The 2010 college football season has started, and the madness has begun. There will be key defining games in the early two or three weeks of the season to see who is going to be a contender or a pretender for a national championship come January. There have already been a key defining games, like TCU-Oregon State, which TCU won, and LSU-North Carolina, which LSU won, and on Monday night, Boise State beat Virginia Tech on a neutral site at FedEx Field. Week two of the college football season features games such as Miami visits Ohio State, Penn State plays Alabama, and Florida State plays Oklahoma.
Here is a look at a few teams to watch during the 2010 college football season, a look at who could be the next Heisman winner, and predictions for every BCS Bowl game.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Tide are the defending national champions, and return their playmakers on offense and defense, except for Rolando McClain. They return eight starters on offense and three starters on defense. Alabama's best returning starters are: running back Mark Ingram, quarterback Greg McElroy, wide receiver Julio Jones, running back Trent Richardson, defensive end/tackle Marcel Dareaus, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, offensive tackle James Carpenter, and safety Mark Barron. The Tide has great speed, agility, and the ability to stretch the field with their running backs and wide receivers. They're not as scary this year, and have a tough schedule. They play Florida at home, at home against Penn State this week, at Arkansas, at Tennessee, and have Auburn at home. They will miss Mark Ingram in week one, as he is out with an injury, but Trent Richardson should take care of those worries. Alabama has some tough games, but I think this team will run the table, and make the national championship game again.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State may have the best quarterback in the nation in Terrelle Pryor, and last year he ended the season with a fantastic Rose Bowl win over Oregon. Pryor silenced critics that Ohio State has a chance at the national championship game this season. In their first game against Marshall, Pryor played well, and led the Buckeyes to a victory, and now will look ahead to next week when they face Miami at home. Pryor must be consistent to give the Buckeyes a chance at running the table and making the national championship game. The Buckeyes return nine starters on offense, and seven on defense. Starting running back Brandon Saine, and wide receiver DeVier Posey are ready to help shoulder the load on offense as Pryor's two biggest weapons on offense. The offensive line also has lots of experience as all of its starters are seniors and juniors. Defensive end Cameron Heyward, and linebacker Ross Homan are the Buckeyes best on the defensive side of ball. The Big Ten is tough this year and Ohio State must play well against Wisconsin, Iowa, and even Penn State. Not to mention they play Miami at home in week two of the college football season, who could be very good this year.
The Hawkeyes return a dominant defensive lineman, Adrian Clayborn, and an experienced quarterback, Ricki Stanzi. Kirk Ferentz just signed a new deal, and the Hawkeyes are ready to capture the eye of nation. Iowa returns six starters on offense and eight starters on defense. The offense is led by quarterback Ricki Stanzi, and he has two wideouts which are are deep threats. Marvin McNutt, and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos are both wideouts who can stretch the field. The running backs are Adam Robinson, and Jewel Hampton. Hampton missed last season due to injury. Brandon Wegher could sit out this season. The offensive line is pretty sturdy, however, they lost Bryan Bulaga to the NFL. One offensive lineman to watch is left tackle Riley Reiff. On defense, Adrian Clayborn anchors the defensive line, and Tyler Sash occupies the secondary. Sash is a rising star for this defense. Broderick Binns, and Karl Klug will also be counted on the defensive line. Iowa has a tough schedule, but has Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State all at home.
Boise State Broncos
Boise State opened the season with a neutral site game against the Virginia State Hokies, and won in the last minute of the game. Kellen Moore boosted his Heisman status, Austin Pettis caught clutch passes from Moore, and the team showed they can compete with the big teams. Their next toughest game will be against Oregon State in two weeks. Boise State returns ten starters on both sides of the ball this year, and is riding a 14 game winning streak. Head Coach Chris Peterson leads the team, and quarterback Kellen Moore, a highly efficient passer, and Heisman candidate is ready to show the nation why Boise State is a title contender. Wide receiver Titus Young will try to use his explosive and speed to give Moore a consistent wideout he can count on. Austin Pettis is the other wide receiver and running back Jeremy Avery will be counted on by Moore to give him offensive weapons. Boise State also returns three offensive lineman, and the two newcomers, will have to protect Moore so the Broncos can be an offensive threat to score on every down. Senior defensive end Ryan Winterswyk is the playmaker on defense to keep an eye on. The Broncos also must fill the hole that cornerback Kyle Wilson left, as he turned pro.
