Daily Blog - Monday August 10th

The coaches Preseason Top 25 was released this past Friday and today I can officially come up with Overrated and Underrated teams for the upcoming year. One other note. Below I list the Coaches Top 25 but I believe when the AP Top 25 comes out that you will see Oklahoma St in the Top Ten and Penn St just outside the Top Ten by the AP voters.

Florida (53)
Texas (4)
Georgia Tech
Oklahoma (1)
Boise State
USC (1)
Ohio State
Florida State
Virginia Tech
North Carolina
Penn State
Notre Dame
Oklahoma State
Brigham Young
Oregon State

Top Ten teams that I feel will not be in the Top Ten at the end of the year.

LSU – I think the top ten is pretty legitimate and LSU has Top Ten talent. LSU also has a killer schedule and in Las Vegas right now they are an underdog in FOUR games and few teams can lose 3 or 4 games and finish in the top 10. If you go below into the archive of blogs you can get the complete list of preseason lines from the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas which was posted on the Thursday July 9th blog. LSU is an underdog to Florida at home and in road games to Georgia, Ole Miss and Alabama.

Teams that I believe will be in the Top Ten at the end that are not there now.
Notre Dame – The Irish are a MUCH stronger team than last year. The light bulb went on for QB Claussen during bowl practices and he hit 24 of 28 with all 4 incompletions being drops. He has my #1 set of receivers and #5 offensive line to work with. The D with Jon Tenuta calling the plays will be much stronger. The schedule is favorable with only ONE of the 5 teams they play on the road having a winning record and that is Pitt a team they led by double digits last year. ND blew THREE games where they led by double digits or they would have been 10-3 last year and are much stronger this season. ND will win 10 or more games this year and finish in the Top 25.

California – The Bears are strong in the trenches with my #10 rated offensive line and #10 rated defensive line. They have Jahvid Best one of the top RB’s in the country and will not be rotating QB’s like they did last year. I give Cal a legitimate shot at knocking off USC and being a darkhorse national title contender.

Teams that are in the Top 25 that I feel will not be ranked at the end of the year.

Oregon – The Ducks have just 9 returning starters and have only 1 returning starter on the offensive line and just one on the defensive line. They lost THREE 2nd round draft picks and their head coach Mike Bellotti. Since Chip Kelley took over just before the spring they got rid of a few coaches and I have 7 players from my projected two deep that are circled (no longer with team). They only had 8 starts lost last year due to injury and probably wont be as fortunate. They play Cal and USC at home and Cal has won 3 in a row vs the Ducks and have a large edge in the trenches in that game. They also play Boise St, UCLA, Stanford and Arizona on the road.

Utah- There was no one in the country that was a bigger Utah fan than myself last year. The 2008 Phil Steele College Football Preview was the ONLY magazine or website (of the 15 major ones monitored by preseason.stassen.com) to pick Utah to win the Mountain West OUTRIGHT. After correctly pegging Boise as the top non BCS team in 2006 and Hawaii in 2007, the Utes made it 3 for 3 with their “surprise” undefeated season as I had them #1 last year. People have short term memories. Some have said that despite the heavy graduation losses the Utes always reload. Do they not remember that Utah lost 5, 5 and 4 games the previous 3 years. I do only have them a dog in games at Oregon, TCU and BYU on the road with the road trip to UNLV a tossup. Still with BYU, TCU and Boise all rated ahead of them I do not believe there will be 4 non BCS teams in the final top 25.

Florida St – Their schedule is brutal. The ACC has 6 Top 25 caliber teams this year with 4 of them being out of the Coastal division. They draw 3 of the top 4 from the Coastal in Miami, North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Outside of the ACC they have to play BYU in Provo (altitude), South Florida and Florida! They are a stronger team than last year but the schedule may keep them out of the Top 25. Even Bobby Bowden feels they are a year away from getting back to their Top Ten contenders role.

Teams that are NOT in the top 25 that I feel will finish ranked.

Rutgers – The Knights non conference schedule is cupcake. While this team is bereft of marquee skill players remember teams with 0 career starts at QB fared pretty well last year and they have my #8 rated offensive line in the country. The top 5 teams in the Big East are Cincinnatti, Pitt, USF, West Virginia and Rutgers. The Knights not only get all the other 4 at home but all are in great situations. Cincy is an inexperienced team and they play them in the opener. Pitt will be off a Saturday home conference game and travels on a short week on Friday night while Rutgers is off a bye. USF will be in New Jersey in November and does not play well in the cold. West Virginia will be playing the week after their “Backyard Brawl” which many times is their final game of the year. Rutgers has a shot at running the table thank in part to a great schedule.

Illinois – They outgained Big Ten foes by 86.5 ypg last year which was the 2nd best mark in the conference. Usually that results in a 7-1 conference record but they went just 3-5! That reminds me of 2007. Illinois was 2-10 in 2006 but actually outgained foes on the year by 35 ypg! How do you do that and only win 2 games. In 2007 they were my #2 most improved team and they went from 2-10 to the ROSE bowl. This year they are my #1 Most Improved team!

Miami Florida – This is an underrated team and while they play a killer schedule the first 4 games they will surprise a lot of folks. This is one team when I am watching my 12 TV’s on a Saturday during the season that just jumps out at you with their size and speed. They were a freshman/Sophmore group last year and are now a year older.

UCLA – Last year they had a new head coach and the fewest amount of returning starters in the country. They lost their top TWO QB’s before the season started and their QB who would have been 3rd string threw SEVEN interceptions for TOUCHDOWNS. This year they are a much more veteran team with 16 returning starters and unlke last year they have 82% of their offensive skill yards returning from last year and were –10 in turnovers. They are my #3 most improved team.

Clemson – The Tigers were an underachiever last year and lose their QB, top WR and top RB. They are way under the radar this year and picked 3rd of 4th in the ACC Coastal. There are only two teams in the country that are ranked in my Top 9 Offensvie and Defensive lines. Clemson is one and the other is Florida. That is some nice company to be in!