Sunday, August 31, 2008

College Football Game Prognostications and Results for the Weekend of August 28, 2008 (Week 1 NCAA Season)

These are our SPRS-based predictions and results for the first week of college football in the 2008 / 2009 season, first posted August 25, and then updated regularly by the final scores. We do this because it interests us and we disclaim any and all liability for any reliance of any kind on our prognostications. May the best team win. Our record for predictions of winners in the 1st week was 80-19 and we were 23-18 against the spread. When discussing current game results below, the abbreviation YPP = yards per play. All YPP values given below apply to the 2008 game just played, not to the 2007 season. The ratings in the left column, however, are still the final ratings from the 2007 season, since no comprehensive ratings exist yet for this year. However, few teams will change in strength too much from last year.

College Football
Game Matchups
August 23 to September 1,
2008 (visitor v. home)
Game below played on August 30 unless otherwise stated. The figure after each team is our rating for that team.
NR means not rated in top 250 SPRS Ratings.
The dash means minus, so that a rating of -4.0 is 3 worse than -1.0. A one point SPRS rating difference means 9 points on the scoreboard.
Betting Line
(+ means home
team is favored)
College
Football
Prediction

Tracker August 18, 2008
Our Line and
Predicted Score
based on our
SPRS RATINGS
& RANKINGS

Actual
Score
Win
Loss
vs.
Winner
Win
Loss
vs.
Spread
Fort Valley State (NR)
v. Valdosta State -2.3
(August 23)
our line +48
actual +53
Our Line +48 pts :: 0-48

Game score 56-3
YPP Valdosta 8.9
YPP Fort Valley State 2.8

The YPP makes Valdosta State 6.1 (8.9 minus 2.8) x 9 points better than Fort Valley State = 54.9 points. The result of 56-3 thus accurately reflects the relative strength of these two teams. See NAYPPA.
3-56
W

Idaho -5.4
v.
Arizona -1.1
+ 28

our line +41
actual +70
+41 pts :: 7-48
A 1-point difference in SPRS ratings equals 9 points on the scoreboard so that Idaho rated -5.4 and Arizona -1.1 or a difference of 4.3, multiplied by 9 = 38.7. In addition, we use Sagarin's calculated home field advantage of 2.58 so that the full spread is 41.28 points. For ease of calculation we use 2.6. instead of 2.58.
Arizona had the biggest victory of the weekend, winning 70-0.
As for NAYPPA,
YPP Arizona 6.5
YPP Idaho 2.2
Idaho had 5 turnovers to get blown completely off the map, but the YPP shows Arizona to be actually only about 4.3 (6.5 minus 2.2) x 9 = 38.7 points better than the Vandals, i.e. the final score exaggerates the relative strength of the two teams. The NAYPPA of 4.3 is the same as last year for both teams (5.4 minus 1.1).
0-70
W
W
Temple -4.6
v.
Army -4.6
(August 29)
-7
+3 pts :: 21-24
Our SPRS system rates these teams equal at -4.6, so we give the edge to the home team by 2.6 (or a field goal) +3 pts
Army lost 35-7 even though they had a 15-minute edge in possession and piled up more yards total offense, but miscues were their main downfall.
YPP Temple 4.7
YPP Army 3.9
By NAYPPA, Temple is 0.8 x 9 = 7.2 points, that is, 1 TD better than Army, in spite of the score.
35-7
L
L
Louisiana-Monroe -3.2
v.
Auburn -0.7
+27

our line +35
actual +34
2.5 x 9 = 22.5 pts + 2.6 home field advantage = +25 pts (BUT, Auburn has a new offensive coordinator who we think is worth 10 points more, so that we increase the spread to +35 pts :: 7-42)
Auburn had a 5.6 to 3.2 YPP advantage over the Warhawks, making the Tigers NAYPPA 2.4 (5.6 minus 3.2) x 9 = about 22 points better by relative strength.
0-34
W
W
Wake Forest -1.2
v.
Baylor -4.0
(August 28)
-12.5

our line -23
actual -28
2.8 x 9 = 25.2 - 2.6 home field advantage =
-23 pts :: 30-7
New coach Art Briles had a tough opener as Riley Skinner threw 3 TDs and the defense forced 5 takeaways. The opportunist Demon Deacons continued their winning ways in spite of stats that were less than impressive:
YPP Wake Forest 4.7
Baylor 3.9
by which the Bears are actually only 0.8 (4.7 minus 3.9) x 9 = 7.2 or 1 TD weaker than Wake Forest in terms of NAYPPA. Baylor thus already appears far improved over last year.
41-13
W
W
UTEP -4.5
v.
Buffalo -4.0
(August 28)
+3

our line +7
actual +25
0.5 x 9 = 4.5 + 2.6
= +7 pts :: 35-42

The Bull's Drew Willy threw for 4 TDs as former Husker Turner Gill's program picks up steam.
YPP Buffalo 7.3
YPP UTEP 4.2
By NAYPPA, the Bulls are 3.1 (7.2-4.2) x 9 = 27.9 points better than UTEP, so that this final score actually reflects the relative strengths of the two teams.
17-42
W
W
Michigan State -1.4
v.
California -0.5
+6

our line +11
actual +7
0.9 x 9 = 8.1 + 2.6 =
+11 pts :: 30-41

We are not friends of the 3-4 front alignment in college football and the new 3-4 instituted by the Golden Bears this season showed how leaky it is as the clearly better team struggled to beat the Spartans, giving up 321 yards through the air with no sacks vs. 48 pass attempts. In college, the 3-4 gives the opposing passer too much time to throw. A top QB will cut this Golden Bear 3-4 defense to ribbons.
YPP California 7.1
YPP Spartans 5.1
By NAYPPA, Cal is thus actually 2.0 x 9 = 18 points better than Michigan State, in spite of this game's only one TD advantage.
31-38
W
W
Alabama -1.5
v.
Clemson -0.3
+5.5

our line +13 (but we had serious doubts about this statistical spread out of last year)
actual -24
1.2 x 9 = 10.8 +2.6 =
+13 pts :: 21-34 (Saban's Alabama will be better this year but no one knows yet how much, so in spite of the stats, this may be a tough game to call)

The Tide won 34-10 holding Clemson to 0 yards rushing so that 'Bama is back under Saban, although the offense is still weak:
YPP Alabama 5.2
YPP Clemson 3.9
By NAYPPA, the Crimson Tide is 1.3 (5.2 minus 3.9) x 9 points = 12 points better than the Tigers.
34-10
L
L
Colorado -2.3
v.
Colorado St. -3.4
(August 31)
-11.5
1.1 x 9 = 9.9 -2.6 =
-7 pts :: 34-27

The Buffs are now clearly on their way via the rebuilding project by head coach Dan Hawkins.
YPP Buffaloes 5.6
YPP 4.0
By NAYPPA, the Buffs are 1.6 (5.6 minus 4.0) x 9 points = 14 points better than the Rams. Compared to this game last year, the Buffs improved .1 on offense and .6 on defense
38-17
W
L
Virginia Tech -0.3
v.
East Carolina -2.3
-10

our line -16
actual +5
2.0 x 9 = 19 - 2.6 =
-16 pts :: 30-14
The 27-22 win by the Pirates under head coach Skip Holtz, son of legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, was deserved:
YPP Pirates 5.6
YPP Hodies 4.2
By NAYPPA, East Carolina is 1.4 (5.6 minus 4.2) x 9 points = 13 points better as a team. We were big on East Carolina last year until they lost inexplicably and badly to Marshall, but they recovered in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl by beating Boise State 41-38.
22-27
L
L
Hawaii -0.1
v.
Florida +0.8
+34.5

our line +11
actual +46

0.9 x 9 = 8.1 + 2.6 =
+11 pts :: 38-49

In spite of the stats, this result is no surprise as Colt Brennan and head coach June Jones are gone so that Hawaii is much weaker this year than last.
YPP Gators 7.4
YPP Warriors 3.8
By NAYPPA, Florida is 3.6 (7.4 minus 3.8) x 9 points = 32 points better than Hawaii
10-56
W
L
Western Kentucky -3.3
v.
Indiana -2.1
+21

our line +13
actual +18
1.2 x 9 = 10.8 + 2.6 =
+13 pts :: 20-33

YPP Hoosiers 6.3
YPP Hilltoppers 4.5
By NAYPPA, Indiana is 1.8 (6.3 minus 4.5) x 9 points =
16 points better than Western Kentucky, so that this score result accurately reflects relative team strength.
13-31
W
W
Florida Intl. -5.5
v.
Kansas +0.8
+36.5

our line +59
actual +30
6.3 x 9 = 56.7 + 2.6 =
+59 pts :: 0-59

YPP Jayhawks 4.4 (a very weak offense)
YPP Golden Panthers 2.5
The NAYPPA spread was the same (1.9) as last year's Kansas average, but here against a much weaker opponent. By NAYPPA, Kansas is 1.9 (4.4 minus 2.5) x 9 points = 17 points better than Florida International. This Kansas team may not be as strong on offense as in 2007 whereas the defense is nearly intact. Florida International, which opens its new stadium on September 20, is definitely quite a bit stronger than last year through the influence of new offensive coordinator Bill Legg (from Purdue, which led the Big 10 in many offensive stats).
10-40
W
L
North Texas -5.7
v.
Kansas State -1.7
+25

our line +39
actual +39
4.0 x 9 = 36 + 2.6 =
+39 pts :: 3-42

YPP Wildcats 6.0
YPP Mean Green 3.7

By NAYPPA, the Wildcats are 2.3 (6.0 minus 3.7) times 9 points = 21 points better in terms of relative team strength.
6-45
W
W
Boston College -0.1
v.
Kent State - 4.3
-10

our line -40
actual -21
-4.2 x 9 = 37.8 - 2.6 =
-40 pts :: 47-7

Any time you shut out a team in college football, that's great defense, which the Eagles also had last season. In this game:
YPP Eagles 5.2
YPP Golden Flashes 4.6
In terms of NAYPPA, the Eagles are in fact only .6 (5.2 minus 4.6) x 9 points = 5.4 points stronger.
21-0
W
W
Mississippi St. -1.9
v.
Louisiana Tech -4.1
-9

our line -17
actual +8
2.2 x 9 = 19.2 - 2.6 =
-17 pts :: 31-14
Five turnovers cost Mississippi State this game.

