Anytime a nation mourns the passing of another college football season the inevitable result is the topic of "next year".
Well, next year is officially here as of last week and here are the opening salvos brought to you courtesy the information on returning lettermen at this time.
There will be shock and turmoil in the Big 12 as the Cornhuskers reclaim their rightful place as the premier team in the league. The powerful defense of Nebraska will shut down the weakened offenses that the conference has grown to depend upon. Paving the way for a Nebraska victory over Texas in the Big 12 Title Game and a birth in the Fiesta Bowl.
A much improved Illinois, with solid Michigan State, Penn State, and dangerous Iowa, will challenge Ohio State for the Big 10 Title. The Golden Gophers of Minnesota may make a case for the spoiler. In the end, look for the Buckeyes to run the table and proceed to yet another Rose Bowl.
Notre Dame will expand upon the success in the Hawaii Bowl to be far more competitive in 2009. It would not be surprising to see the Irish win nine games. The country may end up seeing Notre Dame in a BCS game.
If Tim Tebow returns, the Gators can win the SEC. Why? Because he is better than everyone else. Don't you recognize a Jim Brown when you see him? Youngsters always want to know what it was like to be around when Giants Walked The Earth in the Golden Days. Well, here is someone like that , enjoy him while you can.
Don't look for any help from LSU if you're a Gator fan. The struggle between the Tigers, the madcap Rebels of Cotton Bowl winner Mississippi, and the up and coming new dynasty of Red Elephants will make the SEC West the best division in football in 2009.
In the ACC, look for Ga Tech, Florida State, and the surprisingly good N.C. State Wolfpack to play the big role in who is the best in this league but, don't discount Frank Beamer. He has a knack for beating enough of the soft teams to escape with the title.
Southern California will rule but, Oregon, California, and Oregon State will make their case as Top 20 teams. And let's not forget Stanford, still trying to get back in the top echelon, nor should the desert teams be discounted.
Erickson won his national championships at Miami in odd years, '89 and '91, and seems poised to produce a winner in '09 after the dreary '08 season.
Arizona has the defense cooking now. UCLA will bounce back and have a big year with possibly as many as four victories in the twelve game season.
Utah and Brigham Young will play for the Mountain West title, and if the Utes are undefeated this time around, look for popular support to push them into the BCS Title Game.
Boise St will as always, beat everyone they play and never complain about anything. If only the rest of the world was like Boise State, what a wonderful world it would be.
Pittsburgh will be the best team in the region followed by Penn State, Rutgers, Boston College and The Navy. There is a chance West Virginia could end up challenging the Panthers for the Big East title. Let's throw a crumb to Turner Gill and Buffalo, say 7–5.
Hey, that's how the world of 2009 looks at the flash-point of the 2008 National Championship Game. Now, let's get technical, as we point out the best.
THE 2009 11 BEST 11s
1– Southern California
4– Ohio State
9– Ga Tech
ON THE PORCH: Penn State, Utah, Boise State, Iowa, Oklahoma State
If Tebow leaves, move Ole Miss and Alabama up and Florida down in the SEC.
THE 2009 SEASON PROJECTIONS OF THE BIG BOWLS:
6) The Cotton Bowl– Alabama vs. Oklahoma
5) The Rose Bowl– Ohio State vs. Oregon
4) The Orange Bowl– Georgia Tech vs. Pittsburgh
3) The Sugar Bowl– Florida vs. Texas
2) The Fiesta Bowl– Nebraska vs. Utah
1) BCS Title Bowl– Southern California vs. LSU
Look out for the Cornhuskers but, beware of an much anticipated meeting at long last. Between the 2003 Co-National Champions of LSU and Southern Cal. This could settle once and for all who is the real dynasty of the 21st Century, in what could be a historic title game.
Obviously, The Sugar and The Cotton are interchangeable as they have been for years. If Tebow does comes back, the Sugar should have the two top vote–getters in next year's Heisman Trophy debate.
The Orange and The Fiesta would thus match four Conference Champions. Always a good thing in the major bowls, wouldn't you agree?
Taking into consideration the wide–eyed projection of Nebraska as the Big 12's best team, look for two squads to determine the fate of who plays in the 2009 season championship game: Ohio State and Mississippi.
The Buckeyes could simply end up as the No. 1 team in the country and walk into the title game with little opposition along the way. The Rebels, conquerors on the road this season of the past two national champs (LSU and Florida), have built one of the most off–beat offenses ever seen south of the Mason–Dixon line.
Since Ole Miss hates everybody, for some imagined past indiscretions toward them since 1861, it is hard to catch them on a down week. Now with an actual rabble–rouser as a coach, the good times may not be forgotten in Oxford.
So there you have it, expect it to be written in granite, until at least March!