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 2006 Preseason Football Top 25 
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Post 2006 Preseason Football Top 25
Bob McClellan
Rivals.com College Football Columnist

The first Rivals.com Preseason National College Football Top 25 is being released today after digesting what has transpired with early departures for the NFL. We'll revisit this list during and after spring ball and then again prior to the season, given that injuries, academics and recruiting attrition can play a role in the rankings. But it's never too early to begin the debate about who's No. 1.
Perhaps no team is more devastated than Texas, which is losing Vince Young after his virtuoso Rose Bowl performance. Had Young returned, the Longhorns would have been a sure No. 1. As it is they fall only to sixth, but it's hard to imagine them making another run at the title in 2006.

Despite only two returning starters on defense, our panel voted Ohio State into the top spot by a large margin. The Buckeyes looked every bit the '06 national championship contender with their thorough destruction of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. will lead what could be one of the nation's most explosive offenses.

Speaking of explosive offenses and the Irish, Charlie Weis' team is our panel's pick to meet the Buckeyes in, of all things, a Fiesta Bowl rematch.

The Southeastern Conference tops our poll with six representatives, including four of the top 11.

Rivals.com 2006 Preseason Top 25 2005 Record
1. Ohio State 10-2
The losses on defense are heavy, but quarterback Troy Smith won over a lot of experts with his Fiesta Bowl performance. All-around threat Ted Ginn Jr. also returns, and he and Smith seemed to develop the kind of chemistry over the second half of the season that will be needed to make a national championship run. But can the Buckeyes replace one of the nation's best linebacking corps? What of the depleted secondary? And who will emerge opposite Ginn with Santonio Holmes leaving early for the NFL? Our panel believes Jim Tressel's team has the depth to answer all of these questions.
2. Notre Dame 9-3
Anyone for a Fiesta Bowl rematch? The Irish return 17 starters including Heisman Trophy candidate Brady Quinn and his favorite target, wide receiver Jeff Samardzija. The Irish secondary was overwhelmed by the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl, so expect changes there by Charlie Weis and staff. Notre Dame also looks to add more team speed in a highly touted recruiting class.
3. West Virginia 11-1
Sugar Bowl residual effect? A lofty preseason ranking and the knowledge you won't be sneaking up on anybody and may, instead, be wearing the target. But with freshman sensations Pat White and Steve Slaton in the backfield and offensive whiz Rich Rodriguez at the coaching helm, what have the Mountaineers to worry about?
4. Southern Cal 13-1
A lot of great players are leaving early for the pros, but there is still plenty of talent on the shelves in Los Angeles. John David Booty and Mark Sanchez will duel to replace Matt Leinart, and it's possible a freshman or two steps in for Reggie Bush and LenDale White. Everyone will gear up for the Trojans, looking for their shot at redemption against a team that probably has routed them for three years running. Yes, the task will be easier, but any team that believes it's a given better think again.
5. LSU 11-2
The resounding victory over Miami in the Peach Bowl and the play of quarterback Matt Flynn showed the public the Tigers have plenty of talent on the bench. Les Miles needs to replace three starters on the offensive line, but LSU has plenty of talent at the skill positions. There also are holes to fill throughout the defense, but there are underclassmen who saw some playing time who are eager for more.
6. Texas 13-0
There's little doubt the ranking of the Longhorns depended upon Vince Young's decision about the NFL. With his departure, sixth might be a lofty goal. But the cupboard is hardly bare and the recruiting class once again will be chock full of more blue chips than a rerun of the World Series of Poker.
7. Auburn 9-3
The Tigers garnered one first-place vote in our poll thanks to the prowess that returns on offense at the skill positions. Coach Tommy Tuberville will look to address some key graduation and/or early entry losses on his offensive and defensive lines, but Auburn figures to be in the mix battling LSU and Alabama in the SEC West.
8. Florida 9-3
At his past two posts, year two is when the Urban Meyer offense took off and put up stratospheric numbers. It doesn't hurt (does it?) that quarterback Chris Leak has returned for his senior season, not to mention Meyer has a class that at this time is listed No. 1 by Rivals.com and is chock full of breakaway wide receivers.
9. Oklahoma 8-4
Rhett Bomar has a much-needed year of experience. The key for the Sooners will be a healthy-from-start-to-finish Adrian Peterson. Anytime he's 100 percent OU is a threat to win. The problem will be finding replacements on an offensive line that loses four starters.
10. Miami 9-3
The Hurricanes will have a lot of questions to answer next season after overhauling virtually the entire of Larry Coker's staff. Kyle Wright will be expected to develop more rapidly, but he has some excellent targets returning.
11. Georgia 10-3
Big holes to fill at quarterback and along the offensive line.
12. Michigan 7-5
Offense should be fine with Michael Hart and Chad Henne, but defense must be fixed.
13. Oregon 10-2
Young quarterbacks gained experience, but Ducks will have to settle on one.
14. Florida State 8-5
Gave Penn State everything it could handle in Orange Bowl, but questions abound on offense.
15. Louisville 9-3
Brian Brohm and Michael Bush could be every bit as good as WVU's backfield tandem.
16. Penn State 11-1
Huge influx of talent from last two recruiting classes, but huge question at quarterback as well.
17. California 8-4
Another team with QB questions, but the Bears can run it with anyone.
18. South Carolina 7-5
Ol' Ball Coach must find a running game to complement Sidney Rice.
19. Virginia Tech 11-2
No Marcus Vick, but Hokies always about winning with defense, special teams.
20. Nebraska 8-4
Big 12 North is there for the taking, Huskers could run away with it.
21. UCLA 10-2
Lots of production to replace as Maurice Drew and Drew Olson have moved on.
22. Clemson 8-4
Won six of last seven, freshman sensation James Davis can carry the load.
23. Iowa 7-5
Drew Tate and Albert Young return to key offense, but big holes to fill at linebacker.
24. Alabama 10-2
Will be breaking in a new quarterback on an offense that struggled even with Brodie Croyle.
25. Boston College 9-3
Quarterback Matt Ryan and one-two RB punch of L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender return.


