Every year at this time, our sports department steps front-and-center to trumpet its picks for college football glory. This is a topic of interest to, oh, three or four visitors to this site; for the rest of you, be patient — our usual stew of offbeat subject matter will return soon.
So with that stirring preamble out of the way, let’s get right to the predictions, along with an occasional rationalization for these choices:
1. Alabama The 2009 national champion brings back an excellent offense. The question mark is the defense, which lost nine starters.
2. Boise State Twenty-two starters return, and they went 14-0 last year.
3. Texas Christian The Horned Frogs won 11 in ’08, 12 last year. Could it be 13 victories this season?
4. Ohio State
6. Florida Tim Tebow’s departure did not leave the Gators helpless.
7. Wisconsin Standout RB John Clay and the entire offensive line returns.
8. Virginia Tech The Hokies have reached double digits in victories every season since 2004.
10. Miami (FL)
11. Iowa The schedule is favorable: toughest games are at home.
12. Oregon Some team from the mediocre Pac-10 gets a BCS bowl; Ducks figure to be it.
15. Florida State New coach Jimbo Fisher invigorates the program.
17. Penn State
18. Houston QB Case Keenum threw for over three miles last season (5,671 yards). He’s back, along with eight other offensive starters from ’09. We won’t talk about the Cougars’ defense.
20. Oregon State
21. Utah Utes have nonconference games vs. Pittsburgh and Notre Dame to prove they belong with the big boys.
22. Georgia Tech
23. West Virginia
24. Central Florida Defense will be outstanding; can the Knights’ offense score enough to win?
25. Navy A second consecutive 10-win season is an achievable goal for the Midshipmen.
You may have reason to disagree with some of these choices, and you’re probably right. Bear in mind, though, that these selections were not made frivolously, but after several minutes of research. And what usually happens is that my choices — wrong though they may be — won’t be that different from those of “experts” who actually get paid to do this. Yep, we’re all just guessing, aren’t we?