1 – OKLAHOMA – College football fans should hear Jones to Broyles quite a bit this season. The Sooners should be one of the nation’s top offenses. You will also hear Broyles a lot on special teams. The Lewis boys, Ronnell and Travis will lay the smack down on the other side of the ball. This unit forced 32 turnovers last season and should do the same this year.
2 – OREGON – The Ducks will also have a powerful offense behind QB Darron Thomas and RB LaMichael James. They will continue to be aggressive and we’ll see if Thomas can guide this team to a title this year. The only potential weak spot could be offensive line as they lack top caliber talent and size. The defense is solid, quick and very deep. CB Cliff Harris might be the best defensive back in the country.
3 – SOUTH CAROLINA – Extremely talented RB Marcus Lattimore will lead the Cock offense into battle. WR Alshon Jeffery is also a big play stud. However, QB Stephen Garcia will be the key to the USC success story. If he plays and stays out of Spurrier’s doghouse, the sky is the limit for this team. They could put up a lot of points and if they do that they will certainly be in a BCS game.
4 – BOISE STATE – The top QB just may be Kellen Moore. He is 38-2 as a starter and now he’ll have to face a tough schedule and the loss of receiving stars Young and Pettis. The O-Line should help as they bring back stars Porter and Byrd. Eight starters return to one of the best squads in the country. There schedule should also help. After an opener against Georgia, the toughest it gets for the Broncos is TCU and Air Force, both on the blue turf of BSU.
5 – ALABAMA – The Tide would have been one of my top 2 teams if it weren’t for uncertainty at the QB position. McCarron could be OK but behind him is a redshirt freshman. RB Ingram is in the NFL as well but RB Richardson should be able to equal his production from a year ago. The strength is the Tide defense which returns 9 players to last years 3rd ranked squad.
6 – STANFORD – Andrew Luck will be an NFL QB. He may end up being a very good one as well. Andy has a very good O-Line but he’ll need a lot of luck as he has an average WR core and a slightly above average running game behind Stepfan Taylor. The Cardinal defense is good but did sustain losses on the D-Line. Their linebacker core, led by Shayne Skov, is amongst the best in the country.
7 – OKLAHOMA STATE – If this team were in just about any other conference we might be talking BCS championship game. OSU has a very tough schedule. However QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon should be dynamic. RBs Joseph Randle and Hershel Sims should also be a pleasant surprise for this team. The defense will be inexperienced but they are faster and more aggressive than last year’s defense.
8 – LSU – QB Jordan Jefferson is a huge key to this talented group. If he stays out of trouble and sticks to the game plan they’ll play in a BCS game. If not they’ll be playing in December. WR Ruben Randle and TE DeAngelo Petersen will be Jordan’s top targets. RB Spencer Ware should be a pleasant surprise. The defense did lose the likes of Nevis and P.Petersen to the NFL but this young group is fast and talented.
9 – WISCONSIN – The Badgers have a dynamic backfield in Ball and White. They will score a lot of touchdowns and control the clock. The defensive front 7 will be slightly inexperienced but their defensive backfield should be one of the best in the country. LB Chris Borland, if healthy, should be one of the best backers in the conference.
10 – NOTRE DAME – It looks as if this offense belongs to QB Dayne Crist, for now. Future star Tommy Rees is waiting in the wings. No matter who throws the target will be future NFLer Michael Floyd. TE Tyler Eifert should also have a huge year in this aggressive offense. The running game is fair behind Wood and Gray. LB Manti T’eo and S Harrison Smith lead the very talented Irish D that held teams to only 9.8 ppg in the last 4 games of last season.
11 – FLORIDA STATE – Losing QB Christian Ponder to the NFL was tough and the Seminoles ACC and BCS hopes rest on the arm of E.J. Manuel. RB Chris Thompson will lead a talented 3-back group and WRs Reed, Haulstead and Smith are big play receivers all the way. The FSU defense led by Mark Stoops and LBs Bradham and Smith could be one of the best in the country.
12 – NEBRASKA – The Huskers will have the best defense in their new conference. The D has All-American hopefuls in Crick, David and Dennard. The Huskers were 9th in the country last season have promised to air it out under new coordinator Tim Beck. The only problem is QB Taylor Martinez might not be the guy to get it done.
13 – TCU – As usual the Frogs have a very talented team but might be just outside the Top 10 and BCS consideration. They have 6 kids returning to a very talented defense, however they lost star QB Andy Dalton on the other side of the ball. They will rely heavily on RBs Ed Wesley and Matt Tucker.
