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Old 07-22-2002, 06:19 PM   #1
bama4256
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Talking Bama's 2002 Preseason Pro Football Rankings

1. ST. LOUIS RAMS-Head Coach Mike Martz received big contract extension. No other team in NFL history has scored 500 points more than once in its history, but the Rams have done it three years running. QB Kurt Warner threw for 4,830 yards last season and tossed 36 touchdowns. Bad news is that the Rams have no real backup for Warner if he goes down with an injury. Interesting to see if ex-QB of the Nebraska Cornhuskers Eric Crouch will make it as a receiver in the NFL. Rams are already rich in receivers. RB Marshall Faulk probably the greatest all-purpose running back in NFL history. Rookie running back Lamar Gordon was signed to make sure second string back Trung Canidate stays awake when needed. Opens season Sept. 8th against Denver at Denver.

2.PITTSBURGH STEELERS-Led the NFL in rushing yardage in 2001. Jerome “the bus’ Bettis returns. Will he stay healthy all season? Which Kordell Stewart will show up as QB this season? Charlie Batch was acquired if Stewart fails. Acquired great linebacker from Jets by the name of James Farrior. He led his team last year in tackles. Steelers are really excited about rookie wide receiver Antwaan Randle El out of the University of Indiana. Almost every key veteran was signed. Should be their year to go deep into the playoffs or to the Super Bowl. Opens the season Sept. 9th on Monday Night Football against New England in New England.

3.GREEN BAY PACKERS-Packers come into the 2002 season with a revamped receiving corp. Antonio Freeman’s cut by the Packers so his future is up in the air. Ex-Patriot Terry Glenn could really turn this offense around if he maintains a good attitude. He’s moody and tough to deal with. A healthy Brett Favre instills a winning attitude in team. Running back Ahman Green is the man. Gained 1,387 on 304 carries last season. Dorsey Levens dealt to Philadelphia. Packers improved defense immediately with pick up of Saints defensive end Joe Johnson. Opens the season Sept. 8th against Atlanta at home.

4.TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS-Coach Tony Dungy is out and ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden is in. During Dungy stay the Bucs were never in the top 20 in total offense. But he had one of the top defenses. Ex- Buffalo Bills QB Rob Johnson figures to do a better job than Brad Johnson at the quarterbacking position. He has a strong arm, but receives a lot of hits and usually stays injured most the season. This could be the fresh start he needs. QB Shaun King is more mobile and athletic. Picked up a great tight end in Ken Dilger. Wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson will need another big season like last season. He caught 106 passes in 2001. Opens the season Sept. 8th against New Orleans at home.

5.DENVER BRONCOS-QB Brian Griese needs to stay injury free for the Broncos to return to the Super Bowl. Broncos drafted rookie from Miami Clinton Portis. Terrell Davis could be sitting the bench this year along with Olandis Gary. Wide receiver Ed McCaffrey is back after breaking his left in the early part of the 2001 season. Tight end Shannon Sharpe is back. He brought his mouth too. Defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes did make a difference on defense last year. Defense should be even better. Defensive tackle Trevor Pryce(6-5-295) will keep defense in order, along with tackle Lional Dalton(6-1-309).

6.SAN FRANCISCO 49ers-Could very well topple the St. Louis Rams if anyone can. Head coach Steve Mariucci and receiver Terrell Owens seem to have everything worked out between them. Led by QB Jeff Garcia. Threw for 3,538 yards in 2001 and 32 touchdowns. Running back Garrison Hearst ran like he was possessed. He gained 1,206 yards. Improved defense with selection of rookie linebacker Saleem Rasheed(6-2-229) out of Alabama. 49ers already strong at the linebacking position. Derek Smith is in the middle. Julian Peterson will be counted on heavily on the strong side. He can explode off the ball. Opens season Sept. 5th against New York Giants in New York.


