The 2010 NCAA football season is almost here. Preseason rankings have some schools seeing red (well, crimson) at the top of the list once again.
But some teams are determined to oust the Alabama Crimson Tide from the No. 1 spot and earn their school's first national title.
Albeit the powerhouses in the SEC, Big 12, Pac-10, and Big Ten are perennially given the opportunities to win a national championship (given their demanding schedules), some teams may shock everyone and win the BCS Championship this year, or at least in the near future.
Other teams, however, do belong to said powerhouse conferences, but have never won a national championship.
The following is an examination of five teams that do not have national titles to their names, but could win a national title if the stars are aligned just right in 2010.
The Cincinnati Bearcats will seem like a completely different team in terms of personnel this year.
Former head coach Brian Kelly left to Notre Dame, Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard both graduated, and the defense is only returning five starters.
Although the changes may seem extreme, Cincinnati should have no trouble topping the Big East again.
If the Bearcats have an especially great year, they may become a threat for the national championship.
The team will have to put their trust in new coach Butch Jones, who was successful at Central Michigan, and new quarterback Zach Collaros, who did a great job backing up Pike when he was injured.
Because they belong to the Big East, the Bearcats will be a tough sell for BCS Championship, but a non-conference win against Oklahoma in September would certainly help the Big East leaders in their quest for a national title.
Despite having performed very well the last few years, Wisconsin has consistently trailed Penn State, Iowa, and The Ohio State Buckeyes.
But this year, the Badgers will have an opportunity to stun the Big Ten, and perhaps the nation.
The Badgers will return two powerful running backs in John Clay and Zach Brown, but will have a younger defense that needs development.
Winsconsin can upset the Big Ten's most storied teams, they will have no trouble breaking into the BCS.
Upsetting the Buckeyes, Hawkeyes, and Nittany Lions sounds impossible—and it may very well be something that only happens in dreams—but the Big Ten will change in 2011.
With a chance at a conference title game, the Badgers could see improved chances of adding a national title to their trophy case in the next decade.
You've heard of LeBron James, yes? Well how about LaMichael James?
James is the sophomore running back who could possibly lead the Oregon Ducks to their first national title.
On defense, inside linebacker Casey Matthews is a tackling machine, accruing 156 tackles in his collegiate career.
Last year, the Ducks went 10-3, beating USC, Utah, and California along the way. Their only defeats came to Boise State and Stanford in the regular season and Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
The Ducks have never won a national championship, but this year, the Ducks could quack into the the discussion.
The Virginia Tech Hokies had the No. 1 passing defense in 2009, but the ACC power will be different in 2010.
Several of the Hokies' defensive players graduated, but the team has more to offer than blocked passes.
Hokie running back Ryan Williams was the ACC Rookie of the Year in 2009, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor is experienced and extremely talented.
Virginia Tech will face a tough 2010 schedule that includes Boise State, North Carolina, Miami (FL), and Georgia Tech. If they top the ACC, the Hokies should expect to go to a BCS bowl, perhaps even the championship.
The Boise State Broncos have proven year after year they're a forced with which to be reckoned.
Last year, the Broncos went 14-0, ending their season with a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win over TCU.
This year, the Boise State will return all of their 2009 starts. All of them.
Because they belong to the Western Athletic Conference, the Broncos have never been given the nod for a BCS Championship appearance.
The main reason? Schedule.
The Broncos don't have to face Florida, Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma every year, but they have proven their ability to beat teams of their caliber.
This year, the Broncos will kick off their season against the Virginia Tech Hokies in highly anticipated showdown.
If the Broncos win out again this season, they just might be the first WAC team to reach the BCS Championship.