In the final installment of my Pre-Season Top 25, we count down the Top 8 teams heading into the 2011-2012 CFB season. There’s guaranteed to be some disputes once we get to this point as everyone has their perspective on who the best team is. Frankly, I hope you tell me what you agree or disagree with. To recap the teams already ranked, you can check out part one which ranked the #17-25 teams, as well as most recently, part two which covered the #9-16 teams in the land. However, now we get to the bread and butter of it all, the top 8 teams in College Football…
8. Arkansas Razorbacks
2010 Record: 10-3 (Lost Sugar Bowl to Ohio St.)
Returning Starters: 6 offense, 8 defense
Key Games: 9/24 at Alabama, 10/1 vs. Texas A&M (at Arlington, TX), 11/26 at LSU
Synopsis: This may be the highest you see the Razorbacks in any pre-season poll. I admittedly am higher on this team than most. The first question most will have is “How will they be that good without Mallet?” To me, at this point, its Bobby Petrino. Not the QB. Remember Brian Brohm at Louisville? Petrino turned him into a projected first round pick and some had him as high as #1 overall had he come out in 2007. Petrino even won an Orange Bowl with Brohm. Mallet was very good and may be a future NFL starter, but Petrino has done it before. Waiting in the wings is Tyler Wilson, another big QB at 6’3 and 215 lbs, who came on and played pretty well in Mallet’s relief against Auburn last year. It’s not as if he won’t have help either. Arkansas brings back a loaded WR corps that some feel is the best in the nation. Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, and perhaps the best of the bunch Greg Childs who missed the last month of the season plus the bowl game. Wilson looked very good throwing the ball in the Auburn game and though its extremely difficult to make judgments off one game, if he is anything close to that QB, then the Razorbacks offense will be just fine this year. Kniles Davis at RB provides them with some balance that makes their passing game even more deadly. As Davis emerged, Arkansas became a much more potent team, beating South Carolina, Mississippi St., and LSU down the stretch. The Razorbacks did lose 3 O-linemen so the challenge will be there to replace them, but with all the talent on offense, they should be able to score with most teams in CFB. On the other side of the ball, Arkansas returns 8 starters from a defense that though wasn’t terrific last season, played better and really matured down the stretch. The number of elite offenses in the SEC isn’t very high this year as really only South Carolina and Mississippi St. should put up numbers. Alabama and LSU remain to be seen but their strength has always been defense and that expects to be the case again this year. The hardest part for Arkansas this season might be the schedule. Road games at LSU and Alabama, home games vs. South Carolina, Miss St., and Auburn, and a neutral site game against Texas A&M, makes for half of their schedule against teams I have in the pre-season Top 25. That tells you the gauntlet they are set to encounter. Not to mention two road games at arguably the toughest road venues in not only the SEC, but the entire country. They may not finish the year in the Top 10, as I expect 2+ losses, but they will be a player in the SEC West race, as I don’t see any team running away with that division.
7. Texas A&M Aggies
2010 Record: 9-4 (Lost Cotton Bowl to LSU)
Returning Starters: 10 offense, 9 defense
Key games: 9/24 vs. Oklahoma St., 10/1 vs. Arkansas (at Arlington, TX), 11/5 at Oklahoma
Synopsis: You could really split the Aggies season last year into two phases, the Jerrod Johnson era, and the Ryan Tannehill era. Once Tannehill took over for A&M, they took off, riding a 6 game winning streak into their Cotton Bowl appearence vs. LSU. Frankly, the time off between their game vs. Texas (Nov. 25th) and their bowl game (Jan. 7th) might have been a major factor. At the time they finished beating Texas, they were coming off a stretch where they had beaten Texas (albeit on a down year), Oklahoma, Nebraska, and a bowl team Baylor in a 19 day period. They were as hot as any team in America. Frankly, this may be my biggest hit or miss team in the top 10. Arkansas may not live up to the hype, but with the schedule they have, that still won’t make me skeptical of their team’s talent. A&M though, being that I have them higher than most people I’ve seen, I’m riding for credibility. Offensively, pretty much everyone is back. 10 starters including Tannehill and RB Cyrus Gray who emerged and was dominant when Christine Michael went down with a broken leg. Starting in the Kansas game, Gray became more of the feature back and ended the year (including the bowl game) with 7 straight 100+ yard rushing