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An Early, Early Look at a Preseason College Football Top 25 for 2008
Updated January 11, 2008...
The college football season ended 3 days ago, yet I am doing a Top 25 Preseason poll. How far away is August again? How about Spring Practice? How about National Signing Day? Why can’t college football last all year? I’ve come up with this Top 25 based on who’s returning, the recruits coming in, and some other factors like schedule, team improvement, etc. Granted, Preseason polls are a joke and usually never look the same at the end of the season but this one might be different. Right?
Without further ado:
1. Georgia Bulldogs
The Bulldogs finished the 2007 year on a tear and found an All-SEC RB in Moreno. The biggest thing for the Dawgs will be playmakers for QB Matt Stafford to throw to. Enter in the incoming freshman WR A.J. Green; he’s a consensus top 5 high school prospect.
2. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners had a disappointing end to the 2007 season but Sooner fans don’t fret. The Sooners return freshman QB Sam Bradford, RB DeMarco Murray, and could return a total of 17 starters. The Sooners also have some good incoming freshman coming in such as DE R.J. Washington and RB’s Jermie Calhoun and Justin Johnson.
3. Missouri Tigers
After one of the best years in school history, the Tigers come back loaded for `08. The Tigers return QB Chase Daniel, WR/ATH Jeremy Maclin, and FS William Moore. To make matters worse for their opponents, RB Tony Temple might get a medical redshirt for 2007 and be eligible for 2008. Oklahoma and Missouri will slug it out for the Big 12 title.
4. Florida Gators
The Gators return Heisman winning QB Tim Tebow, WR Percy Harvin, and get a well needed lift at RB with former USC Trojan Emmanuel Moody. The Gators should boast one of the best offensive lines in the nation but need help in a big way on defense. The talent is there, but is the experience? Florida’s CB’s got some well needed experience this year and they will get a great Secondary class coming in behind Dee Finley, Will Hill, and Janoris Jenkins. The Defensive Line should also get a huge lift with Omar Hunter to play along side John Brown and Torrey Davis. If the Defense improves, I like Florida winning it all in 2008.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes will lose only 2 seniors but could also lose CB Malcolm Jenkins, LB James Laurinaitis, and DT Vernon Gholston. The Buckeyes are extremely young but still have guys like RB Chris Wells, DL Cam Heyward, and bring in probably the greatest offensive line class in history with Michael Brewster, J.B. Shugarts, and Mike Adams. In addition, incoming LB Andrew Sweat is a Laurinaitis clone and could be their next great LB. The Buckeyes should cruise through Big 10 play in `08.
6. USC Trojans
USC is going to be the “sexy” pick for a Pre-season #1 by a lot of people. I think QB is where it starts for the Trojans, particularly in the Pac-10. I’m not sold on Mark Sanchez or any of the other Trojan QB’s. I know Mitch Mustain is eligible after transferring from Arkansas but I’m more intrigued by Damien Williams. Williams transferred from Arkansas as well and I really like him at WR. I am sold on however Joe McKnight, Rey Maualuga, Everson Griffen, and the rest of the Trojan D.
7.West Virginia Mountaineers
The Mountaineers would be much higher but I feel that RB Steve Slaton forgo his senior year to go to the NFL Draft. The good news is QB Pat White will be back and RB Noel Devine when it’s all said and done could make Mountaineer fans say Steve who? I like new coach Bill Stewart but the Mountaineers lose a lot on defense. Still, the Mountaineers can win the Big East but can’t stumble against teams like Pitt and South Florida.
8. LSU Tigers
The Tigers say goodbye to a great senior class but return QB Ryan Perrilloux, WR/ATH Trinton Holliday, RB Keiland Williams, and S Chad Jones. Chad Jones is going to be a star and Holliday is the fastest player in the nation. Perrilloux was the back up but is very talented. If LSU can get by Florida on the road in `08, they will have a big time matchup at home against Georgia. LSU also brings in a great recruiting class headlined by DB Patrick Johnson and DE Chancey Aghayere.
9. Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns lose a stud RB in Charles, but return gifted QB Colt McCoy. The defense will get a big boost from incoming freshmen DT Jarvis Humphrey, CB Aaron Williams, and LB Dravannti Johnson. Incoming freshman WR Dan Buckner will also have an opportunity to step in and play early, and he’s a good one.
