Well they are here: The infamous "Dog Days of Summer," where the days are long and the college football news days are even longer. So to make the days go by faster, writers create many preseason top 25 polls. Whether it is an ESPN writer or just some fan from B/R, these thing always cause controversy. But hey, if it gives us something to talk about in the world of college football, I say write it.
Last season was full of craziness and controversy, but not the kind that the 2007 season brought: I mean the kind that put many schools in hot water. The two main schools in the heat were Auburn, who won the national title, and Ohio State, who is in a whole mess of trouble.
The 2011 season brings some big questions: How will Ohio State fare without Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor?,What about Auburn without Cam Newton and Nick Fairley? Are the Sooners and Irish overrated again? There are many more.
While never 100 percent right, the preseason polls do give insight into how the college season might shake out.
Auburn had a heck of a 2010 season, going 14-0 and winning the national title. Even though there are still many questions post Cam Newton right now, Auburn fans are happy sitting on the top. But after this season, they will be nowhere near that spot.
Not too long ago, Arizona State used to lead the country in sacks—sacks given up, that is.
The Sun Devils were just another Pac-10 team USC would beat up on. Now the Sun Devils have improved quite a bit, and Osweller, who led ASU to a win over UCLA after their top QB went down with an injury, has taken the reins.
And with a weak Pac-12 South, ASU should be able to take the division.
In 2007, Missouri seemed to be one of the top teams in the nation until they were blown out by Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. Unlike other schools from 2007, the Tigers have stayed near the top 25 the past few years.
With Texas' recent fall, the Tigers have a good chance to finish ahead of the Longhorns once more this season. Winning the Big 12 is more of a pipe dream than a reality, but Nebraska leaving for the Big Ten does help Mizzou's chances to get into the championship game.
A pitiful season full of disappointment pretty much sums up the Longhorn's 5-7 season, Texas went from an elite Big 12 team to the one of the worst teams in Texas in just a year. Coach Brown in response to the 2010 season gutted his staff by firing three of his assistants.
The Longhorns return 14 starters from the 2010 team and hope to improve on it. Coach Mack Brown guaranteed a better season and he better or many believe he will the next one fired. Texas should be better next season and get a bowl game, but it will be a while before the Longhorns are in the BCS games again.
Other than the embarrassing beatdown from Iowa, the Spartans' 2010 regular season record was very respectable at 11-1. The Spartans were one of the best teams of the Big Ten at the end of the regular season, but they drew Alabama as their opponent in the Capital One Bowl.
Michigan State would have been better off not accepting the bowl invite, as Alabama soundly beat one of the Big Ten's best, 47-9.
The question here is, can the Spartans win the Big Ten title again? Can they even win their division? With Nebraska joining the Legends, I just don't see it.
Ohio State is surrounded by much controversy after what started out as a small five-game suspension developed into something much darker.
Jim Tressel resigned, and Terrelle Pryor also left before the summer hit. What does that mean for the rest of the Buckeyes? Only time will tell if the jumping of the Buckeye ship means something much bigger has yet to come.
With their head coach and best player gone from the team so quickly, this will only hurt the Buckeyes' chance at a Big Ten title. They have also dropped significantly in most preseason polls, and as if that was not bad enough, Nebraska is a part of the Big Ten now, and Wisconsin looks like the conference's best team.
The Buckeyes will more than likely not be in the first-ever Big Ten title game.
The Bulldogs of Starksville exploded onto the scene last year and surprised everyone by finishing 8-4 on the regular season. They put a statement on the season with a 52-14 blasting of the Big Ten's Michigan in the Gator Bowl.
The Bulldogs return their two best players in deadly QB Chris Relf and RB Vick Ballard with the 16th-best running game in the country.
Dan Mullen has done a great job bringing Mississippi State from the SEC graveyard to possible SEC champion contender. Like Arkansas was the dark-horse to win the West last year, the Bulldogs should be the SEC West dark-horse this year.
Another year, another overhyping of Notre Dame, right?
Looks like it, but at least they are not in the top 10 or five like they were in every preseason poll a few years ago.
This time, Notre Dame may actually be a top-25 team though. The Irish have some good talent and a quality coach in Brian Kelly. They also have a pretty easy schedule, so if the Golden Domers live up to their hype, they could go 9-3 or 10-2.
What the Gators lacked in offense last year, they made up for in defense—heck, it was the only reason they were able to win most of their games.
QB John Brantley played poorly last year, but this season should be better, and the addition of Charlie Weis certainly helps the offense.
Will Muschamp is in his first year as head coach, and because of that, the Gators won't make much noise in the SEC. Florida will compete though, and they will be in the run for the East, but with a new head coach and offensive coordinator, they will struggle at times.
