1. Ohio State 2007 Record: 11-2 SEC fans will go ballistic at the notion, and America might let out a collective groan at the thought of OSU in another national title game, but with all the returning talent, this really should be 2008's best team. Remember, 2007 was supposed to be a rebuilding year and a stepping-stone to this season. Getting to the national championship was unexpected gravy. Shock of shocks, most of the stars decided to come back for one more year with DE Vernon Gholston the only early defector. The Buckeyes don't have the speed or athleticism of the top teams, right? The NFL certainly doesn't think so with at least 11 starters, not including both kickers, who'll be drafted with five, LB James Laurinaitis, LB Marcus Freeman, CB Malcolm Jenkins, RB Beanie Wells, and OT Alex Boone, who'd be starting on day one of the 2008 NFL season. A national punching bag after two straight blowout losses in BCS Championships, the Buckeyes will be good enough to get another shot with almost everyone of note returning on offense including QB Todd Boeckman and top receivers Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie. The defense might lose Gholston and LB Larry Grant, but nine starters are back. PK Ryan Pretorius and P A.J. Trapasso form one of the nation's best kicking duos. 2. Georgia 2007 Record: 11-2 The expectations are off the charts after a seven-game winning streak ended 2007 and with almost all the top players coming back on both sides of the ball. The receiving corps could use an overall upgrade, and strong safety Kelin Johnson and end Marcus Howard will be missed, but that's nitpicking. The only other concern is the lack of a safety net behind Knowshon Moreno in the backfield, and Matthew Stafford has to become the NFL caliber quarterback he's expected to be, but this is a true national title contender from day one. 3. Oklahoma 2007 Record: 11-3 This is a national title-caliber team if the offensive line plays up to its talent-level. With OG Duke Robinson, OT Phil Loadholt and the rest of the starters back, this should be the nation's best front five to give QB Sam Bradford and RBs DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown time and room to work. WR Malcolm Kelly is gone, but Juaquin Iglesias was the team's best receiver over the course of 2007. Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Curtis Lofton and CB Reggie Smith left early, and some other big voids need to be filled in the secondary, but this should still be one of the league's best defenses. 4. Florida 2007 Record: 9-4 2006 might have been Urban Meyer coaching Ron Zook's team, 2007 might have been about restocking the shelves, and now 2008 will be all about Meyer's program getting back to a national title level. Top receiver Andre Caldwell is gone, two starters have to be replaced on the offensive line, and pass rushing star Derrick Harvey and strong safety Tony Joiner have to be replaced. That's about it. The running game will be better with USC transfer Emmanuel Moody expected to rock and roll right away, while Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin might just be the two best offensive players in America. 5. USC 2007 Record: 11-2 Because of the brand name and the way the 2007 season ended, the Trojans will be in everyone's top three, if not number one. However, there are issues. The jury is still out on a receiving corps that underperformed, Mark Sanchez and/or Mitch Mustain has to prove worthy of running the show, three starters have to be replaced on the O line, and a few key parts are gone off the killer defense. Of course, this is USC, it reloads, but this isn't nearly as good a team as the one going into last year. 6. LSU 2007 Record: 12-2 Alright Les, it's all your program now. With a national title and three years at the helm, Miles has to replace several key players on his "damn good football team" along with defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. Ricky Jean-Francois needs to be the new star on the D line and Tyson Jackson has to play up to his pro potential, while defensive back seven has to replace outside linebackers Ali Highsmith and Luke Sanders along with safety Craig Steltz and corner Chevis Jackson. The offense loses WR Early Doucet, steady QB Matt Flynn, and bruising RB Jacob Hester. Even though another national title will be a lot to ask for, the attack should keep rolling with Ryan Perrilloux at quarterback behind a great line. 7. Wisconsin 2007 Record: 9-4 If everyone can stay healthy, unlike 2007, the Badgers should be special. P.J. Hill, Lance Smith and Zach Brown form