Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Blurb's College Top 20

Feel free to disagree - I am sure many will - but here is my take on the top 20 teams in the NCAA this season as it sits now. Angry emails about why Michigan was forgotten or how i could rank Team X at position Y can go in the comments or to thunderingblurb@gmail.com.

1. Florida: Heisman Winner Tebow leads a bevy of very good returning players all of whom are fast and very good. They played tough last year and will challenge the whole way to get to that title game.

2.Ohio State: A very talented group returns. The USC Game is huge – but Ohio State hasn’t fared well in the two biggest games they played in the last few years. A year more experience could make a huge difference this year.

3. USC: Despite losing Sanchez to injury and a ton of defenders to the NFL, they stack talent like cordwood. The game vs Ohio State could well hold the key to who plays in the National Championship game.

4. Georgia: One of the toughest schedules in the nation offsets great talent at the RB and QB positions. If they can hold it together, they will be in the Nat. Champ conversation.

5. Missouri: They don’t play Oklahoma this year, and that’s good since that accounts for both of 2007’s losses. They will be carried by a stellar defense and could flirt with the BCS title, though in the end they won’t have the horses to hang.

6. Clemson: They return a very good offensive group and face a very weak schedule this year. That combination should make them a very difficult challenge for opponents this year.

7. West Virginia: Heisman hopeful Pat White get protected by one of the best O-lines in the nation and if you’ve read the Blurb, you know how important I think that is. Games get won in the trenches and WV should rule the roost on the offensive side of the ball in most games this year.

8. LSU: The Defending National Champs lost more than a few good players to the NFL and graduation and face a daunting schedule. They can play, no doubt, but it will be very hard to repeat even with the talent they do have returning.

9. Texas: Always in the running for the Big 12 title, the Longhorns bring back a great O-line, an even better D-line and veteran leadership. They lack a soft schedule but could play very hard and surprise some people.

10. Auburn: Tough schedule, hard attrition of talent. But Auburn has the talent to hang around and challenge for the SEC title. If they can do that, they have an outside shot at bigger things – but that road will be very hard to walk.

11. Kansas: They have a tougher schedule than 2007, but return some good athletes. While they may have to face Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and FSU this season, they have the talent to persevere.

12. Texas Tech: They return a ton of starters, have a Qb who could have a big year and overall have more talent and veteran leadership than they have had in years. Some tough games this year, especially on the road, may be a problem though.

13. Virginia Tech: A great coach with a great recruiting tradition must offset the loss of their top WRs and defensive players.

14. Wisconsin: The Badgers have a great group of backs playing behind one of the best O-lines in the nation. Problem is their defense won’t match their offense and they have a tough schedule this year.

15. Arizona State: If the offensive line could hold it together this year, Rudy Carpenter could take this team places. Their defense is very good and while they got lucky sometimes last year, they could play well enough to surprise some people.

16. BYU: They lost a lot of starters on defense but have enough in depth to offset that. They tend to dominate their conference and that won’t change this year.

17. Tennesee: The Volunteers have a tough row to hoe in the SEC this year and will be sorely tested. They do have a great offensive line and overall a very solid team.

18. South Florida: They return a bunch of starters, will have a solid veteran team but I think they will not be able to keep up the pace all season and will fade at some point during the year.

19. Oregon: They have a great secondary and will not have problems filling Dixon and Stewart’s shoes, though the drop-off will be considerable. They have a tough Pac-10 schedule but have enough talent to overcome most of their issues, though not enough to repeat last year’s pre-Dixon success.

20. Penn State: The return of the spread offense should help, as will the fact that they have a great D-line. But the Nittany Lions face several very tough games and lost their best player on the defensive side of the ball (Sean Lee, LB) last spring and there isn’t anyone who will fill his shoes this season, which will cause a ton of problems for Joe P and his team.

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