Part two of this preview is done by Jeff Wolfson, who I built a rapport with on Twitter, but has his own new site called Jeff Wolfson Sports, coincidentally also on the Tailgate 365 network. He is a multimedia producer for MASN and has over 13,000 Twitter updates in just over 6 months. I have 450 in just about the same timeframe. Here it is:
The obvious choice here would be to say that Tim Tebow of the Florida Gators will win it. However, Jevan Snead of Mississippi, Colt McCoy of Texas and defending winner Sam Bradford should all battle it out all season long. The pick to win it should be Jevan Snead because of the toughness of the SEC West.
The Atlantic Division will probably come down to Florida State and Clemson. Christian Ponder returns and will lead FSU to the Atlantic title even though Clemson is fairly under-the-radar and will surprise some teams. Wake Forest, Maryland and Boston College will all take a step back. The most improved team in this division will be North Carolina State. NC State was young a year ago, but now most of their players have experience in going through a college schedule. Expect seven or eight wins from the Wolf Pack.
In the Coastal Division Virginia Tech, sans Darren Evans (who tore his ACL), will have some competition but will put it off. North Carolina is getting better under Butch Davis. Georgia Tech is another team that will challenge the Hokies with their triple-option offense. Miami will be improved but not quite back and Virginia and Duke still have a ways to go before being formidable.
The class of this conference is the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bearcats earned their way to a BCS bowl last season and should do it again this year. Rutgers started slowly in the conference last season and don’t want to repeat that performance in 2009. Pittsburgh has been named the pre-season favorite and definitely has enough talent to win the conference. West Virginia is transitioning to life after Pat White so expect a slow start. Louisville, South Florida, Connecticut and Syracuse will all be happy to win between five and eight games.
The Big Ten is a two horse race. Penn State and Ohio State are the clear favorites and their game late this season will decide the conference and possibly a spot in the national championship. The other nine teams will battle it out for third place this year and Michigan is still in rebuilding mode.
Hand over the Big 12 North to Nebraska. Kansas and Missouri have been decent the last couple seasons, but that was mostly based on their exceptional quarterback play. The Cornhuskers have the best defense in the Big 12, North or South, and it should push them to a North title.
The Big 12 South is infinitely more interesting. Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all have a shot. Texas has been successful against Oklahoma recently and that shouldn’t change this season. The Longhorns may go 8-0 in Big 12 play and ride it to the BCS championship. Texas Tech will regress and Baylor and Texas A&M will be better than last season.
Once again USC should win the Pac-10 outright. Oregon has a new head coach, but Autzen Stadium is historically tough to visit. Oregon State has been decent under Mike Reilly and UCLA is improving with Rick Neuheisel at the helm. Washington and Washington State have to be better than last season when both were putrid and Stanford will make a minor bowl game. California is always exciting, while the Arizona schools should once again be watchable.
Florida is the obvious choice to at least take the SEC East. Tebow is the best player in the conference, but the Gators need to replace Percy Harvin. Georgia will be worse than last season when they didn’t live up to expectations and Tennessee has a new head coach. Steve Spurrier hasn’t been able to build up South Carolina like he thought he might be able to and Vanderbilt and Kentucky are more than likely to be in the middle of the pack.
The SEC West is a BCS analyst’s dream. Mississippi, Alabama and LSU should all be very good. With Snead running the offensive show, Ole Miss has a great chance to win the West division. Mississippi State, Auburn and Arkansas are all looking at mediocre records this season.
Notre Dame plays just a terrible schedule and is set up to win at least nine games at the very least. Navy and Army will both make bowl games.
Boise State is always good so a good year out of that school won’t be surprising at all. Utah proved the college football world wrong by sticking it to Alabama last season in the Sugar Bowl and another team that is always good but not great is TCU. Boise State has a fun early game against Oregon which will set the tone for their season. All three of these schools should win at least nine games.
Editor’s Note: Mountain West (Utah, TCU) is now a BCS conference, but isn’t significant enough to do a comprehensive preview on, so I understand the logic here.
BCS Title: Florida v. Penn State Winner: Penn State
Rose Bowl: USC v. Ohio State Winner: USC
Fiesta Bowl: Texas v. Alabama Winner: Texas
Sugar Bowl: Boise State v. Oklahoma Winner: Oklahoma
Orange Bowl: Florida State v. Cincinnati Winner: Florida State
A few words about why there won’t ever be a playoff system in the Football Bowl Subdivision. There’s entirely too much money to be earned from the ridiculous amount of bowl games. A playoff system may show a true winner, but doesn’t generate revenue for 60+ schools.
I will be doing one of these, and I think Casey may also do a short one. Other than those, we may be out of other bloggers, but that’s not final.
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