TIGER RAG'S TOP 25: Unveiling "our" No. 1

Today, we bring to you the final part of our series counting down the top 30 teams in the Tiger Rag Preseason Top 25 and beyond. Today, we bring you the teams ranked the nation's top and top-ranked team.

5. Auburn

Mascot: Tigers

Coach: Tommy Tuberville (58-25, 7 years)

2005 Record: 9-3 (7-1 SEC)

2005 Bowl: CapitalOne Bowl – Wisconsin 24, Auburn 10

Returning Starters: 13 – 5 offense/6 defense/kicker-punter

Auburn lost the bulk of its offensive specialists. However, the two that matter are back. Brandon Cox got better as the season went on a year ago and Kenny Irons is arguably the top running back in the nation. The Tigers defense is always good.

 

4. Notre Dame

Mascot: Fighting Irish

Coach: Charlie Weis (9-3, 1 year)

2005 Record: 9-3

2005 Bowl: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – Ohio State 34, Notre Dame 20

Returning Starters: 16 – 7 offense/9 defense

TR Take: Some say the Irish are the best team in the country. And while Brady Quinn is arguably the top quarterback in college football, is it time to re-anoint Notre Dame as the king of college football. Charlie Weis did a great job last season, but he must prove the Irish wasn't a one-year wonder.

 

3. West Virginia

Mascot: Mountaineers

Coach: Rich Rodriguez (39-22, 5 years)

2005 Record: 11-1 (7-0 Big East)

2005 Bowl: Nokia Sugar Bowl – West Virginia 38, Georgia 35

Returning Starters: 14 – 8 offense/5 defense/kicker

TR Take: Sophomores Pat White and Steve Slatton led West Virginia as the Mountaineers carved up the Georgia Bulldogs in the last year's Sugar Bowl. The Neers look to prove it wasn't a fluke as WVU has its sights set much higher in 2006.

 

2. Florida

Mascot: Gators

Coach: Urban Meyer (9-3, 1 year)

2005 Record: 9-3 (5-3 SEC)

2005 Bowl: Outback Bowl – Florida 31, Iowa 24

Returning Starters: 14 – 6 offense/6 defense/kicker-punter

TR Take: This has to be the year for Chris Leak. But if it isn't, bring on freshman phenom Tim Tebow. The Gators return the core of its offense and defense as they prepare to return to the top of the SEC East in year two under Urban Meyer.

 

1. Ohio State
Mascot: Buckeyes

Coach: Jim Tressel (50-13, 5 years)

2005 Record: 10-2 (7-1 Big Ten)

2005 Bowl: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – Ohio State 34, Notre Dame 20

Returning Starters: 10 – 7 offense/2 defense/punter

TR Take: While the Buckeyes have only 10 starters returning, Ohio State still possesses the dangerous Troy Smith. Smith proved just how lethal he can really be in dismantling Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl last season. The Bucks have a huge date in Austin in early September that could really set the tone for a championship run.


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