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Old 06-30-2004, 03:51 PM   #1
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Default Bama's College Football Preseason Top 25

1.Southern California-Heisman Trophy hopeful QB Matt Leinart is the key to a successful offense in California. Leinart completed 255-402 for 3,556 yards and 38 TD's in 2003. He threw only nine interceptions. Completing 63 percent of his passes. Running back Lendale White should get the running game going. White rushed for 754 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2003. Defense returns two first-team All-Pac 10 defensive tackles in seniors Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson. Linebacker Matt Grootegood injured last season expects to be healthy in 2004. Grootegood led the Trojans defense in tackles in 2002 with 81 and 16.5 tackles for loss. Placekicker Ryan Killeen was 12th nationally in scoring and his 65 PAT's broke a single season PAC-10 record. USC lost 10 starters from 2003. Strength of schedule-32nd. Opens season Aug 28th against Virginia Tech.

2.Oklahoma-Heisman Trophy winner QB Jason White returns to lead a very talented squad. White threw for 40 TD's and only six interceptions in the regular 2003 season. Also, completing 62 percent of his passes for 3,846 yards. The top five pass catchers are back from OU's offensive powerhouse, led by Mark Clayton(another Heisman hopeful). Clayton set seven school records in 2003. He caught 83 passes for 1,425 yards(averaging 17.2 yards per catch) and 15 TD's. Brandon Jones caught 46. All five starting offensive lineman return for the Sooners in 2004. All-Big 12 tackle Jammal Brown led the defense with 127 tackles. Safety Donte Nicholson was the league's consenus Newcomer of the Year and a great blitzer. Had 90 tackles-10 for loss. Oklahoma was ranked third nationally in total offense and defense. Strength of schedule-21st. Lost seven starters from 2003. Opens the season Sept 4th against Bowling Green.

3.Georgia-All-American defensive end David Pollack returns for his final season. He needs six sacks to break the school's career record. Junior safety Thomas Davis led the defense with 138 tackles. Defense ranked fourth nationally in defense(276.9). QB David Greene needs to jumpstart the offense. Greene threw for 3,307 yards and 13 TD's in 2003. He has thrown for over 9,000 career yards and 52 TD's. Greene finished the 2003 season with a MVP perfromance in the Bulldog's 34-27 OT victory over Purdue in the Capital One Bowl, completing 27-of-37 for 327 yards and three TD's. D.J. Shockley is in reserve if needed. Georgia's offensive strength could be their wide receivers. WR Fred Gibson is speedy, but shys from contact. WR Reggie Brown has 2,083 career receiving yards at 18.6 yards per catch. Strength of schedule-3rd. Lost seven starters. Opens the season Sept. 4th against Georgia Southern.

4.LSU-Head coach Nick Saban's defense was ranked number one nationally in 2003. It was the secondary, with excellent cover corners Corey Webster and Travis Daniels that helped the Tigers win their share of the BCS Title. Claude Wroten is one of the top junior college defensive tackle recruits in the nation. LSU must break in a new QB with Marcus Randall at the helm. Redshirt freshman JaMarcus Russell could see some playing time if Randall wavers. Running back Justin Vincent is big and fast. Vincent gained 1,001 yards and scored 10 TD's as a freshman in 2003. Junior wide receiver Skyler Green will be a favorite target of Randall's. Green caught 48 passes for 519 yards and five TD's in 2003. Lost eight starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 2nd. Opens the seasons Sept. 4th against Oregon State.

5.Florida State-The Seminoles return their entire offensive line two-deep. Tackle Alex Barron was a consensus All-American as a junior last season. QB Chris Rix(Heisman hopeful)threw for 3,107 yards and 23 TD's in 2003 with 13 INT's. Rix must have a great season for Florida State to stand a chance at a national title. Rix is the number two all-time passer for Florida with 7,525 yards and 60 TD's. He's 24-10 as a starter. Wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe had 51 receptions for 994 yards and 11 TD's in 2003. Gone is running back Greg Jones. Taibacks Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker will try and fill the void. Team lost nine starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 16th. Opens season Sept. 6th against Miami.

6.California-Junior QB Aaron Rodgers will lead this talented squad. Rodgers completed 215-349 for 2,903 yards and 19 TD's in 2003. He threw only five INT's. His favorite target will be Heisman hopeful Geoff McArthur who caught 85 passes for 1,504 yards and 10 TD's in 2003. In his final two regular season games he caught 22 passes for 425 yards and three scores. The strength of the unit should be the secondary with senior Ryan Gutierrez leading the way. Gutierrez had 93 tackles in 2003. Lost seven starters form 2003. Strength of schedule is 24th. Opens season Sept. 4th against Air Force.