YPP Miss. St. Bulldogs 4.9
YPP Louisiana Tech 3.7

By NAYPPA, Mississippi State is 1.2 (4.9 minus 3.7) x 9 points = 11 points better, so that this game was a legitimate upset of a stronger team by a weaker team.
14-22
L
L
Kentucky -0.9
v.
Louisville -1.9
(August 31)
+5
1.0 x 9 = 9 - 2.6 =
-6 pts :: 27-21

YPP Wildcats 3.3
YPP Cardinals 2.8

By NAYPPA, Kentucky is 0.5 (3.3. -2.8) x 9 points = 4.5 points better than Louisville.
Either both of these teams have great defenses, or their offenses are extremely weak. The rest of the season will tell us.
27-2
W
W
Vanderbilt -2.0
v.
Miami (Ohio) -3.1
(August 28)
+3.5

our line -7
actual -21
1.1 x 9 = 9.9 - 2.6 =
-7 pts :: 17-10
(Vandy QB Chris Nickson rushed for 166 yards as RedHawks put up more total offense but fewer scores)


34-13
W
W
Utah -1.4
v.
Michigan -0.9
+4

our line +7
actual -2
0.5 x 9 = 4.5 + 2.6 =
+7 pts :: 17-24

The Rich Rodriguez coaching era at Michigan got off to a disappointing start in a 25-23 loss to the Utes. The Michigan offense was dismal, although Utah is known for its stout defense. It is a case of a coach imposing a new offense on a team for which he does (yet) not have the right personnel. It might be a tough season for Michigan.
YPP Utes 4.4
YPP Wolverines 3.2
By NAYPPA, Utah is 1.2 (4.4 minus 3.2) x 9 points = 10.8 points better than Michigan.
25-23
L
L
Troy State -1.8
v.
Middle Tennessee -3.4 (August 28)
-6.5

our line -12
actual -14
1.6 x 9 = 14.4 - 2.6 =
-12 pts :: 41-29
(DuJuan Harris ran for 3 TDs and 148 yards for the Trojans)
31-17
W
W
Northern Illinois -5.1
v.
Minnesota -4.5
+8.5

our line +8
actual +4
0.6 x 9 = 5.4 + 2.6 =
+8 pts :: 36-44
27-31
W
W
Memphis -4.3
v.
Mississippi -2.3
+9.5

our line +21
actual +17
2.0 x 9 = 18 + 2.6 =
+21 pts :: 21-42
24-41
W
W
Illinois - 0.6
v.
Missouri + 0.4
+8.5

our line +12
actual +10
1.0 x 9 = 9 +2.6 =
+12 pts :: 33-45
Last year, Missouri won by six 40-32 on the road, hence nothing much has changed, although the NAYPPA even gives the Illini a small advantage:
YPP Missouri 6.7
YPP Illini 6.9
Against USC last year, Illinois had a YPP of 6.1 while USC had a YPP of 7.8, which we figure makes USC about 1 YPP better than Missouri.

42-52
W
W
Western Michigan -4.0
v.
Nebraska -1.5
+14

our line +25
adjusted
line +39
actual +23
2.5 x 9 = 22.5 + 2.6 =
+25 pts We do not understand the official spread here as even last season's performance would warrant a 4 TD difference, and with the AD and coaching changes of the Huskers under Osborne and Pelini, we think that is worth another 2 TDs, so that we make the spread here
+39 points :: 13-52
(Cornhuskers won but the pass coverage was leaky and the offense sputtered after a good start due to poor playcalling, also maybe wilting in the heat. Rushing defense looked solid, allowing only 8 yards, but the pass rush and defensive secondary must improve.)
YPP Nebraska 7.2
YPP Broncos 4.7
By NAYPPA, the Huskers are 2.5 (7.2 minus 4.7) x 9 points = 23 points better so that the result accurately reflects the relative strength of these two teams.
24-47
W
W
TCU -1.7
v.
New Mexico -1.6
-6.5

our line +3
actual -23
0.1 x 9 = 0.9 + 2.6 =
+3 pts :: 14-17
26-3
L
L
Syracuse -4.3
v.
Northwestern -2.6
+12

our line +18
actual +20
1.7 x 9 = 15.3 + 2.6 =
+18 pts :: 20-38
10-30
W
W
Washington -2.6
v.
Oregon -0.2
+14

our line +24
actual +34
2.4 x 9 = 21.6 + 2.6 =
+24 pts :: 17-41

Based on this game, the Oregon defense appears strong and the Washington defense weak:
YPP Ducks 6.9
YPP Huskies 3.1
By NAYPPA, Oregon is 3.8 (6.9 minus 3.1) x 9 points = 34 points better, which corresponds to the margin of victory in this game. Oregon lost its starting QB in this game and offense continues to be their problem-child.
10-44
W
W
Bowling Green -3.3
v.
Pittsburgh -1.5
+12

our line +19
actual -10
1.8 x 9 = 16.2 + 2.6 =
+19 pts :: 17-36
Bowling Green was humbled 63-7 by Tulsa to close out the last season but returned here in 2008 with a vengeance, upsetting Pittsburgh, who committed four turnovers.
YPP Panthers 4.6
YPP Falcons 3.6
By NAYPPA, Pitt should not have lost this game.
27-17
L
L
SMU -5.2
v.
Rice
(August 29) -5.5
+3

our line +1
actual +29
0.3 x 9 = 2.7 - 2.6 =
0 points so we give the advantage to the home team +1 pts :: 35-36 (New SMU head coach June Jones - from Hawaii - had a rude awakening as the Mustangs had 5 turnovers, while the Owls rolled up 466 yards total offense )
27-56
W
L
Fresno State -1.9
v.
Rutgers
(September 1) -0.4
+5.5
1.5 x 9 = 13.5 + 2.6 =
+ 16 pts :: 14-30
Rutgers destructed in the 2nd half after the game was tied 0-0 at the intermission to lose 24-7.
YPP Bulldogs 6.7
YPP Scarlet Knights 5.1
By NAYPPA, Fresno State is 1.6 (6.7 minus 5.1) x 9 points = 14 points better than Rutgers, so that the final score reflects the actual relative strength of the two teams.
24-7
L
L
NC State -2.4
v.
South Carolina -1.2
(August 28)
+11

our line +13
actual +34
1.2 x 9 = 10.8 + 2.6 =
+13 pts :: 21-34

The Gamecocks struggled with 4 interceptions until backup QB Chris Smelley led three fourth-quarter TD drives
YPP Gamecocks 5.3
YPP Wolfpack 2.4
By NAYPPA, South Carolina is 2.9 (5.3 minus 2.4) x 9 points = 26 points better than the Wolfpack.
0-34
W
W
Louisiana-Lafayette -3.4
v.
Southern Miss -3.4
+11

our line +3
actual +30
0 x 9 = 0, the teams are even, +2.6 home field =
+3 pts :: 24-27
21-51
W
L
Oregon State -0.7
v.
Stanford -3.3
(August 28)
-3

our line -21
actual +8
2.6 x 9 = 23.4 - 2.6 =
-21 pts :: 35-14 (Toby Gerhart ran for 147 yards as gritty Stanford under head coach Jim Harbaugh lost the total offense contest 490 to 301 but won the scoreboard and turnover battle).
Harbaugh is a great coach, winning games he has no business winning, like this one.
YPP Beavers 6.0
YPP Cardinal 4.6
By NAYPPA, Oregon State is a hands down 1.4 (6.0 minus 4.6) x 9 points = 13 point better team, but they lost by 8 points, 36-28.
28-36
L
L
Florida Atlantic -2.2
v.
Texas -0.1
+23.5

our line +30
actual +42
2.3 x 9 = 20.7 +2.6 =
+23 pts but the new defensive coordinator from Auburn is worth 7 at least so that we call it
+30 pts :: 7-37

YPP Longhorns 6.2
YPP Owls 4.7
By NAYPPA, Texas is 1.5 (6.2 minus 4.7) x 9 points = 14 points better in terms of relative team strength. This is not surprising considering that Florida Atlantic has a top head coach in Howard Schnellenberger, so that the Owls are a constantly improving team.
10-52
W
W
Arkansas State -3.5
v.
Texas A&M -2.0
+20

our line +16
actual -4
1.5 x 9 = 13.5 +2.6 =
+16 pts :: 17-33

Did Arkansas State win this upset battle legitimately? The answer is yes, as the NAYPPA shows.
YPP Red Wolves 5.7
YPP Aggies 4.8
By NAYPPA, the Red Wolves are 0.9 (5.7 minus 4.8) x 9 points = 8.1 points better than Texas A&M
18-14
L
W
Tulsa -1.5
v.
UAB -5.4
-14.5

our line 33
actual 23
3.9 x 9 = 35.1 - 2.6 =
-33 pts :: 60-27 (the nation's best offense meets one of the nation's worst defenses)

