With another year of college football on the horizon, the time has come to start your preseason polls. With the AP poll coming out in a week, I think this is a good time to release my top five.
#1 USC Trojans
It’s a good time to be a Trojan in the college football world. They are absolutely LOADED on defense, and Coach Pete Carroll is in one good position this year.
If they can beat out Ohio State in this year's early season contest of college football powerhouses, you should see USC in Miami this January (providing Stanford doesn't show).
Strengths: Another year of strong recruiting (with one more on the way, USC landed QB Matt Barkley, considered by many the No. 1 recruit in the 2009 class) gave USC strong position for years to come. What is considered the best running back situation in the nation will give this team a huge boost. The defense is led by monsters Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing who could have up to four potential All-Americans. The defense will give offensive coordinators nightmares.
Weaknesses: Even tough Mark Sanchez has some game time experience from last year; they don't have a favorable position at the quarterback spot. Also, losing DT Sedrick Ellis and DE Lawrence Jackson will make the D-line a spot for offensive coordinators to look at when playing USC's tough Defense.
Overview: Look for USC to claim their seventh consecutive Pac-10 title this year. A victory against Ohio State in the Coliseum would make USC look like they were already national champs.
#2 Georgia Bulldogs
This team could bring a third consecutive national title to the SEC, if they can survive a rigorous schedule. RB Knowshon Moreno is good enough to easily be the second consecutive sophomore Heisman winner.
If the Dawgs can complete this schedule without a scratch mark, they can truly be called the best team in the land.
Strengths: RB Moreno could be the best running back in the country, and the defense will be rock solid, and particularly good against the run, which spells out national champ right there. The offense averaged almost 38 points a game the last six games last season, and you could see that trend continue.
Weaknesses: Look at that schedule! They have to travel to South Carolina, Arizona State, LSU, and Auburn. If they have the guts to get through that, they also have home games against Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia Tech. Plus, they will have the tremendous neutral site cage match against Floridato get through. IF coach Richt gets the Dawgs to the title game, it will be the best coaching job ever. Period.
Overview: Georgia is the winningest program this decade to not win it all. That could all change with a magical season this year.
#3 Ohio State Buckeyes
Coach Jim Tressel may be the best coach in the nation with three national title appearances in seven years. This season will make or break on the huge game against USC on Sept. 13.
The Buckeyes have the best defense in the nation led by the "Animal" (LB James Lauronitus) and DB Malcolm Jenkins.
No other team has a better QB situation than the Bucks, with veteran Todd Boeckman coming off a so-so season that could have been great if not for the last three games, and No. 1 2008 recruit Terrelle Pryor will be like another Tim Tebow, getting 10-15 snaps a game.
Strengths: Running Back Beanie Wells is geared up for a 2,000 yard season, Michigan changed coaches, 20 returning starters, and Pryor came to Columbus. What isn't a strength for the Buckeyes these days?
Weaknesses: The BCS won't be so kind this year to let a one-loss Ohio State team into the title game after two consecutive appearances (and losses) against SEC teams. If Ohio State can't find a way to get by USC and get through their schedule unscathed, don't expect to see them in Miami this year.
Overview: This season could play out two ways, and both show Ohio State playing in January. It will either be a loss to USC on Sept. 13 and then an easy trip through the Big 10 to the Rose Bowl or yet another Ohio State team in the national title game.
#4 Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma has been one of the most consistent teams in the country this decade and continue to look that way with a loaded 2008 team.
The only question will be if Bob Stoops can FINALY win a bowl game, or if Oklahoma will once again suffer shameful bowl game losses.
Strengths: QB Sam Bradford is coming off a huge freshman season and will look even better this year. The defense will also once again be one of the best in the country, and with RB DeMarco Murray coming off of knee surgery, look for the offense to be a load too.
Weaknesses: WR Malcolm Kelly, LB Curtis Lofton, and DB Reggie Smith all deferred to the draft, which could leave holes in key positions. This could prove a problem in close games.
Overview: With another great Oklahoma team, don't be surprised to see the Sooners in Miami if the SEC beats up on itself.
#5 Florida Gators
With Junior QB and Heisman winner Tim Tebow back for a shot at two and Percy Harvin looking for a breakout year, this Florida team could end up very dangerous in the chase for the national title.
Strengths: The Tebow-Harvin combination just can't be stopped. Also, USC transfer Emmanuel Moody could actually give the Gators a running game so look out for a surprise run up the middle. The defense also has that incredible speed.
Weaknesses: If Tebow goes, the whole team goes. He is the heart and soul of this team and the opponent defenses will be hitting him with everything they have. The SEC will also take a toll on this team and that Georgia game could get pretty nasty.
Overview: That Georgia game will be a tough one to get through. If the defense improved much from last season, this season could turn out to be magical, but in the SEC nothing is promised.
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