College Football Top 25, Plus Best Bets for the Weekend

I was going through my posts the other day and realized that I never put up my pre-season College Football Top 25. Now I realize it seems like I’m cheating by posting it now, but I guess I will have to let you determine from these choices if I deserve the honor system.

Below my Top 25 are my football picks for this week. Last year I was 34-23 (over 60 percent) on my best bet NFL picks, which most of your famous tout sheets would love to be able to say. In the colleges, I would have lost you some money, as my best bets were 29-27. I never play the first week of the NFL, as I feel it’s too much of a crapshoot. On to week 2 we go, below the Top 25.

Scott’s 2006 Pre-Season Top 25

1. Auburn
2. Ohio St.
3. USC
4. Iowa
5. Oklahoma

College Football is very much about scheduling and coaching, as these factors make a lot bigger difference than they do in the NFL. Auburn has one of the Top 10 coaches in college football and a schedule where their toughest games are at home.
While Ohio State lost a lot on defense, only USC seems to be able to reload as consistently as the Buckeyes.
The top 3 coaches currently in the game head up my number 3, 4, and 5 teams. The 2 biggest games of the year are USC/Notre Dame and Ohio State/Iowa.
Lost under the cloud of OU not having Brett Bomar is that the Sooners might have the best defense in 2006. While they have been hurt by so many assistant coaches leaving for head coaching gigs, I like Stoops to rally the team.

6. Virginia Tech
7. Notre Dame
8. Florida St.
9. Georgia
10. West Virginia

The Hokies’ Beamer is one of the best 5 coaches and they play a very advantageous schedule.
I put Weis as the other top 5 coach, but the Irish have too many tough games to go unscathed.
While I’m not a fan of the Seminoles offensive gameplan, they have too many great young athletes not to be a contender.
Former Seminole assistant Mark Richt is 6th on my top coaches list and he will keep the Bulldogs in the race.
The Dawgs were embarrassed by the number 10 team in the Sugar Bowl, but if they played this year it would be a different story. Fortunately, the Mountaineers have such an easy schedule they should only lose a game.

11. Tennessee
12. Texas
13. Miami
14. Nebraska
15. Louisville

The best college football magazine hands down is Phil Steele’s preview. He opened my eyes to the Vols bad luck in 2006, as they definitely underperformed their Pythagorean. With Cutcliffe back as offensive co-coordinator they will jump right back in it.
Vince Young might have been the best college football player I have ever seen. He also saved Mack Brown’s ass a few times. 2006 is a different year, as I have them losing twice.
The talent level is high, but the Canes have chemistry problems, which will once again keep them from playing in a BCS game.
Nebraska plays in the weakest division of any major conference, the Big 12 North. Their record will exceed their ability getting them up to their highest finish in a years.
I have no idea how Louisville manages to stay so good, year after year, since Kentucky high school football is substandard and there are so many SEC schools they recruit against. I’m guessing they must have easier academic standards, as they should be competitive again, with quite possibly the best QB/RB combo in college football.

16. California
17. LSU
18. Boise St.
19. Michigan
20. Clemson

Another top-10 coach is Tedford in Berkley. They would rate higher if not playing their 2 toughest games on the road.
LSU has a brutal schedule, which will keep them from having a better record, but they are Top 10 on the talent rankings.
An incredibly easy schedule might have Boise St. going undefeated, new coach or not.
One of the worst coaches in the game is the Wolverines’ Carr. Each year they underperform and I expect this will be his last as coach, as they will struggle to go 8-3.
Clemson is too inconsistent for me to rate them higher. They seem to play to their competition, so expect a big upset for and against them in 2006.

21. Michigan St.
22. Purdue
23. Florida
24. Oregon
25. Texas Tech

The Spartans are my biggest surprise of 2006, as they have a top-notch QB and a favorable schedule.
The Boilermakers are another surprise, as they were a huge disappointment in 2005. They also benefit from an easier slate.
The Gators, on the other hand, might have the toughest schedule in college football. Leak is not a good fit in Meyer’s offense, which makes for a disappointing year in Gainsville.
The Ducks are a quality team, but face their 3 toughest league opponents on the road and face the Sooners in the non-conference. The OU game could determine their season.
The Red Raiders have the best passing attack in college football, but it creates shoot-outs, which gives the defense little chance against quality opponents.

(NOTE: This was written before the season. How Iowa and Oklahoma have looked so far, I don’t look so good. Now my Texas and Tennessee rankings do look a lot better, though.

College Best Bets

3 star Michigan St. (+2.5) Pittsburgh
3 star Oklahoma (+4.5) Oregon
3 star Tennessee (+4) Florida
2 star Nebraska (+17.5) USC
2 star Syracuse (+3) Illinois

The Spartans are one of my teams on the rise and I like betting against Wannstadt. The Sooners are getting too many points here, as I see them winning by at least a field goal. While Spurrier never seemed to have much trouble winning in Knoxville, I see the Vols winning a tight one. While USC has better talent and coaching, too many distractions keep this game closer. Not a fan of either coach, as they are more recruiters than tacticians, but the Orangemen have a decent d-line, which should help them win the battle in the trenches.

NFL Best Bets

3 star Green Bay (-3) New Orleans
3 star Redskins (+7) Cowboys
2 star San Diego (10.5) Tennessee
2 star New England (-6) NY Jets
2 star Carolina/Minnesota (37 under)

If the Packers can’t win this game at home, it’s time to rethink the whole season. Even with Portis out, the Skins defense will keep this game close. As long as Rivers is solid, the Chargers will be one of the Top 5 teams in the NFL. The outcomes of last week give the Pats good value against the Jets. With Steve Smith hurt, expect to see the Panthers play more conservatively; something the Vikings will be doing all year. Go under.

4 thoughts on “College Football Top 25, Plus Best Bets for the Weekend

  1. 2.  3-2 isn’t that impressive. I think the real locks were Ravens over the Raiders, Falcons over Tampa Bay and Colts over Houston. Something that I parlayed with the San Diego game into a nice payday.

  2. 3.  Nice run with the college picks. Would have been 5-0 if not for that pesky 1/2 point in the Nebraska – SC game.

  3. 4.  So much for that Oklahoma defense. Despite my Oregon allegiances, I’m not going to argue that Oklahoma got seriously jobbed on the replays in some very important situations — but they gave up an awful lot of yards to an inexperienced quarterback in Dennis Dixon, and probably would have given up more points than they did if not for the turnovers. (For which, I suppose, they deserve credit. Meh.)

    That said, the Ducks always score. Their problem is, and apparently always will be, defensive coordinator Nick Alliotti. How many times can one guy cost his team a BCS shot (including a national title shot in 2002, grumble grumble) by fielding defenses that routinely give up 35-40 points to good teams before he gets fired? Infinitely many, if he coaches for Oregon, I guess.

    Gonna get thumped by the Trojans, though. As per usual.

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