and they were able to rattle to LSU quarterbacks a little bit. Next Week: Tennessee

Ohio St. Buckeyes logo12. Ohio State(12)-The Buckeyes looked unimpressive in another win, but I was impressed with Pryor. Terrelle Pryor was able to make good throws, and he made some plays on the ground. The defense continues to look solid, but they need Chris Wells for the game in a few weeks at Wisconsin. Next Week: Minnesota

Texas Tech Red Raiders logo13. Texas Tech(15)-The Red Raiders offense was able to make big plays again against a terrible team again. Graham Harrell continues to look good, and so does the receiving core. The defense is looking better, but that rumor that Texas Tech was going to have a pretty good defense this year seems to be false. Still this team should be pretty good, and be able to contend in the Big XII South. Next Week: Bye

BYU Cougars logo14. BYU(17)-After being handed the game a few weeks ago because of bad officiating it seems that BYU has righted the ship. Max Hall continues to put insane numbers, and he's slowly become a legit Heisman Candidate. Harvey Unga continues to put up solid numbers at running back, and the defense looks solid. This team seems like the most likely to be able to break through into the BCS, but they better not look ahead to the game against Utah. Next Week: Bye

Wake Forest Demon Deacons logo15. Wake Forest(19)-Wake Forest was able to get a big win on the road, and it looks like they are still the class of the ACC. The defense was able to dominate FSU forcing 7 turnovers, but had it not been for an inconsistant kicking game, and offense Wake would've put a complete beatdown on FSU. Still though it's a very good win. Next Week: Navy

South Florida Bulls logo16. USF(16)-No excuse for South Florida playing bad against FIU, but they are still a good team, and I think this was just a bad game. The Bulls played FIU a team that had won 1 game over the past 2 seasons, and only could beat them by 8 points. The Bulls might've just been still celebrating the win over Kansas from last week, and I don't think they continue it. Trap game next week. Next Week: @NC State

Utah Utes logo17. Utah(21)-Big win for Utah. They had to go on the road to play a good team, and they were able to pull out a 30-23 win. Brian Johnson continues to put up good numbers, and Utah continues to pile up the wins. They will still have some tests, but the game against BYU should be huge! Next Week: Weber State

 

East Carolina Pirates logo18. ECU(13)-Tough loss for ECU on the road in a rivalry game. They should've won this game, and they had multiple opportunities in the opponents 10 and they weren't able to come up with points. Even with this loss to a bottom ACC team they still are a top 20 in my opinion with the two wins they've had earlier in the season. Next Week: Houston

Clemson Tigers logo19. Clemson(20)-The Tigers continue to look good after the week 1 loss to Alabama. They were able to completely dominate an overmatched South Carolina State team. Thunder and Lightning looked really good, but Cullen Harper did throw a few interceptions. You can't do this in conference play if they want to win the ACC. Still they're looking a lot better. Next Week: Maryland

Illinois Fighting Illini logo20. Illinois(23)-The Illini had a bye week, but they do have a huge matchup next week @Penn State. Next Week: @Penn State

Kansas Jayhawks logo21. Kansas(24)-The Jayhawks continue to look good as they ran up and down the field against Sam Houston State. Todd Reesing put up huge numbers, and the runnning game continues to look solid. The defense looked a bit shakey, and they need to improve that if they want to challenge in the Big XII North. Next Week: Bye

Colorado Buffaloes logo22. Colorado(NR)-The Buffaloes were able to pull off a Thursday Night Shocker against the Sheep Luvers in Boulder. Cody Hawkins looked really good at quarterback, and Colorado did an excellent job in containing Pat White. I really like Colorado's running game with Darrell Scott and Rodney Stewart. Next Week: @Florida State

Virginia Tech Hokies logo23. Virginia Tech(NR)-The Hokies are a completely different team with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback and they were able to get a huge win on the road against North Carolina. Darren Evans looked really good at running back, and the defense was able to step up a few times for Va Tech. Next Week: @Nebraska

Boise St. Broncos logo24. Boise State(NR)-The Broncos were able to go on the road and pull off a stunner at Autzen. Kellen Moore looked really good against a pretty good Ducks secondary. They played terrific for 3 quarters, but they did let up in the 4th and let the Ducks back in it. They can't do this again, or they will lose. Next Week: Bye

Fresno St. Bulldogs logo25. Fresno State(22)-I know they nearly lost to a bad Toledo team, but I'll give em a pass for this week. Traveling across the country, and after a tough loss are tough conditions to play well in. The defense which looked great early struggled, and if Fresno wants to win the WAC they need to improve that. Next Week: @UCLA

On the Cusp: Michigan State, Oregon, UConn, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Florida State, Vanderbilt

Best Games of Week 4:

Alabama @ UGA-Game of the week. Big for UGA and huge for Alabama.

Wisconsin @ Michigan-First Big Ten game of the Rich Rod era against a top team.

Illinois @ PSU-This game will show if PSU is legit.

Colorado @ FSU-This game will pit two borderline top 25 teams.

Virginia Tech @ Nebraska-Can VT pull off a 2nd straight win on the road?

Tennessee @ Auburn-Will both teams be able recover from tough losses?

USC @ Oregon State-A few years ago USC lost to Oregon State in a similar situation.

Heisman Watch:
1. Chase Daniel(Missouri)-The guy continues to put up huge numbers for a good Missouri team.
2. Mark Sanchez(USC)-Stays at #2 despite the bye.
3. Knowshon Moreno(UGA)-He put up huge numbers in the national spotlight.
4. Tim Tebow(Florida)-He doesn't have the numbers, but his team is winning.
5. Max Hall(BYU)-Putting up insane numbers, but he still probably won't win it.

Best of the rest:  PJ Hill(Wisconsin),  Sam Bradford(Oklahoma), Michael Crabtree(Texas Tech), Jeremy Maclin(Missouri),  Juice Williams(Illinois), Colt McCoy(Texas), Pat White(WVU), Percy Harvin(Florida), Evan Royster(Penn State), Javon Ringer(Michigan State).

Heisman Hopes that were ruined:
Chris Wells(Ohio State)-He was out another week, I think he's done.
Patrick Pickney(ECU)-His Heisman hopes was the undefeated season of ECU.
Pat White(WVU)-He struggled a little bit on Thurday night.

BCS Bowl Predictions:

BCS National Title: USC(Pac 10) vs UGA(SEC)

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin(Big 10) vs Utah(At Large)-They likely won't make it, but for now they're in.

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma(Big XII) vs South Florida(Big East)

Sugar Bowl: Florida(SEC) vs Missouri(At Large)

Orange Bowl: Wake Forest(ACC) vs BYU(At Large)

 

My Player of the Week is.....Javon Ringer. He put together another workman like perfomance.

Posted on: September 14, 2008 3:12 am
Edited on: September 15, 2008 5:28 pm
 

The Best Damn Poll in the Land After Week 3

What another great week! USC crushes OSU, Wisconsin squeaks by Fresno, Todd Reesing costs Kansas a game, and OU continues to roll. The number in parenthesis is where I ranked them last week.

Southern Cal. Trojans logo1. USC(2)-The Trojans just dominated Ohio State, and I had to move them up to #1. They were able to shut down the OSU offense, and they were able to run the football up and down the field. Mark Sanchez really impressed me, and as of right now they are the best team in the country in my opinion. There USC_Viking I can admit it, this team is a really special team. Next Week: Bye

Georgia Bulldogs logo2. Georgia(1)-The Bulldogs really struggled against South Carolina, but it seems to be a yearly thing for the Dawgs to struggle with the Gamecocks. The offense struggled a bit, but the defense stepped up in a big way. Big test next week against an ASU team that will be very upset and hungry after getting embarrased against UNLV at home. Next Week: @ASU

Oklahoma Sooners logo3. Oklahoma(3)-The Sooners looked very good again. They were able to shut down Jake Locker again, and the offense went up and down the field. The 1-2 punch of Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray is one of the best in the country, and they have one of the best quarterback in the country as well. The schedule will start getting harder, but the Sooners have a bye next week. Next Week: Bye

Florida Gators logo4. Florida(4)-The Gators had a bye this week, and because of this TheGreek spent more time on the boards this weekend. Next Week: @Tennessee

LSU Tigers logo5. LSU(5)-LSU was impressive again this week destroyed North Texas at home. They were able to run the ball very well again, and the quarterback managed the game. The defense was dominant like usual as LSU gets geared up for conference play. The Tigers better get ready for next week's game against the other Tigers from Auburn. Next Week: @Auburn

Missouri Tigers logo6. Missouri(6)-The Tigers offense was able to continue to roll as Chase Daniel continues to make a push for the Heisman, and Jeremy Maclin had 3 touchdowns receiving. The offense was able to roll up 651 yards, while the defense continued to improve. If the Tigers want to get by Oklahoma, they need the defense to step up. Today, they played well against a good offense, but they need to keep this up. Next Week: Buffalo

Wisconsin Badgers logo7. Wisconsin(9)-Many might say that Wisconsin wasn't that great against Fresno State, but I disagree. To go into a top 25 teams homefield in a game that is labeled "The Biggest Game in Team History" and come up with a win is impressive. The defense put together another good performance, and PJ Hill continues to roll. They have a bye next week as they get ready for Big Ten play. Next Week: Bye

Texas Longhorns logo8. Texas(10)-The Longhorns didn't play this week, and they'll have to wait to make barbequed pork sandwiches out of Banned Sleepy's Arkansas Razorbacks. Next Week: Rice

Auburn Tigers logo9. Auburn(7)-The new offense that Auburn was supposed to have this season appears to be a dud, as they have struggled to score this season. The defense has been smashmouth like usual, but they need a good offense if they want to beat LSU next week. Next Week: LSU

Penn St. Nittany Lions logo10. Penn State(12)-The Nittany Lions were impressive once again blowing out the Orange, and finishing off the tenure of Greg Robinson. The offense continues to look very similar to the 05 offense led by Michael Robinson. The real season starts soon, but not next week: Next Week: Temple

Oregon Ducks logo11. Oregon(11)-The Ducks had to comeback to beat Purdump in West Lafeyette, and they were able to do it by running the football very well. The 1-2 punch of Blount and Johnson is really underrated, and the defense really stepped up in the 2nd half. The injury to Justin Roper is a cause for concern. Hopefully, they won't lose their starting quarterback this year like they did last year. Next Week: Boise State

Ohio St. Buckeyes logo12. Ohio State(8)-I under ranked OSU last week, and though they did get crushed by USC I still think this is a good football team. I believe that Tressel needs to put Terrelle Pryor in their at quarterback, and they need to get Beanie Wells back as well. The defense looked horrible as well against USC, but I expect them to improve. This team is better then what they showed last night. Next Week: Troy

East Carolina Pirates logo13. ECU(14)-The Pirates had a little bit of trouble with Tulane, but I expected this, and if you don't believe me check out my picks in King and Sleepy's Excellent Adventure. The defense and special teams continues to make big plays, and Pickney is a playmaker at quarterback for ECU. The C-USA is tougher then people think, and ECU could possibly have a hiccup in conference. Next Week: @NC State

Alabama Crimson Tide logo14. Alabama(16)-Alabama played much better this week after struggling against Tulane last week. I really love the running game they have with Glen Coffee, and Mark Ingram. John Parker Wilson seems to be playing much better this season, and the defense continues to play well as well. This team is the darkhorse in the SEC, and they start SEC play next week. Next Week: @Arkansas

Texas Tech Red Raiders logo15. Texas Tech(17)-Finally, Texas Tech decided to show up on both sides of the ball and it resulted in a 43-7 win. Graham Harrell continues to look great, and Michael Crabtree looked like the All-American he is. The rumor of Tech having a defense this season are true for at least this week, and we'll see if the defense can continue to improve. Next Week: Massachusetts

South Florida Bulls logo16. USF(22)-I was really impressed with USF this week as they were able to come from behind to beat a pretty good Kansas team. Matt Grothe looked really good, but the defense did struggle a bit, but it was against a very good offense. As of right now I have to say this is the team to beat in a very weak Big East. Next Week: FIU

BYU Cougars logo17. BYU(20)-Another team that really impressed me this week. They put an absoloute beatdown on UCLA. Max Hall went off throwing for 7 touchdowns against the Bruins, and this really causes a lot of questions. Is UCLA that good? Did Tennessee just get beaten by them? What happened to BYU this week? Last week BYU got lucky on a terrible call by the officials, and this week they just destroy a decent UCLA team. Next Week: Wyoming

West Virginia Mountaineers logo18. West Virginia(18)-The Sheep Luvers stay at the same spot because I was really impressed with a few teams, and they didn't play this week. Next Week: @Colorado

Wake Forest Demon Deacons logo19. Wake Forest(21)-The Demon Deacons didn't play this week as they get ready for a big game at the Doak. Next Week: @Florida State

Clemson Tigers logo20. Clemson(23)-The Tigers were able to put up another good performance for a 2nd straight week. They got off to a rocky start, but they were able to recover nicely and beat NC State 27-9. The offense still hasn't showed everything that was expected from them this season, but there is still time in the season. Next Week: South Carolina State

Utah Utes logo21. Utah(NR)-Since everybody has fallen for them I guess I will as well. The Utah offense continued to look very good as they were able to run up and down the field against one of the worst D1 teams in the country. Still they looked pretty impressive. Brian Johnson had a fabulous day, as he continues to put up excellent numbers. That end of the season game against BYU should be fantastic. Next Week: @Air Force

Fresno St. Bulldogs logo22. Fresno State(15)-The Bulldogs were able to hang with Wisconsin at home, and they almost beat the Badgers, and they could've had it not been for a bad kicker. The running game struggled, but the passing game was pretty good. The best sign from the game is how good the defense was. They struggled a lot on defense last season, and it's good to see that they are playing much better on that side of the ball. Next Week: @Toledo

Illinois Fighting Illini logo23. Illinois(24)-I guess I have to move Illinois up even though I wasn't impressed with them having trouble with Louisiana Lafeyette. Juice Williams played good as usual, but they just didn't bring their A game. If they want to contend in the Big Ten they need to play much better then this. Next Week: Bye

Kansas Jayhawks logo24. Kansas(19)-As many of you know I'm not a big fan of Kansas, but they did do enough for me to keep them in my top 25. Todd Reesing looked really good, and so did most of the Kansas offense. The Kansas defense was another story, and they really struggled with the USF offense. Kansas is better then I thought though. Next Week: Sam Houston State

Florida St. Seminoles logo25. Florida State(NR)-This was a tough pick for me, and I wasn't sure who to put here. I decided finally to go with the Seminoles who have looked excellent the first few weeks even with the suspensions they've had. Christian Ponder has looked good at quarterback, and he should look better when they return a lot of those guys from suspension. Big game next week. Next Week: Wake Forest

On the Cusp: Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, UConn, Colorado, Arizona State

Look ahead to the best games of Week 4:

LSU @ Auburn-This game could have national title implications, and it will give an edge to the team who wins this game in the SEC West.

UGA @ ASU-Will ASU be able to recover? UGA better not overlook them or they could be stunned in the desert.

Wake Forest @ Florida State-This is a big game early in the ACC. The winner will have the best chance to challenge Clemson in the ACC Atlantic division.

West Virginia @ Colorado-This will be a tough game for the sheep luvers. Colorado has played well this year, and they have a legit chance to upset WVU.

Boise State @ Oregon-Without Roper, Oregon needs to find a way to try to fight off Boise State.

Notre Dame @ Michigan State-Is Notre Dame any good? A win here, and they are a legit team in my opinion.

Virginia Tech @ North Carolina-UNC looked great against Rutgers on Thursday. VT struggled against GT, this game could possibly be an upset.

Miami(FL) @ Texas A&M-Both teams are rebuilding, and both teams need a win here.

Alabama @ Arkansas-Arkansas isn't very good, but I think this game is closer then people think.

Heisman Watch:

  1. Mark Sanchez(USC)-He has to be #1. He put up a great performance in the national spotlight, and he's the man to beat as of right now.
  2. Chase Daniel(Missouri)-He's putting up the stats, but his team now has to win Big XII.
  3. Tim Tebow(Florida)-Tebow hasn't put up the numbers he did last year, and he had a bye this week.
  4. Patrick Pickney(ECU)-The guy probably won't win the Heisman, but he should be in the discussion early.
  5. Knowshon Moreno(Georgia)-It was his heart that lifted UGA over South Carolina.

Best of the rest:  PJ Hill(Wisconsin),  Sam Bradford(Oklahoma), Michael Crabtree(Texas Tech), Jeremy Maclin(Missouri),  Juice Williams(Illinois), Colt McCoy(Texas), Max Hall(BYU), Pat White(WVU), Percy Harvin(Florida), Evan Royster(Penn State), Chris 'Beanie' Wells(Ohio State)

BCS Bowl Predictions:

BCS National Championship Game: UGA vs USC

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs Oregon

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs West Virginia

Sugar Bowl: Florida vs Missouri

Orange Bowl: Wake Forest vs ECU

Posted on: September 7, 2008 11:26 am
Edited on: September 7, 2008 12:39 pm
 

The Best Damn Poll in the Land after Week 2

What a week of College Football? ECU shocked the world again, Ohio State struggled with Ohio, Wisconsin struggled with Marshall for one quarter, and Florida actually has a defense this year.

Georgia Bulldogs logo1. Georgia(1)-The Bulldogs looked really good, and they will stay my #1 until next week when the winner of the USC-OSU game will likely jump them. Knowshon Moreno looked really good, and Matt Stafford threw a few touchdowns. The defense struggled a little bit, but CMU has a really good offense so that's not embarrassing. Next Week: @South Carolina

Southern Cal. Trojans logo2. USC(2)-The Trojans had a week off as they prepare to play Ohio State at home. Next Week: Ohio State

Oklahoma Sooners logo3. Oklahoma(3)-This offense maybe the best offense that Bob Stoops has ever had. They have a good quarterback, excellent running backs, good receivers, and the best offensive line in the country. I do think though that they did run up the score, but still the Sooners really impressed me. Cincinnati is a pretty good team, and OU just pummelled them winning by 26. Next Week: @Washington

Florida Gators logo4. Florida(5)-The Gators didn't look great on offense, but the defense looked excellent. I realize that Miami(FL) doesn't have a great offense by any means, but they still were able to completely dominate them. The running game of UF wasn't that good, and if they want to win the SEC they need to improve that. Next Week: BYE

LSU Tigers logo5. LSU(6)-The LSU Fighting Tigers didn't play this week because the game against Troy was postponed until November 15th. Next Week: North Texas

Missouri Tigers logo6. Missouri(7)-The Missouri offense continues to looked spectacular as they put up over 50 points for the 2nd straight week. Chase Daniel was nearly perfect completing 16 of 17 passes with 3 touchdowns. The running game looked good as well, and the defense looked better, but you expect to looke good when you play a team like Southeast Missouri State. Next Week: Nevada

Auburn Tigers logo7. Auburn(8)-The Tigers seem to finally have their starting quarterback as Chris Todd looked solid against a pretty good Southern Miss team. The defense was able to do a pretty good job against an explosive Southern Miss offense that is led by Damion Fletcher and DeAndre Brown at receiver. The offense needs to improve though if they want to win the SEC West. Next Week: @Mississippi State

Ohio St. Buckeyes logo8. Ohio State(4)-The Buckeyes looked terrible, and the SEC Homers are out starting threads about them. The defense wasn't shutdown like it usually is, and the offense really struggled without Chris Wells. If the Buckeyes want any chance to beat USC next week they need Chris Wells healthy, and Todd Boeckman to play better. Next Week: @USC

Wisconsin Badgers logo9. Wisconsin(10)-The Wisconsin Badgers also struggled for a little bit against a lesser opponent like Ohio State, but they were able to put Marshall away after the 3rd quarter, and they ended up pulling away and winning by 37. The defense made some plays in the 2nd half, and thats a good sign for Wisconsin. They do have a tough game next week against Fresno State though. Next Week: @Fresno State

Texas Longhorns logo10. Texas(11)-Well the Texas defense proved it again, and they were able to shut down the UTEP offense. Colt McCoy put up his 2nd straight excellent game, and if he keeps this up he could be in the Heisman Discussion. The running game looked solid, but it was so good for Texas to have McCoy put up another good game. It looks like Texas could challenge OU in the Big XII South. Next Week: Arkansas

Oregon Ducks logo11. Oregon(12)-The Ducks offense no longer should have any questions. The Ducks had 688 yards of total offense, and Justin Roper looked really good. Not only that, but the running game looked unstoppable with 3 guys over 70 yards. Though the defense gave up over 300 yards most of those yards were against the backups. Next Week: @Purdue

Penn St. Nittany Lions logo12. Penn State(14)-Wow.....PSU was able to put together another great performance as they blew out Oregon State. Daryl Clark looked really good, and the offense looked high powered. The defense looked like a shut down defense limiting Oregon State to only 14 points. PSU has started off the season great, but can they keep this up? They started off great last season before struggling early in the Big Ten schedule. Next Week: @Syracuse

Arizona St. Sun Devils logo13. Arizona State(13)-The Sun Devils looked very good against Stanford. They were able to win 41-17, and Carpenter looked excellent throwing for 345 yards and 3 touchdowns. The defense also looked pretty good, and they were able to hold them to 233 yards. A problem I see is the running game of ASU. They need to improve that if they want to beat UGA. Next Week: UNLV

East Carolina Pirates logo14. ECU(21)-The run of the ECU Pesky Pirates continues as they were able to dominate West Virginia at home. The offense was able to dominate the game against the WVU defense, and the defense of ECU was able to shut down WVU's high powered offense. This tells me that ECU has a top notch offense, and it also tells me that ECU has a very solid offense. ECU now will be favored in the rest of their games, but they should watch out for Southern Miss and UCF in conference. Next Week: @Tulane

Fresno St. Bulldogs logo15. Fresno State(17)-The Bulldogs didn't play this week, but they do play Wisconsin at home next week. Next Week: Wisconsin

Alabama Crimson Tide logo16. Alabama(15)-Well Alabama fell back to earth after blowing out Clemson the previous week. Tulane actually outplayed Alabama and they had 200 less yards then the Green Wave. Luckily the special teams came up big twice scoring both of Alabama's touchdowns. If the special teams don't do this, I think Alabama goes down. Next Week: Western Kentucky

Texas Tech Red Raiders logo17. Texas Tech(16)-Graham Harrell struggled a lot against Nevada, and this isn't a good sign for the Red Raiders. The defense doesn't look that great either. I expect Harrell to overcome this bad game, but if he can't Uh Oh. The Red Raiders could possibly fall to an 8-4 or 7-5 season. Next Week: SMU

West Virginia Mountaineers logo18. West Virginia(9)-The Sheep Luvers looked awful last week. The defense struggled against ECU's offense, and Pat White and Co. were completely shut down by the ECU defense. If I was a Sheep Luvers fan I'd be a bit worried. The defense looks pretty average, and the strength of the team the offense doesn't looked much better. This season may be the end to WVU's dominance of the Big East. Next Week: BYE

Kansas Jayhawks logo19. Kansas(19)-Kansas has looked pretty good so far, but I don't think this team will end the season in the top 25. The offense looked pretty good with Reesing throwing for over 400 yards, and the defense looked dominant shutting down Louisiana Tech. I think that Kansas will have some trouble next week and I think USF upsets the Jayhawks. Next Week: @USF

BYU Cougars logo20. BYU(18)-BYU got lucky against Washington when a garbage call gave the Cougars the win. I really think that Washington would've won the game because of the momentum. The defense really struggled against Locker, and they need to improve that if they want to go to a BCS Bowl. Max Hall looked good like usual, and the running game was solid, but this isn't a BCS team in my opinion. Next Week: UCLA

Wake Forest Demon Deacons logo21. Wake Forest(23)-What a game for Wake Forest. They were able to lead a drive late in the game, and they were able to give the ACC some credit. Riley Skinner looked poised late in the game as he led the Deacons to a late win. This was the type of the game that Wake Forest needs and it shows that when the game is close late, Wake Forest can trust Skinner, and he will give them a chance to win. Next Week: BYE

South Florida Bulls logo22. USF(22)-The Bulls completely dominated UCF, but despite this they had to go to overtime to beat UCF. The reason was because of turnovers and UCF was able to use those turnovers to make a game out of this. The Bulls offense still looked good getting over 500 yards, and the defense looked good holding UCF to 226 yards. If USF wants to win the Big East though they need to limit the turnovers. Next Week: Kansas

Clemson Tigers logo23. Clemson(24)-The Tigers were able to recover from the Week 1 disaster, and dominate The Citadel. CJ Spiller rushed for 3 touchdowns, and him and James Davis finally looked like Thunder and Lightning. Cullen Harper looked solid, but the defense still doesn't look that great. They gave up 427 yards to The Citadel, and they really need to improve that come Conference play. Next Week: NC State

Illinois Fighting Illini logo24. Illinois(25)-The Illini's offense looked unstoppable against Eastern Illinois, and the defense looked very good as well. Besides the first few drives Eastern Illinois wasn't able to come up with anything on the offensive side of the ball. Juice Williams needs to cut down on the turnovers, or Illinois will not be ranked in the top 25 by seasons end. Next Week: La-Lafeyette

California Golden Bears logo25. Cal(NR)-The Golden Bears looked pretty good against a pretty bad Wazzu team. The Bears ended up winning 66-3, and Javhid Best put on a clinic rushing for over 200 yards. The defense looked very good as well, and it seems that Cal is over last season's late season blunder. Kevin Riley also looks very good at quarterback, and Cal now has to be in the discussion for a possible Rose Bowl berth. Next Week: @Maryland

On the Cusp: Virginia Tech, Utah, Michigan State, Cincinnati, UCLA

Best Games of Week 3:

Ohio State vs USC-The key to this game is the health of Beanie Wells.

