2007 College Football Preview

Preseason college football rankings mean squat, unless your team owns the top spot. So instead of issuing my own rankings heading into the first weekend of action, I decided my College Football Preview for Bullz-Eye.com will break down the AP’s top-15 teams to see who has the best shot to compete for the title.

I also included a list of players who are NFL bound among those top 15 teams, as well as a must watch game.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Team USA coasts past Argentina

Team USA beat the 2004 Olympic gold medalists, 91-76, advancing to the semifinals of the FIBA Americas tournament. But let’s not get too excited; Argentina was playing without Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni, Fabricio Oberto and Walter Hermann, leaving NBA-ers Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino to face America’s best.

Kobe Bryant got off to a quick start, scoring 15 points in the first quarter and 27 in the game. Carmelo Anthony added 18 points while LeBron James chipped in with 15. If Team USA beats Puerto Rico in the semifinals, they will clinch a berth in the 2008 Olympics.

And it’s all about the Olympics. Director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski got involved for one reason – to help Team USA win a gold medal. Every one of these wins is a small (but significant) step in that direction.

Lions plan to put KJ on PUP?

There has been speculation about this for the last few weeks and it appears that the Lions are moving closer to making a decision.

According to a source close to the situation, the surgeon who performed the Lisfranc surgery on the left foot of running back Kevin Jones has agreed with Lions trainers that Jones should start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Dr. Richard Anderson re-examined Jones this afternoon and then discussed the situation with Lions officials.

Because the Lions have a bye week in the sixth week of the season, Jones will only miss five games. Jones will be eligible to return on Oct. 21 in the home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The medical report on Jones is that his foot is almost completely recovered, but team officials want to err on the side of caution and make sure he’s in the best possible football condition before he returns to the field. Again, according to a source close to the situation, Jones is expected to return without losing any of his original speed or running ability.

If true, this news is an obvious bump to Tatum Bell’s stock. OC Mike Martz has praised Bell throughout the preseason and it appears that he will be the starter for the first five games (at least). I’m still leery of drafting Bell as anything more than a RB3 because this situation could easily devolve into a RBBC when Jones comes back. One strategy would be to draft a RB in the first round and then load up on WRs before taking Bell in the fifth as a RB2. It is imperative that you also grab KJ once you hit the ninth or tenth round. Martz has traditionally featured one back, but there’s no guarantee he goes that route. A Bell/KJ combo is especially valuable in PPR leagues since Martz loves to throw so much.

Obsess much?

Sports Illustrated has an infatuation with the Carolina Panthers that rivals bodybuilders’ obsession with protein shakes.

In 2005, the mag picked the Panthers to beat the Colts 31-27 in the Super Bowl. A year later, SI again went with the Panthers, this time choosing them to beat the Dolphins in the Super Bowl.

And now in 2007, whom is SI picking to win the Super Bowl? Well, the Saints over the Chargers, but who do they have New Orleans beating in the Divisional Round of the playoffs? That’s right, the – in their estimation – 11-5 Carolina Panthers, of course.

Regardless of what you think about the Panthers – personally I think they’ll be lucky to win nine games this year – it’s flabbergasting that three years in a row SI has dropped to their knees in absolute worship of this team. The Panthers aren’t on the same level as the Patriots or Colts for SI to be predicting them year in and year out to make the playoffs. Seriously, two of the past three years they’ve picked the Panthers to win the Super Bowl and this year, which is probably the most flawed the Panthers have looked in years, they’re predicting them to go 11-5. Is Don Banks and knucklehead “Dr. Z” on Jerry Richardson’s payroll?

Seven draft day trends

Are you targeting T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the third round of your fantasy draft? You might be out of luck. With questions surrounding receivers like Roy Williams and Larry Fitzgerald, Housh’s rising draft position is just one of the seven draft day trends that I outline in my latest column.

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