games, 4 of 120 or more, and none more impressive than his 223 yards and 2 TD’s against Texas on Thanksgiving. With Tannehill, Gray, the full compliment of WR’s and just about their entire offensive line back, the Aggies should be able to put some points on the board if Tannehill and Gray can play at the same level they did in the 2nd half of the season last year. The biggest question for A&M will be how will they perform defensively? Although they do bring 9 starters back from a relatively decent defense, the key losses of Michael Hodges and do-it-all linebacker Von Miller will be the toughest to replace. Miller is among the elite defensive prospects in the upcoming NFL draft and gave the Aggies a pass-rusher and tackling machine that they will have to replace. On top of that, their secondary was a major weakness last year, ranking 84th in the country (out of 120 teams), including a Cotton Bowl loss that saw LSU throw all over them. Anyone who saw LSU’s passing game last year realizes the exceptionally poor nature a secondary would have to be for that to happen. In a conference with Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Mizzou, Texas Tech and even lesser-known passing teams like Nebraska, Baylor, and Texas (yes I just named about the entire conference but it’s the Big 12…err..10…idk), it will be a significant challenge for their secondary to keep teams off the board if they don’t improve off last season’s mediocrity. Fortunately for the Aggies, their toughest games for the most part are at home where they possess one of the nation’s strongest home-field crowds. Oklahoma St, Mizzou, Texas, and Baylor all come to College Station and they get Arkansas on a neutral field again (in Arlington, TX nonetheless). So the opportunity to play their toughest games at home will be afforded to them. The ONE exception is perhaps their biggest game of the year, at Oklahoma. Now, they have a long way to go before they can look at that game, but if they can get through their first 8 unscathed (which has about 3, maybe 4 tough games), then they are looking at the possibility of a de-facto Big 12 championship game at Oklahoma, where they will almost certainly be underdogs. Again, long way off, but never too early to look ahead. This team is a contender in the Big 12, but they will have to earn it if they want to live up to this perhaps overranked pre-season ranking I give them.
6. Florida State Seminoles
2010 Record: 10-4 (Beat South Carolina in Chick-Fil-A Bowl)
Returning Starters: 9 offense, 9 defense
Key Games: 9/17 vs. Oklahoma, 9/24 at Clemson, 11/26 at Florida
Synopsis: Listen, I REALLY don’t want to have them this high. Frankly, I think they were overrated most of last year but when all the experts have them in the top 5-10, well I have to swallow my pride. After all, its better to be wrong with 100 people, than to try and be a hero and be wrong by yourself right? The Seminoles bring back 18 of 22 starters from a team who won the ACC Atlantic last year and beatdown a South Carolina team in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Offensively, they bring back their trio of RB’s led by Jermaine Thomas and Chris Thompson, with Ty Jones chipping in. As if that weren’t enough, Rivals.com #2 RB James Wilder Jr. is also going to be a Seminole though some aren’t sure yet what side of the ball he’ll even play on, let alone if he plays RB. E.J. Manuel steps in to replace Christian Ponder at QB and though it will be his first time as the full-time starter, he has had experience the past two seasons stepping in for the often-injured Ponder and played fairly well in those instances so the QB position shouldn’t see a major drop-off in production, though Manuel may not be the passer that Ponder could be. Defensively is where most are raving about this team as well as some believe they have the best secondary in the ACC. Their defensive line made big strides as the season went on last year finishing the year ranked 29th against the run, and 3rd in the country in sacks per game. The fact of the matter though is they don’t have to be that great to make some noise. Look at the key games I laid out for evidence. Clemson and Florida aren’t Top 25 teams IMO and they make up 2 of Florida State’s 3 toughest games. The Seminoles have an EASILY manageable schedule. In the Coastal, they avoid Virginia Tech, UNC, and GT this year, perhaps the 3 best teams in that division depending on where you slot Miami (I’d slot them 2nd but after VT its a jumbled mess), and their division isn’t really that tough as NCST loses Russell Wilson, Maryland is up in the air and Clemson is turning to a new QB and will have a lot of youth on their defense. Nonetheless, I couldn’t possibly sell my Tigers short, for fear of expulsion from school. Clemson has the