My very early BCS Bowl Predictions. Please remember that these can and likely will change. I will post new predictions probably every time I change them and definitely will once the actual preseason polls come out.
BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
FLORIDA vs. OKLAHOMA
Yes, I'm predicting a rematch for the 2009 National Championship game. Florida has their entire defense returning, along with most of their very talented offensive line, Tim Tebow, Jeffrey Demps, and Chris Rainey to form what should be an amazing rushing offense. Oklahoma has Sam Bradford, Chris Brown, and Demarco Murray, but the loss of all five of their offensive linemen will hurt them. Their defense looked weak statistically in 2008, but was very good compared to others in the Big 12 and held Florida to 24 points. They have nine starters returning to form another very good OU defense. Oklahoma has to get by Texas, then they play at home against Oklahoma State. The home field advantage will help, so I think it's likely that OU will go undefeated. Florida might lose a game or two due to their very tough conference, so they might get screwed out of this, and Oklahoma needs to rebuild their offensive line or they won't make it to Pasadena in 2010.
Other teams likely to go: USC, Texas, Ohio State
OLE MISS vs. UTAH
Ole Miss has eight defensive starters returning from a very good defense (19th in 2008), and on offense they have QB Javon Snead and many of their leading rushers (Dexter McCluster, Cordera Easton, Brandon Bolden) coming back as well. A strong offensive line will help Ole Miss battle a tough conference too. Utah has a pretty easy schedule, and have nearly all of their defensive starters returning. QB Brian Johnson is gone, but RB Matt Asiata will return along with much of the offensive line to lead what looks to be at least a decent offense. Utah doesn't have much of a schedule and should go undefeated, most likely placing them in the top 12 and thus earning an automatic BCS Bowl bid.
Other teams likely to go: Alabama, Boise State
TEXAS vs. IOWA
A lot of people will be upset with me picking Iowa (mostly because I'm an Iowa fan). And to be honest, I'm not really comfortable doing it, but because of all the other teams that I predict will be ranked ahead of them already having two other conference teams in BCS Bowls, I think Iowa has a decent shot.
Also, this was a big tie between Iowa, Georgia Tech, PSU, and Florida State, so I thought, "What the hell, I might as well just pick Iowa." After all, they do have a very strong offensive line returning, and QB Ricky Stanzi developed well throughout the year and should even more by the time 2009 rolls around. They do lose star RB Shonn Greene, but freshman Jewel Hampton had nearly 500 yards with seven TDs and a 5.1 average, and will be much more successful behind a great offensive line. Iowa has eight defensive starters returning from the 13th best total defense and the fifth best scoring defense in the nation, and there's no evidence showing they won't be better. Texas has 4/5 offensive linemen returning, as well as QB Colt McCoy and his favorite target, WR Jordan Shipley. This UT offense will be amazing again, and they have six defensive starters returning. UT will have to rebuild their defensive line after 3/4 of their 2009 starters are graduating.
Other teams likely to go: Penn State, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State (maybe)
OHIO STATE vs. USC
And another rematch in my predictions, but this one will be from earlier in the 2009 season when USC visits Ohio State. I predict that USC's defense will be underdeveloped when they travel to Columbus and will probably struggle (especially against the crowd). Ohio State will probably come away with a close one. Ohio State might actually finish undefeated, but I don't think that they'll be enough to overcome Florida or OU in the BCS standings.
USC, however, will likely win out after their predicted loss at Ohio State and, again, go to the Rose Bowl, where they will probably play very well (again) and win (again). They have much of their defense leaving, but every single player coming in next year is a five-star recruit. And they also have their dangerous running trio of CJ Gable, Stafon Johnson, and Joe McKnight along with 4/5 outstanding offensive linemen returning and a fairly weak schedule excluding the first OSU game. Ohio State has most of their line coming back and Terrell Pryor, who is a potential Heisman candidate, and seven defensive starters returning (although they do lose Lauranitis and Jenkins). OSU also has a variety of recruits to pick from to fill in their holes.
Other teams likely to go: Iowa, Penn State, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Boise State
VIRGINIA TECH vs. WEST VIRGINIA
Virginia Tech has seven defensive starters returning from a great defense, and QB Tyrod Taylor (who will be very talented by this point) will lead a pretty good offense. Not much to contend with other than Florida State and Georgia Tech. West Virginia has eight defensive starters returning from a good defense, and RB Noel Devine should be pretty good. A good O-Line will also help WVU win the Big East, the only other teams contending being Pittsburgh and maybe South Florida.
Other teams likely to go: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, South Florida