College Football 2011: 5 Likely BCS National Championship Game Projections
Oregon? Alabama? Arkansas? Nebraska? Florida State?
It will remain to be seen, but we can't help but wonder which university will be crowned the national champ of college football on Jan. 9, 2012 at the Louisiana Superdome.
So much still needs to be determined before the 2011 college football season even kicks off, but here are five interesting and fun championship game scenarios.
Louisiana State vs. Stanford
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The Stanford Cardinal have a Heisman-caliber quarterback in Andrew Luck, and I think he and the strong offensive line he stands behind could be enough to carry the Cardinal to the national title game. Linebacker Shayne Skov is also a star on a defense that should be set to improve.
Louisiana State is no underdog pick, yet they will have to contend with Alabama in the SEC West division to make it to the SEC title game—no easy task. Behind a strong defense that features defensive end Sam Montgomery and freshman defensive tackle Anthony "Freak" Johnson, there won't be too many teams who will be able to run on the Tigers.
LSU's biggest hurdle will be establishing a legitimate starting quarterback who will be able to make plays and get the ball to wide receivers Russell Shepard and Rueben Randle.
Predicted Score: LSU 24, Stanford 26; Luck won't let his chance at the national title slip away.
Louisiana State vs. Oregon
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Playing off my predicted scenario in the first slide, here is another scenario that features LSU playing the other most likely winner of the newly-named Pac-12.
The Oregon Ducks came just short of the national title last year and are are hungry for a shot at redemption. Running back LaMichael James is an early Heisman favorite, and no doubt, he should have a terrific season leading the Oregon offense.
The biggest obstacle for the Ducks will be replacing the defensive starters who left. Oregon lost three defensive lineman, and Josh Kaddu is the only returning linebacker. Junior defensive end Dion Jordan has the most potential to be a threatening pass-rusher, and he will have to step it up.
Predicted Score: LSU 21, Oregon 17; Oregon will fall short once again as the LSU defense proves effective in shutting down James.
Nebraska vs. Alabama
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are entering their first season as a member of the Big Ten Conference in the Legends division with Michigan State, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern and Minnesota.
I see them doing very well since they are used to playing against Big 12-caliber teams for so many years, and they are my pick to win the Big Ten conference.
Nebraska's key to success will be their offense. It was very inconsistent last year and hurt them down the stretch. Quarterback Taylor Martinez will need to not only stay healthy, but play dominant football, making plays both passing and running.
Alabama is the favorite of many to win the SEC and is also projected No. 1 overall in many preseason rankings. The Crimson Tide have a very experienced team on both offense and defense. Nearly the entire offensive line is returning from last season, as well as the entire defensive secondary. Senior wide receivers Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks know the playbook inside and out, and will have an enormous impact.
The biggest question is who will throw them the ball, A.J. McCarron or Phillip Sims?
Predicted Score: Nebraska 17, Alabama 36; this game has blowout written all over it. If Alabama makes it here, they will be way too good to contend with.
Boise State vs. Oklahoma
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images
What could be better than a National Championship game that features a rematch of one of the most historic bowl games of all time—the 2007 Fiesta Bowl where Boise State dramatically ousted Oklahoma, 43-42.
Oklahoma is clearly a more likely and obvious pick here. They are projected in the top three of most preseason rankings. Quarterback Landry Jones is expected by many to have a Heisman-caliber season, and I expect wide receiver Kenny Stills, who has tremendous speed and is a dangerous deep threat, to be one of the top wide receivers in college football.
The Boise State Broncos have moved from the Western Athletic Conference to the more competitive Mountain West Conference, which features last year's Rose Bowl winner, TCU.
The Broncos should be in fine shape though. Senior quarterback Kellen Moore should be phenomenal once again, and nearly the whole defense is returning for the Broncos.
It's a bit of a stretch, but Boise State has what it takes to be good enough for a mid-major to make it the college football title game.
Predicted Score: Boise State 27, Oklahoma 31; the Sooners get redemption for that 2007 Fiesta Bowl, winning another exciting game between the two squads.
Louisiana State vs. Oklahoma
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Finally, what I am predicting will most likely be the national title game, Louisiana State vs. Oklahoma.
A classic college football matchup between two storied programs, this National Championship would be well-watched and quite anticipated, featuring a host of future NFL players.
To add more interest to this title game, featuring the winner of the SEC and the winner of the Big 12, LSU will have home-field advantage, playing in their very own Superdome.
The place will be packed, loud and crazy for this appropriate conclusion to what should be a fantastic year of college football.
Predicted Score: LSU 19, Oklahoma 14; the home-field advantage will prove too much for the Sooners.