Bourbonstreet’s Championship Series (b-streetC.S.): Week 1

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10
teams will qualify for the new 2006 Bowl Championship Series. Each week I will
take a look at the Top-10 teams, two on the B.C.S. bubble and maybe a B.C.S.
dark horse or two. Here is my pre-season bourbonstreet championship series
Final-14. (Note to reader: this Final-14 will always include an ACC, Big East,
Big-10, Big-12, PAC-10 and SEC team; per the new double-hosting B.C.S. format;
McBryde Hall declined to attempt to explain said double-hosting format)

bourbonstreet’s Championship Series TOP-10:
1. Texas
1a. Ohio State
3. wvu
4. Southern Cal
5. Florida State
6. Auburn
7. California
8. Miami
9. Notre Dame
10. Oklahoma

My final-4: (every team has a good shot to play in Glendale, Arizona)

#1 Texas:
“In order to be the man, yah gotta beat the man.” Ric Flair said it
best; and right now Texas is the man. The Longhorn offensive and defensive lines
only have one underclassman starter among them, and read like a list of future
NFL linemen to me. Texas is experienced and very deep up front on both sides of
the ball. RB and QB are unproven; but in some ways so was Vince Young to start
2005; and we all know how that turned out. Someone may knock Texas off, but it
will take at least an A- game effort to do so.

#1a Ohio State:
On a neutral field, I like Ohio State to beat Texas, and these two could
play twice in 2006. The Buckeyes have the offensive firepower of Patton’s
Third Army. Defense is a concern as only 2 starters return. But the average
position ranking of the new Ohio State defensive starters out of high school was
43rd; and that’s not bad folks. Ohio State may very well finish 11-1; but that
could easily be good enough to win the Big-10.

#3 WVU:
Trust me, this does not taste good, but so long as White & Slaton
are good to go, WVU will win. The Mountaineers nearly play a one game schedule.
There is Charmin, there is Charmin plus fabric-softener, and then there is the
2006 WVU football schedule. Pitt and/or Maryland might give WVU a game, and
Louisville will give WVU a very good game. But so long as the dynamic rushing
backfield of Slaton and White are healthy, WVU might have the greatest
probability of going undefeated out of any D-1 football team. Excuse me while I
throw up.

#4 Southern Cal:
Yes it’s true all kinds of stud USC offensive talent has turned pro, including
a pair of Heisman Trophy winners. But John Booty Jr. is the man as pure passing
QBs go (if his bad back holds up, that is), and he will play behind a Top-10
quality offensive line. But what I really like is the experienced depth the
Trojans return on defense; due to so many defensive injuries in 2005. USC is
better than WVU; but the Trojan’s schedule is much tougher.

B.C.S. quality teams:

#5 Florida State:
The only reason I have FSU here is the Miami suspensions. But that is a
pretty good reason when these two happen to face off in the first game of the
year. The ‘Noles do have the better offensive line compared to the ‘Canes,
but I just do not trust little Bowden’s play-calling. Not at all.

#6 likely SEC Champion:
Florida needs to get beyond the Chris Leak years. LSU has the most talent, but
the toughest schedule. Georgia is a year away, and that leaves Auburn. I picked
the War Eagles because they are the most physical SEC team, and they have four
senior starters on their offensive line. I like that.

#7 California:
California you say?!? Yes California. Why am I so high on CAL? Because
Coach Tedford is in my Top-3 active D-1 coaches, and Coach T finally returns a
real Defense for the first time in his five years at Berkeley. Every defensive
line starter returns, as does the Steve Slaton of the left-coast, one Marshawn
Lynch at RB. I like CAL so much in fact that if the Golden Bears had a proven QB,
I would give a long look at ranking them above USC.

#8 Miami:
If this poll were only about defense Miami might very well be #1. My ACC
spy network tells me that the Hurricanes are eight deep in NFL quality defensive
linemen, and are even faster on defense this year than they were in 2005! Wright
has all the tools, but will he have the time? The aforementioned suspensions
could easily beat Miami in their first game, but a rematch with FSU in the ACC
title game seems very likely to me.

#9 Notre Dame:
Norte Dame has a B.C.S. offense, but only a Gator Bowl quality defense.
Coach Weis and Brady Quinn will score some points; but I can see three to five
teams that will get at least 25 points of their own on the Fighting Irish. Notre
Dame is very good; but not quite great.

#10 Oklahoma:
Yes Bomar’s departure is a problem, but Peterson and nine defensive
starters still return. The Sooners will have something to say about the Big-12
championship before it’s all said and done. But closing with four out of five
away games is gonna be trouble.

On the B.C.S. bubble:

#11 Michigan:
Michigan tends to derail some of the better Ohio State football teams, even
when Michigan is only 9-3 on the year. The Wolverines have the best RB depth in
the Big Ten. That’s worth an 11th ranking any day all by itself.

#12 LSU:
As I typed above, LSU has the most overall talent in the SEC. As
Coach Saban certainly left the ‘fridge well stocked in Baton Rouge for Coach
Miles. If JaMarcus Russell were a better QB, I might put LSU ahead of Auburn to
win the whole SEC.

Darkhorses:

# 13 Louisville:
Louisville may only be two games removed from being perfect in 2006. If the
Cards can beat Miami (in Louisville) and WVU (in Louisville), they have a very
nice shot to run the table.

#14a TCU:
TCU was only one delinquent night of effort from being perfect last year,
and returns the best QB in the Mountain West this year, one Jeff Ballard.

#14b Iowa:
The Hawkeye offense is lead by senior QB John Tate. But there is just
something untough about Iowa football of late. Ohio State had better not sleep
on Iowa come September 30th, or they will find themselves in a shootout on the
road.

#19 Virginia Tech: (PSA to PATT’s: read every third word and you
will feel better)
Too many offensive question marks on the interior offensive line and at QB,
folks. Ditto the DT’s, albeit to a lesser extent. Keeping Vince Hall, Duane
Brown and Brandon Frye healthy is a must to have a legit ACC title game run (and
Minor’s injury does not help). We/VT will remain at 19th until I see what our
new QB can do on the road down in Chapel Hill. But I’m also very interested to
see how UNC handles a slowly improving Rutgers football team in week one. If the
Tar-Heels trounce the Scarlet-Knights, we/VT will have a real game on our hands
come September 9th.

Others receiving bourbon:
Georgia, Florida, Clemson, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Navy, Boise State, UTEP.

#50 Italy (on the strength of their World Cup shoot-out victory). #51
Pittsburgh
. #60 East Poland State. #61 france. Pitt wins 24-17 in the
Ketchup Bowl; as the Maginot line surrenders late, but vows to fight on vs.
Wyoming.

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