7.INDIANAPOLIS COLTS-QB Peyton Manning passed for 4,131 yards last season, but tossed 23 interceptions. He must cut down on those miscues. Offense ranked number two in 2001. New coach is Tony Dungy. A lot of fans say Dungy will turn this team around for the better. Colts allowed 30 points a game and 357 yards a game. Not good. That will be Dungy’s first order of business. Improving the defense. Dungy will need to use his two deep zone scheme to bring the Colts from 29th on defense back down to the teens. Defense should be improved with return of injured linebackers Mike Petersen and Rob Morris. Running back Edgerrin James is back healthy. If he can stay injury free this offense will really take off. Opens the season Sept. 8th against Jacksonville in Jacksonville.

8.TENNESSEE TITANS-Injuries drove this team to a 7-9 record in 2001. Eddie George only ran for 939 yards. He and QB Steve McNair if healthy will take this team to the playoffs. George has been working with Jerry rice’s trainer this summer. Titans will improve on defense with rookie linebacker Rocky Calmus out of Oklahoma. Another rookie out of Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth(6-6-320) is expected to contribute quickly. Defense must improve. They ranked 25th in overall defense. DE Kevin Carter is ready to redeem himself after a two sack season. On offense Titans need a healthy Frank Wycheck at tight end. WR Derrick Mason caught 73 passes for 1,128 yards. Opens the season Sept. 8th against Philadelphia at home.

9.OAKLAND RAIDERS—Head coach Jon Gruden is out and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan is in. Owner Al Davis got Tampa Bay’s first and second round draft picks for this year and next. It really cost Tampa to get Gruden. Oakland has one of the best QB’s in Rich Gannon. He threw for 3,828 yards in 2001 and 27 touchdowns. I can’t believe that ex-Denver Broncos Bill Romanowski is a Raider. He’s much older now, but can still play with intensity and talk trash. Charlie Garner will be depended on to establish the running game. He gained 839 yards in 2001, but he only scored once on the ground. He did well catching the football. He had 72 receptions. Raiders defense gave up 1,988 yards rushing in 2001. Way too much. Opens season Sept 8th against Seattle at home.

10.MIAMI DOLPHINS-Dolphins QB Jay Fiedler had hip surgery this summer. If he can’t go the job goes to Ray Lucas. That doesn’t excite me. Ricky Williams gives the team a steady running game. Look for Williams to gain a 1,000 or more or get injured. Linebacker Zach Thomas will plug the middle and the secondary is one of the best in the game. Keep your eye on Patrick Surtain. He played his college ball in my neck of the woods at the University of Southern Mississippi. Dolphins released defensive lineman Daryl Gardener and picked up Jay Williams from Carolina to replace him. Opens season Sept. 8th against Detroit at home.

11.BUFFALO BILLS-Yes this will be your Cinderella team for 2002. Why? Acquiring QB Drew Bledsoe from New England. Bledsoe is not very mobile, but he can sure find open receivers over and over. New offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will make this team better real soon. A healthy Travis Henry spells trouble for opposing defenses. He rushed for 729 yards before suffering a year-ending knee injury 13 games into the season. They have Richard Huntley if Henry goes down again. Wide receivers Eric Moulds and Peerless Price will allow the team to attack defenses vertically. Rookie Josh Reed out of LSU can help out if need be. Cornerback Nate Clements to build off rookie season. Opens season Sept. 8th against the New York Jets at home.

12.NEW YORK JETS-QB Vinny Testaverde has one of the strongest arms of all the QB’s in football. If wide receiver Santana Moss can stay healthy in his sophomore year he will be difficult to stop. Running back Curtis Martin will gain a 1,000 or more yards for you. Guaranteed. Jets lost two on the offensive line and gained five on defense. Defensive end John Abraham distinguished himself last season with 13 sacks. Very well could be the sleeper in this division. Linebacker Sam Cowart can make the big plays playing opposite of Mo Lewis. Could very well go to the AFC Championship game.

