Top 25 for 2010: Tech fans won’t like this; UGA fans might

The Crimson Tide will be high again, but dynastic? (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

The Crimson Tide will be high again in 2010, but dynastic? (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Some folks crank out a preseason Top 25 during the fourth quarter of the BCS title game. I didn’t, for two reasons: First, I was still too astonished by Mack Brown’s shovel-pass-before-the-half to have a coherent thought; second, I wanted to wait and see which juniors were leaving. The shovel pass rankles still, but we now have clarity regarding the NFL early entrants. And here we go:

1. Alabama: Sports Illustrated just proclaimed the Tide a dynasty, which is cart-before-the-horse stuff. Wasn’t it this time a year ago that we were saying Florida was unbeatable?

2. Iowa: Football, as with all things in life, is cyclical. And we saw in the bowl season that teams from the slow and boring Big Ten looked neither slow nor boring.

3. Oregon: Football is cyclical. (Am I repeating myself?) There’s room at the top of the Pac-10, and coming off one Rose Bowl the fleet Ducks — is that an oxymoron? — are poised to go back.

4. Ohio State: Here we have a second Big Ten team before we come to our second SEC representative. I’m not trying to be a heretic. I just think Terrelle Pryor is really good.

5. Boise State: The Broncos leave their blue turf to play Virginia Tech in Washington, D.C., next season. I’m sorry, but I don’t see them winning that game.

6. Florida: Lost Tim Tebow. Lost three big-time defenders. Might lose the head coach. Probably won’t lose more than one regular-season game, though. Cupboard’s not entirely bare.

7. Texas: I keep hearing that Garrett Gilbert showed signs in the BCS title game of being a top-flight quarterback. I thought he showed signs of being not nearly as good as Colt McCoy.

8. Virginia Tech: If you’re looking for the nation’s most consistently overrated team, look first to Blacksburg. But I see the Hokies winning the ACC in 2010, which I guess makes me complicit.

9. Nebraska: Scan these ratings and you won’t find LSU. How long before the Tigers make a hard run at Bo Pelini, who has done nice work in Lincoln, to replace Les Miles? Not long, I think.

10. TCU: Interesting, is it not? With all the coach-swapping we’ve just seen, two guys still in place are the two who coached the Fiesta Bowl — TCU’s Gary Patterson and Boise’s Chris Petersen.

11. Wisconsin: Earlier I noted that the Big Ten isn’t all that ponderous anymore. It is, however, still powerful. Check out this offensive line if you’re a fan of road-grading.

12. North Carolina: It hasn’t yet happened for Butch Davis in Chapel Hill, but it’s getting closer. Last season he had the D. Next season he upgrades the O and finishes ahead of the reigning ACC titlist.

Iowa will be better in 2010. Tech will not. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Iowa will be better in 2010. Tech will not. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

13. Arkansas: Want a heartwarming story? Bobby Petrino upsets Alabama on Sept. 25, striking a blow for good guys everywhere. Yes, I’m kidding. About the story and the upset.

14. Pittsburgh: Dave Wannstedt wasn’t much of an NFL head coach, but he has built Pitt into something special. With Brian Kelly no longer at Cincinnati, here’s your Big East beast.

15. Georgia Tech: No, I’m not bailing out on Paul Johnson and his stylized offense. I just don’t think you can lose four of your five best players a year early and expect to be as good.

16. Penn State: Another Big Ten team! This one coached by a guy who fought in the Civil War! (I exaggerate, slightly.) Is the globe spinning backward on its axis? Is global warming real?

17. Oklahoma: We went almost a decade without being able to compile a preseason ranking that didn’t feature Big Game Bob Stoops in the top five. Time’s up on BGBS, I’m afraid.

18. Florida State: Two ways this can go in Year 1 after Saint Bobby — either the ‘Noles fall apart or they reclaim some sense of discipline. I’m taking Door No. 2.

19. South Carolina: This marks the 97th consecutive offseason Gamecock fans are getting geeked up for their big breakthrough. The 97th time just might be the charm, though.

20. Utah: The second-best team in the Mountain West (behind TCU) just might have the best coach (Kyle Whittingham). Tennessee just tried to hire him. He didn’t bite.