Last season was a complete disaster for the Dawgs, finishing a pitiful 6-7 and losing to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl.
Georgia fans—and now AD Greg McGarity—have put Richt on the hot seat, and if Georgia starts 0-2, there is good reason to believe Richt will be gone soon.
Georgia still has enough talent and skill to take the SEC East, and nobody knows how Richt will react when/if his seat is scorching when the year starts.
Aaron Murray, who is possibly the best QB in the SEC, is leading the Dawgs, and with one of the easiest schedules in the SEC, Georgia should get at least nine wins.
The pieces are falling into place for Georgia, as the East is very weak, and the schedule is manageable.
The Badgers were part of a three-way tie last year with Ohio State and Michigan State, and looking at the picture months later, it seems as if the Badgers are the favorite to win the Big Ten.
Ohio State lost Pryor and Tressel after the infamous scandals in Columbus, and the less said about the Spartans' beating from Alabama, the better.
Sure Wisconsin lost the Rose Bowl to TCU, but it was not a blasting nor did Wisconsin get into any legal troubles or lose any major players in the way the Buckeyes did.
The only real threat for Wisconsin would be Nebraska, who shifted from the dying Big 12 to the Big Ten, 12, whatever they want to call themselves.
Good thing the Huskers are pretty bad on offense, finishing 113th out of 120 last year.
The Gamecocks were a big surprise in the SEC last year, winning the East for the first time ever. Before South Carolina won division in 2010, they had been dominated by Florida, Georgia and Tennessee since the creation of the SEC title game in 1991.
The Gamecocks bring back now-sophomore RB Marcus Lattimore who burst onto the scene last year and helped Garcia and co. get that SEC East crown.
South Carolina also brings back a good defense—and a matured one, at that. The defense was clearly the main reason South Carolina was able to get to Atlanta.
Out of the Eastern SEC teams right now, South Carolina looks the most ready, but with Georgia and Florida on the rise back up, they won't be king of the East for long.
Here we go again.
The Hokies of Virginia Tech are entering another season in a quest for the Orange Bowl, which pretty much seems like a given since Virginia Tech is almost always there.
Virginia Tech has dominated the ACC as of late, but still never got to represent the ACC in the national title game. Mostly because big brother SEC has kept them from getting in. The Hokies started off terrible losing to Boise State and then James Madison. They were able to clean that up with a win in the ACC title game, but lost to Stanford in the Orange Bowl 40-12. So can the Hokies go to another Orange Bowl? I don't see it this year, but the Chick-Fill-A bowl is a good prediction.
The Aggies were the best team in Texas last year, beating Texas Tech, Baylor and their hated rival, Texas.
Even though the Aggies finished as the top team in Texas and the rival Longhorns finished 5-7, A&M is still sitting in the shadow of Texas. The Aggies have been quietly making their way up the polls, and now they are a top-15 team.
What keeps the Aggies from being a top-10 team you may ask?
They have been good, but not great, and have gotten hammered by SEC teams the last two years, losing 44-20 to UGA in the Independence Bowl and 41-24 to LSU in the Cotton Bowl.
The Horned Frogs finished off an impressive 13-0 2010 season with a statement win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
TCU's defense ranked No. 1 in points allowed, only allowing 12 points per game, pitching two shutouts and holding seven teams to single digits.
On offense, the Horned Frogs bring back talented QB Casey Pachell and RB Ed Wesley, who both lit up opposing defenses.
TCU may even be better than non-AQ "rival" Boise State, but a gutting on both lines will hurt the Horned Frogs and will keep them from another perfect season.
Once again, Nebraska came so close to knocking off a Big 12 South heavyweight, winning the Big 12 and earning a BCS spot.
And like 2009, 2010 had the same story: The Cornhuskers had a lead and lost it.
The main problem with Nebraska is not defense, but offense. The Cornhuskers finished 113th in passing offense last year, only gaining 150 points per game.The poor offense can be seen as the main reason the Cornhuskers did not finish 12-0 in the regular season and lost the Big 12.
Nebraska is now in a weaker conference and is possibly one of the best in the Big Ten. For the Cornhuskers to win the Big Ten though, they need to pick up the passing game.
Ryan Mallett is gone from Arkansas, but replacement Tyler Wilson is not too shabby.
The passing game will not suffer as much as some may think. Wilson had to replace an injured Mallett in the Auburn game, and even though the Razorbacks lost, Wilson went 25-of-34 for 332 yards and four touchdowns. RB Knile Davis, who ran for 1,322 yards and racked up 13 touchdowns in 2010, is back.
What keeps Arkansas from winning the West is their defense, and just like it kept them from winning the West last year, they will fail to do so again; a January bowl game is within their reach though.
