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> Top five quarterbacks

These guys have the potential to lift a struggling NFL franchise like, say, the Buffalo Bills.

1. Jake Locker, Washington -- Would have battled Sam Bradford for No. 1 status last April.

2. Andrew Luck, Stanford -- Only a junior, but scouts rave about his pocket presence and arm.

3. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas -- Has great height (6-foot-6) and can make all the NFL throws.

4. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri -- Has the size of a linebacker (6-5, 240) and plays with a lot of confidence.

5. Christian Ponder, Florida State -- Has improved each season with the 'Noles.

> Top five players

These guys are the best of the best in the country, regardless of position.

1. Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska -- Not as good as Ndamukong Suh but close.

2. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU -- The prototypical lockdown corner.

3. Mark Ingram, TB, Alabama -- Is a 2,000-yard season in the cards?

4. Jake Locker, QB, Washington -- Recently ran the 40 in 4.39.

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State -- If Moore plays at an elite level, the Broncos will win a national championship.

> Top five Heisman hopefuls

This is the first time in about 30 years Tim Tebow won't make this list.

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama -- No reason he can't win it again.

2. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State -- Has lost once in 26 starts.

3. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State -- Enjoyed a huge Rose Bowl, which could be a springboard to a big 2010.

4. Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh -- If Ingram is the No. 1 tailback, Lewis is 1a.

5. Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska -- The middle of the Cornhuskers' defense is overwhelming because of Crick.

> Top five sleepers for championship

If some of the top teams fail, someone from this group will step up.

1. Arkansas -- The Hogs are good enough to win road games at Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina and Mississippi State.

2. Miami -- 'Canes will be tested by a very difficult schedule.

3. Florida State -- Hate to say it, but Jimbo Fisher is an upgrade over Bobby Bowden.

4. Cincinnati -- Some people (aka the staff at UB) say the Bearcats have the potential to be better than last year.

5. Stanford -- With any Luck, the Cardinal can win the Pac-10.

> Bottom five teams

These teams will be watching bowl games come December.

1. Western Kentucky -- They've lost 20 in a row. Nuf said.

2. Eastern Michigan -- Ron English has to change the culture and so far it's been slow.

3. New Mexico -- They say Mike Locksley can recruit. He better get to it.

4. Washington State -- Cougs two-year record is 3-22.

5. Miami (Ohio) -- Should be improved but not by much.

> Top five coaches

Want to win a national championship? Hire one of these guys.

1. Urban Meyer, Florida -- His next stop will be in the NFL.

2. Nick Saban, Alabama -- Already been to the pros so he'll settle for building the Tide into the sport's next powerhouse.

3. Mack Brown, Texas -- In terms of recruiting, he's the John Calipari of college football.

4. Jim Tressel, Ohio State -- The vest is corny, but mark him down for 10 wins each season.

5. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma -- The Sooners lost several players to the NFL and still will contend for the national crown.

> Top five underrated coaches

Publicity is hard to come by for these guys.

1. Chris Peterson, Boise State -- He's 49-4 in four seasons.

2. Gary Patterson, TCU -- No one can figure out his 4-2-5 defense.

3. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame -- He'll do for the Irish what he did for Central Michigan and Cincinnati.

4. Randy Edsall, UConn -- Flirted with Notre Dame during the offseason.

5. Kyle Whittingham, Utah -- Picked up where Urban Meyer left off.

> The next five

These coaches are headed for a BCS school near you.

1. Kevin Sumlin, Houston -- Cougars play an entertaining brand of football.

2. June Jones, SMU -- Took the Mustangs to a bowl in just his second season in '09.

3. Al Golden, Temple -- A self promoter who finally backed it up in '09.

4. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy -- Played a major role in installing the triple-option attack.

5. Jerry Kill, Northern Illinois -- If Illinois job opens, he'll be the top candidate.

> Five on the hot seat

These guys should consider renting instead of buying.

1. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan -- Rich Rod has the Wolverines in hot water with the NCAA and he can't win games. That's a bad mix.

2. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland -- It's been nine seasons since he led the Terps to a major bowl.

3. Dan Hawkins, Colorado -- Once a hot name is now colder than Tiger's golf game.

4. Ron Zook, Illinois -- Illini haven't done much since their visit to the Rose Bowl.

5. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M -- In two seasons he's won 10 games with the Aggies.

> Top five games of 2010

1. Florida at Alabama (Oct. 2) -- The winner of their last two meetings captured the SEC and BCS crowns.

2. Miami (Fla.) at Ohio State (Sept. 11) -- If the 'Canes are truly back, they'll have to prove it here.

3. Texas at Nebraska (Oct. 16) -- Sad but true: This is the final time they'll meet as Big 12 rivals.

4. Virginia Tech vs. Boise State (Sept. 6) -- If the Broncos win, they'll creep closer to No. 1.

5. Oklahoma vs. Texas (Oct. 2) -- Always a huge game because the winner remains in the hunt for the national title.