Because there's no way some of the teams should be in here given how they finished last season. If it's not guesswork, than what is it? Tripe? ESPN Meds? Total junk? Or something worse?
This version caps off part one of my not-so-casual emergency surgery on the 2010 Preseason Top 25. Brace yourself. Tigers, Beavers, Nittany Lions, and Razorbacks ahead...
2. Ohio State
5. Boise State
6. Virginia Tech
14. Penn State
17. Georgia Tech
18. North Carolina
20. Florida State
22. Oregon State
13) Miami = LET me be honest. These guys are overrated. We know they're overrated. I have fond memories of the Champs Sports Bowl, when the vaunted Hurricane offense was closed down for three and a half quarters due to technical difficulties. The environment played a factor, at least that's what I've been told, as the Hurricanes froze on the sidelines and needed space heaters. Puh-the-tic. And now these guys are in the top 15 despite having an absentee defense. Despite having a QB who could rival Ricky Stanzi in INTs returned for TDs. Despite losing their best running back. Wow. The second the final tick leaves the clock in Ohio Stadium on September 13th, these guys are either going to collapse or shoot like a song straight out of Queen. They have had the world. They're floating around in ecstasy. Stop them if you can, Buckeyes.
14) Penn State = SO much depends on Kevin Newsome. If he proves to be like freshman Brooks Bollinger on that 1999 Wisconsin team (meaning he can run and pass with equal effectiveness), then Penn State will finish in the top four of the Big Ten. Newsome's got help, though, and that help is pretty good when it includes Graham Zug and Evan Royster. The defense has to replace Navorro Bowman, but THEY ARE Linebacker U. A decent LB corps. is expected at the very least.
15) Pittsburgh = ANYONE hear of this little guy called Dion Lewis? True freshman, ran for about 1,400 yards last year? He's going to be the offense. Pitt has to replace Bill Stull, who, while he may have made some really bonehead plays in 2008, improved significantly in 2009. Pitt at least contended for the Big East title (which they promptly tossed out the window in an inexplicable, WTF?-worthy loss to Cincinnati AT HOME) last season. But they have to find at least a serviceable QB to have a chance in the Big East.
16) LSU = THESE guys have a big, fat 0 offensively. They're not even remotely good in that department. And defensively, they've been put into holes so many times because of boneheaded turnovers. I think this is the year the Tigers' luck runs out. They lose four games because they still haven't found even a mediocre QB. Oh, they just lost their best lineman in Ciron Black (one of the VERY few LSU guys I respected). Good luck playing in the SEC without an offense, guys.17) Georgia Tech = WOW. These guys lost to Iowa and they deflated. Or did they? Most of their receptions left when Demaryius Lewis was selected by the Broncos, but otherwise, this team is set to run its offensive scheme to perfection in an average league at best. Josh Nesbitt returns, as does Roddy Jones. All it takes is a good fullback and GT's off to the races in the ACC. They could surprise a few teams this year.18) North Carolina = DEFENSE. Defense. defense. But again, no offense. T.J. Yates was decidedly average last season, but it was UNC's defense that rose to the occasion time and again. They won in Lane Stadium. They defeated Miami at home again (and to this date, Miami has NEVER won in Chapel Hill). But they need turnovers to fuel what little offense they have, and they'll get plenty of those in the ACC.
19) Arkansas = HYPE machine, go berserk. These guys beat on East Carolina in their bowl game (and they didn't even do a good job at THAT, needing OT to win). Ryan Mallett who Wisconsin fans remember with great bitterness, is the starting QB. He already holds a lot of single-season records. But in the big games (against the Gators and Alabama), his completion percentage was below 50%. Those are Jake Christensen like numbers (I had to take the shot). Those won't get you anywhere in the SEC. But their defense is UGLY. Their defense will cost them at least two games in SEC play.20) Florida State = WTF? How do these guys even get in the conversation? Haven't they learned how to defend the pass? I'm not wasting time here, come on, step it up #21...
I didn't mean you, Chris Maragos! It was still great the way you played last season!
21) Georgia = ARGH! Another team that can't play defense! And aside from talented receiver A.J. Green, there's not much that warrants watching the Bulldogs play offense.
What? They fired Willie Martinez? The fans HATED him? Maybe there is some hope. Maybe.
22) Oregon State = It's all up to the dynamic Rodgers duo to save the day. There's still this kinda important issue of who's going to start at QB, but these little pint-sized backs pack a punch. James Rodgers eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving last season. Hopefully, he'll have better luck in the NFL than the last Oregon State receiver to break that milestone (Sammie Stroughter, 7th round to the BUCS?). Jacquizz Rodgers is a powerhouse who saved his best in 2008 for USC (mercifully sparing Penn State in the process). But there are holes defensively, and these guys missed so many tackles... They lost to USC because they couldn't tackle. They lost to Oregon because they couldn't tackle. And I'm pretty sure they lost to 'Zona because they couldn't tackle. This is a trend that has to end if this team wants to get into the Rose Bowl.
23) Auburn = I've stripped them of their Outback Bowl trophy because they were simply awful that game. They didn't deserve that game. When you can grab FIVE interceptions and you need to rough the kicker to win, that's pitiful. No,. No. No bowl win for you. After rattling off 5 consecutive wins, Arkansas owned Auburn's face off, 44-23. It's amazing Auburn managed 23 points given how poorly they played that game. Simply amazing. Where's the hope? Nowhere. Chizik needs a huge upset of Alabama to feel safe this year. Truly, he does, because this season could get ugly.
24) Utah = JORDAN WYNN. Just Jordan Wynn. The wonder freshman spurred Utah on, but couldn't quite get the job done against TCU. He brought the Utes back, though, and managed to put Cal away in the bowl game. Utah's defense will decide their record, and I haven't heard too much about that. This season could be a toss-up, and it will come down to Wynn's ability to direct the offense in pressure situations.
25) WVU = Bill Stewart could get the Mountaineers a Big East Championship (Stop laughing, SouthBayBuckeye!), or he could get them an 8-5 season with an unimpressive bowl loss to Florida State. I don't know. I just don't know. Noel Devine is back (or so I heard), but this team could alternate between rolling disaster and "meh". It's anyone's guess why they're in the poll.
And now, that's over. It was fun writing perhaps the most subjective analysis ever.