13.WASHINGTON REDSKINS—New head coach Steve Sprurrier brings hope of firepower on offense. Surrounds himself with ex Florida Gator quarterbacks in Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews. Sage Rosenfels was a fourth round pick in 2001 has an above average arm. Redskins drafted Tulane QB Patrick Ramsey for insurance. Redskins also have two receivers that played at Florida, that being Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green. Sprurrier is pleased to already have an established running game with Stephen Davis. Davis rushed for 1,432 yards last season. Ex-Giant linebacker Jessie Armstead will improve defense immediately as will linebacker Jeremiah Trotter who came over from Philadelphia. LB LaVar Arrington expects to be defensive player of the year. Best linebacking crew in all of football. Opens season Sept. 8th against Arizona at home.

14.NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS-Do you really think they could repeat in 2002?. I see QB Tom Brady improving as a QB, but not enough to lead his team to the Super Bowl again. They should have lost that Oakland game in the postseason last year. I can’t see rookie QB Rohan Davey out of LSU leading this team in the snow if Brady goes down. Running back Antowain Smith will need to gain over 1,000 yards again, to prove 2001 wasn’t a fluke. Defensive tackle Richard Seymour needs to make some big plays on defense.

15.PHILADELPHIA EAGLES—QB Donavan McNabb did an excellent job as QB in 2001. Passed for 3,233 and 25 touchdowns. He ran for 482 touchdowns and scored twice on the ground. Eagles acquired running back Dorsey Levens away from Green Bay. If he can return to his old form Philadelphia will be quite an offensive threat. Wide receiver Freddie Mitchell could be a star this season. Receiver James Trash did a fair job last season. Caught 63 passes for 833 yards. On defense Hugh Douglas is one of the best passing rushing ends in the business. Eagles feel they have the best secondary in all of football with Troy Vincent and Brian Dawkins. Bobby Taylor(6-3-216) plays an important role at his cornerback position.

16.CHICAGO BEARS-Coach of the Year Dick Jauron. Was last year just a fluke? QB Jim Miller is no John Elway, but he knows how to win. If he forgets, newly acquired QB Chris Chandler can help him. Chandler has aged, but he still has a rocket for an arm. Running back Anthony Thomas who was a rookie in 2001 gained 1,200 yards. He’s big, strong and durable. Bears need a healthy Marcus Robinson at wide receiver. Bears picked wisely choosing Florida Gator rookie defensive end Alex Brown(6-3-260). Opens season Sept. 8th against Minnesota at home..

17.KANSAS CITY CHIEFS—Running back Priest Holmes was the number one man in rushing yardage in 2001 with 1,555 yards. Head Coach Dick Vermeil wants to run his offense like the Rams, but doesn’t quite have the personnel do it with. QB Trent Green was disappointing last season. He may rebound in 2002. He did pass for 3,783 yards. He has ex-Saint offensive lineman Willie Roaf to give him some added protection. Ex-Lion receiver Johnnie Moore can open up the offense. He’s good for 80 catches or more and 1,200 yards. Tight end Tony Gonzalez needs to keep his head into the game. He led the team with 73 receptions though. Chiefs were lucky to draft defensive lineman Ryan Sims(6-4-311) from North Carolina. He could be better than Julius Peppers. Opens the season Sept 8th against Cleveland in Cleveland

18.DALLAS COWBOYS—Owner Jerry Jones hired ex-Jet and Bengal head coach Brian Coslet to build an offense around QB Quincy Carter. This team is expected to return to the playoffs this season. If Quincy can’t handle the heat, rookie QB Chad Hutchinson out of Stanford will get the call. Running back Emmitt Smith had his 11th consecutive season rushing for 1,000 yards or more. Smith is expected to break Walter Payton’s all-time rushing record. Just needs 540 yards. Troy Hambrick will gain yards too. He’s big and strong at 240 pounds. Wide receiver Joey Galloway was a disappointment last season so the Cowboys went after rookie wide receiver Antonio Bryant out of Pittsburgh. Cowboys add ex-Saint La’Roi Glover to their defensive line. Glover has had 50 sacks over the last five seasons. Also acquired linebacker Kevin Hardy from Jacksonville. Opens the season Sept. 8th against Houston at Houston.


