Sure, Notre Dame holds a special place in your heart.  That’s all well and good, but in order to follow the Irish, you must be aware of the rest of the country too; specifically, teams on the rise and teams that are falling faster than a forgetful skydiver.  And I apologize to the Blue and Gold faithful, because they’re on the outside looking in to start off this season’s power 12.  Let’s take a look at the rankings:  

  1. Florida (0-0) - They’ll remain at the top until they lose, which probably won’t be any time soon.  I heard Tim Tebow got Blackjack with one card once.   

  1. Oklahoma (0-0) – QB Sam Bradford is back, as well as most of the offense that averaged 54 points last season.  I feel terrible for opposing defenses.   

  1. Texas (0-0) – After being snubbed from the BCS title game last year, QB Colt McCoy and a slew of his teammates returned to Austin for some unfinished business.

  1. Ohio State (0-0) – Sophomore sensation Terrelle Pryor is big, fast, and can make a game changing play at any time.  They’ll be the force once again in the Big Ten.

  1. Alabama (0-0) – Any team with WR Julio Jones and NT Terrence Cody on it makes my top five.  A showdown with Virginia Tech opens their season.

  1. USC (0-0)- The Trojans are starting freshman quarterback Matt Barkley this year.  They say the kid can flat out play.  Then again, so could I with a defense like the one they have.

  1.  Virginia Tech (0-0) – They lost star running back Darren Evans for the year with a torn ACL.  Their defense and special teams will have to be better than ever if they want to repeat as ACC champs.

  1. Oklahoma State (0-0) – The Cowboys pose a triple threat that rivals any in the country; QB Zach Robinson, RB Kendell Hunter and WR Dez Bryant.

  1. Penn State (0-0) – They have one of the easiest schedules in the country.  If they’re for real, they’ll reach their Nov. 7 matchup with Ohio State undefeated. 

  1. Ole Miss (0-0)- Aside from Florida, the Rebels have the most offensive firepower of any SEC team.  RB Dexter McCluster is this year’s Percy Harvin. 

  1. LSU (0-0)- It doesn’t matter who the Tigers put on the field, they can beat anyone on any week.  They have a tricky road test with Jake Locker and Washington to kick things off.

  1. Boise State (0-0) – I’m giving them a lot of respect this week.  That could completely change tonight when Oregon visits the blue turf. 

Honorable Mention:  California, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame