We haven’t even reached recruiting day, yet the View From North America is making its predictions for the fall of 2009…
50) It won’t be a good year to wear bright orange because…
49) Tennessee will be third or fourth in the SEC East
48) Syracuse will continue to be the joke of the Big East
47) Auburn won’t be a factor in the SEC West…..
46)…and Clemson ain’t gonna set the ACC on fire.
45) Unless you’re wearing burnt orange, and then you’ve got Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley coming back, and ESPN’s already talking about you being a potential No.1.
44) Or orange and blue, and then you, as a Florida Gator fan, will be celebrating a National Championship and probably the return of….
43) Tim Tebow. He’s Superman, right?
42) That’s quite scary that Tebow’s coming back. Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford should do, too; both aren’t ready for the big-time just yet.
41) And quickly back to bright orange: Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s new coach, struggles early, then expect the screams for his resignation start yet again.
40) But if you think Swinney’s got problems, then spare a thought for Auburn coach Gene Chizik. Suddenly everyone’s calling for his head…and he hasn’t even coached a game yet!
39) And if the Auburn job goes at the end of the 2009 season, then will anyone start talking about Texas’ defensive co-ordinator Will Muschamp taking a head coaching spot?
38) Speaking of head coaches taking up head coaching spots, didn’t Bo Pellini do well in his first year at Nebraska? Expect them to be a contender for the Big XII North title this year. The blackshirts are back!!
37) On the subject of "back," expect a BCS bowl for Notre Dame. They might be hated by everyone but their own fans (that includes senior members of The Vatican, boys and girls!) but with Washington and Washington State on the schedule (as well as Nevada) we can expect at least a 9-3 season.
36) Why 9-3? Because we think that they’ll lose to USC, Boston College and Purdue and/or Pittsburgh.
35) You’ll also talk about the return of Floridian superpowers Miami and Florida State, who have recruited brilliantly. Randy Shannon recruited well in 2008 and with a good amount of returning players this year. Bobby Bowden has done the same.
34) Here’s my big prediction (1): Florida State vs Miami in the ACC Title game.
33) Although Georgia Tech could well spoil the party. Seen that running game in 2008? It’s back in 2009, too (if you’d just forget the LSU game, where they were whomped)
32) How ‘bout ‘dem Tigers? After ripping the wings off the Yellow Jackets, some might expect LSU to challenge for the SEC title. Here’s my thought: Challenge? Yes. Win division? No.
31) That’s because my prediction is that the SEC West title will go to Alabama. If they can recover from their shellacking against Utah, the departure of quarterback John Parker Wilson, and the walking of giant left tackle Andre Smith – who’s going to play in the NFL. Not great news about Glen Coffee, though…
30) So that leaves the SEC East. Let’s assume that Georgia QB Matt Stafford leaves for the riches of the NFL, and Florida’s Tim Tebow does not. On the basis of that, and the recruiting of both teams, then you’d have to make Florida a favourite for the division. We can’t wait for Hallowe’en, which will see Georgia and Florida get together at the Cocktail Party.
29) Although the prospect of the games become a lot less exciting now Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno have declared for the NFL.
28) Prediction (2): Florida and Alabama will get together AGAIN for the SEC Title.
27) There are some monster non-conference games out there. We’ll start with Georgia going to Oklahoma State at the start of the year. Or Alabama vs. Virginia Tech.
26) Then we’ve got Oklahoma going to a revamped Miami.
25) And speaking of pressure, it’s going to be the battle of the two of the most under-pressure head coaches in football: Charlie Weis (Notre Dame) vs Rich Rodriguez (Michigan) in Ann Arbor.
24) On Week 3, it’s USC vs. Ohio State in the game of the season...maybe the decade. USC won’t have played in an atmosphere like this for years. Notre Dame in 2005 doesn’t count, I’m afraid. The fans in Columbus are a cross between mental and deranged.
23) Then we’ve got the in-conference schedules. Take your pick of the SEC/Big XII South games and have fun watching.
