Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Let the Games Begin

No, not those games. I'm talking about the upcoming college football season. The Olympics will be long forgotten in about a week when collegiate gridiron powers such as Ball State (vs. Northeastern), Hofstra (vs. UConn), and Indiana State (vs. Eastern Michigan) open another CFB season on Thursday, August 28th.

Being a Buckeye who lives in Big 12 country where they feature syndicated broadcasts of second tier SEC games and PAC 10 games are an hour earlier, I can claim some amount of knowledge on the subject. Besides, I've already promised R that she can have her Saturdays while I hang around with the baby this fall. I know. I'm such a good father, volunteering to babysit with nothing else to do except watch football and change diapers. Do they give out awards for this sort of thing?

Anyway, I want to flash some of my knowledge with some predictions. Some of my picks will not be popular in these parts. Some will have commen
ters calling me "homer" or "ass clown," but I can accept this. I will not hide my allegiance to Ohio State. Disagree? Write your own post or critique my reasoning in the comments. But for now, here's what I think...

BCS Conference Champions:
Big East - West Virginia
The Mountaineers thoroughly trounced Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl last year. Now they've got a chip on their shoulder with Coach Rod leaving for Michigan and something to prove after losing a shot at last year's national championship to mighty Pitt Panthers. Returning is electric QB Pat White and the high-scoring Mountaineer offense. Not returning is the rest of the Big East as it suffers what appears to be a down-season-in-the-waiting.

ACC - Who cares?
Clemson looks to have the upper-hand in this pathetic conference. I see the conference as the antithesis of their southern big brother, the SEC. While the SEC is full of parity due to so many strong teams, the ACC is wide-open thanks to a plethora of 7-8-win squads. So, either Clemson or Wake Forest or possibly Florida State will earn a chance to get creamed in the Orange Bowl come January.

SEC - Florida
Whoever wins the SEC will have at least one loss due to the conference's overall strength, but the champ will still most likely earn a spot in the BCS title game. Georgia is the preseason #1, but they have a brutal schedule. The "easiest" schedule among the elite SEC teams belongs to Florida. So, the Gators should beat Auburn in the SEC championship game for a trip to Miami and a chance at a second BCS title in three years.

Big 12 - Oklahoma
While the Big 12 is loaded with talent, especially at the quarterback position, the Sooners are the class of the conference. I know there is a lot of talk in COMO about Missouri's shot at a conference title and possibly a national championship, but the Tigers are not an elite program. They had two shots at Oklahoma last year and were whipped both times. They will lose to Illinois, Texas, and one other team, leaving them with nine regular season wins. Write it down and check back in December. Misery will win nine regular sea
son games in 2008.

Pac 10 - USC
Although every team in the conference is making improvements in coaching or personnel, none of them measure up to USC. The Trojans might lose a game in conference (and possibly out of conference), but they will still earn the Pac 10's spot in the BCS. The only thing that could slow them would be the injuries with which they are already struggling. Luckily for the men of Troy, they have a ton of depth.

Big 10 - Ohio State
Ohio State is loaded with fourth and fifth year players returning for a shot at redemption. They will be seen as overrated until they win at USC. Even if they don't, who will beat them in the Big 10? Wisconsin? The Badgers were outclassed after jumping out to a ten-point lead in the 3rd quarter. Illinois? Teams don't beat Jim Tressel teams two years in a row...especially when missed fumble calls cost them the game.

BCS Buster - Ball State
BSU have a high-octane offense and a relatively easy schedule...Of course, most of those teams are in their conference, but they really have a decent shot at winning them all. The key will be the September 20th matchup with Indiana
. If the Cardinals upset the Hoosiers, they could be on their way to crashing the BCS party.

The Heisman Trophy - Chris "Beanie" Wells or Tim Tebow
Beanie Wells has to show up big against USC. As a tailback, a loss will not kill his candidacy. He'll then have to rush for over 1800 yards and 20 TD's in order to be in the conversation. If he wins, tOSU will hold the record for most Heisman Trophy winners.

Tebow should win this award and become only the second to do so twice. (The other is Ohio State's Archie Griffin.) However, he must do two things that he's never done in order to have a chance. Tebow has never come back in the fourth quarter to win a football game. Comebacks make quarterbacks legendary. The other thing he hasn't done is win an SEC championship. Well, I kinda figure he'll do at least one of these. If he does both, he's your 2008 Heisman Trophy winner.

National Championship Scenarios: (They all have to do with the September 13th Ohio State/USC game in LA.)

Scenario 1 - Ohio State wins in classic battle with USC.
This is my dream scenario. It would be an epic battle between the two most successful programs of this decade. It would become one of those "Instant Classics" on ESPN. A grind-it-out affair with the total points amounting to less than 45. Beanie Wells puts 150 and a couple of scores while James Laurinaitis accumulates 15 tackles. The Buckeyes coast through the rest of the season and whip Oklahoma or possibly beat an SEC team for the first time in a bowl game for their second national championship in seven years.

