Trevor Freeman
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August 7 - The Top 25

Tailgate parties. “The Swamp”. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Camp Randall. “Whoa Nellie”. Saturday
afternoon. Buffalo Wings. Flutie to Phelan. Boise State. It has been eight months, but ladies and
gentlemen…… football season has arrived. With that, it is time for us to take our annual look.
Let’s begin our Top 25 in the land of sun, sports cars and hot cheerleaders…….

1. USC

You hate to pencil a team into the national title game in August; however the only thing that separates
USC from a trip to New Orleans is injuries. On both sides of the ball, the Trojans return just about
every key player from last year’s Rose Bowl Champions. USC does have nonconference road games
against both Nebraska and Notre Dame, however I don’t think the ghosts that inhabit both team’s
stadiums will be enough to keep either team within fourteen points of the Trojans. The toughest
game on the slate is the road game against California. However, the Golden Bears don’t have
enough on defense to seriously scare the Trojans.

2. LSU

A game being played on September 8th could very well determine who faces USC for the national
title. Virginia Tech travels to Tiger Stadium to take on LSU in what will undoubtedly be one of the most
physical contests of the college football season. Les Miles needs to have the Tigers on alert as the
Hokies will be flying around at the beginning of the season.

While playing in the SEC is never easy, LSU has been handed a conference slate that is very
manageable. Florida, Auburn and Arkansas all have to travel to Baton Rouge. Their only tough
conference road game is against Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide.

3. Wisconsin

Sophomore P.J. Hill is a nice dark horse pick for the Heisman as he should build on the 1,569 yards
he gained last year as a freshman. The defense will once again be stout. Wisconsin should be 9-0
entering the last three weeks of the season. After that it gets a little dicey as they play at Ohio State,
home against Michigan and finally a rivalry game at Minnesota.

4. Michigan

Lloyd Carr needs to do two things to retain his job after this season. They are:

1. Beat Ohio State

2. Win the Big 10 title

If those two things don’t happen this season then you have to wonder if they ever will for Carr. He has
every offensive player of note coming back including three guys who will garner Heisman votes in
Chad Henne, Michael Hart and Mario Manningham.

5. Virginia Tech

Going to be pretty easy for Frank Beamer to get the troops up this fall. The only game the Hokies will
not be favored in is their heavyweight fight with LSU on September 8th.

6. West Virginia

Every single season the Mountaineers seem to have the most manageable schedule of all the BCS
conference teams and every year they seem to blow it. This year is no exception. On paper, West
Virginia will be favored in every single one of their games as quarterback Patrick White and running
back Steve Slaton give them the best 1-2 punch on the ground in the nation. That being said, I can
already envision Rutgers fans storming the field on October 27th.

7. Florida

The Gators run of national titles in football and basketball ends this fall. There is no way the Gators
don’t lose twice this season. Florida has too many pieces to replace on the defensive side of the ball.
Toss in a five game stretch where they play Auburn, at LSU, at Kentucky against Georgia in
Jacksonville and at South Carolina and it seems like a little too much for Urban Meyer’s crew.

8. Arkansas

All I know is this. Anybody who actually thinks Arkansas should fire Houston Nutt is smoking crack.
The Razorbacks have won over 9 games three of the last five seasons and will win at least 10 games
this season. The SEC West will be determined on the Friday after Thanksgiving when the Hogs travel
to Tiger Stadium.

Darren McFadden is an absolute beast for the Razorbacks. In my opinion he is the best player in
college football and is a lock to go in the top five in next year’s NFL Draft. In fact, if you are a New York
Giants fan you should probably start watching Arkansas and Tiki Barber’s real replacement.

9. Hawaii

Some writers aspire to be Mike Lupica, Bill Simmons or Bob Ryan. I aspire to be Ferd Lewis. Now I
know you are asking yourself, “Who is Ferd Lewis?” Ferd Lewis writes an opinion column for the
Honolulu Advertiser. That means he……

A) Lives in Honolulu

B) Lives in Honolulu and gives his opinions about sports for a living

C) Lives in Honolulu

This year Mr. Lewis has a little more pressure on his shoulders as he will probably get to write about
a team who will be playing in a BCS bowl. I think Colt Brennan wins the Heisman Trophy while
leading Hawaii to an undefeated season. The only landmines on the schedule for the Rainbow
Warriors are home games against Boise State and Washington and an away game against Nevada.

10. Oklahoma

How many times do you think the guys at Oklahoma have heard about that loss to Boise State? My
guess is 1,265,898,745 times in the last eight months. If you want to talk about a team with a chip on
their shoulder, look no further than Norman. I think the Sooners bounce back and win the Big 12.

11. Texas

The Longhorns have an offense that will rival the best in the country as Colt McCoy could emerge as a
Heisman candidate this season. The problem is that the Longhorns are sporting a defense that is
worse than Paris Hilton’s on a Friday night. Losing Gene Chizik, Aaron Ross and Michael Griffin
amongst others is too much.

