The 2010 college football season kicks off today with defending champs Alabama and most of the rest of the serious contenders playing later this Labor Day weekend,. There are 18 games on the schedule today, four involving Top 20 teams.
Preview of the SEC – Alabama Crimson Tide & Florida Gators
The Alabama Crimson Tide gets back most of their team from last year and is without a doubt the favorite to win the SEC.. With QB Greg McElroy calling the signals, and RB Mark Ingram and wide receiver Julio Jones running and catching the ball the Crimson Tide are going to score points, and with the top defense in college football last year back largely intact points are likely to be hard to come by on the other side of the ball. Put all the pieces together and Alabama is likely to be playing in the big game again come January.
The Florida Gators went 13-1 last year, and although Tim Tebow is gone to the NFL, John Brantley has a strong arm and is surrounded by a talented cast. If Urban Meyer can get this squad to play up to their potential, then they might be able to give Alabama a run for their money. The Georgia Bulldogs are another strong SEC team, but they are breaking in a new QB and trying to rebuild on defense, so they have to be considered a darkhorse. The Arkansas Razorbacks will have a very powerful offense again this year, but given their defensive woes and their tough schedule they also have to be considered longshots.
Preview of the Big 12 – Texas Longhorns & Oklahoma Sooners
Colt McCoy is gone, but the Longhorns have an able replacement in sophomore Garrett Gilbert, and given that the Horns are as usual very talented at every position on offense, and arguably possess the best secondary in the country, do not be surprised to see the Longhorns beat Oklahoma and win the Big 12 once again.
And, as usual, Oklahoma looks to be the only serious contender for the Horns in the Big 12. Although they did lose Sam Bradford to the NFL, they were used to playing without him by the end of the season, and looked very sharp in winning their bowl game. They return most of their starters on offense and defense and if they can beat Texas this year then they have got a legitimate shot at a top BCS bowl game. Throw Nebraska and Missouri into in the mix as longshots in the Big 12.
Preview of the Big 10 – Ohio State Buckeyes, Iowa Hawkeyes & Wisconsin Badgers
There are four teams in the Big 10 with a legitimate shot at the title this year, but given Penn State’s tough schedule most pundits are making it a three horse race. Ohio State’s 2010 chances revolve around quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who played exceptionally well in the 2009 Rose Bowl. Pryor is surrounded by plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, and if he continues to improve, given their favorable schedule, the Buckeyes might well have a shot at the national championship.
The Iowa Hawkeyes proved they were for real last year, as did the Wisconsin Badgers, and as both of these teams return most of their starters (18 returning starters for the Badgers!) they must be respected. Wisconsin does have to travel to Iowa city this year, and that game could well decide the fate of both teams.
Preview of the PAC 10 – USC Trojans & Oregon Ducks
Most football experts agree it looks like the PAC 10 is in for an off year in 2010, with just USC and Oregon looking like possible Top 10 teams, and Stanford and Arizona as darkhorses. The preseason No. 14 USC Trojans start their 2010 season in Hawaii and look to begin with a win, hoping to improve on their 9-4 performance in 2009.
Oregon has had a rather turbulent off-season in losing quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and dealing with a couple of other off-the-field issues with players, but they have sophomore QB Darron Thomas calling the signals now, and word is he has looked very sharp in practice. And with LaMichael James running the ball, Oregon is capable of scoring on any defense in the country. I like Oregon to win the PAC 10 this year.
Top 20 College Football Games Today
Florida A&M at No, 13 Miami
Marshall at No. 2 Ohio State
No. 14 USC at Hawaii
No. 15 Pittsburgh at Utah
For more on college and pro football see:
Preview of the 2010 Texas Longhorns
NFL Preseason Scores – Week 3 Wrap Up
NFL 2010 Preview & Week 1 Match Ups