Sunday, May 3, 2009

Preseason Top Ten In College Football 2009

The preseason top ten NCAA football teams according to VaTech #5...I like seeing that but I don't know if I agree with that.  I certainly agree with the Gators being #1 with Tebow coming back. I think USC should be competitive with the Gators for the #1 spot all year long.  They have a solid set of running backs that could be starters on any other college team in the nation.  My underdogs for this year are Florida State, the Cal Bears, and I hate to say it but, Notre Dame could be decent and get ranked high with their soft schedule this season.

Florida Gators
2008 Record: 13-1
Returning Starters: 17 (6 offense, 11 defense)
Key returnees: QB Tim Tebow, OG Maurkice Pouncey, OG Mike Pouncey, DE Carlos Dunlap, LB Brandon Spikes, CB Joe Haden, CB Janoris Jenkins, S Ahmad Black.

Spring star: C Sam Robey. The son of former Kentucky basketball star Rick Robey came on strong this spring, so strong he could enter preseason practice as the starting center. That would allow junior Maurkice Pouncey to move back to guard, where he started as a freshman. It also would give the Gators an all-Pouncey guard combo. Maurkice's twin brother, Mike, is a returning starter at the other guard spot.

Spring Recap: With the starting lineup pretty much set except at receiver and tailback, the defending national champs spent the entire spring building depth, which should absolutely terrify the rest of the SEC. The biggest question remains: Can sophomore Deonte Thompson, redshirt freshman Frankie Hammond Jr. and incoming freshman Andre Debose -- who arrives in June -- replace most of the production the Gators lost when WR Percy Harvin turned pro?
Texas Longhorns
2008 Record: 12-1
Returning Starters: 14 (8 offense, 6 defense)
Key returnees: QB Colt McCoy, WR Jordan Shipley, T Adam Ulatoski, DE Sergio Kindle and LB Roddrick Muckelroy.

Spring star: Kindle. The senior made the switch from linebacker to defensive end, where the Longhorns hope he will replace the sacks they lost when Brian Orakpo exhausted his eligibility. Kindle already knows how to attack a quarterback; he notched 10 sacks last season.

Spring Recap: The Longhorns know what they're going to get from McCoy, Shipley and the passing game. WR Quan Cosby is gone, but Malcolm WilliamsBrandon Collins and James Kirkendoll should catch plenty of balls. On defense, DE Sam Acho and LB Keenan Robinson have waited their turns and should get their chance to start.
Oklahoma Sooners
2008 Record: 12-2
Returning Starters: 14 (5 offense, 9 defense)
Key returnees: QB Sam Bradford, RBs DeMarco MurrayChris Brown and Mossis Madu, TE Jermaine Gresham, DT Gerald McCoy.

Spring star: DE Frank AlexanderAuston English and Jeremy Beal should start, but opposing offensive tackles won't get a break when Alexander rotates into the lineup.

Spring recap: Unlike last year, the Sooners knew plenty about their defense heading into spring. This year, they needed to find four new offensive line starters to play in front of Heisman Trophy-winner Bradford and the three-headed monster of Murray, Brown and Madu. Williams has moved to left tackle, and he'll have to lead a group that includes redshirt freshman C Ben Habern, OG Stephen Good, OG Brian Simmons and OTCory Brandon.
USC Trojans
2008 Record: 12-1
Returning Starters: 12 (9 offense, 3 defense)
Key returnees: RBs C.J. GableStafon Johnson and Joe McKnight, WR Damian Williams, OG Jeff Byers, OT Charles Brown, S Taylor Mays.

Spring star: QB Matt Barkley. The freshman early enrollee leapfrogged junior Mitch Mustain and still might push sophomore Aaron Corp for the starting job. Not bad for a guy who should have been in fourth-period English.

Spring recap: The Trojans had an astounding four linebackers chosen in last weekend's NFL draft, but USC coach Pete Carroll doesn't seem worried about replacing that group. In fact, he believes Michael Morgan(strongside), Chris Galippo (middle) and Malcolm Smith (weakside) may be faster as a trio than Clay MatthewsRey Maualuga and Brian Cushing were.
Virginia Tech
2008 Record: 10-4
Returning Starters: 16 (8 offense, 8 defense)
Key returnees: QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Darren Evans, OT Ed Wang, DE Jason Worilds, CB Stephan Virgil, SKam Chancellor.