Wisconsin vs Fresno State-The Bulldogs need to stop PJ Hill if they want to win.

UCLA vs BYU-Is UCLA for real?

Kansas vs USF-I think Kansas' free fall will start here.

Oregon vs Purdue-This game will give Oregon's defensive backs a test early in the season.

Heisman Rankings:

  1. Chase Daniel(Missouri)-He's looked the best by far. He's put together two excellent games.
  2. Tim Tebow(Florida)-He doesn't have the numbers that Daniel has, but it's early.
  3. Knowshon Moreno(UGA)-He looked spectacular against CMU.
  4. Mark Sanchex(USC)-He had a Bye.
  5. Chris 'Beanie' Wells(Ohio State)-He didn't play, but he'll stay on for at least one more week.

Best of the rest:  PJ Hill(Wisconsin),  Sam Bradford(Oklahoma), Michael Crabtree(Texas Tech), Jeremy Maclin(Missouri),  Juice Williams(Illinois), Colt McCoy(Texas), Max Hall(BYU), and Percy Harvin(Florida), Pat White(WVU).

Posted on: August 31, 2008 3:36 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2008 11:25 pm
 

The Best Damn Poll in the Land after Week 1

I realize that some of the games haven't been played yet, but this would be my poll as of right now. I will change it up as the games on Sunday and Monday are played. I completely missed on Pitt and I really thought they'd be improved this season, but that's all right. Also the number in parenthesis are where I ranked the teams the previous week.

Georgia Bulldogs logo1. Georgia(1)-The Bulldogs are still #1 even though the score in the Georgia Southern game only shows them winning by 24. If you watched the game from start to finish you would've noticed that there was no chance that the Bulldogs would've lost, and they dominated the game. They had some injuries, and that's not looking good for Georgia in the upcoming weeks. Next Weel: Central Michigan.

Southern Cal. Trojans logo2. Southern California(3)-By far the most impressive team in week 1. Mark Sanchez showed that he was the real deal and the running game was excellent as well. Also transfer Damian Williams made an impact with 7 catches for 91 yards. The defense shut down Virginia and they look ready for Ohio State in two weeks. Next Week: Bye

Oklahoma Sooners logo3. Oklahoma(4)-The Sooners looked like the real deal playing Chattanooga in week 1. Even though Oklahoma won 57-2 the score could've been much worse if Stoops didn't pull the horses early. Sam Bradford looked solid in his debut of this season, and DeMarco Murray showed that he can take on the responsibility of having more carries this season. Next Week: Cincinnati

Ohio St. Buckeyes logo4. Ohio State(2)-Even though Ohio State crushed Youngstown State they drop a bit in my eyes because of other teams impressing me and the injury to Beanie Wells. If Beanie Well isn't healthy for the USC game I don't know if they can beat them. Pryor looked pretty good in his first college game. Next Week: Ohio

Florida Gators logo5. Florida(6)-The Gators also move up one spot after destroying Hawaii at home. The Gators started off extremely slow, but they were able to pick it up in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. The defense also looked very good in the first game of the season, but will they be able to keep it up against a much better opponent next week? Only time will tell. Next Week: Miami(FL)

LSU Tigers logo6. LSU(8)-Another team that really impressed me. I thought that the Tigers could have some troubles with the Appy State offense, but they were able to shut them down, and stop any talk that Armanti Edwards was going to be a Heisman Contendor this season. The running game looked really good and if they keep it up, it probably won't matter who plays quarterback. Next Week: Troy

Missouri Tigers logo7. Missouri(5)-The Tigers looked every bit as good as advertised against Illinois, but the defense struggled against an offense that I thought would take a step back. I really didn't think much of Juice Williams coming into the game, but he really impressed against a Missouri defense that many told me was going to be very good this season. I'm not so sure after that performance. Next Week: Southeast Missouri State

Auburn Tigers logo8. Auburn(6)-The Tigers didn't look that great on offense in week 1, but like usual the defense stepped up. The quarterbacks struggled with the new offense, but the Tigers were able to run the ball for over 300 yards. They won't be able to do that in the SEC, and they'll have to improve that when they have to play better teams late in the season. Next Week: Southern Miss

West Virginia Mountaineers logo9. West Virginia(9)-The offense of West Virginia looked really good again this season, but the defense struggled a bit with Villanova. If the Sheep Lovers want to win an NC this season they need for that defense to step up. Pat White looked better as a thrower and threw for 5 touchdowns. The running game looked explosive like usual even though they didn't run up the number like we usually see. The Mountaineers need to watch out for ECU next week on the road. Next Week: @ECU

Wisconsin Badgers logo10. Wisconsin(10)-Though the score of the Akron-Wisconsin game was only 21 points believe me the game was never in doubt. Akron was able to get a cheap field goal late in the half to cut the score to 7, but the Badgers responded by just running ball up their gut. The Badgers were without All American Travis Beckum, but they didn't need him as PJ Hill rushed for 210 yards and the team rushed for over 400 yards. The Badger did make a few mistakes on defense, but it looked a lot better and they were without a few of their key guys. Next Week: Marshall

Texas Longhorns logo11. Texas(11)-Many felt that the Longhorns would have some trouble with FAU, but they had no problem as the defense stepped up and Colt McCoy played like he did as a freshman. He was able to throw for 3 touchdowns and rush for over 100 yards in a spanking of FAU. The defense looked very good as well, but lets see how they do against teams in the Big XII before we say that this defense has turned itself around. Next Week: @UTEP

Oregon Ducks logo12. Oregon(15)-Many complained where I had Oregon in my preseason, but they didn't disappoint in week 1. The Ducks were able to shut down Jake Locker and the Washington offense, while the offense was able to put up 41. The question for Oregon is how severe is the injury to Justin Roper? Backup Jeremiah Masoli looked solid in relief as he threw 2 touchdowns. Jeremiah Johnson was able to break through the Washington defense for 124 yards. The rushing attack looks like it'll be fine as they rushed for 256 yards, and the offense looks like it'll be explosive again this season. Next Week: Utah State

Arizona St. Sun Devils logo13. Arizona State(16)-Even though it seems like Arizona State had some problem with Northern Arizona this was not the case. The Sun Devils were up 30-3 going into the 4th quarter, and Northern Arizona scored those points against the 2nd and 3rd string defenses. The only problem for Arizona State was that they weren't able to run the ball, but they weren't playing with Keegan Herring. Rudy Carpenter looked really sharp, and it looks like the Sun Devils will be able to challenge Georgia in a few weeks. Next Week: Stanford

Penn St. Nittany Lions logo14. Penn State(17)-The Nittany Lions looked superb on both sides of the ball as they were able to destroy Coastal Carolina in Happy Valley. Daryl Clark looked sharp in his first game as the PSU starter, and the running game was unstoppable. Lets see what PSU can do next week against an Oregon State team that will give PSU a much bigger challenge. Next Week: Oregon State

Alabama Crimson Tide logo15. Alabama(NR)-What can be said about Alabama Week 1? They looked like a legit top 25 team, and they were able to dominate the ACC favorite Clemson. The running game looked very good, and the defense was able to shut down one of the best offenses in the country. If they keep playing this way the Tide could find themselves in Atlanta in December. Next Week: Tulane

Texas Tech Red Raiders logo16. Texas Tech(13)-Even though Texas Tech was able to win by 25 points I moved them down a few spots in my poll. Why? The defense was supposed to be there this season for the Red Raiders, but the defense struggled a bit in Week 1 against a lower division team. The offense was spectacular like expected, but if the defense doesn't improve it looks like Texas Tech won't be able to contend for a BCS Berth. Next Week: @Nevada

Fresno St. Bulldogs logo17. Fresno State(20)-I originally had the Bulldogs at #19 this week, but after the way they played against Rutgers I had to put them a few spots higher. Rutgers may have dominated the fist half, but the score was still only 0-0 at halftime. In the 2nd half the Bulldogs jumped all over Rutgers and Ryan Matthews was able to put up an excellent game. The defense which was a huge question mark coming into this season was able to come up big. It'll be interesting to see them play against Wisconsin in two weeks. Next Week: Bye

 

BYU Cougars logo18. BYU(18)-Max Hall looked great against Northern Iowa in Week 1. He was able to tear apart Northern Iowa for 486 yards and a few touchdowns. The running game wasn't that great, but I expect Harvey Unga to pick it up over the next few weeks. The defense didn't look that great and Northern Iowa was able to produce 362 yards on them. That will have to improve if BYU wants to contend for a BCS Bowl. Next Week: @Washington

 

Kansas Jayhawks logo19. Kansas(22)-The Jayhawks looked pretty good last week, but like I've said before I think they will lose to USF in week 3. The offense wasn't as explosive as last year, but the defense looked just as good. With the way Louisiana Tech played last week the game against Kansas looks that just more interesting. Should be interesting. Next Week: Louisiana Tech

Cincinnati Bearcats logo20. Cincinnati(23)-The Bearcats looked very good this week. Dustin Grutza looked very good at quarterback and the running game looked really improved. The defense looked like last year. If Grutza plays as well as he did this week the Bearcats have a chance to knock off Oklahoma next week. Next Week: @Oklahoma

East Carolina Pirates logo21. ECU(NR)-The Pirates suprised many as they were able to beat Virginia Tech Week 1, and they were able to do it on special teams.  Patrick Pickney looked very good as a quarterback, and the running game looked solid as well. The defense was very good, and ECU should be able to give WVU a game at home. Next Week: West Virginia

South Florida Bulls logo22. USF(NR)-The Bulls looked very good against Tennessee Martin this week. Matt Grothe looked very solid in his debut of the season. The running game looked very good, and the defense looked excellent. The Bulls though better watch out for the game next week against UCF on the road. Next Week: @UCF

Wake Forest Demon Deacons logo23. Wake Forest(NR)-The Demon Deacons are my favorites to win the ACC after the way they looked in Week 1. Riley Skinner looked efficient at quarterback, and the defense was able to make life tough for Baylor. The running game did struggle a little bit, but Josh Adams is way too good of a running back to have that happen too often this season. Next Week: Ole Miss

Clemson Tigers logo24. Clemson(12)-This wasn't the way Clemson wanted to start the season. Alabama was able to dominate this game on both sides of the ball, and Clemson's NC hopes went down the drain. They still have a chance to win the ACC, and they need to pick themselves up after this. The next few weeks will show want kind of leadership Clemson has. Next Week: The Citadel

Illinois Fighting Illini logo25. Illinois(19)-Even though Illinois lost to Missouri they were impressive enough I decided to keep them in the my Top 25. Juice Williams looked great and has showed that how far he has come from last year. Daniel Dufrene looked solid in his debut, and Will Judson and Arrelious Benn made a lot of plays at receiver. Now the defense was a different story and really struggled against the spread offense of Missouri. They need to show improvements if they want to challenge in the Big Ten. Next Week: Eastern Illinois

On the Cusp: Virginia Tech(I expect them to be back in the top 25 soon),Utah, South Carolina, Cal, Michigan State

 Best Games of Week 2:

WVU @ ECU-Can the Pirates pull off a 2nd straight upset?

Cincinnati @ Oklahoma-The Sooners will get all they can handle from the Bearcats.

Miami(FL) @ Florida-This will show how far the Canes have come.

South Florida @ UCF-If the Bulls aren't careful they could be shocked.

Ole Miss @ Wake Forest-The Demon Deacons need to defend the honor of the ACC.

South Carolina @ Vandy-This game will show how good each team is.

BYU @ Washington-The first game against a Pac 10 team that BYU could lose.

Boston College @ Georgia Tech-The winner of this game will be vaulted into a possible contendor in the ACC.

 

I'm not going to do the Heisman Rankings yet because it is way to early to do that with only one game played.
Change that I will do some Heisman Rankings.

  1. Tim Tebow(Florida)-The defending Heisman Trophy Winner was solid in Week 1, but expect him to produce a lot more this season.
  2. Pat White(West Virginia)-White threw for 5 touchdowns against Villanova. Keep having games like this and watch out.
  3. Chase Daniel(Missouri)-Daniel was terrific leading the Tigers to a 52-42 win over the Illinois Illini. If he keeps playing like this he will be a candidate all year long.
  4. Chris 'Beanie' Wells(Ohio State)-Beanie had a pretty good first game. The injury might derail his Heisman Hopes.
  5. Graham Harrell(Texas Tech)-A really good first game. His defense might stop him from winning it though.

Others to Watch: PJ Hill(Wisconsin), Knowshon Moreno(Georgia), Sam Bradford(Oklahoma), Michael Crabtree(Texas Tech), Jeremy Maclin(Missouri), Todd Boeckman(Ohio State), Juice Williams(Illinois), Colt McCoy(Texas), Max Hall(BYU), and Percy Harvin(Florida)

Guys who's Heisman Hopes went down the Drain: Armanti Edwards(Appalachian State)-Any chance that he had at winning the Heisman were destroyed when LSU ate up Appy State and spit them out.

Player of the Week: PJ Hill-My guy from Wisconsin was able to go wild against Akron and had over 200 yards. The amazing thing is he was sharing carries with two other running backs.

Posted on: June 24, 2008 12:52 am
Edited on: July 14, 2008 12:54 am
 

Badgers Ballers Breakdown of College Football

I can't wait for College Football how about you?  

Here I'll breakdown a few things in College Football they are:

  • BCS Conference
  • Top 25
  • All American and All Conference Teams
  • Early Heisman Standings

Badgers Ballers 2nd Revised Top 25:

Georgia Bulldogs logo1. Georgia-The 'Dawgs ended the year in style in blowing out a Hawaii team that didn't deserve to play in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs look like they'll have a very potent offense in 08 led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno. Last year, Stafford struggled a bit in passing effiencincy, but expect an improvement this year. At running back expect Moreno to have around the same amount of carries he had late in the year because Georgia is expecting big things from freshman running back Caleb King. At the receiver position they return their leading receiver in Mohamed Massaquoi and their best tight end Tripp Chandler. The Georgia coaches though, are excited by the emergence of freshman receiver AJ Green, who was rated by many as the top high school receiver. The defense last year for Georgia was very strong, and expect an improvement this season. The Bulldogs had one of the best run defenses in the country last year and with the return of Geno Atkins and Kade Weston expect more of the same for Georgia. The strength of the Georgia defense should be the linebacker position. The linebackers are led by Dannell Ellerbe who had 93 tackles last year, but this unit has 2 other good linebackers. The secondary is led by conerback Asher Allen who was one of the top cover corners late in last year, and safety Reshad Jones. The biggest loss for the Bulldogs might be the loss of kicker Brandon Coutu. The thing that might be the only thing standing in the way of Georgia and a national championship is a very tough schedule. In non-conference the Bulldogs have to play @Arizona St., and in conference they play Tennessee, Florida, @Auburn, @LSU, and @South Carolina. If the Bulldogs can go through that schedule with only one loss they deserve a trip to the National Title Game.


 

Southern Cal. Trojans logo2. USC-The Trojans lose 10 players to the NFL Draft, yet they are once again fighting for a National Title and once again they are expected at worst to play in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans key to sucess is the play of their quarterback, Mark Sanchez. Last year, Sanchez got some valuable experience so it's not like he's never started a game. The running game should once again be very good, it'll be lead by Joe McKnight, Stefan Johnson and CJ Gable. The weak point of USC offensively is their receivers. All of their receivers were big time players coming out of high school, but so far they really haven't been able to live up to expectations. If they can finally do it, then USC will have one of the better offenses in the nation, and the receiving trio of Vidal Hazleton, Patrick Turner and David Ausberry could become one of the best in the nation. We know one thing for certain the defense of USC will be very good. The defense returns two All-American candidates at linebacker in Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga. The Trojans also return All American Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison to form one of the best safety duos in America. The cornerbacks of Cary Harris and Shareece Wright aren't too bad either. Though they do lose one of the best defensive tackles from last year USC should be fine up front. Fili Moala is expected to become the Trojans next dominant defensive tackle and don't be suprised if he's one of the first players taken in next April's draft. Everson Griffen is also expected to step up after having a really solid freshman season. The Trojans have a much more favorable schedule then UGA, and after the game with OSU all the tough conference games are at home. If the Trojans do beat Ohio State they should be in the National Title game.


 

Ohio St. Buckeyes logo3. Ohio St.-Last year was supposed to be a "Rebuilding" season for the Buckeyes, obviously a rebuilding year is to win the Big Ten Title and go to a National Championship game. The Buckeyes offense will run on the back of Chris "Beanie" Wells who had a great first season as the Buckeyes starting running back. This season Wells should be a major contendor for the Heisman. Todd Boeckman looked great over the first 9 games, but he really struggled with turnovers late last year. The key for him is to not make mistakes. The offensive line looks solid once again as it'll be lead by Alex Boone. The receiving core returns it's top 3 receivers in Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline and Ray Small. The defense should be very good for Ohio St with the return of nearly everybody from last years team. Though losing Vernon Gholsten will hurt, many of the OSU coaches think that his replacement Lawrence Wilson will be even better. Wilson was poised for a breakout year last year before getting hurt in the opener for OSU. The defense will have two top 10 picks on this team in James Laurinitas and Malcolm Jenkins so expect another succesful season from Ohio St on defense. OSU should be able to contend for a National Title. They do have to play @USC, but unlike USC many of their tougher games in the Big Ten are on the road as they have to travel to play Wisconsin and Illinois.


 

Oklahoma Sooners logo4. Oklahoma-Laughter roared across the nation as Oklahoma once again lost their bowl game and because of this Oklahoma is now known as Chokelahoma. Don't worry Sooners fans your team should contend for a Big 12 Title and possibly a National Title. The Sooners should be very good on offense, and it all starts up front with a very good offensive line. The line should give Sam Bradford plenty of time to throw and open up a lot of holes for the running backs to run. The running back situation is a bit of a mystery in, how are they going to divide the carries. The Sooners can go 4 deep at the running back position, but expect most of the carries to go to the experienced guys in Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray. Though losing Malcolm Kelley will hurt, the Sooners still return Joaquin Iglesias and one of the better tight ends in the country in Jermaine Gresham. The Sooners lose a lot of guys in the linebacking and defensive back cores, but the defense should still be good because of a dominant front 4. The front line is led by the two tackles in Gerald McCoy and DeMarcus Granger. If the secondary do as well as they did in practice, then the Sooners should be fine on defense. The Sooners have to play Texas, Kansas, Texas Tech and Cincinnati this season. The good thing all 4 of those games are at home.


 

Florida Gators logo5. Florida-Looking back it was simply amazing what Tim Tebow was able to do last season. He was able to carry the Gators last season to a 9 win season and along the way he became the first underclassman to win the Heisman. The Gators are going to go back to a two-quarterback system this season with Cam Newton coming in for Tim Tebow at times. The real key for the Gators to take the next step on offense is a legit running game. Chris Rainey looked really good in the Spring Game, but the Gators are hoping that Emmanuel Moody can become "the guy" at running back. One thing we know for sure the Gators are loaded at receiver. The Gators have one of the best receivers in Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy. The Gators also have two very good tight ends in Aaron Hernandez and  Cornelious Ingram. The defense though has to improve after struggling mightily last year. The Gators do return 8 starters so the defense should be better. The weakness of this defense is defending the pass. The Gators allowed over 250 yards through the air, and that is terrible for a team that wants to contend for a SEC Title. The best player on the defense should be linebacker Brandon Spikes who looks like a guy that could be an All American, but the real key is to stop the pass and the Gators are hoping that the strong recruiting class will help in that regard. The schedule doesn't look as difficult as Georgia's schedule, but their are certainly some tests on it. The Gators have to play @Tennessee, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina. The good thing is the toughest opponents are at home.


