Friday, August 24, 2007

College Football's Top Teams and Heisman Hopefuls: Preseason

Hard to believe kickoff is less than a week away. How time flies. Anyway, this is my preseason look at the best teams and players in college football.

Most pundits expect USC to dominate this year. While the Trojans are certainly loaded there remain questions at the RB, WR and PK positions. I attended the Trojan scrimmage on Wednesday, where the team emphatically answered all my concerns. But practice is practice and games are games.

Rating these teams is arbitrary at this point, based more on perception than production. Until they play a few contests it's impossible to rationally conclude Team A is better than Team B. That being said, I'm certain the teams I've list are talented, well-coached and will have success this season. But each squad has questions that need to be addressed.

Michigan, for example, despite losing key defensive players possesses an awesome offense led by QB Chad Henne and RB Michael Hart. Can the once-dominant D catch up with the offense? The same can be said about reigning champs Florida. QB Tim Tebow takes over full-time in the huddle to lead an explosive spread offense. But can the Gators replace S Reggie Nelson and DE Jarvis Moss? Can a redshirt freshman QB lead the Sooners to the BCS title game? And what about LSU? QB Matt Flynn played so well for the Tigers in the 2005 Peach Bowl. Will the road to this year's championship be paved in the state of Louisiana -- from Death Valley to New Orleans?

All the top ten teams have the potential to contend for a championship. They are also susceptible to a loss or two. Should be a fun four and a half months.

Top Ten Teams
College Last Year
1) Southern California 7
2) Louisiana State
3) West Virginia
4) Michigan
5) Louisville
6) Florida
7) Texas
8) Wisconsin
9) Oklahoma
10) California

Dropped out: #3 Ohio State, #6 Boise State

McFadden, following his second-place finish in last year's Heisman voting, leads the pack. A record-setting gunslinger is followed by the leader at what has recently been Quarterback U. Two dynamic running backs wrap up the top five. But with established stars like Ray Rice, Henne and DeSean Jackson and darkhorse candidates like Chase Daniel excelling across the nation, no player is guaranteed a December seat in New York.

Heisman Hopefuls

Name Position Year College
Darren McFadden RB Jr. Arkansas
Colt Brennan QB Sr. Hawaii
John David Booty QB Sr. Southern California
Steve Slaton RB Jr. West Virginia
Michael Hart
RB Sr. Michigan

Dropped out: Troy Smith, Brady Quinn

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