19.CLEVELAND BROWNS—Coach Butch Davis brought some respectability back to Cleveland. His team believes they can beat anyone. The Browns finished 7-9, but were 6-4 with two overtime losses before injuries and a lack of talent caught up with them. QB Tim Couch has the ability to be a championship QB as soon as he has good people around him. Rookie Andre Davis out of Virginia Tech may improve passing game right away. Kevin Johnson is a good receiver already. He caught 84 passes for 1,097 yards and nine touchdowns. Rookie running back William Green from Boston College could start. DE Courtney Brown limited to just four games in 2001 is healthy and will improve defense right away.

20.SEATTLE SEAHAWKS—Team comes over to the NFC to play in the west. Running back Shaun Alexander played well last season. Gained 1,318 yards, and scored 14 touchdowns. Trent Dilfer will lead team at QB position. Seahawks picked rookie QB Jeff Kelly out of Southern Mississippi. Comes from my neck of the woods. Raised in north Mobile County. Could he be another Brett Favre? Defensive tackle John Randle led all interior linemen with 11 sacks. Seahawks move into a new $430 million stadium this season. That won’t help them win though.

21.SAN DIEGO CHARGERS-Head coach Marty Schottenheimer comes over to the Chargers after only one year with Redskins. He’s a good coach. Just could never win the big ones. Everybody knows what kind of year running back LaDainian Tomlinson had in 2001. Gained 1,236 and scored 10 touchdowns. Not bad for a rookie. His 3.6-yards-per-carry wasn’t that great. He also caught 59 passes for 367. Mostly dump off passes from Doug Flutie. Will Drew Brees start at quarterback? Team drafted cornerback Quentin Jammer from the University of Texas. Good choice. Opens season Sept. 8th against Cincinnati in Cincinnati.

22.NEW YORK GIANTS—QB Kerry Collins needs to return to his 2000 form that took his team to the Super Bowl. Running backs Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber need to improve quickly. Barber is the quicker of the two and a best all-purpose back than Dayne. Giants drafted wide receiver Daryl Jones out of the University of Miami. Team is excited about rookie tight end Jeremy Shockey(6-4-255) out of Miami. Some say he is the best at his position in the last 15 years. Amani Toomer needs to be more explosive. Toomer has gained 1,000 yard of more the past three seasons. Defensive coordinator John Fox is gone. He’s the new Head Coach at Carolina. Defensive lineman Michael Strahan established a new single season record in sacks with 22.5 in 2001, and is very good against the run.

23.ATLANTA FALCONS—QB Michael Vick has the team in his hands. He is a gifted athlete. Gone is QB Chris Chandler. Falcons make good pickup with wide receiver Willie Jackson from the N.O. Saints. The jury is still out on running back Warrick Dunn. Can he be as good as Jamal Anderson once was? Dunn only gained 447 yards in 2001. Falcons blame his problems on poor blocking and injuries. Rookie T.J. Duckett lies in the wings if he is needed. Could very well gain 1,000 yards or more in 2002. He played his college ball for Michigan St. Falcons picked up Kent Graham to be one of their receivers. Coach Wade Phillips will be in charge of the defense. Defensive end Patrick Kerney, the team’s first pick in 1999 finally played like a top pick in 2001 with 12 sacks.

24.BALTIMORE RAVENS-Ravens had to get rid of a few players to get under the salary cap. That allowed them to draft some young players like safety Edward Reed out of the University of Miami and defensive lineman Anthony Weaver out of Notre Dame. Gone is QB Elvis Grbac. Chris Redman will start at as QB and ex-New Orleans Saints QB Jeff Blake right behind him. Linebacker Ray Lewis must carry defense on his shoulders as usual. Team is in a rebuilding mode. Don’t look for more than eight or nine wins. Opens season Sept. 8th against Carolina in Carolina.