21. Georgia: Ten offensive starters return, but the exception is the quarterback. The defense gains Todd Grantham but loses six starters. You might say it’s a good-news-bad-news thing.

22. Navy: I’m not suggesting that losing Paul Johnson was a boost, but it didn’t exactly derail the Middies. They’re 18-9 in two post-PJ seasons. And they still run the ball.

23. Miami: Yes, there are four teams from the ACC Coastal on this list, another reason I don’t see Georgia Tech repeating. Although Tech should beat Miami this time.

24. Oregon State: The second-best team in the Pac-10 should be the Beavers, though it could be Stanford or Cal. It won’t be Southern Cal, though. You know why.

25. Houston: The Cougars have this quarterback. He has passed for 10,691 yards the past two seasons. His name is not Andre Ware. His name is Case Keenum. Pretty good name.

The Georgia D in 2010: Not as many players but better-coached? (AP photo)

The Georgia defense in 2010: Not as many players but better-coached? (AP photo)

539 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Brenda Clayson. Brenda Clayson said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: My college football Top 25 for 2010. Ga. Tech fans won't like it, but UGA fans might. http://bit.ly/80gYie [...]

SECfan

January 21st, 2010
10:52 am

Delbert D.

January 21st, 2010
10:53 am

Seems reasonable enough to me. I think Iowa will make the top ten only if they continue their pattern of miracle escapes.

Kelly Johnson Fan Club

January 21st, 2010
10:55 am

No, I’m not bailing out on Paul Johnson and his stylized offense. I just don’t think you can lose four of your five best players a year early and expect to be as good.

Then why rank them fifteenth?

jeff c.

January 21st, 2010
10:56 am

Nice picks MB. I like your bold predictions on some of those teams like Iowa. I was really impresed with them in the Orange Bowl.

gtg011h

January 21st, 2010
10:56 am

PTC Jacket

January 21st, 2010
10:57 am

That’s okay. We’ll just prove you all wrong. Again.

Elmore Spencer

January 21st, 2010
10:59 am

Tech will be lucky to win 7 games

Dawgs73

January 21st, 2010
10:59 am

Wow, already have pre-pre-season rankings out for next year’s season. I will take my chances and say that UGA will win somewhere between 1-12 games next year. What do you think Mark?

GeoffDawg

January 21st, 2010
10:59 am

I can’t say that I’m an authority on the Iowa program but are they really the second best team in the country. Besides they’re dominating effort over tech, I seem to recall them squeaking by in most of their games. Are they returning 20 starters or something?

Also, if you have Boise State losing to Va. Tech, then why are they ranked three spots ahead of the Hokies?

RD3

January 21st, 2010
11:00 am

Not so fast my friend. I got them Dawgs right up there with the big boys. Just wait and see.

DCbravosfan

January 21st, 2010
11:00 am

great photos of the Bama flag corps/pom-pom girls/hot chicks. this blog could always use more of that!

Daniel

January 21st, 2010
11:00 am

Four Big Ten teams in the top 16 looked a little strange at first. But I honestly can’t think of anyone else who should take their place…the SEC is looking like it’s headed for a down year, the Pac-10’s best program is being headed up by a mad man, and the ACC is still…well, the ACC. Iowa is probably a little high though. Man I can’t wait for September to get here…

willie martinez

January 21st, 2010
11:00 am

I sure do like that picture!

SECfan

January 21st, 2010
11:02 am

Georgia fans have to be satisfied with that ranking. Nothing better than to start out flying under the radar. Alabama on the other hand should be worried, anything less than a national title this year would be considered a failure. Although Tech won’t be nearly as good. CPJ’s offense has been exposed a little and I expect it to continue that way. Let see how he does with a recruiting class ranked 44th in the nation and without Dwyer.

frank james

January 21st, 2010
11:03 am

I was impressed with the Big Ten in the Bowl games. Wisconsin was the most impressive. That league has gained my respect. I liked the way they play the game. Their teams have discipline and if they score, they act like they have done that before. Something that alot of other leagues need to do. Iowa impressed me also.

how2fish

January 21st, 2010
11:03 am

Mark some interesting points you make…but this far out I can’t even agree or disagree on much of it. Still food for thought..hey any word on the Dogs filling the last D coaching sopt yet?