The Gators are ranked high, and lost probably one of the best college football quarterback's of all-time in Tim Tebow. However, Urban Meyer is confident that John Brantley will fill in for the Gator legend. The Gators return six starters on offense, and five on defense. Most notably is junior running back Jeff Demps, who could be on verge of a breakout season. Also, teammates think that Urban Meyer may have the next Percy Harvin in junior wide receiver Chris Rainey. The offensive line returns all of its starters, including center Mike Pouncey. The newcomer is right guard James Wilson. They'll have to pass protect for Brantley in his first full season of being the starting quarterback. On defense, strong safety Ahmad Black, LB Brandon Hicks, cornerback Janoris Jenkins will be key returners for the Gators. Key games for the Gators this season will be at home against Tennessee, on the road at Alabama. Georgia in Jacksonville, and possibly Florida State. Yesterday, the Gators started off slowly against Miami (OH), but still managed to win once they got onto the board.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU opened the season against ranked Oregon State last weekend and won. This season, like Boise State, they want to prove to the nation that they can play for a national championship, and that they can play with the BCS schools. TCU certainly did that last night as they beat Oregon State a ranked opponent to start the season. One other key game is when TCU will play at Utah late in the season in November. TCU returns nine starters on offense, and seven starters on defense. This team is very experienced and returns a lot of starters. Quaterback Andy Dalton leads TCU's offense, and his biggest weapon is wide receiver Antoine Hicks. Dalton also has senior wide receivers Jimmy Young, and Jeremy Kerley as experienced wide receivers. Junior wde receiver Antoine Hicks returns to TCU, too. One thing Dalton must do is eliminate interceptions for TCU. Sophomore Ed Wesley will be the running back for the Horned Frogs. TCU returns all of its offensive lineman, except for right tackle Jeff Olson. The defense will have to find a replacement for Jerry Hughes, as he moved on to the NFL. Ross Forrest will most likely be the replacement for Hughes. On defense, linebacker Tank Carter, defensive tackle Corey Grant, nose tackle Kelly Griffin, and free safety Freejay Johnson return to this defense that will look to turn heads against opponents in 2010.
Are the Sooners back? Well, they certainly could be and are the team to beat right now in the Big 12 South. Quarterback Landry Jones did a nice job filling in for Sam Bradford last year, and now the job is his for good. Jones has a variety of weapons all around him, including wide receiver Ryan Broyles, and running back Demarco Murray. Plus, their offensive line is a bit better, even though they lost Trent Williams. The offensive lineman will just need to stay healthy. The Sooners return six starters on offense and defense. On defense, senior defensive end Jeremy Beal is their biggest playmaker. Linebacker Travis Lewis, defensive tackle Jeremy Taylor, and free saftey Quinton Carter also are back for the Sooners. Key games for the Sooners are Florida State at home, at Cincinnati, Texas in Dallas, at Missouri, and even possibly Texas A&M at home. Look for Oklahoma to meet Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game come December.
Nebraska's blackshirts may be back, and Bo Pelini believes in his squad that they could be special in 2010. Nebraska returns ten starters on offense and seven starters on defense. The Huskers lost defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but still have a very strong defense. Defensive lineman Jared Crick and Pierre Allen are determined to have big seasons for the Huskers. Crick could be just like Suh this season, as last season, Suh said Crick could be even better than himself. Newcomer Baker Steinkuhler could also be a hugh factor on the defensive line. Also, on defense, Nebraska has cornerback Prince Anukamara, who can shut down receivers. Alonzo Dennard is the other cornerback for Nebraska. On offense, the quarterback position is the biggest quetion mark, and Zac Lee will probably start the season, but Taylor Martinez, and Cody Green could also get some repetitions. Last night, the Huskers took care of Western Kentucky, and redshirt sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez played exceptionally well, as he ran for over a 100 yards and passed for another 100 yards. Cody Green and Zac Lee took some snaps when the game was out of control last night, too. The running back position is stacked with Roy Helu, Jr, and Rex Burkhead, and this year they're going to run the wildcat formation more. The receivers are very versatile, and it starts with Niles Paul, who had a great Holiday Bowl performance against Arizona. Khiry Cooper is also a wide receiver to watch. The offensive line also has all of its starters returning, except for center, Mike Caputo will fill that hole. Kicker Alex Henery has a great leg, and could be a major factor for the Huskers. This could a magical season for the Huskers, and they could end up playing for the national championship in January, I wouldn't be surprised at all. The fans are all fired up in Lincoln, and want the Huskers to do big things in 2010.