YPP Tulsa 9.5
YPP UAB 6.2

The Golden Hurricane has a terrible defense but a golden offense. The NAYPPA of 3.3 (9.5 minus 6.2) x 9 points = 29.7 points accurately reflects the relative strength of these two teams.
45-22
W
W
Tennessee -0.8
v.
UCLA -1.4
(September 1)
-6
0.6 x 9 = 5.4 - 2.6 =
-3 pts :: 20-17

The game was tied 24-24 at the end of regulation time in a wild finish on both sides- In spite of UCLA having been intercepted 4 times in the 1st half, UCLA QB Kevin Craft played a fine game in the 2nd half as UCLA won in overtime 27-24.
YPP Volunteers 4.9
YPP Bruins 3.9
By NAYPPA, Tennessee is 1.0 (4.9 minus 3.9) x 9 points s= 9 points better, but here the turnovers in the first half played a great role in skewing the numbers.
24-27
L
W
Utah State -5.1
v.
UNLV -3.7
+12.5
our line +15
actual +10
1.4 x 9 = 12.6 + 2.6 =
+15 pts :: 27-42
17-27
W
L
USC (Southern Cal) +0.9
v.
Virginia -1.3
-19.5

our line -17
actual -45
2.2 x 9 = 19.2 - 2.6 =
-17 pts :: 14-31

YPP Trojans 7.2
YPP Cavaliers 3.3

The NAYPPA is 3.9 making USC 3.9 x 9 points = 35 points better than Virginia. See now our discussion of the Ohio State game below. Together with that discussion, which places Ohio State at a calibrated rating of +1.2 for this year, just as last year, the question then becomes, is the 1.7 NAYPPA increase for USC in this game from a 2.2 difference to a 3.7 difference to be accounted for by an improved USC team (how much?) and a vastly weaker Virginia team. We will know more in two weeks when USC and the Buckeyes meet on the field.
52-7
W
L
Oklahoma State -0.9
v.
Washington State -1.5
-6

our line -3
actual -26
0.6 x 9 = 5.4 - 2.6 =
-3 pts :: 34-31

YPP Cowboys 5.3
YPP Cougars 3.3
By NAYPPA, Oklahoma State is 2.0 (5.3 minus 3.3) x 9 points = 18 points better than the Cougars.
39-13
W
L
Akron -4.0
v.
Wisconsin -1.6
+26

our line +24
actual +21
2.4 x 9 = 21.6 +2.6 =
+24 pts :: 7-31
17-38
W
W
Ohio -3.8
v.
Wyoming -2.7
+10

our line +13
actual +1
1.1 x 9 = 9.9 +2.6 =
+13 pts :: 7-20
20-21
W
L
Eastern Illinois -5.2
v.
Central Michigan -2.8
(August 28)
our line +24
actual +19
2.4 x 9 = 21.6 +2.6 =
+24 pts :: 24-48
(Central Michigan won its first season opener since 2002)
12-31
W

Indiana State NR
v.
Eastern Michigan -5.1
(August 28)
our line +14
actual +52
+14 pts :: 21-35
(The Eagles were stronger than expected and rolled up over 637 yards total offense)
0-52
W

Northeastern -4.9
v. Ball State -3.1
(August 28)
our line +19
actual +34
1.8 x 9 = 16.2 - 2.6 =
+19 pts :: 20-39
(Northeastern had 8 minutes more ball possession but could not turn it into scores)
14-48
W

Eastern Kentucky -4.5
v.
Cincinnati -0.8
(August 28)
our line +36
actual +33
3.7 x 9 = 33.3 - 2.6 =
+36 pts :: 13-49
(Bearcats Dustin Grutza was 21 of 28, 296 yds and 3 TDs )
YPP Bearcats 7.1
YPP Colonels 4.2
By NAYPPA, Cincinnati is 2.9 (7.1 minus 4.2) x 9 points = 26 points better than Eastern Kentucky.
7-40
W

Jacksonville St. NR
v.
Georgia Tech -1.7
(August 28)
our line +45
actual +27
+45 pts :: 7-52
(QB Ryan Perrilloux, fallen from grace at LSU, kept Gamecocks closer than line )
14-41
W

Charleston S. NR
v.
Miami of Florida -2.2
(August 28)
our line +42
actual +45
+42 pts :: 6-48
(Hurricanes debut is successful in Dolphin Stadium under true freshman QB Jacob Harris)
7-52
W

Hofstra -3.1
v.
Connecticut - 1.9
(August 28)
our line +13
actual +32
1.2 x 9 = 10.8 - 2.6 =
+13 pts :: 23-36
(Donald Brown of UConn scored 4 TDs in the first half)
3-35
W

South Dakota State -3.3
v.
Iowa State - 3.7
(August 28)
our line -1
actual +27
0.4 x 9 = 3.6 - 2.6 =
-1 pts :: 24-23
(Is Gene Chizik finally getting the Cyclones moving? Six turnovers - 5 interceptions for 202 yards - doom Jackrabbits)
YPP Iowa State 6.4
YPP South Dakota State 5.6
17-44
L







August 28





Shorter NR
v.
Western Carolina - 5.8
our line +14
actual +35
+14 pts :: 17-31
0-35
W

Henderson St. - 4.6
v.
Central Arkansas - 4.7
our line +2
actual +24
0.1 x 9 = 0.9 - 2.6 =
+2 pts :: 28-30
(FCS I-AA Bears beat Division II Reddies as Nathan Brown threw for 367 yards)
14-38
W

Texas A&M Kingsville NR
v.
North Dakota - 1.8
our line +45
actual +26
+45 pts :: 10-55
(Chris Mussman won his debut as UND head coach as Sioux this year enter Division I)
14-40
W

Austin Peay NR
v.
North Dakota St. - 1.4
our line +49
actual +35
+49 pts :: 7-56 (Austin Peay was 7-4 last year so NDS has a strong team again this year as QB Nick Mertens went 16 of 18 for 304 yards in 1st career start)
YPP North Dakota State 7.7
YPP Austin Peay 1.9
By NAYPPA, North Dakota State is 5.8 (7.7 minus 1.9) x 9 points = 52 points better than Austin Peay.
6-41
W

Gardner-Webb -4.4
v.
Tennessee Tech
our line -14
actual +16
-14 pts :: 37-23
(Gardner-Webb put up 515 yards total offense but could not get the ball into the end zone - redzone play-calling is critical)
12-28
L

Montana-Western - 5.1
v.
Weber St. -4.4
our line +9
actual +56
0.7 x 9 = 6.3 + 2.6 =
+9 pts :: 17-26
Weber State of Division I-AA (FCS), 5-6 last year, put up 535 yards total offense to crush Montana-Western of the NAIA.
6-62
W

August 29





Marist NR
v.
San Diego -4.5
our line +17
actual +18
+17 pts :: 14-31
22-40
W

August 30





Maine -4.9
v.
Iowa -2.4
our line +25
actual +43
2.5 x 9 = 22.5 + 2.6 =
+25 pts :: 10-35
3-46
W

Youngstown St. - 3.6
v.
Ohio State +1.2
our line +46
actual +43
4.8 x 9 = 43.2 + 2.6 =
+46 pts :: 3-49

YPP Buckeyes 6.7
YPP Penguins 1.9
The 4.8 (6.7 minus 1.9) NAYPPA makes Ohio State 43 points better than Youngstown State (4.8 x 9 points) so that this result in 2008 accurately reflects the relative strength of these two teams, which was EXACTLY THE SAME in 2007. Hence, in creating new SPRS ratings for college football teams in the course of this year, we can use the SPRS ratings for Ohio State and Youngstown state as calibrating benchmarks without having to wait for the entire season to pass to have accurate results.
0-43
W

Coastal Carolina NR
v.
Penn State -0.7
our line +50
actual +56
+50 pts :: 7-57

This was a blowout victory, but over a much weaker team, not even ranked in the top 250.
YPP Nittany Lions 8.6
YPP Chanticleers 4.0
By NAYPPA, Penn State is 4.6 (8.6 minus 4.0) x 9 points = 41 points better.
10-66
W

Georgia Southern - 3.1
v.
Georgia + 0.3
our line +33
actual +24
3.4 x 9 = 30.6 + 2.6 =
+33 pts :: 7-40

The final score of 45-21 does not back a No. 1 ranking for Georgia
YPP Georgia 9.1
YPP Georgia Southern 4.1
However, by NAYPPA, Georgia is much stronger than this score indicates, as 5. 0 (9.1 minus 4.1) x 9 points = 45 points relative greater team strength.
21-45
W

Monmouth NR
v.
Rhode Island - 5.9
our line +14
actual +3
+14 pts :: 20-34
24-27
W

Southern Utah -5.7
v. Air Force -1.4
our line +41
actual +34
4.3 x 9 = 38.7 +2.6 =
+41 pts :: 10-51

YPP Falcons 5.8
YPP Thunderbirds 3.0
By NAYPPA, the Falcons are 2.8 (5.8 minus 3.0) x 9 points = 25 points better than the Thunderbirds.
7-41
W

SE Louisiana - 5.8
v.
Alcorn State NR
our line -14
actual -6
-14 pts :: 28-14
34-28
W