Porty

January 21st, 2010
11:04 am

Why on earth would a Tech fan be unhappy with a Top 15 preseason ranking? Georgia will once again feel the pains of starting a new QB but should capitalize on a soft schedule. The D will be their question mark as lots of eligibility has expired.

willie martinez

January 21st, 2010
11:04 am

Georgia- good news bad news, huh

Larvell "SugarBear" Blanks

January 21st, 2010
11:05 am

MB, what in the world are you sniffing with all of these Big 10 teams in your top 25?? Good grief!

lanier

January 21st, 2010
11:05 am

tech about as i see but Mark you are streching it on Ga. afraid to say what you really think?

Cuttysark

January 21st, 2010
11:05 am

Every season right after the BCS Championship Game the winner is annointed as the next college dynasty. Just like USC and Florida, every season seems to produce enough upsets and drama to show the pundits predictions to be premature. Time will tell how this early list plays out come next season. Let the trash talking begin

For more articles on Georgia Tech Football and the hiring of Al Groh go to http://isportsweb.com.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

January 21st, 2010
11:06 am

Mark, sorry to burst your bubble, but Terrell Pryor just is not that good. Bad decisions and so so accuracy. But they’ll win 10 or 11 games because they play in the ACC North

I wonder

January 21st, 2010
11:07 am

Fair rankings, except for UNC, i see them around 17 or so, not 12. They will have a great defense, but I will have to see the upgrades on O before I believe it.

GeoffDawg

January 21st, 2010
11:08 am

I think you’re also a little too high on UNC and Pitt. Butch Davis and Dave Wannstedt have had some decent success at their respective schools but it seems like they’re always on the cusp of having top flight teams without ever being able to get over the hump. They’ve had more than enough time to show whether or not they have the chops to do it.

If you think Pitt deserves the ranking just because Cinncinati is going to be worse, does that really make Pitt any better? Their record may be better but the conference is going to be down relatively speaking.

Especially relative to the Big Ten in your opinion. It’s like they just learned how to defense the spread or something.

GHOST OF ERK RUSSELL

January 21st, 2010
11:08 am

BRADLEY -FIRST OF ALL ARK TOO HIGH-LSU AND OLE MISS WILL BE TOP 25 ALSO.WHERE IS SOUTHERN CAL OR STANFORD???UGA IS ABOUT RIGHT IF THEY GET OUT OF THE GATE OK.

Jacket Backer

January 21st, 2010
11:08 am

looks about right……honestly, the lower the expectations the better when it comes to CPJ and the jackets……we don’t do well as favorites…….

Go Jackets!!!

Dannyboy

January 21st, 2010
11:08 am

Mark,

Paul Johnson has a “plug-and-play” offfense. If you follow Paul Johnson’s career, you’ll notice that no matter who he has to replace/plugs in on offense, it’s always productive. Thus the beauty of his spread option.

Don’t worry Mark…the “Mark Bradley” blog isn’t a “plug-and-write” blog. It’s not like just anyone can be plugged-in to your blog and the same 20 readers will read it. At least 2-3 readers will not read it out of principle…hopefully your family has more loyalty than that.

BTW…where do I go to trademark “plug-and-play” offense like Pat Riley trademarked “three-peat”?

buzz is wiser

January 21st, 2010
11:09 am

Mark, I don’t have a problem with you ranking us at 15. Honestly I think SI and other national sports outlets ranking us in the top 10 is a little too high. I’m sure we’ll be fine just feel that we have something to prove losing those guys. Others will steo up.

Dawg1

January 21st, 2010
11:10 am

Now I feel better. Mark Bradley and I agree on very little – starting with Iowa… Tech was taylor made for that team. At the end of the year – after Bowl Season – they will be lucky to be in the Top 15.

Gordon

January 21st, 2010
11:10 am

Wow, I’ll take that in a minute. I think Tech will be about 9-4 and UGA the same or one game better.

Make it Rain

January 21st, 2010
11:11 am

UGA won the ACC, shouldn’t they be ranked a little higher???

Reality Check

January 21st, 2010
11:12 am

Ar-kansas barely beat East Carolina in their bowl and didn’t beat a single conference opponent on the road this past year. Quite possibly the worst defense in the SEC now that Willie was fired.Yet you rank them 13??? Put down the pipe Mark.