one of the nation's best trio of running backs working behind a loaded line with four starters returning. Former Kansas State transfer Allan Evridge has to establish himself at quarterback right away, but getting TE Travis Beckum back will help. CB Jack Ikegwuonu took off early for the NFL, but the D is loaded, especially at linebacker. The graduation of PK Taylor Mehlhaff and P Ken DeBauche will hurt. 8. Missouri 2007 Record: 12-2 The Tigers are loaded. TE Chase Coffman returning for his senior season was a big step to give Heisman finalist Chase Daniel a star security blanket to go to. Finding a running back to replace Tony Temple will be the biggest issue, but Derrick Washington is a big-time prospect and there are enough playmakers, and enough experience on the line, to expect another strong season. DT Lorenzo Williams is gone, but nine starters are back to go along with PK Jeff Wolfert. 9. West Virginia 2007 Record: 12-2 Call this a wait-and-see ranking considering the new coaching staff and some key losses. Bill Stewart loses Steve Slaton and Darius Reynaud early to the NFL, but that would've happened if Rich Rodriguez was still around. QB Pat White and WR/RB Noel Devine will be the stars of the attack working behind a fantastic O line with all five starters returning including OT Ryan Stanchek. The defense has to make some major replacements with Keilen Dykes and Johnny Dingle gone off the line along with four starters in the five man secondary, including SS Eric Wicks and FS Ryan Mundy. 10. Texas Tech 2007 Record: 9-4 Oh ... my ... goodness. Texas Tech had the nation's No. 1 passing offense and was No. 2 in total offense ,and now everyone is back but WR Danny Amendola. WR Michael Crabtree, QB Graham Harrell, all five starting offensive linemen, along with their backups ... everyone. LB Paul Williams and CB Chris Parker, who are all replaceable, are two of the three losses off the defense. The other, SS Joe Garcia, will hurt. The team's biggest hole loss, other than Amendola and Garcia, is clutch PK Alex Trlica. 11. Penn State 2007 Record: 9-4 The receiving corps should be fantastic with Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood back, but who's going to throw him the ball? Daryll Clark will have the inside track, adding more running to the mix, but Pat Devlin will get a shot. Everyone is back on the O line and nine starters return on defense losing LB Dan Connor along with CB Justin King, who left early for the NFL. 12. Tennessee 2007 Record: 10-4 Offensive David Cutcliffe to Duke is the biggest loss with QB Erik Ainge not far behind. Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens will battle for the starting quarterback gig with a loaded backfield and a nasty offensive line to work with. All five starters return up front, all the receivers are back, and the secondary, even without Jonathan Hefney, should be fine. The much-maligned defensive front will be the biggest problem losing three starters on the line along with linebackers Ryan Karl and Jerod Mayo. 13. Kansas 2007 Record: 12-1 Can Kansas really be a preseason top five team? Even after a 12-1 season with an Orange Bowl victory, it still seems strange to think of KU as elite, but the team should be the real deal with QB Todd Reesing leading a loaded offense, even with the loss of OT Anthony Collins, WR Marcus Henry and RB Brandon McAnderson. DT James McClinton is done and CB Aqib Talib left early, but the other nine starters are back. Bothkickers need to be replaced. 14. Auburn 2007 Record: 9-4 Will the Tony Franklin offense be ready to fly right away? Is Kody Burns ready to be the spread quarterback to jump-start the attack? The running game should be tremendous with all five starters on the O line back along with top running backs, Brad Lester, Ben Tate and Mario Fannin. The defensive line needs three new starters to go around Sen'Derrick Marks, but six of the starters are back in the back seven. 15. Texas 2007 Record: 10-3 Was the Holiday Bowl the spark for a big 2008? QB Colt McCoy leads a strong offense that should be fine even with RB Jamaal Charles and TE Jermichael Finley bolting early. The O line was a big problem, but for good or bad, all the starters return. Defense is a big issue losing tackles Frank Okam and Derek Lokey along with five starters in the back seven. New coordinator Will Muschamp should change things in a big hurry. 