Wednesday, August 26, 2009



Last year, in Week 1, the AFC East became wide open for the first time since 2002 after New England Patriots QB Tom Brady tore ligaments in his ACL and MCL following a Bernard Pollard hit. At that instant fans in New York, Miami, and Buffalo realized that they could not have had a better chance to win the division. The Buffalo Bills started off hot winning their first four games en route to a 5-1 start, but a very cold finish relegated them to last place at 7-9. The New York Jets would assume the lead after that, and after beating the previously unbeaten Tennessee Titans to improve to 8-3, they could do no wrong and were heralded as a contender in the AFC. However, the weather got colder, Brett Favre's shoulder acted up and they limped to a 9-7 finish, costing Eric Mangini his job. Now the Patriots did emerge by going 11-5, but they missed the playoffs in a LOADED AFC, but the actual champion were the Miami Dolphins who finished 1-15 the year before. At 0-2 the season looked like a bust, until Wildcat mania struck and gave Miami an added dimension that enabled them to win nine out of their last ten games. This year, there are many changes to the division such as Miami having the bulls-eye on their back for the first time in a while, the Jets operating with a new QB and coach, the Bills having T.O., and the Patriots getting Brady back, but as always it should be entertaining.

1. New England Patriots
-Amazing that they went 11-5 WITHOUT Brady, huh? Amazing that Randy Moss had another 1000 yard and double-digit touchdown season WITHOUT Brady, huh? They get him back this year, along with a plethora of running backs, and you can expect the same offense that they had in 2007.

2. Miami Dolphins
-I do believe that the Dolphins can withstand the pressure of being the hunter. Sure average receivers and Chad Pennington's inability to throw the ball deep hinder them, but they do have Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, and the return of Jason Taylor can really help their defense. Oh, and did I mention the Wildcat?

3. New York Jets
-Rex Ryan said it best: "...if you take a swipe at one of ours, we'll take a swipe at two of yours", and instantly the Jets had a new identity that was different than Herm Edwards' or Eric Mangini's. Matt Sanchez will start but experience growing pains in a tough division, but newly acquired LB Bart Scott and his familiarity to Ryan will be beneficial to the Jets.

4. Buffalo Bills
-T.O. is great, but he's the only bright spot of a mediocre team. The key here is will Trent Edwards stay healthy? Marshawn Lynch's early three-game suspension can also spell doom for the Bills, but they do have nice throwbacks, lol!

Tom Brady (QB - Patriots)
-After dealing Matt Cassel to Kansas City, the Pats are going all in with Brady. Will the old Brady return or sadly will it be like the story of a former QB from of of their division rivals?

Matt Sanchez (QB - Jets)
-Eventually, Sanchez will get the keys to this team, but as long as he plays smart and utilize the defense and running game well, the Jets can be a darkhorse like last year's Baltimore Ravens.

Terrell Owens (WR - Bills)
-You know what you are going to get with T.O., a lot of catches, a lot of yards, a lot of touchdowns, a lot of celebrations, and a lot of drops, but will it translate to a lot of wins?

New England @ Indianapolis (Week 10 - November 15, the mid-autumn rivalry)
Miami @ Atlanta (Week 1 - September 13, the two surprises of last year)
Miami @ New England (Week 9 - November 8, Miami's first big challenge)
Buffalo @ New England (Week 1 - September 14, the return of Brady)
N.Y. Jets @ Tampa Bay (Week 14 - December 13, battle of the rookies [possibly], Sanchez v. Freeman)