 

Missouri Tigers logo6. Missouri-Last year was one of the best seasons in Missouri football, yet they got screwed by the BCS Committee and they had to play an Arkansas team that they were much better then. The Missouri offense should be specatacular next season. The Tigers are led by Heisman Candidate Chase Daniel and by receiver Jeremy Maclin. Last year, Daniel transformed into one of the best quarterbacks in the country as he threw for 33 touchdowns opposed to only 11 interceptions. The biggest question mark for the Tigers on offense is the running game with the loss of Tony Temple. The Tigers are hoping that senior Jimmy Jackson can improve on his 330 yards rushing from last year and step up this season. Chase Daniel should have plenty of guys to throw to though. Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman both return giving Missouri one of the best receivers and tight ends in the country, respectively. The Tigers are hoping that Danario Alexander after being injured a lot last year and give the Tigers a 3rd target. Alexander had 400 yard receiving despite being hurt most of last year. The Tigers could become a National Title Contendor if their defense is able to improve. The defense last year, struggled at times, but they are expected to improve this year with the return of 10 starters. The Tigers were one of the best teams last year in forcing turnovers and if they can do this again the defense should be a lot better. The Tigers have one of the best secondaries and the Tigers are hoping that can help them against teams that like to spread people out like Illinois, @Texas and Kansas. Missouri had a great year last year, maybe they can have an encore of sorts.


 

West Virginia Mountaineers logo7. West Virginia-The Mountaineers had a tough stretch in December. First their National Title hopes were dashed by Pitt at home and then a few days later their coach Rich Rod left WVU for Michigan. It seemed like their bowl game had all the makings of a blowout, and it did with West Virginia completely blowing out Oklahoma. The 'Neers will be lead by Heisman quarterback candidate Pat White and by shifty running back Noel Devine who average 8 yards a carry last year. The Mountaineers lose their best receiver in Darius Reynaud and the fullback Owen Schmitt. The Mountaineers are hoping though that Dorrell Jalloh and Tito Gonzales are able to make up the production lost with Reynaud's departure. The offensive line though looks like it'll be really good with the return of 5 guys who have started at least one game. The defense should be taking a step back with the loss of their top defensive backs, and that's extremely bad for WVU considering that they play a 3-3-5 defense where they play 5 defensive backs at once. The Mountaineers return their linebackers so expect Reed Williams and Mortty Ivy to have big seasons. The Mountaineers also return Scooter Berry and Chris Nield who both contributed and should contribute this year as well. The key games on this season for WVU this season are Auburn, USF, Cincinnati, and @UConn.


 

Auburn Tigers logo8. Auburn-When Ryan Perrilloux got kicked off the LSU football team, it made the Auburn Tigers the favorite in the SEC West. I have realized that I ranked Auburn and LSU to low and have fixed it in my new top 25. The Tigers coaching staff believes that Kodi Burns will be able to lead the new spread, no huddle offense that will be run at Auburn this year under a new offensive coordinator. The Tigers have 4 very good running backs in Ben Tate, Brad Lester, Carl Stewart, and Mario Fannin. Fannin is the most versatile of the group and he is expected to line up a lot at the receiver position. The receiver position seems like it'll be the weak point of the offense. The Tigers do return though their top receiver in Rodgeriques Smith and their 2nd leading receiver Montez Billing, but the receiving core doesn't have that breakaway guy that a lot of offenses have, but the thing is that Auburn doesn't throw the ball a lot, and they probably won't this year with the strong group of running backs they have and a first year starter at quarterback. It appears though that Auburn will have one of the, if not the best defense in the SEC. The defensive line is led by tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and Antonio Coleman. The Tigers have one of the best linebackers in the SEC in Tray Blackmon, along with a good secondary led by Jerraud Powers and Aarion Savage. Auburn is the favorite in the SEC with one of the best defenses and with an offense that should be solid. The key games for Auburn are LSU, Tennessee, @West Virginia, Georgia and @Alabama.


 

LSU Tigers logo9. LSU-The Tigers may have lost Ryan Perrilloux, but they have enough talent returning on offense along with a defense that should be solid that LSU can contend for a SEC West Title. The Tigers big question in who'll be the new starting quarterback. Most likely it'll be freshman Jarrett Lee who is extremely talented. Lee won't be asked to win games for the Tigers, but will be asked to not make mistakes and to give the ball to the many playmakers the Tigers have on offense. The Tigers have 4 good running backs led by Keiland Williams who rushed for 480 yards last year as the Tigers backup. The other good running backs for the Tigers are speedster Trindon Holliday, Charles Scott and Richard Murphy. All of these guys showed a lot of promise last year, as backup for LSU. The Tiger also have a lot of good receivers on the outside. The best receivers are Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd, who both had over 600 yards receiving last season. The Tigers also return sophmore Terrance Toliver who showed a lot of promise last year as a freshman, and tight end Richard Dickson. The Tigers might've lost 6 starters off of last years great defense, but they should still have a good defense this season. The Tigers lose Glenn Dorsey and Ali Highsmith, yet they still have the best front 7 in the SEC. The Tigers have two good defensive ends in Tyson Jackson and Kirston Pittman, along with a very good defensive tackle in Ricky Jean-Francois. The Tigers best returnee on the linebacking core is Darry Beckwith, but the key for LSU's defense in 08 is to find two good cornerbacks. The leaders for those two jobs are Jai Eugene and Chris Hawkins, but they did struggle a bit in Spring Practice. What should help out the new cornerbacks though is the return of Chad Jackson and Harry Coleman. Coleman proved himself last year, when he was called on last year. The key games for LSU this season are @Auburn, @Florida, @South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.


 

Wisconsin Badgers logo10. Wisconsin-The Wisconsin Badgers had a somewhat disappointing season last year finishing 9-4. This season Wisconsin has bigger goals and they are hoping for a BCS Bowl appearence. The Badgers have one of the best group of running backs where they can go 4 deep. The best of the bunch is PJ Hill who has rushed for 1000+ yards in his first two years on campus. The Badgers lost their leaders at the receiving position with the graduation of Luke Swan and Paul Hubbard, but Wisconsin expects Kyle Jefferson to take the next step after having a very good freshman season. The Badgers do have two well established tight ends in All American Travis Beckum and Garrett Graham. The offensive line should good once again, with the return of 4 starters. The Badgers are hoping that the defense can return to the form of 2006 unit, last year the defense endured multiple injuries as they struggled mightily last season. The Badgers have some playmakers on defense led with Matt Shaugnessy, Jonathon Cassilas, DeAndre Levy and Allen Langford. The Badgers are hoping that Jay Valai can continue the play that he had late in last year, and help solidify a shakey safety unit. The Badgers big games in 2008 are @Fresno St, Ohio St, Penn St, Illinois and @Michigan St.


 

Texas Longhorns logo11. Texas-The Longhorns last year on defense were god-awful on defense, and they are hoping that the hiring of Will Muschamp will help improve the unit. On offense the Longhorns return quarterback Colt McCoy who last year took somewhat a step back from his freshman season, but expect him to have another good year this season. The Longhorns need to find a replacement for Jamaal Charles if they want this offense to be near what it was last season. The guy they think that can be their new running back is Vondrell McGee, who showed great flashes as a freshman. The Longhorns lose a lot of their weapons on the outside in Limas Sweed, Nate Jones and Jermichael Finley. The Longhorns though do have two receivers they can count on in Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby. The offensive line should improve as well this season. The defense is the key to the success in 2008. The Longhorns pass defense was a joke last season, but it should improve with the return of many of their key players this season. Muschamp believes the key to the teams success is to get pressure on the quarterback more. Brian Orakpo is the star of the defense, and Muschamp is hoping that he can lead a defensive line that will be able to get pressure on the quarterback. Muschamp has also experimented with a 4-2-5 defense to help their weakness at defensive back. The key games for Texas are Oklahoma, Missouri, @Texas Tech, @Kansas, and Texas A&M.


 

Clemson Tigers logo12. Clemson-Will this be the year that Clemson finally doesn't choke and where they can finish the year on top of the ACC. They should, but as of right now we aren't sure if they will. Clemson returns a lot of good skilled players at the skill positions in 08. The Tigers will be lead by Cullen Harper who had an extremely good first year as starter of the Tigers. They also return their top 2 running backs in CJ Spiller and James Davis and then they add a Prep All American in Jamie Harper.The Tigers also return their top receiver in Aaron Kelley at receiver and their 2nd leading receiver in Tyler Grisham. The Tigers weakness is their offensive line where they only return one starter. They need to have a good offensive line to give Harper time and to open up holes for Spiller and Davis. The defense also appears to have one weak point just like the offense and that is the linebackers. They lose Nick Watkins and Termaine Billie from the linebacking core, and defensive end Phillip Merling. The Tigers do return all 4 starters in the defensive back core, hopefully for the Tigers sake they find a good group of linebackers because for the past couple of year, the linebackers have been leaders on the team. The key games for Clemson on the schedule are Alabama, @Wake Forest, @Florida St, @Boston College and South Carolina.


 

Virginia Tech Hokies logo13. Virginia Tech-The Hokies might've lost most of their players from last year's ACC Championship team, but the Hokies still play in the worst BCS Conference and they have one of the best coaches in America in Frank Beamer. The Hokies though do have two experienced quarterbacks in Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon, and as of right now we don't know who'll be the starter. My guess is that it'll be Sean Glennon, who played very well late in last year and has more experience of Glennon. Though the Hokies did lose starting running back Brandon Ore, expect the Hokies to still have a very good running game with the return of 4 out of 5 starters on the offensive line, along with not having great experience at receiver. The Hokies don't have a lot returning player on offense, but with a solid quarterback and a good offensive line, expect the Hokies to at least be able to move the ball, and score some points. The Hokies lose a lot of talent on defense as well, but expect Frank Beamer to replace the defense again and put together a defense that can make big plays and force a lot of turnovers. The Hokies are hoping that seniors Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdiviant will be able to step in at linebacker, these guys at least bring experience with both of them being seniors. Up front the Hokies have All ACC Performer Orion Martin and Jason Worlids returning up front. The secondary looks like it'll be solid as well with the return of Macho Harris and safety Kam Chancellor. The key games for the Hokies this year are @Nebraska, @Florida St, @Boston College,@Miami(FL) and Virginia.


 

Texas Tech Red Raiders logo14. Texas Tech-Is this the year that the Texas Tech Red Raiders are able to break through and finally go to a BCS Bowl game? They finally have the chance with one of the best offenses returning in the country and this year they finally return a solid defense as well. The Tech offense will be lead by Graham Harrell who is in his 3rd year as the starting quarterback, he's one of the best quarterbacks in the country and is a legit Heisman Candidate. The Red Raiders also have a Heisman Candidate at receiver as well in the form of Michael Crabtree, who had one of the best freshman seasons in recent memory. The Red Raiders though do lose 1000 yard reciever Danny Amemdola, but Texas Tech does return two receivers that last year had over 600 yards receiving in Edward Britton and Eric Morris, they should offset the loss of losing Amemdola. The Red Raiders should have a decent running game led by Shannon Woods, but Texas Tech likes to air it out, and the running back is more important in helping in the receiving game. The defense looks to be very solid this year, and it's the main reason why people think Texas Tech could make a BCS Bowl this season. The key for the defense this season is to be able to stop the run. The Raiders were one of the best against stopping the pass, which was definantly helped by having to go against Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell everyday in practice. If the Red Raiders can at least find a way to at least limit the run, the Red Raiders should be able to challange Oklahoma in the Big 12 South. The key games for Texas Tech this season are @Texas A&M, @Kansas, @Oklahoma and Texas.


Oregon Ducks logo15. Oregon-I probably have Oregon higher then most people do and that's okay with me. I really feel that Oregon will have a solid football team this year despite losing Dennis Dixon and Jonathon Stewart. I really think whoever replaces Dixon will be fine. Chip Kelley is one of the best offensive coordinators in the country, and whoever he picks will become a very good quarterback in time. The odds on favorite right now has to be Justin Roper who looked great against USF in the Sun Bowl and has looked good in Spring Ball. The other guy that I think will contend in Nate Costa who is currently recovering from an injury to his leg, but when he does become healthy Justin Roper needs to watch out because Costa will challange him. The running game could be better this season even without Jonathon Stewart. LaGarette Blount and Jeremiah Johnson apprear like they'll make a great one-two punch of Oregon this seaon, and there is great depth behind them too, led by Andre Crenshaw. Oregon has a pretty good receiver in Jaison Williams who had over 800 yards receiving last year and they return a very good tight end in Ed Dickson. The problem though is that Oregon doesn't have much depth behind Williams with the loss of their #2 and #3 receivers Cameron Colvin and Garren Strong. The Ducks are hoping that Derrick Jones can have a breakout junior year after having a solid sophmore season. The defense for Oregon this season should be much improved. They have one of the best defensive backs in the country in rover Patrick Chung. They also have a very good corner in Jarius Byrd along with a safety that impressed many in Spring Ball in TJ Ward. The key games for Oregon this season are @Purdue, @USC, @Arizona St, @Cal and @Oregon State. The Duck have some tough games on the road, but I think they should be able to overcome it.


 

Penn St. Nittany Lions logo16. Penn St.-This was a rough offseason for Penn State, as they struggled with a lot of the off the field issues.  I think PSU is more talented then this ranking, but I can't rank them higher with all the problems happening off the field. I expect Daryll Clark to be their starting quarterback this season, he should be better then Anthony Morelli was last season. Morelli struggled as he was inconsistant, and many PSU fans blame him for most of last seasons struggles. The Nittany Lions have a solid running duo in Evan Royster who was solid last season and freshman Stephen Green who impressed many at the Spring Game. The Nittany Lions should have a solid offensive line led by center AQ Shipley. The Lions also have a very good trio of receivers in Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood. The offense will be better, but their are offenses in the Big Ten that are a better especially Wisconsin and Ohio St. The defense looks like it'll be very good again despite the loss of All American Sean Lee. PSU has a future top 10 pick at defensive end in Maurice Evans, and they have anothe good defensive end in Josh Gaines. Penn St has some very good backup linebackers so I think they should be able to at least find someone to do at least a decent job in replacing Lee. PSU has some solid defensive backs as well. Safety Anthony Scirrotto is the best of them, but they do have some other good defensive backs. AJ Wallace should be fine as a starting defensive back, but can Lydell Sargeant be a good #1 cornerback and shut down good receivers like Brian Robiskie, Rejus Benn or Kyle Jefferson. The key games for Penn St this season are Oregon St, Ilinois, Michigan, @Wisconsin, @Ohio St, and Michigan St.


 

Arizona St. Sun Devils logo17. Arizona St-Last year Arizona St. was a suprise in the Pac 10 winning the conference, but was Arizona St. really the 2nd or best team in the Pac 10? The answer is no, they had a favorable schedule and whenever they played a legit team they got destroyed. This season Arizona St. should be a better team with the return of many of their key players, but it might not show in the polls because of the tough schedule they have.The Sun Devils had a ton of trouble protecting the quarterback so Dennis Erickson is changing schemes this season to more a spread look with a lot 4 and 5 wide sets. The Sun Devils have a pretty good quarterback in Rudy Carpenter who had a good first year in Erickson's system despite being thrown to the ground 4 to 5 times a game. The Sun Devils should have a solid running game led by Keegan Herring and Dimitri Nance. They also have some good wide receivers in Chris McGaha, Michael Jones and Kyle Williams, but like I said before the real key to this offense is the offensive line, which should be worse then last year with the graduation of 4 starters. It could be an interesting season for Arizona St on the offensive side of the ball this season. On defense Erickson is planning for his team to be in attack mode. The Sun Devils return two very good defensive ends in Dexter Davis and Luis Vasquez. The big reason that Arizona St wants to blitz a lot this season is because of the good secondary they have in Omar Bolden and safety Troy Nolan. The key games for Arizona St. this year are Georgia, @USC, Oregon, @Oregon State and UCLA.


 

BYU Cougars logo18. BYU-The BYU Cougars seem like the team that is best equipped mid-major in going to a BCS Bowl. The Cougars have a very good offense led by quarterback Max Hall who threw for 26 touchdowns last year opposed to only 12 interceptions. The Cougars also return a very good rushing attack led by sophmore Harvey Unga who rushed for 1200 yards last season. They also return Manase Tonga who rushed for 8 touchdowns last season. The Cougars also return 5 of their top 6 receiving targets from last year. The best of the bunch is Austin Collie who had over 900 yards receiving last season. The Cougars also return tight end Dennis Pitta who had 800 yards receiving last season, along with their #2 receiver Michael Reed. Obvisouly, they won't have any trouble scoring on anybody, but they could have some trouble stopping opposing offenses with the return of only 3 starters on defense. The major question marks on defense are in the linebacking core and the secondary. In the secondary the Cougars are losing all 4 starters, and it appears they could have some major trouble against teams with a good passing attack. The linebacking core doesn't have as many problems as the secondary does, but it's not like their returning all 3 starters. Bronco Mendenhall is confident they he'll be able to replace the linebackers, and expects a big year from David Nixon. I'm not as confident as Mendenhall is, but time will tell. If BYU can get a consistant defense they have a shot to go to a BCS Bowl game, if not they should still be able to win the MWC. The key games for BYU this season are @Washington, UCLA, @TCU, @Utah and @Air Force.


 

Tennessee Volunteers logo19. Tennessee-I realized that I overranked Tennessee in my first preseason rankings. Tennessee should have a fairly good team this season, but I don't think they can compete with Florida and Georgia in the rough SEC East.  The Vols are breaking in a new quarterback in Jonathon Crompton, but he has some good players around him that it shouldn't be a rough transition. Tennessee returns a pretty good running back in Arian Foster who rushed for over 1000 yards last season. The Vols also return much of their offensive line that was one of the best last year allowing only 4 sacks. The Volounteers also have a very good receiving in Lucas Taylor, and they return their 2nd and 3rd receivers in Austin Rodgers and Josh Briscoe. Expect Gerald Jones to become a bigger part of the offense this season in the receiving game, but also as a quarterback in a formation they are calling the G-Gun. The other major loss on offense was the loss of coordinator David Cutcliffe. The defense struggled a bit in 08, but they should be better this year, especially in the secondary. The best player in the secondary is sophmore Eric Berry, who should be able to challange for a spot on the All American team. The Vols in turn return 6 guys that have had experience starting in the secondary, so they shouldn't have trouble stopping the pass, but they do have some problems up front. The Vols have some good starters up front, but they have absoloutly no depth at those positions so if one gets injured the Vols could be screwed. The Vols also have to replace 1st round pick Jerod Mayo, if they can, and they have no injuries up front Tennessee should have a very good defense. The key games for Tennessee this year are @UCLA, Florida, @Auburn, @Georgia, Alabama and @South Carolina.


Illinois Fighting Illini logo20. Illinois-Last season Illinois went from the cellar to the top of the Big Ten, which included a win over Ohio St. They then went to the Rose Bowl and were able to upset USC. Wait, they actually didn't. I'm a Big Ten fan, but Illinois didn't deserve a BCS bid last year. Yes, they were better then other BCS Contendors like Arizona St, and BC, but they certainly weren't one of the 10 best teams in the country. This season Illinois should be good once again, but they certainly won't have the season they had last season, with the Big Ten being much better and Illinois not being as good. The Illini do return an experienced quarterback in Juice Williams who had an up and down year. He looked great against Ohio St, but also looked terrible against Iowa. This season he needs to step up, especially with the loss of running back Rashard Mendenhall. The Ilini are hoping that Daniel Dufrene can at least give the Illini a respectable running game, but don't expect him to be able to replace the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. The Illini are hoping that Arrelious(Rejus) Benn can take the next step in his sophmore year and become an All Big Ten Performer. Jeff Cumberland should be able to produce as a receiver as well. The defense should take a step back this season, but the defense should still be solid. The Illini have a future star at defensive end in Martez Wilson, but even though this years Illinois defense is more athletic and more talented they are less experienced so there could be some major growing pains. The Illini do also lose All America and defensive leader J Lemen. He won't be able to be replaced and the Illini can't replace his production. The Illini do though have a very cornerback in Vontae Davis. The key games for Illinois this season are Missouri, @Penn State, @Wisconsin, and Ohio St.


 

Fresno St. Bulldogs logo21. Fresno St.-If Fresno St goes to a BCS Bowl game they earned it. The Bulldogs have put together a tough non-conference slate, and they'll be hard pressed to go undefeated this season. The Bulldogs will be lead by Tom Branstater who had a solid season last year at quarterback. The Bulldogs have a solid running game led by Ryan Mathews and Clifton Smith. The Bulldogs also have some really good receivers. The best targets are receiver Marlon Smith and tight end Bear Priscoe. The Bulldogs should have a very good offense this season, but the real question mark is the defense. The Bulldogs lost their best players on defense. Those guys are Marcus Riley and Tyler Clutts. If Fresno St wants to have a decent defense they need someone to step up and take a leadership role, the guys is likely safety Moses Harris. The Bulldogs really don't have the greatest defensive players returning, but if they want that BCS Bowl appearence they are going to need their defense to step up, I don't think they can do that, but I still think that Fresno State should be good enough to win the WAC. The key games for Fresno State are @Rutgers, Wisconsin, @UCLA, and @Boise St.


 

Kansas Jayhawks logo22. Kansas-Kansas was able to go 12-1 last season and win the Orange Bowl. They are returning 16 starters so they should be the favorite for the Big 12 Title, right? The answer is no. Kansas played a super easy schedule, played the BCS System and had to play an up and down team from the worst BCS Conference. I'm going to give them credit, but I just don't think they can repear that this season. The Jayhawks return quarterback Todd Reesing who had a brilliant sophmore season, he'll have a harder time with a tougher schedule. The Jayhawks also lost 1000 yard back Brandon McAnderson, so their hoping that 800 yard back Jake Sharp will be able to become the featured back, but that won't likely happen so they'll continue to use a two back system with the 2nd back this season being Angus Quigley. The receiving core seems to be very good this season with the return Dexton Fields,  Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier. The defense should be good again, but they won't be as good statisitically as they were last season. The Jayhawks lose their best defense player in Aqib Talib, and they'll be hard pressed to find a replacement.  The interior line will have some problems, but they do return two good defensive ends in John Larson and Russel Brorson. The Jayhawks also return their starting linebackers, along with some of their defensive backs. The most important games for Kansas this season are @USF, @Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas and @Missouri.


 

Pittsburgh Panthers logo23. Pitt-Pitt last season was going through a rough season before they were able to rebound and upset WVU in Morgantown. This season Pitt seems like the best equipped team to challange WVU for the Big East Title. The Pitt offense is built around a monster of a running back in LeSean McCoy. The quarterback situation seems to have been solved as the Panthers new quarterback will be Bill Stull who started the season at quarterback before getting injured. The Panthers also have great depth at receiver with Derek Kinder, Oderick Turner and Maurice Williams. The offense this season should be a lot better for Pitt. The defense last year was very good and they showed it off when they were able to shut down WVU and Pat White. Like the offense Pitt's defense revolves around one player, and that one player is Scott McKillop. The Panthers also return two good defensive tackles in Mick Williams and Rashaad Duncan. They also have a pretty solid end in Greg Romeus. The Panthers are expecting that safeties Dom DeCicco and Elijah Fields to improve and hopefully help improve the Pitt secondary. The key games for Pitt this season are @USF, @Cincinnati, @Notre Dame, West Virginia and @UConn.


