You Have To Lose At Least 1: Predicting Each Top 25 Team's First Loss.
If every top 25 team went undefeated, which is unrealistic, boy would the BCS be in an even bigger logjam than they are each and every December.
Generally there are about 3-5 unbeaten teams, with 2 or 3 being from BCS conferences. This year should be no different.
So who is gonna beat who you may ask?
Well, I can only predict so far, so let's start out by taking a look at the first loss for each top 25 team this college football season.
T#24 West Virginia
The Mountaineers have a solid tailback in Noel Devine and a pretty decent line for him to run behind. But what they are lacking is an experienced QB.
Because of this I think that their first L comes September 25th in Death Valley against LSU. The crowd noise and the Bayou Bengal D will handle the Mountaineers on this day
Utah is a popular pick to de-throne TCU for the MWC title this year, but their non conference opener may be their toughest game of the year.
Their Thursday night opener against Dion Lewis and Pitt is a BCS bowl rematch from a few years ago and I am predicting that Pitt gets the upper hand, despite a rowdy Ute crowd.
Pitt will handle the running game and Eddie Wide and the Utes defense will not have an answer for Dion Lewis. It will be close, but the Panthers come away with the win.
I am a big fan of Auburn this season, but I do not think that they can go unscaved in the very tough SEC West.
On October 16th they go up against Air-Mallett and Arkansas. While I think their defense will be much better than they were a year ago, I think that Mallett picks them apart in front of the home fans and Arkansas picks up a big W.
#22 Oregon State
I do think Oregon State will contend for the Pac 10 title in 2010, but I also think that they will be well prepared for the Pac 10 slate by the time they get there.
Experience at QB will be an issue early on and the opener at the new Texas Stadium against pretty much a home team TCU will be their first L on the season.
I can see TCU stacking the box to stop Rodgers and the passing attack being a no-show as the Horned Frogs look to make a repeat BCS bowl appearance.
To be honest I am not a huge fan of Georgia this season, but many of the experts are taking them as a possible SEC East spoiler.
In order to do this they must win the game inside their division, which begins with a trip to Columbia on September 11th. The Gamecocks D is tough, and Stephen Garcia makes a few big throws as South Carolina nudges out a victory over the Bulldogs.
#20 Florida State
The Noles are once again in the top 25, but for how long?
September 11th is a day that Seminole nation will find out how good they are as they travel to Norman. Oklahoma hasn't lost at home in over 30 games. They will add to it as the Noles receive their first defeat and drop out of the Top 25 as Landry Jones will eat alive a defense that has declined over the years.
Arkansas will put up points by the bunches this year. The question will be if they can stop anybody.
Last year they gave up 52 against Georgia at home. On September 18th they head to Athens and will be handed their first big L of the season. Mallett may put up big numbers here, but so will the Georgia offense as they put up 40+ in this one.
#18 North Carolina
North Carolina is also one of those teams that many think could be a dark horse in 2010.
Butch Davis has put together a defense built on speed and has a very talented tailback in Shaun Draughn.
Unfortunately they have the Georgia Dome opener against LSU, which is not an easy task for any FBS squad.
LSU and Jordan Jefferson play just well enough to scrape out a win in the opener over the Tar Heels.
#17 Georgia Tech
The defending ACC champs still look pretty good on paper and will once again compete for the division crown.
On September 18th they start conference play with a trip to Chapell Hill and that's where the Jackets may struggle.
I look for the Tar Heel defense to stop Nesbitt and force a few miscues that will lead to the Yellow Jackets first loss of 2010.
Not many people are talking about LSU competing for the SEC crown this year, but in the SEC West I think anything can happen.
LSU will enter their October 9th showdown against Florida at 5-0. But, that's where it stops. Florida is too tough at home. The speed of the defense and the Florida skill players will be too much for the Bayou Bengals as the Gators continue winning without Tebow
Pitt has a strong running game with Dion Lewis and a pretty good defense and are favorites this year in the Big East.
If Miami was still in the Big East, they would be the favorites, therefore on Thursday, September 23rd, Pitt goes down at home against the U.
Too much speed from the Miami defense and just enough good Jacory Harris will put an end to Pitt's BCS title hopes.
#14 Penn State
Penn State had a lot of key players either graduate or go pro in the off-season, but are still good enough to compete against almost anybody.
Unfortunately Alabam isn't just anybody, they are the defending champs and the fact that the game is in Tuscaloosa does not help. 'Bama wins this week 2 romp.
The University of Miami has a team that could very well make people think that the U is back for good in 2010.
The Canes get a series of tough road games, but look for a November 13th trip to Atlanta to be their first L and a huge letdown heading into the VaTech game. I think the Canes get caught looking ahead and Josh Nesbitt erupts to give the Jackets a major upset over what could be a top 5 team.
Wisconsin could very well earn their first BCS trip in over a decade in 2010, en route to a possible Big Ten title.
Their schedule stacks up pretty well with Ohio State at home and an easy non conference.
