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College Football 2010.

Well, it’s that time of year again. School. No wait, that’s not what I meant. It is “back to school” time for lots of students around the country, including this 7th year Sophomore. But that wasn’t where I was going with this blog. It is FOOTBALL time. We have had a little taste of NFL Pre-Season football the past few weeks which has helped the longing desire to have football back, but it was only an appetizer. We are at the main course.

High school football started this past week in Texas, and everything just seems to be back to normal. Cooler air moved in and it was time to start. To me, this season of college football seems to be a little bit “up in the air”. Sure, we have Alabama coming back after their great season last year, as well as Ohio State bringing back key parts, but there may not be those 2 dominating teams at the top (a la 2005 USC/Texas). In this little preview, we’ll pick the winners of each conference, the National Championship picks and Quick Hits around the country…here we go:

ACC:
If this was basketball, this conference would be a good place to start. But it’s not, and it’s not. The past few years, the ACC has gone from a once proud and dominating conference to a “rebuilding” type phase. Big time programs like Miami, Virginia, Florida State, Clemson had faded a little from the national scene, but look to come back in a big way. The ACC still sends a large number of players to the NFL, and puts a quality product on the field Saturdays in the Fall. Look for the ACC to gain some major respect this year as Miami, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Florida State play big time games in front of the nation, and teams like Duke, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina continue their rise.
Pick to win the ACC Championship: North Carolina– I may be crazy, but I do realize that taking chances is ok, especially when there is nothing to lose. The Tarheels return the main parts of their good defense and QB TJ Yates returns to lead the offense. They get Va Tech at home with HUGE road games against Ga Tech and Miami.

Big 12:
A Lot of the talk in the college football world this summer was the near implosion of the Big 12 conference. As a matter of fact, I had to check the interwebs to make sure there was still going to be a football season this year. Well, for now, most of the main players are staying in the conference with Nebraska and Colorado leaving in the next few years. Their are two main story lines this Fall in the conference: How to replace Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford and Is Nebraska really this good? While Nebraska still has questions on the offensive side of the ball, they seem to be the heavy favorite in the North division. Texas and Oklahoma will once again battle for the South, and I give the SLIGHT edge to Texas, based on their defense. Garrett Gilbert steps into the leadership role in Austin, and will surely so signs and greatness, and of inexperience. The OU offense will once again put up big numbers, but it will all be decided on the field at the Texas Fairgrounds.
My Pick to Win the Big 12: Texas– While I think Nebraska beats Texas in Lincoln this year, Texas will take the rematch against the Huskers in the Big 12 title game.

Big East:
Over the past few years, a lot of people have suggested that the Big East shouldn’t get an automatic BCS bid. And I agree with them. Just kidding, for now. After Cincinnati got pasted by Florida last year, you could almost make that case. But don’t let the records or bowl performances fool you, the Big East has some talented teams. Cincinnati loses some star players and their coach, but they will continue to put up some points. Pittsburgh is a tough nosed team and West Virginia features highlight reel worthy RB Noel Devine. Don’t forget about the upstarts from UCONN.
My Pick to Win the Big East: Pittsburgh– Dion Lewis is a stud. A tough non-conference schedule gets the Panthers ready for the conference gauntlet.

Big 10:
This isn’t your granddads Big 10 conference, it’s your grandmothers. I have no idea what that means, but this conference always makes me think “old”. That being said, the Big 10 will be a fun race to watch this Fall. While Ohio State is getting most of the pre-season love, teams like Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State think they have a great shot at winning the conference. Terrelle Pryor will try and build off his strong Rose Bowl game at the end of last year and try and live up to the lofty expectations. Wisconsin does not play Penn State this year, but play @Iowa and get The Buckeyes at home. Each week will matter in the Big 10. Don’t count out Northwestern or Michigan to play spoiler some Saturdays.
My Pick to Win the Big 10: Ohio State– That may seem like an easy pick…well, maybe it is. On paper, the Buckeyes have the most talent and the best coach in the conference. If Pryor plays well, this team could go far.

Conference USA:
Aaahhh the great American conference. At least that’s what the name suggests. While not many people spend much time on Conference USA, they really do produce some fun football. June Jones lead SMU to their first bowl game in 100 years (give or take) and the Houston Cougars gave us one of the most exciting offenses in the nation. The good news for the conference is that they have a legitimate Heisman candidate in Case Keenum. Look for Houston to battle SMU for a shot at the conference crown.
My Pick to Win Conference USA: Houston– they will be a top 25 for most of the season. The October 23rd matchup with SMU in Dallas will be a fun game to watch.

Mid-American:
Oh yes, the MAC. Kind of like the “little Big 10”. The MAC has long been seen as a great conference very capable of beating some of the big boys any given Saturday. That still remains true. The MAC features some of the best young coaches in college football, and some unsung talent. Temple comes into the 2010 as the pre-season favorite the win the conference. They feature RB Bernard Pierce, a solid offensive line, and sweet uniforms. The Ohio Bobcats will battle the Owls for conference supremacy. Not only do they also have sweet uni’s, they get Boo Jackson back for one more season.
My Pick to Win the MAC: Temple– Pierce will be too much for most MAC defenses.

