The time has arrived, albeit unbelievably, to make my prognostications for the upcoming college football season, complete with my Top Ten List.
I have to admit that there are a lot of question marks going into this season as to whom the legitimate front runners are. It has been trendy here in the MidWest for sports columnists to pick Missouri as the Preseason No. 1. Seeing as Missouri has an ongoing penchant for choking, I remain unconvinced about Missouri. A good, solid Top Ten team, yes. No. 1? I don't think so.
I am told by my sources that the trendy pick in the South is the Georgia Bulldogs. I do have to admit they looked really good in their bowl game. I certainly will put them in the preseason top 3, but they have a killer schedule. They play Alabama, Tennessee, @LSU, and Florida in the span of a little over a month, with two back to back goodies at the end of the season being @Auburn and Georgia Tech, both of which could be Top 20+ teams in their own right. Georgia certainly won't go undefeated with that schedule, but if they can get through that with one 1 loss, then I have no doubt they will be at or near the top of the polls by the end.
As dominant as USC has been over the past few years, I am amused that they are again a sleeper, which they seem to be every year. They have a lot of freshman, but seem to keep turning out top 3 teams. Given the precarious schedule of Georgia and the the question marks in the other top 10's, I think USC might end the season No. 1 by default.
The Kansas Jayhawks lost a lot of starters from last years surprising squad, so I think they are a bit over rated this year. Although, I think they will manage to pick off somebody (aka Missouri, Oklahoma, or Texas).
Ohio State again breaks the top five by default (No. 2 in one poll), as nobody else in the Big Ten looks legitimate. Ohio State is a constant question mark, as they tend to look good in the season and have a BCS meltdown with they have to play a good team from a conference that is not inbred.
Then of course there are the Floridas and Oklahomas of the world. At some point Oklahoma is going to stop the late season brain cramp and put it all together. Whether that's this year or not, I can't really say. They look good on paper, but of late, that hasn't gotten OU very much. They always look good on paper, but somehow always find a way to have an accident on said paper.
If Florida can beat Georgia, they will be in the driver's seat in the SEC East. But again, I have to place a question mark on Florida. Eventually, the SEC is going to take a page from the NFL game footage and figure out how to beat the Spread Option Offense. (It's not the difficult, fellas.) For some reason, no one has yet figured out a good defense for it, but once they do, I think Florida is in trouble, especially if their QB gets hurt as everything that Florida does revolves about Tebow.
Then, of course, there is LSU*. I have always been of the opinion that the defending National Champs are the champs until they prove otherwise, so I give them the nod as provisional No. 1. I don't think they really are No. 1 this season, but until they lose, I give them the courtesy.
Other footnotes to comment on:
West Virginia is in the top ten, but with a regime change, I don't think they will end the season in the Top 10.
Auburn could be good but with the plethora of quality teams in the SEC this year, probably a top 15 to 20 finish, but I don't see them cracking much above the No. 8 or so mark early on.
Texas Tech might be the sleeper in this years Big XII. There offense if going to be really good, and, like Kansas, I think they will pick off one of the Big Boys before all is said and done.
Texas...who knows? Always one of the finest talent teams out there on paper, but how they play X's-and-O's wise is anyone's guess.
Then there's ole' Tennessee. Good recruiting class this year. They are having to break in a new quarterback, so look for a lot of running. Next year, I think they will be really good. This year is a learning curve. I predict they might end the season in the Top 25 if they knock off a Georgia, Florida, etc. But breaking in a new QB is always messy at the get go.
All the other teams I see in the Top 25 appear to be marginal, but that is why the season is played.
So, without further adieu, here is the Archer's 2008 Pre--Season Top 10:
No. 1: LSU*
No. 2: USC/Georgia (tied)
No. 4: Oklahoma
No. 5: Missouri
No. 6: Florida
No. 7: Ohio State
No. 8: Auburn
No. 9: Texas
No. 10: Texas Tech