Adams State NR
v.
Montana State -4.6
our line +14
actual +56
+14 pts :: 17-31
3-59
W

Villanova -3.3
v.
West Virginia +1.2
our line +43
actual +27
4.5 x 9 = 40.5 + 2.6 =
+43 pts :: 6-49

YPP Mountaineers 6.3
YPP Wildcats 4.6

By NAYPPA, West Virginia is nowhere near as strong as last year, here at 1.7 (6.3 minus 4.6) x 9 points = 15 points better than Villanova.
21-48
W

Towson -5.2
v.
Navy -2.9
our line +23
actual +28
2.3 x 9 = 20.7 + 2.6 =
+23 pts :: 26-49

13-41
W

Delaware -2.5
v.
Maryland -2.1
our line +6
actual +7
0.4 x 9 = 3.6 + 2.6 =
+6 pts :: 28-34
7-14
W

Western Oregon - 4.6
v.
Portland St. - 5.2
our line -3
actual +17
0.6 x 9 = 5.4 - 2.6 =
-3 pts :: 38-35
14-31
L

Illinois State - 5.1
v.
Marshall - 3.5
our line +17
actual +25
1.6 x 9 = 14.4 + 2.6 =
+17 pts :: 24-41
10-35
W

Appalachian State - 1.6
v.
LSU + 0.9
our line +25
actual +28
2.5 x 9 = 22.5 + 2.6 =
+25 pts :: 30-55

YPP Tigers 7.2
YPP Mountaineers 3.9

By NAYPPA, LSU is 3.2 (7.2 minus 3.9) x 9 points = 29 points better so that this score represents the true relative strength of the two teams.
13-41
W

McNeese State - 2.7
v.
North Carolina -2.0
our line +9
actual +8
0.7 x 9 = 6.3 + 2.6 =
+9 pts :: 24-33

UNC wide receiver Brandon Tate accounted for 397 all purpose yards as the Tar Heels luckily squeaked by a tough
27-35
W

Albany -5.5
v.
Massachusetts -1.5
our line +39
actual +12
4.0 x 9 = 36 - 2.6 =
+39 pts :: 10-49
16-28
W

Mars Hill NR
v.
Furman - 3.9
our line +30
actual +48
+30 pts :: 14-44
14-62
W

Northern Iowa - 1.9
v.
BYU -0.2
our line +18
actual +24
1.7 x 9 = 15.3 +2.6 =
+18 pts :: 7-25

Max Kall passed for 468 yards for BYU who now hold the longest winning streak in Division I football, 11 games.
YPP Cougars 8.2
YPP Panthers 5.6
By NAYPPA, BYZ is 2.6 (8.2 minus 5.6) x 9 points = 23 points better, so that the final score here reflects the accurate relative strength of these two teams. Last year, Northern Iowa was 12-1, but lost key players to graduation.
17-41

W

S. Carolina St. - 3.2
v.
UCF - 1.5
our line +18
actual +17
1.7 x 9 = 15.3 + 2.6 =
+18 pts = 24-42
0-17
W

Colgate - 5.0
v.
Stony Brook - 5.1
our line +2
actual -16
0.1 x 9 = 0.9 - 2.6 =
+2 pts :: 31-33
42-26
L

Virginia St. NR
v.
Norfolk St. - 5.8
our line +14
actual +40
+14 pts :: 14-28
7-47
W

Southern - 5.2
v.
Houston - 2.7
our line +25
actual +52
2.5 x 9 = 22.5 - 2.6 =
+25 pts :: 17-42
3-55
W

Richmond - 2.5
v.
Elon - 3.6
our line -7
actual -18
1.1 x 9 = 9.9 - 2.6 =
-7 pts :: 24-17
28-10
W

Chattanooga - 4.8
v.
Oklahoma + 0.8
our line +53
actual +55
5.6 x 9 = 50.4 + 2.6 =
+53 pts :: 6-59

The Sooners led 50-0 at the half and for the game held the Mocs to 3 first downs. The Sooner defense appears to be better than last year, which is a necessity given the blowout loss to West Virginia last year, whereas the offense will be about the same.
YPP Sooners 5.8
YPP Mocs 0.7
By NAYPPA, Oklahoma is 5.1 (5.8 minus 0.7) x 9 = 46 points better.
2-57
W

Eastern Washington -3.0
v.
Texas Tech +0.2
our line +31
actual +25
3.2 x 9 = 28.8 +2.6 =
+31 pts :: 20-51

QB Graham Harrell of the Red Raiders threw for 536 yards.
YPP Texas Tech 7.7
YPP Eagles 4.3
The NAYPPA of 3.1 (7.7 minus 4.3) corresponds to the NAYPPA of 3.2 for 2007 so that this game well reflects the relative strength of the two teams.
24-49
W

Tennessee St. -5.9
v.
Alabama A&M -4.8
our line +13
actual -21
1.1 x 9 = 9.9 + 2.6 =
+13 pts :: 27-40
34-13
L

Webber
v.
Citadel -3.4
our line 35
actual 47
+35 pts :: 7-42
7-54
W

North Greenville NR
v.
Liberty - 3.5
our line 35
actual 39
+35 pts :: 13-48
10-49
W

East Central NR
v.
Sam Houston St. - 4.2
our line 28
actual 44
+28 pts :: 14 -42
(It was no contest as the Bearkats led 52-0 at the half)
14-58
W

Angelo St. NR
v.
Texas St. - 6.1
our line 14
actual 7
+14 pts :: 17-31
14-21
W

James Madison -2.2
v.
Duke - 4.2

2.0 x 9 = 18 - 2. 6 =
-15 pts. :: 35-20
7-31
L

Western Illinois -3.3
v.
Arkansas + 0.1
our line 33
actual 4
3.4 x 9 = 30.6 + 2.6 =
+33 pts :: 14-47

New head coach Bobby Petrino from the Atlanta Falcons nearly had disaster strike as the Razorbacks narrowly escaped a stunning loss to Western Illinois, rallying from a 24-14 4th quarter deficit.
YPP Razorbacks 6.4
YPP Leathernecks 3.6
The NAYPPA point to an Arkansas team which is 2.8 (6.4 minus 3.6) x 9 points = 25 points better than Western Illinois. Given the bare 4-point actual margin, three TDs were not made that should have been made, and that is a coaching problem.
24-28
W

Presbyterian -6.1
v.
Wofford -3.1
our line 30
actual 17
3.0 x 9 = 27 +2.6 =
+30 pts :: 14-44
21-38
W

Tenn-Martin -5.7
v.
South Florida -0.4
our line 50
actual 49
5.3 x 9 = 47.7 + 2.6 =
+50 pts :: 9-59

YPP Bulls 7.3
YPP Skyhawks 1.8
By NAYPPA, South Florida is 5.5 (7.3 minus 1.8) x 9 points = 50 points better than Tennessee Martin. This corresponds to last year exactly and is also verified in the final score of this game, so that the exact relative strength of these teams is confirmed. These teams can thus be used for calibration of the strength of other teams.
6-57
W

St. Ambrose NR
v.
South Dakota - 2.5
our line 49
actual 52
+49 pts :: 7-56
0-52
W

Texas Southern NR
v.
Prairie View A&M - 5.6
our line 14
actual 20
+14 pts :: 21-35
14-34
W

UC Davis -4.8
v.
San Jose St. -3.5
our line 14
actual 3
1.3 x 9 = 11.7 + 2.6 =
+14 pts :: 23-37

YPP Davis 4.0
YPP San Jose St. 4.7
10-13
W

Idaho St - 6.4
v.
Boise St. - 1.7
our line 45
actual 42
4.7 x 9 = 42.3 + 2.6 =
+45 pts :: 7-52

YPP Broncos 8.8
YPP Bengals 3.0
7-49
W

Grambling St. -4.7
v.
Nevada -3.0
our line +18
actual +36
1.7 x 9 = 15.3 + 2.6 =
+18 pts :: 24-42

YPP Nevada 7.4
YPP Grambling State 3.9

13-49
W

Cal Poly -3.7
v.
San Diego St. - 3.6
our line +3
actual -2
0.1 x 9 = 0.9 + 2.6 =
3 pts :: 34-36

YPP Cal Poly 6.7
YPP San Diego State 5.6
29-27
L

Northern Arizona -4.6
v.
Arizona St. -0.6
our line +39
actual +17
4.0 x 9 = 36 + 2.6 =
+39 pts :: 14-53

Are the Sun Devils better than this score indicates? Yes they are.
YPP Arizona State 8.2
YPP Lumberjacks 3.9
By NAYPPA, Arizona State is 4.3 (8.2 minus 3.9) x 9 points = 39 points better in terms of relative team strength this year. The game got closer as first-team backups played in the 4th quarter for Arizona State and did not do a very good job, showing that the team lacks depth.
13-30
W

August 31





Jackson State -4.4
v.
Hampton - 6.0

1.6 x 9 = 14.4 - 2.6 =
-12 pts :: 33-21
13-17
L

Dayton - 4.4
v.
Central St. NR

-21 pts :: 35-14

YPP Dayton 5.1
YPP Central St. 2.9

By NAYPPA, the Flyers are 2.2 (5.1 minus 2.9) x 9 points = 20 points better than the Marauders. The final score reflects the actual relative strength of the two teams.
31-12
W



Crossposted to LawPundit.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

SportPundit Word Cloud

Our current SportPundit Word Cloud from Wordle.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

2008 Preseason College Football Rankings and Previews

This post is cross-posted to SportPundit from LawPundit.

