Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, LSU Tigers, or defending National Champions Auburn Tigers—who will win the SEC?
Who will face the SEC in the title game? Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies? What about from the PAC-12? Are the Oregon Ducks the surefire favorite or will one of the new schools in the PAC-12 rain on their parade?
We will discuss these questions and more in the following slides.
Both Boise St. and TCU have been to BCS bowl games in the recent past. Two years ago they even played each other in the Fiesta Bowl with Boise St. winning 17-10.
For this season only Boise St. and TCU will play in the same conference. Boise St. just jumped from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference while TCU has accepted the invitation to join the Big East in 2012.
So TCU and Boise St. will have to play each other, guaranteeing that one of those schools will not be undefeated at season’s end.
The Mt. West is not considered a prestigious enough conference for TCU or Boise St. to lose a game and still be selected to play in a BCS bowl game. A main reason why TCU went to the Big East was because of their automatic BCS Bowl Bid.
Last year no Big East school was ranked in the top 25 in the final polls. Boise St. and TCU were both in the top ten with TCU being ranked second in the country. UConn played in the Fiesta Bowl while one-loss Boise St. played in the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas.
The winner of the November 12th matchup between Boise St. and TCU in Boise, Idaho will likely go on to make a BCS game.
With the game being in Boise and Kellen Moore staying for his senior year the Broncos should win this game and represent the Mountain West in a BCS bowl game.
Simply put, no.
Appalachian State was such a huge upset because Appalachian St. was playing against a preseason top five team in the Michigan Wolverines. That team was lead by two future NFL players in Chad Henne and Mike Hart.
This year the only real chance of a low-level football program beating a top five team would be Western Kentucky University beating LSU.
In the middle of the season on November 12th LSU will play Western Kentucky University. WKU is the latest school to join the Football Bowl Series but is still only in their third year of playing in the top division. In the past two years they have managed to win only two games.
November is right in the middle of SEC play. LSU could, but not likely, look past WKU enough to where Western Kentucky may pull off an unbelievable upset. The week before, LSU plays Alabama. If LSU beats Alabama the following week may be a trap game. It will be difficult for LSU to prepare and play like they need to against a lowly Sun Belt team.
Last year Oregon University made it to the BCS National Championship game losing to the Auburn Tigers.
With Oregon coming so close to a National Championship last year, is it a foregone conclusion that they will once again win the PAC-12?
Last year Steve Sarkisian by the end of the season had the Washington Huskies playing very well with a bowl victory over Nebraska. Jake Locker graduated and now the Huskies will have either Keith Price or Nick Montana to run the Huskies offense.
The first game the Huskies will play will be against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This early exposure will give whoever the quarterback is valuable experience against a top five team before having to play Oregon, Stanford, and USC.
Stanford does have the best quarterback prospect arguably ever but that doesn’t mean he will win every game his senior season. Football is a team sport and Andrew Luck will not be able to beat Oregon all on his own. Oregon’s speed should run around Stanford’s defense.
Oregon is returning its starting quarterback and tailback from a team who went to the National Championship game. It looks very difficult for anyone to beat the Ducks this coming year.
Their only real competition in the PAC-12 will be Stanford and the University of Southern California.
Southern California is still under probation from what Reggie Bush’s parents did in 2004. How it seems fair for what happened in 2004 has to punish this current USC team is a discussion for a later time.
But even with all the sanctions against USC, Lane Kiffin has still been able to have great draft classes his first two seasons at Southern California. According to Rivals.com USC had the fourth best recruiting class in the nation. The star of the class is a five star 6’2” wide receiver from Junipero Serra, California, George Farmer.
USC cannot play in a bowl for this coming year but they still can keep other teams from playing in a more prestigious bowl game by beating them.
USC schedule is very difficult playing Notre Dame, Stanford, Washington and Oregon all in a five-week period.
Lane Kiffin and his staff are some of the best in college football. Even with all the young players, USC has the ability to coach these players to get them ready for any opponent.
I believe, though, that the returning veterans of Oregon will be the only match the Trojans will not be able to handle, winning all their games but one against the Oregon Ducks.
Urban Myer may have been the greatest college football coach of all time—great at recruiting, inspirational motivator, master strategist, and an innovator of the new offense of college football. Replacing Myer is a near-impossible task.
Will Muschamp was the man in waiting at Texas for when Mack Brown retired. Muschamp needs to continue what Myer started and implement his personality on the program only in minor things.
The overall mindset and philosophy of the program needs to stay intact.
Recruiting in the SEC and more so at Florida is very easy compared to other schools. Muschamp has learned from one of the best in Mack Brown about how to do things the right way.
Will also has contacts in Texas still, so not only will the state of Florida be a great source of recruits but now the other hotbed of great high school football players may be at Florida's disposal.
This first season, it may be difficult for Florida to win the SEC East with Georgia and South Carolina being the favorites, but even in the west Alabama and LSU are considered to be much better teams this coming year.
In the long run Will Muschamp will get the Florida program back to winning National Championships like they did with Urban Myer.
Last summer Nebraska jumped from the Big 12 conference to the Big 10 conference.
With Nebraska joining last summer, it now gives the Big 10 twelve teams and a chance to start competing with the other BCS conferences as the best football conference in the nation. There is a real possibility of the Mountain West being a better conference than the Big 10 this year, something the heads of the Big 10 do not want to have happen ever again.