22) Speaking of Big XII South, we’re predicting the Big XII committee is going to change its tiebreaker after last year’s almighty screw-up. You know why?
21) Because it may well happen again, particularly if Bradford comes back like Texas’ Colt McCoy is. Don’t rule out Texas Tech with that man Michael Crabtree and his new quarterback, whoever that might be. Oh, and Zac Robinson’s coming back at Oklahoma State, too.
20a) That’s if Michael Crabtree comes back, but Mike Leach has still got a heck of a lot of firepower.
20b) One conference game we’re looking forward to is the OU vs. Texas game at the Cotton Bowl. Expect fireworks. Texas vs Tech Tech in Austin will just be about revenge. Expect it to be louder than usual in Longhornsland.
19) Speaking of fireworks, 2009 won’t be a year to give a damn about Michigan.
18) Or Kentucky.
17) But it’ll still be great to be a Florida Gator.
16) If the Gators and the SEC are strong, how weak was the Big Ten in bowl games? Only Iowa made the Big Ten Commish smile.
15) And it’s probably going to get weaker now some of the big name running backs – Iowa’s Shonn Greene, Ohio State’s Beanie Wells, and Wisconsin’s PJ Hill have all said that the time is right that to take the next stop forward in their career (or words to that effect).
14) Don’t expect all of them to go in the first round of the NFL Draft, though.
13) But expect Moreno to be a mid-first round pick. After the incredible success of undersized running back Darren Sproles (I mean, did no-one see how good the guy was at Kansas State?), Moreno could set GM’s tongues wagging.
12) Unless it's the new Detroit Lions GM. He kinda needs a quarterback. He does NOT need any more wide receivers.
11) Millen won’t get a quarterback from the Big Ten. There’s no one good enough to master a NFL offense, although peg down Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor for the future. Speaking of the Big Ten, Ohio State (despite losing some of the best players) will continue to lead the Big Ten…
10) Although don’t be surprised if they share a title with Penn State, who’s defense is so good that they may not miss defensive end Aaron Maybin, who apparently’s going to walk after just one season as an every-down player. Linebacker Shaun Lee’s going to back. I’m still pretty excited…
9) ...if the Nittany Lions can get a wide receiver or two who come close to outgoing seniors Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood.
8) Despite losing a majority of their brilliant defense, USC has got so much damned talent that they probably win the Pac-10 this year, especially if Mark Sanchez comes back. He’s certainly a better alternative for them that Mitch Mustain (sorry, Mitch Mustain fan club!).
7) Utah and Boise State will again compete for the BCS spot, although both won’t be unbeaten. Unless the Utes can beat Oregon in that quiet stadium called Autzen.
6) Speaking of Autzen, what’s louder? That place, The Swamp or Happy Valley in a big-time night game. Or Tiger Stadium? We can’t wait to rekindle the debate later this summer, especially when people start talking about the future again (it’s not easy to see ahead to the summer months when it’s snowy outside, is it?).
5) We know this: Penn State’s trip to Michigan’s going to be pretty darned loud, too. So’s Ohio State’s to Happy Valley. And Tiger Stadium will be rocking with the arrival of Florida and Auburn…two teams who fans in Baton Rouge really don’t like.
4) Let’s hope that by then, LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee’s learned to find his own player. Or he might be sitting on the bench looking at Jordan Jefferson play. Jefferson threw for 142 yards and a TD in the bowl win against Georgia Tech.
3) While talking about Florida, I thought it’s also important to think about college football’s worst in 2008. Will Washington and Washington State combine for more than one win this year? Will Army finally beat Air Force and Navy? And will Syracuse make me eat my words and actually compete?
2) Probably not. But with former USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and defensive guru Nick Holt at the the helm, the Huskies will be much improved.
1) So will Big XII defenses. Expect less 640-point games this year. The Big XII South will still be a lot of fun...so here’s the VFA’s big prediction: Texas vs. Nebraska for the Big XII title…..in the cold.
1a) But Texas won’t care about the cold. Especially if that victory gets them a National Championship spot….
1b) Against USC.
Can’t wait until September!