Can you believe, pink and black? Those were the original colors chosen unanimously as the school colors of ... the mighty Penn State Nittany Lions, who now of course sport blue and white. The University of Washington colors of purple and gold trace back to a poem by Lord Byron titled Destruction of Sennacherib. And Boston College chose the original Papal colors of maroon and gold (modernly yellow and white). Who says college football is not a sensitive, intellectual or highly religious sport?

The start of the 2008 / 2009 college football season is less than a month away .... and the 120 Stadiums in Division I-A (FBS) Football can accommodate 6.3 million spectators at full capacity. One can argue whether the "Big House" (Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor) or Beaver Stadium at Penn State is the largest. The answer is unclear - because of a lawsuit regarding seating - but actual attendance records give Michigan the edge. The world's largest stadium is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Strahov Stadium in Prague, Czech Republic, second.


Dear legal readers and also international readers not interested in American football - please bear with us on these sports postings, but they are always among the most popular of all the things that we post to LawPundit. And there is a connection between law and sports.

Men are all warriors at heart and part of the problem of world tensions is that too many cultures have not been able to "civilize" the warriorlike urges of their citizens. Instead of throwing or kicking rocks (or stepping on mines), our children should be throwing baseballs or kicking soccer balls, and instead of throwing incendiary weapons at each other, we should be throwing "touchdowns" on the sports field.

Law and sports are civilized options which channel man's aggressive nature sensibly. Both acknowledge our warrior's heritage, demand winners and losers, and provide no less excitement than war, but such competitions and conflict resolutions are largely bloodless. There are in the case of sports, generals (coaches) and soldiers (players), just as in military action. The thrill of victory or defeat is the same, but people are not being killed, as in war, and the warrior lives to fight another day, as it should be. May the best team win!


SCHEDULES

(see the college team football schedules at James Howell, ESPN, Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, NCAAfootball.com, Division I-AA (FCS), Division II football, Division III football, NAIA at Victory Sports Network, NJCAA)

PRESEASON RANKINGS

SPRS

SPRS will start the season using the final ratings and rankings from last season. 1 rating point difference = 9 points on the scoreboard, without adjustment for home field advantage. Obviously, these ratings should change week to week depending upon team performance, but it is not likely we will have the time to make the calculations, except at season's end.

USA Today Coaches Poll

Some preseason rankings are already out. For example, the USA Today Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll for Division I-A (FBS) (see digg) was published August 1, 2008. We are as skeptical as the CollegeFootballNews.com at Scout.com. BS for the BCS?

Rivals.com Preseason Countdown RANKING
followed by the LawPundit Commentary


The preseason rankings and reports at the Rivals.com Preseason Countdown are instrumental to understanding and prognosticating the coming football season. Each team page at Rivals.com also presents the team's college football schedule for the 2008 / 2009 season. We show the Rivals.com ranking below together with our own commentary about each team.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TROJANS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 1 USC

We agree with this selection by Rivals.com. Southern Cal finished 3rd in our SPRS rankings the past season. Trojan coach Pete Carroll seems to have gone back to a primary 4-3 defense after foolishly instituting a 3-4 defense two years ago, which cost USC dearly, and if Carroll sticks primarily with the 4-3 defense, we think that USC could go undefeated this year. It will be interesting to see how much playing time Arkansas Razorbacks transfer Mitch Mustain will get at the quarterback position or if Mark Sanchez retains the starting QB position now assigned to him. QB is the big question-mark at USC. We think Mustain is a winner and could take USC all the way. SPRS ranked the Trojans 3rd at the end of the previous season.

GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 2 Georgia

Last year at preseason, we saw Georgia as the nation's potentially top team, except for their unresolved problems at quarterback. Mark Richt is an experienced coach. The QB position is now set and the Bulldogs are surely a strong team, but their performance last year ranked only 9th in our own SPRS ratings, so that we think that a No. 2 ranking at this point is still too high given their track record. Plus, the Bulldogs currently have serious internal disciplinary problems. (Unfortunately, very aggressive young males can make excellent athletes, if they learn to channel their energies and aggression into sports and not vent that energy and aggression through socially harmful behaviour. "Channeling Aggression" should be a mandatory college course for young people.) In any case, in our opinion the Bulldogs should not be ranked ahead of Florida at this early stage in the season and they look likely to lose at least two games this season, their road game at LSU and the game to Florida in Jacksonville. We ranked Florida at 7th to close out last year.

OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 3 Ohio State

The September 13 game at USC sets the tone for the pecking order this season in the upper echelons of I-A football. We just don't see the Buckeyes beating the Trojans on their home turf, much as we respect head coach Jim Tressel of Ohio State as a winner. A USC win in that game will surely propel them to the top of the rankings and drop the Buckeyes back into a battle through their Big 10 schedule to face a do or die regular season ending game against Michigan, headed by new coach Rich Rodriguez, who by the end of the season will be coaching a formidable opponent playing better than the 30th rank given to the Wolverines by Rivals.com currently. Ohio State finished second in our final SPRS ratings last year and Michigan 29th. By the end of the year, these teams should be near equals.

OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 4 Oklahoma

West Virginia mauled the Sooner defense in the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl to win 48-28 and we would not rank Oklahoma this high again this year until it shows signs of being able to defend its own territory. The Sooners have a stellar QB in Sam Bradford and a high-powered offense to balance the leaky defense. Oklahoma finished sixth in our final SPRS ratings last year. The Sooners have had tremendous talent for several years, but some essential ingredient to greatness is still missing. It can't be physical hard work, but perhaps there is not enough hunger to win the big ones, or it may be a question of a lack of discipline.

MISSOURI TIGERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 5 Missouri

Mizzou had a great season last year as we ranked them 8th in our final SPRS ratings last year. Top quarterback Chase Daniel returns to fan Missouri hopes. However, Missouri was a strong team last year but not an overly dominant one, giving up an average of 354 yards per game to Big 12 competition, so that a repeat this year will be difficult, as we think, for example, that the road games at Texas and Nebraska this year could turn out to be Mizzou losses.

FLORIDA GATORS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 6 Florida

With top coach Urban Meyer and returning QB Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow leading perhaps the best offense in college football, this team has a solid base on which to build its hopes for a national title this season, in which the Gators are unlikely to duplicate last year's ignoble feat of losing 4 games. The offense is as formidable, however, as the defense is questionable, and it will be the development of the defense which determines Gator fortunes. SPRS ranked Florida 7th last year, in spite of 4 losses, which shows how good this team could potentially be.

AUBURN TIGERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 7 Auburn

The Auburn offense last year was 98th in the nation and the defense won the games. Auburn has thus brought in an offense-savvy coordinator from Troy, Tony Franklin, but, alas, its defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp has departed for Texas. The impact that the new spread offense of Franklin will have on the team can be judged from the unexpected offensive Auburn stomping of Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to close out last season. But will the defense be able to keep up this year? SPRS ranked Auburn 26th to close out last season and we think they will have a hard time cracking the final top 10.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 8 West Virginia

SPRS
ranked West Virginia the Number 1 team in the nation to close out the bowl season last year because of its absolute dominance of a terrific Oklahoma team in the Tostitos Fiesta Bow in a game marked however by some controversial Sooner coaching. The departure of Mountaineer head coach Rich Rodriguez might seem less significant in view of the fact that it was interim and now head coach Bill Stewart who guided the bowl victory from the sidelines, but Stewart's tenure as head coach of VMI 10 years previous was not marked by success. We do not think that the Mountaineers will be able to repeat their dominance of last year, especially with seven starters missing on defense. Indeed, we already see a potential loss at Colorado on September 18.

CLEMSON TIGERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 9 Clemson

Clemson disappointed greatly against Auburn to close out last season and thus ranked only 17th in the SPRS System. The Tigers have tremendous talent but head coach Tommy Bowden has yet to prove that this team has the ability to put it together when the chips are down. The season starts with a barnburner against Alabama in Atlanta.

LSU TIGERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 10 LSU

Louisiana State opens its season on August 30 in near storybook fashion as the reigning Division I-A (FBS) Champion hosts the reigning Division I-AA (FCS) threepeat Champion Appalachian State, which knocked off Michigan on the road 34-32 in the opening game last year. Although much of the country will surely be rooting for the Mountaineers to pull off another stunning upset, it is not likely to happen as the SPRS system makes LSU a 22.5 point favorite (calculated by the difference in rating +0.9 and -1.6 = 2.5 x 9 = 22.5). LSU will struggle this year because of the lack of an experienced QB, so Appalachian State - which features a spread no-huddle offense - might have a chance against the Tigers this early in the season. How head coach Les Miles and the team will master the loss of defensive coordinator Bo Pelini to Lincoln, Nebraska during the course of the season is another question. SPRS ranked LSU 4th at the end of last season, in spite of the national championship gifted to LSU by other rating systems. SPRS ranked Appalachian State 54th overall among all college teams, putting it on a par with Wisconsin and New Mexico. The Mountaineers are coached by Gerald Hundley “Jerry” Moore, who in his formative years spent 5 years as a coach under Tom Osborne at Nebraska. That these are the ties that bind is shown by the 2008 Nebraska Football Coaches Clinic held in April of this year, which was touted as follows:

"The 2008 Nebraska Football Coaches Clinic will have rich flavor of some of the best college and high school coaches in the country. In addition to sessions with new Husker Head Coach Bo Pelini on Friday, College Football Hall of Fame Coach and current Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne will lead a one-hour session on Saturday, April 5. Osborne, who led Nebraska to national titles in 1994, 1995 and 1997, will be followed by current Appalachian State Head Coach Jerry Moore, who led his team to its third straight Division I-AA national championship in 2007."