Mountain West:
The MWC has become quite a football conference over the last few years. TCU, BYU and Utah have all made a splash on the national scene with big wins and big bowl matchups. This year, those 3 will once again be the class of the conference. TCU returns key parts to their offense including QB Andy Dalton. Teams like San Diego State and UNLV will be looking to improve from last year, and could make a splash.
My Pick to Win the Mountain West: TCU– They seem to be the best team, and will once again make a run at an undefeated season.

Pac 10:
One of the most interesting conferences to me this year is the Pac 10. While USC might be at the top at the end of the year, they won’t be representing the conference in a bowl. That opens things up that much more. Teams like USC, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington all have a legitimate shot at winning the conference, and don’t forget about Arizona. The Pac 10 will also feature some of the countries most exciting players. Andrew Luck at Stanford, Jake Locker at Washington, Lamichael James at Oregon and Jacquizz Rogers at Oregon State all will be battling for All American and player of the year honors.
My Pick to Win the Pac 10: Oregon– Sure they lose Masoli, but the Ducks are loaded all over the field. Games @ Corvallis and @ USC will be tough.

SEC:
Many people believe the SEC is the best conference in the nation, maybe even the universe. Anyway, this year shouldn’t be any different than the previous few years. The SEC will feature Alabama (last years National Champs) and one of the biggest question marks of the season: can John Brantley fill the void left by Tim Tebow? While Alabama returns a lot of nice pieces on offense (Mark Ingram is a nice piece yeah?), the defense has some question marks in the secondary and linebacking corp. Florida never has to worry about talent, but will they be mature enough to play well together. Mississippi State will be a surprise this year, in Dan Mullen’s 2nd year. Teams like LSU, Auburn and Georgia will try and unseat the heavy favorites in each division.
My Pick to Win the SEC: Alabama– while there are sure to be some close games, Alabama seems to have to much coming back to keep them from winning another conference championship. Trent Richardson is as good as any back in the country, and he’s a “backup”.

Sun Belt:
No seriously, they do play football in the Sun Belt conference. Even though they are seen as the “weakest major conference in college football”, the Sun Belt has had some impressive showings the past few years, including wins over Maryland (MTSU) and Kansas State (ULL). There is not much else to say about the Sun Belt, while I like what Troy has done in recent history, it will be tough to stop MTSU.
My Pick to Win the Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee State– They HAD the best QB in the conference, Dwight Dasher, but now that he is gone, the can just go on the cool uni’s. Big loss for them.

WAC:
Oh the WAC. Just when you start making a name for yourself (little sarcasm here) things start to fall apart. Boise State (your best team) is going to leave for the Mountain West, along with Fresno State and Nevada. This IS the season to go out in style. Boise State is enjoying its highest ranking ever in pre season polls, and has a favorable schedule that could help toss them into the National Title hunt. Yeah, I said that. If they can beat Va Tech and Oregon State, the Broncos will have a chance to win it all. There are a few teams who could pose a threat though in conference play. The Nevada WolfPack feature one of the most unsung stars in the nation, QB Colin Kaepernick and Fresno State always is in the running for WAC titles. Idaho enjoyed a bowl win last year and will look to improve on last years success. The Friday night game on November 26th will be the WAC game of the year, featuring Nevada and Boise State. They might score 100 pts total.
My Pick to Win the WAC: Boise State– While they might not go undefeated, they should win this conference out right.

National Championship Pick: Ohio State– I really don’t know why this is my pick. Honestly, I think that this year’s champ may have a loss. Either way, I am gonna go out on a “limb” and pick the Buckeyes to win it all. While they had some sub par showings in previous BCS championship games (see 06 and 07), Ohio State will take the trophy back to Columbus to help heal the sports wounds left by Lebron James, at least for a little while. Couches will be safe this fall in Ohio. (Sidenote: I am not a person who likes favorites to win. I almost always cheer for upsets, so if Eastern Michigan is beating OSU sometime this year, I would want to see the upset. Hah, oh well.)

Quick Hits:
*Texas A&M will start the season off with a 4-1 record, they will end it with a 6-6 record.

*UCONN will beat Michigan at the Big House. This is no Appalachian State, but still.

*Bo Pelini will chew 1,243,784 pieces of gum this Fall.

*Announcers will mention Case McCoy (Colt’s little bro at Texas) and Jaxon Shipley (Jordan’s little bro) potentially rooming together next year. It will start early.

*Robert Marve will do a nice job at Purdue, but will also win some “weird looking guy” competitions.

*Taylor Potts will not finish the season as the Texas Tech QB.

*Mark Ingram’s father will not watch any Alabama games in person this year.

*Dion Lewis will lead the nation in rushing.

*USC will go undefeated, and not get to do anything about it. Thanks Reggie!

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