chance to catch Florida State FAT for an upset. You see, as I’ve laid out, Oklahoma in Tallahassee on September 17th is their season right now. Last year Oklahoma blasted FSU in Norman and you can bet the Seminoles remember that game. Everywhere you look, analysts and writers are projecting FSU to get to the ACCCG unbeaten if they get by Oklahoma. Now, IF Florida State wins that game, they will be entering Death Valley on SUCH A HIGH that they will be ripe for the upset. Now as much as I bleed the Orange of Clemson, I’d be a homer if I said we should be expected to win that game. Absolutely not, but doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. In my opinion, Florida St. is looking at a 2-game stretch, the Oklahoma game, which maybe is the biggest game of the entire season for CFB as a whole, let alone just FSU, and then Clemson. If they can win those two, I think they coast into The Swamp for a season-ending game that will be their last challenge before the ACCCG. I think whoever comes out of the ACC Coastal will get steamrolled by FSU if they are in an unbeaten position. But as I said, there’s a few steps they have to pass first. I don’t think the Seminoles are the 6th best team in CFB. In fact, I’m not sure I’d like them Top 10, but I’ll take other people’s words when it’s unanimous and rank them as such. Their schedule is just setup for Jimbo Fisher to make a run at a BCS Championship Game. On top of all this they bring in depending on where you look, the nation’s best recruiting class, though Rivals has them 2nd. The class is littered with 4 and 5 star talent, most coming on the lines and offensive skill positions. Jimbo Fisher dominated this off-season and has Seminoles nation thinking big things this upcoming season. After the 17th, we’ll truly know what their chances are.
Returning starters: 5 offense, 4 defense
Key Games: 10/29 at Southern Cal, 11/12 vs. Oregon, 11/26 vs. Notre Dame
Synopsis: You could basically take what I said about Florida State and apply it to Stanford. They were not the 4th best team in College Football at season’s end last year. I don’t care how wrong they made me look in the Orange Bowl. They FEASTED on a weak schedule in a down PAC-10 and got a mediocre (though I didn’t realize it at the time) conference champ in Virginia Tech. Nonetheless, enough ranting about last year. Obviously the major storyline about Stanford is Andrew Luck coming back to school. Though most felt he would be the #1 pick in the draft (really, how much must he have hated the thought of playing for Carolina? Sorry Panthers fans), Luck elected to come back for his redshirt Junior season and he’s one of the favorites for the Heisman Trophy because of it. Much of what he had around him last year is gone though as head coach Jim Harbaugh fled for the San Francisco 49ers job, and 6 starters from the offense, including 3 offensive lineman won’t be back. Add in he lost his top two WR’s and well Andrew Luck has his work cut out for him. Stepfan Taylor returns in the backfield coming off a season that saw him run for over 1100 yards and 15 TD’s. So all is not lost, but we’ll see how the Cardinal adapt to the changes. Defensively, it’s a lot of the same. 7 starters from the defense are gone leaving the Cardinal staff in a hurry to replace the pieces that made up the 21st ranked defense in CFB last year. Their recruiting class was 22nd according to Rivals and doesn’t have a wave of defensive talent coming in, so look for a lot of guys who weren’t asked to play a lot last year to have to step in. Obviously this ranking is based solely on Luck. He’s the best QB in CFB this season and if he’s truly as talented as many scouts believe him to be, he shouldn’t have trouble producing with the parts around him. Now despite all the concerns and question marks I’ve mentioned, the fact remains that Stanford plays in the PAC-10 which really isn’t that strong of a football conference. Only 4 teams went to bowls last year and Washington and Arizona are expected to take a step back. USC should be improved again so that will be the first real test for the Cardinal who miss Utah, Colorado, and Arizona St. from the newly formed southern division. If the Cardinal can beat USC, I fully expect them to be 9-0 when they welcome Oregon to town. Not only does that game likely determine the PAC-10 North winner, but it probably has some say in the national championship as one, if not both of the teams could be unbeaten. Add in an improved Irish team from the one they faced last year and the obstacles are there for a potential Stanford downfall. Hopefully 14 months from now at the 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck isn’t regretting the $ he left on the table to come back for another season if it ends up less than spectacular.