 

Michigan St. Spartans logo24. Michigan St.-Mark Dantonio had a great first season at Michigan St. leading them to a 7-5 record, but it could've been so much better if MSU could've won some of the close games they had. Michigan should have a very good offense led by All American Candidate Javon Ringer, along with quarterback Brian Hoyer. Michigan St. also returns more of their offensive line from last season, so they should be able to protect Brian Hoyer and open holes for Javon Ringer. The Spartans lost a great receivier when Devin Thomas entered the NFL Draft, but they still have some decent receiviers. Mark Dell and BJ Cunningham don't have the game changing ability of Thomas or the experience, but they should be able to put up solid numbers. The Spartans are hoping that their defense can be better then it was in 08. The Spartans lose Jonal Saint-Dic(the sack master), Ervin Baldwin and Kaleb Thornhill from a solid defense, but expect the defense to improve this year. Dantonio is a defensive coach and with some good pieces returning the defense should improve. Michigan St. has a very good linebacker returning in Greg Jones, along with two good defensive backs in Otis Wiley and Kendell Davis-Clark. If the Michigan State Spartans can find some replacements on the defensive line the defense should be better in 08. The important games for Michigan Starte in 08 are @Cal, @Michigan, Ohio St., Wisconsin and @Penn St.


 Cincinnati Bearcats logo25. Cincinnati-The Bearcats had a breakout season last year finishing the season 10-3 and ending the year in the top 25. This season Cincinnati has a chance to repeat that success and they appear to be a darkhorse to win the Big East. The key for the Cincinnati offense this year is to replace quarterback Matt Mauck. The two candidates are senior Dustin Grutza and Notre Dame transfer Demetrius Jones. The Bearcats lose there top two running backs in Butler Benton and Greg Moore so they'll have to lean on the pass even more this year, and considering that there top rusher last season only rushed for 499 yards they'll have to throw the ball a lot. The defense should be very good as well. The defense will be lead by defensive tackle Terril Byrd who had 8 sacks. The Bearcats also have one of the best cornerbacks duos in Mike Mickens and DeAngelo Smith. The key for the Bearcats defense though is to once again force many turnovers like they did the previous season. The key games for Cincinnati the year is @Oklahoma, Rutgers, USF, @UConn, @WVU and @Pitt.


 

Other Teams to watch: Alabama(SEC) USF(Big East), South Carolina(SEC), Boise St.(WAC), Wake Forest(ACC)

All American Team:
Offense:
QB:
Tim Tebow Jr. Florida
RB: Chris Wells Jr. Ohio State
RB: Knowshon Moreno So. Georgia
OL: Duke Robinson Sr. Oklahoma
OL: Michael Oher Sr. Ole Miss
OL: Alex Mack Sr. Cal
OL: Andre Smith Jr. Alabama
OL: Ryan Stancheck Sr. West Virginia
TE: Travis Beckum Sr. Wisconsin
WR: Percy Harvin Jr. Florida
WR: Michael Crabtree So. Texas Tech

Defense:
DL:
Maurice Evans Jr. Penn State
DL: Gerald McCoy So.  Oklahoma
DL: Filli Moala Sr. USC
DL: George Selvie Jr. USF
LB: Brian Cushing Sr. USC
LB: Rey Maualuga Sr. USC
LB: James Laurinaitis Sr. Ohio State
CB: Malcolm Jenkins Sr. Ohio State
CB: Vontae Davis Jr. Illinois
S: Patrick Chung Sr. Oregon
S: Taylor Mays Jr. USC

Special Teams:
K:
Thomas Weber So. Arizona State
P: Kevin Huber Sr. Cincinnati

ACC:

The ACC is the worst BCS conference by far, they haven't won a BCS Bowl since '99 when FSU won the National Title, the ACC has a few decent teams, but they have no national title contendors, and they should only have one BCS Bowl this year. Even last year when the ACC was essentially handed a BCS win against Kansas they couldn't come out with a win. Pathetic. Going into this year Clemson and Virginia Tech have to be the two favorite. Clemson over the past few years have regularly chocked away a few games, while Virginia Tech has been the only consistant team in the conference.

                             ACC Atlantic Division:

Clemson Tigers logo1. Clemson-If Clemson can't win the ACC this year, I really don't think they ever will. The Tigers return an experienced quarterback, 2 experienced running backs and a 1,000 yard reciever just on offense. They also return a very experienced defense. The Clemson Tigers defense should be pretty good as well, they return most of the players from a pretty good defense from a year ago so expect Clemson to not only have a good offense, but a good defense as well.  Looking at their schedule their toughest games appear to be vs Alabama in Atlanta, @Wake Forest, @Virginia and @Florida State.


 

Wake Forest Demon Deacons logo2. Wake Forest-Wake Forest should have a really good defense this year with 9 starters returning. If Wake Forest wants to make a run at the ACC Title they will need to be able to score a lot of non-offensive touchdowns because their offense shouldn't be as good as it has the past few years. The Deacons lose their most dangerous player in reciever Kenneth Moore who had 94 catches last season, how much he meant to the Wake Forest recieving offense? The 2nd leading reciever had under 200 yards recieving. The Deacons though return their leading rusher in Josh Adams from a year ago. They also return junior Riley Skinner, who last year was extremely inconsistant throwing for 12 touchdowns, but for 13 interceptions. Wake Forest doesn't have the type of favorable schedule that Florida State has, they have to travel to both Florida State and Miami(Fl) and they get Virginia and Clemson at home. Consider the Deacons a darkhorse in the ACC.


 

Florida St. Seminoles logo3. Florida State-No matter who the quarteback is for Florida State expect great improvement in Year 2 of Jimbo Fisher as the Offensive Coordinator. The 'Noles return a pretty good running back in Antone Smith and two experienced recievers in Greg Carr and Preston Parker. The key for FSU will be the quarterback play and we will see if Drew Weatherford can give the Seminoles from decent quarterback play. The Seminoles should improve defensively with many of their young players improving from last year. Losing Geno Hayes will hurt, but expect freshman Nigel Bradham to make an impact this year, along with a  very good freshman recruiting class. FSU has a favorable schedule this year with Clemson, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Florida all coming to Tallahassee this year. The key is to try to escape the first 3 games where many of Florida State's key players will be suspended. During that time the only game that poses a threat is the Wake Forest game. Expect some improvement this year from FSU.


  

Boston College Eagles logo4. Boston College-What a magical season for BC last year, they were able to win 11 games, win the ACC Atlantic Division and then win their bowl game! Expect this season to be a lot tougher. The key for BC is obviously trying to find a replacement for Matt Ryan who had a terrific season last year. The other key for BC is trying to find a good running back with Boston College's top 2 running back's graduating, and it appears that early enroller Josh Haden has the best shot. The quarterback situation is a lot less clear with 4 guys competing, but it appears last year's backup Chris Crane has the edge going into the Spring Game. The defense should be good once again with many of the players from last year's team returning. Overall, the Eagles should obviously take a step back from last year, but they do return enough key players that they should go bowling once again, and it helps that Clemson and Virginia Tech are both coming to Chestnut Hill. 


 

 

Maryland Terrapins logo5. Maryland-The Maryland Terps last year were able to go to a bowl and play competive against a top 25 Oregon State team, The Terps return quarterback Chris Turner and top reciever Darius Heyword-Bay. The problem offensively for the Terrapins will be to find a running game. If Maryland can find a running game to replace the losses of Lattimore and Ball the Maryland offense should be very explosive next season. The defense's hopes could have been sealed when do everything linebacker Erin Henderson decided to leave Maryland. Henderson meant so much to Maryland last season, and they'll need guys to step up big time if they want to be able to overcome the loss of him. The defense was a bit above average last season, but I don't think it can improve much with Henderson in the NFL. Overall, Maryland should be a better team then last year, but the problem is they really don't have any breaks in their schedule. Cal a team that struggled at the end of last year is the top team in Maryland's schedule, the good thing is that Cal has to travel to College Park. In ACC Play the Terrapins have to play at Clemson, at Virginia and then Wake Forest at home in succesive weeks, and then travel to Virginia Tech, play Florida State at home and end the year on the road at BC. This schedule is not easy even for an ACC team.


 

N. Carolina St. Wolfpack logo6. NC State-Tom O'Brien improved the Wolfpack drastically in his first year as NC State's head coach last season. The Wolfpack should have a solid backfield with Toney Baker and Jamelle Eugene both returning. The real question for NC State though is who is going to be their starting quarterback? Do the Wolfpack go with returning starter Daniel Evans or do the possibly go with 5 star quarterback prospect Mike Glennon. This question certainly won't be answered in the spring and the Wolfpack will have to address this situation before their first game against South Carolina. The Wolfpack were pretty bad offensively and will need some drastic improvements. Defensively it doesn't look much better the Wolfpack gave up 28 points a game last year, and I really don't see anyways for this team to improve enough to make a run at a conference title, they only real way the could go to the Title Game is to buy tickets. Even though right now the future doesn't look great, the future does look bright for the Wolfpack, Tom O'Brien will be able to rebuild this program and within a few years the Wolfpack will be going to bowls again. The amazing thing is that even though their offense and defense both weren't great they were able to still win 5 games and 3 games in conference, which is a good sign. This year the Wolfpack start off with a tough road trip to South Carolina, the non-conference shedule doesn't get much easier with home games against East Carolina and South Florida. In conference play they got a lot of breaks and the only team that they have to play on the road that it's in the upper half of the conference in Clemson, if NC State can get through the tough early season schedule they could possibly get 6 wins.


 

                             ACC Coastal Division:

Virginia Tech Hokies logo1. Virginia Tech-What a tough position Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech were put into last year when 32 students were killed at Virginia Tech last April. This was obviously tough for the Hokies as they got off to a bad start getting blown out by LSU on the road 48-7 before rallying to win the ACC Title and to go on to the Orange. Although they lost to a Kansas team that definantly shouldn't have been there, the football team made Virginia Tech proud. Offensively, Virginia Tech will take a step back next year with many of their top skilled position players graduating. The good thing for Virginia Tech is that they have two experienced quarterbacks in Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor and they should to be able to manage this offense and to make some plays when they are needed to. What we can expect from a Frank Beamer team is that they will have a good defense. The defense will be able to force turnovers, force a lot of 3 outs, score points, and to help their offense to get good field position. The team should be able to have a shot at an ACC Title, but they have some tough games. In non-conference play the Hokies play at East Carolina and at Nebraska. They also have a tough stretch in the middle of the ACC season when the travel to Florida State and BC.


 

Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes logo2. Miami-This could look very dumb if the 'Canes struggle again this year. The Hurricanes return two experienced running backs in Graig Cooper and Javarris James return. The Hurricanes have a few guys fighting for the starting quarterback in Robert Marve, Jacory Harris and Cannon Smith. They return little experienced recievers, but they return Sam Shields who had a solid sophmore year last year. Defensively the Hurricanes bring in a lot of young talent in, led by linebackers Arthur Brown and Sean Spence. They also bring in big time prospects Marcus Forsten, Brandon Harris and Ramon Buchanon. The team has a tough non-conference schedule having to play on the road against Texas A&M and Florida, but they get a ton of breaks in the conference play with their road games being NC State, Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia. They also avoid Clemson on the schedule. Overall, Miami could get out to a tough start, but I really feel that this young talent will have matured by conference play starts and with a favorable schedule they'll be able to finish in the upper part of the Coastal Division.


 

Virginia Cavaliers logo3. Virginia-Virginia got off to a terrible start last year starting off by getting dominated by Wyoming, but after that Virginia was able to rebound and go to a January 1st bowl and was able to win 9 games. From that team Virginia loses a lot on defense with the headline loss being top 5 pick Chris Long. They lose Jameel Sowell this year, who currently isn't in school because of academic issues, expect Peter Lethel to start at quarterback. They return running backs Cedric Peerman and Mikell Simpson, giving the Cavs a legit running game. The Cavs also lose their top 2 recievers so expect this to be somewhat of an rebuilding year for Virginia, but this team should be able to still go to a bowl game.


 

North Carolina Tar Heels logo4. North Carolina-People all around College Football consider UNC to be a sleeping giant. Many believe that when UNC will be able to get a good coach, they will be able to challange for BCS Bowls. The Tar Heels will have a 3 man quarterback battle between TJ Yates, Mike Paulus and Cam Sexton, but expect TJ Yates to be the starter. On the outside he has Hakeem Nicks to continue to blossom into an excellent reciever. The running game situation will improve this year with the return of sophmore running backs Johnny White and Anthony Elzy. The defense should improve as well, but really watch out for Marvin Williams to have a breakout year, after he had a very good freshman year. The schedule will get easier this year with the road games being Miami, Duke, Maryland and Virginia, but they do have to travel to Rutgers in non-conference play. This UNC team is talented, but inexperienced, this team could possibly make a run at a bowl game.


 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets logo5. Georgia Tech-Georgia Tech is going to be running a completely new system with Paul Johnson as coach. With Taylor Bennett transferring, the Ramblin' Wreck have two quarterbacks battling to be their starting quarterback and that is true freshman Josh Nesbitt and Auburn transfer Calvin Booker. Expect a lot of guys to have around 500 yards rushing next year, since that's what Paul Johnson wants. Expect John Dwyer though, to be the leading rusher next year. The Yellow Jackets lost James Johnson who decided not to play his senior year of football, leaviing little experience for Georgia Tech in their recievers, but it's not a huge deal with Georgia Tech expected to be running the ball 75-80% of the time. The defense will also be taking a different look next year with Jon Tenuta leaving, as Defensive Coordinator. Georgia Tech were known as a blitzing defense under Tenuta, and it'll be interesting what they watch under their new Defensive Coordinator. This year will be a down year for Georgia Tech, expect the bowl streak to end this year.


Duke Blue Devils logo6. Duke-With David Cutcliffe on board as the new coach expect some improvement from the Duke Blue Devils. Let's start at the quarterback position where the Devils have a pretty good quarterback in Thaddeus Lewis, who last year threw for 21 touchdowns against only 10 interceptions, despite playing on a 1-10 football team. The running game was pretty bad last year, but expect improvement with lead rusher Re'quan Boyette returning for his senior year. Young's top target last year was Eron Riley, and he returns for his senior year after having a very solid junior year having 800 yards recieving. The defense was pretty good last year, but expect improvement. Duke should be better then last year, they will still not make a bowl game, but they should have a chance to get an ACC win and possibly to have 4 wins this year. This season really depends on the play of their defense.

 




All ACC Team:

 

Offense QB: Cullen Harper Sr. Clemson RB: James Davis Sr. Clemson
RB: Josh Adams So. Wake Forest
OL: Edwin Williams Sr. Maryland
OL: Jason Fox Sr. Miami
OL: Rodney Hudson So. Florida State
OL: Sergio Render Jr. Virginia Tech
OL: Andrew Gardner Sr. Georgia Tech
TE: Ryan Purvis Sr. Boston College
WR: Hakeem Nicks So. North Carolina WR: Aaron Kelly Sr. Clemson   Defense: DL: Ricky Sapp Jr. Clemson DL: Vance Walker Sr. Georgia Tech DL: Michael Johnson Sr. Georgia Tech DL: Ron Brace Sr. Boston College LB: Derek Nicholson Sr. Florida State LB: Aaron Curry Sr. Wake Forest LB: Colin McCarthy Jr. Miami CB: Victor Harris Sr. Virginia Tech CB: Alphonso Smith Sr. Wake Forest S: Myron Rolle Jr. Florida State S: Michael Hamlin Sr. Clemson   Special Teams: K: Sam Swank Sr. Wake Forest
P: Graham Gano Sr. Florida State

Big East:

The past few years Rich Rodriguez and WVU has dominated the Big East. Now Rich Rod is gone to Michigan, but WVU still has Pat White and I really think that'll be enough for WVU to continue there success in the conference.

West Virginia Mountaineers logo1. West Virginia-This pick is just based on the fact that West Virginia still has Pat White one of the 5 best quarterbacks in the country. The Mountaineers do lose though their 2nd leading rusher in Steve Slaton and leading reciever in Darius Reynaud. I think that Noel Devine should be able to replace Steve Slaton, and we all saw what Devine could do when he was given the ball 20-30 times in the Fiesta Bowl. Reynaud will be more difficult to replace, and the new #1 reciever is expected to be Dorrell Jollah, while the new #2 reciever is expected to be Tito Gonzales. The defense is expected to take a step back with only 4 returning starters on the defensive side of the ball. Though the defense should take a step back this season, expect Pat White and Noel Devine to be able to carry West Virginia to another Big East Title. The biggest conference game on the schedule is the road game against Pitt, while the headliner in the non-conference is a home game against Auburn.


 

Pittsburgh Panthers logo2. Pitt-The first 11 games for Pitt were pretty bad as they went 4-7 and during those games they suffered numerous injuries. Then the entire outlook changed for this season, on the last game of the regular season when Pitt went up against West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl in Morgatown, West Virginia. In this game many felt that Pat White and Steve Slaton should be able to just run right over Pitt, but that didn't happen West Virginia put up their lowest point total all year, struggled all night and lost their chance at a National Title with a 13-9 loss. The strength of the Pitt offense will surely be the running game led by LeSean McCoy who last year as a freshman ran for 1300 yards. The Pitt Panthers also return their top 2 recievers in Oderick Turner and TJ Porter. The key for the Pitt offense is who'll be the quarterback, it appears to be a two man battle between Pat Bostick and Bill Stull, with Bill Stull having the advantage right now. The defense last year was the strength for Pitt ranking 10th in total defense last year, and the Pitt defense showed how good they were by shutting down West Virginia, expect it to be the strength of Pitt this year as well. If Pitt wants to win it's offense will have to surely improve from it's 107 ranking in total offense, Pitt though catches a break in the scheduling having to play WVU at home this year. The headliner in the non-conference schedule is a trip to South Bend to play Notre Dame.


 

Cincinnati Bearcats logo3. Cincinnati-The Bearcats are still basking in what was the greatest year in Beacats football last year as they were able to win 10 games and finish ranked in the top 20. This year the Bearcats return 16 starters from that team so expect Cincy to once again have a football team capable of being ranked in the top 25. The key for Cincy is finding a good starting quarterback, and it appears that Demetrius Jones a transfer from Notre Dame seems to be the front runner, but  Dustin Grutza is still battling him for the job, The Bearcats lost a trio of running backs, so they need to find a new running back to take some burden off the starting quarterback. The recievers seem to be the strong point of Cincinnati with the return of their top 3 recievers in Dominick Goodman, Marcus Barnett and Marshawn Gilyard. The defense like last year appears to once again be very good for Cincinnati. The Bearcats last year which lead the country in takaways will need, to force many turnovers again to help a young quarterback on offense. The question mark on the defense is the defensive line. With both defensive ends Angelo Craig and Anthony Hoke graduating, along with the suspension of All American Terrill Boyd. The key for Cincinnati this year is to try to find an effective quarterback and a good defensive line, if Terrill Boyd is reinstated that would help out the defense greatly. The huge game in non-conference play is the road game against Oklahoma, and they end the year with a road trip to Hawaii as well. In conference the key games for Cincinnati seem to be the road trips to West Virginia, Louisville and UConn, along with a home game against Pitt.
   South Florida Bulls logo4. South Florida-Last year the South Florida Bulls reached epic heights being ranked at one time #2 in the country. That was before they fell apart and finished the season getting blown out by 35 against Oregon in the Sun Bowl. The offense will once again be lead by quarterback Matt Grothe who last year had over 2600 yards throwing and 800 yards rushing. The Bulls also return sophmore running back Mike Ford, who last year as a freshman rushed for over 600 yards. The Bulls also return their top 2 recievers in Carlton Mitchell and Jessie Hester. The defense should be better then last year, which struggled at the end of last year to stop teams. The key is to try to replace Mike Jenkins, who should be a 1st round pick in the Draft. They do return All American George Selvie though. Overall, it should be interesting to see which USF team shows up? The team that beat West Virginia and was #2 in the country, or the team that struggled to stop Oregon and their 4th string quarterback in the Sun Bowl. If the Bulls want to win the Big East they'll need to beat West Virginia in Morgantown.

 

Rutgers Scarlet Knights logo5. Rutgers-Rutgers fate may have been sealed when Ray Rice announced that he was skipping his senior year and headed to the NFL, he took with him his 2000 yards from last year. Rutgers though does return an experienced quarterback in Mike Teel and two 1000 yard recievers in Tiquan Underwood and Kenny Britt. It's going to be hard enough to replace Ray Rice, but it'll be even higher because Rutgers also losses 3 of their offensive line. The defense was decent last year, but I really think the defense will have to take a big step forward for Rutgers to have a shot to win the Big East. Rutgers starts off the year against a top 25 team in Fresno State so we'll know right away how good Rutgers will be. Rutgers has the toughest Big East road schedule with having to play Cincinnati, Pitt, West Virginia and USF on the road. You will notice those are who I think will be the top 4 teams in the Big East.


 

Connecticut Huskies logo6. UConn-Last year the UConn Huskies shocked the world and became Co-Big East Champs last year and was able to win 9 games. The Huskies on offense will be lead by their solid running game led by Andre Dixon and Donald Brown who both ran for over 800 yards last year. The quarterback will be Tyler Lorenzen who last year had a solid first year as a starter. The top returning receiver is Terence Jeffers who last year had over 400 yards receiving. Defensively UConn was really good last year and that was a huge key in their success. This year the defense shouldn't be as good, but don't expect a huge step back this year. The big game for UConn in the non-conference schedule is a home game against Virginia, while the important games in the conference play are the home games against Pitt, West Virginia and Cincinnati. While the biggest road game is a road trip to USF. UConn could suprise again and make a run at 10 games, for that to happen the defense will have to be as good or better then last year's defense.


 

Louisville Cardinals logo7. Louisville-Last year was a disaster for the Cardinals, as many picked them to win the Big East and to be a darkhorse to go to the National Title game. It ended bad with a 5-7 record and no bowl for Brian Brohm in his senior year. Last year the defense was horrid for the Cardinals, they hope that former Michigan Defensive Coordinator Ron English will be able to improve the defense, and there is no doubt he knows how to coach defense, but this unit is pretty bad. The offense should be solid, but not as good as last year's unit with the loss of Brian Brohm and most of the key parts on the unit. Hunter Cantwell should be a solid quarterback and when give the chance he produced, the good thing for Louisville is that they return experienced running backs. The bad news they have little experience at the reciever position. Louisville could contend for a bowl berth, with help from a favorable schedule with West Virginia, Cincinnati and South Florida at home.


 

Syracuse Orange logo8. Syracuse-This could be Greg Robinson's last year unless he is able to make a bowl game this year. The thing is I don't know if he can win a Big East game. They return Andrew Robinson at quarterback who had a solid first year as a starter. The Orange return their top reciever from a year ago in sophmore Mike Williams, but they lose 800 yard reciever Taj Smith to graduation. The Orange had little running game last year, and I really don't think there will be much of an improvement even with a returning starter. The defense wasn't very good, and considering that Greg Robinson is known as a defense coach it's shocking it's that bad, I don't think it'll get better and I think Greg Robinson will be looking for a job this spring.  The Orange have some chances to get some wins when they play Northwestern, Northeastern, Akron, Louisville and Notre Dame, I wouldn't be shocked if Syracuse didn't win a Big East game.