Spring star: LB Jake Johnson. The sophomore, who might be the Hokies' strongest player, should replacePurnell Sturdivant at the Backer position in defensive coordinator Bud Foster's scheme.

Spring recap: The Hokies found a backup for Taylor in redshirt freshman Ju-Ju Clayton, which is important given Taylor's injury history. Junior Beau Warren won the right to snap to the quarterbacks -- or to senior TEGreg Boone if the Hokies line up in the "Wild Turkey" formation.
Oklahoma State
2008 Record: 9-4
Returning Starters: 14 (8 offense, 6 defense)
Key returnees: QB Zac Robinson, RB Kendall Hunter, WR Dez Bryant, T Russell Okung, LB Andre Sexton, CB Perrish Cox.

Spring star: DE Richetti Jones. When Jones broke his hip as a high school senior in 2006, it appeared his career might be over. Now a redshirt sophomore, Jones has worked his way into the defensive end rotation, and the 6-foot-3, 253-pound speed rusher could wind up a starter if he keeps improving.

Spring recap: The Cowboys know they'll be able to score points, but will they be able to stop anyone in a conference loaded with high-scoring offenses? First-year defensive coordinator Bill Young, who came from Miami, will benefit from a bunch of experienced returnees: all three linebackers and two linemen. CB Terrance Anderson, S Victor Johnson and S Johnny Thomas should join lone returning starter Cox in the secondary.
Ole Miss Rebels
2008 Record: 9-4
Returning Starters: 16 (8 offense, 8 defense)
Key returnees: QB Jevan Snead, RB/WR Dexter McCluster, DE Greg Hardy, CB Marshay Green, SKendrick Lewis, DT Ted Laurent.

Spring star: OT Bradley Sowell. The 6-7, 310-pound sophomore from Hernando, Miss., will take over for first-round draft pick Michael Oher at left tackle.

Spring recap: Sophomore RB Brandon Bolden's improvement should help keep defenses honest and allow Snead to use all his weapons at receiver. LB Patrick Trahan could wind up leading the SEC in tackles.
Oregon Ducks
2008 Record: 10-3
Returning Starters: 12 (7 offense, 5 defense)
Key returnees: QB Jeremiah Masoli, RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Ed Dickson, LB Spencer Paysinger, CBWalter Thurmond.

Spring star: C Jordan Holmes. Holmes will draw the unenviable assignment of replacing Max Unger, a first-round draft pick.

Spring recap: There should be little dropoff now that Chip Kelly has replaced Mike Bellotti as head coach. Despite a somewhat inexperienced line, Kelly will have plenty of talent on offense. Defensive coordinator Nick Alliotti has an excellent group of linebackers at his disposal in Paysinger, Casey Matthews and Eddie Pleasant.
Ohio State Buckeyes
2008 Record: 10-3
Returning Starters: 9 (4 offense, 5 defense)
Key returnees: QB Terrelle Pryor, DE Lawrence Wilson, DT Cameron Heyward, S Kurt Coleman.

Spring star: RB Dan "Boom" Herron. Herron should step out of Beanie Wells' shadow and keep the Buckeyes rolling on the ground.

Spring recap: Pryor's improvement as a passer and as a leader means, in almost every game, the Buckeyes will have the best player on the field. On defense, second-year starter Ross Homan will have to lead a young linebacker corps that will play behind a solid defensive line.
Alabama Crimson Tide
2008 Record: 12-2
Returning Starters: 13 (4 offense, 9 defense)
Key returnees: RB Mark Ingram, WR Julio Jones, NT Terrence Cody, LB Rolando McClain, CB Javier Arenas.

Spring star: QB Greg McElroyChase Daniel's former understudy at Carroll (Southlake, Texas) High won the starting job handily this spring.

Spring recap: With Cody, McClain and Arenas leading a stacked defense, the Crimson Tide probably won't have to score many points. That should allow McElroy, who will play behind an inexperienced line, some room for error. But should McElroy have trouble, he need only remember one thing: Throw it to Jones.

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