16. Oregon 2007 Record: 9-4 The silver lining in the loss of Dennis Dixon late in the year was the experience Justin Roper got. He'll battle with Cody Kempt for the starting job with the winner getting a fantastic receiving corps to work with, led by Jaison Williams, but RB Jonathan Stewart is gone. C Max Unger leads a tremendous offensive line, while pass rushing terror Nick Reed should grow into a superstar. The defensive tackles are gone and there are some holes to fill at linebacker, but the defense should be better. 17. Virginia Tech 2007 Record: 11-3 The defending ACC champions should be take a step back unless the defensive line and receiving corps can reload. This is a running team and anyone who gets the ball will produce behind a good line with four starters returning. Will the offense continue with the two-headed quarterback attack of Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor, or will Taylor take over? Taylor and his running skills might be needed with Branden Ore gone early. Along with issues on the line, the D loses corner Brandon Flowers, and most painfully, the linebacking tandem of Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi. 18. Illinois 2007 Record: 9-4 The loss of Big Ten Player of the Year Rashard Mendenhall will set the running game back a bit, but the biggest issue is up the middle on defense with DT Chris Norwell, LB J Leman and safeties Kevin Mitchell and Justin Harrison gone. The top-shelf recruiting classes under Ron Zook should kick in full force on both sides of the ball and now the expectations will be there. 19. Boston College 2007 Record: 12-2 Don't expect a major drop-off even with the loss of three offensive linemen, QB Matt Ryan and RB Andre Callender and L.V. Whitworth. Why? Defense. Eight starters are back, and while losing FS Jamie Silva and DE Nick Larkin will be felt, this should still be one of the ACC's best Ds. 20. Clemson 2007 Record: 9-4 It's all up to the offensive line that only gets back one starter, C Thomas Austin. QB Cullen Harper is an ultra-accurate passer who gets top targets Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham back to light up the ACC, but the real star should be RB C.J. Spiller with James Davis jetting early for the NFL. It would've been nice if DE Phillip Merling returned for his senior year, but as is, eight starters return including everyone in the secondary. 21. Michigan 2007 Record: 9-4 Expect a step back to take a big leap forward, at least offensively. There could've been one of the nation's best passing games with Ryan Mallett throwing to Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington, but they all took off. Who's the quarterback? Georgia Tech transfer Steven Threet? He's a passer, but Rich Rodriguez will want a dual-threat playmaker meaning Terrelle Pryor, the nation's top recruit, could be coming to Ann Arbor, or Carlos Brown could step in from the running back corps. The defense takes a big hit, but DT Terrance Taylor should be a strong anchor to build around. 22. BYU 2007 Record: 11-2 Looking for your early sleeper for an at-large BCS spot? BYU gets everyone back on offense but C Sete Aulai and WR Matt Allen. QB Max Hall and the running tandem of Harvey Unga and Fui Vakapuna will have to put up plenty of points early on with three starters gone out of the secondary along with three of the four starting linebackers, but pass rushing star Jan Jorgensen is back. 23. South Carolina 2007 Record: 6-6 The SEC East might be loaded, but anything less than being in the hunt for the division title until the end will be unacceptable. The time is now for Steve Spurrier to actually do something with the program. QB Chris Smelley, WR Kenny McKinley, and RB Mike Davis form a nice nucleus, four starters return to the offensive line, and everyone of note is back on defense. 24. Alabama 2007 Record: 7-6 Nick Saban's first season was supposed to be about building towards the future, and now the future has to be now. The offensive line has the potential to be the best in the SEC, while all the top running backs, and QB John Parker Wilson, return in the backfield. The receiving corps has to replace D.J. Hall and Matt Caddell, while the defense has to find replacement for end Wallace Gilberry, two linebackers and top CB Simeon Castille. 25. Wake Forest 2007 Record: 9-4 Can Jim Grobe come up with a third straight strong season? Absolutely. QB Riley Skinner and RB Josh Adams are back to ease the loss of pass-catching machine Kenneth Moore, and only two starters are gone off the line. The defense gets back star CB Alphonso Smith and the linebacking tandem of Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnoux, but the line has to replace three starters. P/PK Sam Swank is back for what seems like his 19th year in a Demon Deacon uniform.