 


 

All Big East Team: Offense: QB: Pat White Sr. West Virginia RB: LeSean McCoy So. Pitt RB: Noel Devine So. West Virginia OL: Ryan Stanchek Sr. West Virginia OL: Greg Isdaner Jr. West Virginia OL: Mike Dent Sr. West Virginia OL: Ryan Schmidt Jr. USF OL: William Beaty Sr. UConn TE: Steve Brouse Sr. UConn WR: Kenny Britt Jr. Rutgers WR: Tiquan Underwood Sr. Rutgers   Defense: DL: George Selvie Jr. USF DL: Terril Byrd Sr. Cincinnati DL: Arthur Jones Jr. Syracuse DL: Jamaal Westerman Sr. Rutgers LB: Scott McKillop Sr. Pitt LB: Tyrone McKenzie Sr. USF LB: Scott Lutrus Jr. UConn CB: Mike Mikens Sr. Cincinnati CB: Tyller Roberts Sr. USF S: Nate Allen Sr. USF S: Courtney Greene Jr. Rutgers   Special Teams: K: Pat McAfee Sr. West Virginia P: Kevin Huber Sr. Cincinnati

Big Ten:

There are many questions heading into this Big Ten season. Can OSU win a Title? Can Wisconsin finally put together a run to make a BCS Game? Can Penn St overcome all the offseason problems? Can Illinois repeat the magic of last year? How will Rich Rod do at Michigan? And most importantly will the Big Ten be able to overcome a dissapointing seeason? The Answer: They can with 5 teams that have a shot to be top 25 teams, and that doesn't include Michigan who will rebuild this year.

Ohio St. Buckeyes logo1. Ohio St-Ohio St will not only contend for a Big Ten Title, but they should contend for a National Title. They return 20 starters from a team that made the Title Game last year. They have an experienced defense, a good quarterback, good receivers, and a Heisman Favorite running back in Chris "Beanie" Wells. The biggest loss is defensive end Vernon Gholstein, but he should be replaced by Lawrence Wilson, who many though would be the one to explode last year. When your biggest concern is replacing a fullback, you should be a good team, and OSU will be a good team, but unlike last year they'll have a tough schedule. They play at USC, at Wisconsin, at Illinois, and get Penn St at home. They also have their yearly meeting from the men from up north the Michigan Wolverines, expect the Michigan game to be a blowout and expect many OSU games to be blowouts. They could though fall victim to one of those Big Ten teams, especially Wisconsin and Illinois.


 

Wisconsin Badgers logo2. Wisconsin-Last year, was somewhat of a disappointment for Wisconsin as they finished the yea at 9-4. Years ago, they would've held a parade for a season like that, but not anymore. That's how far Barry Alvarez has taken Wisconsin. The Badgers on offense will be lead by their All American tight end Travis Beckum and their great set of running backs. The best of the bunch is PJ Hill who was bit by injuries last year, but was still able to rush for over 1200 yards, including a 132 yard performance against Tennessee in the Outback Bowl on only 16 carries. The offensive line should be good as always, but watch out for 5 star freshman Josh Oglesby to get some playing time. The key for Wisconsin will be to find a good quarterback, and so far Allan Evridge has looked like a guy that could step in and produce right away. The key for Wisconsin too make a Big Ten Title run is for the defense to return to their 2006 form. Last year the defense was hurt by injuries, but had a bad habit of giving up big plays. Despite the defense finished 22 in the country in total defense, they still gave up over 20 points a game. The key games for Wisconsin are at Fresno State in non conference, and three home games against Ohio St, Penn St and Illinois. This could be a special season in Madison.


 

Penn St. Nittany Lions logo3. Penn St-What a bad offseason for JoePa and PSU in Happy Valley. Many of their players got into trouble and they had to kick off a fair amount of them, well at least they can get down to football. Penn St should be led by a very good defense led by All American candidate Maurice Evans and safety Anthony Scirrotto. The big loss was the loss of Sean Lee to injury this fall, but the good news for PSU was that Lee was a linebacker and Penn St has great depth at linebacker. The offense will have to play well if PSU wants to keep up with Wisconsin and Ohio State. The quarterback Darryl Clark was impressive and made impact plays from the quarterback position that Penn St has been lacking since Michael Robinson was at quarterback. The running game will see to be good once again with a good offensive line and a solid running back in Evan Royster returning and the emergence of big play threat Stephen Green. The receivers will be a strong point for PSU with the return of Deon Butler, Derrick Williams and Jordan Norwood. The schedule this year is not as favorable as last year's with a home game against Oregon State, and road trips to Ohio State and Wisconsin. They also play Illinois at home.


 

Illinois Fighting Illini logo4. Illinois-What a great year for the Ilini! They were able to beat #1 Ohio State in Columbus, go to the Rose Bowl and win 6 games in the Big Ten. This year though expect Illinois to take a step back with their best players on both sides of the ball last year leaving in Rashard Mendenhall and J Lemen. They return Juice Williams on offense, and if Illinois wants to stay competitive Juice will need to be able to have a very good year. He get's some help from the outside in the form of sophmore Arrelious "Rejus" Benn. The key is to find a good replacement for Mendenhall in the backfield and that'll be very difficult. They'll be turning to Daniel Dufrene to be their new running back. Expect the defense to take a step back as well, with the loss of J Lemen, who was their leader, captain and best player. The defense still has some good players led by Vontae Davis, but don't expect the same Illini defense. The schedule will be harder with trips to Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan. They also have a home game against OSU who will be wanting revenge.


Michigan St. Spartans logo5. Michigan St-The Spartans should be the best team in the state of Michigan this year. They return one of the best running backs in the Big Ten and have a solid quarterback along with a solid defense returning. Javon Ringer is the headliner on the offense after rushing for 1400+ yards last year. They also return Brett Hoyer who last year threw for 20 touchdowns. The big loss is the loss of Devin Thomas considered the top reciever prospect in the upcoming draft. Expect Mark Dell to become their new go to guy after having a solid freshman year. The defense last year was one of the best in the country in getting sacks, expect a similar attacking defense with Mark Dantonio still as coach, though losing the "Sack Master"  in Jonal St.-Dic will hurt. This could be the breakout year for Michigan St. with returning a solid offense and a solid defense, Michigan State could win 9 or 10 games this year. The schedule is tough early with a road trip to Cal, and they do have Wisconsin and Ohio St coming to East Lansing, but they do have to play PSU on the road.


Michigan Wolverines logo6. Michigan-What! Michigan not picked in the top 2, there not even in the top 5. How dumb could I be? Well, this is going to be a rough year for Michigan. They lose nearly everybody from a very good offense, and it appears that a Walk On, yes you read right a Walk On that didn't get any offers from any D1 schools will be the starting quarterback . The Wolverines have a nice amount of running backs led by Carlos Brown. They pretty much lose everybody from their recieving corps and their offensive line so it could be tough protecting the quarterback. Defensively, Michigan shouldn't be as good because of the lose of their Defensive Coordinator Ron English and they weren't very good to begin with. So this will be a tough year for Michigan, they should still make a bowl game, but they could lose in Week 1 to a pretty good Utah team. Though I think they'll make a bowl, don't be shocked if their sitting at home in December.


 

Purdue Boilermakers logo7. Purdue-The last year for Joe Tiller, it would be great if he could ride off into the sunset with a Big Ten Title. but don't expect it with a good returning quarterback and not much else. They return a very good quarterback in  Curtis Painter and they do return a solid running back in Korey Sheets, but they lose their top two recievers in Dorien Bryant and Dustin Keller. So Joe Tiller will have to find two good recievers and judging by his recent success, I'm guessing he will. On to the defense. The defense shouldn't be great, but it should be above average, but in reality I think Purdue will be needing to put 30 points a game if the want to win a lot of games. In non-conference the Boilermakers play Oregon and in conference they have a tough trip to Ohio St, along with a game at MSU. They also have two tough home games against Penn State and Michigan, along with their annual game vs Notre Dame. I expect Purdue to go bowling seeing as how it's Tiller's last year.


 

Indiana Hoosiers logo8. Indiana-Last year the Hoosiers won for Coach Hep, and their goal was to play 13 games. They were able to do that, sadly they weren't able to beat Oklahoma St. The Hoosiers offense will rest squarely on the shoulders of Kellen Lewis with the loss of James Hardy to the NFL. The question for Lewis is will he be able to produce the way he did last season, after being suspended this spring. The Hoosiers do return one of the fastest players in the Big Ten in Marcus Thigpen, and he'll be expected to take a much larger load with the loss of Hardy. On defense they aren't expected to lead the league in defense after allowing 26 points a game last year. Can Indiana go to a bowl again? Of course. The key is will Lewis be back and if he is, Indiana could be looking at 7 wins again and be going to a 2nd straight bowl game in a long time. The key is to win the games they are supposed to.


 

Iowa Hawkeyes logo9. Iowa-Oh, how far the mighty have fallen. A few years ago Iowa was a contendor in the Big Ten, now there one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. Is Kirk Ferentz job in jeopardy? No, but there could be some unrest in Iowa City if he doesn't produce this year. The key for Iowa is to score, their defense was good last year and it should be good this year, but if the Hawkeyes can't score they won't be able to win this year. The key if to find an effective quarterback. Jake Christensen had a solid first year as a starter, but he was erractic completing only 53% of his passes. He's being pushed this spring Ricky Stanzi and Marvin McNutt. Next key is to find a good running back after losing Albert Young who was the only real threat last year on offense. They also lose his backup in Damien Sims, behind those two Iowa has 22 carries returning. At reciever Iowa returns Darrell Johnson-Koulianos who last year led them in receiving as a freshman, their 2nd leading receiver last year was also a freshman in James Cleveland, so the Hawkeyes also have an inexperienced group of receivers. The Hawkeyes don't have a challanging non-conference schedule, and they have some winnable games in the Big Ten, we'll see if Kirk Ferentz rebuild Iowa back into what it was a few years ago.


Northwestern Wildcats logo10. Northwestern-Last year Pat Fitzgerald had a very good 2nd season leading the Wildcats to a 6 win season. The offense will be lead by quarterback C.J. Bacher who looked great at times, but looked awful as well. The running game should be good as well if Tyrell Sutton can stay healthy, we all saw how good he was when he was a Freshman when he is able to get carries. The Wildcats return their top reciever in Eric Peterman, but offense isn't Northwestern's problems it's defense. Last year the defense gave up over 30 points a game, and it'll be interesting if they can improve at all. If they can Northwestern could possibly win 6 games again. They got some bad luck with many of the top teams traveling to Evanston and the Wildcats having to play the lower teams on the road, so it'll be harder then last year for sure.


 

Minnesota Golden Gophers logo11. Minnesota-The one good thing about being last, is that there's nowhere to go, but up. The Gophers return a quarterback in Adam Weber who has special player written all over him and we saw at times how good he can be. The problem is the Gophers won't really have much of a running game and they will have to throw the ball a lot. The guy making the catches will be Eric Decker who had a solid Junior year. The defense was terrible last year, a joke to be realistic. The good news is that they bring in a lot of good highly thought of JUCO recruits, that will contribute right away. Minnesota will be better then next year, they return a solid group of players and they have some games they can win. How much better we really don't know.


 

All Big Ten Team:   Offense: QB: Kellen Lewis Jr. Indiana RB: Chris Wells Jr. Ohio State RB: Javon Ringer Sr. Michigan State OL: Alex Boone Sr. Ohio State OL: Kraig Urbik Sr. Wisconsin OL: A.Q. Shipley Sr. Penn State OL: Sean Sester Sr. Purdue OL: Xavier Fulton Sr. Illinois TE: Travis Beckum Sr. Wisconsin WR: Brian Robiskie Sr. Ohio State WR: Arrelious Benn So. Illinois   Defense: DL: Maurice Evans Jr. Penn State DL: Mitch King Sr. Iowa DL: Matt Shaugnessy Sr. Wisconsin DL: Greg Middleton Jr. Indiana LB: James Laurinitas Sr. Ohio State LB: Marcus Freeman Sr. Ohio State LB: Jonathon Casillas Sr. Wisconsin CB: Malcolm Jenkins Sr. Ohio State CB: Vontae Davis Jr. Illinois S: Otis Wiley Sr. Michigan State S: Anthony Scirrotto Sr. Penn State   Special Teams: K: Austin Starr Sr. Indiana
P: Jermey Boone Jr. Penn State

Big 12:

The Big XII in my opinion really has 4 teams that could win the conference with Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri. I feel that Kansas should take a step back this year, but they should be a very solid team.

Big XII North:

Missouri Tigers logo1. Missouri-The Missouri Tigers had one of their greatest seasons ever last year, and for it they got screwed from a BCS Bowl, The Tigers return All America Chase Daniel, and Mr. Everything in now Sophmore Jeremy Macklin. They also return tight end Chase Coffman. The one glaring weakness for Mizzou is there running back situation, the Tigers don't have a set running back with Tony Temple graduating. Defensively is a bit shakey for the Tigers, last year it wasn't a huge problem with the Tigers averaging 40 points a game. This year though I think it could hurt them, but the thing for them is they don't have a hard schedule missing out on Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.  Mizzou is a favorite for the Big XII Title, they can win it, but only if their defense will improve.


 

Kansas Jayhawks logo2. Kansas-Last year the Kansas Jayhawks ended the season at 12-1, they won the Orange Bowl and now return 16 starters. So they should be a Big 12 favorite, right? Wrong! This team played a super easy schedule and despite the fact that they did beat a decent Virginia Tech team, remember the ACC last year was a joke, and Virginia Tech lost by 41 to LSU at the start of the year. They do return Quarterback Todd Reesing and 2nd leading rushed Jake Sharp from last years team, but they lose top reciever Marcus Henry and top rusher Brandon McAnderson. They also lose Offensive Tackle Anthony Collins to the NFL. The Jayhawks do return Reciever Dexton Fields to replace Marcus Henry. The defense looks like it'll be good with the return of 9 starters from last years team. The team does lose though, All American Aqib Talib to the NFL. I really don't know how good Kansas will be this year, they played a pathetic schedule and used the schedule to play in a BCS Bowl that they didn't deserve. We'll see how Kansas is this year, as they actually play a pretty tough schedule. They play at USF in the non conference schedule and then have to play at Oklahoma, Texas, at Nebraska, Texas and then at Missouri. We'll see if last year was a fluke, as the Jayhawks know they can't catch anybody by suprise.


 

Nebraska Cornhuskers logo3. Nebraska-There are many words to describe Nebraska's season, an easy way to describe it is disaster. The Cornhuskers offense should be very good this year led by Joe Ganz, who came on late to throw for 16 touchdowns last year. They also return steady running back Marlon Lucky who ran for over 1000 yards last year. The question mark on the offense will be, who'll Ganz be throwing the ball too. Nate Swift should be the top target after having over 500+ yards receiving last year. If the Huskers want to be a team that could make a January bowl they need the defense to transform to the Blackshirts of the great Nebraska teams. The defense should improve last year, but that's expected after how bad the defense was last year. Expect Pelini to improve the defense, but don't expect the defense to be improved enough to lead Nebraska to a Big 12 Title. The schedule should be tough again with V. Tech visiting Nebraska in non-conference play, and having to play Missouri, Kansas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma.


 

Colorado Buffaloes logo4. Colorado-Last year the 'Buffs were able to make a bowl game after having a terrible first year, but according to Colin Cowherd Colorado will never be good because of too many hippies in Boulder, interested heres a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6t3VKLL-OY . The offense will be lead by the coaches son, Cody Hawkins who had a solid first year as a starter throwing for over 20 touchdowns. The running game should be solid again as their lead by Hugh Charles, but he will be pushed for playing time by heralded freshman Darrell Scott. The 'Buffs return their top 2 recievers so Hawkins should have no trouble getting the ball to experienced receivers on the outside. Last year the defense struggled, but it should be helped by heralded recruits like Jon Major, Lynn Kotoa and Shaun Mohler. The defense shouldn't be great, but it should be decent enough to allow the 'Buffs to go bowling again. In non-conference they have to play WVU, and FSU. While in conference they play Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Texas A&M. Expect Hawkins to continue to lead a revitalization in Colorado, unless Boulder continues to have too many hippies.


 

 Kansas St. Wildcats logo5. Kansas St.-The Wildcats had a dissapointing year last year, many thought they could win the Big 12 North, but the team got off to a great start blowing out Texas on the road, but the season faded after that and after KSU got blown out by Fresno St. that guaranteed they wouldn't be playing in a bowl game. The Wildcats should have solid quarterback play with Josh Freeman at the helm, the running game should take a step back with the loss of 1000 yard rusher James Johnson. The Wildcats lose do everything receiver Jordy Nelson, and there hoping Deon Murphey to step up, and they do return 3rd receiver Jeron Mastrud. The defense has to improve drasitically after ranking 114th in defense. If they want to make a bowl game they need their defense to step up, their hoping the JC transfers to help out the Wildcats. The scheduling was easier after KSU backed out of a game with Fresno State, they do play Louisville though in non-conference play. In conference play they play Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.


 

Iowa St. Cyclones logo6. Iowa St.-Last year was a really rough year for the Cyclones, Gene Chizik should be expecting another rough season. The Cyclones lose their top 2 offensive threats from last year in quarterback in Bret Meyer and receiver Todd Blythe, and the thing is their offense was pretty bad to begin with. The only real good thing for the Cyclones is that they return their top 2 rushers so they'll have to lean on their running game and hopes it produces with the Cyclones not having many experience at the other positions on offense. The defense wasn't much better, and that's bad considering that Chizik is known as a defensive coach, we'll see if Chizik can't move the defense in a postive direction, for his sake we better hope so. This should be another rough season for Iowa State, they are expected to struggle and if Chizik can't get this team to win 6 games that would be a great coaching job.


 

Big XII South:

Oklahoma Sooners logo1. Oklahoma-The Sooners once again chocked in a BCS Game getting blown out by WVU, and in this game the 'Neers made the Sooners look flat footed. OU this year returns the Best freshman in College Football History in Sam Bradford. In the backfield they still have Demarco Murray and Chris Brown. They also add stud recruits Jerime Calhoun and Justin Johnson. Though losing Kelley will hurt they still have Joaquin Iglesias and return that great group of Tight Ends. The defense will be good as always for the Sooners and the real key is will the Sooners not choke this year.


 

Texas Longhorns logo2. Texas-The Longhorns should be a lot better defensively this year and that's really the key. They were a joke last year and really couldn't do anything right. Enter Will Muschamp: Muschamp helped form great defenses at Auburn and should do the same at Texas. Expect a lot better defense in Texas, The offense should be good and expect improvement from Colt McCoy who had a sophmore slump last year. Vondrell McGee looks like the guy who'll be the new starting running back, but expect him to split time with Chris Ogbonnaya. The reciever aren't going to be as strong as last year, but they have two targets they can count on in Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley. Overall, the 'Horns could make a run to the Big XII Title, but it all depends on the defense. If the defense can play well, watch out because the 'Horns could win the Big XII.


 

TXTECH3. Texas Tech-The Texas Tech Red Raiders return almost all the parts of last year, except for 2nd leading reciever Danny Amendola. They return Quarterback Graham Harrell, and Heisman darkhorse Michael Crabtree who set countless freshman records last year when he won the Biletnikoff Trophy as the countries best reciever. The offense will be able to put up tons of points, the key is how will the defense fair. Last year the defense allowed 25 points a game and if they want to be able to win a Big XII title they need to improve that significantly. The Red Raiders this year look like the best team Mike Leach has ever had at Texas Tech. They return a good quarterback in Graham Harrell and a very good reciever in Michael Crabtree. The key games for Texas Tech will be the road games at Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas A&M, while the key home game appears to be a date with in state rival Texas.


 

Texas A&M Aggies logo4. Texas A&M-The Aggies have a new coach in Mike Sherman and it should be interesting to see if Mike Sherman keeps the current offense intact or if he runs the offense he ran in the NFL. If he was smart he would continue to run the system that they ran last year because the Aggies have a two very good running backs, a dual threat quarterback and an inexperienced group of receivers. The running game should be so good led by the 270 pound bruiser Jovorskie Lane and the speedster Mike Goodson. The Aggies top returning receiver is running back Mike Goodson. The Aggies lose their top 2 receivers and their tight end Martellus Bennett. The defense struggled a little bit last year ranking 47th last year, expect improvement this year from the Aggies, and expect the Aggies to be a borderline top 25 team. The key games for the Aggies are the non-conference game with Miami and conference games with Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech.


 

 Oklahoma St. Cowboys logo5. Oklahoma St.-The Cowboys season last year was best known for their coaches rant even a local toyota dealer made a commercial of it here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QMGPnTNtyA . The Cowboys offense should once again be very explosive led by dual threat quarterback Zac Robinson. The running game should also be very solid once again despite the loss of their top running back Dantrell Savage. The reason is because they still have Robinson and a solid sophmore in Kendall Hunter. The receivers should be solid again even with the loss of Adarious Bowman. The reason is because they return their 2nd and 3rd receivers in Desmond Bryant and Brandon Pettigrew. The key for the Cowboys like always will be the defense because they can score with anybody, but they pretty much can't stop anybody. If the Cowboys could they could possibly win 10 games this year. They key games are non-conference games are Troy and Houston and conference games against Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Missouri.


 

Baylor Bears logo6. Baylor-The Bears came off another bad season and they welcome new coach Art Briles. One thing for sure is that the Bears will have an experienced quarterback with Miami transfer Kirby Freeman and returning starter Blake Szymanski. The other key is to replace running threat  Brandon Whitaker. Jay Finley  and Jacoby Jones are the major challengers. The Bears do return though their top two receivers in Brad Taylor and Thomas White. The defense was fairly good last year ranking 30th in the country, if the defense can have a performance like that the Bears could win more then 3 games. The Bears have 3 tough non-conference games against Wake Forest, Washington State, and UConn. The conference games that are key are Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Missouri.