7.Texas-Running back and Heisman hopeful Cedric Benson leads the offense for the Longhorns. Benson rushed for 1,360 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2003. Selvin Young can provide plenty of excitement in the backfield too. QB Chance Mock threw for 1,469 yards and 16 TD's in 2003. He threw only two INT's. Mock's 8:1 TD-to interception ratio led the nation. Sophomore QB Vince Young is a good runner and can fill in for Mock if needed. On defense defensive tackle Rodrique Wright is the headliner. He's 6-5 315 pounds and had 7.5 sacks in 2003. Lost seven starters. Strength of schedule is 39th. Opens the season Sept. 4th against North Texas.

8.Virginia-Junior QB Marques Hagans has a great arm. Notre Dame sophomore QB transfer Christian Olsen could be a good candidate to lead this team. Running back Wali Lundy and Alvin Pearman will head up the running game. Tight end Heath Miller is one of the nation's best. He caught 70 passes for 835 yards and six TD's in 2003. All five of Virginia's starting lineman return. Linebacker Ahmad Brooks, the 2001 USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year led the Cavaliers in tackles as a Freshman in 2003 with 117. Lost seven starters. Strength of schedule is 40th. Opens season Sept. 4th against Temple.

9.Miami-The Hurricanes lost a great receiver in Kellen Winslow Jr to the NFL. Receiver Ryan Moore will do his best to replace him. Moore caught 44 passes for 637 yards and three TD's in 2003. QB Brock Berlin must impress head coach Larry Coker to keep his job. Redshirt freshman Kyle Wright is available if needed. Running back Frank Gore needs to be healthy in 2004. If not, RB Tyrone Moss will be asked to carry the load. Miami finished second nationally in total defense(257.5 yds per game). Defensive ends Darius Jones and Jonathan Welsh return after combining for 15 tackles for a loss. Miami lost 13 starters from 2003. Strenght of schedule is 10th. Opens the season Sept. 6th against Florida State.

10.Missouri-Tigers scored a school record 399 points in 2003. QB Brad Smith passed for 1,977 yards and 11 TD's with seven INT's last season. Smith threw for 4,310 yards and 26 TD's in two years, along with 2,435 yards rushing and 25 TD's. Wide receiver Thomson Omboga caught 52 receptions for 466 yards and one TD in 2003. Senior DT Atiyyah Ellison and tackle C.J. Mosely combined for 139 tackles-30 for loss in 2003. DE Brian Smith led the nation's freshman last year with eight sacks. Lost 11 starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 44th. Opens season Sept. 4th against Arkansas State.

11.West Virgina-QB Rasheed Marshall will lead the offense. Marshall is a three year starter with career numbers of 3,672 passing yards and 1,179 rushing. Threw 15 TD's and ran for four in 2003. Chris Henry will be Marshall's favorite target. Henry caught 41 passes for 1,006 yards and 10 TD's in 2003. Running back Kay-Jay Harris averaged 5.8 yards per carry last season. Offensive line just allowed 14 sacks. Middle linebacker Adam Lehnortt led the defense with 139 tackles. Lost nine starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 81st. Opens season Sept. 4th against East Carolina.

12.Auburn-QB Jason Campbell is one of the keys to Auburn's success in 2004. Campbell threw for 2,267 yards and 10 TD's in 2003. He threw eight INT's. Running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams will produce most of the offense in 2004 for the Tigers. Williams rushed for 1,307 yards and 17 TD's in 2003. He averaged 5.4 yards per attempt. RB Ronnie Brown contributed 446 yards. Williams and Brown have combined for 4,460 career rushing yards and 53 TD's. Auburn lost 11 starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 62nd. Opens the season Sept. 4th against Louisiana-Monroe.

13.Michigan-Sophomore QB Matt Gutierrez who is 6-4 230 will lead the Wolverine's offense. Gone is hot and cold John Navarre. Braylon Edwards(Heisman hopeful) leads Michigan's stellar wide receiver corps. Caught 85 passes in 2003. In 2004, Edwards should become the first player in Big 10 history with three 1,000 yard receiving seasons. Jason Avant finished 2003 with a team-high 16.4 yard average with 47 receptions. Linebacker Pierre Woods 6-5 248 had 68 tackles and led the team in tackles for loss with 14 last season. Strength of schedule is 7th. Opens the season Sept. 4th against Miami of Ohio.

14.Ohio State-Linebacker A.J. Hawk was named first-team All-Big Ten last year by media and the coaches. He led the Buckeyes with 106 tackles, 13 for a loss. Sophomore QB Justin Zwick should lead the offenbse. QB Troy Smith has a good arm if needed. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes can be a game breaker. Lost 14 starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 8th. Opens season Sept. 4th against Cincinnati.

15.Clemson-Junior QB Charlie Whitehurst who owns 29 Clemson recors passing and in total offense returns. In 2003, he threw for 3,561 yards and 21 TD's. He threw 13 INT's. WR Airese Currie one of the fastest receivers in college football caught 43 passes for 560 yards and four TD's in 2003. He will only get better. Middle linebacker Leroy Hill led the team in tackles with 145 last year. Clemson beat South Carolina 63-17 on the road in 2003. Team lost nine starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 15th. Opens season Sept. 4th against Wake Forest.

