Alright the NC2A season is right around the corner, and I cannot take it any more. Here at Walker-Sports we have to get on it and give out our Preseason Top 25 poll. We will be updating this poll each week. Remember this is the Walker-Sports poll not the AP not the Coaches, not the BCS, this is way better because we are doing it Walker-Sports style.
1) Georgia Bulldogs: Hottest team at the end of 2007 season, brought everyone back, and they are hungry. Navigating through the SEC will be hard, but if they come out the other side unscathed they will be set win a national title.
2) OSU: The Buckeyes have been to back to back national title games and fallen short. Nonetheless they are still by far the best team in the Big 10. Chris Wells is an early candidate for the Heisman, great runner.
3) USC: Pete Carroll has his men of Troy ready for battle and they will be scary this year. The Pac 10 is down (isn’t that every year?); once they settle at the QB position they will be good. (Better watch out for UVA in week one)
4) Florida Gators: The Gators get this nod simply because of Tim Teabow. He has a chance to win back to back Heisman trophies and he accounted for over 50 TD’s last season. He is an offensive juggernaut and he can drive that Gator team.
5) Missouri Tigers: Chris Daniels is back at QB and honestly that’s all you really need to know. However, beyond that their schedule shapes up in their favor. They have to go on the road to play Texas but other than that I like their chances.
6) LSU: The Tigers earned this position based on reputation and their skill players. They will struggle at the QB position, but because their Defense is always so strong and they have amazing receivers and running backs that will make up for any short comings at QB.
7) Oklahoma Sooners: The Sooners are young, but this season is all about finishing. The Sooners have laid eggs each of the last three years in bowl games. That has to stop this season.
8) West Virginia: WVU is here despite the fact that their coach jumped ship to the big leagues of the Big 10. Pat White is still there as evident from his statements earlier this week, and Noel Divine is a threat who showed promise in limited duty last season, and this year it the game will be his to have.
9) Kansas Jayhawks: The Jayhawks must avoid the post success hangover this season. Last year was the best season in school history with a win in the Orange Bowl, but that was last season and won’t mean a thing come New Years Day 2009. The key will be 15 returning starting including 9 on defense hopefully these guys are mature enough to keep their eye on the prize.
10) Clemson Tigers: The Tigers are a stacked team and they play in arguably the worse BCS conference in the country. Combine that with a stud returning QB and two stud RB’s and you got a great offense. Now the question is can Tommy Bowden keep his boys focused on the task at hand?
11) Auburn: The Tigers are implementing a spread offense and if they can grasp it, then Auburn will be a threat to anyone they play. Judging by their 423 yard output in the Peach Bowl last year with only 9 days of practice with the spread, I’d say they will pick it up just fine.
12) Wisconsin: The Badgers are always a solid team, and no one wants to go to Madison in the late season. They have a battle at QB that is entering its second season, but some how they have made it work to this point. The test will be OSU. That could make or break their chance at a BCS game in January.
13) Texas Longhorns: Texas has about 300 talented running backs ready to take the field. Each one has the potential to be a break out star. That means they will be hungry when they take the field and they will want to prove they are the true number 1 back. Match that with Colt McCoy entering his third year in the system and you have a talented Longhorn squad.
14) Virginia Tech: The Hokies are back at it one again, and by that I mean their defense and special teams will lead the way going into 08. On offense Va. Tech is similar to Wisconsin in that they have 2 QB’s and neither wants to win the position battle. Despite that they still have a huge advantage down at Lane stadium and they play in a weak conference.
15) Texas Tech: The Red Raiders can outscore any team in the country. Michael Crabtree is just a beast at receiver and they are loaded in the passing attack. However, if Texas Tech ever wants to break into the big time in the Big 12 they will need to step up the defense. That is the only way they will ever be able to contend with the likes of Oklahoma or Texas.
16) BYU Cougars: Every year there is an on BCS team that crashes into the BCS championship and this year it is BYU’s turn to crash the party. The Cougars have a high power offense that averaged over 440 yards and 30 points last season, and they can still improve on that this year. When Perfection is the team motto you got to believe something special might happen.
17) Arizona State: The Sun Devils are looking to return to glory and this may be their season to do it. They will do it by sheer force. ASU is looking to open up their attack on offense by using 4 and 5 wide sets and creating a screen game for their tailback. In addition they will send the kitchen sink at you on defense. Arizona State is hoping this aggressive approach will pay off with a BCS bid.
18) Illinois: Ron Zook is a good coach, more importantly he is a great recruiter. And now he has his guys in place at Illinois and they are ready to run. Already his spread attack is tripping up traditionally slower Big 10 teams look for that trend to continue as the rest of the conference looks to catch up.
19) Tennessee Volunteers: Pretty much the same ole story in Vol country. Good team solid QB solid guys around him. Still not enough to be the cream of the crop in the SEC.
20) South Florida: The Bulls are back and they brought the entire squad with them. Last year they jumped out to a great start but were unable to maintain it and as results they experienced a three game skid. This year they will look to right that wrong.
21) Penn State: Joe Pa is back again, not really sure what that is worth but he is there. Penn State is lacking a go to player on their offense and there is a battle at the QB position. What they do have is a solid defense and that is why they made it into the Top 25. They better hope it holds up against tough road schedule that includes games at OSU and Wisconsin.
22) Michigan Wolverines: Rich Rodriguez came to town changed everything. New players, new coaches, and new weight lifting programs it is all different now. And that is a great thing it just won’t play out that way this season. Michigan will experience a lot of growing pains this year. Despite that Michigan has enough talent to get them into the top 3 in the Big 10 at the very least.
23) Fresno State: The Bulldogs have a lot of work ahead of them in 2008, they want to win the WAC and earn a BCS birth. Think of the Bulldogs in the same mindset as BYU just without the same level of talent. The Bulldogs have what it takes to go through the WAC but going undefeated would be very difficult.
24) Oregon Ducks: the Ducks have a lot of rebuilding to redo. Dennis Dickson is gone and so is Jonathon Stewart. Despite that, there is some talent still in the coffers, and once the figure out who is playing QB the Ducks should be able to settling into a solid season.
25) Wake Forest: Someone had to land in this spot. Wake is coming off their best stint in school history. This season will be a bit of a let down, but with a couple breaks they could still win the ACC.