10. Auburn Tigers
The Auburn Tigers lose QB Brandon Cox but backup Kodi Burns is going to be a good one. Auburn lost their Offensive and Defensive Coordinators but still have Head Coach Tommy Tuberville. RB Brad Lester will guide the running game and LB Tray Blackmon will anchor the defense. Auburn will have its hands full in the SEC but also plays at West Virginia early in the season.
11. Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas returns QB Todd Reesing but loses CB Aqib Talib, who is turning pro. The Jayhawks will come in with high expectations but they will have to face Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech in `08.
12. Clemson Tigers
QB Cullen Harper returns but RB James Davis is turning pro. However, the Tigers have one of the most explosive RB’s in the country in C.J. Spiller, and look to be getting one of the best high school RB’s in Jamie Harper. The Tigers also will bring in the best defensive high school player in the nation in Daquan Bowers. Clemson could be a real sleeper in the national title race.
13. Virginia Tech Hokies
The Hokies return QB’s Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon and RB Brandon Ore. Defensive Players Adibi and Hall will be gone, so the Hokies will need to hope their experienced offense can pick up the slack.
14. Arizona State Sun Devils
The Sun Devils return QB Rudy Carpenter and their explosive offense in `08. The Sun Devils will make a run in the Pac-10 and be the stiffest competition for the USC Trojans.
15. Illinois Fighting Illini
The Illini return QB Juice Williams and WR Arrelious Benn but lose RB Rashard Mendenhall to the pros. With Williams and Benn, the offense should be explosive enough to keep them in the upper echelon of the Big 10.
16. Texas Tech Red Raiders
QB Graham Harrell returns to break every Texas Tech career passing record. WR Michael Crabtree returns and will continue to be Harrell’s favorite target. The Big 12 will be extremely tough in `08 but the Red Raiders have the offense to be one of the top teams.
17. Tennessee Volunteers
There are a lot of people out there questioning Tennessee’s QB situation. Folks, Jonathan Crompton is a good QB, he filled in nicely for Ainge 2 years ago and they will still be stable at QB. The Vols have a number of talented youngsters led by CB Eric Berry. The Vols will miss former offensive coordinator David Cutcliff but should still challenge for the SEC East crown.
18. Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers have a hole at QB but return RB P.J. Hill who will be one of the best RB’s in the country. The Badgers will likely challenge the Illini for 2nd in the Big 10.
19. BYU Cougars
The Cougars return QB Max Hall and should runaway with the Mountain West title. If the Cougars can get by UCLA and Washington early in the season, they could play in a BCS Bowl.
20. Connecticut Huskies
The Huskies return RB Andre Dixon and QB Tyler Lorenzen and will be one of the top teams in the Big East. Connecticut will challenge West Virginia and should be a top 25 team all season.
21. Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines need a lot of help on the offensive side of the ball in losing Henne, Hart, Arrington, Long, and Manningham. Call it blind faith, but I feel Coach Rich Rodriguez can still make the Wolverines a top 25 team. The defense got a bad rap last season but should be much improved in `08.
22. Boise State Broncos
RB Ian Johnson returns for his senior season and the Broncos should win the WAC with ease. The Broncos also have another great RB in Jeremy Avery.
23. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The Deacons return QB Riley Skinner and won 9 games in 2007. Coach Jim Grobe did the right thing staying at Wake Forest as they will continue to be one of the top teams in the ACC.
24. South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks had a rough 2nd half of their 2007 season but the Ole` Ball Coach will have them ready for `08. South Carolina returns QB Chris Smelley and WR Kenny McKinley. Spurrier will make sure the offensive is still explosive and they will contend for the SEC East crown.
25. Oregon State Beavers
The Beavers return QB’s Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao, but lose RB Yvenson Bernard. The Beavers will still be good on offense as these two QB’s battle it out in the spring. The Beavers will content with USC and Arizona State for the Pac-10 title.
Next Five: South Florida Bulls, Alabama Crimson Tide, Penn State Nittany Lions, Florida State Seminoles, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets