Comprehensive College Football Top 25, Vol. 1
With the 2008 College Football Season over, 2009 speculation has already started. Preseason Top 25 predictions are popping up left and right.
So, as an avid football fan, I thought it would be interesting to come up with a Preseason Top 25 based on a combination of analysis from a number of sports sources.
The formula for this Top 25 is based on four different rankings coming from ESPN.com, CBSsports.com, Rivals.com, and SI.com. I recorded the rank of each team that appeared in each of the four rankings, and then calculated the average for each team.
I hope you find this system insightful, and look for the rest of this series to appear throughout the off-season.
#1 Florida Gators
The Gators, of course, were a consensus No. 1 in each of the rankings. As much as I hate it, they will be stacked next season and have as good a chance as anyone to win a National Title. I expect the Gators to stay atop the polls throughout the offseason.
#2 Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns definitely deserve this spot at #2. The return of Colt McCoy gives Texas, arguably, the most potent offense in College Football.
#3 Oklahoma Sooners
#3 Oklahoma....one word, Bradford.
#4 Southern Cal Trojans
Surprise!, Surprise! Who would've thought these guys would be in the Top five?! As usual, the Trojans will be stacked (personnel loss, or not). However, the Pac-10 will not be as easy to navigate through this season.
#5 Alabama Crimson Tide
The Tide defense returns a lot of talent. And the go to guy on offense? No-brainer, that's Wide Receiver Julio Jones. And they still have Nick Saban.
#6 Virginia Tech Hokies
The Hokies are coming off an Orange Bowl win after one of Beamer's "worst" seasons record-wise....are you kidding me?
The only huge loss to the Hokies is Macho Harris, but most of the team is coming back and looking for an ACC Championship three-peat.
#7 Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Cowboys offense should be absolutely explosive, and if OSU come out of the gates with a convincing win over UGA in their season opener, the rest of the Big 12 better watch out.
#8 LSU Tigers
LSU found the missing puzzle piece to their offense during their bowl game in Quarterback Jordan Jefferson. And as usual, the defense is always something to be wary of.
#9 Ohio State Buckeyes
Not sure why the polls had the Buckeyes this high. They must have a lot of faith in sophomore quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, or in the Buckeyes cupcake schedule which is the Big 10.
#10 Ole Miss Rebels
Personally, I'm really excited for the Rebels. They haven't had a lot to cheer for in the past, but Coach Nutt has made them a potential sleeper in the SEC west.
The offense should do well behind the leadership of QB Jevan Snead.
#11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
So, now that we all know that the triple option is legit, let's see what Paul Johnson can do in his second season at GT.
The offense should be in sync and dangerous, but the defense, exposed in their bowl game, proved that it is vulnerable.
#12 Boise State Broncos
Boise will once again have a shot at an undefeated season, and a BCS game.
The Broncos will have to prove themselves in their season opener against Oregon.
#13 Oregon Ducks
The Ducks have a lot to do in the offseason, and once again, the offense suffers heavy losses.
Oregon always tends to get things together at the end of the season, but if they want to contend for a Pac-10 championship, they need to get their problems worked out early.
#14 Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State returns star quarterback, Daryll Clark, whose leadership will be crucial if the Nittany Lions want to defend their Big 10 title.
A soft schedule should help the cause.
#15 Georgia Bulldogs
The losses of QB Matthew Stafford and RB Knowshon Moreno really hurt the Dawgs, but Senior Quarterback Joe Cox has what it takes to lead this team. It also helps that phenom WR AJ Green is in the mix as well.
The defense needs to find a pass rush if they want Martinez to keep his job.
#16 Cal Golden Bears
Some of Cal's best defensive players left this season, but the Bears offense should be formidable with big-threat RB, Jahvid Best, and more consistent play at the quarterback position.
#17 Utah Utes
The Utes must replace star QB Brian Johnson, along with other key players on the offense.
Most of the defense returns, from one of the country's best in 2008.
However, a tough schedule will not be kind to the Utes' BCS hopes.
#18 TCU Horned Frogs
I'm not sure how long TCU will actually remain in this Top 25.
The Horned Frogs allowed their No. 1 ranked defense to carry them throughout 2008, and with most of that defense leaving, I don't think their chances of another 11-2 season are that good.
#19 Florida State Seminoles
The 2008 'Noles had the youngest team in the country, so 2009 seems to be promising.
Watch out for QB Christian Ponder who will be a difference maker next season.
#20 Kansas Jayhawks
The core of the 2008 Jayhawks' offense returns next season. Kansas will be looking for a Big 12 North title, and their chances are good. Their only real competition will come from Nebraska.
#21 Iowa Hawkeyes
The Iowa Hawkeyes finished 2008 with a 9-4 record. Most of their offense came from star RB Shonne Greene, but the Hawkeyes are due for a breakout season. This year may be their year.
#22 Oregon State Beavers
The defense will need to replace eight starters, but the Rogers brothers are coming back and the offense should be firing on all cylinders.
However, you shouldn't expect them to have a shot at another Rose Bowl berth.
#23 Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Cornhuskers are hoping to challenge Kansas for a Big 12 North title, but first, they will need to replace key players on offense.
The defense, which returns seven starters, should help carry Nebraska through the first few games.
#24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Wow, we haven't seen these guys in here lately. Guess the polls just missed them too much.
I like Notre Dame's chances in '09, actually. The offense finally has some go-to guys, and the defense might be able to stop somebody.
As usual, the schedule is not gracious.
#25 North Carolina Tarheels
The Tar Heels are expected to bring in one of the nation's top recruiting classes, which will definitely help their 2009 campaign.
The defense will be stout, and the 'Heels will challenge for an ACC title berth.
On the Radar
The teams that were in a few of the preseason polls but didn't quite make the cut.
South Florida Bulls
My guess is that the Bulls will duke it out with Pittsburgh all season long to see who can actually get into the polls, and stay there.
The defense will be a plus, and both the starting quarterback and running back will be returning. No BCS bowl in 2009...sorry guys.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
The Red Raiders put themselves on the map in 2008, and hope to be a darkhorse in 2009. The offense loses most of its key players, which doesn't bode well in the Big 12.
Pittsburgh vs South Florida in the Big East...too bad McCoy decided to leave.
Conference Power Rankings
After looking at the Top 25, I counted the number of teams each conference had in the rankings, and then calculated their average rank in order to determine which of the BCS conferences was the best.
The SEC will be looking to win a fourth straight National Title, and to prove they are STILL the best conference in college football.
Average Rank: 7.8
Number of teams in the Rankings: 5
The Big 12 is hoping to become the new best conference in America.
Average Ranking: 11
Number of teams in the Rankings: 5
The Pac-10 will have a much more competitive year in 2009.
Average Ranking: 13.75
Number of teams in the Rankings: 4
Once again, the Big 10 teams are playing for some national respect.
Average Ranking: 14.67
Number of teams in the Rankings: 3
I don't expect the power to be so evenly distributed in 2009.
Average Ranking: 15.25
Number of teams in the Rankings: 4
The Big East is definitely going to have a down year this year, and will most likely be the story of two programs.
Average Ranking: NR
Number of teams in the Rankings: 0