1. Florida — Yes, the Blessed Tebow returns, but so does the entire defense from last year’s champs.
2. Southern Cal — Even with losses on defense, no one has more talent at his disposal than Pete Carroll.
3. Texas — Longhorns’ real McCoy could snare his own Heisman if Texas can run the table.
4. Oklahoma — Defending Heisman winner Bradford is great, but tight end Gresham is even better.
5. Ohio State — Thanks to a Pryor engagement, Buckeyes might lurk in the national title chase.
6. Alabama — If Crimson Tide ever unearth a truly potent passer, look out.
7. LSU — Expect a bounce-back year in Baton Rouge, where talent is not a question.
8. Penn State — Royster, efficient QB Clark will keep Nittany Lions in the running for the Roses.
9. Virginia Tech — Hokies’ national title hopes will die early with an erratic offense.
10. Georgia — Bulldogs are far less heralded but nearly as talented as a season ago.
11. Boise State — Just a typical year in Potato Land, where winning 11 games sounds about right.
12. California — Golden Bears might have nation’s Best tailback, but they need more to beat Southern Cal.
13. Mississippi — Despite excessive hype, Rebels have the schedule and QB (Snead) to come through.
14. Oregon State — Beavers will follow their usual plan: mediocre early, dominant late.
15. Georgia Tech — So who still thinks the triple option won’t work in the ACC?
16. Oklahoma State — National title contenders play defense, and the Cowboys often do not.
17. Kansas — Arduous schedule could scuttle Jayhawks’ Big 12 title hopes — again.
18. Oregon — Run-happy Ducks unlikely to fade after transition from Bellotti to Chip Kelly.
19. Nebraska — Didn’t take long for Bo Pelini to revitalize the Cornhuskers, who could win Big 12 North.
20. TCU — For a textbook defensive display, see Horned Frogs’ Sept. 12 visit to Virginia.
21. Florida State — With a dominant line and a feisty defense, Seminoles should win ACC Atlantic.
22. Michigan State — Not quite on Big Ten’s top tier, but Spartans are a clear favorite for third.
23. Utah — From unbeaten to… merely contending for a Mountain West title. Life could be worse.
24. Texas Tech — Aaargh! Pirate-loving Leach will look up at three salty scalawags in tough Big 12 South.
25. Cincinnati — Even with 10 lost starters on defense, it remains unwise to discount mad genius Kelly.
26. Clemson — Spiller-for-Heisman campaign starts (and could end) Sept. 10 against Georgia Tech.
27. West Virginia — The QB limelight finally belongs to longtime understudy Jarrett Brown.
28. Iowa — Hawkeyes will miss Shonn Greene a lot, star defensive tackles even more.
29. Brigham Young — Cougars ended last year with a thud, but program still looks capable.
30. N.C. State — Wolfpack’s omnipresent caveat: If Russell Wilson can stay healthy…
31. Miami — If maturing Hurricanes survive opening gauntlet, the ACC would be wise to be wary.
32. Notre Dame — Schedule looks conducive to a nine-win season, but Irish are far from elite.
33. Rutgers — Laughable nonconference schedule ensures Scarlet Knights won’t receive benefit of doubt.
34. Pittsburgh — Losses of McCoy and McKillop, questions at QB will set back Panthers.
35. South Carolina — Ol’ Ball Coach not any closer to bringing an SEC title to Columbia.
36. East Carolina — Defending C-USA champ has a chance at another crown — and a few more upsets.
37. Illinois — The ultimate talent vs. teaching saga will be played out this fall with the Zooker.
38. North Carolina — Tar Heels could be better, but luck played a huge role in 8-5 season in 2008.
39. Arizona State — Football mercenary Erickson should help Sun Devils bounce back from shaky year.
40. Northwestern — No Ohio State + No Michigan + Penn State at home = Stealthy Big Ten title pick.
41. Missouri — Expect a step back from the Daniel years; realistically, Tigers weren’t that good in 2008.
42. Tennessee — Will Kiffin still be running his mouth after losing to Florida by 30?
43. Houston — Keenum just the latest system quarterback on a good team with gaudy numbers.
44. South Florida — Fading Bulls would be national title contenders if season ended in mid-October.
45. Wisconsin — Another mediocre season might hint at stagnation in Madison.
46. Wake Forest — Deacons sustained serious losses on defense, but Grobe will find a way to win seven.
48. Michigan — All eyes on Rodriguez as Wolverines attempt recovery from abominable 3-9.
49. Arkansas — Look for an uptick from Razorbacks, just not into top half of the SEC.
50. Central Michigan — Veteran QB LeFevour could march Chippewas to another Motor City Bowl.
51. Connecticut — Not much buzz with Huskies, who lose power rusher Brown to the pros.
52. Maryland — Schizophrenic Terps are 6-2 against ranked teams since 2007, 8-10 against everyone else.
53. Southern Mississippi — With tailback Fletcher reinstated, Eagles could surprise in C-USA.
54. Tulsa — Golden Hurricane have lots to replace on prolific offense, but winning eight games is plausible.
55. Colorado — It still ain’t intramurals in Boulder, where the time to win is just about now.
56. Arizona — After QB Tuitama’s graduation, how will the Wildcats fare on offense?
57. Western Michigan — Broncos probably the most capable MAC team of derailing Central Michigan.
58. Auburn — The question is revitalizing the Tigers; the answer might not be “5-19 Gene” Chizik.
59. Vanderbilt — Commodores’ offense requires improvement to secure another bowl bid.
60. Boston College — Longtime assistant Spaziani finally gets his chance with workmanlike Eagles.
