A sign that the start of the college football season is just around the corner, Playboy Magazine’s 54th annual Pigskin Preview appeared on newsstands today.
Playboy sports editor Gary Cole gives his opinion of the NCAA’s top 25 teams, and predicts three Big Ten teams among the top 10 in the country.
Cole has been compiling these rankings for the last 23 years, and has won the All-American Football Foundation's Jim Murray Outstanding Sports Writer Award. He's no Phil Steele, but he knows college football.
Cole picks the Ohio State Buckeyes to go undefeated this year and defeat the Texas Longhorns in the national championship game. His outlooks points to excellent leadership and a quick defense as being his primary reasons for picking the Buckeyes to win it all.
The Playboy sports editor loves Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor. "Pryor, who is extremely athletic and multidimensional, is a nightmare for defensive coordinators," Cole describes.
In addition to selecting the Buckeyes to the list, Cole picks the Iowa Hawkeyes as his No. 5 team. With talent and experience on both sides of the ball, he predicts an 11-1 season for the Hawkeyes.
The Wisconsin Badgers come in at No. 8 on Playboy's preview. Cole thinks Wisconsin will finish 10-2 this season.
The Badgers return 18 starters from last year’s squad, including quarterback Scott Tolzien and running back John Clay.
As part of the preview, Playboy selects an All-America Team. Ohio State's Cameron Heyward, Michigan State's Greg Jones, and Iowa's Adrian Clayborn all made the team.
Clayborn was named the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl MVP to go along with a first-team All-Big Ten selection. Cole labels the defensive end a "surefire future NFL star."
Heyward led the Buckeyes with 6.5 sacks and had 10 tackles for loss, and led all defensive linemen with 46 tackles. He is coming off of a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2009, and has been named to the preseason Lombardi and Lott Trophy watch lists.
Jones was the 2009 consensus first-team All-American and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The Spartan linebacker was fourth in the country in tackles last season and opted to return for his senior season.
All three were likely disappointed not to get an invite to the Playboy Mansion to celebrate the honor.