Excitement is building day by day as less than a month remains until two-a-days get underway at college campuses across the United States. This is the time of the year when expectations are up for everyone, a time when every team has a chance to be great, and unquestionably, a time when the Kool-Aid drinking is in full-force.
In Boise, ID. dreams of crystal footballs being lifted fill the night sky. In Nebraska, corn-shucking production has dipped to an all-time low due to all the Cornhusker talk in the fields. Sweater-vest sales are spiking all over rural Ohio. Alabama fans are already figuring out the logistics of a mass mobile-home caravan to Arizona.
While Alabama and Ohio State will almost assuredly be the near consensus preseason number one and two, respectively, there are a whole heap of teams that will have their say in who will be holding the Sears Trophy on January 10.
Will this be the year that the SEC finally relinquishes its death grip on the BCS championship game? Does this Nebraska squad have the horses to make a long-awaited return to the title? Can Ohio State manage to not slip up along the way? Is Boise serious?
Could a team out west not named USC have what it takes to shock the nation and win it all? Does anyone really have a clue what is going to happen? Certainly not, but I can give it a try.
I have projected twenty bowl matchups. I began with the intention of doing all the bowls, but there are just too damned many bowls (my apologies to Papa John and Little Ceasar). Here are my way-too-early 2010-11 bowl projections.
First off, let me take care of this one little piece of business:
UDrove Humanitarian - December 18, 2010 - Boise, Idaho.
- Temple (MAC) vs. Boise State (WAC)
(Sorry, Boise fans. I like your team, but heartbreak looms, because Virginia Tech is going to kill those dreams of crystal balls rather quickly, and you end up here).
Champs Sports -December 28, 2010 -Orlando, Florida
- Boston College (ACC) vs. Pittsburgh (Big East)
Valero Alamo - December 29, 2010 - San Antonio, Texas
- Oklahoma State (Big 12) vs. UCLA (Pac-10)
Franklin Mortgage Music City - December 30, 2010 - Nashville, Tennessee
- LSU (SEC) vs. Clemson (ACC)
Bridgepoint Education Holiday - December 30, 2010 - San Diego, California
- Texas A&M (Big 12) vs. Oregon State (Pac-10)
Meineke Car Care - December 31, 2010 - Charlotte, North Carolina
- North Carolina (ACC) vs. South Florida (Big East)
Hyundai Sun - December 31, 2010 - El Paso, Texas
- Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Stanford (Pac-10)
AutoZone Liberty - December 31, 2010 - Memphis, Tennessee
- Houston (C-USA) vs. Kentucky (SEC)
Chik-Fil-A - December 31, 2010 - Atlanta, Georgia
- Georgia (SEC) vs. Florida State (ACC)
Dallas Football Classic - January 1, 2011 - Dallas, Texas (Cotton Bowl)
- Texas Tech (Big 12) vs. Michigan State (Big 10)
Outback - January 1, 2011 - Tampa, Florida
- South Carolina (SEC) vs. Penn State (Big 10)
Gator - January 1, 2011 - Jacksonville, Florida
- Arkansas (SEC) vs. Michigan (Big 10)
Capital One - January 1, 2011 - Orlando, Florida
- Auburn (SEC) vs. Iowa (Big 10)
AT&T Cotton - January 7, 2011 - Dallas, Texas (Cowboys Stadium)
- Alabama (SEC) vs. Texas (Big 12)
Rose Bowl Game - January 1, 2011 - Pasadena, California
- Southern California (BCS at-large) vs. Wisconsin (BCS at-large)
Tostitos Fiesta - January 1, 2011 - Glendale, Arizona
- Oklahoma (BCS at-large) vs. TCU (BCS at-large)
Orange - January 3, 2011 - Miami, Florida
- Nebraska (BCS at-large) vs. Virginia Tech (BCS at-large)
AllState Sugar - January 4, 2011 - New Orleans, Louisiana
- Florida (BCS at-large) vs. Miami (BCS at-large)
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - January 9, 2011 - San Francisco, CA
- Fresno State (WAC) vs. Arizona (Pac-10)
Tostitos BCS National Championship Game - January 11, 2010 - Glendale, Arizona
- Ohio State (BCS #1) vs. Oregon (BCS #2)
So, there you have it. Bucks against Ducks in for all the marbles...
I really think that Ohio State is a legitimate title team this year after being such a pretender the last few years. Terrelle Pryor is not an elite passer, but he is such a dynamic play-maker that can put a team on his back, a la Vince Young at Texas in 2005, and win a game or two that perhaps they should've lost.
Ohio will win the rest outright. The Buckeyes will use a combination of big play offense, good defense, and solid special teams to come out of the Big 10 unscathed and finish #1 in the BCS rankings.
Oregon, on the other hand, is a bit of a wild-card pick (okay, very wild) and will surely wrinkle some eyebrows. Considering the loss of Jeremiah Masoli and his 28 touchdowns in 2009, many would say I'm crazy to have them pegged for Glendale.
Two words: Nate Costa. Oh, you've never heard of him?? Alright, I confess, I have only seen him throw a few passes myself, but word out of Eugene is that he is prepared for the task. He better be!
The good news for Costa is that he has LaMichael James behind him, and if Costa isn't good at anything else, he better be good at handing the rock to James, who will be a Heisman contender at year's end. Their only non-conference test is at Tennessee, which should be a relatively easy win, and the rest of the schedule sets up nicely to make a run.
I believe Costa will get the job done, and Oregon will be too balanced on offense, and solid enough on defense, to get through the regular season undefeated and finish at #2 in the BCS rankings.
Author's Note : The SEC is still the king conference of college football, but there will be a reprieve for teams across the land this year, because the SEC is simply going to beat itself up and out of contention for the title.
I don't see a team coming out of the SEC undefeated, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the top two or three teams in the SEC have two losses. It will be a shame, because this year's SEC champion will probably be the best team in college football, but they will be playing in New Orleans instead of Glendale.
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