C-USA shut out of Top
The Top 25 Notebook
Even though 13 more reporters thought Miami
was a better team, Florida sits atop the first Associated Press poll of
There was definitely no consensus as to
who is the best in the land. Five schools received votes for the top spot.
The Big 12 received an amazing three teams
in the top five, while the Big 10 has no team in the top 10.
Defending national champion Oklahoma slid
from its perch atop the college football landscape all the way down to
Photo courtesy of ECU Sports Media
Conference USA didn't make a dent in the Top 25 in the
preseason polls, but the East Carolina Pirates could storm into the rankings
when the season gets underway.
Where's Conference USA in all this madness?
Four teams can be found in the also-ran section, otherwise known as the
East Carolina received 65 points. Louisville
amassed 53 points and Texas Christian slides in at the bottom with 7 measly
Expect that to change as the season goes
on. Most experts agree that C-USA has tons of talent; they just aren't
sure where it lies.
Obviously some think highly of East Carolina
and Louisville, but Southern Miss is always on voters' minds, and just
about everyone thinks
Alabama-Birmingham will field one of the
best defenses in the nation.
No one knows what to think of C-USA.
Is it composed of solid teams that just
seem to beat each other up, or is it a conference that will increasingly
assert itself nationally in the
years to come?
Now that there are more than just one or
two teams in the conference that have the ability to be considered among
the top 25, some
answers will develop during the course
of the season.
The conference continues to grow more powerful
each year, but has found it difficult to shed its reputation as a lightweight
conference riding the laurels of great
Adding schools like TCU helps, but it doesn't
put muscle in a conference.
A conference grows powerful by hiring coaches
who can recruit top-flight talent and can teach the players how to win.
C-USA will discover
this when Dana Dimel's Cougars march into
the Top Ten in the next few years.
I know, I know; it's a bit premature to
shove the Cougars into the penthouse of college football, but Dimel is
filling the elevator with
Cougars. It won't be long before he'll
close the doors and press the penthouse button. But I digress.
Trouble in Tallahassee?
Florida State might be the most interesting
team to watch this season. Many consider the Seminoles vulnerable.
This may be the year they surrender the
Atlantic Coast Conference crown, which they've held since joining the conference,
to a strong
Georgia Tech squad.
The Seminoles return only 10 starters,
having lost leaders Chris Weinke, Marvin Minis and Jamal Reynolds, among
Chris Rix, a redshirt freshman, will start
at quarterback, and to make matters worse, FSU just lost one of its most
athletic players of the year.
Anquan Boldin tore his ACL.
The bright side? Last time they returned
fewer starters (nine) in 1993, FSU won the national championship.
Most Overrated Team -- Oklahoma
Yes, Oklahoma returns such superstars as
Rocky Calmus and Roy Williams, but Heisman runner-up Josh Heupel is gone
and the current
starter at quarterback, Nate Hybl, just
isn't the same.
Last year was a perfect season in more
ways than one for the Sooners. Everyone played above his talent level and
the injury bug left them
To expect the Sooners to go two years in
a row without suffering another major injury is foolish. Also, the famed
offense that wowed
everyone at the beginning of last season
seemed to stall a bit toward the end of the year.
If the Sooners finish in the Top 10, I'll
Most Underrated Team -- Nevada-Las Vegas
With only 12 points in the current poll,
the Running Rebels don't have many fans in the media. However, don't be
surprised if they pop up
in the Top 25 and make a run at Colorado
State for the Mountain West crown.
Quarterback Jason Thomas, a dark horse
for the Heisman, keys a run-and-gun offense that will be one of the tops
in the land.
While they won't be much of a defensive
team, Coach John Robinson will find a way to outscore just about everyone
For those of you with satellite dishes,
the game against Northwestern on Sept. 7 should be one of the better games
of the year.
More than 100 points scored in the game
should not shock anyone.
Game of the Week -- Oklahoma vs. North
For the starved college football fan, the
six games on tap this weekend make for slim pickings, but they will do
It will be interesting to see how Oklahoma's
new starting quarterback Nate Hybl holds up against the fierce North Carolina
Oklahoma is favored by 22 points, but this
game should be much closer than that.
All future Houston Texans fans should watch
UNC defensive end Julius Peppers, as he just might be the top pick in the