College football once again will be going through a transition for the start of the 2010 season. Alabama, coming off its BCS Championship season looks to defend the title. Ohio State enters the season poised to finally get the BCS Title game monkey off its back. Boise State and TCU are still looking for respect, and a BCS Title game appearance will give them just that. Traditional powers such as Texas and Oklahoma are still lurking around, and Virginia Tech is once again the flagship team of the ACC.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
The Tide still have Heisman winner Mark Ingram, and possible Biletnikoff hopeful Julio Jones. Alabama has home games against Penn State, and Florida this season, and should win both. The road games to Arkansas and LSU look to be the most daunting tasks before meeting up with the SEC East Champion.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes come into the season after breaking their streak of BCS losses. This team is loaded with talent, most notably Heisman contender Terrelle Pryor. The defense will once again be stacked and be looking to finish in the top five in total defense. If head coach Jim Tressel opens up the playbook the offense should be much improved.
3. Virginia Tech Hokies
The three-headed monster of Tyrod Taylor, Darren Evans, and Ryan Williams will lead the Tech offense next season. The offensive line has a few holes to fill, and the defense will need to adjust quickly to losing seven starters. They will be tested early when Boise State head east to meet them on FedEx Field on October 2.
4. Texas Longhorns
Colt McCoy is gone, but Garret Gilbert has already faced his toughest task as a true freshman when he was handed the reins to the offense in the BCS Title game. Texas only loses three players on each side of the ball, and has been a recruiting juggernaut for the last decade. The UCLA game on September 25 will be a good benchmark to see how far this team can go this season.
5. Boise State Broncos
If the Broncos go undefeated this season they will have earned a shot to play for the BCS Title game. The Broncos will face both Oregon State and Virginia Tech in nonconference play. Brining back all but one starter from last year’s team should help, as Kellen Moore will try to win the school’s first Heisman.
6. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes will be in a dogfight for the Big Ten Title with Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Iowa brings back six starters on offense, but has some issues at the offensive line. The defense will be stellar once again with nine starters returning. Arizona hosts the Hawkeyes on September 18, before taking on the Badgers, Nittany Lions, and Buckeyes at home.
7. TCU Horned Frogs
The Horned Frogs conference schedule is far more challenging than Boise State’s, but they do both share a nonconference game with Oregon State. TCU brings nine starters on offense and seven on defense, giving them a very good shot at winning at least 10 games this season, for the third year in a row.
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Head coach Bo Pelini told the world after the 33-0 win over Arizona in the Holiday Bow that the Black Shirts were back. Even with Ndamukong Suh heading to the NFL, this defense still is loaded with talent. The offense needs to improve if they have a chance to win the Big 12 North, all but one starter returns to help the cause for the Cornhusker offense. The schedule is favorable with games against Texas, Missouri, and Kansas all at home this season.
9. Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin proved a power running game is a tough thing to stop when they steamrolled Miami 20-14 in the Champs sports Bowl last season. Badger Brute, John Clay, who enters this season as a dark horse candidate for the Heisman, leads that running game. Only one starter is gone on offense, but the defense will need some holes to be filled with five starting positions vacated. The match up in Camp Randal against Ohio State will be a classic in the making.
10. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners will live and die by the arm of Landry Jones, and the legs of DeMarco Murray this season. Both of these players had plenty of success and have shown what they are capable of last season. Jones needs to find some accuracy and consistency and Murray needs to stay healthy if the Sooners are going to win the Big 12 this season. The defense will need to be completely rebuilt with all but four starters leaving, adding pressure on the offense to perform early and often.