 

 

All Big 12 Team:   Offense: QB: Chase Daniel Sr. Missouri RB: Marlon Lucky Sr. Nebraska RB: DeMarco Murray So. Oklahoma OL: Duke Robinson Sr. Oklahoma OL: Phil Loadholt Sr. Oklahoma OL: Jon Cooper Sr. Oklahoma OL: Cedric Dockery Sr. Texas OL: Luis Vasquez Sr. Texas Tech TE: Chase Coffman Sr. Missouri WR: Michael Crabtree So. Texas Tech WR: Jeremy Maclin So. Missouri   Defense: DL: Ian Campbell Sr. Kansas State DL: George Hypolite Sr. Colorado DL: Brian Orakpo Sr. Texas DL: Gerald McCoy So. Oklahoma LB: Sean Witherspoon Sr. Missouri LB: Joe Mortenson Sr. Kansas LB: Joe Pawelek Jr. Baylor CB: Ryan Palmer Sr. Texas CB: Chris Harris So. Kansas S: William Moore Sr. Missouri S: Nic Harris Sr. Oklahoma   Special Teams: K: Jeff Wolfert Sr. Missouri P: Justin Brantley Sr. Texas A&M


 

Pac 10:


  Expect the same old same old in the Pac 10 and that is USC being at the top of the conference and challenging for the National Title. The rest of the conference is wide open. I’ll try to do my best to break it down.     Southern Cal. Trojans logo1. USC-The Trojans lost 10 players to the NFL, but they are still considered the heavy favorite in the Pac 10 because they are still bringing in great classes and they have Pete Carroll as coach. The offense has a new quarterback in Mark Sanchez who as a high school senior was the #1 High School Quarterback, and even though he’s high on talent he’s low on experience. He has a great group of running backs that can go 7 deep, the best of them are Joe McKnight and C.J. Gable. The big question is who’s going to be catching the passes thrown by Mark Sanchez. The Trojans lost their best receiver in Tight End Fred Davis, but they do return Vidal Hazleton, Patrick Turner and David Ausberry. These guys were big coming out of High School, but they haven’t proved much on the college scene. The Trojans defense should be dominant this year, and even if the offense struggles a little bit, the offense still should be able to carry them to a top 10 finish. The Trojans have two All-American linebackers in Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga. The Trojans also have a future star at defensive tackle in Fili Maola, and also a future star at defensive end in sophomore Everson Griffin. The defensive backs should be good once again led by All-American Taylor Mays and returning cornerbacks Cary Harris and Shareece Wright. The Trojans can make a title run, it’s really dependant on the 2<sup>nd</sup> game of the year against OSU, if they can survive that game the Trojans have a shot at another BCS Title.
  Oregon Ducks logo2. Oregon-The Ducks arguably were the best team in the country when they were healthy, alas, we will never because Dennis Dixon went down against Arizona and the Oregon season went down with him. Though they did bring some momentum into this season with a blowout win against USF in the Sun Bowl. The biggest question is who will Chip Kelley(Oregon Offensive Coordinator) mold into a superstar quarterback. The leader has to be Justin Roper who played extremely well against USF, we’ll see if he can continue what he did in that game. On his heels is Nate Costa who’s recovering from an injury to the knee. The running game should be fine even without Jonathon Stewart. The Ducks return Jeremiah Johnson, Legarrette Blount and a two time Juco-All American in Andre Crenshaw. At receiver the Ducks return their top threat in Jaison Williams who last year had over 800 yards receiving. They also return tight end Ed Dickson who was their 2<sup>nd</sup> leading receiver. The Ducks are hoping that Derrick Jones can step up this year after having a steady sophomore season, and hopefully give them another target on the outside. The Ducks struggled a bit on defense, but expect them to improve drastically this season, they will be lead by a very good secondary. The big name on the defense is All-American Patrick Chung and Lott Trophy Candidate Nick Reed. The defense looks improved in nearly all aspects, so expect the Ducks defense to be the strength at least early on. If the Ducks want to make some noise this year, they’ll obviously have to beat ASU and USC. Both of these games are on the road, but I think they can beat an ASU team that I really don’t think much of.
  Arizona St. Sun Devils logo3. Arizona St.-Last year, the Sun Devils were benefited by a favorable schedule, where they beat everybody they were supposed to and got killed by all the legitimate teams in the conference. The Sun Devils offense will be lead by Rudy Carpenter, who was on the ground a lot last year, after having to go through 55 sacks last year, which was a school-record by the way. To try to cut down on this the Sun Devils are trying to spread the field, with the offensive line expected to be worse with 4 new starters. The running game looks solid with the return of Keegan Herring, who last year ran for 800 yards. He should be able to break the 1000 yard mark with the loss of solid backup Ryan Torain. The receiving corps looks solid with the return of 3 of their top 4 receivers from last year. The best of the bunch is Chris McGaha and Michael Jones. The defense should be solid once again with the return of defensive backs Omar Bolden, who had a great freshman campaign and Troy Nolan. The defense should be anchored by the return of both defensive ends in Luis Vasquez and Dexter Davis. These two guys should be able to get pressure on the quarterback forcing him to make quick decisions. Until Arizona St. proves they can beat a top 20 team, they are nothing, but a solid football team. I think they’ll be blown out by USC and beaten by Oregon in a close game at home.
  Oregon St. Beavers logo4. Oregon St.-The offense of Oregon St. should be really good in 2008, they have extremely talented receivers, a running back already called the next great Oregon State running back. The only problem: Who’ll play quarterback? The Beavers are choosing between two guys, Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao. The receivers will be lead by Sammie Stroughter who received a medical redshirt from last year, two years ago he was an All-American and was the biggest reason Oregon St. was able to upset USC. The other headliners are James Rodgers and Darrell Catchings. The running game should be solid, despite the loss of Yvenson Bernard mainly because of the return of running back Ryan McCants. The defense last year was extremely talented, but with the loss of most of their front 7 expect some rebuilding. It will help early that they return of most of their defensive backs. The Beavers should be good again this season. The Beavers have an early test against PSU on the road, if the Beavers can at least put a good effort and stay in the game, the Beavers can keep up that momentum throughout the rest of the season.
UCLA Bruins logo5. UCLA-Last year, was a disappointment. After upsetting USC to end the 06 season, the Bruins weren’t able to put it together and they struggled on their way to a 6-7 season, which included an embarrassing loss to Notre Dame. The big question for UCLA is, Who will be the quarterback? Patrick Cowan was named the starter before wrecking his knee, and his status in unknown. Right after this their backup Ben Olson also was injured, but he’s expected to be back when summer workouts start in June. The Bruins have a nice set of running backs led by Kahlil Bell and Chane Moline. Another huge question mark is, who will the quarterback throw the ball too? The loss of their top 2 receivers will drastically hurt, and there hoping that junior Dominque Johnson can have a breakout year. The defense should be solid once again, with the help of a solid front line. The line is led by tackles Bringham Harwell and Tom Blake, along with defensive end Brian Price. The defensive line will need to get some pressure on the offensive because of the loss of 3 starters on the defense backfield, one guy that they can count on is cornerback Alterraun Verner. The linebacking core is led Reggie Carter. This season is mainly about setting the new system in place, the Bruins should make a bowl game this season, but if they don’t it’s not shocking at all. The Bruins could finish 5<sup>th</sup>, but they could finish as low as 8<sup>th</sup>.
  Washington Huskies logo6. Washington-The Huskies lose a lot of their key position players, and finished last in the Pac 10, yet I pick them to finish 6<sup>th</sup>. Why? Jake Locker. Locker last year put together a solid freshman year, and expect him to take another step this season in his sophomore year. The running game will be lead by Jake Locker who rushed for 900 yards last year. They have two extremely talented young players though, that will battle for time at running back. Brandon Johnson will be the guy given the first chance, and expect this guy to have a solid year. The other running back will Chris Polk, who is expected to be used in a Reggie Bush type style. At receiver the Huskies are hoping that D’Andre Goodwin can be the go to-guy after showing flashes as a freshman. The defense is hoping that they are able to take some steps this year, and they can with the return of a lot of key players. They return leading tackler E.J. Savannah, and with a lot of their guys growing up, expect the back 7 of the defense to be very solid in 08 under new defensive coordinator Ed Donnatell. The defensive line is the weakness of the defense, with only one returning player that played key time last year, but if the defensive line can mature this defense can be very solid. If Washington wants to be good this year, they need some talented guys to step up, by this ranking you can tell that I think they will.
  Arizona Wildcats logo7. Arizona-Mike Stoops is hoping this is the season that the Wildcats can finally break through, and go to a bowl game. The offense should be very good led by Willie Tuitama and receivers Mike Thomas and Terrell Turner. The Wildcats are hoping that they can finally have a decent running game to help support the explosive passing game. Nicholas Grisby is the guy that the Wildcats hope can have a breakout season. Grisby ran for 700 yards last season as a freshman, but Arizona’s coaching staff is hoping he get over the 1000 yard mark. The Wildcats will be running a lot of 4 and 5 wide receiver sets, to help complement their strength at receiver. The defense for Arizona is not even close to being set, unlike the Arizona offense. The defense has only 3 returnees in safeties Cam Nelson and Nate Ness, and linebacker Ronnie Palmer. The other parts of the defense are right now not certain, and the staff is just hoping for a defense that can at least stop the opponent somewhat. The Wildcats have a shot to make a bowl game this season. With a light schedule, and having many of the best teams playing in Tucson, the Wildcats have a great shot at finally breaking through.
California Golden Bears logo8. Cal-Cal was ranked #2 and were poised to be #1 when they were playing Oregon State at home. Kevin Riley started to scramble and was trying to make a play, but he was tackled. Without any timeouts Cal's chances of being #1 went down the drain soon the season would follow as the Golden Bears struggled losing 6 of their last 7 games. The Golden Bears have two experienced quarterbacks in senior Nate Longshore who had a very good sophmore year, but followed that up with a bad junior season and Kevin Riley who led Cal to a come from behind victory against Air Force in their bowl game. The Golden Bears are inexperienced at every other positions, but they are adapting the spread offense this season with new offensive coordinator in Frank Cignetti. The most logical solution at running back is Javhid Best who was Justin Forsett's backup last year. At receiver the Bears lost their top 3 receivers in DeSean Jackson, Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan. The Bears are hoping that Florida transfer Nyan Boatang can live up to his potential and that Michael Calvin can step up this year for the Bears. The Bears were awful last season, but they are changing to a 3-4 defense with the strength at linebacker. The best of the bunch is Zack Forsett. Cal will get an early test against a good offense in Michigan State in week 1, and they have to go on the road to play Maryland as well. This season Cal is just trying to make a bowl game year as they try to build for the future.
Stanford Cardinal logo9. Stanford-Consider Jim Harbough's first season at Stanford a success. The Cardinal were able to win 3 conference games, and were able to upset USC on the road 24-23. Stanford returns 20 starters from last year's team so they should be able to improve this season. On offense the Cardinal are hoping that Tavita Pritchard can produce, and if he can't they'll likely put in Michigan transfer Jason Forcier. The Cardinal have a super good receiver on the outside, and it'll be in the quarterbacks interest to give him the ball. Richard Sherman had 39 catches last season and he should improve this year. The Cardinal struggled last year running the football with their leading rusher only rushing for 343 yards. Jeremy Stewart is expected to step in his 2nd year at running back. The defense should be much better next year with the return of 12 players who started at least 4 games last year. The best of the bunch is Pannel Egboh who had 13.5 tackles for loss last season. The Cardinal also return their top 3 safeties and a solid group of linebackers. If Stanford can have a decent offense they could challenge for a bowl game with a defense that is fairly good.
Washington St. Cougars logo10. Washington State-The Cougars are hoping that new coach can bring Washington St. football back to respectability. Last year, Washington State had a very good offense, but they'll take a step back with new starting quarterback in senior Gary Rodgers. The running game is an unknown right now with Chris Ivory and Dwight Tardy both having injury problems and Ivory having academic problems as well. The Cougars defense was pretty terrible last year, but they should improve with 8 starters returning. The Cougars are switching to a 4-3 defense with a new coaching philosophy. Andy Mattingly had a great year last season at linebacker, but he's moving to defensive end because of his ability to get pressure on the quarterback. The Cougars return though 3 starters at linebacker led by middle linebacker in Gary Trent. The secondary has a lot of questions, and it'll be the weak point of the defense. The Cougars will struggle this season with a new coaching staff. They just need to set a foundation this season.
All Pac 10 Team: Offense: QB: Jake Locker So. Washington RB: Joe McKnight So. USC RB: Kahlil Bell Sr. UCLA OL: Alex Mack Sr. Cal OL: Max Unger Sr. Oregon OL: Jeff Byers Sr. USC OL: Alex Fletcher Sr. Stanford OL: Eben Britton Jr. Arizona TE: Ed Dickson Jr. Oregon WR: Brandon Gibson Sr. Washington State WR: Jaison Williams Sr. Oregon   Defense: DL: Nick Reed Sr. Oregon DL: Fili Moala Sr. USC DL: Dexter Davis Jr. Arizona State DL: Everson Griffen So. USC LB: Zack Follett Sr. Cal LB: Rey Maualuga Sr. USC LB: Brian Cushing Sr. USC CB: Jairus Byrd Sr. Oregon CB: Omar Bolden So. Arizona State S: Patrick Chung Sr. Oregon S: Taylor Mays Jr. USC   Special Teams: K: Thomas Weber So. Arizona State P: Keenyn Crier So. Arizona

  SEC:

  The SEC is once again the best conference in the country. They have 4 teams that I think can win the conference in Georgia, Florida, LSU and Auburn. SEC East: Georgia Bulldogs logo1. Georgia-The 'Dawgs ended the year in style in blowing out a Hawaii team that didn't deserve to play in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs look like they'll have a very potent offense in 08 led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno. Last year, Stafford struggled a bit in passing effiencincy, but expect an improvement this year. At running back expect Moreno to have around the same amount of carries he had late in the year because Georgia is expecting big things from freshman running back Caleb King. At the receiver position they return their leading receiver in Mohamed Massaquoi and their best tight end Tripp Chandler. The Georgia coaches though, are excited by the emergence of freshman receiver AJ Green, who was rated by many as the top high school receiver. The defense last year for Georgia was very strong, and expect an improvement this season. The Bulldogs had one of the best run defenses in the country last year and with the return of Geno Atkins and Kade Weston expect more of the same for Georgia. The strength of the Georgia defense should be the linebacker position. The linebackers are led by Dannell Ellerbe who had 93 tackles last year, but this unit has 2 other good linebackers. The secondary is led by conerback Asher Allen who was one of the top cover corners late in last year, and safety Reshad Jones. The biggest loss for the Bulldogs might be the loss of kicker Brandon Coutu. The thing that might be the only thing standing in the way of Georgia and a national championship is a very tough schedule. In non-conference the Bulldogs have to play @Arizona St., and in conference they play Tennessee, Florida, @Auburn, @LSU, and South Carolina. If the Bulldogs can go through that schedule with only one loss they deserve a trip to the National Title Game.
  Florida Gators logo2. Florida-Looking back it was simply amazing what Tim Tebow was able to do last season. He was able to carry the Gators last season to a 9 win season and along the way he became the first underclassman to win the Heisman. The Gators are going to go back to a two-quarterback system this season with Cam Newton coming in for Tim Tebow at times. The real key for the Gators to take the next step on offense is a legit running game. Chris Rainey looked really good in the Spring Game, but the Gators are hoping that Emmanuel Moody can become "the guy" at running back. One thing we know for sure the Gators are loaded at receiver. The Gators have one of the best receivers in Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy. The Gators also have two very good tight ends in Aaron Hernandez and  Cornelious Ingram. The defense though has to improve after struggling mightily last year. The Gators do return 8 starters so the defense should be better. The weakness of this defense is defending the pass. The Gators allowed over 250 yards through the air, and that is terrible for a team that wants to contend for a SEC Title. The best player on the defense should be linebacker Brandon Spikes who looks like a guy that could be an All American, but the real key is to stop the pass and the Gators are hoping that the strong recruiting class will help in that regard. The schedule doesn't look as difficult as Georgia's schedule, but their are certainly some tests on it. The Gators have to play @Tennessee, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina. The good thing is the toughest opponents are at home.
  Tennessee Volunteers logo3. Tennessee-I realized that I overranked Tennessee in my first preseason rankings. Tennessee should have a fairly good team this season, but I don't think they can compete with Florida and Georgia in the rough SEC East.  The Vols are breaking in a new quarterback in Jonathon Crompton, but he has some good players around him that it shouldn't be a rough transition. Tennessee returns a pretty good running back in Arian Foster who rushed for over 1000 yards last season. The Vols also return much of their offensive line that was one of the best last year allowing only 4 sacks. The Volounteers also have a very good receiving in Lucas Taylor, and they return their 2nd and 3rd receivers in Austin Rodgers and Josh Briscoe. Expect Gerald Jones to become a bigger part of the offense this season in the receiving game, but also as a quarterback in a formation they are calling the G-Gun. The other major loss on offense was the loss of coordinator David Cutcliffe. The defense struggled a bit in 08, but they should be better this year, especially in the secondary. The best player in the secondary is sophmore Eric Berry, who should be able to challange for a spot on the All American team. The Vols in turn return 6 guys that have had experience starting in the secondary, so they shouldn't have trouble stopping the pass, but they do have some problems up front. The Vols have some good starters up front, but they have absoloutly no depth at those positions so if one gets injured the Vols could be screwed. The Vols also have to replace 1st round pick Jerod Mayo, if they can, and they have no injuries up front Tennessee should have a very good defense. The key games for Tennessee this year are @UCLA, Florida, @Auburn, @Georgia, Alabama and @South Carolina.
    South Carolina Gamecocks logo4.. South Carolina-Last year was a tough year for the Gamecocks as they had a great start and rose into the top 10, during this time they were able to beat Georgia in Athens, but after that the season just fell apart. South Carolina had troubles all season with quarterback problems and they enter the spring with Quarterback problems again. The quarterback to start the year at least should be Tommy Beecher. Beecher will be pushed by junior Chris Smelley(started a few games last season) and controversial freshman Stephen Garcia. The running game looks solid with Mike Davis and sophomore Brian Maddox. The strength of South Carolina this year should be the receivers where they'll be lead by Kenny McKinley and tight end Jared Cook. Also, the offensive line should be a lot better with the return of 4 starters. Defensively expect the defense to at least give the offense a chance. The defense will be lead by Jasper Brinkley who was having a great season, until he got hurt. Brinkley is an All American candidate when healthy. The Gamecocks have two good defensive backs in cornerback Captain Munerlyn and safety Emmanuel Cook. The Gamecocks are hoping though, that Eric Norwood can make a good transition from defensive end to linebacker. It seems that every year South Carolina has a handful of close games so if you’re a Gamecock fan expect a lot of games where you're sweating till the whistle blows. Overall, South Carolina should be pretty good this year, they have a lot of their tougher games at home with Tennessee and LSU all coming to William-Brice Stadium, and playing UGA and Clemson on the road. We will see if the 'Ol Ball Coach can finally break through this year.
  Kentucky Wildcats logo5. Kentucky-Kentucky could struggle this season in the post-Andre Woodson era. Woodson gave Kentucky a chance to beat anybody, and Kentucky has had two straight bowl wins, which is pretty good in the commonwealth. It appears that Brian Hartline has the best opportunity to replace Andre Woodson, since he has the most experience. Not only that, but Kentucky also loses their top rusher Rafael Little, and their top receivers in Keenan Burton, Steve Johnson and tight end Jacob Tamme. The Wildcats are hoping that Dicky Lyons can produce at receiver and Tony Dixon can give them a solid running game. Kentucky’s offense will be a work in progress. The Kentucky defense should be a lot better. The Wildcats defense is led by a very good secondary. The best defensive back is Trevard Lindley, who has All SEC potential. The Wildcats have a good defensive end in Jeremy Jarmon as well. The biggest loss on defense is linebacker is Wesley Woodard, the leading tackler for Kentucky the past few years. The Wildcats are thinking that Braxton Kelley can move over and replace Woodard. The important games this season for Kentucky are @Louisville, South Carolina, @Mississippi St., Georgia, and @Florida.
  Vanderbilt Commodores logo6. Vanderbilt-Last season, Vanderbilt won 5 games and they probably should have gone to a bowl game, but they didn’t. They had inconsistent quarterback play and that cost them at the end. Chris Nickson has all the talent in the world, but he has yet to put it together for Vanderbilt at quarterback, and that’s why the ‘Dores put in Mackenzi Adams in late, who isn’t as talented as Nickson, but is much more consistant. The biggest losses on the offensive side of the ball are All-Time SEC leader in receptions Earl Bennett and 1<sup>st</sup> round pick Chris Williams. Vanderbilt hopes that Jeff Jennings could give Vanderbilt a solid running game, but as of right now Vanderbilt’s offense is a work in progress. Vanderbilt though should have a solid defense. The secondary is one of the best in the SEC. They have a very good cornerback in DJ Moore, and two good defensive ends in Broderick Stewart and Steven Stone. The other positions aren’t settled yet, but if the Commodores can find solid replacements at those positions Vanderbilt will have a solid defense and they could go to a bowl game. The games that Vanderbilt is most likely to win are @Miami(OH), South Carolina, Rice, @Ole Miss, Duke and @Kentucky.
SEC West: Auburn Tigers logo1. Auburn-When Ryan Perrilloux got kicked off the LSU football team, it made the Auburn Tigers the favorite in the SEC West. The Tigers coaching staff believes that Kodi Burns will be able to lead the new spread, no huddle offense that will be run at Auburn this year under a new offensive coordinator. The Tigers have 4 very good running backs in Ben Tate, Brad Lester, Carl Stewart, and Mario Fannin. Fannin is the most versatile of the group and he is expected to line up a lot at the receiver position. The receiver position seems like it'll be the weak point of the offense. The Tigers do return though their top receiver in Rodgeriques Smith and their 2nd leading receiver Montez Billing, but the receiving core doesn't have that breakaway guy that a lot of offenses have, but the thing is that Auburn doesn't throw the ball a lot, and they probably won't this year with the strong group of running backs they have and a first year starter at quarterback. It appears though that Auburn will have one of the, if not the best defense in the SEC. The defensive line is led by tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and Antonio Coleman. The Tigers have one of the best linebackers in the SEC in Tray Blackmon, along with a good secondary led by Jerraud Powers and Aarion Savage. Auburn is the favorite in the SEC with one of the best defenses and with an offense that should be solid. The key games for Auburn are LSU, Tennessee, @West Virginia, Georgia and @Alabama.
  LSU Tigers logo2. LSU-The Tigers may have lost Ryan Perrilloux, but they have enough talent returning on offense along with a defense that should be solid that LSU can contend for a SEC West Title. The Tigers big question in who'll be the new starting quarterback. Most likely it'll be freshman Jarrett Lee who is extremely talented. Lee won't be asked to win games for the Tigers, but will be asked to not make mistakes and to give the ball to the many playmakers the Tigers have on offense. The Tigers have 4 good running backs led by Keiland Williams who rushed for 480 yards last year as the Tigers backup. The other good running backs for the Tigers are speedster Trindon Holliday, Charles Scott and Richard Murphy. All of these guys showed a lot of promise last year, as backup for LSU. The Tiger also have a lot of good receivers on the outside. The best receivers are Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd, who both had over 600 yards receiving last season. The Tigers also return sophmore Terrance Toliver who showed a lot of promise last year as a freshman, and tight end Richard Dickson. The Tigers might've lost 6 starters off of last years great defense, but they should still have a good defense this season. The Tigers lose Glenn Dorsey and Ali Highsmith, yet they still have the best front 7 in the SEC. The Tigers have two good defensive ends in Tyson Jackson and Kirston Pittman, along with a very good defensive tackle in Ricky Jean-Francois. The Tigers best returnee on the linebacking core is Darry Beckwith, but the key for LSU's defense in 08 is to find two good cornerbacks. The leaders for those two jobs are Jai Eugene and Chris Hawkins, but they did struggle a bit in Spring Practice. What should help out the new cornerbacks though is the return of Chad Jackson and Harry Coleman. Coleman proved himself last year, when he was called on last year. The key games for LSU this season are @Auburn, @Florida, @South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.
Alabama Crimson Tide logo3. Alabama-The Crimson Tide should be a lot better in 2008 in the 2nd year of Nick Saban. Teams usually improve drasitically in the 2nd year with Nick Saban as the coach. Alabama has a solid quarterback in John Parker Wilson, but he needs to be much more consistant. He looked very good at times, but he also looked very bad at times as well. I think in year 2 under Saban he'll be more consistant. Alabama is hoping that Terry Grant can get over 1000 yards this season. In the Spring Game he looked very good, and it appears that he's improved drastically this season. The other key  is to replace the receivers they lost. Losing DJ Hall, Matt Caddell and Keith Brown was huge. Watch out for Julio Jones to make an impact their. The biggest key on the defensive end is the linebacking core, The Linebackers weren't great in 08, and they need to improve. They also have depth issues at the position as well. Rolando McClain had a great first year at linebacker, but his supporting cast wasn't too great. I think that Saban will improve the defense mightily this season. The key games for Alabama this season are Clemson, @Georgia, @Tennessee, @LSU and Auburn
Mississippi St. Bulldogs logo4. Mississippi St.-Last year, Mississippi was able to turn everything around winning 8 games. A big reason was because of the development of then sophomore Wes Carroll. They should have a very good running game lead by Anthony Dixon, but they will have another good running back Robert Elliot. The Bulldogs aren’t as loaded t receiver, but they have a solid receiver in Jamayal Smith. The defense should be good once again with 8 returning starters. The big loss was defensive end Titus Brown. Anthony Johnson is a very good defensive back, and they have a very good duo at defensive tackle in Kyle Love and Jessie Bowman. Along with a solid middle linebacker in Jamar Chaney. Mississippi State should be a solid team again this season. They have a good offense and a good defense, that should be good enough for another bowl game, Sly Croom has really built up this program. The most important games for Miss. State this season are Auburn, @Georgia Tech, @Tennessee, Kentucky, @Alabama, Arkansas and of course the rivalry game @Ole Miss.
  Mississippi Rebels logo5. Ole Miss-The Rebels are hoping that Houston Nutt will be able to turn around Ole Miss and bring them back to respectability. Jevan Snead is expected to be able to step right away and to produce away. Snead was never able to get able a chance at Texas, but many feel that he is talented and will be a good quarterback. The Rebels seem to have two running backs that will be able to produce in Cordero Eason and Enrique Davis. Davis was a former Auburn recruit that decided to go to Ole Miss after a year at prep school. The Rebels return their top 5 receivers so Snead won’t have to throw the ball to inexperienced receivers, the best of them is Mike Wallace. The defense has a lot of problems, and that’ll hold back Ole Miss this season. The defensive line struggled, but there is talent there. The guy that everybody expects to step up and finally produce is Jerrell Powe. It gets worse on defense, though. The linebackers had trouble all of last season and are hitting the JUCO to try to get some experience at that position. The defensive backs have such bad depth that they made a receiver and a running back to the defensive backfield. The most winnable and important games for Ole Miss this season are Memphis, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, @Arkansas, Auburn and @Mississippi State.
Arkansas Razorbacks logo6. Arkansas-Arkansas will have a tough season this year, but Petrino will get it turned around out eventually. Casey Dick looked good in spring, but he hasn’t proven that he can be a consistant quarterback. Michael Smith should be a solid running back this season, but he’s won’t come close to replacing Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. The Razorbacks also lost their top 2 receivers and their top returning receiver only had 17 catches last season. What am I saying? Arkansas will struggle on offense, that’s a certainty. The Razorbacks also lot a ton on defense as well. They lost their entire secondary, and they lost a lot of their linebacking core. Their defensive line seems like it’ll be pretty good this season, but Arkansas will struggle this season on defense and on offense this year. It’s a rebuilding year for Arkansas and Bobby Petrino this year. The most important games and winnable games for Arkansas this year are Western Illinois, @UL Monroe, @Texas, Alabama, @Kentucky, Mississippi and Tulsa.
All SEC Team: Offense: QB: Tim Tebow Jr. Florida RB: Knowshon Moreno So. Georgia RB: Arian Foster Sr. Tennessee OL: Michael Oher Sr. Ole Miss OL: Andre Smith Jr. Alabama OL: Ciron Black Jr. LSU OL: Jonathon Luigs Sr. Arkansas OL: Anthony Parker Sr. Tennessee TE: Cornelius Ingram Sr. Florida WR: Percy Harvin Jr. Florda WR: Lucas Taylor Sr. Tennessee   Defense: DL: Sen’Derrick Marks Jr. Auburn DL: Greg Hardy Jr. Ole Miss DL: Ricky Jean-Francois Jr. LSU DL: Kirston Pittman Sr. LSU LB: Brandon Spikes Jr. Florida LB: Tray Blackmon Jr. Auburn LB: Jasper Brinkley Sr. South Carolina CB: Asher Allen Jr. Georgia CB: Jerraud Powers Sr. Auburn S: Eric Berry Jr. Tennessee S: Captain Munnerlyn Jr. South Carolina   Special Teams: K: Wes Bynum So. Auburn P: Chas Henry So. Florida

