The 2005 TOP 10

A very early forecast for next season
January 10, 2005

1. USC
13-0
17 returning starters
Even if Heisman QB Matt Leinart turns pro, Reggie Bush will power the offense, and Jeff Schweiger will anchor the D.

2. MICHIGAN
9-3
18 returning starters
With wide receiver Steve Breaston, running back Michael Hart and quarterback Chad Henne, the Wolverines will be explosive.

3. TEXAS
11-1
17 returning starters
The Longhorns lose only one starter on the offensive line, which should make quarterback Vince Young even more dangerous.

4. TENNESSEE
10-3
17 returning starters
QB Erik Ainge will throw to the SEC's most talented trio of wideouts: C.J. Fayton, Robert Meachem and Jayson Swain.

5. OHIO STATE
8-4
17 returning starters
Nine starters--including standout linebackers Bobby Carpenter, A.J. Hawk and Anthony Schlegel--return from a swarming D.

6. OKLAHOMA
12-1
10 returning starters
The post-Jason White era begins with a battle between two highly touted quarterbacks, Tommy Grady and Rhett Bomar.

7. VIRGINIA TECH
10-3
15 returning starters
The defense will be stingy, with three starters back from a fearsome line, and the offense will feature QB Marcus Vick.

8. FLORIDA
7-5
16 returning starters
New coach Urban Meyer, who inherited one of the SEC's fastest teams, should work wonders with the Gators' wealth of talent.

9. LOUISVILLE
11-1
14 returning starters
With QB Brian Brohm and bruising tailbacks Michael Bush and Eric Shelton, the Cardinals might lead the nation in scoring again.

10. LSU
9-3
18 returning starters
Nick Saban bolted for the Miami Dolphins, but he left plenty of talent for new coach Les Miles from four Top 10 recruiting classes.

HEISMAN Front-runners

With two of the nation's top quarterbacks--Cal's Aaron Rodgers and Utah's Alex Smith--entering the NFL draft early and a third, USC's Matt Leinart, possibly joining them, the Heisman Trophy could go to a running back next season for the first time since 1999. But a pair of multitalented QBs stand in the way. --M.B.

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NAME, POSITION

SCHOOL

2005 CLASS

2004 STATS

ADRIAN PETERSON, RB

OKLAHOMA

Soph.

1,925 YARDS, 15 TDS

The workhorse has the size and skills to play in the NFL now, and he's only going to get better. Without quarterback Jason White the Sooners will lean on Peterson heavily.

REGGIE BUSH, RB

USC

Jr.

2,330 ALL-PURPOSE YARDS, 15 TDS

The electrifying Bush can make plenty of big plays whether he's rushing, receiving or returning kicks--and next fall he might not be sharing the spotlight with Matt Leinart.

CHRIS LEAK, QB

FLORIDA

Jr.

3,197 PASSING YARDS, 29 TDS

Leak's skills and athleticism are a perfect fit for new coach Urban Meyer's innovative offense, and his numbers should improve, but he must cut down on his interceptions (12 in 2004).

MICHAEL HART, RB

MICHIGAN

Soph.

1,487 YARDS, 9 TDS

He's coming off a fantastic freshman season that included three 200-yard games but may lose votes in '05 to the Wolverines' other offensive star, sophomore quarterback Chad Henne.

VINCE YOUNG, QB

TEXAS

Jr.

1,079 YARDS RUSHING, 14 TDS; 1,849 YARDS PASSING, 12 TDS

No other player in the country can take over a game the way the 6'5" Young can with his arm or his feet. With Cedric Benson gone, Young will be counted on to carry the load.

COLOR PHOTORICHARD MACKSON Hart

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)