I was asked by Truman Tiger over at Missourah.net to put together a 2008 College Football Top 10 list and get it to them by the middle of March. I suppose it's fitting to talk about around spring ball, but I reserve the right to change this later, like maybe next week if I feel like it.
Here's how I see it going into this season, which is spring. :)
The top five can be put in any order, depending upon some lucky breaks or injuries, as very one has a flaw. Thus is parity.
Non-Con Big Game: At Arizona State, Sept 20th
On the Road: LSU, Florida (Jacksonville), Auburn
At Home: Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn
Georgia's been very close to the Holy Grail for a number of years now, and that's what it takes to win a national title. It leads to this idea that "Coach Of this Team can't win the big one" type talk, but reality is that it takes a favorable schedule and luck as well. For their sake, they better have a lot of luck.
Non-Con Big Game: at Washington (not much of a big non-con game, is it?)
On the Road: Texas, Oklahoma State
At Home: Kansas, Nebraska, Texas Tech
The Sooner defense got embarrassed in their last game against West Virginia. The core of the offense returns, particularly the offensive line and quarterback Sam Bradford. Some defensive stand-outs have left, but the Sooner defense will remain better than most of the Big 12. Bradford could suffer the sophomoritis than hit Texas QB Colt McCoy, but Oklahoma's defense will keep them in most games.
- Ohio State
Non-Con Big Game: At USC, Sept. 13th
On the Road: Wisconsin, Illinois
At Home: Michigan, Penn State
Ohio State has a lot of talent returning and their date with USC is early enough that they could lose and still make it back up the charts to a National Title game. That's what everyone wants, isn't it? Three-time loser Ohio State Buckeyes?
I'm guessing that Ohio State is going to struggle in 2008, as losing two national title games in a row sucks the life out of them. For now, they're easily anywhere in the top five.
Non-Con Big Game: Ohio State at home, Sept 13th
On the Road: Oregon State
At Home: Oregon, Arizona State, Cal, Notre Dame
Ah, USC. All the athletes on the planet, great coach, great sideline distractions and a great schedule. They should be number one, but I see them as faltering like they did last season. Why? Because they weren't consistent and I don't see that changing this year.
Non-Con Big Game: Miami at home - Sept 6, At Florida State, Nov 29
On the Road: Tennessee, Georgia (Jacksonville), Florida State
At Home: LSU
2008 is all about evil genius Urban Meyer. Tim Tebow returns. The Gators lost their top receiver and have to replace two offensive linemen. They'll be ranked in everyone's top five.
Non-Con Big Game: Illinois in St. Louis, Sept 1
On the Road: Nebraska, Texas, Kansas at Kansas City (40 minutes from Lawrence)
At Home: Buffalo
Blah blah Bblah Tim Tebow blah blah. Chase Daniel is the best returning quarterback in the nation, Chase Coffman returned, and their defense learned that they could play well in 2007. Tony Temple is gone, but there are enough other weapons that the offense will be fine. 2007, the Tigers learned to get to the top of the Big 12. In 2008, we'll see if Gary Pinkel can keep them there. I'd bet no, but it's March.
- Non-Con Big Game: Appalachian State, Aug 30
On the Road: Auburn, Florida, Arkansas
At Home: Georgia, Alabama
Keep in mind that at this point, LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux is indefinitely suspended until Les Miles determines that he really needs him, which will be August 30th against App State. Defensive coordinator Bo Pelini came to Nebraska as head coach, QB Matt Flynn is gone, and DL Glenn Dorsey is gone. LSU will have some great players as replacements, but they won't be back in the title game. Maybe top ten, doubtful as top five.
Non-Con Big Game: At Fresno State, Sept 13
On the Road: Michigan, Iowa
At Home: Ohio State, Penn State, Illinois
I like Wisconsin. Maybe it's because they're red. Maybe it's because they still play tough football and they have a great set of running backs and a veteran offensive line. I'm guessing most people ignore them. Don't.
- Non-Con Big Game: Arkansas, Sept 13
On the Road: Texas Tech, Oklahoma (Dallas), Kansas
At Home: Missouri, Texas A&M
Texas is another team that always has great athletes. Expect Colt McCoy to return to his freshman form. The offensive line needs to work out some issues, but defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is a huge addition hired away from Auburn and will have a much bigger impact than any returning players.
If Colt doesn't play well, put Texas Tech in their place.
- West Virginia
Non-Con Big Game: At Colorado - Sept 18, Auburn - Oct 23
On the Road: Connecticut, Louisville, Pitt
At Home: Cincinnati, South Florida
I'm not so sure that the Mountaineers should be higher on this list. I can see where they'll play 2008 with a chip on their shoulder just to show Rich R they can win without him. QB Pat White and RB Noel Devine return, and the offensive line returns, but the defensive secondary must be replaced. For their sakes, it better be a big chip.