2009 NCAA Football Preseason Polls? Already?

You can leave it to the unnaturally addicted college football addicts to already begin speculating about the 2009 season. Alas, only a mere 3 days after Florida was crowned the AP and BCS champion, the boys at Rivals.com already have a preliminary Top 25.

We all know how useful preseason polls are.

Nevertheless, it is great to see Notre Dame in the mix! (Scroll down to 23). Realistically, I feel that it is an appropriate ranking. This team has the potential to be good. Really good. And as the description (and many ND haters) will point out, the schedule is quite favorable. See Nevada, Washington, Washington St.

Could this be the year we finally beat USC? With the development of top recruiting classes finally beginning to materialize, not to mention the strong possibility of another top 5 recruiting class, I think we will at least have a shot. But again…. it always depends on what happens with the defense.

Well, here’s the list. Florida at number 1. Not a big surprise. I mean God Tim Tebow is coming back. And of course, Texas and USC are right up there in the mix after winning ther respective bowl games. LSU being ranked so high is a bit surprising, after having a disappointing season- though they whipped GT in their bowl game. And according to the list, the 2009 BCS buster? Boise State. We’ll see if they go undefeated similar to Utah this year, and clamor for their shot at the title game.

Rivals.com 2009 Preseason Top 25

1. Florida
The Buzz: The potential exists for all 11 defensive starters – and each of their backups – to be back in 2009. And with QB Tim Tebow returning, the Gators will be prohibitive favorites to repeat.
2. Texas
The Buzz: QB Colt McCoy‘s decision to return means the offense again will put up a ton of points – and the running game should be better in 2009. The secondary could be a strength, but the front seven needs some tweaking.
3. USC
The Buzz: The defense will undergo an overhaul, from the coordinator down to the players. But the offense could be truly explosive.
4. Oklahoma
The Buzz: If quarterback Sam Bradford, TE Jermaine Gresham and DT Gerald McCoy go pro, this ranking will drop. If all three return, OU will battle for the Big 12 – and maybe national – title.
5. LSU
The Buzz: QB Jordan Jefferson‘s performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl provides hope that the offense will be more consistent. The linebacking corps needs to be rebuilt.
6. Ohio State
The Buzz: You have to figure the coaches will unleash quarterback Terrelle Pryor, which will jazz up the offense. The defense will be fine even without CB Malcolm Jenkins and LB James Laurinaitis.
7. Virginia Tech
The Buzz: The Hokies look as if they will be the class of the ACC. The defense always will be good, and if QB Tyrod Taylor becomes a better passer, the offense actually could be dangerous.
8. Alabama
The Buzz: The offensive line could have some questions and there will be a new quarterback, but depth should be better and there are some talented skill-position players on hand.
9. Boise State
The Buzz: QB Kellen Moore can become a star. If the Broncos can get their front four on defense settled, an undefeated season is within their grasp.
10. Oklahoma State
The Buzz: The Cowboys should have a deadly offensive trio in QB Zac Robinson, TB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant. The defense, though, has some work to do.
11. Georgia Tech
The Buzz: The Yellow Jackets were surprisingly good in coach Paul Johnson‘s first season, and Year Two in the triple-option offense could lead to big numbers. The defense should be fine.
12. California
The Buzz: Jahvid Best may go into the 2009 season as the nation’s best running back. Coach Jeff Tedford needs to settle on a quarterback and the linebacking corps must be rebuilt.
13. Penn State
The Buzz: QB Daryll Clark and TB Evan Royster return, though there are questions about the offensive line, the receiving corps and the secondary. The front seven on defense could be outstanding.
14. Ole Miss
The Buzz: Coach Houston Nutt changed the culture around the program, and if Tim Tebow goes pro, Jevan Snead will be the best quarterback in the SEC. There is a lot of skill-position talent around him, too.
15. Oregon
The Buzz: The Ducks will need to settle on a quarterback and do some tweaking in the secondary. But the rushing attack again should be the team strength.
16. Florida State
The Buzz: The defense has a lot of potential, if the coaches can find some safeties. The offensive line actually could be a strength. But the passing attack must improve.
17. Utah
The Buzz: The passing game will be a huge question. But the defense returns a lot of key players in the front seven, and the Utes will be able to run the ball.
18. Georgia
The Buzz: Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are gone. But it’s not as if the Bulldogs’ roster is bereft of talent. The offensive line should be much better, as should the defense.
19. Kansas
The Buzz: On paper, at least, the Jayhawks look to be the class of the Big 12 North. The return of QB Todd Reesing means the offense should be one of the most productive in the nation. But the defense must replace three starting linebackers.
20. Texas Tech
The Buzz: No Graham Harrell. No Michael Crabtree. A rebuilt offensive line. A tougher schedule. And the same old defense.
21.Iowa
The Buzz: Yes, star running back Shonn Greene is gone, but the defense again should be tough. The offensive line should be stout and there still are some good backs on campus.
22. BYU
The Buzz: Replacing four starters on the offensive line is the top priority for the Cougars, whose defense should be much better.
23. Notre Dame
The Buzz: Hey, calm down there, all you Irish haters. Notre Dame has talent, the schedule is navigable and a staff shakeup should help on the field.
24. USF
The Buzz: One of these seasons, USF will start fast and finish strong. Next season will be the final go-round for quarterback Matt Grothe, who must cut down on his mistakes.
25. Oregon State
The Buzz: The Rodgers brothers mean the offense should be fine, and coordinator Mark Banker always seems to find answers on his defense.
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Just a Little Off the Top I

