2010 College Football Preseason Rankings: Predicting Each BCS Bowl Game
The countdown to the beginning of the college football season (a.k.a. the most wonderful time of year) has begun.
The dog days of baseball are almost behind us, and practices around the country all start up within the next couple of weeks.
Of course, with the beginning of each season comes the opportunity to make predictions for January bowl games.
And if any of the following foresight becomes reality, 2010 will surely be a season that no one soon forgets.
Matchup: Virginia Tech (ACC champs) vs. Pittsburgh (Big East champs)
Virginia Tech will be a top-10 preseason team in just about every poll.
Its biggest test of the season comes in its opener against Boise State on a "neutral" field in Washington D.C.—just over 200 miles from Virginia Tech's campus.
The Hokies will likely have one of, if not, the best running trandems in the land with Ryan Williams and Darren Evans.
Pittsburgh, just like VT, will play a powerhouse non-BCS school (Utah) to open up its 2010 campaign.
In the Panthers' case, however, they will be playing a true road game in Salt Lake City. After that, Pittsburgh will have the advantage of playing in the worst BCS conference in the country in the Big East.
Winner: Virginia Tech 27-13
Matchup: Texas (Big 12 champs) vs. Florida (SEC at-large)
This is a matchup of two teams that lost two of the best college quarterbacks of all-time in Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow.
This game will come down to which replacement has the better outing.
For the Gators, it will be three-year backup John Brantley at the helm. In the Longhorns' case, Garrett Gilbert will take over.
The difference will be Gilbert's experience in last year's Rose Bowl when McCoy went down with an injury.
Winner: Texas 23-13
Matchup: Wisconsin (Big Ten at-large) vs. Arizona (Pac-10 champs)
This is probably the most unexpected pairing of the bunch.
In the Big Ten, Wisconsin's sole true road test will come against Iowa midway through the season. The only other elite team on the schedule is Ohio State, whom the Badgers will get at Camp Randall stadium.
The Hawkeyes, whom many consider to be a favorite in the conference, have to play all three of the top Big Ten teams (OSU, Wisconsin, and Penn State) as well as pay a visit to Tucson in a non-conference bout with Arizona.
Speaking of the Wildcats, 2010 will be the best chance for the school to reach its first Rose Bowl in Arizona history.
With USC ineligible for post-season play and Oregon losing both its starting quarterback (for the season) and running back (for one game), the Wildcats could easily find themselves in Pasadena in a wide-open Pac-10.
After its date with Iowa at home, Arizona's biggest test will be at Oregon in the second to last week of the regular season.
Winner: Wisconsin 20-17
Matchup: Alabama (SEC champs) vs. TCU (Mountain West at-large)
Alabama will not go undefeated again. The SEC is just too good.
Whether it is to Penn State, Florida, Arkansas or LSU, the Crimson Tide will lose one game in 2010.
Although it may be unfair, that one loss will keep Alabama out of the National Championship game and send them to New Orleans.
TCU, on the other hand, after opening up against Oregon State at home, will benefit from a relatively easy schedule and cruise to a second consecutive undefeated regular season finish.
Unfortunately for the Horned Frogs, Alabama will be angry and show why a playoff is so badly needed in college football.
Winner: Alabama 34-17
BCS National Championship
Matchup: Boise State (WAC at-large) vs. Ohio State (Big Ten champs)
By no means are these two schools the best two teams in the country (at least not yet). What they do have, however, are the two most perfect schedules.
The Buckeyes' sole non-conference challenge comes against Miami at home in the second week of the season.
After that, all that remains between OSU and the title game are trips to Madison and Iowa City to meet the only two Big Ten teams that can possibly hang with Jim Tressel's super athletic squad.
For Boise State, the Broncos went out and did exactly what critics asked the school to do: schedule harder. Two of its first three games come against legitimate BCS contenders in Virginia Tech and Oregon State.
If the Broncos can get past those two tests, they should cruise through the remainder of their schedule against weak WAC teams.
In the title game in Glendale, Ariz., both teams will come out firing and turn the contest into a shootout.
In the end, Boise State coach Chris Petersen's creativity will be the difference as the Broncos win the first national championship for non-BCS schools.
Winner: Boise State 35-34 in OT