Monday, June 30, 2008

It's Way Too Early...But...

Here are my Pre-Season rankings for the upcoming 2008 College Football season. I've included 30 teams, a top 25 with some honorable mentions to hedge my bets. The top-5 have some additional thoughts added. This is a SEC, Big-12 heavy list. There just seem to be a bunch of good teams poised to make some noise in those 2 conferences. So here goes:

JOAJ's Preseason Poll

  1. Georgia

With one of (if not the) toughest schedules, it’s hard to put Georgia this high. But what the hell, they’re my team and I don’t have an editor to answer to. I know other polls have picked UGA to win the title, but that honestly just makes me nervous. We are loaded and if Matt Stafford keeps improving and Knowshon keeps running wild, we might just live up to these expectations.

Key Game and Prediction – Edging out Florida in Jax.

2nd Thoughts – Can we actually beat Tennessee this year, though? And, how many gimmicks will Richt have for ’08?

  1. USC

The Pac-10 won’t be too hard for the Trojans to win, and if the last 2 national title games have been any indicator, Ohio State won’t be much of a threat, either. USC should have a great season (1-loss at the most) and get the nod for the title game.

Key Game and Prediction – Destroying OSU

2nd Thoughts – Where will the Trojans stumble in the Pac-10? They always seem to flop somewhere.

  1. Oklahoma

DeMarco Murray and Sam Bradford will have a top-notch O-Line to work behind and Oklahoma’s Big-12 North opponents shouldn’t be too hard to run through (No Mizz). The Southern division will be the tough spot for the Sooners. Texas is good, but readjusting and Texas Tech is ready to make some noise, but not enough to edge OU.

Key Game and Prediction – A tough rivalry win over Texas

2nd Thoughts – Watch out for T. Tech and A&M, they’re giant killers.

  1. Florida

Florida honestly has a better shot at the title than Georgia does when you look at schedules, but I think the Bulldogs will knock the Gators off in J’ville to seal the deal in the SEC East. Besides the Dawgs, the Gators have a big tilt with LSU to dread, but, I’ve got two words…Tim…Tebow.

Key Game and Prediction – Close loss to UGA…should handle UT.

2nd Thoughts – What about LSU?

  1. Ohio State

It’s easy to ridicule this team. The Big-10’s soft, they can’t beat the SEC in a bowl, they’re too slow, etc. But, the Buckeyes are a good football team. They have talent at the skill positions, solid lines, and good coaching. Boeckman is a proven leader, Tyrelle Pryor might provide an electric play-maker spark as a freshman, and Beanie Wells might be the best RB in the nation. I still think they’ll tote a butt whooping from USC, but they should still cruise through an easy conference stretch and be considered for a BCS Title shot.

Key Game and Prediction – They will get straight owned by USC

2nd Thoughts – Wisconsin looks to be getting tired of the Buckeyes’ big-10 dominance

  1. Missouri

We all know that with Chase Daniel back, the Tigers Offense should be a fireworks spectacle just like last year. However, beyond that, Mizzou’s returning a great Special Teams and 9 or 10 starters on Defense. They don’t have OU on the schedule (at least until the Big 12 Title game), the north’s soft, but Texas should be a challenge. Look for a similar record as last year, but not quite the same hype.

  1. Auburn

Usually with two new coordinators, it would be hard to rank a team this high. But, Tubs will have the ship righted and the Tigers will beat LSU and Bama to clinch the West. Also, look for the War Plainsmen to be a stumbling block in Georgia’s way. Maybe even twice if they rematch in the SEC title game. But, keep an eye on the Vols coming to Jordan Hare…

  1. LSU

No more Ryan Perrilloux. I actually believe that his absence will benefit the Tigers. That kid had to much lip, attitude and baggage and would probably have only hindered a team that’s been a perennial title contender without him. However, the loss to Auburn will cost LSU to SEC West, and playing at Florida is no cakewalk.

  1. West Virginia

The Mountaineers will win the Big East, despite a careless conference loss somewhere, and they have the talent (and the hot, nasty, bad-ass speed) to beat Auburn. Pat White is a Heisman contender, and Cincy and USF are more than beatable. It just comes down to where WVU (and their new coach) stub their toe (or toes).

  1. BYU

Bronco Mendenhall is a good coach and BYU is a good team. They usually cruise through the Mountain West, but struggle with whatever Pac-1o foes they have to face. This year should be different as the Cougs are tough enough to beat Washington and UCLA. They could easily be a BCS bowl outsider, and have the ability to play with almost anyone. Oklahoma better hope they don't get BYU in the post-season (Boise State, WVU) …

  1. Virginia Tech

Why not? The ACC is not what it’s supposed to be, and I’m not sold on Clemson as a title contender. VA Tech has been the most consistent team in the conference since their arrival. There are a lot of questions to be sure: personnel loss, 2 quarter backs and no running game. But they always seem to overcome. Plus, they don’t have to embarrass themselves at LSU again.

  1. Texas

The Horns should have a stellar defense this year, with their talent and new DC Will Muschamp. Colt McCoy has matured, but the running game seems a little lost and that might be enough of a weak spot to cost them some big games. The Red River Rivalry should be very interesting, but Tech seems like a more unsuspecting loss to sting the Horns return to dominance.

  1. Wisconsin

Bielema has done a great job at Wisky. They play old school football, and with the stable of RB’s on hand, that shouldn’t change. There’s a tough stretch of road through Fresno State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, all very solid and possibly ranked teams. The rest of the slate should be easy enough, and don’t be surprised if they knock off Ohio State. But don’t surprised if they drop 3 games, either. There’s just no leadership at QB and the defense is untested.

