The college football season has kicked off. The 12-game season has opened up BCS schools to challenge themselves in the non-conference. Also, due to more games on the schedule, mid-major schools are raising the bidding price to take blowout losses from BCS powers.
Because of these two factors, top-ranked schools have cut back on the cupcakes to bring fans some incredible non-conference matchups. Also, after bringing a conference-by-conference preview, I pick BCS bowl games and present my preseason top 25 poll.
KEY NON-CONFERENCE MATCHUPS:
USC vs. Ohio State
This game will determine a berth in the national title game and is probably the biggest game in all of college football this season. Ohio State can bring credibility back to its program and the Big Ten conference with a win at the Coliseum.
Georgia vs. Arizona State
This is the first time Georgia has played west of the Mississippi River since 1967 in a rare Pac-10 vs. SEC matchup. This is a must-win for ASU to appear in the Rose Bowl, and if Georgia wants to win a national championship.
Auburn vs. West Virginia
Is this game an Orange Bowl preview? In a battle of each conference's best spread offense, Pat White's big-game experience may make the difference.
Missouri vs. Illinois
The first roadblock for the Tigers is a rivalry game against a resurgent Illinois team. It is a great quarterback matchup with Juice Williams versus Heisman candidate Chase Daniel. Can Williams lead Illinois to an upset over Missouri and spoil its national title run on the opening weekend?
Wisconsin vs. Fresno State
The reason Fresno State is a potential BCS buster is because its tough schedule can provide big wins. Bulldog Stadium has one of the toughest home-field advantages in college football, so this will be an incredible challenge for Wisconsin.
Kansas vs. South Florida
Two of last season's biggest surprises face off against each other. A win can prove either team's staying power.
Boise State vs. Oregon
Boise State has struggled on the road against BCS schools. In order for a BCS bowl run, a win against Oregon is necessary.
COMMON SENSE PRESEASON TOP 25:
4) Ohio State
5) West Virginia
7) Arizona State
8) Texas Tech
11) South Florida
12) Wake Forest
14) Virginia Tech
20) Fresno State
21) Penn State
22) Oregon State
25) Boise State
BCS BOWL GAME PICKS:
Florida defeats Texas Tech
West Virginia defeats Wake Forest
Oklahoma defeats Auburn
Ohio State defeats Arizona State
BCS Title Game
USC defeats Missouri: Chase Daniel will carry the Tigers to the Orange Bowl through utilizing Missouri's schedule and his Heisman-caliber quarterback play. However, USC's top defense in the nation will shut down Missouri and expose the Tigers' suspect rushing offense to win the national title.
To see detailed previews conference by conference, check out the other parts of the series...
Part 1: SEC (http://commonsensemag.com/2008/08/common-sense-mag-college-football-preview-part-i-florida-takes-sec/)
Part 2: Pac-10 (http://commonsensemag.com/2008/08/common-sense-college-football-part-ii-pac-10-preview/)
Part 3: Big Ten (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/50460-common-sense-college-football-preview-part-iii-a-critique-of-big-ten-football)
Part 4: Big East (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/50406-common-sense-college-football-preview-part-iv-big-east-preview)
Part 5: ACC (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/50679-common-sense-college-football-preview-part-v-acc)
Part 6: Big 12 (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/50876-common-sense-college-football-part-vi-big-time-quarterbacking-in-the-big-xii)
Part 7: BCS Busters (http://commonsensemag.com/2008/08/common-sense-college-football-preview-part-vii-analyzing-the-non-bcs-contenders/)
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