Heisman Predictions:

Finally, my Heisman Candidates and my breakdown is over.  Tim Tebow should start on top of everybody's Preseason Heisman lists, even though it'll be a lot harder for him to win it last year. Matt Ryan was the midseason favorite before interceptions and some inconsistancy cost BC games against FSU and Maryland. Dennis Dixon would've certainly won if he had been able to keep up what he was doing after the Arizona St. game, but alas he got hurt. Darren McFadden wasn't really putting up specatcular stats throughout the entire season, expect for the two games against LSU and South Carolina. So Tebow won it, and he had great stats and was an excellent choice to win it, too bad I don't think he'll win it this year.

Tim Tebow plows through FSU defenders on the way to one of his two rushing touchdowns. (AP)1. Tim Tebow-The defending Heisman Winner will try to become the first player since Archie Griffen to win the Heisman two times. This year Tebow's stats won't be as good as last year, because unlike last year Florida should have a consistant running game led by Emmanual Moody and Chris Rainey. Because of this Tebow will not have anywhere close to the amount of rushing touchdowns and his amount rushing yards. His passing yards should be very similar seeing as he returns many of the weapons he had from last year, led by Percy Harvin. Even if Tebow doesn't win it he should still be in the race based on the fact that his team is a national title contendor and because he will still put up good numbers. The game that could make or breaks Tebow's hopes is most likely the game against Georgia in Jacksonville.


 

Ohio State sophomore Chris Wells rushes 31 times for 221 yards and a touchdown.  (US Presswire)2. Chris Wells-Halfway through the season Chris Wells was having a nice season, he was going to rush for over 1,000 yards and the Buckeyes were winning, but all that changed in the 2nd half of the season. In the 2nd half of the year Chris "Beanie" Wells exploded against Michigan State, Penn State and Michigan. He ended the season with over 1500 yards and thus has put him squarely into the Heisman Race. If Chris Wells wants to win the Heisman he'll have to put up numbers similar to 2nd half of the season, instead of the 1st half of the year. Another important part is the Buckeyes have to be in the National Title race and knowing that they return 20 starters they should be again. The final key for Wells to have a shot for the Heisman is that he must come up big when the Buckeyes need him, and he did through most of last year. He'll have a chance to show off his skills on the national stage when OSU plays USC, Wisconsin, PSU and Illinois.


 

This pretty much sums it up: The Cornhuskers can't keep up with Tigers QB Chase Daniel.  (AP)3. Chase Daniel-Last year Chase Daniel had a record breaking season last year throwing for 33 touchdowns last year and for over 4000 yards. It also helped that Missouri was able to win 12 games, with that Daniel was able to be a Heisman Finalist. This year Missouri returns most of their skilled position players from last year, led by Jeromy Maclin and Chase Coffman. The player missing is 1,000 yard rusher Tony Temple so Daniel probably would be able to throw the ball and therefore put up better stats. This year Missouri doesn't have to play Oklahoma this year, but they do travel to play Texas and they start the year with Illinois at home.


 

West Virginia quarterback Pat White rushes for 156 yards and a score on the day.  (US Presswire)4. Pat White-Last year WVU was the Pat White show as Pat White had a great junior year rushed for 1300 yards and throwing for another 1700. With losing his top receiver Darius Reynaud and his running back Steve Slaton, Pat White will have to carry an even greater load then last year, but we saw that even without Slaton they will have a good running back. Just ask Oklahoma, they'd agree with me after the way Devine tore up their defense. The key games for WVU this year that are important for Pat White's Heisman hopes are the mid season game with Auburn in Morgantown and the road game against Pitt.


 

Knowshon Moreno outruns the competition once again, this time for a first-quarter touchdown. (US Presswire)5. Knowshon Moreno-Knowshon Moreno had a great freshman year last year, helping to lead UGA to a Sugar Bowl victory and a top 5 finish in the polls. Moreno who rushed for 1200 yards last year, was an afterthought early in the year, but after he had a great performance against Florida everybody knew who he was. Expect Moreno to be in the Heisman discussion mainly because his team will be in the national title hunt. Moreno should put up good stats, but don't expect the stats to take your breath away because this year Moreno will have to share the backfield with highly touted freshman Caleb King. Moreno will have a lot of games that he can be in the spotlight, the big games in Georgia's schedule are Arizona State, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and LSU.


 

Sam Bradford has a big day against Texas A&M as he finishes with five TD passes and zero INTs.  (AP)6. Sam Bradford-Last year Sam Bradford had the greatest freshman season for a quarterback ever. He was able to throw for over 3000 yards and throw for 36 touchdowns. He was able to lead Oklahoma to a Big XII championship, and despite that he struggled a bit against WVU he still had a great season. Bradford losses one of his top targets in Malcolm Kelley, but returns Joaquin Iglesias and Jermaine Gresham. The big, important games on Oklahoma's schedule for Bradford are the early season matchup with one of last season's best defenses in Cincinnati, Texas and Texas Tech. If Bradford plays well in those games and plays well this season he could make a run at the Heisman.


Michael Crabtree7. Michael Crabtree-Last year Michael Crabtree had probably the best freshman season for a reciever. He was able to score 22 touchdowns and have over 1900 yards recieving. The amazing part is that his stats will most likely be better this year with the loss of 2nd leading reciever Danny Amendola. Saying that I expect Michael Crabtree to have over 2000 yards recieving and that will surely put him into the Heisman talks, though his stats are a bit inflated by the system Texas Tech runs. The key games for Crabtree's Heisman hopes are road games against Kansas, and Oklahoma, along with a home game against Texas.

 


 

 

It's P.J. Hill time: The Badgers backfield star gets denied here, but has 5 TDs vs. The Citadel.  (AP)8. PJ Hill-Last year PJ Hill had a somewhat down season running for a bit over 1200 yards. The problem for him last year was that he was never really able to get healthy and in reality he only played in 9 games, so considering that 1200 yards was pretty good. The thing that might keep Hill from competing for the Heisman is that he has to share the backfield with 3 really good running backs, but the only thing is PJ should get the most carries and he should still have a chance to get 1500+ yards. The important games for Hill seem to be the back to back night games for Hill at home against Ohio St and Penn St, two teams known for their stingy defense. The only good thing for Wisconsin and PJ Hill about those games, is that they are 20-1 in their past 21 night games, so don't be suprised if Wisconsin is able to win both of those games.

 


 

Florida's Percy Harvin is downright amazing, finishing with 195 total yards and one touchdown.  (AP)9. Percy Harvin-It'll be very difficult for Percy Harvin to win the Heisman. Having Tim Tebow on your team will do that for you, but he deserves consideration because he is one of the better players in all of college football. Considering what he did last year: He had over 800 yards receiving and over 750 yards rushing.....that's pretty good in itself. This year expect Harvin's running total to go down by a lot with Emmanual Moody and Chris Rainey getting the bulk of the carries, but expect his receiving totals to go up with the loss of their 2nd leading reciever Andre Caldwell. The only way I can really see Harvin winning the Heisman is if he has an amazing game against Georgia and is able put no doubt in anyone's mind in who's the best player on the field. Harvin=great player, but no likely to win the Heisman.

 


 

Kansas QB Todd Reesing creates havoc on the ground against Colorado as he scrambles for 84 yards.  (AP)10. Todd Reesing-Yeah, I know Todd Reesing had a great last year and threw for 33 touchdowns and lead a Kansas team to an Orange Bowl win. I also know Kansas returns 16 starters, I also know that Kansas last year wasn't very good, used the BCS System and played a Virginia Tech squad from the weak ACC that had lose by 41 to LSU at the start of the year. Reesing had a great season last year and was able to put up great stats, but let's see how he does against tougher competition. This year Kansas doesn't play an easy schedule like last year and actually finally have some good teams on the schedule. The teams that Kansas play this year that are important for Reesing's Heisman hopes are USF, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech and Missouri. Kansas fans enjoy that great year last year, because it's not going to happen very often.

 


 

Other Heisman Contendors:  Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, Todd Boeckman, Graham Harrell, Noel Devine

 

Posted on: May 16, 2008 10:20 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2008 10:39 pm
 

Badgers Ballers Revised Top 25

I have changed a few things in my new Top 25. One thing though you should know UGA is still #1, this team seems poised to make a title run and with so many players returning I can see why. They will have one of the best offenses in 08 and will have a very good defense.

Georgia Bulldogs logo1. Georgia-The 'Dawgs ended the year in style in blowing out a Hawaii team that didn't deserve to play in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs look like they'll have a very potent offense in 08 led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno. Last year, Stafford struggled a bit in passing effiencincy, but expect an improvement this year. At running back expect Moreno to have around the same amount of carries he had late in the year because Georgia is expecting big things from freshman running back Caleb King. At the receiver position they return their leading receiver in Mohamed Massaquoi and their best tight end Tripp Chandler. The Georgia coaches though, are excited by the emergence of freshman receiver AJ Green, who was rated by many as the top high school receiver. The defense last year for Georgia was very strong, and expect an improvement this season. The Bulldogs had one of the best run defenses in the country last year and with the return of Geno Atkins and Kade Weston expect more of the same for Georgia. The strength of the Georgia defense should be the linebacker position. The linebackers are led by Dannell Ellerbe who had 93 tackles last year, but this unit has 2 other good linebackers. The secondary is led by conerback Asher Allen who was one of the top cover corners late in last year, and safety Reshad Jones. The biggest loss for the Bulldogs might be the loss of kicker Brandon Coutu. The thing that might be the only thing standing in the way of Georgia and a national championship is a very tough schedule. In non-conference the Bulldogs have to play @Arizona St., and in conference they play Tennessee, Florida, @Auburn, @LSU, and @South Carolina. If the Bulldogs can go through that schedule with only one loss they deserve a trip to the National Title Game.


 

Southern Cal. Trojans logo2. USC-The Trojans lose 10 players to the NFL Draft, yet they are once again fighting for a National Title and once again they are expected at worst to play in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans key to sucess is the play of their quarterback, Mark Sanchez. Last year, Sanchez got some valuable experience so it's not like he's never started a game. The running game should once again be very good, it'll be lead by Joe McKnight, Stefan Johnson and CJ Gable. The weak point of USC offensively is their receivers. All of their receivers were big time players coming out of high school, but so far they really haven't been able to live up to expectations. If they can finally do it, then USC will have one of the better offenses in the nation, and the receiving trio of Vidal Hazleton, Patrick Turner and David Ausberry could become one of the best in the nation. We know one thing for certain the defense of USC will be very good. The defense returns two All-American candidates at linebacker in Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga. The Trojans also return All American Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison to form one of the best safety duos in America. The cornerbacks of Cary Harris and Shareece Wright aren't too bad either. Though they do lose one of the best defensive tackles from last year USC should be fine up front. Fili Moala is expected to become the Trojans next dominant defensive tackle and don't be suprised if he's one of the first players taken in next April's draft. Everson Griffen is also expected to step up after having a really solid freshman season. The Trojans have a much more favorable schedule then UGA, and after the game with OSU all the tough conference games are at home. If the Trojans do beat Ohio State they should be in the National Title game.


 

Ohio St. Buckeyes logo3. Ohio St.-Last year was supposed to be a "Rebuilding" season for the Buckeyes, obviously a rebuilding year is to win the Big Ten Title and go to a National Championship game. The Buckeyes offense will run on the back of Chris "Beanie" Wells who had a great first season as the Buckeyes starting running back. This season Wells should be a major contendor for the Heisman. Todd Boeckman looked great over the first 9 games, but he really struggled with turnovers late last year. The key for him is to not make mistakes. The offensive line looks solid once again as it'll be lead by Alex Boone. The receiving core returns it's top 3 receivers in Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline and Ray Small. The defense should be very good for Ohio St with the return of nearly everybody from last years team. Though losing Vernon Gholsten will hurt, many of the OSU coaches think that his replacement Lawrence Wilson will be even better. Wilson was poised for a breakout year last year before getting hurt in the opener for OSU. The defense will have two top 10 picks on this team in James Laurinitas and Malcolm Jenkins so expect another succesful season from Ohio St on defense. OSU should be able to contend for a National Title. They do have to play @USC, but unlike USC many of their tougher games in the Big Ten are on the road as they have to travel to play Wisconsin and Illinois.


 

Oklahoma Sooners logo4. Oklahoma-Laughter roared across the nation as Oklahoma once again lost their bowl game and because of this Oklahoma is now known as Chokelahoma. Don't worry Sooners fans your team should contend for a Big 12 Title and possibly a National Title. The Sooners should be very good on offense, and it all starts up front with a very good offensive line. The line should give Sam Bradford plenty of time to throw and open up a lot of holes for the running backs to run. The running back situation is a bit of a mystery in, how are they going to divide the carries. The Sooners can go 4 deep at the running back position, but expect most of the carries to go to the experienced guys in Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray. Though losing Malcolm Kelley will hurt, the Sooners still return Joaquin Iglesias and one of the better tight ends in the country in Jermaine Gresham. The Sooners lose a lot of guys in the linebacking and defensive back cores, but the defense should still be good because of a dominant front 4. The front line is led by the two tackles in Gerald McCoy and DeMarcus Granger. If the secondary do as well as they did in practice, then the Sooners should be fine on defense. The Sooners have to play Texas, Kansas, Texas Tech and Cincinnati this season. The good thing all 4 of those games are at home.


 

Florida Gators logo5. Florida-Looking back it was simply amazing what Tim Tebow was able to do last season. He was able to carry the Gators last season to a 9 win season and along the way he became the first underclassman to win the Heisman. The Gators are going to go back to a two-quarterback system this season with Cam Newton coming in for Tim Tebow at times. The real key for the Gators to take the next step on offense is a legit running game. Chris Rainey looked really good in the Spring Game, but the Gators are hoping that Emmanuel Moody can become "the guy" at running back. One thing we know for sure the Gators are loaded at receiver. The Gators have one of the best receivers in Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy. The Gators also have two very good tight ends in Aaron Hernandez and  Cornelious Ingram. The defense though has to improve after struggling mightily last year. The Gators do return 8 starters so the defense should be better. The weakness of this defense is defending the pass. The Gators allowed over 250 yards through the air, and that is terrible for a team that wants to contend for a SEC Title. The best player on the defense should be linebacker Brandon Spikes who looks like a guy that could be an All American, but the real key is to stop the pass and the Gators are hoping that the strong recruiting class will help in that regard. The schedule doesn't look as difficult as Georgia's schedule, but their are certainly some tests on it. The Gators have to play @Tennessee, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina. The good thing is the toughest opponents are at home.


 

Missouri Tigers logo6. Missouri-Last year was one of the best seasons in Missouri football, yet they got screwed by the BCS Committee and they had to play an Arkansas team that they were much better then. The Missouri offense should be specatacular next season. The Tigers are led by Heisman Candidate Chase Daniel and by receiver Jeremy Maclin. Last year, Daniel transformed into one of the best quarterbacks in the country as he threw for 33 touchdowns opposed to only 11 interceptions. The biggest question mark for the Tigers on offense is the running game with the loss of Tony Temple. The Tigers are hoping that senior Jimmy Jackson can improve on his 330 yards rushing from last year and step up this season. Chase Daniel should have plenty of guys to throw to though. Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman both return giving Missouri one of the best receivers and tight ends in the country, respectively. The Tigers are hoping that Danario Alexander after being injured a lot last year and give the Tigers a 3rd target. Alexander had 400 yard receiving despite being hurt most of last year. The Tigers could become a National Title Contendor if their defense is able to improve. The defense last year, struggled at times, but they are expected to improve this year with the return of 10 starters. The Tigers were one of the best teams last year in forcing turnovers and if they can do this again the defense should be a lot better. The Tigers have one of the best secondaries and the Tigers are hoping that can help them against teams that like to spread people out like Illinois, @Texas and Kansas. Missouri had a great year last year, maybe they can have an encore of sorts.


 

West Virginia Mountaineers logo7. West Virginia-The Mountaineers had a tough stretch in December. First their National Title hopes were dashed by Pitt at home and then a few days later their coach Rich Rod left WVU for Michigan. It seemed like their bowl game had all the makings of a blowout, and it did with West Virginia completely blowing out Oklahoma. The 'Neers will be lead by Heisman quarterback candidate Pat White and by shifty running back Noel Devine who average 8 yards a carry last year. The Mountaineers lose their best receiver in Darius Reynaud and the fullback Owen Schmitt. The Mountaineers are hoping though that Dorrell Jalloh and Tito Gonzales are able to make up the production lost with Reynaud's departure. The offensive line though looks like it'll be really good with the return of 5 guys who have started at least one game. The defense should be taking a step back with the loss of their top defensive backs, and that's extremely bad for WVU considering that they play a 3-3-5 defense where they play 5 defensive backs at once. The Mountaineers return their linebackers so expect Reed Williams and Mortty Ivy to have big seasons. The Mountaineers also return Scooter Berry and Chris Nield who both contributed and should contribute this year as well. The key games on this season for WVU this season are Auburn, USF, Cincinnati, and @UConn.