The Broncos did improve, conference-wise.
In 2010 Boise had all the ingredients for a BCS title spot; they beat Virginia Tech and slaughtered everyone else they played. But they lost in OT to the Wolfpack of Nevada, 34-31.
This season, the Broncos start off their 2011 season with the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta. It's what Boise fans wanted all along, and it just happens to be the same SEC team that hammered them 48-13 in 2005.
Other than Georgia and TCU, Boise State once again has a very easy schedule, and if they want to get the BCS title berth, they need to go 12-0. Problem is Georgia and TCU are better than Virginia Tech, and Boise is not as good as last year.
The Broncos will still get 10 or 11 wins, but no title game.
Remember in 2007 when Stanford did in USC in the Colosseum, and it was called one of the greatest upsets in the BCS era?
Well now look where the Cardinal is.
Stanford is a top-10 team flirting with a possible BCS title this year.
Andrew Luck is the Heisman favorite and is quickly becoming one of the best of the decade. Stanford was able to rack up a 12-1 record in 2010, losing only to the Oregon Ducks. This year Stanford gets Oregon at home and gets a manageable schedule with a Pac-12 Championship game to play as well.
The Northern division is much stronger than the Southern, and Stanford looks like the best team there. But with the loss of head coach Jim Harbaugh and the fact that Oregon beat the Cardinal so badly last year, the North is a coin toss.
Now here is a team that has been quietly moving up the polls with little notice.
The Cowboys of Stillwater have little coverage, despite the fact that they are at or near a top-five or top-six ranking in this poll.
The deadly duo are back in Stillwater, with QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon returning. The defense is the problem for the Cowboys, as they allowed a total of 98 points between Oklahoma (47) and Nebraska (51) last year.
Granted, that this is still the best Cowboys team in recent history and is a dark-horse to win the Big 12.
To think the Ducks of Oregon were so close to knocking the SEC off its perch and shutting up the SEC fans for a while. They were just one crazy, insane play away from getting the Pac-10 their first-ever BCS Championship, unless you count the vacated win from USC.
But luck was not on their side, as the craziest team in college football lost on one of the craziest plays of the season.
In 2011, the Ducks are back for another BCS title run, and wouldn't you know it, the first team they play is LSU from the SEC. The Ducks lose some talent, but keep some too in leading WRs Jeff Mehl and D.J. Davis.
It also helps that the Pac-12 is in a down year too; the Ducks' biggest foe in the Pac-12 is Stanford, at team they beat 53-21 last year. With that, the Ducks have to be the favorite to win the Pac-12.
Florida State has not been this highly ranked since the early 2000's when Bobby Bowden was coaching there.
In their first season without Bobby, the Seminoles went 10-4 with a blasting of rival Florida, an ACC title game appearance and a 26-17 win over South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Christian Ponder may be gone from FSU, but E.J. Manuel is very talented and will lead the Seminoles.
Florida State has to be the favorite to win the always-weak ACC. Some even believe the Seminoles may be the team to represent the ACC in the BCS title game.
Hey, anything is possible in college football, and Florida State is a good team.
The top three teams are always the hardest to figure out and always cause the most controversy, so I expect to hear about it.
The Tigers of Baton Rouge have to be one of the hardest teams to figure out.
After their BCS title win, the Tigers went to the Capital One Bowl in 2009 and hammered the Aggies in the Cotton Bowl last year.
LSU's QB problem is an argument I frequently hear, but Jefferson seems to be the favorite right now. Former Georgia QB and JUCO transfer Zack Mettenberger has to be giving Jefferson a run for his money though. Both QBs are pretty good, with Jefferson having more game experience.
But as some food for thought, Mettenberger led the QB race against Aaron Murray in Athens before he was kicked off the team. LSU and Alabama are the two best teams in the SEC, and when they meet, the winner will more than likely win the SEC.
The Sooners—also known as "Choke-lahoma," given the fact that they have lost so many BCS games—did something they hardly ever do in BCS games: win.
And not only did they win, but the Sooners blew out UConn 48-20 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Given that many believe the Big East should be stripped of their BCS rights, Oklahoma still won a BCS game. Many have put the Sooners at the top of the top 25, but beating a Big East team as the statement win for Oklahoma won't get them the top spot on this preseason list.
The Crimson Tide of Alabama are (right now at least) the top team in all of the land.
The Tide suffered three close losses last year and made up for it with a blasting of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, 49-7.
The Tide lose some talent, but still retain some depth and are still considered the favorite in the SEC. The Tide's toughest game will come against LSU, but they get the Tigers at home, and they have a very good chance at obtaining an 11-1 record.
An 11-1 record and a SEC title is all a team needs to get to the BCS title game, and Alabama looks like the best team to do that.