The idea that Boise State--a non-qualifying school--can and will compete for a spot in this year's BCS National Championship Game is not as crazy as it may have sounded, oh say, five years ago.
Afterall, they are the people’s choice.
Infact,most fans would do cart-wheels to see Boise State in this year's BCS title game. Fans certainly would recall the Broncos electrifying performance, as they whipped heavily-favored Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
It was the greatest college football game ever played.
Now think if this David vs. Goliath scenario played out in the BCS Championship Game. It would change college football as we know it, maybe even bring about a playoff?
With fall camps opening around the country and preseason polls revealing college football’s elite, fans are starting to lick their chops at the possibilities of the 2010 season.
It's clear that Boise State is the vogue pick this season, and here’s why: If the Broncos can capture lighting in a bottle for two very important non-conference games, they could be in the title game.
Unlike past seasons, the pundits believe in Boise State, mainly because of its past accomplishments. Forget the fact that they still play on that whacky "smurf turf" and have one of the smallest venues (33,000) in Division I football--hardly a fitting place for college football's next national champion.
But regardless of the school's tiny stadium and underdog status, the experts agree that the Broncos' chance of grabbing a motherload of prestige and its first ever BCS Championship has never been better than right now.
With NFL quarterback Kellen Moore at the helm and 21 returning starters, Chris Petersen's team will have no problem running the table in the Western Athletic Conference. That's why the school’s non-conference schedule is the key to a title run.
Getting past a good Virginia Tech (Sept. 6) team will offer a stern test, and then facing Oregon State at home on the blue turf is no gimme. However, If Boise State can manage to win both of these games— the table will be set for a magical run.
And who's the likely opponent? The Ohio State Buckeyes of course.
Ohio State is no stranger to the title game and it’s fresh off a surgical performance in last year’s Rose Bowl. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor dominated the Ducks defense and emerged as an early favorite to win the 2010 Heisman Trophy. Now, the Buckeyes seem poised to take that next step.
In 2009, Pryor led the Buckeyes in rushing (709) and passing (1828) yardage but he doesn't have to play like Vince Young for Jim Tressel's team to be a factor in the national title race.
Ohio State will face three significant roads blocks in 2010.
Starting with its showdown against nationally ranked Miami on Sept. 11. Obviously the Buckeyes need a win against the Canes to solidify their preseason ranking and add a little swagger to team that has faltered in this situation.
A loss would likely allow Alabama, Nebraska, Texas, Florida and others to squeeze the Buckeyes out of a BCS title game.
They'll need road wins at Wisconsin on Oct. 16 and at Iowa November 20 to have a realistic chance at securing its first undefeated season in eight years. If that happens, then Ohio State will be headed to the championship game.
Oh, and that cry you just heard, was Nick Saban screaming Noooooooo!!! From some undisclosed film room in Tuscaloosa.
It’s impossible to overlook Alabama, Florida and LSU when it comes to a discussion regarding the national championship. The SEC has owned this game over the years—producing the BCS National Champion the last four seasons.
Still, the No. 1 college football conference in America has a way beating up on each other. With that said, it's hard to see either Florida or Alabama coming out of this ultra-competitive conference unscathed.
We know Bama quarterback Greg McElroy and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram are back, but I'm going against the chalk, simply because the SEC is the toughest week-to-week conference in the country.
And it’s hard rule out Texas and Nebraska. Both finished strong in 2009 (despite Texas' loss to 'Bama) and both have a stockpile of talent this season. The major concern for Mack Brown is dealing with the loss of Colt McCoy and his senior leadership. Nebraska must test its Blackshirt defense without the dominating force of Ndamukong Suh.
Other storylines to watch for this season include the reclamation projects going on at Florida Sate and Michigan.
Everyone expects the Noles to improve under new coach Jimbo Fisher. Quarterback Christian Ponder looks ready to direct one of the top offenses in the country but can the FSU defense stop anybody?
As for Michigan and third-year coach Rich Rodriguez, it's time to either sink or swim with the spread offense. If the Maze and Blue can't put together eight or nine wins this year, then Rodriguez will be toast in Ann Arbor.
Out West, Oregon has enough talent to win the Pac-10—even without starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who was kicked off the Ducks squad during the offseason. Nate Costa takes over the QB controls and LaMichael James could be the best running back in the conference. Lane Kiffin has a top-5 squad at USC but the Trojans are serving NCAA sanctions and may not be motivated this year.
Highly ranked TCU is the media's pick to beat out Utah and BYU in the Mountain West Conference. However, the bigger story is Pac-10 bound Utah. Kyle Whittingham's team is playing its last season in the MWC and the "Holy War" with BYU could be in jeopardy. Scheduling problems between both schools have this storied rivalry in limbo.
In the end, I'm sticking by my guns. Boise State and Ohio State will play in the national title game and I’ll happily watch from week-to-week as the dominoes fall my way.
To start the season off right, here's the first edition of my top-25 preseason poll. See exactly where your team landed and let me know if I totally whiffed on any of the picks.