I have worked the past few weeks narrowing down the teams that we debut in the CFTT Preseason Poll. Of course, we narrow it down to the Durty Dozen, and now it is narrowed down to the top ten. Just like the last couple of years, we will list the teams in descending order, numbers 10 through 6 in the first post, and then numbers 5 through 1 in the final post.
My philosophy is trying to decide who I think is the best team as the season starts based on a number of factors. So, without any further chatter, here we go.
10. University of South Florida–These guys burst on the scene in 2008 winning 6 straight to debut number 2 in the BCS Rankings. That’s right, I said number 2. They eventually stumbled down the stretch to finish with 9 wins which were the same as the year before. The Bulls return QB Mike Grothe and CFTT Defensive Player of the Year George Selvie. A little more experience (62 returning lettermen) just might put USF in a place to win the Big East title.
9. Missouri–The Tigers return Heisman Trophy candidate Chase Daniel to a team that drilled the Razorbacks in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on New Year’s Day. They also have among the most talented receivers in Jeremy Maclin and TE Chase Coffman. You can learn more about Missouri football here and here. Follow Inthebleacher’s podcast preview of the Big 12 here.
8. Oregon–The Ducks were on their way to a national championship game appearance and a Heisman Trophy presentation when QB Dennis Dixon went down. Oregon struggled to find a QB, but finally, one emerged and the Ducks went on to beat USF in the Sun Bowl. The Ducks have made the switch completely to the Spread Offense led by Offensive Coordinator Chip Kelly and have been explosive. Their secondary begins the season as one of the best.
7. LSU–The Tigers are the reigning National Champions, and they return a lot that could help them be a top ten team. Most notably, the offensive (Ciron Black) and defensive lines are among the best, not just in the SEC, but the entire country. That should be helpful in easing in a new QB. The defense just might be nasty. While they lose Glen Dorsey, they return DE’s Tyson Jackson and Kirston Pittman along with DT Ricky Jean-Francoise who was a monster in the BCS Title Game. They are deep in the backfield, and LSU will find an adequate QB when they name either Jarrett Lee or Andrew Hatch the starter. You can keep up with the Tigers here, here and here.
6. Clemson–Tommy Bowden’s Tigers are the favorites to win the ACC, and with good reason. Everyone thinks that Clemson’s skill positions are as loaded as any in the country. They return a very good duo at RB and QB Cullen Harper came on to be one of the most dependable in the country.