Tom’s Top 25

ASU vs Notre Dame 1998It’s traditional at this time of year for sports publications, wire services, newspapers, and miscellaneous college football experts to list their preseason top 20 or 25 teams.  I am none of the above, but since 1993 I have felt compelled to publish my own Top 25.  In the past it has been sent on paper, which gave those who received it a convenient way to dispose of their chewing gum.  This is the first time my list has been announced electronically; I can only imagine the excitement you must be feeling at this moment, to be part of history in the making.  Hey!  Wake up!

Before I get to the list, though, let me just make a few comments about some of the teams that are on it (for the first five, see my post of 7/17/09).

After many years of mediocrity, MISSISSIPPI reeled off nine wins last season, including a Cotton Bowl triumph over Texas Tech.  Many experts think the Rebels will be even better in 2009… GEORGIA TECH’s offensive scheme under second-year coach Paul Johnson gives opponents fits… An undefeated season in 2008 propelled UTAH to a #2 ranking in the final AP poll.  Whether the Utes can repeat that level of achievement again seems unlikely, but they will be very, very good… CALIFORNIA has quality, veteran players at most positions; the glaring exception is at quarterback.  If the Bears can find someone decent to plug in at that spot, they just might wind up Pac-10 champions… A strong defense should carry PITTSBURGH through another respectable season… The IOWA Hawkeyes had four losses last season, by a combined total of twelve points.  A creampuff schedule in 2009 should put a couple more games in the win column.  And now, here’s how I rank my top twenty-five picks:

  1. Florida
  2. Texas
  3. Virginia Tech
  4. Oklahoma
  5. USC
  6. Penn State
  7. Mississippi
  8. Georgia Tech
  9. Alabama
  10. Utah
  11. Boise State
  12. California
  13. Ohio State
  14. Pittsburgh
  15. Georgia
  16. Texas Tech
  17. Iowa
  18. LSU
  19. Texas Christian
  20. Oregon
  21. North Carolina
  22. Brigham Young
  23. Oklahoma State
  24. West Virginia
  25. Oregon State

5 responses to “Tom’s Top 25

  1. Ohio State and Oklahoma should be higher. Big Ten could have a terrible year again outside of OSU and PSU.

  2. It looks pretty good. Glad to see you minimize the presence of the overrated Big Ten. OTOH, you’re too modest about the position of your alma mater. How have you done in the past?

  3. That’s a fair question, Monty, about how I’ve done in the past. You sent me back to the archives to check, and here’s what I found. Over the sixteen seasons I’ve been doing this, my preseason #1 pick has finished somewhere in the top five of the AP final poll 12 times. I nailed it exactly three times (Nebraska ’94, Florida State ’99, USC ’04). There were a couple of seasons when my top pick finished in second by an eyelash: remember USC vs. Texas in the Rose Bowl following the ’05 season?

    There were also a couple of years when I was very wrong, notably 1997, when Texas was my preseason #1 and they staggered in with a 4-7 record. So I wouldn’t take the deed to your house to Las Vegas and bet it on Tom’s picks, but generally I’ve done OK. I seem to be slightly ahead of Sports Illustrated over that same time span, if that helps you measure the validity of my choices.

  4. John Alexander

    Interesting, the only thing I would disagree with is VaTech. It seems no matter the QB they always have problems scoring points.

  5. John, I agree with you about the Hokies’ relatively punchless offense, but the defense has been outstanding — it yielded an average of only 16.7 pts/gm last season. Also consider Virginia Tech’s number of wins per season since 2004; it goes like this: 10, 11, 10, 11, 10. That pattern suggests they’re in line for an 11-win season this year.
    They do face potential challenges in Alabama, Georgia Tech (in Atlanta), and North Carolina. If they win at least one of those, though, the Hokies should have double-digit wins again in 2009.

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