2009 Major BCS Conference Predictions
Get ready ladies and gentlemen because the college football season is almost here. While you wait for opening day, I thought I would give you something to pass the time. Here are my predictions for the major BCS conferences.
For each conference, I will have a winner, a dark horse, and the teams in the conference championship game (if applicable).
Big 12 - Texas
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy returns for his senior season for another attempt at a national championship. Last year, McCoy and the Longhorns were riding high until they were upset by Michael Crabtree and Texas Tech.
Also returning will be McCoy's favorite target, senior wideout Jordan Shpley. Shipley led Texas in receiving last season and will be a threat again this season.
The schedule for Texas is favorable until the Red River Shootout in Dallas against Oklahoma. The only formidable opponent until that game is against Texas Tech at home. Texas will avenge last year's lost to the Red Raiders in a blowout victory.
The Longhorns will defeat Sam Bradford and the Sooners again this season.
Oklahoma has to replace most of their offensive line, despite the weapons on offense and Texas defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, will exploit that weakness.
Texas has a young defense, but Muschamp is by far the best defensive coordinator in the country. I have no doubt that his defensive will be the best in the Big 12.
Texas will run the table towards a Big 12 Championship.
Big 12 Championship: Kansas vs Texas
Dark Horse: Oklahoma State
ACC - Virginia Tech
I feel like I'm taking a risk with Va Tech, but what the heck. they win by default. Since defeating Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl, fans have been hyping up the 2009 season for the Hokies. Now that quarterback Tyrod Taylor doesn't have to share playing time with Sean Glennon anymore, Taylor has the keys to the car and must live up to the hype.
Taylor has to play a lot better than he did last year. He threw for 1,036 yards, 7 interceptions, and only 2 touchdowns. Even though he was sharing playing time, those aren't good numbers and he will improve them this season.
The defense ranked seventh nationally in 2008 and it will be their bright spot in 2009. The defense should carry the Hokies toward another ACC Championship
ACC Championship: Florida State vs Virginia Tech
Dark Horse: Georgia Tech
Big Ten - Penn State
Despite losing their top three wide receivers and first round draft pick defensive end Aaron Maybin, Penn State does have firepower to win a Big Ten title and possibly an appearance in the national championship.
Once again, Linebacker U will in session in Happy Valley. Linebackers Navarro Bowman and Sean Lee will be one of the best duos in the country and the defensive line will be a challenge for opposing offenses.
Quarterback Daryll Clark had a breakout season in 2008 as a first year starter. Now that his favorite targets are gone, he is the main guy in Happy Valley. He also has the best running back in the Big Ten on his side in Evan Royster. He is a very patient runner who knows how to weave through the defense.
Penn State's schedule is one of the weakest in the nation. They have eight games at home and four on the road. The only tough road test is at Illinois on Oct. 4.
The Lions and Ohio State should be on a collision course toward Nov. 7 in Happy Valley. This great rivalry should decide the Big Ten title in 2009. With the nation's best student section at their side, Penn State will win in by a slim margin.
Runner-up: Ohio State
Dark Horse: Illinois
Big East - Cincinnati
Like the ACC, taking any team is a risk. The Big East will be up for the taking this year. Five of the eight teams have a legitimate oppotunity at a Big East title and a BCS berth. My selection is the defending Big East Champion, the Cincinnati Bearcats.
The duo of quarterback Tony Pike and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard will be a major factor for this offense. Pike should have a lot of time to through the ball because their offensive line returns three starters and they are very experienced. Getting the ball to a game breaking wideout in Gilyard should be great because of the protection.
The defense is questionable because they lose ten starters from 2008. However, there isn't a dominant team in the Big East this season. I think the defense should be able to hold down the fort.
Runner-up: South Florida
Dark Horse: Rutgers
Pac-10 - USC
There is no question that the Pac-10 favorite is the USC Trojans. They are ten steps above the competition. The problem is losing to inferior teams.
Let's run down the slip-ups since the 2006 season:
Team (USC Rank)
2006: Oregon State (ranked second), UCLA (ranked second.......again)
2007: Stanford (ranked first), No. 5 Oregon (ranked eighth)
2008: Oregon State (ranked first)
In the past few years, USC has not been able to handle their business against weaker teams. They can beat the big boys like Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, but they have to dominate their conference foes.
Now that quarterback Mark Sanchez is in the NFL, there is a quarterback battle between true freshman Matt Barkley and redshirt sophomore Aaron Corp to become the new starter. Whoever wins the starting spot will have a lot of talent to throw to at wide receiver, especially to a player like Damian Williams. Williams was their leading receiver last year and should give the new starting quarterback a boost of confidence.
The defense lose a lot of starters, but it will still be intimidating. Free safety Taylor Mays will be the leader of that defense. We remember last season when he was delivering punishing blows to opposing receivers. The Trojans hope he does the same this year.
Dark Horse: Oregon State
SEC - Florida
Quarterback Tim Tebow is looking to finish his college career with another national title in 2009. His Florida Gators are loaded and ready to fire. He has protection on the offensive line, he has weapons at wide receiver and tight end, and a committee of running backs.
The defense is even better. The Gators return everybody on defense and should be better than last season. Every position is deep and experienced. Linebacker Brandon Spikes returned for his senior season and is the leader of the unit.
Tebow will lead the Gators to a SEC title and another national championship.
SEC Championship: Ole Miss vs. Florida
Dark Horse: LSU