Excellence breeds excellence, as AD Tom Osborne is proving at Nebraska.

KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 11 Kansas

Head coach Mark Mangino installed first-year offensive coordinator Ed Warinner's one-back, vertical-spread no-huddle offense last year and it helped lead QB Todd Reesing and Kansas to a super-Cinderella season, winning 12 games and the Orange Bowl. Kansas then added the NCAA basketball championship for an unbelievable year. It will be tougher this year as opponents will be much better prepared to face the Kansas offensive fire-power, but this team will continue to roll up impressive stats and wins, because of a super offense. SPRS ranked Kansas 5th last year.

BYU COUGARS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 12 BYU

Nine offensive starters return from an 11-2 team whose head coach Bronco Mendenhall, a defensive specialist, has led the team to 22 wins in their last 26 games. BYU was the only team in the nation not to allow any opposing runner to achieve over 100 yards rushing in a single game, ranking 10th in total defense. Since only 3 defensive starters return, the quality of that defense is uncertain. SPRS ranked BYU 15th last year.

WISCONSIN BADGERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 13 Wisconsin

Wisconsin may have to struggle a bit this year. The quarterback position is unresolved and Wisconsin starts out Big 10 conference play with three consecutive games against Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, a gauntlet no Big 10 team has ever faced before. Interesting too will be the season finale against Cal Poly, which SPRS ranked 137th last year. SPRS ranked Wisconsin 53rd at year's end for the 2007 /2008 season, on a par with Appalachian State and New Mexico.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 14 Texas Tech

Texas Tech generally leads the nation in passing and this season will be no exception. Red Raider fans expect a big year from the team due to stellar passing quarterback Graham Harrell and All-American wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Steps have also been taken to shore up what is usually a substantially weaker defense than offense. We will know more when the Raiders face Nebraska on October 11, a game which we think could go in the Huskers favor in an all-out offensive battle. SPRS ranked Texas Tech 10th at the end of last season.

TEXAS LONGHORNS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 15 Texas

SPRS ranked Texas 14th at the end of last season but there is no way in our thinking to rank them behind Texas Tech to start this season. New defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Will Muschamp has been brought from Auburn by Mack Brown and signed for a salary making him the highest paid assistant coach in the Big 12. We think he will make a difference for Texas, who we expect to be in the Top 10 in the nation by the time the season is over. Indeed, they may even have a good crack at the national championship. Don't mess with Texas.

ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 16 Arizona State

Head Coach Dennis Erickson put life back into the Arizona State football program last season, but Rome was not built in a day and reconstruction is still progressing. Arizona State was 2nd to last behind Notre Dame in allowing the most yards lost behind the line of scrimmage on offense, and that stat this year will be one indicator of how far the team has developed. SPRS ranked the Sun Devils at 22nd last year.

VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 17 Virginia Tech

The Hokies are a team that wins on defense and their offense is nothing to write home about. Since there are only 4 starters returning on defense, this looks like a rebuilding year and we firmly expect Nebraska to beat Virginia Tech in Lincoln on September 27. SPRS ranked Virginia Tech at 18th last year.

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 18 Illinois

The Fighting Illini had a fabulous year last year, notching up seven more wins than the year before, a tribute to the coaching skills of Ron Zook. SPRS ranked Illinois 23rd to close out last year.

TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 19 Tennessee

The Vols under head coach Phillip Fulmer might have the best team in the SEC this year if new offensive director Dave Clawson, former head coach at I-AA power Richmond, lives up to expectations, and if he does, he will probably be hired as a head coach somewhere in I-A college football the subsequent season, so look for the Volunteers to roll this year. SPRS ranked Tennessee only 28th last year, due to a worse-than-expected offense and a leaky defense.

SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 20 USF

The Bulls started out tremendously last year to be ranked Number 2 in the polls, only to fade thereafter. USF plays Kansas on September 12 and then we will know how good either team is.
SPRS ranked South Florida 19th last year.

OREGON DUCKS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 21 Oregon

The Ducks lost their QB last year, which may have cost them a shot at the national title.
SPRS ranked Oregon 16th at the end of last season. The biggest questionmark is at QB.

PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 22 Penn State

Papa Joe Paterno will be in his 59th season as head coach or assistant coach at Penn State. Many starters on offense and defense are returning so that this team could be devastatingly good. SPRS ranked the Nittany Lions 24th at the end of last season.

FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 23 Fresno State

SPRS ranked Fresno State 65th to close out the 2007 / 2008 season. The high ranking by Rivals.com is puzzling in view of the fact that the Bulldogs outstanding offensive coordinator Jim McElwain departed for Alabama this year. Or it is a recognition of the outstanding word done by head coach Pat Hill in turning the team around from a 4-8 season in 2006.

WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 24 Wake Forest

Over past years an opportunistic defense has been hampered by a conservative offense, which is scheduled for a modern upgrade this year. SPRS ranked Wake Forest 35th last season.

PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 25 Pittsburgh

SPRS ranked the Panthers 45th last season, even though Pitt closed out their season last year by upsetting West Virginia 13-9. Pittsburgh lost seven games last year. Will they make it into the top 25 this year? We certainly are rooting for them, as we spent some time in Pittsburgh during a college summer and are avid Steeler fans to boot.

CINCINNATI BEARCATS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 26 Cincinnati

Brian Kelly
is a top coach and the Bearcats may be on their way to becoming a Kelly-style offensive juggernaut reminiscent of his days at Grand Valley State. SPRS ranked Cincinnati 27th last year. We look for a top 20 ranking this year. We will know how good this Cincinnati team is on September 6 when they play Oklahoma on the road. The Sooners had better look out.

SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 27 South Carolina

Steve Spurrier may be a good coach, but he has a lot of improving to do as far as the running game is concerned. Last year South Carolina was last in the SEC both offensively and defensively as far as the rush was concerned. You can't be top with a passing game only. That is Spurrier's Achilles heel. SPRS ranked South Carolina 36th last year.

UTAH UTES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 28 Utah

How good is Utah? They have won 7 bowl games straight, a record topped only by the Eagles of Boston College with 8, but, of course, not always against top-ranked competition. SPRS ranked Utah 40th last year. The Utes open their season at Michigan and we think that looks like a win for the Wolverines.

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 29 Alabama

Head coach Nick Saban, though Alabama is ranked 29th by Rivals.com to start this season, has according to that same source, "hauled in the nation's top recruiting class" and has also made some important coaching changes, bringing in new offensive coordinator Jim McElwain from Fresno State, where he last year increased point production by 10 points per game. Highly-rated Clemson may have trouble in the season opener against 'Bama in Atlanta. SPRS ranked Alabama 47th to close out the 2007 /2008 season, but they should be much improved this year.

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 30 Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines at 30th? SPRS ranked Michigan at 29th to close out the season last year. There is no doubt that things are happening at Michigan. Not only is top head coach Rich Rodriguez from an extremely strong West Virginia team last year now new in Ann Arbor, but he has lured Scott Shafer away from Stanford - how that? where for one year Shafer did amazing work as the Cardinal's defensive coordinator and assistant head coach: "Schafer's defense played a huge role in orchestrating one of the biggest upsets in college football history last season when the 41-point underdog Cardinal won at No. 2 USC, 24-23." Not all players on the Michigan team are enamored of the changing of the guard, as 11 players with eligibility have left. New brooms sweep clean. We definitely think that Michigan will be a force to be reckoned with this year, simply because of all the talent that the Wolverines always have at their disposal. 30th? No way. Michigan will surely be near the top 10 at season's end.

CALIFORNIA BEARS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 31 Cal

Cal started out last year like a champion, even ranked Nr. 2, and then faded into oblivion, losing 6 of its last 7 games, although SPRS still ranked this statistically fine team 21st to close out last year, whereas most rating services had them much further down their lists. Up to now, head coach Jeff Tedford has called the plays, and his playcalling has been controversial, but this season new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti (Jr.) from the San Francisco 49ers will call the plays. We think this will make a difference, but we do not know yet in which direction in the rankings. Only time will tell.

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 32 Michigan State

We have been appreciative fans of Spartan basketball over the years but seldom football, for its lack of disciple on the field. New head coach Mark Dantonio set a new disciplined direction last year, but it may take a couple of years for him to get and train the kind of players he needs.

TCU HORNED FROGS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 33 Texas Christian

Texas Christian football has always been a bit of a puzzle to this observer, sometimes hinting at greatness but never achieving it. Maybe head coach Gary Patterson has just been too conservative for this to happen, running the ball more than half the time, or maybe the season schedules have just been too easy to obtain top respect. Certainly the season and bowl records are generally excellent, but there always seem to be some poor seasons inbetween the good ones. Last year SPRS ranked TCU 55th, as the defense was as good as any, but the offense was not top. TCU hopes this will change this year, although its first game is against New Mexico, a team with a stalwart defense that TCU will have a tough time to crack.

