With the passage of June, July, and August come the final barriers that remain between the college football fan and the 2010 college football season.
Greeted with open arms, banners unfurled, and heightened anticipation, the commencement of the college gridiron campaign is a landmark event in the year of sport.
Layers of dust and unsightly smudges are removed from high definition televisions, the grease in the Fry Daddy is made fresh and ready, and the outside refrigerator is cleared of summer fare such as bulky watermelons, jell-o molds, and bottled water in order to make ready the space for our faithful fall time friends lager, pilsner, and ale.
As the season kicks off, it is hope that reigns supreme in the hearts of all true college football fans.
Fans of all teams walk with the confidence only a 0-0 record can provide; regardless of recruiting reports, preseason predictions, and early rankings, they believe that this could be “their year.” Ah yes, the freshness of the new season provides them with the optimism of the early dawn...no wins, no losses—just blissful anticipation.
Though this hope spreads itself across our fruited plains, from coast to coast, from the borders of Canada to the boundaries shared with Mexico, nowhere does hope exist in more abundance than within the fans of those 25 teams selected to compose the preseason Top 25.
Now not only does the hope live in our own chests and breasts, but it also lives in the experts' keen brains, in the computer models, in the pages of the magazines that we will gladly shell out 10 dollars for if only to see our team logo listed among the 25 teams most likely to be successful.
Oh the joy, oh the happiness that only a new season, with real, solid expectations validated by football authorities can bring!
That said, we know deep in our biased hearts that each of our magnificent dreams will come crashing down, sooner or later, as the game clock runs out on one of the games listed on our schedule and we suffer our first grueling defeat of the year.
In the summer we carefully scan the schedule, searching; we may be able to pinpoint the first loss, or it may take us by nasty surprise. But chances are it will come.
In 2009, only five of the 120 Division I teams made it through the regular season unscathed. That is roughly a diminutive four percent of the entire field.
So, when will the preseason Top 25 teams (rankings are according to Athlon Sports) lose their first games? Who will shock, surprise, or be expected to conquer (and therefore whip up on) the top 20 percent of college football?
Indeed, where will the vision of a perfect season end?
The following slideshow attempts to tackle this daunting task...