Scenario 2 - USC does what's expected and beats tOSU by two scores.
Everyone expects that USC is way more talented than tOSU. The Trojans will dominate much like they always do in high-profile contests. Ohio State will plummet in the polls but will win the rest of their games to reach the Rose Bowl. USC will then carry a lead into the fourth quarter before Tim Tebow leads the Gators from behind for the first time in his career for the national championship.

Scenario 3 - USC beats tOSU in a close game but comes out beat up.
Much like the first scenario, this game is a classic. The Buckeyes will earn much respect and leave USC in worse shape than they started. USC will trip up once again due to the lingering effects of a Buckeye beating. The season for both teams will end in a revenge win by the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. The SEC champ beats Oklahoma in the BCS title game.

My Gut Feeling:
None of my scenarios will happen. West Virginia will play whomever survives with the least amount of losses in the SEC, probably Florida. Then, the SEC champ will most likely win the national championship.

Realistic Ohio State Prediction:
Ohio State will most likely lose a competitive game in LA. They will struggle to regain their confidence versus Troy State, but prevail. They will then run through the Big 10 to their fourth straight conference title, demolishing Michigan along the way. (That was for you, GE.)

One-loss tOSU will find themselves in a rematch against USC, which they will win. This will set up the hype for next fall's game in Columbus. I predict that Terrelle Pryor will lead a rebuilding and seemingly over-matched Buckeye squad to an improbable upset of the Trojans in the 'Shoe on his way to the Heisman...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Whatever happens, I'm really looking forward to this season. I figure the Buckeyes will either beat USC on their way to an undefeated regular season and a fourth shot in seven years at the national championship or lose to USC and just win yet another Big 10 title. So, let the real games begin!


comoprozac said...

I forgot to add that I predict that Notre Dame will win their first four games, lose the next four, and split the final four for a nifty 6-6 record.

Sarah said...

Go, Buckeyes! (until basketball season, when I turn into a rabid UK fan.)
Living in ACC country is pretty darned miserable, especially when every channel is taken up by a Duke/NC State/UNC/Wake Forest game. Oh, the suffering.
Hope you and your baby enjoy lots and lots of Ohio State victories this fall. (They also make my grandma very happy, which is always a good thing.)

Huey said...

First of all, nice move with the baby on saturdays call! Spending your saturdays at home with the kid watching football? Now that's a winner.

I can't argue too much with your predictions. I doubt FSU will make a run in the ACC. It is gonna be a Wake Forest/Clemson winner there.

I agree WVA will probably win the Big East but let's not forget they lost SLaton. The kid coming in is pretty tough though so I can't argue them in this conference.

It will be tough to make it through the SEC no matter who you are. UGA may start on top but Auburn will be tough, Florida is the real deal with so much talent and Urban Meyer at the lead and the list goes on.

Missouri may be overrated as you say. Oklahoma is a tough team year in and year out. It will be interesting to see if Mizzou can have another relatively successful season.

The PAC 10 may be improving but like the Big Ten I don't see much beyond USC to truly put a run together.

The Big Ten is weak and tOSU (nice addition with that "t") should win out. There is always a surprise team in the Big Ten relatively speaking. Illinois last year. Purdue for awhile, Northwestern int he mid 90s. But UM is spiraling downward while Hot Rod Rodriquez gets things set up and they make a push in about 2-3 years. Wisconsin shouldn't pose a HUGE threat. Illinois won't pull it off twice. So as you mentioned, a loaded tOSU team should get the Big Ten.

That means the epic superhyped 9/13game between USC and tOSU will be big. USC is injured and the national media is already lining up the excuses if they lose. I fear nothing tOSU does will be good enough this year. The weak conference will be our own worst enemy again. The past two let downs in the BCS will hurt. And the anit-buckeye nation will rise against us.

C'mon now with that Heisman prediction. Pick one. Don't give me this Wells OR Tebow thing. A casual fan could say that. Sounded like you were leaning that way to go that way. Here's rooting for Beanie though. Can't let Florida take another title from us. They got us in basketball, football and now the two Heisman winner thing? NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I am tired of this crap!

BTW, I am going to go out on a limb and say the Heisman will go to someone nobody is talking about right now. Maybe that kid from Georgia, or the new RB in WVA.

Notre Dame 6-6? That's the safest bet in the house.

Great post!

comoprozac said...

I don't want to commit to either player, because so much could change in the first month. Tebow could throw a bunch of picks. Beanie could run for 23 yards versus USC. Chase Daniels could have 2000 yards passing. I think by picking two players, I've stated my front-runners. Of course, my gut feeling is that Tebow will get #2.