  1. Clemson

Maybe Clemson should be higher than Va Tech. And, maybe they should be in the top 10, or 5, even. But, we’ve seen the collapse too many times for me to put that much faith in the Tigers. The Offense looks sharp with QB Harper, and Spiller and Davis toting the rock, but the D looks a little iffy. The non-conference tilt with Bama will set the tone for the season, and it ain’t automatic.

  1. Tennessee

Despite what others may say, Fulmer is a good coach, and this is a good team. There’s a new offense to implement, but the Vols look up for the task, and the Defense should be as good, if not better than last year. Playing at Georgia, Auburn and Florida will not be easy, but this year’s trip to the west coast should work out better than last year.

  1. Arizona State

The Sun Devils host Georgia and travel to USC within weeks of each other, but Erickson’s a good enough coach to set them up to win at least one of those. They also play both Oregon schools back-to-back which can be difficult. Capenter’s talented enough to lead the revamped O to big numbers, but the D’s green and they’ll drop a careless loss somewhere (perhaps an upstart rival like Arizona?).

  1. Texas Tech

I’m predicting lots of passes, yards and points (shocker, huh?). Graham Harrell has great numbers, but he’s a system QB. Crabtree looks like a statistical deity, but I think he’s a system WR (if that’s not a thing yet, it is now). The whole season hinges on what Tech is touting a vastly improved defense. I’ll believe it when I see it. Tech will upset someone big this year, though and maybe throw a wrench in the Big-12 South standings.

  1. Penn State

Honestly, this team could go 6-6 or win the Big-10 outright. Where they had lingering questions from last year, they’ve seemed to fill the holes. Clark seems more than able to replace Morelli, but the D lost a lot with Sean Lee and lack of leadership there will make the conference road schedule very tough with games at OSU and Wisky.

  1. Kansas

Todd Reesing is an impressive QB and will be a more than able leader for the Jayhawk offense. But, Kansas benefited from a borderline high school schedule last year, and has inherited games with Oklahoma and Texas Tech this year. The showdown with Missouri could be for the Big-12 north, but Mangino’s boys will probably lose around 4 games.

  1. Illinois

Once you’ve coached in the SEC meat-grinder, the Big-10 must not be that hard. Just look at Ron Zook. The Illini played (kind of) in the Rose Bowl last year and the recruiting has been top notch, but Mendenhall and Benn cannot carry the team. Illinois will make too may mistakes against the big teams to win the conference, but could still surprise a team or to.

  1. Oregon

Who knows? Was it all Dixon last season? Probably. Can the Ducks win without him this year? Probably. The road schedule will be tough, but the Ducks can always be surprisingly resilient. The running game and Defense will have to play improved to help the recovering passing game.

  1. Alabama

If the Tide can roll Clemson and Auburn, and split UT and UGA, they could be poised for a big turn around and possibly make the conference game. This is all doubtful, though, and LSU will be too much for Bama again. Look for Saban’s sophomore season to be a vast improvement, winning about 8 games, but still a building block for a strong run in 2009.

  1. Cincinnati

If Ben Mauk get his lingering appeal, the Bearcats oculd finish up higher than this. If the appeal is denied again, the Maukless ‘Cats will definitely finish lower. I figured why not just shoot the gap and rank ‘em 23rd.

  1. USF

The Bulls have a big test with Kansas in the non-conf. They should be solid in the middle of the slate, preparing for the end of the year showdown with West Virginia. QB Matt Grothe is tough as tough gets, and the D still has Selvie as anchor, but I wonder where the collapse will be. UConn? Rutgers?

  1. Boise State

Most polls have Fresno State picked to win the WAC and be an outside BCS team. But, they’ll suffer from a tough schedule, leaving the Broncos as the best record in the West. The blue turf might not be enough to beat the bulldogs, but that should be Boise’s only loss. However, with it coming so late, it’ll knock the Broncs down the polls.

  1. South Carolina

The Gamecocks collapse at the end of 07 makes us forget how they started the season. I see improvement down the stretch and the talent to be a serious competitor in the SEC East. Smelley (despite his unfortunate name) should have confidence at QB and the D should be solid. And, at the end of the day, you can’t count out Steve Spurrier. Who might be swan-songing with a sub-par record.

  1. Michigan State

Dantonio’s been impressive at State so far, and if the Spartans can turn close losses into close wins, they could be competing for the conference title. I think the schedule is tougher and this won’t be the year they’ll overcome the Buckeyes, Badgers, and Lions.

  1. Boston College

They are pure consistency. Ryan or not, they’ll win games and compete for the Atlantic with Wake and Clemson.

  1. Wake Forrest

In the down and out ACC, Grobe has been impressive at Wake. The Deacs have won big games and played as solidly as anyone. They return a slew of starters and should finish in the top of their division. Watch out Clemson.

  1. Fresno State

See Boise State above. Pat Hill could do it this year, but I think Boise stands in the way.

Keep an eye on: Utah, FSU, Cal, ND, and Tulsa

As an afterthought. I'll rank the conferences according to ME!

Big East

Number Two, or Johnny is a Legend (Eye of the Storm)

I got this from a blogger of a blogger. The directions are on the linked blog.

This is my final product.

It's a pretty cool thing to kill some time and use other people artistic abilities for your own personal benefit.

Get busy Bloggin' or get busy dyin'!

Well, I've decided to join some other folks I know and start blogging. I'm so hip and only five years late. I'm pretty sure I'll be the next internet sensation, so hang on tight. And, check back often. Or don't. I doubt I'll really keep this up that long anyway.