Today we’ll take a look at part two of my college football top 10 rankings. In case you missed yesterdays post on FDT, here’s a link to my breakdown of teams 10 through seven.
No. 6 Texas
The Longhorns finished last year as the Big 12 champs and rode their victory against Nebraska into the National Championship game against Alabama. Unfortunately for them, their star quarterback Colt McCoy injured his shoulder in the first quarter of that game and ultimately it was too much to overcome as Texas fell to Crimson Tide.
This season Texas will be breaking in a new quarterback along with a new offensive scheme. Sophomore Garrett Gilbert will take the reigns under center as the Longhorns will switch from a spread offense to a more traditional pro-style offense. Coach Mack Brown has emphasized the need to be more effective in the running game and that will mean increased production from running backs Tre’ Newton and Fozzy Whitaker. Despite losing receiver Jordan Shipley the Longhorns are well stocked at receiver and their offensive line has great depth. Their offensive success will come down to the play of Gilbert.
Defensively corner back Aaron Williams is the star and should be considered as an All-American candidate. Along with Williams, their secondary is deep with safety Blake Gideon manning the middle of the field from his safety position. Losing defensive end Sergio Kindle will hurt, but let’s be honest, Texas reloads more then it rebuilds and the talent is there.
No. 5 Virginia Tech
Tech comes into the season with high expectations after finishing last season
with a 10-3 record and dismantling Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The offense is loaded with quarterback Tyrod Taylor entering his senior season and sophomore Ryan Williams expected to improve after a breakout freshman campaign. The biggest problem lies on the offensive line, where the Hokies will have to replace two offensive linemen they lost to graduation.
Defensively they lose a lot, but Bud Foster always produces one of the strongest units in the country. Strong safety Davon Morgan is the star player of the defense and he will hold down that defensive secondary, which should be the strong point of the defense.
Much like last year when it opened up against Alabama, Virginia Tech opens this season against Boise State, a team that will be previewed tomorrow. If the Hokies can get past that game, look out for them to make some noise in the National Championship discussion.
No. 4 Iowa
Iowa returns 14 starters from a team that finished 11-2 and won the Orange Bowl last season. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi is cool and collected in the mold of Coach Kirk Ferentz. Stanzi can manage the game effectively but the moment an opposing defense sleeps on him, he’ll burn them. Running back Jewel Hampton is back after missing last year with a knee injury and he’ll be complimented by Adam Robinson who ranked fourth in the Big Ten in rushing last season. The offensive line will have to replace three starters, but Ferentz is a master offensive line coach so expect that unit to be just as strong as it was last year.
Defenively, Iowa returns eight starters, none more important then defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who in my opinion would have been a top 10 selection if he would have declared for last year’s NFL draft. He will anchor a defensive line that should easily be the best in the Big Ten and perhaps one of the strongest in the nation. The biggest question mark is at linebacker where the Hawkeyes will have to replace Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds, both of whom are now on NFL rosters.
The schedule plays in their favor with their two toughest games being at home against Penn State and Ohio State. The Hawkeyes should be considered one of the favorites to play in the National Championship game.