College Football Predictions: Oklahoma and the 10 Soon-to-Be BCS Bowl Teams
With the College Football season a mere eight days away, many experts have already begun slating their predictions for bowl games. I mean, there is not one sports website you can visit to avoid seeing the latest rankings and analysis on which team's going all the way.
That said, I decided to join the party.
Well, basically, I simply just woke up and put on my best pair of Kirk Herbstreit pants, sat down and went at it.
This is what I've come up with. The 10 teams that we'll be watching after New Years Day in our five annual BCS bowl games.
Any you agree with or any you don't? Feel free to let me know. I'd be glad to share my reasoning as to why, as well as hear yours.
West Virginia Mountaineers
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The Mountaineers get a BCS bid because they will win the Big East Conference.
I mean, if you really look at West Virginia they are far and away the best team in the entire conference. Even with new coach, Dana Holgorsen, the team is returning eight starters on offense including Quarterback Geno Smith.
The schedule is relatively light with the exception of back-to-back non-conference games in September at Maryland and then at home against No. 4 LSU.
While I do believe they will lose at home versus LSU, I am a firm believer in the chances of the Mountaineers against the rest of their schedule.
With the weak stature of the Big East this season, West Virginia has the talent and coaching to dominate the conference.
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Once again, Chip Kelly is sending an extremely talented football team onto the field this season. With only Stanford as conference competition, I believe Oregon reaches the BCS by way of the Pac-12 championship over the Cardinal.
Of course, this all relies on the two teams November 12th match-up at Stanford because the Pac-12 will essentially be a two team race to the finish.
If Oregon is to lose a game, it is going to be in the non-conference against No. 4 LSU opening weekend. However, I don't believe that will happen because of Oregon's ability to put up points against any style of defense.
Where I do believe they will struggle is in one of their two games at home against Arizona State or USC.
While I do believe that the Pac-12 will boast two BCS teams, Oregon is going to be the team who doesn't have to sweat it out come selection day.
Two years in a row, when it comes to conference championships, Andrew is not so Luck-y.
...Sorry, I had to throw that in there.
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The Wisconsin Badgers suffered a pretty distasteful loss in last year's Rose Bowl against TCU, which lead to a pretty eventful offseason in Madison.
All-Conference players J.J. Watt and Gabe Carimi became first round picks in the draft, and the team also lost senior Quarterback Scott Tolzien. Fortunately enough for the Badgers, former North Carolina State Quarterback Russell Wilson transferred in and has meshed nicely with the offense.
The team is still returning three starters from the nations best Offensive Line, Wide Receiver Nick Toon and star Running Backs James White and Montee Ball.
With the luxury of welcoming Nebraska to the Big 10 at home in Camp Randall, it's a very real possibility the Badgers could walk into the Big 10 championship game undefeated.
A game they will ultimately win against Nebraska again and see themselves BCS bowling.
Virginia Tech Hokies
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To put it lightly, Virginia Tech got rolled off the field in last year's Orange Bowl against Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal.
However, I really like their chances of returning their this year despite the improvement of teams like Florida State and Maryland.
The reason I think this, is much in part to their improved defense and the fact that there is not a preseason Top 25 team on their schedule.
The Hokies BCS hopes will ultimately ride on an ACC Championship game with matchup with Florida State. A game that I think they will win by a narrow margin.
I mean, year in and year out, how can you not like this team's chances with Frank Beamer at the helm?
South Carolina Gamecocks
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I have a feeling that this is where I'm going to make a lot of people angry, but I'm going to do it anyway.
South Carolina is going to win the SEC, and here's how.
We all know the difference in difficulty between the SEC East and the SEC West, there's no argument there and South Carolina showed it last year by making the SEC Championship.
However, this year, the argument could be made that the East is even weaker than last year. Florida is presumably a five-loss team, and Georgia has probably improved but losing A.J. Green is going to hurt their chances at the East Crown.
South Carolina is a tough opponent for anyone and they're even more dangerous when Stephen Garcia is playing well, because their weapons at the other skill positions are among the best in the nation. I mean, it's simple math.
The Gamecocks ultimately ride out their schedule and reach Atlanta, where in an upset, take down Alabama for the SEC crown and automatic BCS berth.
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See that picture to your left? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Oklahoma is going to hold up another one very similar to it this year.
They're easily the most talented team in the country, with one of the best coaches in the country, playing in a conference who just lost it's second best team.
I'm not saying that No. 1 Oklahoma is going to walk through their schedule all the way to the championship game, but I am saying that it shouldn't surprise anyone if they do beat their opponents in rather swift fashion.
I believe that Landry Jones and the Sooners will go down to Tallahassee and beat Florida State, along with handling Oklahoma State at Stillwater in Bedlam.