 Wisconsin Badgers logo8. Wisconsin-The Wisconsin Badgers had a somewhat disappointing season last year finishing 9-4. This season Wisconsin has bigger goals and they are hoping for a BCS Bowl appearence. The Badgers have one of the best group of running backs where they can go 4 deep. The best of the bunch is PJ Hill who has rushed for 1000+ yards in his first two years on campus. The Badgers lost their leaders at the receiving position with the graduation of Luke Swan and Paul Hubbard, but Wisconsin expects Kyle Jefferson to take the next step after having a very good freshman season. The Badgers do have two well established tight ends in All American Travis Beckum and Garrett Graham. The offensive line should good once again, with the return of 4 starters. The Badgers are hoping that the defense can return to the form of 2006 unit, last year the defense endured multiple injuries as they struggled mightily last season. The Badgers have some playmakers on defense led with Matt Shaugnessy, Jonathon Cassilas, DeAndre Levy and Allen Langford. The Badgers are hoping that Jay Valai can continue the play that he had late in last year, and help solidify a shakey safety unit. The Badgers big games in 2008 are @Fresno St, Ohio St, Penn St, Illinois and @Michigan St.


 

Texas Longhorns logo9. Texas-The Longhorns last year on defense were god-awful on defense, and they are hoping that the hiring of Will Muschamp will help improve the unit. On offense the Longhorns return quarterback Colt McCoy who last year took somewhat a step back from his freshman season, but expect him to have another good year this season. The Longhorns need to find a replacement for Jamaal Charles if they want this offense to be near what it was last season. The guy they think that can be their new running back is Vondrell McGee, who showed great flashes as a freshman. The Longhorns lose a lot of their weapons on the outside in Limas Sweed, Nate Jones and Jermichael Finley. The Longhorns though do have two receivers they can count on in Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby. The offensive line should improve as well this season. The defense is the key to the success in 2008. The Longhorns pass defense was a joke last season, but it should improve with the return of many of their key players this season. Muschamp believes the key to the teams success is to get pressure on the quarterback more. Brian Orakpo is the star of the defense, and Muschamp is hoping that he can lead a defensive line that will be able to get pressure on the quarterback. Muschamp has also experimented with a 4-2-5 defense to help their weakness at defensive back. The key games for Texas are Oklahoma, Missouri, @Texas Tech, @Kansas, and Texas A&M.


 

Clemson Tigers logo10. Clemson-Will this be the year that Clemson finally doesn't choke and where they can finish the year on top of the ACC. They should, but as of right now we aren't sure if they will. Clemson returns a lot of good skilled players at the skill positions in 08. The Tigers will be lead by Cullen Harper who had an extremely good first year as starter of the Tigers. They also return their top 2 running backs in CJ Spiller and James Davis and then they add a Prep All American in Jamie Harper.The Tigers also return their top receiver in Aaron Kelley at receiver and their 2nd leading receiver in Tyler Grisham. The Tigers weakness is their offensive line where they only return one starter. They need to have a good offensive line to give Harper time and to open up holes for Spiller and Davis. The defense also appears to have one weak point just like the offense and that is the linebackers. They lose Nick Watkins and Termaine Billie from the linebacking core, and defensive end Phillip Merling. The Tigers do return all 4 starters in the defensive back core, hopefully for the Tigers sake they find a good group of linebackers because for the past couple of year, the linebackers have been leaders on the team. The key games for Clemson on the schedule are Alabama, @Wake Forest, @Florida St, @Boston College and South Carolina.


 

Virginia Tech Hokies logo11. Virginia Tech-The Hokies might've lost most of their players from last year's ACC Championship team, but the Hokies still play in the worst BCS Conference and they have one of the best coaches in America in Frank Beamer. The Hokies though do have two experienced quarterbacks in Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon, and as of right now we don't know who'll be the starter. My guess is that it'll be Sean Glennon, who played very well late in last year and has more experience of Glennon. Though the Hokies did lose starting running back Brandon Ore, expect the Hokies to still have a very good running game with the return of 4 out of 5 starters on the offensive line, along with not having great experience at receiver. The Hokies don't have a lot returning player on offense, but with a solid quarterback and a good offensive line, expect the Hokies to at least be able to move the ball, and score some points. The Hokies lose a lot of talent on defense as well, but expect Frank Beamer to replace the defense again and put together a defense that can make big plays and force a lot of turnovers. The Hokies are hoping that seniors Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdiviant will be able to step in at linebacker, these guys at least bring experience with both of them being seniors. Up front the Hokies have All ACC Performer Orion Martin and Jason Worlids returning up front. The secondary looks like it'll be solid as well with the return of Macho Harris and safety Kam Chancellor. The key games for the Hokies this year are @Nebraska, @Florida St, @Boston College,@Miami(FL) and Virginia.


 

Texas Tech Red Raiders logo12. Texas Tech-Is this the year that the Texas Tech Red Raiders are able to break through and finally go to a BCS Bowl game? They finally have the chance with one of the best offenses returning in the country and this year they finally return a solid defense as well. The Tech offense will be lead by Graham Harrell who is in his 3rd year as the starting quarterback, he's one of the best quarterbacks in the country and is a legit Heisman Candidate. The Red Raiders also have a Heisman Candidate at receiver as well in the form of Michael Crabtree, who had one of the best freshman seasons in recent memory. The Red Raiders though do lose 1000 yard reciever Danny Amemdola, but Texas Tech does return two receivers that last year had over 600 yards receiving in Edward Britton and Eric Morris, they should offset the loss of losing Amemdola. The Red Raiders should have a decent running game led by Shannon Woods, but Texas Tech likes to air it out, and the running back is more important in helping in the receiving game. The defense looks to be very solid this year, and it's the main reason why people think Texas Tech could make a BCS Bowl this season. The key for the defense this season is to be able to stop the run. The Raiders were one of the best against stopping the pass, which was definantly helped by having to go against Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell everyday in practice. If the Red Raiders can at least find a way to at least limit the run, the Red Raiders should be able to challange Oklahoma in the Big 12 South. The key games for Texas Tech this season are @Texas A&M, @Kansas, @Oklahoma and Texas.


Auburn Tigers logo13. Auburn-When Ryan Perrilloux got kicked off the LSU football team, it made the Auburn Tigers the favorite in the SEC West. The Tigers coaching staff believes that Kodi Burns will be able to lead the new spread, no huddle offense that will be run at Auburn this year under a new offensive coordinator. The Tigers have 4 very good running backs in Ben Tate, Brad Lester, Carl Stewart, and Mario Fannin. Fannin is the most versatile of the group and he is expected to line up a lot at the receiver position. The receiver position seems like it'll be the weak point of the offense. The Tigers do return though their top receiver in Rodgeriques Smith and their 2nd leading receiver Montez Billing, but the receiving core doesn't have that breakaway guy that a lot of offenses have, but the thing is that Auburn doesn't throw the ball a lot, and they probably won't this year with the strong group of running backs they have and a first year starter at quarterback. It appears though that Auburn will have one of the, if not the best defense in the SEC. The defensive line is led by tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and Antonio Coleman. The Tigers have one of the best linebackers in the SEC in Tray Blackmon, along with a good secondary led by Jerraud Powers and Aarion Savage. Auburn is the favorite in the SEC with one of the best defenses and with an offense that should be solid. The key games for Auburn are LSU, Tennessee, @West Virginia, Georgia and @Alabama.

 

LSU Tigers logo14. LSU-The Tigers may have lost Ryan Perrilloux, but they have enough talent returning on offense along with a defense that should be solid that LSU can contend for a SEC West Title. The Tigers big question in who'll be the new starting quarterback. Most likely it'll be freshman Jarrett Lee who is extremely talented. Lee won't be asked to win games for the Tigers, but will be asked to not make mistakes and to give the ball to the many playmakers the Tigers have on offense. The Tigers have 4 good running backs led by Keiland Williams who rushed for 480 yards last year as the Tigers backup. The other good running backs for the Tigers are speedster Trindon Holliday, Charles Scott and Richard Murphy. All of these guys showed a lot of promise last year, as backup for LSU. The Tiger also have a lot of good receivers on the outside. The best receivers are Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd, who both had over 600 yards receiving last season. The Tigers also return sophmore Terrance Toliver who showed a lot of promise last year as a freshman, and tight end Richard Dickson. The Tigers might've lost 6 starters off of last years great defense, but they should still have a good defense this season. The Tigers lose Glenn Dorsey and Ali Highsmith, yet they still have the best front 7 in the SEC. The Tigers have two good defensive ends in Tyson Jackson and Kirston Pittman, along with a very good defensive tackle in Ricky Jean-Francois. The Tigers best returnee on the linebacking core is Darry Beckwith, but the key for LSU's defense in 08 is to find two good cornerbacks. The leaders for those two jobs are Jai Eugene and Chris Hawkins, but they did struggle a bit in Spring Practice. What should help out the new cornerbacks though is the return of Chad Jackson and Harry Coleman. Coleman proved himself last year, when he was called on last year. The key games for LSU this season are @Auburn, @Florida, @South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.


 

Oregon Ducks logo15. Oregon-I probably have Oregon higher then most people do and that's okay with me. I really feel that Oregon will have a solid football team this year despite losing Dennis Dixon and Jonathon Stewart. I really think whoever replaces Dixon will be fine. Chip Kelley is one of the best offensive coordinators in the country, and whoever he picks will become a very good quarterback in time. The odds on favorite right now has to be Justin Roper who looked great against USF in the Sun Bowl and has looked good in Spring Ball. The other guy that I think will contend in Nate Costa who is currently recovering from an injury to his leg, but when he does become healthy Justin Roper needs to watch out because Costa will challange him. The running game could be better this season even without Jonathon Stewart. LaGarette Blount and Jeremiah Johnson apprear like they'll make a great one-two punch of Oregon this seaon, and there is great depth behind them too, led by Andre Crenshaw. Oregon has a pretty good receiver in Jaison Williams who had over 800 yards receiving last year and they return a very good tight end in Ed Dickson. The problem though is that Oregon doesn't have much depth behind Williams with the loss of their #2 and #3 receivers Cameron Colvin and Garren Strong. The Ducks are hoping that Derrick Jones can have a breakout junior year after having a solid sophmore season. The defense for Oregon this season should be much improved. They have one of the best defensive backs in the country in rover Patrick Chung. They also have a very good corner in Jarius Byrd along with a safety that impressed many in Spring Ball in TJ Ward. The key games for Oregon this season are @Purdue, @USC, @Arizona St, @Cal and @Oregon State. The Duck have some tough games on the road, but I think they should be able to overcome it.


 

Penn St. Nittany Lions logo16. Penn St.-This was a rough offseason for Penn State, as they struggled with a lot of the off the field issues.  I think PSU is more talented then this ranking, but I can't rank them higher with all the problems happening off the field. I expect Daryll Clark to be their starting quarterback this season, he should be better then Anthony Morelli was last season. Morelli struggled as he was inconsistant, and many PSU fans blame him for most of last seasons struggles. The Nittany Lions have a solid running duo in Evan Royster who was solid last season and freshman Stephen Green who impressed many at the Spring Game. The Nittany Lions should have a solid offensive line led by center AQ Shipley. The Lions also have a very good trio of receivers in Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood. The offense will be better, but their are offenses in the Big Ten that are a better especially Wisconsin and Ohio St. The defense looks like it'll be very good again despite the loss of All American Sean Lee. PSU has a future top 10 pick at defensive end in Maurice Evans, and they have anothe good defensive end in Josh Gaines. Penn St has some very good backup linebackers so I think they should be able to at least find someone to do at least a decent job in replacing Lee. PSU has some solid defensive backs as well. Safety Anthony Scirrotto is the best of them, but they do have some other good defensive backs. AJ Wallace should be fine as a starting defensive back, but can Lydell Sargeant be a good #1 cornerback and shut down good receivers like Brian Robiskie, Rejus Benn or Kyle Jefferson. The key games for Penn St this season are Oregon St, Ilinois, Michigan, @Wisconsin, @Ohio St, and Michigan St.


 

Arizona St. Sun Devils logo17. Arizona St-Last year Arizona St. was a suprise in the Pac 10 winning the conference, but was Arizona St. really the 2nd or best team in the Pac 10? The answer is no, they had a favorable schedule and whenever they played a legit team they got destroyed. This season Arizona St. should be a better team with the return of many of their key players, but it might not show in the polls because of the tough schedule they have.The Sun Devils had a ton of trouble protecting the quarterback so Dennis Erickson is changing schemes this season to more a spread look with a lot 4 and 5 wide sets. The Sun Devils have a pretty good quarterback in Rudy Carpenter who had a good first year in Erickson's system despite being thrown to the ground 4 to 5 times a game. The Sun Devils should have a solid running game led by Keegan Herring and Dimitri Nance. They also have some good wide receivers in Chris McGaha, Michael Jones and Kyle Williams, but like I said before the real key to this offense is the offensive line, which should be worse then last year with the graduation of 4 starters. It could be an interesting season for Arizona St on the offensive side of the ball this season. On defense Erickson is planning for his team to be in attack mode. The Sun Devils return two very good defensive ends in Dexter Davis and Luis Vasquez. The big reason that Arizona St wants to blitz a lot this season is because of the good secondary they have in Omar Bolden and safety Troy Nolan. The key games for Arizona St. this year are Georgia, @USC, Oregon, @Oregon State and UCLA.


 

BYU Cougars logo18. BYU-The BYU Cougars seem like the team that is best equipped mid-major in going to a BCS Bowl. The Cougars have a very good offense led by quarterback Max Hall who threw for 26 touchdowns last year opposed to only 12 interceptions. The Cougars also return a very good rushing attack led by sophmore Harvey Unga who rushed for 1200 yards last season. They also return Manase Tonga who rushed for 8 touchdowns last season. The Cougars also return 5 of their top 6 receiving targets from last year. The best of the bunch is Austin Collie who had over 900 yards receiving last season. The Cougars also return tight end Dennis Pitta who had 800 yards receiving last season, along with their #2 receiver Michael Reed. Obvisouly, they won't have any trouble scoring on anybody, but they could have some trouble stopping opposing offenses with the return of only 3 starters on defense. The major question marks on defense are in the linebacking core and the secondary. In the secondary the Cougars are losing all 4 starters, and it appears they could have some major trouble against teams with a good passing attack. The linebacking core doesn't have as many problems as the secondary does, but it's not like their returning all 3 starters. Bronco Mendenhall is confident they he'll be able to replace the linebackers, and expects a big year from David Nixon. I'm not as confident as Mendenhall is, but time will tell. If BYU can get a consistant defense they have a shot to go to a BCS Bowl game, if not they should still be able to win the MWC. The key games for BYU this season are @Washington, UCLA, @TCU, @Utah and @Air Force.


 

Tennessee Volunteers logo19. Tennessee-I realized that I overranked Tennessee in my first preseason rankings. Tennessee should have a fairly good team this season, but I don't think they can compete with Florida and Georgia in the rough SEC East.  The Vols are breaking in a new quarterback in Jonathon Crompton, but he has some good players around him that it shouldn't be a rough transition. Tennessee returns a pretty good running back in Arian Foster who rushed for over 1000 yards last season. The Vols also return much of their offensive line that was one of the best last year allowing only 4 sacks. The Volounteers also have a very good receiving in Lucas Taylor, and they return their 2nd and 3rd receivers in Austin Rodgers and Josh Briscoe. Expect Gerald Jones to become a bigger part of the offense this season in the receiving game, but also as a quarterback in a formation they are calling the G-Gun. The other major loss on offense was the loss of coordinator David Cutcliffe. The defense struggled a bit in 08, but they should be better this year, especially in the secondary. The best player in the secondary is sophmore Eric Berry, who should be able to challange for a spot on the All American team. The Vols in turn return 6 guys that have had experience starting in the secondary, so they shouldn't have trouble stopping the pass, but they do have some problems up front. The Vols have some good starters up front, but they have absoloutly no depth at those positions so if one gets injured the Vols could be screwed. The Vols also have to replace 1st round pick Jerod Mayo, if they can, and they have no injuries up front Tennessee should have a very good defense. The key games for Tennessee this year are @UCLA, Florida, @Auburn, @Georgia, Alabama and @South Carolina.


Illinois Fighting Illini logo20. Illinois-Last season Illinois went from the cellar to the top of the Big Ten, which included a win over Ohio St. They then went to the Rose Bowl and were able to upset USC. Wait, they actually didn't. I'm a Big Ten fan, but Illinois didn't deserve a BCS bid last year. Yes, they were better then other BCS Contendors like Arizona St, and BC, but they certainly weren't one of the 10 best teams in the country. This season Illinois should be good once again, but they certainly won't have the season they had last season, with the Big Ten being much better and Illinois not being as good. The Illini do return an experienced quarterback in Juice Williams who had an up and down year. He looked great against Ohio St, but also looked terrible against Iowa. This season he needs to step up, especially with the loss of running back Rashard Mendenhall. The Ilini are hoping that Daniel Dufrene can at least give the Illini a respectable running game, but don't expect him to be able to replace the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. The Illini are hoping that Arrelious(Rejus) Benn can take the next step in his sophmore year and become an All Big Ten Performer. Jeff Cumberland should be able to produce as a receiver as well. The defense should take a step back this season, but the defense should still be solid. The Illini have a future star at defensive end in Martez Wilson, but even though this years Illinois defense is more athletic and more talented they are less experienced so there could be some major growing pains. The Illini do also lose All America and defensive leader J Lemen. He won't be able to be replaced and the Illini can't replace his production. The Illini do though have a very cornerback in Vontae Davis. The key games for Illinois this season are Missouri, @Penn State, @Wisconsin, and Ohio St.

 

Fresno St. Bulldogs logo21. Fresno St.-If Fresno St goes to a BCS Bowl game they earned it. The Bulldogs have put together a tough non-conference slate, and they'll be hard pressed to go undefeated this season. The Bulldogs will be lead by Tom Branstater who had a solid season last year at quarterback. The Bulldogs have a solid running game led by Ryan Mathews and Clifton Smith. The Bulldogs also have some really good receivers. The best targets are receiver Marlon Smith and tight end Bear Priscoe. The Bulldogs should have a very good offense this season, but the real question mark is the defense. The Bulldogs lost their best players on defense. Those guys are Marcus Riley and Tyler Clutts. If Fresno St wants to have a decent defense they need someone to step up and take a leadership role, the guys is likely safety Moses Harris. The Bulldogs really don't have the greatest defensive players returning, but if they want that BCS Bowl appearence they are going to need their defense to step up, I don't think they can do that, but I still think that Fresno State should be good enough to win the WAC. The key games for Fresno State are @Rutgers, Wisconsin, @UCLA, and @Boise St.


 

Kansas Jayhawks logo22. Kansas-Kansas was able to go 12-1 last season and win the Orange Bowl. They are returning 16 starters so they should be the favorite for the Big 12 Title, right? The answer is no. Kansas played a super easy schedule, played the BCS System and had to play an up and down team from the worst BCS Conference. I'm going to give them credit, but I just don't think they can repear that this season. The Jayhawks return quarterback Todd Reesing who had a brilliant sophmore season, he'll have a harder time with a tougher schedule. The Jayhawks also lost 1000 yard back Brandon McAnderson, so their hoping that 800 yard back Jake Sharp will be able to become the featured back, but that won't likely happen so they'll continue to use a two back system with the 2nd back this season being Angus Quigley. The receiving core seems to be very good this season with the return Dexton Fields,  Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier. The defense should be good again, but they won't be as good statisitically as they were last season. The Jayhawks lose their best defense player in Aqib Talib, and they'll be hard pressed to find a replacement.  The interior line will have some problems, but they do return two good defensive ends in John Larson and Russel Brorson. The Jayhawks also return their starting linebackers, along with some of their defensive backs. The most important games for Kansas this season are @USF, @Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas and @Missouri.


 

Pittsburgh Panthers logo23. Pitt-Pitt last season was going through a rough season before they were able to rebound and upset WVU in Morgantown. This season Pitt seems like the best equipped team to challange WVU for the Big East Title. The Pitt offense is built around a monster of a running back in LeSean McCoy. The quarterback situation seems to have been solved as the Panthers new quarterback will be Bill Stull who started the season at quarterback before getting injured. The Panthers also have great depth at receiver with Derek Kinder, Oderick Turner and Maurice Williams. The offense this season should be a lot better for Pitt. The defense last year was very good and they showed it off when they were able to shut down WVU and Pat White. Like the offense Pitt's defense revolves around one player, and that one player is Scott McKillop. The Panthers also return two good defensive tackles in Mick Williams and Rashaad Duncan. They also have a pretty solid end in Greg Romeus. The Panthers are expecting that safeties Dom DeCicco and Elijah Fields to improve and hopefully help improve the Pitt secondary. The key games for Pitt this season are @USF, @Cincinnati, @Notre Dame, West Virginia and @UConn.


 

Michigan St. Spartans logo24. Michigan St.-Mark Dantonio had a great first season at Michigan St. leading them to a 7-5 record, but it could've been so much better if MSU could've won some of the close games they had. Michigan should have a very good offense led by All American Candidate Javon Ringer, along with quarterback Brian Hoyer. Michigan St. also returns more of their offensive line from last season, so they should be able to protect Brian Hoyer and open holes for Javon Ringer. The Spartans lost a great receivier when Devin Thomas entered the NFL Draft, but they still have some decent receiviers. Mark Dell and BJ Cunningham don't have the game changing ability of Thomas or the experience, but they should be able to put up solid numbers. The Spartans are hoping that their defense can be better then it was in 08. The Spartans lose Jonal Saint-Dic(the sack master), Ervin Baldwin and Kaleb Thornhill from a solid defense, but expect the defense to improve this year. Dantonio is a defensive coach and with some good pieces returning the defense should improve. Michigan St. has a very good linebacker returning in Greg Jones, along with two good defensive backs in Otis Wiley and Kendell Davis-Clark. If the Michigan State Spartans can find some replacements on the defensive line the defense should be better in 08. The important games for Michigan Starte in 08 are @Cal, @Michigan, Ohio St., Wisconsin and @Penn St.


 

Alabama Crimson Tide logo25. Alabama-The Crimson Tide should be a lot better in 2008 in the 2nd year of Nick Saban. Teams usually improve drasitically in the 2nd year with Nick Saban as the coach. Alabama has a solid quarterback in John Parker Wilson, but he needs to be much more consistant. He looked very good at times, but he also looked very bad at times as well. I think in year 2 under Saban he'll be more consistant. Alabama is hoping that Terry Grant can get over 1000 yards this season. In the Spring Game he looked very good, and it appears that he's improved drastically this season. The other key  is to replace the receivers they lost. Losing DJ Hall, Matt Caddell and Keith Brown was huge. Watch out for Julio Jones to make an impact their. The biggest key on the defensive end is the linebacking core, The Linebackers weren't great in 08, and they need to improve. They also have depth issues at the position as well. Rolando McClain had a great first year at linebacker, but his supporting cast wasn't too great. I think that Saban will improve the defense mightily this season. The key games for Alabama this season are Clemson, @Georgia, @Tennesse, @LSU and Auburn


 

Other Teams to watch: Cincinnati(Big East), USF(Big East), South Carolina(SEC), Boise St.(WAC), Wake Forest(ACC)

 

Badgers Ballers writes for www.onlinesportsfanatic.com

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com