4. Alabama Crimson Tide
2010 Record: 10-3 (Beat Michigan State in Capital One Bowl)
Returning Starters: 6 offense, 9 defense
Key Games: 9/24 vs. Arkansas, 11/5 vs. LSU, 11/26 at Auburn
Synopsis: Perhaps the most disappointing team in CFB last year (though Austin natives would strongly beg to differ), the Tide never seemed to live up to their pre-season billing, slipping up 3 times in the SEC, none more humiliating than their season ending loss to Auburn where they blew a 24-0 lead. A dominant bowl win over Michigan State sent Nick Saban into the recruiting season on a high and they never dropped down from that. Yes, Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, Marcell Dareus, and even the overlooked Greg McElroy are gone from last year’s team, but who are we kidding? I often look at Alabama’s team like a trash can. The trash can fills up and eventually you empty it. But before you know it the trash can is full again. Welcome to Alabama football. Yes, they lose elite talent almost yearly, but there’s always an elite recruiting class trailing them, so the closet is never empty. Just as Rolando McClain, Terrence Cody, etc. were all replaced, the same will happen with the ones mentioned above. Its just how the Crimson Tide operate. Offensively, they bring back Trent Richardson who will step in as the feature back along with Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks at wideout. 4 offensive linemen up front should be an efficient stabilizer for the Tide early in the season. The biggest question mark will be at QB where A.J. McCarron will be the favorite in the spring to take over. Though the Bama offense doesn’t require a ton of drop back passing, the timely throws in big moments will be something to watch as McCarron only attempted 48 passes all of last season. However, in typical Alabama fashion, the defense will be the straw that stirs the drink as 9 starters return from the 5th-ranked defense in CFB last year. Mark Barron, Dont’a Hightower, and Robert Lester will highlight a defense that should be among the nation’s elite again. With Arkansas and Mississippi St. being the only two truly potent offenses this team faces this year, Bama could put up some big numbers defensively. As if having an abundance of talent wasn’t enough, Nick Saban pulled in the Rivals.com top recruiting class, which is loaded with defensive talent. So have fear SEC fans, Bama’s defense likely isn’t dropping off anytime soon. Perhaps the biggest grab for the Tide was 5-star OL Cyrus Kouandjio who originally committed to Auburn on NSD but later recanted and elected to wear the Crimson instead. Kouandjio is the #4 overall prospect and #1 OL according to Rivals, giving them 2 of the top 7 recruits in the country. Ultimately, it will all come down to the SEC West again for the Tide. They shouldn’t struggle to beat any of the SEC East teams this year with Vandy and Tennessee at home and even a trip to the Swamp not being as daunting as usual. Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, and Mississippi St. all made my Top 25 and all should be players in the SEC West title race. Last year the Tide weren’t able to navigate the entire course, but with LSU and Arkansas coming to Bryant-Denny this year, their two toughest division games IMO will be in their backyard. Nonetheless, I have a hard time seeing any SEC team running the conference unbeaten this year. Admittedly I didn’t think Auburn would do it last year either when it became a possibility, but they proved me wrong. Well, more power to me for saying it again. NO SEC TEAM WILL GO UNBEATEN. The league is too tough. If you forced me to pick their loss I would say at Mississippi St. or home vs. LSU. But that’s why they play the games. Expect the Crimson Tide to be a lot closer to 1st in the SEC West again this year than the 4th place finish they had last year.
3. Oregon Ducks
2010 Record: 12-1 (Lost BCS National Championship Game to Auburn)
Returning Starters: 6 offense, 5 defense
Key Games: 9/3 vs. LSU (at Arlington, TX), 11/12 at Stanford, 11/19 vs. Southern Cal
Synopsis: Eugene is still screaming that Michael Dyer’s knee was down, but any chance the Ducks have of returning to the BCS NCG won’t come easy. Oregon went out and scheduled LSU and Nevada out of conference and has a road game at Stanford before the season ends. Chip Kelly and the Ducks will need to put those billboards of Lee Corso and the Burger King to good use this season as the Ducks defense was decimated, bringing back only 5 starters and losing 5 over their front seven, perhaps none bigger than Clay Matthew’s little bro Casey. Fortunately, they do return most of their secondary which often times last year was better than the numbers indicated. Still, with some of the offensive talent in the PAC-10, and the LSU Tigers up first, odds are they won’t win many scrapping matches defensively so its a good thing the key cogs in their offense will be back. Heisman finalist LaMichael James is back for his junior season and he and Darron Thomas will keep the opposing defenses breathing heavy with their up-tempo offense once again. The reigning Doak Walker Award winner, given to the nation’s best RB, James will have an even heavier burden this year as the Ducks cope with the losses of leading WR Jeff Maehl and D.J Davis, along with 3 starting offensive linemen. DeAnthony Thomas, one of the nation’s top WR’s who originally inked to play at USC will have a chance to step in and fill the void left by the departed Ducks. Chip Kelly, true to his nature used his 9th ranked recruiting class to