25.NEW ORLEANS SAINTS—Saints must rely heavily on QB Aaron Brooks to lead this team back into the playoffs. He looked great at times and looked like a green rookie the other times. Saints lost Willie Roaf and Chris Naeole on the offensive line. Running back Ricky Williams and defensive linemen La’Roi Glover and Joe Johnson are also gone. That’s a big loss. Did they replace all that talent? I don’t think so. But don’t write the Saints off quite yet. Duece McAllister will develop the run and new receiver from Indianapolis Jerome Pathon will keep the passing game intact, along with Joe Horn. You got to like their first round draft pick. Donte Stallworth out of Tennessee. Last year’s defense gave up 240 first half points, 409 total points. What really hurt the defense was the offense turning the ball over and over. Saints lost cornerback Dale Carter for most, if not all the season, due to alcohol problems.

26.MINNESOTA VIKINGS—Coach Dennis Green is gone and Mike Tice is in. QB Duante Culpepper must study more film to be effective and wide receiver Randy Moss must not be so selfish. I think QB Todd Bouman did a good job when Culpepper was injured. He completed 51-89 for 795 yards and eight TD’s. Gone is receiver Chris Carter who kept Moss under some control. Vikings made a good pick in the draft with offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie out of Miami. Running back Michael Bennett should be much better this season. Tackle Chris Hovan is the main man on defense.

27.CINCINNATI BENGALS—The only good news last season was they did beat the Super Bowl champs New England Patriots 23-17. Also beat Pittsburgh and Tennessee toward the end of the season. It’s just the in between that ruined them. QB Jon Kitna needs to improve his accuaracy. He had a 61.1 passer rating. Gus Frerotte can takeover if needed. RB Cory Dillon has rushed for 2,750 yards in the past two seasons. He ran for 1,315 in 2001, scoring 10 TD’s. A big year from receiver Peter Warrick would be nice. Dick LeBeau’s defense ranked a respectable ninth in 2001. The defense is built around three recent first-round picks, LBs Takeo Spikes and Brian Simmons and Justin Smith. Bengals have the fourth easiest schedule in 2002. Haven’t made the playoffs since 1990.

28.JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS—QB Mark Brunell must get the offense going right away. He sure got beat up a lot last year. He can’t keep getting a beating like he has been. He threw for 3,309 yards in 2001. A healthy RB Fred Taylor could improve offense dramatically. He has excellent speed and vision. Also lower body explosion. WR Jimmy Smith caught 112 passes for 1,373 yards in 2001. He caught eight TD’s. Jaguars drafted defensive tackle John Henderson(6-7-310) from Tennessee. Great choice, and they acquired offensive guard Chris Naeole(6-3-313) from New Orleans.

29.DETROIT LIONS—Head Coach Marty Morninweg tried to make a passing team out of Detroit last season, but the results weren’t very good. They thre the ball 609 times and ran only 351 times. Also had three different starting QB’s. Can rookie QB Joey Harrington make this West Coast offense work for Morinweg? QB Mike McMahon can play if needed. He threw for only 671 yards in 2001. Detroit has two new wide receivers for Harrington or McMahon to throw to. One is ex-Ram Az-Zahir Hakim and ex- Packer Bill Schroder. James Stewart should establish the running game. Rookie Luce Staley out of Brigham Young can fill in when needed. Coach Kurt Schottenheimer, brother of Marty Schottenheimer will run the defense. Need a big year from DT Shaun Rogers(6-4-331).

30.HOUSTON TEXANS—Could be the best expansion team to come around in a long time. Head coach Dom Capers will be in charge. Rookie QB David Carr out of Fresno State will start right away. Rookie WR Jabar Gaffney just signed a big contract with his team. He should be happy and productive. Rookie offensive lineman Fred Weary(6-4-308) from the University of Tennesee should start also. It will be great if veteran offensive lineman Tony Boselli stays healthy. James Allen will do his best to get the ground game going. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2000 with the Chicago Bears. Ex-Packer Corey Bradford will help Gaffney at the receiver position. . Ex-Jaguars and defensive tackles Seth Payne(6-4-303) and Gary Walker will establish the defense. Jamie Sharper makes the defense a lot better.

