I'm as bored as one person can possibly get these days. The Blackhawks brought home the title but neglected to think of what I was going to do with my time without them giving me something to watch. The Cubs are so far beyond listless that I can't even bear to feign interest in them. All of this adds up to me engaging in an activity I usually mock: ranking college teams in June. Sure, I usually rank teams in August, but by that point rosters have shaken out and you have a good idea of who is going to take the field for the season opener. At this point a lot of that stuff is still up in the air. But whatever, here's my first go at it:
The SKO College Top 10 Rankings:
1. Alabama- Time tested formula: Last year's champion+Returning Quarterback=Preseason #1
2. Boise State- They have a shit ton of returning starters, including quarterback Kellen Moore. I am focusing all of my positive karma on getting Boise into a national championship game.
3. Ohio State- I'm pretty high on them this year, which is odd, as I'm usually convinced that Ohio State is a paper tiger, but they appear to have closed the gap between them and schools from other BCS conferences. I'm not sure they could handle an SEC champion in the title game, but I think the embarassments of the past are over.
4. Texas- Their defense is largely intact, and it's good enough to carry them while they get things sorted out on offense. Garrett Gilbert didn't embarass himself on the national stage in the championship game, and I think he'll be a fine quarterback.
5. Iowa- I feel...so...cold. I feel this pick is really going to bite me in the ass. Hell, I hope it does. The frustrating thing is that I don't dislike Iowa. I think Kirk Ferentz is an outstanding coach who can somehow make cliches come to life ("It all starts up front!" "Teamwork trumps talent!" "Defense wins (shares) of (Big Ten) championships!"), and you know without a doubt that they're going to have a great offensive line and a great front seven on defense every year. They're everything a Big Ten football team should be. But my God, if you've ever spent an hour of your life in Iowa during football season you want to strangle every single one of their fans. For that reason, I root against them out of spite, because I live amongst the mouth-breathers. Honestly, though, the defense will be as good as expected (it always is), the running game should be much better, and if Ricky Stanzi can cut down on the turnovers while keeping his invincibility in the fourth quarter, the Big Ten will boil down to a two man race between Iowa and OSU.
6. Florida- John Brantley will be a better passer than Tim Tebow ever was, and, while he's not a total behemoth running the ball like Tebow, he can run the option well enough to help move the ball. They return their trio of talented runningbacks, and have enough returning starters on defense to keep them in the top third of the nation in that category.
7. TCU- The team that's gone 23-3 the last two years returns 16 of 22 starters, including most of their stellar running game and senior quarterback Andy Dalton. I'd be shocked if they failed to make another appearance in the BCS this year.
8. Virginia Tech- They only return four of their starters on defense, the key to last year's team, but it won't matter because Frank Beamer always puts out a respectable defense. The important thing for this team is the 8 returning starters on offense. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor became a legitimate threat with his arm down the stretch last season, and he was already a threat with his legs before the year. He'll take a huge step forward this year, helped by the 100 Proof Backfield (brilliance courtesy of these guys ) of halfbacks Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. Williams was ACC Rookie of the Year in 2009, rushing for 1655 and a whopping 21 TDs, while Evans (who missed last year with injury) rushed for 1265 yds and 11 TDs in 2008. As I said last winter, Taylor, Evans, and Williams may dominate like Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown, and Cadillac Williams did while leading Auburn to an undefeated season in 2004.
9. Georgia Tech- My love of the triple option continues unabated, despite their disheartening loss to Iowa's stingy defense in the Sugar Bowl. While they lose man beast Jonathan Dwyer at runningback, they still return their other two starting runningbacks from last year as well as quarterback and 1,000 yard rusher Josh Nesbitt (who should be better at throwing the ball this year as well). They also return eight starters from last year's defense, so that experience should hopefully help them improve on that side of the ball.
10. Penn State- I'd have had Oregon here before Jeremiah Masoli went all Marcus Vick on everybody and ended his college career early in a cloud of arrests. PSU loses Darryl Clark, who could always be relied upon to suck in big games, but returns most of the starters on their stout offensive and defensive lines as well as RB Evan Royster. I guess they make the top ten.
I'm wrapping this up here because I don't like to do 11-25 during the season when I have way more information at hand, and I hate it even more during the preseason.