bring in quite a bit of offensive talent as well as 3 of the top ATH’s in the nation (one being Thomas) so expect him to use his new toys at different points of the season. Oregon, like Stanford, doesn’t have the murderer’s row shcedule that some of the Top 10 teams have (mainly the SEC ones), but will have a much harder path to the NCG than Stanford. Starting off, LSU to open the season on a “neutral” field in Arlington will likely eliminate one of the two from championship contention basically right away. The Ducks of the two certainly can’t afford a loss as much given the quality wins LSU will be able to accumulate the rest of the season. If the Ducks win there, expect to see them at 8-0 heading to Stanford as I don’t see anyone between then stopping them. As mentioned earlier, this game likely decides the PAC-10 North and if Oregon is unbeaten probably keeps the winner’s NCG hopes alive. A quick turnaround with USC at home and then the Civil War wrap up the schedule. On a scale of 1-10 the chances they run the table: probably a 6. Offensively they will put on a clinic again. The PAC-10 just doesn’t have enough strong defensive teams to slow them. My biggest concern is the LSU game. We all saw what Auburn did to that O-line with their SEC defense and now the Ducks lose 3 O-Line starters from that group which they won’t have any real-game experience to get the jitters out beforehand. I’m leaning LSU in that one and thus the reason I have Oregon 3 and…..
2. LSU Tigers
2010 Record: 11-2 (Beat Texas A&M in Cotton Bowl)
Returning Starters: 9 offense, 8 defense
Key Games: 9/3 vs. Oregon (at Arlington, TX), 11/5 at Alabama, 11/26 vs. Arkansas
Synopsis: It really was a 3-team battle between LSU, Oregon, and Bama for 2-4 and most of it is based on the number of returning starters, with Oregon’s need for defense likely being lower than Bama’s need for offense being the difference there. As for this group, LSU looked damn good in the Cotton Bowl ambushing a Texas A&M team that was tough down the stretch. 9 starters return from the offense, which you can debate if that’s a good thing, and the passing game finally showed signs of life in the bowl game, with WR Terrence Tolliver catching 3 TD’s from Jordan Jefferson. Unfortunately Tolliver is gone along with RB Stevan Ridley who left for the NFL. Les Miles didn’t run out of weapons though as dynamic wideout Russell Shepard is back giving them a home run threat to compliment WR Rueben Randle, the 2nd leading WR on the team last year. One question will be who replaces Stevan Ridley in the backfield? Michael Ford is the highest performing RB from last year they have coming back, though Shepard gets a lot of touches on reverses and Jefferson is good on his feet. LSU has three freshman recruits Kenny Hilliard at RB and two WR’s, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. who could see time right away. The number one question surrounding LSU as always will be “Can anyone get them the ball?” Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee have been projects since the day they’ve stepped on campus and rarely could be relied upon last year, though despite all their inefficiencies, always seemed to deliver when needed (GW TD at the Swamp, Lee 3rd down conversion vs. Bama, Cotton Bowl). LSU won’t likely be as strong on the ground this year as they have been in recent years so the development of their signal callers could be the difference between national championship aspirations and another 2-3 loss season, which will only cue the annual head-hunting calls of the rabid Tigers faithful. Defensively, everyone knows about the departure of cornerback/returner extraordinaire Patrick Peterson who won national defensive awards for his play last year. His departure unquestionably hurts the Tigers, along with DT Drake Nevis, and LB Kelvin Sheppard. Much like many SEC defenses though, the talent is still there to be a premier defense. 8 starters return from one of the nation’s finest defenses last season and the recruiting class which placed 6th in Rivals rankings has a group of 4-star talent coming in as DB’s and DL’s along with their one 5-star defensive recruit, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, the 17th overall prospect and #1 DT. I have no worries about their defense. Much like Thanksgiving is the last Thursday in November, the LSU Tigers just about always have an elite defense. The biggest thing with LSU is much like Arkansas, how much can one team overcome? Half of their schedule is against teams I have ranked in the Top 25 pre-season, including two OOC games. If their offense isn’t better than last year, this team is not playing for the national title. Consider this schedule, Oregon on a neutral field, back-to-back road games at Mississippi St. and West Virginia, 4 consecutive games vs. Florida at home, at Tennessee whose an improving team under Derek Dooley, home vs. Auburn, and then at Alabama with only a bye before Bama in there. Then after a couple “breathers” which includes a road game at Ole Miss, they finish the year at home vs. Arkansas. There are some teams who don’t play that many tough games in the course of 4-5 seasons, let alone one. The question may not be, Will LSU lose, but When? They weren’t far from being SEC West champs last year, and I can gaurantee if there isn’t two unbeaten BCS schools, that the SEC West champ will get a serious look this year for the BCS title if they only have one loss. That could be LSU. They also could finish 3rd or 4th. So goes life in America’s best conference and toughest division.