31.CAROLINA PANTHERS—Took rookie defensive lineman Julius Peppers from North Carolina in the draft. Also running back DeShaun Foster of UCLA. Both are high profile rookies. Last year’s rookie QB Chris Weinke played in every game except one. He completed 293 passes for 2,931 yards. Has an above average arm, but not by much. Tight end Wesley Walls is 36 years old but still a very capable receiver. Defense was last in every category. But they forced a team-record 24 interceptions and 36 turnovers. May win three games this season. Won only one in 2001.

32.ARIZONA CARDINALS—Cardinals wide receiver David Boston had a big year. He caught 98 passes for 1,598 yards and eight TD’s. QB Jake Plummer can play like Joe Montana at times. He’s a good scrambler and has pinpoint control most of the time. Cardinals lost their running back Michael Pittman to free agency. Thomas Jones will takeover for Pittman. Jones ran for 380 yards in 2001. Cardinals had the worst defense in the NFL in 2001. They drafted rookie defensive tackle Wendall Bryant out of Wisconsin. Free safety Kwamie Lassiter was the star of the defense last season with 83 solo tackles.
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Old 07-22-2002, 06:29 PM   #2
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Bama... once again a very well written post. Good job man...

.... however...
Quote:
Seahawks move into a new $430 million stadium this season. That won’t help them win though.
Yeah it will... have you been to Husky Stadium or the Kingdome??

The Seahawks will win the NFC West becuase of that very reason. Having 15 QB's on staff will help to.!!

We got new uniforms and a new Logo too... I'm sure that guarentee's a SuperBowl appereance!!



Seriously though.... I do agree.... once again the Seahawks will struggle...... oh well.... always 2003....
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Old 07-22-2002, 06:51 PM   #3
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New uniforms! Now you won't look like you're copying the Cowboys.

As for the Packers part, yes, Glenn has been moody, but you can't really expect that in new surroundings. In fact, he has been everything but that from what I've heard. And this offense wasn't really bad last year so saying "turning it around" might be a little inaccurate.

That aside, wow, I just got a chill down my spine as I'm excited for this!
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Old 07-22-2002, 07:59 PM   #4
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Where is Super Bowl this year?
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Old 07-22-2002, 09:42 PM   #5
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Nice picks, bama. I'll post my own when we're a little closer to the season, but my thoughts now:

Too low: Patriots, Eagles, Browns, Seahawks, Bengals, Cardinals
Too high: Buccaneers, Colts, Titans, Bills

I don't understand why people are giving the Patriots no respect - I think they improved this off-season - and I can't imagine why you think the Cardinals will be the worst team in the league. I guess we'll see!

And Lee, Super Bowl XXXVII will be in San Diego.
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Old 07-23-2002, 03:58 AM   #6
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The Colts ranked 25 places above the Cardinals when the Cardinals finished a game ahead of the Colts last year?

Interesting.
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Old 07-23-2002, 09:52 AM   #7
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It's a new year and a diffferent team.
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Old 07-23-2002, 11:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
I don't understand why people are giving the Patriots no respect - I think they improved this off-season - and I can't imagine why you think the Cardinals will be the worst team in the league. I guess we'll see!
I think everyone is expecting a considerable letdown from N.E., just like Baltimore had their next year. I don't think the Pats are capable of winning this year, I will say that.
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Old 07-23-2002, 12:55 PM   #9
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The NFL is the hardest sport to rank teams! With the salary cap and other restrictions on teams there is so much parody every single season in the NFL. This is the reason why I love this sport so much and this league. The NFL is a sport that gives all its participants a chance to win.... and that has been proven over the last few seasons if not more.

So, as I looked at Bama's rankings I saw teams that were ranked twenty something that could land in the top 5 to 10, and teams that were ranked high that could fall to 25 or so. I don't see any clear cut team right now in either conference that is going to dominate due to the players and coaching staffs that each respective team has. Now when the season starts this could all change! But right now I see a very even slate for more than just a handful of teams for this upcoming season.

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