By: David Folz
As we count down the days to college football the pre-season polls are coming out as we gauge how teams could do this season. There will be the usual favorites like Alabama, LSU, and USC at the top but then some surprise teams in the middle and back of the Top 25. I will break down the Top 25 as I feel they will be placed or there around. It will be in segments of 5 teams, starting with 25-21, 20-16, 15-11, 10-6, 5-1. Today we focus on the back end of the Top 25.
25. Boise State- The Broncos season will be made in the first month because they face Michigan State, BYU and Southern Miss. They are the overwhelming favorite in the Mountain West thanks to the departure of TCU and the underwhelming talent in the conference. They will have a crucial opening month but should threaten 10 wins again. This is a special year for Boise because they can prove they don’t rebuild their program when top talent leaves, they just reload.
24. Florida- This all comes down to who starts for the Gators this year and the thought is Jacoby Brissett is the guy. They could go with a 2 QB system but this is not a Chris Leak/Tim Tebow thing. The defense will have to be stout if the Quarterback play is not there again. While Florida is not looked at as the favorite in the SEC East, they cannot be overlooked either. Will Muschamp is looking at year two after a very disappointing first year in Gainesville. The offense has to improve from 107th last year.
23. Nebraska- The reason I put the Cornhuskers down at 23 is a simple one: Taylor Martinez must learn to throw the ball with consistency if he expects and the Huskers expect to win the big games this year. Last year, especially in the blowout against Wisconsin, that was very relevant that for so much that Martinez can run, he cannot throw well at all. If the Cornhuskers want to do anything this year, and for Husker nation that means at least a New Years Day bowl game, it rests on Martinez’s progression as a passer.
22. Georgia Tech- The Yellow Jackets are a very tough team because they not only have the wishbone option offense, but there is always a twist in it. They won’t be known for their passing attack, but that needs to improve from merely 49 percent a year ago. They are very unproven at Wide Receiver, with no player at the position making a single collegiate reception. The running game is obviously one of the best and will continue to be. The defense however needs to get better. If they improve passing to being adequate, and the defense allows less rushing yards and points, then they could challenge for 10 wins this year.
21. Ohio State- The Urban Meyer era will begin in Columbus, a year after the tattoo sanctions and a roller-coaster year with Luke Fickell at Head Coach. The first thing that Meyer did was expand the offense for Sophomore Quarterback Braxton Miller who was horrendously inconsistent last year. The problem is they are ineligible for the post-season this year due to the sanctions from the tattoo incident last year. The difference will be on the progression on Miller, the defense and if that improves because they looked lost in big games a year ago. The drive may be there this year to get back to winning, even with the sanctions. It will however remain to be seen how much drive the Buckeyes have knowing they are not playing for a conference championship or bowl game this year.