1. Oklahoma Sooners
2010 Record: 12-2 (Beat Uconn in Fiesta Bowl)
Returning Starters: 8 offense, 7 defense
Key Games: 9/17 at Florida State, 10/8 vs. Texas at Dallas, TX, 11/26 at Oklahoma St.
Synopsis: Alright, so I’m not raising any eyebrows with this pick, in fact I hope I didn’t lose many of you when you realized I was ANOTHER pre-season list with Oklahoma at #1. Fact of the matter is the Sooners are loaded. They bring back 29 players who have started at one time or another for Bob Stoops (courtesy of Mark Schlabach at ESPN.com) and have the two main pieces of last season’s dynamic offense back again. QB Landry Jones who had to step into the shadow of Sam Bradford threw for slightly under 5000 yards last year along with 38 TD’s. He’ll be among the Heisman favorites to start the year as he inches closer to some school passing records. Joining him not only on the field but in the pre-season Heisman discussion will be WR Ryan Broyles, a Biletnikoff finalist last season who acounted for over 1600 yards and 14 TD’s. He spurned the NFL for his senior season and all those in Sooner nation are glad he did. Kenny Stills and James Hanna return as well giving Jones his just about his entire receiving core back from last year. Add in the 4 returning O-linemen and well, there’s not a whole lot to worry about offensively. The one major loss of note is RB DeMarco Murray who was equally dangerous out of the backfield as he was running the ball, but waiting in the wings is Roy Finch who impressed when he got on the field last season as well as freshman 5-star recruit Brandon Williams, a speedster who will have all spring to fight Finch for the starting role. On the defensive side of the ball, 8 starters are back, featuring 6 Juniors or Seniors, which will be led by LB Travis Lewis. The experience on that side of the ball will be important with the amount of offensive talent in the conference. More often than not they won’t even have to be great with the offensive numbers they should put up. Oklahoma won’t just coast through their schedule though as a handful of tough games will present themselves this year. Right off the bat they get a Tulsa team who has no issues getting into a shootout. Last year, Oklahoma came out of the gates slow in games against Utah State and Cincinnati and a similar start to the season could remind Sooner fans of their 2005 season opening loss to TCU. September 17th is already being billed as one of the biggest games of the year and for good reason. Oklahoma returns the home and home with FSU in Tallahassee this year who as I alluded to earlier is also considered a major player in the national championship race. Oklahoma may not be afforded the luxury of a loss like SEC teams and so that game will be the first idea of whether this team stays in the hunt or perhaps disappoints again this year. Mizzou and the Red River Shootout also come before the 2nd week of October so expect the Sooners to be battle tested before they hit the grind of their schedule. The two games I have circled, though I had to leave one out of the key games, are home vs. Texas A&M, and at Oklahoma St. to end the season. Those should be their two stiffest competitors for the Big 12 title and both games last year were tough for Oklahoma, who lost to the Aggies and won a shootout vs. State. There’s not many teams next year that will have the pressure to win that Oklahoma has. They are an experienced group, have almost all their elite talent back, and most importantly haven’t won a title in what seems like ages to Oklahoma fans, despite all their BCS games and Big 12 titles. You can sense the urgency the fans are putting on this team to get the job done. They’ve burned me too many times to predict a national championship, but there’s no question if your looking for a team to bet on, this team certainly has the pieces to be a good bet.
I would love to hear from anyone with their own opinions on who is too high, who is too low, who I left out, etc. And thanks for reading.
Check back in the coming weeks as I may have some more pieces previewing the 2011 CFB season and continue to check out the rest of our works from the other talented writers here at The Sports Headquarters.