Yesterday, the Ducks blew out their opponent, New Mexico, 72-0. New quarterback Darron Thomas, and running back Kenjon Barner, filling in for LaMicheal James, who sat out the game for a suspension, had a tremendous game in their respective debuts. Barner ran for over 200 rushing and receiving yards, and also had a combined five touchdowns. Quarterback Darron Thomas showed the Ducks don't need Jeremiah Masoli yesterday with a great game. Thomas had 220 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. The offense returns 10 starters, and the defense returns 8 starters from a year ago. Sophomore running back LaMicheal James will be key for the Ducks as they hit the stretch during the season. James will have to perform at a high level. The receivers are D.J. Davis, Jeff Maehl, and Lavasier Turner. On defense, senior linebacker and hard hitter Casey Matthews is the top returning player for the Ducks. Senior linebacker Spencer Paysinger, and senior defensive end Kenny Rowe also return. The Ducks have a few tough games this season, as next week the Ducks travel to Tennessee, later on they get Stanford at home, and travel to USC in October. In November, they get Jake Locker and Washington at home, along with Arizona, but also have to travel to at rival Oregon State for the last game of the season.
The Hurricanes opened up the season with an impressive victory against Florida A&M, and Jacory Harris a great game, while passing for 210 yards and three touchdowns. This year, head coach Randy Shannon finally has a experienced team, and a team that is ready to take it to the next level. Miami's top running back is Damien Berry, and Leonard Hankerson is their top wide receiver. Defensive end Allen Bailey is their top defensive player coming back. Cornerback Brandon Harris, linebacker Sean Spence, and linebacker Colin McCarthy also return for the defense. Left tackle Orlando Franklin is their top offensive lineman coming back. Miami has a tough schedule, and will compete with Virginia Tech for the chance to play in the ACC Championship. This week, the Hurricanes travel to Ohio State for a rematch of the 2002 BCS title game, then they have a bye, and then a game at home against Big East foe Pittsburgh. They will also go to at Clemson and Georgia Tech, and face North Carolina and Virginia Tech at home.
2010 Heisman Watch:
1. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
Last night, Moore boosted his Heisman campaign by leading the Broncos to a victory over Virginia Tech in the last minute of the game. During the game, Moore completed 23 of 38 passes, threw for 214 yards, and three touchdowns for the Broncos. Moore is probably the Heisman front runner for now, but the race is wide open.
2. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Mark Ingram won the Heisman last year, and is back, but needs to get healthy again to make a run at this coveted college football trophy.
3. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
Noel Devine is perhaps the most electrifying player in college football, and is fun to watch. Devine ran for 111 yards, and a touchdown in their last game.
4. Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh
Dion Lewis is fast, and is fun to watch, too. He can break open games with his speed, and can wow opponents. Lewis had 75 yards, and a score in their last game.
5. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State
Last week, Pryor played really good against Marshall, and is primed for a big year, this week will be a test for the junior quarterback as he takes on Miami at home. Last week, Pryor was 17 of 25 passing, threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns. He and Kellen Moore are probably the top candidates for the award right now.
BCS Bowl Game Predictions
Iowa vs. Oregon- Big Ten against Pac-10, and this will come down to how well these teams do in their respective conferences. Iowa has to beat Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State, and Oregon has to beat Oregon State, Stanford, and USC.
Ohio State vs. Nebraska-This will be a game featuring future conference opponents. These two teams both have players, and this will be an interesting game.
Florida vs. West Virginia-This game could be interesting. John Brantley takes Florida to another BCS bowl against this Big East foe.
Miami vs. TCU-This game could be very good. Jacory Harris vs Andy Dalton, and two pretty good defenses.
BCS National Championship Game
Alabama vs. Boise State- Alabama has some tough games, but is experienced enough to get back here. Boise State showed last night they belong here. The Broncos will give Alabama a tough game. I was tempted to put Boise State-TCU here, and that would be awesome, but felt Alabama was better team, and would win SEC.
Now go out and watch this exciting college football season, as it is filled with many good games.
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