2010 CFB: Predicting Last-Place Finishers for the Top Conferences
It's never easy to predict conference standings in a given year, and sometimes picking who finishes last is harder than picking the champion itself.
Many of these teams are accustomed to being a cellar dweller, but some may surprise you. Is your team headed toward a downward spiral for 2010? Find out inside.
The ACC had quite a few teams finish similarly at the bottom last year, and this year may be more of the same.
Maryland finished at a very subpar 1-7 in the ACC last year, and the loss of QB Chris Turner, along with seven starters on defense spells another year at the bottom for the Terps.
With a 35-38 record in his past six seasons, Terp fans are none too happy with HC Ralph Friedgen, and a last place finish would seemingly push the two even farther apart.
Big East: Louisville
Don't worry Louisville fans, Charlie Strong is going to turn your program around at some point. It just won't be this year.
They return some offensive talent, but lost half of a defense that is Charlie Strong's forte. Strong will need to find a receiver to step up and increase the abysmal offense and their lack of points, and hope that his first year recruiting class will pay dividends on defense immediately.
If that happens, they may give Syracuse a run for the bottom of the barrel in the Big East.
Big 10: Illinois
Lets face the facts, Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn were the only players worth watching for the Illini in 2009.
They're gone. Illinois brings back seven players on defense, but even that may not be enough to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big 10. Michigan will return to respectable form, and Indiana may prove to be troublesome to more than expected. Ron Zook, better luck next year.
Big 12: Kansas
The Jayhawks took a huge step forward by firing one of the NCAA's worst head coaches in Mark Mangino. Kansas fans can rest assured that they hired a class act in Turner Gill.
Unfortunately, Gill will be dealt a tough hand in his first season. The Big 12 will once again be stout, and with the loss of phenom QB Todd Reesing and WR Kerry Meier, the offense should struggle significantly. Kansas will be a much improved team...in 2011.
If the city of Memphis was even aware that they had a football team, they may be even more unaware this season.
Tommy West, who once owned a respectable Memphis program, left the cupboard bare for new HC Larry Porter. The Tigers lost top RB Curtis Steele and seven defensive starters. This includes top DB Deante' Lamar, who coincidentally happened to be the teams second leading tackler.
All roads point toward the bottom for the Tigers.
MAC: Eastern Michigan
About the only thing Eastern Michigan has going for them is duo of QB's who saw playing time last year. Sadly, they only threw for seven TD's combined.
Going winless is never an easy thing, but in the MAC, which was seemingly one of the worst conferences in the country in 2009, going 0-12 was quite the feat. They return 15 total starters, but for the Eagles, expect more of the same in 2010.
MWC: Colorado State
Colorado State will have one of the toughest seasons in all of college football in 2010.
If finishing 3-9 and winless in the MWC wasn't bad enough, try losing nine offensive starters and six on defense.
Goodness gracious, the Rams are in for a bumpy ride. To salvage anything at all, defensive star Mychal Sisson returns as one of the only bright spots for Steve Fairchild's team.
Pac-10: Arizona State
The Pac-10 will be a tough conference this year, and though Washington State went winless last year, I have an inkling that 18 returning starters will change that.
Someone who's in for rough year? That's Arizona State. They lost seven starters on both sides of the ball, including starting QB Danny Sullivan, the top 2 WR's including star Kyle Williams, and the team's leading rusher. Couple that with trips to Oregon State, Washington, Cal, USC, and Arizona and 2010 could spell disaster for Dennis Erickson.
The best conference in the country will be as even as ever this season, with the East up for grabs and teams in the West not ready to hand Alabama anything.
Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt are accustomed to battling it out for the bottom of the SEC, but UK and MSU may distance themselves a bit this year.
The Commodores ship will sink once again, with the loss of six starters on each side of the ball leading to their demise. LB Chris Marve is one of the best defensive players in the SEC, but after undergoing shoulder surgery this week, his health could be another question for the 'Dores in 2010.
HC Bobby Johnson is a stand up guy, but with little depth and a tough schedule, 2010 will be another sour year in the great city of Nashville.
Sun Belt: Arkansas State
This one may be going out on a limb a bit, especially with the NCAA's worst team in 2009 coming from the Sun Belt. Western Kentucky was a victory for everyone on last year's schedule, but don't count on that with 18 returning starters in 2010.
Arkansas State, who has been known to beat a BCS opponent here and there has a good chance at taking last place honors this year in the Sun Belt.
They squeaked out a victory over WKU to end '09, and that may be writing on the wall for 2010. They lose over 2,000 yards of offense and 19 TD's combined in QB Corey Leonard and RB Reggie Arnold, and with 11 total returners combined, this could be Arky State's turn at the bottom.
WAC: New Mexico State
With the mighty Boise State in the WAC, does anyone even care about the rest of the conference? Heck, with the Broncos in the WAC, why even play the games?
That's how many people view the conference, even though Nevada finished at 8-1 and Fresno State at 7-2 in 2009. Boise returns 21 starters total, and yes, they'll probably win the WAC. But let's cut the talk about the national title and talk about who's finishing last.
That goes to the New Mexico State Aggies. The offense was abysmal, and the defense was not much better. When your top QB and RB combine for five TD's, you know you're in trouble.
NMSU will duke it out with San Jose State for the WAC's worst, but the Aggies come out on the bottom this go round.