14. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Projected record: 9-3 (6-2)
Projected losses: VTech, Georgia, Clemson (Miami, UNC)
Strength of schedule: 27
Georgia Tech fans will be disappointed this year.
Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas, and several outstanding defenders bolted for the NFL.
Thinking they can replace all that talent in one offseason would be foolish.
The running game will continue to be one of the best in the nation, but I can't imagine it not hurting without Dwyer.
The defense will be even worse than last year, and the running game won't be able to make up for all that single-handedly.
The schedule does them no favors either, as the ACC looks to be a tough conference this year.
Georgia will provide a good challenge in OOC play, and I think the Caleb King and AJ Green combo will be too much for the Yellow Jacket defense.
Unless they get the defense in order, Georgia Tech will struggle to place top 15
13. Oregon Ducks
Projected record: 10-2 (7-2)
Projected losses: Arizona, Cal (USC, Washington, OSU)
Strength of schedule: 55
Jeremiah Masoli is gone. While it sucks, it won't keep them from a 10-win season.
Both Darron Thomas and Nate Costa have shown great ability throughout the offseason. The Ducks found both Dennis Dixon and Jeremiah Masoli in situations like this, and continued their success.
The Quack Attack returns 19 starters, and will undoubtedly be more stable this season. LaMichael James will be back after cupcake New Mexico, and will have a solid offense around him.
The receiving crew and the entire offensive line returns as well.
On defense, they only lose two starters on the defensive line, and one linebacker.
While the defense may have been a bit shoddy last year, everyone will be more experienced and hopefully there won't be so many injury problems this year. Plus there's all americans Kenny Rowe and Casey Matthews returning to lead the veteran squad.
USC is the biggest threat, but I think the Ducks will manage. It's about time they win in LA, and the quarterback problem will be long gone by October 30th.
If the defense can keep Matt Barkley under control, the offense will take care of the rest.
However, don't expect Arizona to fade out so easily after last years success (minus the terrible Holiday Bowl of course). They'll give Oregon a rough time, and will ultimately get revenge for last year's double OT loss.
Cal consistently gives the Ducks trouble, and will want payback for last years beating. Even without Jahvid Best, they're a good team, and I'm going with the upset here.
Overall, it looks like another 10-win season, and another trip to the Rose Bowl.
Can Oregon survive without it's superstar quarterback? Yes, but there won't be a National Championship run.
12. Boise State Broncos
Projected record: 11-1 (8-0)
Projected losses: Virginia Tech (Oregon State)
Strength of schedule: 87
The madness ends in week one. Thank you God.
Virginia Tech will upset the Broncos week one, shocking the nation. But, is it really that much of a shock?
Yeah, the Broncos are fantastic on paper, but that's against one of the least talented conferences in college football, and a whole seven BCS teams in the last five years (3-4).
The Virginia Tech game isn't even in Boise, so there's no home field advantage either. No blue field blindness hurts the level of horsepower from the Broncos.
You can't even say they won a BCS bowl game last year, as they played another non-BCS team in TCU.
That was the stupidest match-up ever on the BCS's part in my opinion. We didn't get to see Boise State's skills compared to hardcore BCS schools.
Even with two quality BCS teams in the mix, the SOS is still a horrible 87. The WAC sucks, plain and simple. It'll be interesting to see what happens when they're in the Mountain West.
This year, however, the Broncos are returning 21 starters. Thats incredible.
This includes QB Kellen Moore, and two standout wideouts Austin Pettis and Titus Young. All three are preseason all-americans.
The defense will no doubt get better, and looks good already.
This year is either the end of Boise State's winning streak, or it'll shut up all the haters in the nation (myself included) by going undefeated again.
Will Boise State's win streak be shattered? Yes...finally.
11. Arkansas Razorbacks
Projected record: 10-2 (6-2)
Projected losses: Georgia, Alabama (LSU, USC)
Strength of schedule: 33
Two words: Ryan. Mallett.
The guy has Heisman potential, and will be a high first round pick in next years draft if everything goes according to plan.
He has some great help around him, including the offensive line. Anybody doubting the Razorbacks this year needs a serious wake-up call. The success may not last, but it's definitely going to happen this year.
The defense still needs some work, but it returns a good deal of starters and may surprise a lot of people.
As long as they hold teams enough for Mallett to get the edge, the Razorbacks are going to be alright.
There's upset potential against Alabama. The defense should be worse than last year, and one of the Tide's greatest challenges will be against Arkansas. On top of that, Arkansas gets a bye week before playing 'Bama. That will be one of the best games of they year right there.
For now, a 10-2 season looks might fine.
10. Pittsburgh Panthers
Projected record: 10-2 (7-0)
Projected losses: Miami (FL), Utah (USF, WV, Cincy)
Strength of schedule: 28
I think Pittsburgh is headed to a Big East championship—the only thing standing in their way is West Virginia.
If they beat WVU and lose two games, it'll come down to conference standings. That's good news for the Panthers who will have an undefeated conference record.
Utah could catch the Panthers off guard and I'm putting Pittsburgh on upset alert in week one. As stated earlier, the Utah team isn't that impressive...which is why it'll be easy for Pittsburgh to overlook them.
Miami (FL) has a strong team coming back as well, and could be top 15 if not for the tough schedule. Pittsburgh will face their first true challenge fighting it out against the 'Canes.
