College Football Predictions: The 10 Schools That Will Make BCS Games in 2011
The 2010 college football season saw some familiar faces in BCS bowl games. Some teams, however, were relatively new to the scene.
For the upcoming season, the participants of the BCS games look to be a lot of the regulars that have played in the top tier bowl games several times.
After a topsy-turvy 2010 season with several upsets, 2011 looks to be a different type of season. Several traditional power houses are reloaded and ready to make a run at the national championship.
Here are the ten schools that will make it to BCS games in 2011.
At-Large: Nebraska Cornhuskers
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In their first year in the Big Ten, Nebraska will take care of business and make it to the Big Ten Championship Game.
Sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez and the blackshirt defense will win the Legends Division and compete for the Big Ten crown.
However, the Cornhuskers will fall just short of winning the conference and will have to settle for an at-large BCS selection.
At-Large: Stanford Cardinal
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Stanford capped off an 11-1 regular season with a blowout victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
This year, Stanford looks to take the next step and make a run at the national championship.
Led by Heisman favorite Andrew Luck, the Cardinal offense will be one of the best in the nation, lighting up the scoreboard in a conference traditionally not known for its defense.
The Stanford-Oregon game will decide who represents the North Division in the Pac-12 championship game. The winner also has an inside track to the National Championship Game, though the loser will still be likely to make it as an at-large selection.
At-Large: Boise State Broncos
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Boise State has somewhat become regulars BCS games, appearing in two in the past five seasons.
This year, Boise State returns seven starters on both offense and defense, including quarterback and Heisman finalist Kellen Moore.
The Broncos start off the season yet again with a tough test, this year against the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta.
If Boise State can win, they’ll contend for a national championship. However, if they lose, they can still make a BCS game by winning out.
At-Large: Georgia Bulldogs
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My dark horse to make the BCS is the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Dawgs return quarterback Aaron Murray who was a freshman All-American in 2010.
Also, their schedule sets up favorably, with Alabama, Arkansas and LSU not playing Georiga in 2010.
If UGA can make it past Boise State and South Carolina in their first two games, all signs point to the Dawgs making the SEC Championship and a potential BCS selection.
Big East: West Virginia Mountaineers
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The Big East has been down for the past couple of season, with no real national champion threat since West Virginia in 2007. Those same Mountaineers look to get the program back to being one of the nation’s elite and competing for a national title.
The Big East overall is again down in 2011, but West Virginia has themselves a nice looking football team led by quarterback Geno Smith.
If the Mountaineers can fill some holes on the defensive side of the ball, they could shake things up nationally.
ACC: Florida State Seminoles
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After a couple years of subpar football by their standards, the Florida State Seminoles are back.
Under second year coach Jimbo Fisher, the Seminoles look to recapture the ACC crown.
Their toughest test comes in the third week of the season, with the Oklahoma Sooners coming to Tallahassee for a big September match-up.
We’ll be able to tell a lot about the Seminoles by how they fair in their game against the Sooners. Regardless of that game, Florida State is still the class of the ACC in 2011.
Big 12: Oklahoma Sooners
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Many have labeled the Oklahoma Sooners as the preseason no. 1 team, and they definitely have the talent to support that claim.
Led by quarterback Landry Jones, the Sooners return 18 starters off of the 2010 squad. That type of leadership and experience should allow Oklahoma to coast through the Big 12 schedule and reclaim the conference championship for a second straight season.
Pac-12: Oregon Ducks
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After losing in the National Championship Game in 2010, the Oregon Ducks are back to make another run at the crown.
Heisman trophy finalist LaMichael James is back to lead the Duck offense with standout quarterback Darron Thomas.
The new look Pac-12 will be harder to navigate this year, but with the combination of James and Thomas, as well as one of the best home field advantages in college football at Autzen, the Ducks will be back in the BCS in 2011.
Big Ten: Wisconsin Badgers
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In the new look Big Ten, the Wisconsin Badgers will come out as the first Big Ten Championship game winner.
Wisconsin has the best running back tandem in the nation, with Montee Ball and James White leading the Badger offense.
They also benefit from the troubles at Ohio State. With the Buckeyes in for a season full of turmoil, the Badgers will once again claim the Big Ten’s automatic spot in the BCS.
SEC: Alabama Crimson Tide
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Alabama may be the most talented team in the nation in 2011.
The Tide returns nine starters on defense as well as running back Trent Richardson, who is poised for a breakout season.
The Tide doesn’t have an easy schedule, with trips to Penn State, Florida, Mississippi State and Auburn on tap.
However, the Crimson Tide should handle business and win the SEC in 2011.