1. USC– Going for their third-straight title and it is getting easier, not harder, to pick them for the top spot. There appears to be no end in sight to the Carroll Dynasty.
2. Florida– What a concoction! Start with an up-and-coming coach, add an innovative offense, throw in a large dose of talent and the result is a program that should slice through the SEC like a hot knife through butter–provided the Gators get up to speed by fall.
3. Louisville– One of six teams that have separated themselves offensively from the rest of the country, the Cardinals should flourish in the Big East.
4. Boise State– We spent all last season poo-pooing them and then they up and almost beat Louisville in the bowl game. These guys are confident–almost cocky–and boast an offensive system that defensive guru Pete Carroll said was as sound as any he had seen on tape in college football. That’s enough for me. Get ready to place your bets on them Sept. 3 when they visit Georgia.
5. Texas A&M– Oklahoma is down slightly and Texas is, well, Texas. That leaves the door open for the best coach in the Big 12–Dennis Franchione–to take advantage.
6. Texas– Texas is still, well, Texas. Which means they have enough talent to go 10-2 every year. And with Vince Young now in full bloom, maybe they can get lucky and beat OU for once.
7. Michigan– They are the Big 10′s version of Texas, with the Big 10′s version of Mack Brown running the show. Just like in the Rose Bowl, they are a shade behind the Longhorns in these rankings.
8. Utah– Why Utah? Why not? Who is going to beat them? Their system is still one of the best around.
9. Virginia Tech– If they get sound quarterback play, they’ll move higher. Great athletes on both sides of the ball.
10. California– I think that Jeff Tedford is somehow going to find an able quarterback to run things. If that happens, the Bears will be very good once more.
On the cusp: Iowa, Miami, Ohio State, Arizona State, Oklahoma
Why does a site called Heismanpundit bother with a Top 10 teams list? Because you can’t analyze the Heisman without understanding who the best teams are.
Last season was a controversial one for our Top 10 list. We refused to put Purdue in our Top 10 after the Boilermakers got off to a 5-0 start and were sitting at No. 5 in the regular polls. A few weeks later, the hate mail ceased as it became clear who was right on that one.
For much of the season, California was our No. 2 team, though our final poll before the bowls did rank Oklahoma in the two spot. People thought we were crazy, but we felt that any team that could take USC to the brink like it did deserved great respect. As it turns out, Cal gave the Trojans a better game than Oklahoma (though the same could be said for Stanford, too).
The Heismanpundit Top 10 teams list is more of a power ranking than anything else. The record of a team is not as important as the way a team wins games. We place a heavy emphasis on how innovative and crafty a coach is, what kind of system the teams run and how much talent is in place.
In the end, it’s mostly just good, clean fun.