Other than that, the Big East should be a breeze until Cincy and West Virginia.
With four preseason all-americans and two other all-conference players, the Panthers are loaded for 2010.
9. Miami Hurricanes
Projected record: 10-2 (8-0)
Projected losses: Oklahoma, Florida (Miami, UNC, Clemson, BC)
Strength of schedule: 11
Florida State is one of my surprise teams for 2010.
Most recognize all the talent, but may question the new coach.
Well, I actually don't know why all the preseaon rankings I've seen have them out of the top 15.
The Seminoles return 17 starters including QB Christian Ponder, preseason all-american guard Rodney Hudson, and a great looking front seven on defense.
Now don't get me wrong, I know the defense was terrible last year. But, with Mark Stoops in there, I think things are going to change. Maybe not dramatically, but certainly enough to show for it.
They'll break the 7-6 streak by going 10-2 this year. That's right, I went there. I truly believe Jimbo Fisher and Mark Stoops are a recipe for success.
Oklahoma will be a good test early, and I think they'll take down the Seminoles providing a good wake-up call.
After that, I think it's smooth sailing until Miami and BC, both of whom gave them trouble last year.
If they beat both of them, Florida State will match up with Virginia Tech at the championship game.
The only other loss will come against Florida, but the Seminoles are at home, so who knows? "Anything can happen, any given Saturday."
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Projected record: 11-1(7-1)
Projected losses: Oklahoma State (Texas, Missouri, Iowa State)
Strength of schedule: 76
The offense returns 10 starters, and hopefully will take the load off of the defense a bit this year.
Although the defense is without "King (Ndamu)Kong", they feature seven returning starters and two all-americans.
That being said, I can't decide which easy win the Cornhuskers will give up this season.
In '09 it was Texas Tech and Iowa State, so my guess is they'll lose another game like that this year.
My pick is Oklahoma State. The Texas game is without a doubt the biggest of the year. So it'll be easy to overlook the Cowboys one week later, which could spell disaster for the Huskers.
Then there's always Iowa State, who humiliated the Cornhuskers last year.
And yes, I think Texas will lose. Nebraska will definitely want revenge after that terrible Big 12 Championship game. A rematch without Colt McCoy? Chalk it up for the Cornhuskers.
How does Nebraska's final Big 12 year look? Very good indeed.
7. West Virginia Mountainers
Projected record: 11-1 (6-1)
Projected losses: Pittsburgh (LSU, USF)
Strength of schedule: 70
West Virginia has huge expectations this year.
Coming off a 9-3 season, fans are letting it be known that will not cut it this year. And honestly, a 11-1 record is very reasonable.
The Big East could be considered a weak conference, and other than Cincy and Pitt, the Mountaineers have no competition.
LSU will provide a good challenge, but its one the Mountaineers can overcome in my opinion. A lot of people will be overrating the Tigers this season, and hopefully West Virginia will be able to silence those people.
New quarterback Geno Smith has great potential, not to mention a great supporting cast.
The defense features two preseason all-americans, and two other all-conference players.
Barring earthquake-like tragedies, there's no way they fall below 10 wins this year. West Virginia will be in the national championship talks by the years end.
6. Florida Gators Projected record: 10-2 (6-2) Projected losses: Alabama, South Carolina (Georgia, LSU, FSU) Strength of schedule: 18 Anyone thinking the Gators fall apart this year because the christian kid is gone will be sorely mistaken. Between three all-americans, one of the best offensive lines in the nation, and a killer secondary, the Gators appear unstoppable once again. Especially on defense. The SEC is a tough conference, and there will be several challenges, but I only see three games as possible losses. Alabama has home field advantage and is almost a sure win. LSU and Florida State will be tough, but not as tough as Florida's D. South Carolina has a solid team, and is a dark horse in the SEC. They nearly shocked Florida last year, but they will earn the victory this time around. Some people say USC doesn't have the chops to deliver...look for Steve Spurrier to silence the haters against the Gators (did I really just do that?). They take a step back by going 10-2, but they might be heading for a Sugar Bowl again. Of course, this time without the Bearcats. I'm guessing Cincinnati has had its full of sugar.
6. Florida Gators
Projected record: 10-2 (6-2)
Projected losses: Alabama, South Carolina (Georgia, LSU, FSU)
Strength of schedule: 18
Anyone thinking the Gators fall apart this year because the christian kid is gone will be sorely mistaken.
Between three all-americans, one of the best offensive lines in the nation, and a killer secondary, the Gators appear unstoppable once again. Especially on defense.
The SEC is a tough conference, and there will be several challenges, but I only see three games as possible losses.
Alabama has home field advantage and is almost a sure win. LSU and Florida State will be tough, but not as tough as Florida's D.
South Carolina has a solid team, and is a dark horse in the SEC. They nearly shocked Florida last year, but they will earn the victory this time around. Some people say USC doesn't have the chops to deliver...look for Steve Spurrier to silence the haters against the Gators (did I really just do that?).
They take a step back by going 10-2, but they might be heading for a Sugar Bowl again. Of course, this time without the Bearcats. I'm guessing Cincinnati has had its full of sugar.Will Florida miss a beat without Tim Tebow? Yes, indeed.