The AFC North was extremely proud last season when it sent not only one but two teams to the AFC Championship Game last season ensuring that the division would have a representative in the Super Bowl. In what proved to be a very physical and hard-hitting game, the favored Pittsburgh Steelers outlasted the upstart Baltimore Ravens, 23-14, en route to winning their record-breaking sixth Super Bowl in Super Bowl XLIII. For Pittsburgh, it was the typical season as they defended their division title as all four losses came against playoff teams, but with a smart offense and an aggressive defense they were able to stay focused, never losing more than twice. Baltimore, led by rookie QB Joe Flacco, jumped out to a 2-0 start, but after losing their next three games things looked bleak and the fact that they had to play in 15 consecutive weeks in the regular season did not make the situation any better. However, "Joe Cool" made the Ravens keep theirs, and the Ravens won nine of their last 11 to edge the New England Patriots for the final playoff spot. As for the two teams from the Buckeye State...well, the Cleveland Browns were expected to challenge for a divisional title but they never could recover from an 0-3 start, and they lost their last six games, including being shut out in their last two and not scoring no more than ten points in the others. Their neighbors from the south, the Cincinnati Bengals, fared no better after starting 0-8, despite winning their last three games. This year, the Steelers are the only ones who really stayed intact, after the other three teams lost important keys from last season, but the question is: will the Steelers be too full from their title or will they come out swinging hungry for more?

1. Pittsburgh Steelers
-While they did not make any key moves during the offseason like normal, they retained their key players. It will be hard to realize that Pittsburgh cannot win this division again for the third year in a row, and better yet, they do not play either the Colts or the Patriots for the first time since 2003.

2. Baltimore Ravens
-Sure the losses of Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, and Marques Douglas to the Ravens will sting, but the Ravens still have Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason, young RB's (Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le'Ron McClain), and Flacco. The schedule will not hurt either as the Ravens have the fifth-easiest schedule despite matchups with the Colts and Patriots.

3. Cincinnati Bengals
-The next two positions are a crap-shoot, but the nod here goes to Cincinnati due to an existing coach and a stable QB position. It's clear that this team with so much promise five years ago just flattened out due to Marvin Lewis losing control of his players, and his job could be next.

4. Cleveland Browns
-Same first sentence as above. Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson are battling...again, and Eric Mangini is out to prove that he was wrongfully fired in New York. Both teams could have some growing pains however this year.

Ben Roethlisberger (QB - Steelers)
-Sure you can say his running backs deserve it, or his receivers, or his line, or his defense, but in 2006 when Big Ben was still suffering the lingering effects of his motorcycle accident, he struggled and the team struggled.

Rey Maualuga (LB - Bengals)
-This was tough and it even could have went to Michael Oher of the Ravens, but Maualuga is out to prove that he should have been a first-round pick. The Bengals will just hope that he is like Odell Thurman without the off-field issues.

Laveranues Coles (WR - Bengals)
-If you went on name then Chad Ochocinco would be on the list, but since we are not, Coles tops this list. 2008 was an injury-plauged year for Coles, and with Chad on the team drawing attention, Coles could bounce back. However, to expect him to replace T.J. Houshmandzadeh will be a tall task.

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh (Week 1 - September 10, the 1st game of the NFL season)
Indianapolis @ Baltimore (Week 11 - November 22, the Colts return to Baltimore...)
Baltimore @ Cleveland (Week 10 - November 16, ...but not until the Ravens return to Cleveland)
Pittsburgh @ Detroit (Week 5 - October 11, Champs vs. Chumps)
Bengals v. Browns (Week 4 - October 4 in Cleveland, Week 12 - November 29 in Cincinnati, well..I had to give the Ohio teams some love)


In 2008, unbelievable things happened in the AFC South, but none was more shocking than seeing the Indianapolis Colts lose the division for the first time in six years. The division did, however, go to the unlikeliest of teams, the Tennessee Titans, who were led by the unlikeliest of quarterbacks, Kerry Collins. After former first-round draft pick Vince Young got hurt against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, along with questionable behavior afterward, Collins led the Titans to wins in their first games and a 13-3 record. Despite a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round, the Titans look poised to improve even more with a young lineup. The Colts JUST won 12 games last year, but they finished the year on a nine-game winning streak before losing to the San Diego Chargers in the Wild Card round. The Colts big challenge will be replacing their head coach (Tony Dungy), their offensive and defensive coordinators, and their all-time great wide receiver (Marvin Harrison), but their franchise QB Peyton Manning will be ready to lead again like always. The Houston Texans started off at 0-4 but stormed to break even at .500 for the second year in a row, behind arguably the best WR people have never heard of, Andre Johnson. The Jacksonville Jaguars took a huge step back after a 5-11 seasons while playing with heavy hearts after Richard Collier was shot and killed days before the first game of the season.