61. Nevada — Sure, Wolf Pack’s system helps, but Kaepernick is one of nation’s best QBs.
62. Navy — An Annapolis air raid? Ricky Dobbs Phenomenon means a little more passing for Mids.
63. Kentucky — Wildcats getting better and better at scratching out bowl berths against the odds.
64. UCLA — A boom-or-bust team in dire need of improvement at quarterback.
65. Stanford — Cardinal not far from an extended breakthrough under Harbaugh.
66. Colorado State — After surprise bowl berth comes the tough part: returning to MWC contention.
67. Air Force — Tough sledding for Falcons, who must visit Brigham Young, Navy and Utah.
68. Virginia — Installing a spread offense could help — but maybe not early in the season.
69. Minnesota — Gophers to christen on-campus, open-air stadium with a 6-6 product. Uh, yay?
70. Louisville — Cardinals continue fall from Orange Bowl champs to barely relevant in just three years.
71. Troy — Trojans quietly have amassed three straight eight-win seasons; bank on a fourth.
72. Buffalo — Bulls slammed with loss of program career rushing leader Starks to season-ending injury.
73. Fresno State — Like every season, Bulldogs are sure to stun a nonconference foe and lose to a WAC dreg.
74. Duke — Underappreciated QB Lewis could help author Blue Devils’ first winning season since ‘94.
75. Memphis — Looks like another ho-hum .500ish season for the boys in blue.
76. Purdue — Hope is not a strategy — he’s a coach tasked with rebuilding the Boilermakers.
77. Kansas State — The Bill Snyder Era, version 2.0, might not have a promising start; neither did the first.
78. Louisiana Tech — Better than much of the WAC but still not in Boise State’s tier.
79. Temple — Thirty years since last postseason appearance, Golden’s Owls could break through.
80. UTEP — Lots of experience and friendly schedule make Miners a C-USA sleeper.
81. Bowling Green — In muddled MAC East, Falcons could take flight in first year under Clawson.
82. Central Florida — Former Maryland coordinators Taaffe and Blackney reunited in Orlando.
83. UNLV — Despite progress, Rebels still look like a second-division Mountain West team.
84. Northern Illinois — Last year’s MAC surprise could net school’s first back-to-back bowl berths.
85. Washington — Huskies simply cannot be as atrocious as last year; doesn’t mean they’ll be scary.
86. Rice — Key cogs in pitch-and-catch offense gone, but Owls still can go bowling.
87. Syracuse — Orange might not be good, but there’s hope with new coach (and alum) Marrone.
88. Texas A&M — Looking like a Big 12 South cellar dweller thanks to Baylor’s improvement.
89. Mississippi State — New coach Mullen certain to wish he had his old QB Tebow a few times.
90. Arkansas State — Go ahead and bank six wins for remarkably steady Red Wolves.
91. New Mexico — Might be a step back for Lobos before moving forward under Locksley.
92. Florida Atlantic — Improved play from QB Smith could vault Owls even higher.
93. Hawaii — Unveiling the Big McMackin value meal: Would you like tact with that?
94. Marshall — Snyder’s seat has to be toasty after four straight losing seasons.
95. Akron — The new: Zips open new stadium; the old: Zips to finish in middle of MAC.
96. Indiana — At least the basketball team will be much-improved this season.
97. Ohio — Solich, Bobcats need to stem decline of back-to-back middling seasons.
98. San Jose State — Midpack Spartans good at beating bad teams, bad at beating good teams.
99. Ball State — With drastic change of cast, Cardinals back to the MAC’s crammed center.
100. Iowa State — New coach, same problems for bottom-of-the-Big 12 Cyclones.
101. Middle Tennessee — Blue Raiders go for two straight against Maryland with Sept. 19 visit to Byrd.
102. Wyoming — QB uncertainty won’t fix abysmal offense (119th in scoring) or horrid turnover ratio (118th).
103. Kent State — Golden Flashes’ upward mobility aided by return of tailback Jarvis.
104. Washington State — Cougars were dreadful a year ago, which makes “awful” a sign of progress.
105. Florida International — Not far removed from a winless year, Golden Panthers could be respectable.
106. Southern Methodist — Tough for Mustangs to be as bad as back-to-back 1-11 seasons.
107. San Diego State — Aztecs spin coaching wheel again to try to end befuddling decade-plus bowl drought.
108. Utah State — Ex-Utah assistant Andersen assumes experienced roster in Logan.
109. Toledo — Rockets have defeated a Big Six team three years running; look out, Purdue and Colorado.
110. Miami (Ohio) — Cradle of coaches set to spit out fourth straight losing season.
111. Tulane — A bad sign for Green Wave: Punter Thevenot is team’s most touted player.
112. UAB — Brutal midseason stretch (seven of nine on road) could derail rebuilding Blazers.
113. Army — With new coach Ellerson, there’s hope on the Hudson for first time in a decade.
114. UL Monroe — Warhawks still looking for first winning season since moving up in 1994.
115. UL Lafayette — Run-happy Ragin’ Cajuns could rise on the merits of an experienced O-line.
116. Eastern Michigan — New coach English won’t like Eagles’ usual language: far below .500.
117. Idaho — Early schedule is manageable, but Vandals will be stuck near WAC cellar.
118. New Mexico State — Ex-Redskins assistant DeWayne Walker takes over sad-sack Aggies.
119. Western Kentucky — Hilltoppers complete move to top level but should struggle with new status.
120. North Texas — “Dodge Ball” truly an underdog story for team that yielded 47.6 points a game.