Also receiving votes: Texas Tech, TCU, Boise State,

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May 10th, 2006, 1:48 pm
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As much as I hate to say it, Michigan doesn't deserve it. If I'm not mistaken, they are 7-7 in their last 14 games and 1-4 in their last 5 bowl games. I hate to say it, but they stink. Granted, I'm hopeful for a 1 loss season, but I don't see it.


May 12th, 2006, 12:15 am
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lionsfanak wrote:
As much as I hate to say it, Michigan doesn't deserve it. If I'm not mistaken, they are 7-7 in their last 14 games and 1-4 in their last 5 bowl games. I hate to say it, but they stink. Granted, I'm hopeful for a 1 loss season, but I don't see it.


With changes at both the OC and DC I expect to see a different U of M team. With Hart, Henne and Breston returning I expect big things from our offense. We've lost a few cogs on D, but I think we can fill those voids.

Personally I think OSU and ND are over rated in that poll... I also think Georgia is over rated as well. I think U of M has a one or two loss season and finishes ranked 5-10 range...


May 12th, 2006, 12:25 am
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I like ND's chances to win it all this year. They have essentially all seniors and all returning starters, especially at the key positions. But their schedule is brutal.


June 9th, 2006, 6:49 pm
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wjb21ndtown wrote:
lionsfanak wrote:
As much as I hate to say it, Michigan doesn't deserve it. If I'm not mistaken, they are 7-7 in their last 14 games and 1-4 in their last 5 bowl games. I hate to say it, but they stink. Granted, I'm hopeful for a 1 loss season, but I don't see it.


With changes at both the OC and DC I expect to see a different U of M team. With Hart, Henne and Breston returning I expect big things from our offense. We've lost a few cogs on D, but I think we can fill those voids.

Personally I think OSU and ND are over rated in that poll... I also think Georgia is over rated as well. I think U of M has a one or two loss season and finishes ranked 5-10 range...


Georgia is always over rated. Florida will be the top team in the SEC East this year. Not going to make a prediction overall till they play Alabama.


August 12th, 2006, 2:16 pm
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GO IRISH!!!


August 15th, 2006, 12:23 pm
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Go AWAY irish!!! :wink:

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August 15th, 2006, 12:30 pm
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lionsfanak wrote:
As much as I hate to say it, Michigan doesn't deserve it. If I'm not mistaken, they are 7-7 in their last 14 games and 1-4 in their last 5 bowl games. I hate to say it, but they stink. Granted, I'm hopeful for a 1 loss season, but I don't see it.


They better win, this is the first time I have ever been a fan of a good football team (Lions and Spartans were my old ones).