Nebraska will be joining a very weak Big 10 conference. Michigan could be good next year but with a new coach and a new system The Wolverines may be still a few years away from winning like the old Michigan Wolverines did.
Penn State has a chance to be good even with the 7-6 record they had last year, but with Joe Paterno's future as the coach always the focal point of the season and a team based on young players, this does not sound like a good situation for the Nittany Lions.
Michigan St. had a great year in 2010, but could it be a one-year wonder? Did simply playing in a weak Big 10 conference last year make them look better than they actually were? Michigan St. did lose to Alabama 49-7 in the Capital One bowl.
Wisconsin tied Michigan St last year with an 11-2 record and a 7-1 conference record. The lone loss in the regular season was against Michigan St. However, Wisconsin was the only team to beat Ohio St. last year. Wisconsin finished the season with a loss at the Rose Bowl to TCU.
Nebraska will be coming into the conference as an early favorite and the only real competition will be the Ohio St. Buckeyes—that is, before Jim Tressel resigned.
Last spring Jim Tressel was informed about possible NCAA violations committed by star quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Tressel did not handle it correctly.
We all know what happened in the year that followed.
Now with Tressel and Pryor out at Ohio St., can they still dominate the Big 10 like they have for the past half decade? Probably not.
Tressel is one of the best coaches in college football. Now you have a long time assistant coach in Luke Fickell to take over the team. Luke may be a decent coach but you can’t have a long time manager suddenly be thrust into the CEO position of a fortune 500 company and expect it to succeed for a lengthy period of time.
Fickell will have a difficult decision to start his head coaching career off as to who will replace Terrelle Pryor. Redshirt Senior Joe Bauserman seems like the obvious choice—however, Braxton Miller, a star quarterback recruit, may come into the preseason workouts and dominate in practice. There is also Kenny Guiton, a redshirt sophomore who, like Pryor, is a dual-threat quarterback.
When you are the head coach of Ohio St. you are expected to win regardless of the situation. The thing that should scare Fickell the most is, he has never coached anywhere else other than Ohio St. If Fickell doesn’t work out as head coach he won’t go back to being an assistant coach.
First, we should trade that usual headline to Who Wins the Big 12: Texas A&M or Oklahoma?
Texas A&M has 18 of 21 starters returning from last year’s 9-4 season. Also, they have a potential Heisman candidate in running back Cyrus Gray. Mike Sherman has done a tremendous job in turning A&M around and back into a contender for the Big-12 title.
Also you have Oklahoma St. being considered better than Texas in the Big 12. Some may even say Oklahoma St. will be better than Texas A&M, but not me. A&M has too many quality players coming back and are ready to become not only Big 12 title contenders but also National Title Contenders. No one is suggesting Oklahoma St. can compete to play in the National Title game, but I can see A&M getting there.
Texas is still rebuilding and even with all of these new quality teams popping up, Oklahoma is still the team to beat.
Oklahoma went 12-2 last year and have most of their star players returning. Bob Stoops has his Oklahoma Sooners ready to compete for a National Championship again for the first time in three years.
Oklahoma will consider it an unsuccessful season if they don’t go undefeated in the regular season.
The past five BCS National Champions have been SEC teams. There is no argument that in the past decade any other conference was as good as the SEC. But can they keep that dominance up in 2011?
In recent years SEC schools have had some of the best recruiting classes in the nation. According to Rivals.com in 2011 Alabama had the number one best recruiting class in the nation. Georgia, LSU, and Auburn had numbers five, six, and seven. That’s four of the top ten recruiting classes among all schools.
Plus look for Florida and Tennessee at 12th and 13th, respectively, and priming to move back into the top ten. This past year Florida’s coaching situation was up in the air and Tennessee is still rebuilding and dealing with potential sanctions.
The fact that Florida and Tennessee were so close to the top ten this past year was amazing unto itself.
But this year Alabama and LSU are both the teams to beat in the SEC. Other schools are great but have a lot of questions going into the year.
So the game of the season should be November 5th when Alabama plays LSU in Tuscaloosa. The winner of that game will be Alabama. Alabama and LSU are very similar teams. The reason I am picking Alabama is simply because the Crimson Tide have home field advantage.
However, Alabama will not go undefeated. The SEC is too deep and talented as a conference and one team will sneak up on the Crimson Tide and take away their chance to compete for a National Title.
The teams who will play in National Championship game will have to have won all of their games in the regular season. Three teams this year will do just that: Boise State, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
That will leave Boise State in a BCS Bowl game but still not the BCS championship game.
The real topic of debate that will drown all sports discussion will not be Boise St. being left out again but whether or not a one-loss SEC team is better, or deserves to have a chance to play for a National Championship?
Alabama or LSU would be the favorites to beat Boise St., Oklahoma, or Oregon if they were to play them in the National Championship game. However, since I can’t see an SEC team escaping league play without a loss, it will be Oklahoma playing Oregon in the championship game.
So who wins?
Oregon’s running back LaMichael James will win the Heisman Trophy, only because Oregon will beat Andrew Luck’s Stanford team in the regular season, and will dominate Oklahoma’s defense.
I have the Oregon Ducks as your National Champions beating the Oklahoma Sooners 42-28.