1. Florida - If you gave me even money on Florida vs. the entire field for who would win the national championship, I'd take Florida every time; anybody who doesn't have them as #1 at this point is a fool.
2. Texas - The team that deserved to be in the national championship game last year gets its shot at Florida this year, with McCoy and company coming back for more.
3. Ohio State - I cannot stand anything about this team, except that Terrell Pryor is the most baller shit ever!! As a true freshman last year he played like Vince Young did in the 2005 Rose Bowl, so I suspect great things from him going forward.
4. Oklahoma - The one team I may hate more than Ohio State for my #2 (outside of UAT, natch) least favorite team, they'll be good again; they're talented enought again to probably win all games outside of the Red River Shootout, then choke again in a BCS bowl game.
5. Virginia Tech - Call it a hunch, but I see good things from the Hokies this year, starting with an ACC payback game in tha Dome versus Alabama. Tyrod Taylor will continue to improve, and Sean Glennon won't be around to Daniel Cobb things up for Beamer's bunch. Expect another Orange Bowl victory for the Hokies.
6. Louisiana State - Ole Miss is the trendy pick for SEC West champion, but to me, LSU is the team to beat. Jordan Jefferson asserted himself as a solid starter in LSU's waxing of Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and with John Chavis taking his defensive prowess down to the bayou, expect the Purple Tigers to bounce back in a big way.
7. Southern California - Maybe I should have put them higher, but losing an entire LB corps and Mark Sanchez will hurt the Trojans. They still figure to be the class of the Pac-10, and will probably win their 27th (accurate number) Rose Bowl in a row. Aside: You probably won't find a bigger USC (or Pac-10, for that matter) sympathizer than me this side of the Mississippi/Mason-Dixon.
8. Mississippi - Houston Nutt took Ed Orgeron's recruits and worked his Nutt magic to a New Year's Day bowl win over previously once-beaten Texas Tech. Many people think the Rebels, with ace QB Jevan Snead, will win the SEC West; I'm not buying it. Houston Nutt is a good coach, but he's ten kinds of crazy, and not in a good way when he's predicted to be good. They'll lose a game or two that they should win (hmm, Auburn maybe?????), and Miss out (see what I did there?!) on the program's first trip to Atlanta.
9. Oklahoma State - Mike Gundy will be 42 pretty soon (if not already), and he's a pretty solid coach. Not national champion or even Big 12 champion material, but good enough for 8-10 wins a year. With Zac Robinson coming back to the Cowboys' explosive offense, expect another high-scoring, zero-defense year from the Pokes from Stillwater.
10. Alabama - I had to fight off my hatred for this team (to a certain extent) to give them a fair ranking. Some people will have them in the top 5, where I see a team with no QB with starting experience, and holes to fill on the offensive line. They'll be good, no doubt, but probably not good enough for better than 3rd in the SEC West.
11. Boise State - The little team that keeps on winning. Chris Petersen is in charge of a fantastic small-school program, and don't be surprised to see them back in the mix for a BCS bowl game with an experienced QB and a weak conference slate.
12. Oregon - The Ducks have turned into a solid #2 Pac-10 team. It will be interesting to see how the transition from Mike Belotti to Chip Kelly goes, but I have a hunch that the explosive offense we've seen from this program won't be going anywhere with the regime change.
13. Georgia Tech - Paul Johnson proved that the triple option can work in the weakest BCS conference. With another year of practice an experience, can it translate into an ACC title? I say no, but he's getting there; unfortunately for the Jackets, most skill position recruits won't want to come play in that offense, so we may be seeing the best of the Paul Johnson years right now.
14. California - Jahvid Best is a beast. Jeff Tedford could probably get ten San Francisco Chippendale dancers to fill out the rest of the offense and the Golden Bears would still make a bowl game.
15. North Carolina - Butch Davis was the coach I wanted Auburn to replace Tommy Tuberville with more than any other, because he is a beast of a recruiter and has a fantastic defensive mind. Imagine if we'd hired him, then still gotten Malzahn, Trooper Taylor, et al. We'd feel much better about the upcoming season, no doubt. Anyways, Davis should have UNC back in ACC title contention in 2009.
16. Georgia - No Stafford and no Moreno equals growing pains between the hedges for the Bulldogs. Expect Joe Cox to be the starter for the first few games, but the reins will be handed over to Logan Gray a la Tereshinski III/Stafford in 2006. This will be a rebuilding year for the Bulldogs, but still a solid 8- or 9-win campaign.
17. Penn State - Joe Paterno is still doing a fantastic job "coaching" the Nittany Lions; not bad for someone who lost in a run-off to William Henry Harrison in the 1840 general election. At least you outlived him, JoePa! Expect the Lions to compete for the Big 10 crown again this year.
18. Brigham Young - These white boys know how to play some football. With Utah taking a step back after graduation losses, BYU will step to the front of the MWC and challenge for a BCS berth. I personally hope they make the Sugar Bowl, so I can go and see a Mormon's expression when he sees his first flashing on Bourbon Street.
19. Kansas - Mark Mangino said he'd eat me if I didn't put the Jayhawks in my top 25. Expect the Jayhawks to win the Big 12 North and get beat by triple digits in the championship game by Texas' third string.
20. Michigan State - I don't know why, but something about Mark D'Antonio makes me believe he can build MSU up into a top-tier Big 10 program. Chalk this pick up to random optimism.
21. Florida State -
22. Iowa - The loss of Shonn Greene will hurt the Hawkeyes, no doubt, but expect them to continue to be a solid team.
23. Arkansas - I thought the Razorbacks were the most improved team in the SEC from week 1 to bowl season, and I expect that improvement to continue into 2009. The same team that started the year with near upsets to Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe came back to beat Auburn and LSU later in the year. There's no doubting that Bobby Petrino is a fantastic college coach; the only question is, how long will he stay in Fayettenam?
24. North Carolina State - This was another team that improved throughout the year last season, starting with the offensive offensive (redundancy on purpose; if you saw them play South Carolina last year, you know their offense was offensive in that game) performance in Columbia, and finishing with a bowl game. Tom O'Brien is a solid, if not spectacular, head coach, and he has the Wolfpack headed in the right direction.
25. Oregon State - I really wanted to include Auburn in this ranking, if only because it's something I want to see, but my better judgment told me that the Tigers aren't a top 25 team this year. I hope I'm proven wrong, but until then, the last spot in this top 25 goes to the