Drew Thurman (12:39 pm)
We are in a dead period when it comes to news, so it's time for some predictions. So below check out my top ten teams for 2009...
It kills me to have to put Florida at the number one spot, but it is hard to ignore the return of Tebow, their top three running backs, and the majority of defensive starters. On top of that, Urban Meyer is proving he might be the best in the business.
Texas has some things to prove with their running game and on the defensive line, but we all know they have the recruits to step in. Plus, it is hard to knock on any team that has Colt McCoy behind center.
USC has lost a ton on the defensive side of the ball, but Petey has been great at "reloading" in years past. If the Trojans lose to the Buckeyes or if the Pac-10 decides to step up its game (don't hold your breath), USC could drop out of the top ten.
Like USC, the Crimson Tide have some questions to answer. With that said, I think the departure of John Parker Wilson at quarterback will actually be a plus for Alabama. So, if they get anything from the offensive line, they will be special.
Reigning Heisman trophy winner Sam Bradford returns to a team that wants redemption after losing in the National Championship game. Who will actually surround Bradford on the offense is still a question mark, but I think Stoops and company will answer those questions.
There are a ton of new faces for the Buckeyes, and what Tressel gets out of cornerback, offensive tackle, and running back will affect how good this team is. On top of that, if Terrelle Pryor proves to be a passer, watch out!
Virginia Tech could be one of the biggest surprise teams in 2009. The backfield of Taylor and Evans have a ton of potential, and the defense should be a strength. The ACC gained some respect after last year's bowl season, and I think they build on that.
The Rebels gained my respect last season after an upset of Florida and a victory over Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. Jevan Snead is maybe the best quarterback in the SEC, and I think he helps lead Ole Miss to the next level.
My placement of the Boise State at nine has less to do with my overall respect of Broncos and more to do with their dominance of the WAC. I think they run the table again on the blue turf, and stir up the BCS. Also keep an eye on quarterback Kellen Moore.
Some may be surprised to see Paterno's boys so high on the list, but I don't see another SEC or Big 12 team in the top ten. Obviously the Nittany Lions are going to have to replace their wide receiving core, but quarterback Daryll Clark and running back Evan Royster can carry this team.