Preseason Top 25

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Preseason Top 25
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)


It’s that time of year again—the time we make wild (and generally uninformed) projections for every team and then bundle them nicely into our 25 favorites.

As the faithful readers know, I rank the teams based on how good I believe them to be at this moment, not at the end of last season, and not how I think they will finish.  Schedules are not taken into consideration.  For me, the test is whether I believe a team would defeat the team immediately ahead of them on a neutral field this weekend.

Also, this sounds obvious, but someone has to be ranked in each spot. There are no ties.  Even though I have team X four spots ahead of team Y, the spread my be very narrow in my mind.  I know there are vagaries that make it difficult to determine who is truly better than whom, but remember these rankings are subjective.

Finally, the ranking are always subject to change. Teams may jump five or ten spots in one week, or may drop even when they win. Likewise, teams may rise when they lose. I take injuries and suspensions into consideration, so a team may win its game and lose its best player (see Oregon 2007) and drop in my poll. This poll will not reward teams simply for winning. Again, these rankings are subjective.

Head to the forum and give us your thoughts.

1. florida How can you not have the Gators No. 1? All eleven starters back on defense, a great offensive line and, of course, Tebow makes this a no-brainer.
2. Texas The Longhorns' BCSCG snub is only one factor in this ranking. The tremendous offense is another.
3. USC The offensive line, the stable of RBs, Taylor Mays...this is an embarrassment of riches. If Corp or Barkley live up to the hype, the Trojans will be scary good.
4. Oklahoma The defense will be better and Bradford has nice support from Brown and Murray. If the line gels with 4 new starters they could be better than last season.
5. LSU There is reason to be concerned about the QB position but the Tigers usually win with their lines. This year will be no different as both the offensive and defensive lines are stacked. Charles Scott did not finish strong in '08 but look for the big back to be more productive in '09.
6. Alabama This may be a little high for the Tide, but their front 7 alone merits top 10 consideration. Like LSU, if McElroy can limit mistakes there is no reason Alabama cannot make back-to-back appearances in the SECCG.
7. Oklahoma State Opponents are going to need at least 45 points against the Cowboys. Oklahoma State averaged 41 points/game, and all the key parts are back. Yikes!
8. Ohio State Pryor needs to provide an other worldly dimension to the offense. The defensive line should be able to hide the inexperience at LB. A second CB is a must.
9. Oregon The offense should be tremendous with Blount and Masoli. The passing game needs some WRs to step up and the Ducks need to find a pass rush.
10. Georgia Tech I realize this a little high for team's whose last game was the meltdown against LSU. Still, the triple option will be more refined this season and Dwyer is capable of carrying the load. The defense needs to replace a lot of starters.
11. California I know I am setting myself up to get burned here but Cal appears to have the pieces in place to be great. It all hinges on the QB, so Riley has to play well every week. The defense will be their best yet.
12. Penn State If new WRs can be found, the offense could pick up where it left off. There are concerns along both lines but the LBs and RBs will help hide those holes.
13. Ole Miss Jevan Snead appears to be the real deal but he has to operate behind a new offensive line and with no RB to speak of. The defensive line is nasty but the back four could be a liability.
14. Virginia Tech Can Tyrod Taylor take advantage of the talent around him? You will find out on September 5 against Alabama.
15. Georgia I know Georgia has tons of talent waiting in the wings but you do not get better losing Stafford and Moreno. The defense has talent but it is hard to forget the meltdowns against Alabama, Florida, and Ga. Tech.
16. Illinois The offense should be the Big Ten's best. Period. The defense, however, needs to get players back from injury, suspension, and academic problems if the Illini hopes to challenge for a league title.
17. Florida State Ponder is going to get plenty of time behind a very good line. He will need it because the RB and WR positions need some help. The defense needs to be a pass rush.
18. North Carolina This could be too high but the talent level has obviously risen in Chapel Hill. The defense will have to help win games this fall as the offense breaks in all new WRs.
19. Miami Can Mark Whipple mold the offensive talent into a productive machine? Can the defense play like it did against VT all year? If so, this position could be too low.
20. Iowa Where is the offensive production going to come from? The defense should be very good and they may have to be.
21. Notre Dame The passing game should be very good but will Weis ever have a running game? The defense should be better but that is not saying much.
22. Kansas Get used to hearing, "Todd Reesing to Dezmon Briscoe, touchdown!" Briscoe is one of the best kept secrets in CFB. For now. Oh yeah, the defense needs help.
23. Nebraska I am a sucker for a team with great line play and Nebraska should have that this fall. Will that be enough in the stacked Big 12?
24. TCU QB Dalton and offense should be explosive again this season. The defense needs to replace a lot but they always seem to manage.
25. west_virginia The new Mountaineer offense needs Jarrette Brown to play well if it is going live up to WVU's standards. The defense will likely be the strength of the team.

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