For some reason, college football holds a special place in many a sports fan’s heart. If you’re a true fan, win or lose, you’ll keep up with your favorite program for years to come. From last Saturday until early January, every week will have at least a few prime-time matchups that nobody will want to miss. Enjoy them!
#1 – Alabama Crimson Tide – Coach Nick Saban has had a successful 3 years with Alabama, leading both his 2008 & 2009 teams to perfect regular seasons. While it will be tough for the Crimson Tide to run the table again this season, you can expect to find them at the top of the SEC as they have no foreseen threat (such as Florida has been in the past few seasons) to a conference title. Once healthy, expect to see last year’s Heisman winner, Mark Ingram, repeat last season’s numbers and make opposing defenses look downright silly while Bama’s D keeps the ball in his hands.
#2 – Ohio State Buckeyes – The Buckeyes could easily slide into the #1 spot at some point during the first half of the season due to their strong defense and Heisman candidate Terrelle Pryor. Pryor is starting to look like the all-around college quarterback that everyone knew he would eventually evolve into; have no doubt that you’ll hear his name during the highlight section of almost any sports show on any given week. On the other side of the ball, Cameron Heyward will look to build on last year’s total of 6.5 sacks while becoming the vocal leader of one of the nation’s best defenses. Expect consecutive Big Ten title #6 for Ohio State – a number that would tie the all-time Big Ten record.
#3 – Boise State Broncos – Everyone could (and will) debate for an entire season whether or not Boise State should get a shot at playing for a BCS Championship in the National Championship game. I think that Boise State has the best chance to get in this year than any “smaller conference” team ever has, but Alabama and OSU will have too good of resumes to leave out. I’d love to see the Broncos get a chance though..
#4 – Texas Longhorns – Mack Brown hasn’t had a team win less than 9 games in 14 years. He has been the main reason behind the Longhorns’ recent, consistent success, leading Texas to 9 straight 10+ win seasons. Expect the running backs to see more carries now that the NCAAs all-time winningest quarterback, Colt McCoy, isn’t behind-center. Keep an eye on McCoy’s replacement, sophomore Garret Gilbert, as he will be the key to the Longhorns’ success.
#5 – TCU Horned Frogs – TCU has such an easy schedule, it’s hard to put them in the top 5. Yes, I know, Boise State doesn’t play many “tough” teams either, but at least they played one top 10 team. I honestly didn’t watch enough of the Horned Frogs victory last week to drop them from Clay and Clay’s top 5, but I expect TCU to slowly drop down the list, even if they continue to win.
#6 – Oregon Ducks – Wow. 72-0! I’m not one to move a team up several spots because of one spectacular win, no matter how impressive, but they won big without LaMichael James, a sophomore who ran for 14 touchdowns and over 1500 yards last season. We should know a lot more about Oregon following their Week 2 matchup – at Tennessee.
#7 – Nebraska Cornhuskers – Redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez, a dual threat quarterback, is expected to lead the Cornhuskers to a successful season in Lincoln.
#8 – Florida Gators – Besides losing Heisman-winner Tim Tebow and playing in the always tough SEC, well, it’s gonna be a tough year after what the Gators have gotten used to.
#9 – Iowa Hawkeyes – While all 3 of Iowa’s games against ranked opponents are at home, the Hawkeyes have a tough conference schedule that should help them in the postseason bowl selection process. It should be interesting to see how the Big 10 plays out..
#10 – Oklahoma Sooners – The Sooners won’t miss Sam Bradford as much as you might think – he only played in a little over 2 games last season. Make sure to watch the Sooners play Texas on October 2nd – a game that could make or break Oklahoma’s season.
#11 – Wisconsin Badgers – Playing in the Big 10 is never easy..
#12 – Virginia Tech Hokies – Some will write VT off after last week’s loss to Boise State – I’m not one of them.
#13 – Miami Hurricanes – The Hurricanes get a early test at Ohio State this Saturday.
#14 – Arkansas Razorbacks – Impressive first win…could surprise some SEC teams.
# 15 – Penn State Nittany Lions – Coach Paterno is in his astounding 45th year at Penn State.
Posted by Tom
(My top 15 might resemble the AP Top 25, but I assure you, I did not consult the poll in order to form mine.)