The official start of the 2012 college football bowl season is only a few days away, and as always fans have a lot to look forward to.
While the first few games may not be quite as intriguing as some later on in the month or as the calendar turns to 2013, one thing is certain: college football will be back in full force this weekend.
It all kicks off on Saturday with two matchups. Starting this weekend, there will be six games played over a span of a week, so there is plenty to look forward to.
In addition to the action on the field, there is also likely a lot to be going on off of it. From coach hirings to firings and everything in between, college football is prevalent 365 days a year—and no time more so than right now.
While it is easy to predict what is likely to happen, why not go out on a limb with some predictions that may be a little far-fetched.
Here are 25 bold and off the wall predictions for the first week of the college football bowl season.
While they might not be likely, they could very easily happen.
Arizona is not a team that is known for its defense, but has forced 23 turnovers so far this season.
The Wildcats may give up a lot of yards, but when it matters, the defense does have the capability to force a turnover.
Even though they have allowed over 34 points a game, they have big play ability on the defensive side of the ball.
Nevada might give Arizona fits, but the Wildcats will force three turnovers and that will be the difference in this one.
Earlier this week, Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press.
Before this, not a lot of people may have heard much about Carey. After Saturday, people will be chanting his name.
Carey is only a sophomore, but has put up some gigantic numbers. He has gone over 200 yards in two of the past three games.
In the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Carey will go over 250 yards and prove just how talented he is.
No running back in the country has been more productive this season than Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona.
The sophomore leads the nation with 1,757 rushing yards and has averaged 6.4 yards a carry to go along with 20 touchdowns.
Not far behind him is Nevada running back Stefphon Jefferson. Jefferson ranks third in the country with 1,703 yards and 22 touchdowns, while averaging five yards a carry.
These two teams combine to average nearly 500 yards rushing a game and with the way the defenses of both of these squads are, 600 is not out of the question.
There have already been 26 universities who have parted ways with their head coach and now is the time when things start to slow down.
That is not to say that nothing else is going to happen, but we might see a relatively quiet week on the coaching front.
Many teams are also still looking for a head coach to fill the void. Among the biggest names on the list are Wisconsin, Texas Tech and San Jose State.
Stay tuned as it is going to be an interesting month as far as head coaches are concerned.
Jim Tressel is one of the most decorated college football head coaches this generation has ever seen and while his name has been rumored for certain positions, nothing has really come about.
Some thought he might be a possibility for the opening at Tennessee. That was obviously not the case.
With a few big openings still out there, do not count out the possibility that Tressel's name will pop up in the coming days regarding one of these positions.
Utah State has quietly put together one of the best seasons of any college football team in 2012.
The Aggies are 10-2 with their only losses coming to Wisconsin and BYU, both of which were very close games.
They have done it with a defense that ranks eighth in the country, allowing only 15.2 points a game.
Toledo on the other hand, is very talented on the offensive side of the ball, particularly at the skill positions.
That is not going to matter on Saturday as Utah State will have no trouble slowing down the high-flying Toledo offensive attack.
Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton has been dynamic all season long with his arm and his legs.
The sophomore quarterback has followed up an impressive freshman campaign with a sophomore season that deserves notice.
He has passed for 3,144 yards with 27 touchdowns and only nine picks. Keeton has also rushed the ball 120 times for 527 yards with seven more scores.
Keeton has the ability to exploit the Toledo defense and have a game so good, he will be mentioned as a possible Heisman dark-horse for the 2013 season.
Kerwynn Williams has done a little bit of everything this season for Utah State. He currently leads the team in both rushing and receiving.
So far this season he has had two games where he has gone over 100 in both categories and Saturday will be the third.
Williams has 1,277 yards rushing this season with 663 receiving yards. He has 17 touchdowns.
On Saturday, expect Williams to have a big day with a couple scores.
As recently as a week ago more teams were mentioned as possible expansion candidates to the Big Ten.
Georgia Tech and Virginia popped up in the conversation just a week after Maryland and Rutgers jumped ship to the league.
That would give the Big Ten a new market in Atlanta, thereby reaching deeper into the south than it ever has. While it could still very well happen, do not expect that to be the case over the next few days.
It may be hard to believe, but this week expect most rumors and talks to cool down for a few days.
BYU and San Diego State are two very talented teams. Even though the Cougars have five losses on their resume, those have been hard-fought games against very talented opponents.
San Diego State on the other hand is 9-3 with a big win over Boise State on its resume.
These are two very evenly matched teams. The Cougars are not afraid to play a little defense. They are only allowing 14.7 points a game.
San Diego State running back Adam Muema is going to have his hands full in this one.
