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College Football 2011.

It is here.  College football.  The first game of the NCAA season?  Murray State vs. Louisville.  While that isn’t a marquee matchup, the rest of the season promises some great games (here are the ones I am going to watch this year) and will feature some great players.  Here is my look at the upcoming season, as well as my pick to win it all and the Heisman winner.

Who Will Win The ACC?

I think this race comes down to two main teams, Florida State and Virginia Tech.  While those two are the top teams in the conference, they will have some competition against teams like North Carolina, Clemson and a short handed Miami.  I would be surprised if the Seminoles lost a game in conference play this season.  The matchup against Oklahoma is HUGE.  Give me the ‘Noles to win the conference over Virginia Tech.

Will The Sooners Go Wire to Wire and Win The Whole Thing?

Short answer, no.  While I think Oklahoma has a good team with an explosive offense, the Sooners will stumble somewhere along the way.  I mentioned the matchup with Florida State and don’t forget the two biggest rivalry games with Oklahoma State and Texas. Landry Jones will have another big year, so watch for him in New York for the Heisman ceremony.

Will The New Look Pac-12 Be Competitive This Year?

Oh yes, it will.  Oregon looks like the favorite to repeat as champs, but this is a new season.  There will a conference championship game which could derail some teams hopes.  Oregon is missing some key players from last year, but does bring back Darron Thomas and Heisman hopeful LaMichael James.  Stanford is another team to watch out for, mainly because of future #1 pick Andrew Luck.  Don’t overlook the Cardinal defense, they are solid.  Arizona will be competitive, Arizona State will be competitive and don’t forget about USC.  This is a strong conference up and down, including new members Colorado and Utah.  Just for kicks, I think the first Pac-12 Champ will be Oregon.  They are hungry after losing in the BCS title game last season.

The Big 12 Is Dying, Or Already Dead.  What Will Happen?

I honestly have no idea.  Texas A&M vowed to stay in the Big 12 not too long ago to help it out, but now they are leaving.  I think that if the Big 12 Conference does not add some big name programs (BYU or Notre Dame) then teams like Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State should look elsewhere.  The name Pac 16 sounds nice doesn’t it?  I like the idea of a Super Conference, but wouldn’t be surprised to see Texas go independent either.  I will say this, I don’t think they need to reform the SouthWest Conference.  Teams like Houston, TCU and SMU do not make this into a dominate conference.

Who Will Be THE Surprise Player of 2011?

I already have a post about “This Years Shoelace”, referring to Denard Robinson’s coming out party last year.  This  year, there are plenty of candidates ready to step up.  One of the players not mentioned in the early post is Virginia Tech Quarterback Logan Thomas.  The Hokies have had some great college QB’s lately (Vick, Taylor) and hope that Thomas can reach his potential.  While he isn’t as mobile as those guys, he is a BEAST at 6’6″ and 250 lbs.  Think Daunte Culpepper or Byron Leftwich.  If Thomas stays away from “rookie” mistakes, he will have the Hokies in position for the ACC crown and maybe more.

Another pick would be Tyler Wilson from Arkansas.  He was featured in my earlier post, but he really has a chance to shine in Fayetteville.  With the best WR in the SEC (maybe the country) Wilson will have plenty of opportunities to to put up HUGE numbers.

Who Will Be The Most Disappointing Team in 2011?

Last year the team that disappointed the most was either Texas or Florida.  Take your pick.  This year I think it will be Texas A&M.  Starting in the top 10 in most polls gives this team a chance to be “disappointing”.   I don’t think the Aggies are “distracted” by the leaving the conference talk, but they have a tough schedule.  Sure, A&M is a good team, but I would NOT be surprised if they went 1-3 in their first four games.  Surprised?  Don’t be.  SMU (first game) has some key parts coming back and loves to throw the football.  The third game of the season is against Oklahoma State, and the fourth game is Arkansas.  Don’t forget about games against Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Baylor.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Aggies only win 7 games this season.  Of course, they could win 10 or 11.

Who Will Be The Surprise Team of 2011?

Last year some would say it was Auburn who actually won it all.  This year?  A team like South Carolina sure does look good on paper, but it is ranked fairly high in the pre-season polls.  In that case, give me Texas.  There is no where to go but up for the Horns who had MAJOR changes in the off season.  I predicted 9 wins for Texas this season, which would be a major surprise, or would it?

Who Will Win The Heisman Trophy?

I have gone out on a limb the past few years and picked some dark horse candidates to be in the Heisman race.  That is dumb.  We all know it is usually the best player on the best teams.  So here are my Heisman finalists:

1.  Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

2.  Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

3.  LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

4.  Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State

5.  Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

There are a few others that I would consider putting here, but these 5 are the pre-season front runners.  My pick to win it?  LaMichael James.  The Ducks LOVE using James as often as they can, and they will be in the BCS title hunt all season.

Who Will Win The National Title?

I think we should have a playoff, but that is for another day.  My pick to play in the title game:

Oregon vs. Florida State (Oregon will win it all)

Dark Horse National Title Pick:  Georgia.  They play in the SEC and have some good talent to go around some key returning players.  Mark Richt won’t get many more chances.

Dark Dark Dark Horse National Title Pick:  Baylor.  You NEVER know what can happen, and I don’t think this will, but Robert Griffin sure is fun to watch.

 

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