First and foremost my apologies for the livechat falling through last night it all ended up being a bit of a cluster-you-know-what from a few angles. Pat Johnston was moving and on my end I haven't seen my best friend's little sister in months so with her and her boyfriend in town and inviting me to eat I sort of couldn't pass it up. Especially since I had just missed her birthday weekend. We'll be back on schedule next week folks and we'll talk a little ND and we'll have a fun topic as well; Project Spring Top 25.
But Felder, what is Project Spring Top 25?
It is an idea that Bud Elliott from Tomahawk Nation and I kicked around after our podcast discussing college football scheduling last month. In a bit of a joint effort we're going to lay down our Spring Top 25 in the coming week and I figured, after spending much of last night first deciding how many "rank-able" teams I had on my list going into 2011 season and then deciding which "tier" to put each team in so that when I go to order them later I'll have some easier decisions to make.
Read more to see my break down...
Here's how the madness played out. Warning as Adam Jacobi pointed out last night, that last tier is not exactly PG but that's what it is to me when I am trying to figure out what slaps get into the final four spots in this list.
For those of you that can't read it here is the list of what I've got this far on Project Spring Top 25, they are in no order within the tiers folks:
Top Cluster (5)
Bama, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford
Next Group (10)
Arkansas, Boise State, Florida State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Wisconsin
Not Bottom (6)
Florida, Mizzou, Nebraska, Southern Cal, Texas, Virginia Tech
Holy F@#% (4)
Georgia, Miami, Tulsa, Utah
That's how I've got these guys slotted so far. Keep in mind they're just in alphabetical order as of right now so your complaint may well be about the tier that they fall into or that your team isn't in my Project Spring Top 25 but at least there is no arguing why you're X-spots behind team A. That can start next week when Tomahawk Nation and I knock it out of the park with our final draft Project Spring Top 25.
The Top Cluster is the group of five teams that obviously will be in the Top 5 to come in the next week or so. This Next Group fill the slots from 6 to 15 for the Project Spring Top 25. My Not Bottom tier of course fleshes out the 16-21 and the last category is the final four spots. The first 21 spots were relatively easy but these last four designations were absolutely impossible, ended up with 25 teams that could justify being put into the final four.
Haven't made a move to rank them yet and I'm open to suggestions so feel free to drop them into the comments section or hit me up on the twitter machine folks. A few things to consider before you go ballistic:
I put a decent amount of stock in quarterbacks that seem to be the integral part of their teams' successes. Guys like Gabbert from Mizzou, Dalton at TCU and Taylor at Virginia Tech for example are why those teams aren't where some folks expect them. Meanwhile Bama and Wisconsin, teams that employ more role playing type quarterbacks, remain highly slotted because, as McElroy showed, he is part of the offense, not the offense.
My exception here is Arkansas and that's largely due to my faith in Bobby Petrino. He makes quarterbacks and while Mallett is a phenomenal talent I like the physical ability of Tyler Wilson and he showed me plenty of positives in the Auburn contest.
In the final tier I erred on the side of talent with regard to Miami and UGA. I'm sure UCF, TCU and some other schools seem poised to have better seasons and get more highly ranked during the year than those BCS teams but as it stands now the Canes and Dawgs get my nod because of the talent. Spare me the UCF won the bowl game, if I change my mind the Knights will be in but as for now this is what you've got.
Before you gripe about the transition at Florida and Texas remember that they're probably better top to bottom than your team. I like Muschamp and let's be clear, Charlie Weis wasn't great as a head coach but he's always been a hell of an offensive coordinator. As for Texas they've got a way to go to reach that apex they were at this time in 2010 but the Horns have made some decent coaching moves and I expect to see them take strides in the right direction soon.