Even as a student of a Big 12 school not named Oklahoma, I have to respect how good this team is.
Alabama Crimson Tide
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No. 2 Alabama is a very good football team. I just think they're going to be a team who loses at the wrong time.
But even with that loss, they'll play well enough in their regular season to warrant a BCS at-large bid from the committee.
Despite losing five players in the first round of the NFL Draft, Nick Saban does have one of, if not, the best Running Back in the nation returning to his team. Trent Richardson already is a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
The Crimson play two of their toughest games at home against No. 15 Arkansas and No. 4 LSU but considering the difficulty of SEC play, neither of those games are easy to predict.
Alabama will be fine this season, and will most likely be double-digit game winners; they just won't win the SEC Championship.
Boise State Broncos
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There are two major reasons why Boise State will once again steal a BCS at-large berth.
1) Kellen Moore is returning and is a freakishly good south-paw.
2) They have a new kicker.
The Broncos only really have two tests on their schedule and they are at Georgia on opening weekend and at home against TCU in November. I think they'll win both games.
It's obvious that despite moving to the Mountain West, Boise is going to need an undefeated season to receive an at-large berth from the committee. Luckily for them, they're accustomed to not losing many games, as the Broncos have lost more than one game in a season only once since 2002.
With the talent on that team, I am very confident in Boise's chances of running the table and stealing a BCS berth from a major conference contender.
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Nebraska surprised a lot of people by making the switch from the Big 12 to the Big 10 as part of this season's "Great Migration".
However, this move may have been a good thing—for this year at least.
A lot of the Huskers success rides on the health and performance of Taylor Martinez and I believe that the young quarterback will transition nicely to the dual-threat-Quarterback friendly Big 10.
After looking at the schedule, I can see only a few potential hiccups: at Wisconsin, which I think they'll lose, at the Big House in Ann Arbor and finally, at home against Ohio State.
Nebraska will sneak the last at-large bid on the credentials of a two-loss season, both of which will come in close games to the same team, Wisconsin.
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Stanford was possibly the toughest team to place in this list because of the fact that when they don't win their conference, you have to figure out what sets them apart from any other team deserving of the position.
Well, Andrew Luck may be that deciding factor because when you have the Heisman favorite on your team, you have the potential to beat anyone in the nation.
Even though their schedule is light and their toughest non-conference opponent is at home against Notre Dame, Stanford is a team who is going to light up some scoreboards. And when you light up scoreboards, you get recognized.
As previously stated, I do believe that Stanford will lose to Oregon in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game, however, their body of work over the course of the season will give them a BCS bid.
That, and who doesn't want to see 'John Elway Jr.' on the big stage one more time.
The Orange Bowl
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Last Year's Match-Up: Stanford Cardinal vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Stanford def. Virginia Tech 40-12
This Year's Match-Up: West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech def. West Virginia 24-14
How: Beamer Ball is too much to handle for West Virginia's young defense. The Hokies score early and hold on despite a late WVU touchdown.
The Fiesta Bowl
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Last Year's Match-Up: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Connecticut Huskies
Oklahoma def. Connecticut 48-20
This Year's Match-Up: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Boise State Broncos
Alabama def. Boise State 42-31
How: This is a dream match-up for most, just in the sense to get a feel how mid-majors would play against a perennial CFB powerhouse. Unfortunately for Boise, Alabama is just too much to handle in what is sure to be a shoot-out of epic proportions.
The Sugar Bowl
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Last Year's Match-Up: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State def. Arkansas 31-26
This Year's Match-Up: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Stanford Cardinal
Stanford def. South Carolina 38-24
How: This is going to turn out to be a nice match-up of the nation's best Quarterback (Luck) against one of the nation's best pass rushes including Freshman Jadeveon Clowney. South Carolina keeps up for a while with Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery, but Luck proves to be too much.
The Rose Bowl
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Last Year's Match-Up: Wisconsin Badgers vs. TCU Horned Frogs
TCU def. Wisconsin 21-19
This Year's Match-Up: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Oregon Ducks
Oregon def. Nebraska 31-28
How: LaMichael James is going to run wild in this game, as he's accustomed to do on the big stage. I'm rather confident this game is going to be back-and-forth the entire way through, with Oregon sneaking out a victory in the final minutes.
The National Championship
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Last Year's Match-Up: Auburn Tigers vs. Oregon Ducks
Auburn def. Oregon 22-19
This Year's Match-Up: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Oklahoma def. Wisconsin 24-21
How: Oklahoma is just too good. Some of you may be questioning my decision to place Wisconsin here, and without any Big 10 bias I truly believe that Wisconsin has what it takes to run the table. That's why I think they will end up playing for the BCS National Championship.