College Football Rankings 2011: Predicting the Top 25 Based on Returning Talent.

Slideshow found HERE

25. TCU - 10 Starters

  • Returning - Tank Carder (LB), Tanner Brock (LB) 
  • Loses - Andy Dalton (QB), Jeremy Kerley (WR), Ed Wesley (RB)

24. Wisconsin - 11 Starters

  • Returning - James White (RB), Montee Ball (RB), Nick Toon (WR), Antonio Fenelus (CB), Aaron Henry (FS)
  • Loses - Scott Tolzien (QB), Lance Kendricks (TE), David Gilreath (WR), J.J. Watt (DE)

23. Georgia - 15 Starters

  • Returning - Aaron Murray (QB), Travarres King (WR), Orson Charles Jr. (TE), , Washaun Ealey (RB) [status uncertain], Abry Jones (DE), Christian Roberson (LB)
  • Loses - A.J. Green (WR), Justin Houston (LB)

22. Mississippi State - 15 Starters

  • Returning - Chris Relf (QB), Chad Smith (WR), Chris Bumpus (WR), Devin Jones (DL), James Carmen (DL), Nick Bell (DL)
  • Loses - Entire line backing core

21. Michigan

  • NEW Head Coach Brady Hoke
  • Returning - Denard Robinson (QB), Roy Roundtree (WR), Daryl Stonum (WR) [suspended for 2nd DUI], Vincent Smith (RB)

20. Texas - 14 Starters

  • Returning - Garrett Gilbert (QB), Fozzy Whitaker (RB), Emmanuel Acho (LB), Keenan Robinson (LB)
  • Loses - John Chiles (WR), James Kirkendoll (WR)

19. Nebraska - 13 Starters

  • Returning - Taylor Martinez (QB), Rex Burkhead (RB), Brandon Kinnie (WR), Jared Crick (DT)
  • Loses - Prince Amukamara (CB) 

18. Auburn

  • Returning - Mike Dyer (RB), Ontario McCalebb (RB), Emory Black (WR), Quindarius Carr (WR), Neiko Thorpe (CB)
  • Loses - Cam Newton (QB), Nick Fairley (DT), All 4 O.Line starters, 

17. Arizona State - 19 Starters

  • Returning - Brock Osweiler (QB), Camerson Marshall (RB)

16. Missouri - 15 Starters (9 offense, 6 difference) 

  • Returning - T.J. Moe (WR), Tyler Agnew (TE), Jacquies Smith (DE), Brad Madison (DE)
  • Loses - Blaine Gabbert (QB), Aldon Smith (DE)

15. USC - 14 Starters

  • Returning - Matt Barkley (QB), Marc Tyler (RB), Dillon Baxter (RB), Robert Woods (WR), Chris Galippo (LB), T.J. McDonald (FS)

14. Stanford - 11 Starters

  • Returning - Andrew Luck (QB), Stepfan Taylor (RB), Delano Howell (SS)
  • Loses - Doug Baldwin (WR), Ryan Whalen (WR), Owen Marecic (LB)

13. Ohio State - 8 Starters

  • Returning - Mike Brewster ©
  • Loses - Jim Tressel (Head Coach), Terrell Pryor (QB) [news came out today]
  • Maybe - Devier Posey (WR), “Boom” Herron (RB)

12. Virginia Tech

  • Returning - 4 offensive linemen, Jarrett Boykin (WR), Danny Coale (WR), Logan Thomas (QB)
  • Loses - Tyrod Taylor (QB)

11. Florida State - 16 Starters

  • Returning - Bert Reed (WR), Taiwan Easterling (WR), Jermaine Thomas (RB), Nigel Bradham (LB), Xavier Rhodes (CB)
  • Loses - Christian Ponder (QB)

10. Michigan State

  • Returning - Le'Veon Bell (RB), Edwin Baker (RB), Kirk Cousins (QB), Johnny Adams (CB), Trenton Robinson (S), Jerel Worthy (DT)
  • Loses - Aaron Bates (P) Nick Bendzuck (FB), Josh Bodell (CB), J'Michael Deane (OT), Mark Dell (WR), Charlie Gantt (TE), Eric Gordon (LB), Marcus Hyde (S), Jesse Johnson (S), Greg Jones (LB),  Jon Misch (LB),  Colin Neely (DE), Josh Rouse (FB), Chris L. Rucker (CB), Alex Shackleton (SN), John Stipek ©, D.J. Young (OT). 

