NCAA Football 2011: Who Are College Football's Four No. 1 Seeds?
So the March Madness has reached college football, too. Sports fans everywhere imagine a college football postseason which has similarities to that of college basketball.
The seeding, the hype, the underdog stories and last-minute comebacks. This would change many aspects of college football as we know it.
As the college basketball season comes to an exciting close, many college sports fans are already looking towards spring ball and preseason rankings to get them closer to fall. Everyone loves to talk and predict, but what if, like NCAA basketball, there were four No. 1 seeds at the conclusion of the regular season and beginning of the postseason?
Let's look at who these teams would be, if this fantasy became reality.
North: Nebraska Cornhuskers
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Although they finished 10-4 with a bowl loss to Washington, Nebraska is looking at new opportunities in joining the Big Ten this season.
Their offense seems ready to keep up with the likes of Ohio State’s, especially with new offensive coordinator Tim Beck. Rising sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez will look to improve on a very impressive season in which he threw for over 1,500 yards with a quarterback rating of 138.78.
Their defense is also strong, everyone from last year's squad minus Prince Amukamara return, including standouts Jared Crick, Lavonte David and Alfonzo Dennard.
Nonetheless, Nebraska has a schedule that would make any team nervous, including road games at Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan. While they still have a good shot at going undefeated, even with one or two losses, they will undoubtedly be a top team that will make it to a top BCS bowl game.
East: Alabama Crimson Tide
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Many have already counted Alabama out, as they have lost quarterback Greg McElroy, running back Mark Ingram, wide receiver Julio Jones and lineman Marcell Dareus. However, the 2011 Crimson Tide have a legitimate shot at being better than they were in 2010, when they finished 10-3.
Even though they suffered a 14-point loss to South Carolina, they lost to LSU and Auburn by only four points combined. These close losses to these two teams show just how capable the Crimson Tide really are.
In addition, they return 17 starters on both sides of the ball, including running back Trent Richardson and safety Mark Barron.
They will see more senior leadership, coupled with the important talent of incoming freshman.
You cannot forget the coaching prowess of Nick Saban.
The SEC is a conference that is always stacked and difficult to maneuver through alive, but Alabama’s road this season seems to be easier than last. They still must take advantage of their strengths and return to the basic fundamentals of winning football games.
The Crimson Tide will be one of the best, if not the best, SEC team this season.
South: Oklahoma Sooners
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It’s time for Bob Stoops to win a championship. Not only has it been two years since Oklahoma has won one, but the Sooners will most likely enter the 2011 season as the No. 1 team. All of these pressures and high expectations will motivate this team in an amazing way.
Quarterback Landry Jones, who threw for over 4,000 yards last season, and wide receiver Ryan Broyles, who caught 14 touchdowns last season, both return to an offensive that helped win them the Big 12 title.
Their defense is also solid despite losing a few key players, as linebacker Travis Lewis, cornerback Jamell Fleming, defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland and defensive end Frank Alexander all return.
The Big 12, now just a measly 10 teams, is one that the Sooners can easily dominate this season. They will face a difficult game against a surprisingly powerful Florida State team (in Tallahassee), but should see smooth sailing the rest of the way until they close out the season at Oklahoma State.
There are very few weaknesses that should get in the way of Oklahoma reaching the BCS title game this upcoming season.
West: Oregon Ducks
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Although they will only return 13 starters from last year’s BCS title game runner up team, they do return offensive studs running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas, who combined for over 50 offensive touchdowns last season.
Their head coach Chip Kelly, who has become one of the top Pac-12 coaches with a conference record of 17-1, has shown the country he can lead his team, even through off-the-field issues.
Even with the expansion of the Pac-10 to the Pac-12, Oregon’s schedule gives them a legitimate shot a title run. If they can get past LSU at the beginning of the season, then they will most definitely beat Stanford at the end of the season.
James and Thomas will guide this team as they look to stay atop in 2011.