1. Miami - Their schedule is difficult, but athletically the well is far from dry, particularly with what many think is the best front-seven in the nation. UM lost most of their great OL, but there is still a lot of talent there. RB may be a question mark with Frank Gore still out, but I think there are kids in the program to pick up the slack. Their schedule is difficult, with road trips to UF, TN and SU, but because of that schedule they will likely have to lose twice to not play in the Fiesta Bowl.
2. Florida State - Not many programs can have the worst year that they have experienced in over a decade and still be ranked in the top five the next year. FSU suffered from a number of injuries and inexperience last year, but there is a lot of talent in the program. Chris Rix is one of the best young QB in the country and the FSU offense should be in good shape this year. Defensively, FSU does have some question marks that will have to be resolved, but as mentioned there appears to be talent available, although FSU is uncharacteristically thin along the DL. The schedule is not overly taxing other than a trip to Miami
3. Texas - On paper probably on-par with Miami in terms of talent. UT does have a few questions on defense though and will have to depend on some young kids to contribute this year. Offensively they have probably the best talent in the country, but need to prove that they can be consistent. The schedule isn't easy, in addition to the annual showdown in Dallas with OU, UT has to make road trips to UNC, KSU, NU and TT.
4. Oklahoma - Defensively, OU is probably as good as anyone in the country, offensively is where OU has some question marks. Most around OU are fairly confident in Jason White returning from a knee injury at QB and being an effective player, but OU will have to develop some kids along the OL for the offense to really hit stride. It appears the offense could be better this year, which coupled with their defense will put them in the mix for the NC. OU's schedule is not terribly difficult, they have the UT game in Dallas, AL and CU in Norman and a trip to A&M, which could be tricky.
5. Tennessee - Offensively TN should be pretty good and should have excellent balance if one of their stable of running backs steps up. Defensively, TN needs to replace a bunch of guys who are now in the NFL along the DL. TN has an interesting schedule with Miami and Florida coming to Knoxville, but they do have road trips to SC, GA and MSU all of which could be tricky.
6. Nebraska – Projected to be a down year by NU standards, there still is talent in Lincoln, it just does not have a lot of experience. The defense looks to be better than a year ago, particularly up front. Offensively, breaking in a new QB is always a big deal at NU, but reports are that Jammal Lord is more than capable of leading the offense. The OL is a question mark, they are a talented group, but will have to put it together as a group. The schedule is difficult with road trips to PSU, ISU, OSU, A&M and KSU, and with UT and CU visiting Lincoln.
7. Georgia - Talent has never been the question at UGA, but they have never been able to put everything together on the field. Offensively, UGA should be very good with David Greene returning at QB, along with redshirt freshman DJ Shockey. For UGA to move up the ladder though they will need to improve defensively, particularly in regard to pass defense. The schedule isn't terrible, but isn't a cake walk either, UGA makes trips to SC, AL & AU and has Clemson, TN & GT coming to Athens, along with the UF game in Jacksonville
8. Washington State - WSU returns one of the top QBs in the country this year in Jason Gesser and WSU should be very good offensively. Defensively, they have a number of athletic players, but need to replace both their Safeties, although in the Pac-10 defense is optional. The schedule sets up nicely with USC, Oregon and UW all visiting Pullman, but WSU does make trips to Ohio State and UCLA.
9. Ohio State – Likely the best team in the Big Ten and have a favorable schedule to make a run at the Rose Bowl. OSU has one of the better WR combos in the conference in Chris Vance and Michael Jenkins but will need to find a QB that can get the ball to them consistently. OSU returns seven starters on defense which should help while the offense possible struggles early. Texas Tech and Washington State are two interesting non-conference games, but both are in Columbus and as mentioned, other than a trip to Wisconsin, the conference schedule looks favorable.
10. Florida - Offensively UF should be good, although it will be interesting to see how quickly they adapt to their new system. Defensively there are some questions, but it is probably more a question of experience than talent. The schedule is very difficult with Miami, the showdown with GA in Jacksonville and road trips to TN and FSU. UF is a top ten team talent wise, but with their schedule it will be an interesting year.