16.Iowa-QB Drew Tate will lead the offense this season. Running back Jermelle Lewis will try and replace Fred Russell. Lewis rushed for 241 yards and one TD in 2003. Defensive end Matt Roth is a first-team All-Big Ten returnee and a preseason All-American. Had 12 sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2003. Lost 13 starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 13th. Opens the season Sept. 4th against Kent State.

17.Kansas State-Running back Darren Sproles(Heisman hopeful-my pick for winning the Heisman) rushed for 1,986 yards and 16 TD's in 2003. He is a hoss. He's a good receiver too. Sophomore QB Dylan Meier will try and replace Ell Roberson. Kansas St. is the only team in Division I-A to rank sixth in total defense in each of the past seven seasons. Good linebackers in Ted Sims, Matt Butler and Marvin Simmons. Lost 13 starters in 2003. Strength of schedule is 65th. Opens season Sept. 4th against Western Kentucky.

18.Florida-QB Chris Leak needs to improve on his numbers. He threw for 2,435 yards in 2003. Tossed 16 TD'S and threw for 11 INT's last year. Head coach Ron Zook is on the hot seat for sure. Could Steve Spurrier return in 2005 if needed? Lost 13 starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 14th. Opens the season Sept. 4th against Middle Tennessee.

19.Oregon State-Senior Derek Anderson(Heisman hopeful) returns. Anderson threw for 4,058 yards in 2003. He threw 24 TD's, but also threw 24 INT's. Oregon State's defense intercepted 20 passes last year. Their defense ranked seventh nationally in 2003. Lost 12 starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 4th. Opens season Sept. 4th against LSU.

20.Tennessee-Sixth year Senior C.J. Leak enters fall as the starter. Rick Clausen could compete for the job. He has a cannon arm. He's former Tennessee standout QB Casey Clausen's brother. Senior tailback Cedric Houston ran for 766 yards and two TD's in 2003. Senior RB Jabari Davis could see some action. Offensive line is a team strength with All-American Michael Munoz at left tackle. Linebacker Kevin Simon led the Vols with 115 tackles last year, 16 of those against Florida. Vols have a six man rotation at defensive end. Lost 13 starters from 2003. Strength of schedule is 17th. Opens season Sept. 4th against UNLV.

21.Nebraska-Former NFL Coach Bill Callahan is the new boss and brings the West Coast offense with him. Can a passing attack survive in the "Land of the Run"? Sophomore QB Joe Dailey should be the starter. If not sophomore Jordan Adams will be. Receiving corp is long on talent. WR Ross Pilkington is well suited to Callahan's system. Junior RB Cory Ross hopes to establish some sort of running game. The Cornhuskers led the nation last year in both pass efficiency defense and INT's. Huskers should extend their bowl streak to 36 years. Strength of schedule is 63rd. Lost 10 starters. Opens season Sept. 4th against Western Illinois.

22.Utah-The Utes beat Southern Mississippi 17-0 in the Liberty Bowl last season. Won Mountain West title in 2003. QB Alex Smith threw for 2,247 yards and 15 TD's in 2003. He tossed only three INT's. Seniors Paris Warren and Travis LaTendresse along with sophomore Steve Savey combined for 148 receptions and 1,838 yards with 12 TD's in 2003. Class of 25 recruits will add depth at almost every position. Strength of schedule is 97th. Lost eight starters. Opens season Sept. 2nd against Texas A&M.

23.Purdue-Purdue boasts the Big Ten's best QB in Kyle Orton(Heisman hopeful), who hit 61 percent of his passes last fall for 2,885 yards and 15 TD's. He netted 237 rushing yards. His INT percentage of 2.43 for his career and 1.69 last season are both school records. He has career numbers of 6,247 yards passing and 32 TD's and a 58.1 passing percentage. WR Taylor Stubblefield caught 86 passes for 835 yards and three TD's last year. He has 236 career receptions. Tight end Garret Bushong is capable of having a great season. Purdue must replace eight starters on defense. Strength of schedule is 28th. Lost 12 starters. Opens season Sept. 5th against Syracuse.

24.Boston College-Senior QB Quinton Porter leads the offense. He threw for 1,764 yards and 14 TD's in 2003. He tossed six INT's. Senior wide receiver Grant Adams caught 46 passes for 720 yards and five TD's last season. Junior defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka had 13 sacks in 2003. He's 6-8 and 249 pounds. Strength of schedule is 94th. Lost 12 starters from 2003. Opens season Sept. 2nd against Ball State.

25.TCU-TCU possessed one of the nations most balanced offenses in 2003(207.7 average rushing yards, 221.6 in passing). Senior QB Brandon Hassell threw for 2,039 yards and 10 TD's in 2003. Running back Robert Merrill ran for 1,107 yards and four TD's. Defensive line hit hardest by graduation. Strength of schedule is 84th. Lost 10 starters from 2003. Opens season Sept. 2nd against Norwestern.
Keith "baseball nut" Thronson
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