Running Back Defensive Line
Wide Receiver Linebacker
Offensive Line Defensive Back
Wide Receiver
Louisiana State
The talent is stacked three-deep down in Death Valley, with too much size and speed for anyone on the Bayou Bengal’s slate to handle. They spread the ball amongst Bowe, Davis and Doucet evenly, and if Xavier Carter’s role is amped up like we expect, this world-class sprinter’s back will be all that opponents remember. Add in TE Keith Zinger (4.6 speed in the 40 to go with his 6-4, 260lb frame) and it is no wonder their pass efficiency ranking way outpaces their pure passing numbers. The boys from Red Stick are never out of a game with this corps.

Southern California
Not quite as deep as LSU, the dynamic duo of Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett are good enough (even without Reggie Bush) to land the Trojans at No.2. All-American Jarrett (6-5) had the third-most snarls in I-A while leading the land in TD catches. Smith, though, had a higher average per catch and can separate from even the tightest coverage(s) at will. Unless foes have two shutdown corners, there is really no chance to control them. Backups McFoy and Turner, along with TE Fred Davis, present their own matchup problems for opposing schemes and make this unit only stoppable if an injury rash hits.

Texas Tech
They normally open with (at least) three receivers in Lubbock, and each of the Red Raider’s returning (starters) trio had 60+ catches in ’05 to make all-conference. Johnson, Filani and Hicks are a handful, but factor in H-Back Amendola and their list of qualified backups to get why the “Air Raid” offense succeeds year after year. Forget anyone who argues that a new QB means a step back. Coach Leach has proven that it doesn’t matter who is throwing the ball – Tech will boast a/the top passing offense, regardless, and 2006 will be no exception with this bunch on the other end. All four returning receivers on this roster made All-Big 12 last fall. Whether the system is the reason or not, this is quite an insane accomplishment.

Notre Dame
Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight are arguably as good a tandem as any, but with little proven worth behind them, the Irish land fourth. Rhema McKnight (top pass catcher in 2003 and 2004) returns from injury looking strong, and Samardzija stepped up in his absence (with seemingly super-glued mitts) to become the best receiver no one had heard of in/until 2005. Losing Stovall and Shelton will soon be forgotten as names like Grimes, Hord and Anastasio benefit from Weis’ genius. Look for an increased role from TE John Carlson to open everything up for Quinn, a classic Weis ploy. This dimension will prove why South Bend earns their top team ranking from so many.

Michigan - Senior speedster Steve Breaston leads an otherwise young corps that will poignantly impact foes in Michigan’s run-first approach. Much like Penn State a year ago, youngsters played somewhat of an important impact. Mario Manningham has the wares to become the next household name in Ann Arbor. Adrian Arrington and Doug Dutch also assure this group of being tough to cover for the next few years. Buoyed by all-Big Ten TE Tyler Ecker, the Wolverines can easily sneak behind opposing back sevens which have been methodically drawn up to stop their potent rushing attack…big aerial results will again follow.

Just Missed: Florida, Iowa State, Ohio State, Penn State