No Guts contributor, J Will will be your captain on your College Football Preseason Top 25 ship. Make sure you ridicule his picks in the comments. I know I will.
Now before you see the first five teams in my rankings, I just want to let you Irish fans know that Notre Dame is not in my Top 25. The reason behind it is because they don’t deserve it. Yes, Notre Dame does have a lot of talent, but beating Hawaii in a bowl game does not impress me. Now that we have that out of the way here are teams ranked #25-#20.
#25 BYU Cougars – Mountain West Conference
BYU is coming off a impressive season finishing 10-3 and having one of the best offenses in the nation. Quarterback Max Hall returns but four starters from that offensive line need to be replaced along with top receivers, Austin Collie and Michael Reed. They return eight starters on defense but the secondary could be a problem. The Mountain West Conference always complains about not being included in the BCS but in BYU’s case, that won’t be a problem. They open up with the national runner up Oklahoma, then two weeks later Florida State comes to town. If BYU can win those two games and win the Mountain West Conference, they will be in line for a BCS berth.
#24 Utah Utes – Mountain West Conference
The Utes are coming off an undefeated season after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in impressive fashion. Coach Kyle Whittingham will be looking for a replacement for quarterback Brian Johnson to run their spread offense. Corbin Louks has the edge going into fall camp but JUCO transfer, Terrance Cain and freshman Jordan Wynn are pushing hard for the job. The Utes also have to replace the right side of their offensive line and the top three wide receivers from last year’s squad. Defensively, the Utes are bringing back seven starters but lose star defensive end Paul Kruger and corners, Sean Smith and Brice McCain. I doubt the Utes go undefeated but they could make some noise again this year. Road trips to Oregon, BYU, and TCU will decide if they will be in the BCS again.
#23 Kansas Jayhawks – Big 12 Conference
The Jayhawks finished the 2008 season 7-5 but are looking to rebound in 2009. With quarterback Todd Reesing returning along with running back Jake Sharp and top receivers Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier, the Jayhawks should contend for the Big 12 north title. Defensively is where the problem lies as the Jayhawks have to replace all three starting linebackers plus they are changing to a 4-2-5 scheme to defend those spread offenses in the Big 12 better. The schedule is diffcult with Oklahoma coming to Lawrence and road games at Texas and Texas Tech. The goal for the Jayhawks should be winning the Big 12 north but Nebraska and Missouri will make it very hard for them.
#22 Texas Tech – Big 12 Conference
The Red Raiders check in at No. 22 after finishing 11-2 with a loss to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. The Red Raiders lose top quarterback Graham Harrell and All-American wide receiver Michael Crabtree from last year’s team. But coach Mike Leach has proven that he is good at replacing star players. Taylor Potts will be given the keys to the offense but they do need to replace three starters on their offensive line. The Red Raiders return eight starters on a defense that improved a little but will have to make big strides this year to repeat last year’s success. The Red Raiders catch a break with Oklahoma coming to Tech but road games at Texas, Oklahoma State and Nebraska could be a problem.
#21 Iowa Hawkeyes – Big 10 Conference
The Hawkeyes come in at No. 21 after finishing 9-4 with a win over South Carolina in the Outback bowl. The Hawkeyes are looking to replace Shonn Green and the 1,850 yards he produced on the ground last season. With Ricky Stanzi coming back, along with one of the country’s best offensive lines, look for the Hawkeyes to try to air it out a little more this year. On defense, the Hawkeyes have to replace star defensive tackles Mitch King and Matt Kroul but should be ok everywhere else. Winning on the road will determine if the Hawkeyes will be in the hunt for the Big 10 title. Games at Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State will be difficult.
#20 Nebraska Cornhuskers – Big 12 Conference
Year one under Bo Pelini was a success with the Cornhuskers finishing 9-4 with a bowl victory over Clemson in the Gator Bowl. Quarterback Zac Lee steps in to replace Joe Ganz but they need to find replacements for wide receivers Nate Swift and Todd Peterson. The running game should be the number one option with Roy Helu Jr. and Quentin Castille returning to take some pressure off of Lee. Improving on defense is the next goal for the Cornhuskers and it starts with the monster in the middle Ndamukong Suh. Suh is one of the best defensive tackles in the country but will need help if they want to improve. The schedule is not that bad as they get Oklahoma and Texas Tech at home but road games against Virgina Tech, Missouri, and Kansas will determine if Nebraska is ready to take that next step.