The Aztecs will come out on top, but this is going to be the most entertaining game of the first weekend.
San Diego State is one of the hottest teams in the country, having won seven games in a row after starting the season 2-3.
They do it with a balanced offensive attack but the defense has also been playing very well.
The group has forced 23 turnovers this season. BYU is not going to allow a lot of yards, so to come out with a victory, the Aztecs are going to need to force a few turnovers.
They will be able to do just that and even take one the other way for six.
There is no question that one of the most underrated junior receivers in the entire country is Cody Hoffman out of BYU.
He has caught 90 passes for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a 12-catch, 182-yard, five touchdown performance in the season-finale against New Mexico.
Hoffman will not only find the end zone twice, but will also catch 10 passes to go over 100 for the season and cap off one of the best seasons of any wide receiver in college football.
While this is certainly not a premier job, it is a head coaching position at the FBS level.
This is certainly more than Petrino could ask for after what he put Arkansas through a few months ago.
The season is still a long way away, but he is certainly one of the biggest names to come through Bowling Green, Kentucky in quite some time.
He will prove to be an excellent hire for the Hilltoppers down the road.
Ball State has not been mentioned much by people outside the MAC, but at 9-3 the Cardinals are a handful for any team.
The only three losses they have suffered on the season have come against Clemson, Northern Illinois and Kent State.
Central Florida is a very talented team, but the Cardinals might have too much for the Knights in the end.
By the end of bowl season, Ball State might find itself near the Top 25.
Central Florida is 9-4 on the year with its losses coming to Ohio State, Missouri and to Tulsa (twice).
The Knights are one of the most talented teams in Conference USA and will be heading to the Big East next season.
They have one of the best defenses in the country, allowing 22.5 points a game.
Ball State however, will be ready to play and will take this one by at least 10 points.
There is a plethora of talented running backs in the MAC. One of the top names on the list is Jahwan Edwards.
The sophomore has already rushed for 1,321 yards with 14 scores.
He has been very consistent for the entire season and will have another solid outing in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl against Central Florida.
Expect him to be the player of the game.
East Carolina has been very solid all season on both sides of the ball, but one area the team has struggled in is the running game.
They are only averaging 109.1 yards a game. Louisiana-Lafayette is playing in its own back yard in the New Orleans Bowl.
While both teams come into the game 8-4, it appears East Carolina might not be as good as its record indicates.
The Ragin' Cajuns will be able to completely shut down the run in this bowl game.
Louisiana-Lafayette has had a solid 8-4 season, and it will culminate near its campus in the New Orleans Bowl.
The Ragin' Cajuns love to throw the ball around and rank in the top 30 nationally in passing yards.
In their bowl game against East Carolina, the Ragin' Cajuns will have not one, but two wide receivers go over the 100-yard mark.
That will almost certainly secure a victory.
Just this week there have been some top-notch players who have made their name eligible for the NFL draft.
Among those names is South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore and Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.
Expect more big names to come in the next few days.
Some may be even a little more surprising than Lattimore was.
Boise State has had another impressive year, and even though it has not played top-level competition, the Broncos are still one of the best teams in the country.
Washington has been very up-and-down all season long. The Huskies come into this one 7-5, but were hot at the end of the season until losing to Washington State.
They have not fared well against quality competition and Boise State is just that.
The Broncos will roll to victory in this one.
The Boise State defense is one of the best in the country and is allowing less than 15 points a game, which ranks sixth in the nation.
Where the Broncos really excel is when it comes to turnovers. Boise State has forced 33 turnovers this season, ranking third in the country.
Washington has given the ball away more than a few times. Boise State will be able to force four on its way to a victory.
Joe Southwick has not had a bad season in place of the departed Kellen Moore.
He has thrown for 17 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. There has also not been a game this season where he has thrown multiple interceptions.
That is all going to change in the bowl game against Boise State.
The Broncos still have enough on defense to come out with a victory, but might struggle at times on offense.
Washington quarterback Keith Price has not had the season he anticipated before the year began.
The junior has thrown for 2,486 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. This is nowhere close to the year he had in 2011.
The Huskies have only been held under 14 points one time all season.
This could mark the second time as Boise State has enough talent on the defensive side of the ball to shut them down.
With plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball, Boise State has had no trouble slowing teams down.
The Broncos feast on turnovers and against Washington they will turn those turnovers directly into points.
Look for the Broncos to put up two non-offensive touchdowns with at least one of them coming from their defense.
With five games over the first week of the bowl season, it looks like we are going to see some fantastic finishes.
There could be some wild endings and overtime games are definitely not out of the question.
I see two of these games going into overtime with a few more of them coming down to the final possession.