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OFD Pre-Fall Top 25: No. 10-6

Five more spots are ready to be unveiled in our Top 25 countdown.

Now we begin looking at the team's in serious contention of conference and national titles.

So far, the OFD Pre-Fall Top 25 looks like this:

25. Texas

24. Auburn

23. Mississippi State

22. Missouri

21. Ohio State

20. Michigan State

19. Florida

18. Virginia Tech

17. Georgia

16. Nebraska

15. Oklahoma State

14. USC

13. Wisconsin

12. Notre Dame

11. Arkansas


Today, we break into the Top 10....


10. Florida State Seminoles (4)

I was sky high with the Seminoles stock before the spring, but now I think I’ve come back down to earth with my evaluation. They should still be very good, but I've backed off the national championship talk for now.

I don’t like their schedule, they were maddeningly inconsistent last year, and I’m not quite sure Florida State is ready to handle the pressure they’re going to feel in 2011.

The potential is there to be really good, but I think I’ll be more shocked if they finish any higher than this ranking. Like LSU, it’s odd to think of a FSU team that can be elite without half a dozen well known NFL prospects coming into their prime in college.

Do the Seminoles have that fire power, or are they still a year or two away?


9. TCU Horned Frogs (12)

Same tag-line as the last poll: Maybe this won’t be an undefeated team, but TCU should still be damn good.

They also have a very weird and unbalanced schedule that isn’t doing them any favors with super easy home games and some challenging road contests.

I actually think their national title chances are higher this year, even with what should be a slightly less dominant team, because I foresee a lot of the top teams losing at least one game in 2011. The door is open for the Horned Frogs, I’m just not sure they will be walking through it before entering the Big East.


8. Texas A&M Aggies (7)

I’ve cooled on the Aggies just a little bit, but not enough to drop them outside of the top ten. I still think it’s saying a lot that I have them as the second best team in the new Big 12, with a good chance to beat Oklahoma again and possibly enter a BCS bowl.

The one thing you have to like about A&M is their returning starters on defense. They should be the toughest team in the league to move the ball against, and when that is combined with a strong running game and competent quarterbacking…well you have a recipe for success.

Even though the Aggies have been recruiting better and seem to be entering a little bit of a new-era of dominance, Mike Sherman is still their coach and they typically underachieve ever year, failing to win at least ten games over the past 12 seasons.

However, I think 2011 might be the year they get to 10.


7. Boise State Broncos (8)

Inevitably when making polls such as this one, you have to look at talent plus schedule. And in the case of Boise State, schedule still plays a crucial role.

Despite the usual smattering of cream puffs, the Broncos play Georgia on a neutral field and host TCU on the blue turf in 2011. Those are two huge games to keep the Boise State machine chugging in the right direction as they will be left out in the cold once TCU moves to the Big East.

They lost some really good players, but with Moore back at quarterback this Boise team has the same kind of feeling as Stanford with Luck, except with no coaching turnover. I expect another 10 or 11 win season.


6. South Carolina Gamecocks (9)

I’ve been very reluctant to jump on the Gamecock bandwagon for a variety of reasons in the past, but I think they are going to be so good this year that they will win despite Stephen Garcia, and even head coach Steve Spurrier.

Or let’s just say it will take a lot to mess up back-to-back SEC championship game appearances with this talent and Florida and Georgia not exactly in their prime at the moment.

Because of their defense, I don’t have any problems thinking this is the third best team in the SEC and the front-runner for the eastern division title. Even with a head-case at quarterback, this team still has a budding superstar at running back and possibly the best receiver in the country to lean on.

If South Carolina were in the ACC, we’d be hearing Phil Steele say things like, "9 of my 12 power sets are calling for an undefeated season." Since they play in the SEC things might turn out a little different, but expectations should be high in Columbia.

I'm actually kind of shocked how little hype they are getting this year.