RxDawg

January 21st, 2010
11:12 am

UGA for national championship 2010.

GT Joe

January 21st, 2010
11:13 am

“… GT can’t lose 3 defensive linemen to the NFL and expect to match the 9 wins from 2008…”

LOL.

cattle dawg

January 21st, 2010
11:13 am

To much kahlua in your coffee this morning Mark? I think by August the dawgs will wind up around the 15 – 18 spot. I dont get your Iowa , Boise , Florida and Va tech.

PMC

January 21st, 2010
11:13 am

Addition by subtraction at Georgia. I think these players they have now will be better than the last crop of seniors. Maybe a bit of rebuilding at GT but honestly they add another head coach in Al Groh. I think he will get more out of most of the talent they have. I think Nesbit will be better and they will still score a lot but the defense will still take a while to come around next year. Tech has an incredible amount of talent on defense lost to the NFL the last 3 years.

GT Joe

January 21st, 2010
11:14 am

Just wondering Mark. What would make UGA any BETTER in 2010?

GeoffDawg

January 21st, 2010
11:16 am

Also, just for the record – I think that ranking for Georgia is about right given the uncertainties facing the team right now. I’m afraid that with the new defensive scheme and breaking in a new QB, we might have a rough 2010 start with significant improvement at the season wears on. If we can get out of September unscathed, we should have a much improved record.

Johnny Weissmuller

January 21st, 2010
11:17 am

Didn’t Oregon lose to OSU in the Rose? How are they ranked higher than the Buckeyes?

UGA is starting a new unproven at the NCAA level QB, how does that make them any better than they are now?

Gt4ever

January 21st, 2010
11:18 am

UGA will not be ranked. The bullpuppy nation will be after Richt’s job…. GT is a top 25 team, just not top 10…..

GeoffDawg

January 21st, 2010
11:19 am

PMC makes a good point. The subtraction of Willie Martinez at DC and Bryan Evans from ever starting in the secondary again will surely be a big bonus for our D efforts.

Dawg stuck in Bham

January 21st, 2010
11:20 am

Yes, good pic of the Bammer girls…I especially like the one on the far left with the potential “Dunlop” disease. She’s got them pants pulled up to keep it in!
Regarding the article…I’d probably rank GT and UGA about the same preseason. Tech will win 8 or 9 games before the bowl. Dawgs win 10 before bowl. Sadly, another loss to UF. For some reason, I just see Ark being a tough one to win, too.
UGA finishes top 10, Tech top 15.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

January 21st, 2010
11:20 am

Mark, I am ready to tell my story. I will reveal all I know. You can have the story, but no pictures. I’m not ready for that. I’m sitting in thinner right now considering my options for next season. Let me know if you want to talk. – Russ

GT Joe

January 21st, 2010
11:20 am

When will the “pundits” learn. Didn’t CPJ teach you that it’s coaching, not talent? He took gailey’s kids and won 9 and 11 games (gailey never cracked 7). If it was talent, UGA would have had a few national titles in the past 10 years.

Al Groh will reiterate this lesson in 2010, with a MUCH improved defense.

CJ

January 21st, 2010
11:22 am

Mark, did losing Joe Cox make UGA’s ranking go up? I don’t understand the confidence in that team. Maybe you just wanted to make everyone happy.

GT71

January 21st, 2010
11:22 am

Mark – Your 2010 Rankings are really interesting. After our experience at the Oragne Bowl, I like Iowa at No. 2. You probably have Tech about right. We will see who rises up to fill the voids. Nice choice with Navy; I hope it happens for them. The Big Ten may make a nice run at the National Championship with OSU or Iowa. My UNC friends will like your No. 12 pick.

Go Tech!

GeoffDawg

January 21st, 2010
11:22 am

Don’t know why but that Bama cheering pic makes me think of body shots….I miss college.

If, Would, Should Have, Next Year

January 21st, 2010
11:22 am

Don’t put to much into pre-season rankings Dawgies, 08 you were #1 and completely embarrassed yourself and when you won the title 30 years ago in 80 I believe you were ranked #16 preseason.

“UGA for national championship 2010.”

Keep dreaming

DA

January 21st, 2010
11:23 am

People at Va Tech don’t care what an overrated “sports columnist” from Atlanta thinks. Games are played on the field.