The 2010 NCAA Football season is upon us and before each season I generally like many put together a traditional, yet exceptional season preview filled with predictions, statistics and players to watch for. Since 2010 is the beginning of a new decade, this year I’ve decided to slightly switch things up still providing some of those elements from the past just in an abbreviated version which will short, simple and extremely essential if you will follow the college gridiron action.
Let’s start with the AP preseason rankings (as lopsided as they always are with BCS schools) as the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide head up the list and are joined by five other SEC schools (#4 Florida , #17 Arkansas, #21 LSU, #22 Auburn and #23 Georgia). The ACC has five schools (#10 Virginia Tech, #13 Miami, #16 Georgia Tech, #18 North Carolina and #20 Florida State) while the Big Ten has four teams (#2 Ohio State, #9 Iowa, #12 Wisconsin and #19 Penn State).The Pac-10 has three schools (#11 Oregon, #14 USC and #24 Oregon State), the Big-12 (#5 Texas and #7 Oklahoma) and Big East (#15 Pittsburgh and #25 West Virginia) both have two apiece. The only two non-BCS schools that are included in the preseason rankings are #3 Boise State and #6 TCU.
In the ACC there will be improved action from one season ago as there are several teams that have a legit shot at winning the conference title. In the end it will be the Virginia Tech Hokies who reign victorious over the every other program. North Carolina and Miami should be very worthy adversaries but in the end it will be just too much Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback) for anyone to do anything about, not to mention the Hokies have a stout defense as well.
Over the past few years the Big East has controlled by Pittsburgh and West Virginia and this season will be no different. Besides those two programs there isn’t much noise coming out of the Big East this year and once again one of these two will wear the conference crown. Pittsburgh has a lot of weapons of both sides of the ball and running back Dion Lewis should lead them to the promise land.
The Big Ten will have some interesting action going on as Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin all have the potential to be very, very good while Penn State can also hold their own amongst the big boys in this conference as well. It will be an absolute knock-down-drag-out battle between these programs to see who will gain conference supremacy and a trip to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl. Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is finally ready to step up and become the big-time superstar that he has been heralded to be since he was in high school and lead the Buckeyes to the Big Ten title and possibly a National Title as well.
In the Big-12’s final season under its current construction will be a bit of a down one as many of the marquee names from just a season ago are no longer enrolled in school. Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska are all ranked extremely high in the preseason poll, but losing the caliber of players which they did as a conference in total will definitely effect the product that is on the field. In the end Oklahoma will pull it off because of the extensive experience that Landry Jones received last season behind center when Sam Bradford went down with his shoulder injury.
Out west in the Pac-10 with USC facing the penalties which they are this year (as well as next) the conference is open for someone else to take the Rose Bowl spot. Both Oregon and Oregon State look very good and should challenge each other all the way until the end for that trip to Pasadena. Quarterback Jake Lockart could make Washington a dark horse but the rest of the team must step up and play better than they did a year ago. In the end Oregon will take the conference behind the amazing running of LaMichael James.
The toughest conference of them all is the SEC as usual and this year it looks to be even rougher than normal. With six teams in the preseason top-25 and two of those teams in the top four it is certainly going to be a photo-finish for conference bragging rights. Arkansas’ Ryan Mallet is a mega-star in the making and has all the tools to become an elite pro quarterback and he will win SEC Player of the Year honors however the Hogs won’t win the conference. Once again Alabama will take the conference championship thanks to Mark Ingram and Nick Saban’s relentless defense.
Boise State and TCU will both have tremendous seasons as well in fact I’ll go on record and say that both schools play in BCA Bowl games again for the second consecutive season. The Cyclones are ranked number three and have a very strong shot at seriously competing for the National Championship at the end of the year.
My selection for the Heisman Trophy is without question the junior quarterback from Arkansas Ryan Mallet. Mallet win have an incredible year this season and take his Razorbacks pretty far in the process.
As far as BCS/National Champions are concerned I will go out on a limb and stand by my selection firmly when I say that the Boise State Cyclones will win the 2010 title, no I’m not crazy just got a major hunch.