The 2010 season just ended and of course it is time to take a look at who will be next year's players, and this is before everyone jumps to the NFL Draft where after that happens another set op way-too-early projections will pop up again. First up is my top 10 that was posted here earlier and I took a little heat for putting Texas A&M fourth and omitting Ohio State from the top 10, but here is the list again for those who missed it (with commentary here).
4. Texas A&M
6. Oklahoma State
7. Boise State
9. South Carolina
10. Florida State
The site national champs put together a top 50 list and they too are falling in line with the Oklahoma as the number one team in the nation.
The Mountain West is represented in the list with Boise State at six, TCU at 13, Air Force 38th and San Diego State comes in at 43.
The Rivals top 25 puts two teams in the top 25 from the Mountain West with Boise State at the 10 spot with TCU at 15:
10. Boise State Broncos: We don't know who's going to be catching the ball for Boise State now that Austin Pettis and Titus Young have departed, but Boise State's offense should be in good shape as long as Kellen Moore is throwing the ball and able to hand off to Doug Martin. If the Broncos survive their opener against Georgia and win a MWC showdown at TCU, an undefeated season is possible.
15. TCU Horned Frogs: Gary Patterson has developed TCU into the kind of program that now should open every season in the national rankings, but the Horned Frogs have more holes to fill than usual as they replace a star-studded senior class that included QB Andy Dalton and C Jake Kirkpatrick, who won the Rimington Trophy as the nation's best center. TCU isn't facing former MWC members BYU and Utah, but newcomer Boise State likely will be the preseason league favorite.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples puts together his top 25 together with TCU above Boise State at eight and the Broncos coming in at 11.
8. TCU Horned Frogs: It's tough to believe now that in the spring of 2009, there were some who thought Andy Dalton might be unseated at quarterback by then-freshman Casey Pachall. Given Dalton's performance over the past two seasons, that must mean Pachall is pretty good. If he can keep the offense moving, linebackers Tank Carder and Tanner Brock should ensure the Horned Frogs keep punishing opponents on defense in TCU's final season in a non-AQ conference.
11. Boise State Broncos: It only seems as if a vast majority of Boise State's roster has been playing since the Clinton administration because so many of these players started as freshmen. The Broncos still bring back seven starters from last year's defense, and quarterback Kellen Moore will be back for his fourth year as the starter. He won't have receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young, but Moore will be able to lean on tailback Doug Martin.
ESPN's Mark Schlabach has Boise State at five and TCU at 18:
5. Boise State Broncos: The Boise State bus ran off a cliff at Nevada on Nov. 26, as the Broncos' 34-31 overtime loss to the Wolf Pack knocked them out of a BCS bowl game. But it's hard to ignore Boise State's consistency under coach Chris Petersen, who has guided the Broncos to 12 victories or more in each of the last three seasons. It would be a surprise if Boise State isn't a BCS contender again in 2011, its first season in the Mountain West Conference. Boise State will have to replace leading receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young, which won't be easy after they combined to catch 142 passes for more than 2,100 yards with 19 touchdowns in 2010. But quarterback Kellen Moore and running back Doug Martin will be back to lead what should be another high-powered offense. There are also big losses on defense with end Ryan Winterswyk and safeties Jeron Johnson and Winston Venable departing. Boise State opens the 2011 season against Georgia in Atlanta's Georgia Dome, so it will have another opportunity to impress voters.
18. TCU Horned Frogs: We're about to find out whether coach Gary Patterson built a great team or a great program at TCU. After beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO, the Horned Frogs are losing a boatload of talent on both sides of the ball. Four offensive linemen will have to be replaced, along with Andy Dalton, who won more games than any other quarterback in TCU history. Receivers Jimmy Young and Jeremy Kerley also are big losses. On defense, three starters are gone in the secondary, along with two linemen. Casey Pachall and Yogi Gallegos will battle for the quarterback job as the Horned Frogs enter their final season in the MWC before joining the Big East in 2012. They'll play nonconference games at Baylor and home against Texas Tech and SMU.
Of course there will be new revisions of this once signing day is completed, then one after spring football, possibly a an update during the summer and then one final preseason poll. These lists are to tie us over for a little while before the next edition is released.