We've been running heavy on expansion during this offseason, especially this week as we hit on the ACC's need to make some big time bank this negotiation cycle, recapped our own coverage of the expansion event and devled into the SEC's ability to add new teams and supplement revenue. Today we'll take a step out of the board room, get away from the meetings and get back on to the field; sort of.
There is one thing that every college football looks forward to as their signal to start salivating for the start of the season; preview mags. Earlier this week thanks to Spencer over at EDSBS we got a heads up as to when the preview magazines will be hitting newstands. Per the Orlando Sentinel here's the critical dates:
Athlon drops May 27th
The Sporting News debuts June 1st
Phil Steele blesses us with his college football bible on June 8th
While the mere knowledge that we're less than two weeks away from getting our first look at the nation through the preview magazines is intoxicating, the folks over at Team Speed Kills have pointed us in a more helpful direction. We've got Lindy's as the first to release both their preseason Top 25 and Pre-Season All-American teams. Even though Lindy's isn't the most accurate publication the fact that their is already fodder for discussion warrants a look at the rankings and the teams.
Read more to see the Top 25 and All-American Teams
Here's their pre-season Top 25:
2. Boise State
3. Ohio State
8. Virginia Tech
13. North Carolina
17. Georgia Tech
19. West Virginia
24. Penn State
Upon looking at this a few things come to mind:
-The BCS leagues dominate as usual but Boise State and TCU are both set up to have a shot at not only a second straight BCS Bowl bid but a legitimate shot at a BCS national title game appearance.
-SEC bias might not be true, even though the league lands five teams in the rankings only Florida (5) and Bama (1) appear to be given the national title contender treatment. Arkansas (16), LSU (18) and Georgia (21) look to be quality ball clubs but the league doesn't have the 4 team top 12 logjam of a season ago.
-The Big East, a bit lofty in my estimation with the transition going on at Cincinnati (new head coach, Gilyard to the draft) but with three teams the league equals the Big XII and passes the Pac 10.
-Speaking of the Pac 10 no team in the top ten according to Lindy's. The Trojans are the closest at 12 with Oregon sitting at 15 following their tumultuous offseason. Stanford is a team that will flirt with preseason Top 25's as the magazines start to come in the next three weeks.
-For the Big Ten my first thought is "Wow, Wisconsin is ranked to high" but then I remembered that the last thing folks saw was them dismantling a shivering Miami team in their bowl game. Ohio State (3) should again be the class of the league with Iowa as their true competition. As far as Wisconsin goes, I'll believe it when I see it.
-Four ACC teams make the list and while I think we'll see Virginia Tech higher in other publications the biggest ACC news is the omission of Florida State. The Noles have the best returning offense in the league but question marks on defense. The Heels at 13 was another surprise as it is the universal concensus that LSU (18) will be the favorite in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff on September 4th.
-Four non-BCS teams make the list and while TCU, Utah and Boise State are the usual suspects seeing Houston and ITB's favorite midget quarterback Case Keenum ranked is refreshing. The Cougs will have to find some defense if they hope to climb in the rankings.
-Texas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The usual suspects out of the Big XII. No surprises here and it looks like, at least for the moment, that Mizzou, Kansas and Texas Tech are back in the role of out of sight, out of mind.
Here's their pre-season All-American Teams:
Lindy’s All-America Offensive Team
First team Second team
QB Kellen Moore 6-0 187 Jr. Boise State Ryan Mallett 6-7 238 Jr. Arkansas
RB Mark Ingram 5-10 215 Jr. Alabama Jacquizz Rodgers 5-7 188 Jr. Oregon State
RB Dion Lewis 5-8 195 So. Pittsburgh Noel Devine 5-8 175 Sr. West Virginia
WR Michael Floyd 6-3 220 Jr. Notre Dame Jonathan Baldwin 6-5 225 Jr. Pittsburgh
WR A.J. Green 6-4 205 Jr. Georgia Julio Jones 6-4 211 Jr. Alabama
TE Kyle Rudolph 6-6 265 Jr. Notre Dame Lance Kendricks 6-4 239 Sr. Wisconsin
C Mike Pouncey 6-4 310 Sr. Florida Kristopher O’Dowd 6-5 300 Sr. USC
OL Rodney Hudson 6-2 285 Sr. Florida State Justin Boren 6-3 320 Sr. Ohio State
OL Stefen Wisniewski 6-3 297 Sr. Penn State John Moffitt 6-5 323 Sr. Wisconsin
OL Gabe Carimi 6-7 315 Sr. Wisconsin Nate Solder 6-9 300 Sr. Colorado
OL Anthony Castonzo 6-7 295 Sr. Boston College Matt Reynolds 6-6 329 Jr. BYU
PK Kai Forbath 6-0 192 Sr. UCLA PK Blair Walsh 5-10 185 Jr. Georgia
-No real surprised here and the rankings are all pretty evenly distributed. No Bama players on the offensive line, respect given to the Big East's dynamic duo of Baldwin and Lewis and the Broncos get quarterback Kellen Moore on the first team. Folks will be splitting the Floyd-Green-Jones hairs until someone separates during the season but for now all three are about equal in terms of ability to be the best receiver in the nation.
Lindy’s All-America Defensive Team
First team Second team
DL Adrian Clayborn 6-3 282 Sr. Iowa Cameron Heyward 6-5 288 Sr. Ohio State
DL Greg Romeus 6-6 270 Sr. Pittsburgh Robert Quinn 6-5 260 Jr. North Carolina
DL Stephen Paea 6-1 311 Sr. Oregon State Jeremy Beal 6-3 261 Sr. Oklahoma
DL Jared Crick 6-6 285 Jr. Nebraska Allen Bailey 6-4 288 Sr. Miami
LB Greg Jones 6-1 228 Sr. Michigan State Travis Lewis 6-2 232 Sr. Oklahoma
LB Von Miller 6-3 240 Sr. Texas A&M Dont’a Hightower 6-4 260 Jr. Alabama
LB Quan Sturdivant 6-2 230 Jr. North Carolina Luke Kuechly 6-3 225 So. Boston College
CB Patrick Peterson 6-1 211 Jr. LSU Kendric Burney 5-9 180 Sr. North Carolina
CB Prince Amukamara 6-1 205 Sr. Nebraska Stephon Gilmore 6-1 188 So S. Carolina
S Rahim Moore 6-1 195 Jr. UCLA Mark Barron 6-2 210 Jr. Alabama
S DeAndre McDaniel 6-1 210 Sr. Clemson Tyler Sash 6-1 210 Jr. Iowa
P Drew Butler 6-2 203 Jr. Georgia Chas Henry 6-3 222 Sr. Florida
-With Clayborn, Heyward, Quinn and Romeus we have the deepest group of the entire All-American list, all four ends have the chance to be top 15 NFL draft picks and each possesses a different playing style that suits their body and team scheme. Allen Bailey is a bit of a surprise on the team as he's one of the physical freaks of this list but has yet to be a consistently productive player for Randy Shannon. Other notable omissions from the defense include Bruce Carter (LB) and Marvin Austin (DT) from the Tar Heels, both listed on Mel Kipers Big Board.
The cornerback position looks solid as Stephon Gilmore is a talented corner for the Gamecocks and Patrick Peterson is the best in the nation. There is truly a plethora of skilled safeties in this group and although none is the next Eric Berry this class doesn't have the Berry to Earl Thomas drop off that existed in the 2010 group.
Its a mighty fine start folks so feel free to drop your thoughts on this early list and as the mags come out we'll make sure to get plenty of commentary on their selections.