We continue our Countdown to No. 1 today with teams 6 through 10. I know some people will disagree on Nebraska at No. 7 but I think this will be a breakout year for the Cornhuskers under Bo Pelini.
I have Oregon at No. 8 and have noticed that some folks don’t have them in the Top Ten or ranked at all. Yeah, the Ducks lost QB Jeremiah Masoli but they have 18 starters coming back from a Rose Bowl team. And Chip Kelly is a really good coach.
So tell me what you think. We’ll have to Top Five on Friday to close out the week.
**–It will be a good season if: The Hawkeyes can replace four starters on the offensive line and running back Jewel Hampton returns to form after sitting out last season with a knee injury. The schedule is set up with Penn State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State at home.
**–It will be a disappointing season if: Quarterback Ricky Stanzi can’t cut down on his interceptions after throwing 15 last season. Stanzi is a gamer and comes up big in big situations. But he also tries to force the ball into coverage.
**–It will be a good season if: The Sooners win the Big 12 South. The Sooners can do it if quarterback Landry Jones picks up where he left off when he subbed for the injured Sam Bradford last season. Oklahoma must replace four first-round draft choices but the Sooners believe this will be one of their better defenses.
**–It will be a disappointing season if: Oklahoma focuses so much on the Oct. 2 game with Texas that it forgets that Florida State is coming to Norman on Sept. 11. In fact, the Sooners have three potentially tough non-conference games with FSU, Air Force and Cincinnati.
**–It will be a good season if: The Ducks win the Pac-10 again and go back to the Rose Bowl, despite the loss of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. There have been some other offseason problems, including one with running back LaMichael James, who will be suspended for the firt game. This is still a very good football team.
**–It will be a disappointing season if: Nate Costa doesn’t come through as the new quarterback. So much of what Chip Kelly does is based on the quarterback and his mobility. Last season Costa subbed for an injured Masoli and completed 20 of 33 passes in a win over UCLA. But he has also had two season-ending knee injuries in his career.
**–It will be good season if: The Cornhuskers get revenge for last season’s controversial finish in the Big 12 championship game by beating Texas on Oct. 16 in Lincoln. Nebraska could get another shot at Texas in the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 4. Beating Texas twice in one season and winning a championship would be a sweet way for Nebraska to say goodbye to the Big 12. Nebraska joins the Big Ten in 2011.
**–It will be a disappointing season if: Nebraska doesn’t win the Big 12 North. The Huskers are strong, even without the great DT Ndamukong Suh. And the Big 12 North is pretty weak.
**–It will be a good season if: The Horned Frogs beat Oregon State in the opener run through the Mountain West again and go to a BCS Bowl for the second straight season. Despite the loss of All-America DE Jerry Hughes, this looks like Gary Patterson’s best team since he’s been in Fort Worth.
**–It will be a disappointing season if: If quarterback Andy Dalton, the MWC offensive player of the year in 2009, struggles or gets hurt. Anything less than BCS bowl will be a disappointment for Horned Frogs.
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Programmng Note: The summertime edition of “Talkin’ Football” continues tonight at 6 p.m. on CSS. Bob Neal, Mark Schlabach, Brady Ackerman and yours truly will continue our discussion of the top teams and the top players to watch as we get ready for the 2010 season. Check it out.