This will be a 12 to 13-part 2008 College Football preview. It will discuss each of the major conferences in depth, the major games to be played each week, bowl predictions, my Top 25, and a Heisman watch, among other things. This may take two weeks to complete, so please bear with me.
I am sure I will say some things that will surprise you, and definitely some things you will disagree with. For the record, I am an avid Georgia and SEC fan, but I will do my best to put away these biases for the sake of the articles.
The first thing that will be discussed in this first section, which is also my first post, is the Conference Power Rankings.
Conference Power Rankings
I don't think I need to say much here. The past two National Champions have been from the SEC (Florida and LSU), and the SEC has excelled in its last few BCS appearances. They look poised for another great year with Florida and Georgia leading the charge.
LSU and Auburn are not far behind them, however. The best thing to happen to LSU in the offseason was the dismissal of Ryan Perrilloux, who was a virus on the team. I see Auburn as the dark horse of this league with a stout defense, a strong running game, and a new OC.
2. Big 12
It is no longer Oklahoma, Texas, and the little 10. Texas Tech is emerging as a team beyond its formidable offense. This is the year for them to make a move in the conference with the return of Graham Harrell (QB) and Michael Crabtree (WR).
As for the North, Missouri is going to be a powerhouse this year, but Kansas will take a step back as Colorado and Nebraska begin to rise.
USC is still a step ahead the rest of this conference. However, Oregon and Arizona St. are charging towards them and closing the gap in a hurry. Rick Neuheisel will be trying to right UCLA's ship as well.
Oregon lost their QB and RB but return many starters, and I look for them to make some noise. Also, Arizona St. will have the ability to make some noise nationally for the conference if they are able to take down Georgia on Sep. 20.
Yes, people are going to think I am crazy for ranking the ACC over the Big Ten, but I see several teams making huge leaps in this conference, including a resurgence out of Miami and Florida State, and a great season in Chapel Hill.
Clemson and Virginia Tech will lead the pack this season, but Wake Forest and the aforementioned three will make this a great year for football in the ACC. Duke will still be terrible, but they will begin to play a lot tougher now that David Cutcliffe is there.
5. Big Ten
The Big Ten will be worse this season than it was last year. Several teams will be down, including Michigan and Illinois, and Ohio State and Wisconsin will have inflated win totals because of their weaker conference brethren. I think Michigan State will take a step forward this year in the conference. Ohio State will have the opportunity to prove themselves and the conference early on against USC.
6. Big East
Last comes the Big East, led by a strong West Virginia team and followed closely by South Florida. However, after these two teams there is a steep dropoff in the conference. Pittsburgh might step up this year to be the number three team in this conference.
As we have seen, there is little to zero stability in this conference, with the exception of West Virginia at the top of the mountain and Syracuse at the bottom.
South Florida will be a team worth watching this year, especially when Kansas travels to Tampa Sep. 12. The rest of the conference will be utter chaos.