However an October 23rd trip to Iowa that will be coming off the Ohio State game will be too much as Iowa will be licking their chops for Bucky at home. Too much Iowa D and too many Badger mistakes derails an unbeaten season in Madison.
For the record, I think the Ducks will compete for the Pac 10 title, but pre-season #11 is way too high.
The #11 spot however will not be for long as I see a trip to Rocky Top on September 11th being their first true test. Nate Costa will not handle the Tennessee pressure or crowd noise and the Vols will earn their first big win of the Derek Dooley era.
Iowa had their run last year, and at one point it was being said that the BCS computers were in love with an unbeaten Hawkeye team.
This year they will not be unbeaten for long.
They beat Arizona at home last year, but must travel to Tucson on September 18th. Nick Foles will step up in front of the home crowd and play the game of his life and the Wildcat defense will shut down Iowa's running game and force several key turnovers. Iowa gets the big L in a true road test.
There are a lot of people out there that like Nebraska's setup with their schedule this year. I will agree.
Texas and Mizzou at home and the toughest road game at Washington? I would take that.
But I am going to say watch out for the October 7th tilt at Kansas State. The Wildcats under Bill Snyder are looking for that signature win to put their program back on the map again and this could be it, especially since this is a Thursday night game and Nebraska could be looking ahead to the Texas game.
If you have read any of my previous preview articles then you already know I am taking Boomer Sooner to Glendale.
But will they go unbeaten?
I say yes.
The road slate is not difficult at all. They have FSU, but it's at home. The only chance of a loss for the Sooners comes against Texas in the Red River Rivalry. I say that the Sooners take out Texas in a romp with Landry Jones solidifying his Heisman hopes.
Oklahoma goes unbeaten.
TCU is going to be good again this year, and as long as they can beat Oregon State in the opener, which I think they will, they have another good shot at chasing BCS dreams in 2010.
November 6th could be their downfall though as they travel to Utah. This could be the game where the Horned Frogs defense shows some flaws as i think the Utah rushing attack goes to town in what could be the MWC title game.
Utah upsets TCU on November 6th.
#6 Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is my other Glendale favorite as I think that Beamer ball runs the table, despite tough games with ACC foes Miami, UNC, and Georgia Tech.
Oh, and I think they nip Boise in the opener.
Hokie nation goes the distance and plays Oklahoma for the National Title.
#5 Boise State
Boise State is no longer the Cinderella of college football, they are a legitimate National contender.
Unfortunately they play VaTech in the opener which is virtually a home game for the Hokies in DC. They lose this one but run the table the rest of the way to earn a trip to Glendale, but for the Fiesta Bowl, and not the BCS National Championship.
Once again Bevo and the boys find themselves in the thick of the National title race to start the season, despite the loss of Colt McCoy.
Garrett Gilbert will do a fine job as Texas shouldn't miss a step in 2010.
Unfortunately I do not think they will find a way to beat Oklahoma in the Red River game, and I like Nebraska at home two weeks later. Landry Jones will pick them apart and the Husker D will turn them away in Lincoln.
Sorry Horns fans, the BCS will not be calling your name in 2010.
Life after Tebow begins this fall in Gainesville, but the Gators appear to be locked and re-loaded.
The schedule shapes up pretty well early on, but Tuscaloosa calls on October 2nd.
I see no way that John Brantley and company can knock off the Tide on the road. It will be close, but the Alabama defense makes several key plays to earn a victory in a possible 1 vs 2 showdown.
#2 Ohio State
Once again Ohio State finds itself in the National Title talks. These talks could be over after a week 2 game against Miami.
In a rematch of the 2003 National Title game the U travels to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes.
This one will match 2 QB's with a Jekyl and Hyde style to their game. I think that Pryor will be ruffed up by the speedy Miami defense and will make several key mistakes that costs the Buckeyes the game, and a shot at the national title.
San Jose State will beat 'Bama in week 1.
Yeah and monkeys may fly out of my butt.
The Tide is loaded and appears to be nearly unbeatable this year.
I think the South Carolina game could be close, as will the Florida game, but in the end the Tide wins.
Auburn, at home, Iron Bowl, SEC West title.
It has all the makings for an upset of epic proportions. I am taking it based on the fact that I do not think anyone nowadays is capable of repeating as the National Champions. There are just too many good teams around these days.
Sorry Tide fans, I am going with the Tigers over you in the game and in the West.
As I said earlier there are generally 3-5 teams that go unbeaten, so here are my other two that could go wire to wire.
I think Houston has the ability to win them all, despite having a very suspect defense. They have a QB that can throw the ball all over the field and compensate for a poor defense.
I also like Middle Tennessee out of the Sun Belt. Dwight Dasher is a solid QB who could take it to the next level if he can cut down on his mistakes. I also like the way their schedule stacks up.
As always, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong and please check out my other pre-season articles previewing the upcoming season.
Also feel free to comment on these predictions, both good and bad, and tell me who you think could be a first loss for any of your conference foes.