offthetop

Finally, a non-sports related post! This segment, as you can read, is called “Just a Little Off the Top.” No, we won’t be covering haircuts here at the heap., unless it happens to be the topic of one of the bizarre, “off-beat'” stories I find in my internet reading. Today we have a story from Nevada, having to do with… ecosystem-threatening frogs? The story comes from Yahoo! News, and was written by the AP.

119 illegal African clawed frogs seized in Nevada

RENO, Nev. – State wildlife officials raided three residences in the Reno area where they seized more than 100 African clawed frogs, which they say are prohibited because they can pose a serious danger to native frogs and entire ecosystems.

No charges have been filed against the people who illegally possessed a total of 119 frogs because they are cooperating fully with law enforcement to “get any and all prohibited frogs off the streets,” the Nevada Department of Wildlife said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We are very pleased we were able to seize them before they were circulated to people in the area and possibly escaped into the wild,” said Cameron Waithman, game warden captain for NDOW’s Division of Law Enforcement.

African clawed frogs grow about as large as bullfrogs and can destroy entire ecosystems by voraciously eating native fish, amphibians and just about anything they can swallow, he said.

Scientists also believe these frogs carry and spread an African fungus that has decimated frog populations worldwide, Waithman said. The frog carries the fungus on its skin and is immune to its deadly effects.

Because of the danger the frogs pose, people who knowingly possess such amphibians face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, he said.

“If people turn these frogs in voluntarily, we don’t have an interest in writing them tickets,” said Waithman.

“However, if we find even more people involved with keeping and selling these frogs, we will prosecute at the conclusion of our investigations. These amphibians really are a threat to Nevada, and we have a duty to seize any and all that we find.”

The African clawed frog was used in hospitals in the 1940s and 1950s as a way to detect pregnancy in women. It produces eggs when injected with the urine of a pregnant woman.

Scientists say the fungus on the frogs works like a parasite that makes it difficult for the frogs to use their pores, quickly causing them to die of dehydration. It has been linked to the extinction of amphibians from Australia to Costa Rica.

Japan reported its first cases of frog deaths from the fungus in January 2007, prompting research groups to declare an emergency in the country. On the Caribbean island of Dominica, the fungus has almost wiped out the mountain chicken, a frog species considered an island delicacy.

First of all, I can’t believe there MAY be a black market for things like African Clawed Frogs. It seems like you can purchase anything these days. These amphibians are pretty nasty. Usually, when you think of frogs, you have that lovely image from various cartoons of these creatures that try to nab flies with the pinpoint accuracy of their tongues. More often than not we’d see some sort of comical conclusion- the tongue hitting something else, or perhaps even the frog itself becoming entangled in it. Noooo, these aren’t your average goofy frogs. They are hardcore carnivorous predators and serve as a carrier for epidermal disease. And according to the article, and the Wikipedia entry for the African Clawed Frog, these bad boys can disrupt entire ecosystems!

froggy

I’d have to say that my favorite line comes from the second paragraph, with the psuedo-serious line “getting any and all prohibited frogs off the streets.” Like they are some crazy fugitives on the loose. Would these frogs count as illegal immigrants? I guess we’ll just send them back to Africa. Good thing this occurred in Nevada and not Texas. Guaranteed these frogs would have a one way ticket to execution. Maybe we shouldn’t be so harsh. I mean, maybe some desperate couples were trying to save a buck or two on pregnancy tests. See? Not so impractical after all.

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