12. Louisville

I said it once and I’ll say it again. Michael Vick getting arrested for dogfighting could be a blessing in
disguise for Bobby Petrino. It affords him the opportunity to go 3-13 in the regular season with nobody
holding it against him and be in the position to draft his former pupil Brian Brohm in next spring’s NFL
Draft. Brohm is a much better fit in his offense than Vick ever would be.

In terms of how the Cardinals are going to do this year, I think they will be undefeated up until the last
three weeks of the season when they see West Virginia and South Florida on the road and Rutgers at
home. Unfortunately for Louisville fans, I do not see anyway they can run the table in those three

13. UCLA

I went to the Florida State-UCLA Emerald Bowl game last December and I’m going to be honest. I
was just as interested in seeing who would win the Battle of the Cheerleaders as I was in watching
the game. It wasn’t even a comparison. Maybe it was because they were wearing skirts while the FSU
cheerleaders were in windpants, but UCLA’s squad was far superior. Not only that, but there were no
Cowgirls whatsoever. Not even a random Jenn Sterger sighting. While the Bruins lost the football
game, they killed in the Battle of the Women department……..and really isn’t that what is most
important in the grand scheme of things.

On the field the Bruins are sporting their finest team in years. They return 21 starters from a team that
beat USC in the regular season. I see the Bruins winning ten games and finishing a solid second in
conference behind the Trojans as I think they will beat California at home.

14. California

Remember this name. Jahvid Best. Best is a quicker version of Warrick Dunn and he will involve
himself in a Heisman race before he graduates. Best is a true freshman this season. If I’m Jeff
Tedford, I think long and hard about playing him over Justin Forsett.

15. The Ohio State University

Never in my wildest dreams did I see The Ohio State University getting slapped by Florida in last
season’s national title game. By halftime, you were hoping Fox would switch to an encore
performance of Boise State-Oklahoma. Losing the way they did is reminiscent of waking up after a
sloppy night of drinking in college with a wildebeest sleeping next to you. The physical hangover
mixed with taunting received internally from yourself and externally from others just lingers. I have the
Buckeyes ranked fifteenth, however it would not surprise me if they dropped 3-4 games this season.

16. Rutgers

Ray Rice is another solid guy to bet on in the Heisman Trophy race. The only reason Rice and his
1,794 yards weren’t more of a factor last season is because the New York media didn’t pick up on
Rutgers quickly enough. That won’t be the case this season. Rutgers and Rice should both get off to
hot starts and steal the back page of the New York Post.

17. Nebraska

There’s a lot of people who love Missouri and are picking them to win the Big 12 North. There’s also
lots of people who shoot heroin and think Nicole Richie is attractive. Nebraska wins the Big 12 North
as Bill Callahan has something good brewing in Lincoln. Callahan doesn’t get enough credit as a
coach. He coached two seasons in the NFL and made the Super Bowl in one of them. Now he has
come down to the college level and has slowly built a team the right way.

18. TCU

A TCU win over Texas on September 8th means the Horned Frogs stand an outstanding shot of
playing in a BCS bowl. If they lose to Texas they will once again be headed for a berth in the
Poinsettia Bowl. Those last two statements in and of itself is a good enough reason for an NCAA
Tournament in football.

19. Boise State

I can honestly say that I doubt I will ever watch a better college football game than the Boise State-
Oklahoma tilt from last season. It was like Rocky IV except in real life.

Do I think the Broncos are going to shag the BCS prom queen for a second straight season?
Probably not. Ian Johnson and Ryan Clady are both NFL players on the offensive side of the ball.
However, I think the uncertainty at quarterback drops them slightly behind Hawaii in the WAC. Plus I
cannot see an undefeated Colt Brennan and the Rainbow Warriors blowing it against Boise State on
the Islands.

20. Clemson

I honestly believe Tommy Bowden is holding onto pictures of Clemson’s president receiving a blow
job from a transvestite hooker. The only reason his teams crack the top 20 is because their superior
talent can get them to 8 wins.

21. Penn State

The Nittany Lions could be a sleeper. Dan Connor is the best linebacker in the country and Derrick
Williams is due for a bust out season. The only thing that could hold Penn State back are questions
at both running back and along the offensive line.

22. Georgia

As long as Mark Richt is the coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, they will continue to be the Susan Lucci of
the SEC. Richt is a great recruiter but an extremely shaky game coach.

23. Purdue

20 starters return for a Boilermaker team that will be a real pest in the Big 10. They should be 6-0
going into “The Big House” and have a style of offense that could give the Wolverines problems.
Quarterback Curtis Painter is the best player you have never heard of.

24. Auburn

The Tigers have arguably the toughest schedule in the country as they play on the road against
Florida, LSU, Arkansas and Georgia. Getting one win out of those four games should be considered
good. Toss in a nonconference home game against a national sleeper in South Florida and you
might be looking at a good team that could have a mediocre record.

25. Miami

Their game on September 8th against Oklahoma will determine their season. A poor showing and I
think they fold up shop. If they lose a competitive ballgame or win then they become a serious threat
in the ACC..

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me at