Of course, this is based on how I think the season will finish out, not who is actually the best team. With that in mind, my ballot:
1. USC- I keep thinking they’ll get knocked off somewhere, but they obviously have way more talent than everybody on their schedule. One loss should still get them into the title game, however.
2. Michigan- The defense is a concern, but the front seven will be nearly impossible to run against again and the secondary will get better as the year goes on. The schedule sets up nicely with only four road games. What I really like is that the UM coaches are finally starting to become a little more progressive in their approach in adding the shotgun to the playbook this year.
3. LSU- Matt Flynn might be a better fit for this team, as the Tigers can win by relying on their defense while Flynn keeps the chains moving both with his arm and his feet and doesn’t make mistakes.
4. Florida- Sure the defense lost a ton of players but the Gators will reload and they have some great pass rushers back as building blocks. Those who don’t think Tim Tebow can throw will be humbled very quickly.
5. Wisconsin- The Badgers’ defense is incredibly stout and the schedule is tough but easier than Ohio State’s. Tyler Donovan or Allan Everidge can play the Brooks Bollinger/Mike Samuel role and manage the game well enough to lead to a bundle of victories. This is a complete team.
6. Oklahoma- A QB must be found, but the Sooners are strong in the trenches and on D and the running game should be solid.
7. Ohio State- Tresselball should be alive and well in 2007 and Chris Wells is the perfect guy for the offense if he cuts back on his fumbles. The defense should shut teams down as well. QB is an unknown right now, however, and the schedule is tougher than UM’s and Wisconsin’s. Happy Valley hasn’t been kind to the Buckeyes nor have the Badgers under Tressel.
8. West Virginia- Fun team to watch, but they’ve been overrated since their bowl win over Georgia. Not enough defense here to contend for a title.
9. Louisville- I like them better than the Mountaineers but the schedule is difficult. They could very well lose at Kentucky early.
10. Texas- The Longhorns have talent all over the field but need better consistency.
11. Miami (FL)- No one is talking about the ‘Canes, but Randy Shannon should get them motivated to play hard again and this program is never lacking for talent.
12. California- DeSean Jackson is a special talent and the Bears took a big step in winning the Holiday Bowl last year.
13. TCU- A tough, fast, swarming defense leads the Horned Frogs to a possible BCS berth.
14. Georgia- The Peach Bowl comeback win gives them plenty of momentum going into 2007.
15. Virginia Tech-
Great defense but tons of questions on offense.
16. Penn State-
The key to their success will be the play of Anthony Morelli at QB.
Tigers need better play from QB Brandon Cox but have a shot to win the SEC West.
Huskers should roll over the Big 12 North and pile up some wins.
19. Florida State-
Jimbo Fisher can make a world of a difference replacing Jeff Bowden as offensive but Drew Weatherford still might not be the answer at QB.
Emerald Bowl loss to FSU shows this talented team still has a long way to go in terms of coaching and consistency.
21. Boise State-
Storybook ending produced some nice recruits and the momentum should lead to a successful year. But the WAC is getting tougher.
The defense could be back to form with improved health, and the schedule is nice with no UM or OSU.
The Ducks flamed out with an embarrassing loss to BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl but that should serve as motivation for a very talented squad led by bruising RB Jonathan Stewart.
24. South Carolina-
The Old Ball Coach has assembled a nice collection of talent here and the Gamecocks could sneak up on a few teams. Coordinator Tyrone Nix leads what could be an excellent defense this year.
25. Texas A&M-
Jorvorskie Lane and Stephen McGee lead a powerful rushing attack, but will coach Dennis Franchione crumble under the pressure he’s under at College Station?
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