Welcome to our 10-part series highlighting our picks for the way-too-early top 10 preseason teams in the nation for 2010.
One at a time, our top 10 will be revealed, leading up to No. 1.
As always, we want to know what you think as well, so please post your thoughts in the comment section.
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Now, on with the countdown...
No. 9—TCU Horned Frogs
TCU had an amazing season in 2009, going unbeaten (12-0) and busting the BCS to earn a spot in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.
Unfortunately for them, the BCS Monopoly forced them to play fellow BCS Buster Boise State rather than Florida, Cincinnati, Iowa, or Georgia Tech.
The game was fairly evenly matched, and Boise won to cap off a perfect season of their own (14-0), but we really wanted the opportunity to see just how good the two teams were against the big boys.
Maybe next year, but probably not...
Speaking of 2010, TCU should once again be highly ranked to start the season, and deservedly so, as most of their key starters return.
The Horned Frogs lose only two starters on offense—left tackle Marshall Newhouse and tailback Joseph Turner, meaning their somewhat unheralded star QB Andy Dalton will be back for his senior season.
Dalton threw for over 2750 yards, 23 touchdowns, versus only eight interceptions, while posting a 151.8 QB efficiency rating.
Seven starters are coming back on the defensive side of the ball, but defensive end Jerry Hughes, linebacker Daryl Washington, and cornerbacks Nick Sanders and Rafael Priest leave pretty big shoes to fill.
TCU will open its season at Dallas Cowboys Stadium against Oregon State on Sept. 4.
The Horned Frogs also have a home game against Baylor and a road game at SMU in their non-conference schedule.
They should have a legit chance of going 12-0 again if they come close to meeting the high expectations that will be placed upon them.
Although they will likely begin the season in or near the AP top 10, in the end, I personally don't see them remaining unbeaten, or thus in the top 10 too far into the 2010 season.
2010 Regular Season Projection
Oregon State, Baylor, BYU, and Utah
It's tough to say for sure, but I think TCU wins eight games for sure, and maybe as many as 10 depending on the health of QB Robert Griffin from Baylor, and if they are a little lucky as I expect Oregon State, BYU, and Utah to all be top 25 teams this coming season.
Last season, the Horned Frogs went 8-0 in the Mountain West. I don't believe they will repeat that feat in 2010, but ultimately, they could win the MWC if they don't lose to both BYU and Utah.
Another decent bowl game should be on the horizon for TCU, but it isn't likely to be another BCS game—at least not in this coming season.
In case you missed our Number 10 team, click here.
No. 8, coming soon!