Coming off their Jan. 6 win in the Rose Bowl over Michigan, the Trojans have depth, with senior quarterback John David Booty taking the snaps. Even though USC’s most exciting attribute is their explosive offense, their defense is the thing to watch. Pac-10 teams will struggle to establish a running game against USC.
Filling in the number two slot on ESPN’s preseason list is LSU. Teams in the SEC play in a different conference than the rest of college football all together. SEC players are bigger, faster and more exciting. The SEC seems to always breed the NFL’s best offensive lineman. For LSU, all eyes are on 319-pound-guard Will Arnold, who has had a number of surgeries leaving many to wonder how the big man will physically hold up in his team’s quest for a national championship.
Coming in at number three are those tea-sippers from Texas, led by quarterback Colt McCoy. The Longhorns are coming off a 10-3 season last year with two straight losses to Kansas State and Texas A&M. Believe me, the Horns have their sights set on a Big 12 Championship Game, with that A&M loss leaving a rancid residue in their mouths. Revenge is at the top of their list.
It is also no surprise that neither the Buffs nor the CSU Rams made it into the ESPN preseason “power 16.” They usually don’t. It’s tough company. CSU, although fun to watch and a team for the people, doesn’t have the talent pool these big name universities have.
And CU? Well, who knows what the rap sheet will be this year, but I am sure it will be long and it won’t be pretty. I think everybody in Colorado can look forward to the Mile High Showdown in Denver on Sept. 1, when the Rams take on the Buffs in this emotionally driven game for bragging rights as top-dog in Colorado.
Here is the complete “preseason power 16” from the brains at ESPN:
4. West Virginia
7. Virginia Tech
12. Ohio State
13. Penn State
15. Florida State
Rockies on Bumpy Road in Division Games
The Colorado Rockies are still struggling to reach the top of the National League West. This week’s games will say a lot about how far the Rocks want to go this season. On Tuesday, Colorado took a beating from the Padres, 8-0, but came back to win on Wednesday, 3-0 over San Diego, with some great pitching from right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who struck out nine batters in six shutout innings.
For Jiminez, the strikeouts were the second most in club history by a rookie. The Rockies will have taken on the Padres again on Thursday, and then will face division rival Dodgers in a three-game series starting today in Los Angeles. The Rocks are currently five games out of first place and three games behind the second-place Padres.
And for all you mountain lovers from the East Coast, the Yankees have lost two straight (Tuesday and Wednesday losses to Baltimore) and will be taking on Detroit in a four-game series that started Thursday. The Red Sox took two of three from Tampa Bay and will be in Fenway Park this weekend to take on the Angels.
Oh yeah, it’s not too early to start peeking at those wildcard standings as well. In the American League, Seattle and New York are both currently tied for the wildcard spot, while Cleveland and Detroit are both one game behind. As is stands now, San Diego holds the wildcard spot in the National League with Atlanta just a half game behind.