9. Boise State - 14 Starters

  • Returning - Kellen Moore (QB), Doug Martin (RB), defensive line, linebackers
  • Loses - Austin Pettis (WR), Titus Young (WR), Brandyn Thompson (CB), Jeron Johnson (S)

8. Texas A&M

  • Returning - Ryan Tannehill (QB), Cyrus Gray (RB), Christine Michael (RB), 
  • Loses - Von Miller (LB)

7. Notre Dame

  • Returning - Dayne Crist (QB), Tommy Rees (QB), Theo Riddick (WR), Michael Floyd (WR), Cierre Wood (RB), Manti Te'o (LB)
  • Loses - Armando Allen Jr. (RB), Kyle Rudolph (TE)

6. Alabama

  • Returning - Trent Richardson (RB), Marquis Maze (WR), Darius Hanks (WR), Dont'a Hightower (LB)
  • Loses - Mark Ingram (RB), Julio Jones (WR), Greg McElroy (QB), Marcell Darius (DE)

5. Oklahoma State

  • Returning - Brandon Weeden (QB), Justin Blackmon (WR), Jeff Cooper (WR), Joseph Randle (RB).
  • Loses - Kendall Hunter (RB), 6 starters on defense.

4. South Carolina

  • Returning - Stephen Garcia (QB), Marcus Lattimore (RB), Alshon Jeffery (WR), 
  • Loses - Tori Gurley (WR), 2 linebackers

3. Oregon

  • Returning - Kenjon Barner (RB), LaMichael James (RB), Darron Thomas (QB).
  • Loses - 3 starting (offensive) linemen, Jeff Maehl (WR), D.J. Davis (WR), Casey Mathews (LB), Spencer Paysinger (LB)

2. LSU

  • Returning - Jordan Jefferson (QB), Spencer Ware (RB), Rueben Randle (WR)
  • Loses - Terrence Toliver (WR), Stevan Ridley (RB), Kelvin Sheppard (LB), Drave Nevis (DT), Patrick Peterson (CB)

1. Oklahoma

  • Returning - Landry Jones (QB), Ryan Broyles (WR), Kenny Stills (WR), 4 offensive linemen, Roy Finch (RB)
  • Loses - DeMarco Murray (RB), Jeremy Beal (DE) 

HARD-CHARGING’s BEST OF 2011: “The House of Dream Chasers” by S.L. Price. Sports Illustrated, Sept. 12.

As sure as The New York Times copy editors put periods in “N.C.A.A.” or The Classical essayists reference hip hop, Sports Illustrated writers use third person. Sure, on the back page column, you’ll find an occasional “I” or “me,” and sometimes the magazine allows athletes or agents or, most recently, photographers. But the magazine generally has flouted the first-person trend taking over thoughtful sports writing.

The opening line of Price’s profile of TCU football coach Gary Patterson, then, stunned me. “ ‘So, do you think I’ve changed?’ Gary Patterson asks, almost shyly, the words coming from so far out of nowhere that I know he’s been wondering awhile,” Price writes.

Price is the modern king of the sports profile. He’s written definitively on Calipari and Meyer and Djokovic and Messi and all sorts of other folks in all sorts of other sports. He profiles the biggest names in sports, and he does it with a grace and truthfulness that is difficult to top. He’s consistently ranked among the best working sports writers, and his work has been published in six editions of Best American Sports Writing for good reason.

Here, he tells his own story as it crosses over into Patterson’s story. The two were housemates as young professionals in Davis, Calif., and Price recalls stories of the precocious young football coach living above the kitchen. “I didn’t think much about him—not professionally, anyway—because I was writing about Reggie Theus, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, inside stories about comebacks and feuds and self-made winners, and thought I had an infallible sense of what all that looked like,” Price writes.

The story is about two bachelors destined for great things living in a cramped house in a Sacramento suburb. It’s a profile. But it’s also a personal essay. It’s unusual for Sports Illustrated, even more so for Price. But it’s essential: It’s one of the best writers of our generation breaking out of his shell just a little while preserving the polish and flair that has come to define him.