COLORADO BUFFALOES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 34 Colorado

Dan Hawkins is a top coach and his rebuilding of the Colorado Buffaloes is continuing apace, with a 6-7 record last year following a more-or-less expected 2-10 downturn the year before because of severe internal problems inherited from the previous era (see the blog comments here). Getting rid of the past is difficult, as 20 freshmen played last year. This year the Buffs face the normal tough Big 12 competition and have rough non-conference matches against West Virginia and Florida State. If the Buffs emerge from this year with a winning record, Hawkins will be on his way. Last year, SPRS ranked Colorado 77th, with lots of work still to be done, especially on the defense.

BOISE STATE BRONCOS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 35 Boise State

Since the year 2000, Boise State is, on average, the highest scoring team in the nation. Nevertheless, the Broncos surprised nearly everyone by losing 41-38 to East Carolina in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl to finish off last season on a sour note, a result explained perhaps by a lack of concentration for being in Hawaii rather than in Idaho in the wintertime. SPRS ranked Boise State 56th and East Carolina 78th, so that the difference between the two teams was not as great as thought in some quarters. Ian Johnson returns, and if he remains healthy, Boise State will continue to have a powerful offense, although the defense needs some work.

OREGON STATE BEAVERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 36 Oregon State

SPRS ranked Oregon State at 25th last year, about 10 spots lower than most ratings, because the Beavers had a top class rushing defense, leading the nation in defense against the run, for example, holding Stanford to -8 yards rushing. Also, they held USC to only 100 yards rushing but were beaten in the air and had no offense to put up to counter that, and lost 24-3. Since the entire front seven were lost to graduation and since the sputtering offensive machine has not been improved, we do not look to find the Beavers in great contention this year.

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 37 Florida State

Seminole Coach Bobby Bowden, currently ranking 1 game ahead of Penn State's Joe Paterno 373-372 on the all-time win list for Division I-A coaches, but he has had better years than the last ones, coming off of successive 7-6 seasons. SPRS ranked Florida State 38th last year, a ranking which derived from merely average performance on both offense and defense. The Seminoles lost 12 starters to graduation so that they are probably lucky to open the season with two straight games against Division I-AA (FCS) opponents Western Carolina and Chattanooga, although those games are sometimes harder to win than Division I-A games because the Division I-AA opponent is highly motivated to play its heart out for the unlikely upset win.

PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 38 Purdue

The Boilermakers had perhaps the best offense statistically in the Big 10 last year, but suffered from a traditional weakness, a lackadaisical running game, that hurt them in crucial situations. SPRS ranked Purdue 58th last year and it may not get better this year, as a strong schedule could easily hand Purdue more than the 5 losses they had last year, even if they play well. One has to hope for some luck and a good year, as head coach Joe Tiller is to retire at the end of this season. The players should remember that the Boilermakers were once called "cornfield sailors, blacksmiths, pumpkin shuckers, hayseeds, farmers and rail splitters" and that the colors of gold and black were chosen in honor of Princeton University, who in 1869 played against Rutgers in the first ever college football game.

RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 39 Rutgers

Speaking of Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights under head coach Greg Schiano have returned to the old days of greatness and are fielding superb football teams. SPRS ranked Rutgers 20th at the end of last season, and it is hard to understand that they could have lost 5 games. Led by a superb coach in Greg Schiano, the Scarlet Knights last year, as written at Rivals.com became "the first offense in NCAA history to feature a 3,000-yard passer, a 2,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers." That can't happen without some very sound offensive coaching, at Rutgers in the person of coordinator John McNulty.

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 40 Notre Dame

Notre Dame has such a vaunted tradition in college football that its reputation often exceeds its modern possibilities, so that it has often recently been selected for bowl games where it stands no real chance of winning. This probably explains the fact that the Fighting Irish in 2007 set a college football record of nine straight bowl game losses. Last season a bowl game was not an issue as the Irish went 3-9 allowing more sacks than any other team in the country. How is that possible for such a storied program? Notre Dame fortunes have taken a severe downspin ever since Lou Holtz, who had a lifetime contract, left the team suddenly for undisclosed reasons in 1996. Were and are internal university politics the reason for the decline of the Irish? Broadway Joe asks whether it was because of the possible raising of admission requirements. Who knows.

MIAMI HURRICANES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 41 Miami of Florida

The Hurricanes closed out their season with an ignominious 48-0 shellacking at the hands of Virginia at (not in) the Orange Bowl and the offense was next to non-existent the second half of the year, with the defense even more woeful. The Hurricanes have brought in new defensive coordinator Bill Young from Kansas, which could be a big loss for Kansas and a big gain for Miami. One must presume that there is no way to go but up. SPRS ranked Miami of Florida 73rd last year.

OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 42 Oklahoma State

Offensive coordinator Larry Fedora, whose Cowboys had the nation's 7th ranked offense last year, has left for Southern Miss, so we are somewhat puzzled by the high rankings given by some to Oklahoma State in the preseason. SPRS ranked the Oklahoma State 31st last year, but the defense was suspect. We do not see the Cowboys improving on that rating this year.

UCLA BRUINS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 43 UCLA

The big news at UCLA is that Norm Chow, a consummate quarterbacks coach, has joined the Bruins as offensive coordinator. That kind of a change was essential, as UCLA had a great defense but a miserable offense last year. SPRS ranked UCLA 39th last year, so that we think that the Bruins will hit a higher rating than that this year and might even crack into the Top 25 if the offense jells under Chow's tutelage. UCLA's schedule opens with games against two top teams, Tennessee and BYU, and that will provide some idea as to the offensive progress made.

BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 44 Boston College

This ranking is one of the most puzzling at Rivals.com. SPRS ranked Boston College 12th at the end of last season, and they lost only 3 starters from the superb defense that was, in spite of a superb offense, an essential component of their very successful season under first-year head coach Jeff Jagodzinski, so that we expect the Eagles again to be a high-ranked team this year. This is traditionally a team with a lot of talent that finds enough people able to run, throw and catch the ball, and to offensively protect those who do. Hail Mary.

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 45 Nebraska

With Tom Osborne as AD and Bo Pelini as Head Coach of the Big Red, plus a whole bevy of new and coaches, e.g. Tim Beck from Kansas, inspired by traditional Husker values such as effort, we are sure that the Cornhuskers are back, and find the analysis at Sunday Morning Quarterback to be on point. Take a look there.

As Osborne has been quoted to say: "I guess what I'm hoping for is that we see a team that is well-organized, plays with a lot of heart, gives great effort and is well-prepared," Osborne told The Associated Press. "After that, you have to live with the consequences." That last sentence applies especially also to Husker opponents. We are hoping for QB Joe Ganz to set passing records at Nebraska this season and we trust for the defense to return to the energized play that the Blackshirts once earned for this storied football program. Osborne says that things will change in "three or four years", being sensibly conservative, but we think some great changes will already occur this season. As a Husker alum, we realize that no one can win all the time, but you can be competitive all the time, and, win or lose, that is the major initial objective this season. To walk off the field with your head held high, regardless of the score. That is the spirit of the game and the true heartbeat of all sports.

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 46 Louisville

Bobby Petrino had developed Louisville into a high-powered offensive machine, but Steve Kragthorpe from Tulsa last year inherited numerous problems, not only on offense, but particularly on defense, which was one of the worst in Division I-A (FBS) football. In the interim, both coordinators have been replaced, as Jeff Brohm will institute a Petrino-type offense, and Ron English, who earned awards at Michigan in the same coaching position, takes over the leaky defense. SPRS ranked Louisville 66th last year, which should definitely improve this year.

NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 47 North Carolina
Butch Davis played 28 sophomores last year, so that the younger players are getting plenty of playing time in his rebuilding of Tar Heel fortunes. This year, the scheduler has granted a welcome blessing, by leaving the prognosticated three best teams, Clemson, Wake Forest and Florida State off the North Carolina ACC schedule, which could grant the Tar Heels a winning season after last year's tough 4-8 year. SPRS ranked North Carolina 68th last year, with equally balanced offensive and defensive teams.

MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 48 Mississippi State

SPRS ranked Mississippi State 63rd last year, even though the Bulldogs went 8-5 and beat UCF in the Liberty Bowl, turning around their previous season when they went 3-9. The Bulldogs had a good defense combined with a below sub-par offense and on average they actually gave up more yards per play than they gained themselves, which is not the hallmark of a strong team by any means. Improvement upon the past season this year will be very difficult.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 49 Central Michigan

Central Michigan is known for its strong offense, but weak defense was the downfall of the Chippewas last year, ranked 91st by SPRS in spite of an 8-6 season, but including, for example, a 70-14 destruction by Clemson and a 52-7 drubbing by Kansas. The closing 51-48 loss to Purdue last year shows where the gaping problems are to be found.

CONNECTICUT HUSKIES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 50 Connecticut

SPRS
ranked Connecticut 64th last year. The Huskies are a solid team with good balance between the offense and defense, but the I-attack lacks a vertical passing game, and the Huskies thus are seldom sudden long-touchdown threats, but have to grind out the yardage if they can. The team is very successful given its rather thin talent base. Head coach Randy Edsall is a protégé of Tom Coughlin of Waterloo, New York and the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

WASHINGTON HUSKIES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 51 Washington

Head coach Tyrone Willingham seems to get the job done recruiting but seems to have difficulty turning talent into performance on the field. SPRS ranked the Huskies 86th last year, as Washington gave up one-half yard more per play than they gained. Such a statistic points to serious problems in both offensive and defensive coordination.

TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 52 Tulsa

SPRS ranked Tulsa 49th last year, but we expected better, and were appalled at the weakness of the defense. How many yards will Tulsa roll up this year, with nine returning starters, but a new QB? It will be tons, maybe even more than last year when the Golden Hurricane led the nation. And the defense? It can hardly get worse. Illustrative of the potential that slumbers in the Gus Malzahn offense is the 63-7 annihilation of Bowling Green in the GMAC Bowl to close out the season, a Falcon team that beat Big 10 Minnesota 32-31 and otherwise lost only four games. Even a top 10 team sporting merely a weak offense, who could not match Tulsa TD for TD, would have to be in fear of Tulsa's offensive prowess. We continue to be amazed that no one has hired Malzahn as a head coach at the college level. Athletic Directors and University Presidents, what gives? Do you not want your football team to be successful? Do you not recognize great coaching talent when you see it? As written at the Wikipedia: "In Malzahn's first season, Tulsa became the first team in NCAA history to have a 5,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and three 1,000-yard receivers." That does not happen by accident, nor does it happen that easily at a school like Tulsa, which does not - yet - have access to top recruit talent. So how did they do it? That's coaching, folks, and that is why Arkansas, with loads more talent, is ranked below Tulsa in the Preseason Countdown at Rivals.com. See also Scout.com 2008 preview.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 53 Maryland

SPRS ranked Maryland 72nd last year and the team still appears to have quarterback uncertainties, but whoever wins the job, nine offensive starters return from a unit that was, however, not that strong last year. When you throw more interceptions than touchdown passes, you know you have a QB problem. Last year, Maryland lost seven games and almost all of those were lost by one touchdown or less. To get those games in the winning column you have to make serious changes in the offense.

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 54 Arkansas

SPRS ranked Arkansas 11th in the nation last year. Let's get this straight. Rivals.com takes a team that knocked off the allegedly Number 1 team LSU in their last regular-season game last year 50-48, and also during the regular season lost to Alabama by only 3 and to Auburn by only 2, and they are now ranked 54th? Sure, the 38-7 drubbing by Missouri in the Cotton Bowl at season-end was humbling, but it was under an interim coach after the unexpected departure of Houston Nutt to Mississippi. New head coach Bobby Petrino, fleeing the Atlanta Falcons and the Vick scandal and formerly a very successful college coach at Louisville, could potentially raise Razorback fortunes this season if he can find a suitable quarterback, and indeed, what many though to be unlikely, Casey Dick may in fact prosper under the new wide-open spread offense of Petrino. That remains to be seen. We as Athletic Director would have hired Gus Malzahn, who also applied for the head coaching job, so it will be interesting to see how Petrino fares.

EAST CAROLINA PIRATES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 55 East Carolina

East Carolina is coached by Skip Holtz, son of famed Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz, the last of the great head coaches of the Fighting Irish. SPRS ranked the Pirates 78th last year, and in spite of nine returning starters on defense, that defense needs substantial improvement, as the average yards per play allowed on defense last year was simply too high (5.7).

NEW MEXICO LOBOS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 56 New Mexico

SPRS ranked the Lobos 52nd last year and they gave a very impressive defensive performance at the end of last year in their 23-0 win over Nevada in the New Mexico bowl, the Lobos first bowl victory in 46 years. New Mexico had one of the best defenses in the nation last year, but talented defensive coordinator Osia Lewis went to UTEP in the off-season.

NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 57 Northwestern

Northwestern needs especially to work on its defense, but the Wildcats have a new coordinator on offense from Bowling Green, Mike McCall. Don't expect the Wildcats to move up. SPRS ranks Northwestern 90th.

BALL STATE CARDINALS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 58 Ball State

Ball State has a strong offense and weak defense. Rutgers finished off the Cardinals season in the International Bowl last year, trumping the Cardinals 52-30, showing that something needs to be done to the defense to bring this team up to a higher level. Last year they almost beat Nebraska before bowing out 41-40. SPRS ranks Ball State at 100th position.

HOUSTON COUGARS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 59 Houston

Kevin Sumlin, last year the offensive co-coordinator at Oklahoma, has replaced former coach Art Briles, who went to Baylor.

IOWA HAWKEYES
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 60 Iowa

The Hawkeyes have hit harder times recently as an ineffective offense and coaching controversy bogs them down. The Hawkeyes were ranked 80th by SPRS. Head coach Ferentz played 31 true or redshirt freshmen last year en route to a disappointing 6-6 record. This year they play neither Ohio State nor Michigan, so that the schedule favors their resurgence.

Read the rest of the Rivals.com College Football Preseason Countdown here.


OTHER RATINGS and RANKINGS

SPRS Ratings and Rankings

Our own statistically-calculated SPRS Final College Football Ratings and Rankings for the 2007 / 2008 season serve as our own starting basis for our game predictions in 2008 / 2009, which we will be posting in the coming weeks as time permits. Using those statistics without some adjustments will be difficult in the first couple of weeks of the season since not all teams will play according to their track record last year. As a biased Husker and Stanford alum, for example, we are convinced that the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Stanford University Cardinal will have improved teams this season, with the Big Red under new Husker head coach Bo Pelini and a completely revamped coaching staff, all under the direction of new Athletic Director Tom Osborne, and with the Stanford Cardinal now moving forward as expected under talented 2nd-year head football coach Jim Harbaugh.

The Spread.com Top 10
Georgia, Ohio State, USC, Florida, Oklahoma, LSU, Missouri, West Virginia, Clemson, Wisconsin.

Mark Schlabach's ESPN Very Early Preseason Top 25


Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri, USC, Ohio State, Texas, LSU, Clemson, ASU, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Kansas, Auburn, Penn State, Oregon, BYU, Virginia, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Illinois, South Carolina, Fresno State.

Blog Poll Countdown from the Sunday Morning Quarterback

The Cream (1-5, Florida, USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Georgia)
The Short List (6-10, West Virginia, Missouri, Clemson, LSU, Wisconsin)
The Dreamers (11-15, South Florida, Texas, Auburn, Penn State, Texas Tech)
The Also-Rans (16-20, Arizona State, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Illinois)
The Wildcards (21-25, Nebraska, Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Kansas, Oklahoma State)

One thing we wonder about the above poll is that it puts 4 teams from the overall weak Big 10 conference in the Top 20 and leaves out Michigan from the Top 25. At the same time, the Big 12 put 4 teams in the Top 10 to close out last year, but only two are found in the Top 10 here.

NFLDraftDog.com
Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio State, USC, Florida, Missouri, West Virginia, Texas, Illinois, Kansas, Clemson, Virginia Tech, LSU, Wisconsin, Auburn, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Arizona State, South Florida, BYU.

The Beardown
USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Georgia, Missouri, Florida, Clemson, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Auburn, LSU, Texas, Kansas, Wisconsin, BYU, ASU, Tennessee, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Illinois, Wake Forest, South Florida, Pittsburgh, Fresno State

College Football News Preview
At the present time only the teams ranked 60 and below are published.

Preseason Ranking Comparison of Some Prognostications here.

We look forward to the new college football season. May the best teams win.

Update

Athlon Sports.com Also has a Top 119 with Previews of Each Team in their ranked order :
1 Florida, 2 Ohio State, 3 Oklahoma, 4 USC, 5 Georgia, 6 Missouri, 7 West Virginia, 8 Auburn, 9 LSU, 10 Clemson, 11 Texas, 12 Wisconsin, 13 Kansas, 14 BYU, 15 Arizona State, 16 Illinois, 17 Tennessee, 18 Texas Tech, 19 Oregon, 20 South Florida, 21 Virginia Tech, 22 Rutgers, 23 Penn State, 24 Wake Forest, 25 Fresno State, 26 Florida State, 27 Pittsburgh, 28 Michigan, 29 UCLA, 30 Alabama, 31 Colorado, 32 Oklahoma State, 33 Utah, 34 South Carolina, 35 Cal, 36 Cincinnati, 37 North Carolina, 38 Iowa, 39 Texas A&M, 40 Arizona, 41 Nebraska, 42 Maryland, 43 Miami, 44 Boston College, 45 TCU, 46 Tulsa, 47 Boise State, 48 Miss. State, 49 Michigan State, 50 Washington, 51 UConn, 52 Houston, 53 Northwestern, 54 Purdue, 55 Arkansas, 56 Georgia Tech, 57 NC State, 58 Kentucky, 59 E. Carolina, 60 Notre Dame, 61 Oregon State, 62 C. Michigan, 63 Southern Miss, 64 Kansas State, 65 Indiana, 66 Louisville, 67 Virginia, 68 Nevada, 69 Ole Miss, 70 Florida Atlantic, 71 Wash. State, 72 Navy, 73 Vanderbilt, 74 Stanford, 75 Ball State, 76 New Mexico, 77 Hawaii, 78 Minnesota, 79 UCF, 80 Duke, 81 Iowa State, 82 W. Michigan, 83 Wyoming, 84 Baylor, 85 UTEP, 86 Air Force, 87 Memphis, 88 Miami Ohio, 89 Bowling Green, 90 Syracuse, 91 SMU, 92 Buffalo, 93 Colorado State, 94 Kent State, 95 Troy, 96 La. Tech, 97 N. Illinois, 98 Rice, 99 San Jose State, 100 MTSU, 101 Temple, 102 UNLV, 103 Toledo, 104 San Diego St., 105 N.M. State, 106 Arkansas St., 107 Marshall, 108 North Texas, 109 UAB, 110 Ohio, 111 Tulane, 112 E. Michigan, 113 Akron, 114 UL Monroe, 115 UL Lafayette, 116 Army, 117 Utah State, 118 Idaho, 119 Florida International.

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