14 – MICHIGAN STATE – The Spartans should be right behind the Badgers and Huskers. The offense should be very effective under the vastly underrated QB Kirk Cousins. RB Edwin Baker and WR EJ Cunningham should be the primary playmakers of this group.
15 – FLORIDA – The Gators could go far with QB Brantley in the Weis offensive system. However they have a difficult schedule, have to replace 7 players on defense and several players on the offensive line. They will lose a few but we will certainly see what new head coach Will Muschamp is made of.
16 – VIRGINIA TECH – This is one of the tougher teams to figure out. Coach Beamer just got a well-deserved extension but one of his better QBs in Tyrod Taylor is no longer there. They will have to depend on RB David Wilson and WRs Boykin and Coale for production. The defense is always good at VT and this should be a good group again led by LB Bruce Taylor.
17 – TEXAS A&M – The Aggies should be one of the better teams this season in the state of Texas. The offense should be very efficient behind signal caller Ryan Tannehill. RB Cyrus Gray could be one of the more underrated runners in the country. The defense could ultimately be the reason this experienced team falters as they lost a couple of big play defenders, namely Von Miller.
18 – ARKANSAS – They have the talent to be a Top 10 team but lost an excellent college QB in Ryan Mallett. QB Tyler Wilson is capable but nowhere near as talented. In addition they had some significant losses on the offensive line. RB Knile Davis bullying his way in-between tackles should be what keeps this Razorback offense moving. The Arky defense is adequate and should keep them in ballgames.
19 – USC – The Trojans are in the BPD Top 20 by the hair of their chins. QB Matt Barkley should have a very good season and connect with WR Robert Woods often. The team has talent on the defensive side of the ball but they lack depth and did give up big points at the end of last season. In addition they aren’t playing for anything for the second year in a row.
20 – ARIZONA – The Cats are going to be a very fun team to watch. QB Nick Foles might put up Playstation type numbers this season against the weak Pac-12 defenses. Benefitting from Foles skills will be WRs Criner and Buckner. On the other side of the ball they’ve had some significant losses in the off-season. They should do just well enough for this team to get to a decent bowl game.
21 – WEST VIRGINIA – QB Geno Smith is going to be very exciting to watch on this very fast and talented offensive unit. Tavon Austin and Vernard Roberts are the two guys that will also make this offense go. The defense is also very solid. DE Bruce Irvin should be a thorn in the side of most of the Big East QBs. The only problem with the D is they are a bit undersized. Power backs should thrive against this unit.
22 – TEXAS – Talent is no the issue on this Longhorn team looking to regain some respect in the state of Texas. New D-Coordinator Diaz should help make this unit more aggressive. DE Sam Acho and LB Keenan Robinson could be the best at their position in the country. The offense looks to be the biggest issue and the position of biggest concern is QB.
23 – IOWA – There are only nine players returning to this squad. RB Marcus Coker looks to be the stud on this offense. WR Marvin McNutt should also help stretch the defenses and make big plays. QB James Vandenberg has very little game experience but has sat behind Stanzi and the hope is that some of Stanzi has rubbed off on him. The defense is a solid unit whose strongest component is the defensive backfield. DBs Prater and Hyde are outstanding.
24 – MISSISSIPPI STATE – The Bulldogs make the Top 25 yet again. QB Chris Relf won’t burn up the record books but he doesn’t make many mistakes. RB Vick Ballard will move this offense and score, a lot. A talent defense returns 7 starters but must break in all new linebackers. A very tough schedule of Auburn and LSU over a 5 days stretch, at Georgia and Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss to finish out the season mean this team has to have a lot of things go right to win more than 7 games.
25 – SOUTH FLORIDA – The Bulls should battle WVU for the Big East crown. QB B.J. Daniels isn’t very consistent but he makes big plays. RB Demetris Murray isn’t great but is a workhorse and will get the job done. But the Bulls won’t win this conference on the offensive side of the ball. A very quick and talented group will be what makes or breaks this team. LB Sam Arrington, DeDe Lattimore and DE Ryan Giddins will make life difficult for Big East foes. This group should force a lot of turnovers.
26-40 (Maryland, Georgia, Missouri, Illinois, NC State, BYU, Air Force, Clemson, Tennessee, UNC, Penn State, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Washington)