I wonder what its like to have your team win??? :x

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August 15th, 2006, 4:09 pm
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Penn State 11-1? The writer lost all respect with that bombshell.

I hate how Michigan goes 7-5 and is ranked #12. Any other team (Big 12, SEC, ACC, etc) can go 7-5 and would be ranked 25th or so. Ranking Michigan #12 is OVERRATED. They should be sitting around 20.

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August 15th, 2006, 4:13 pm
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conversion02 wrote:
Penn State 11-1? The writer lost all respect with that bombshell.

I hate how Michigan goes 7-5 and is ranked #12. Any other team (Big 12, SEC, ACC, etc) can go 7-5 and would be ranked 25th or so. Ranking Michigan #12 is OVERRATED. They should be sitting around 20.


Conversion... the record isn't their projected record, but rather their '05 record... at least that's how I read it...

IDK what I think about U of M's pending season... IMO they have the talent to be ranked top 10... Henne, Heart, and their youthful WR's, and talented OL can get it done, IMO... I think we'll just have to wait and see what the new coordinators bring to the table... IMO they were the problem last year and not Carr... We need more aggressive play calling out of those guys...


August 15th, 2006, 4:16 pm
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Quote:
IDK what I think about U of M's pending season... IMO they have the talent to be ranked top 10... Henne, Heart, and their youthful WR's, and talented OL can get it done, IMO... I think we'll just have to wait and see what the new coordinators bring to the table... IMO they were the problem last year and not Carr... We need more aggressive play calling out of those guys...


wjb I have to respectfully disagree that it wasn't Carr's fault. He has lost his last 6 opening road games and is 1-4 against Ohio state since Tressel took over. He is way too conservative. I know his coordinators have input, but they are still executing the head coaches game plan. Let's hope the new coordinators get into Carr's ear and get him to understand they need to be more aggressive and take more chances. Gone are the days where we can just pound the football and expect to win the close games.

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August 16th, 2006, 9:37 am
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I still don't see why everyone is all over Michigan's junk and expecting them to win AT LEAST 10 games! Most of al, I need to see that their D won't give up 30+ points to average offenses such as MSU.

I think Iowa, Notre Dame, and even OSU could be better than Michigan this year. Why does everyone (on ESPN) think that Penn State will be good this year? They're going to be average.

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August 16th, 2006, 12:00 pm
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conversion02 wrote:
I still don't see why everyone is all over Michigan's junk and expecting them to win AT LEAST 10 games! Most of al, I need to see that their D won't give up 30+ points to average offenses such as MSU.


Michigan is ALWAYS expected to have a 10 win season, mostly by the fans. But the sports writers expect it this season because the offensive line is pretty solid, they return the starting QB, RB, WR and TE. But the biggest advantage is getting a new OC and DC. I feel that the Michigan defense has played poorly because of the previous schemes that were used. I am not a big fan of the 3-4 defense, and would prefer to see the Wolverines go to a 4-3. They need to get more speed at the linebacking spots and get more pressure on the opposing QBs by running better blitz packages.

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August 16th, 2006, 1:40 pm
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TADOne wrote:
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IDK what I think about U of M's pending season... IMO they have the talent to be ranked top 10... Henne, Heart, and their youthful WR's, and talented OL can get it done, IMO... I think we'll just have to wait and see what the new coordinators bring to the table... IMO they were the problem last year and not Carr... We need more aggressive play calling out of those guys...


wjb I have to respectfully disagree that it wasn't Carr's fault. He has lost his last 6 opening road games and is 1-4 against Ohio state since Tressel took over. He is way too conservative. I know his coordinators have input, but they are still executing the head coaches game plan. Let's hope the new coordinators get into Carr's ear and get him to understand they need to be more aggressive and take more chances. Gone are the days where we can just pound the football and expect to win the close games.


TAD, supposedly it was the coordinators calling the plays, which is why they're gone. I agree they were too conservative, which cost U of M games but that's why the coordinators have been replaced...


August 16th, 2006, 1:50 pm
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Quote:
TAD, supposedly it was the coordinators calling the plays, which is why they're gone. I agree they were too conservative, which cost U of M games but that's why the coordinators have been replaced...


If that was the case, then great. I hope Carr let's the new coordinators open it up on offense and let's the defense be more aggressive.

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August 16th, 2006, 3:34 pm
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