Marshall: College Football Top 10 Prediction

Phillip Marshall gives his take of who college football's Top 10 teams will be this season.

It's that time of year. Magazines and other publications are coming out with their preseason predictions on college football.

None of them matter, of course. But they create lots of discussion, and that's a good thing for college football. They also give us something to talk about here in the backwoods where there are no professional sports to occupy attention.

Auburn, it seems, is generally viewed as a Top 10 team. In the predictions I have seen, the Tigers have been rated as high as No. 3, but generally somewhere between No. 5 and No. 10.

For the first time in a while, the national types aren't frothing over Southern California. Ohio State seems to be the hot pick this season. The Buckeyes lose nine starters on defense but could have the nation's best offense. Normally, that wouldn't add up to being No. 1, but the thing is, there is no clear-cut No. 1 team going into the season.

Anyway, since everyone else is doing it, I thought I'd throw my own preseason Top 10 out there. Call it Phillip's Fallacy if you will. Save it and, in a few months, you'll be able to send me gloating emails telling me what how dumb I am.

Anyway, here we go:

1. Texas. The Longhorns will be breaking in a rookie quarterback, one who has never played a game. But they are the defending champs and have talent galore on both sides of the ball. I just don't see anyone that looks better going in. Besides, defensive coordinator Gene Chizik has forgotten how to lose. The last loss in which he was involved was in 2003 when Auburn lost to Georgia. I'll keep them No. 1 until somebody beats them.

2. Notre Dame. Do I believe the Fighting Irish will have the second best team in the country? No, but when I look at how much credit they got in 2005 for a season in which they beat nobody of consequence, I know they'll be ranked higher than they should be when it all shakes out.

Coach Charlie Weis talks with QB Brady Quin during the 2005 Notre Dame vs. Michigan game.

3.West Virginia. The Mountaineers have turned the corner under Rich Rodriguez. From top to bottom, they probably aren't as talented as other teams on this list, but they have impact players at the places you need them. And they believe after their Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia.

4. Ohio State. I'll have to assume that there is enough talent in Columbus to make the loss of all those defensive starters not as painful as it might be other places. On offense, the Buckeyes could be scary.

5. Auburn. This might actually be a bit optimistic for the Tigers, but who would I put above them? They have the best quarterback-running back combination in the Southeastern Conference and maybe the country. There are still questions that must be answered, however, on both sides of the ball.

6. Southern California. The Trojans have lots of questions to answer, not the least of which is who will play quarterback. They have lots of talent, but there's no Reggie Bush or Matt Leinart in the picture.

7. Florida State. Last season was a struggle for the Seminoles, but in the end, they knocked off Virginia Tech to win the ACC Championship Game and probably should have beaten Penn State in the Orange Bowl.

8. LSU. Both lines have to be rebuilt and there are road games at Auburn, Florida and Tennessee. But there is talent aplenty in Baton Rouge. There are still those who question second-year head coach Les Miles, though it seems 11 wins last season would have answered a lot of those questions.

Sooner or later, you can expect a big play for OU's Adrian Peterson.

9. Oklahoma. Despite a bitterly disappointing season in 2005, the Sooners still have running back Adrian Peterson. He's ready for a run at the Heisman Trophy after fighting injuries as a sophomore. It's hard to imagine a Bob Stoops-coached team staying down for long.

10. Louisville. The Cardinals have talent, outstanding coaching and not many tough games. That's a pretty good combination.

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