1. Indianapolis Colts
-"Old Reliable" Manning is still there, and despite losing Harrison and Dungy, he still has Reggie Wayne, a good offensive line, and Bob Sanders on the defensive end. Oh yeah, and Dwight Freeney's back along with new coach Jim Caldwell being a disciple of Tony Dungy, expect the Colts to return to form this year.

2. Houston Texans
-This one is a VERY gutsy pick, but the Texans are a young team on the rise as evidenced from their two straight 8-8 seasons. The key here is for QB Matt Schaub to not get injured (again), but hate to say it but Rex Grossman is better than Sage Rosenfels and is more capable to lead this team of young talent like Steve Slaton, Amobi Okoye, Mario Williams, and Johnson.

3. Tennessee Titans
-They won't sneak up on anyone this year, and plus Collins is a year older, and Albert Haynesworth is gone. The Titans will be good however with a little "smash-and-dash", or the RB tandem of LenDale White and Chris Johnson.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars
-This team has lost it's pop on defense and does not have many good receivers execpt Torry Holt. David Garrard will try to well, and Maurice Jones-Drew will assume lead RB status, but will the "Mojo" be good there in Jacksonville?

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER (other than Manning)
Andre Johnson (WR - Texans)
-The MVP would have been an obvious no-brainer, so this is a good challenge for #2. He had 115 catches for 1500+ yards with two different QB's, and if he was anywhere else, he'd be recognized. 2008 was Larry Fitzgerald's coming-out part, will 2009 be Johnson's?

Donald Brown (RB - Colts)
-Joseph Addai is an oft-injured RB, but Brown can do a lot for the Colts. Although UConn ran a run-first offense, he can catch the ball well, and getting 2000 rushing yards in a season is very impressive and a testament to will and determination.

Torry Holt (WR - Jaguars)
-He can make Garrard's life very well, just do not expect the same numbers from St. Louis. Holt jumps from an deep, vertical team in the Rams to a ball-control team in the Jaguars.

New England @ Indianapolis (November 15 - Week 10, the mid-season rivalry renewed)
Indianapolis @ Tennessee (October 11 - Week 5, statement game for the Titans)
Tennessee @ Houston (November 23 - Week 11, statement game for the Texans)
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville (September 13 - Week 1, the Colts-Jaguars rivalry has been the fiercest)
St. Louis @ Jacksonville (October 18 - Week 6, Holt welcomes his old buddies)


The AFC West provided great competition in 2008...too bad that the playing field was watered down much throughout the season. The Kansas City Chiefs floundered in 2008, going 2-14 with a very young team that could not score or even defend very well, while the Oakland Raiders continued to be the mess of a franchise that they had been since their appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII after the messy firing of Lane Kiffin and Al Davis continuing to be senile at his old age. The San Diego Chargers struggled after losing LB Shawne Merriman after the first game for the rest of the season and with RB LaDanian Tomlinson's nagging injuries things looked bleak at 5-8 and being three games with three games to go behind a good Denver Broncos squad that had Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall but a leaky secondary. Then the unthinkable happened when Denver lost games to the Buffalo Bills and the Carolina Panthers, and the Chargers beat the Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to force a one-game, winner-take-all bout for the AFC West crown. The other notable thing was that referee Ed Hochuli was completely absolved of his controversial call between the two teams in Week 2, which gave Denver the win. However, San Diego routed Denver to complete the comeback and to finalize the Broncos' collapse in order to go to the playoffs. San Diego would defeat the Indianapolis Colts but lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs, but given the offseasons that these teams have had and a healthy Merriman, there's no reason that the Chargers cannot win this division this year.

1. San Diego Chargers
-Basically I just said it, but Philip Rivers has done more with some no-name receivers after going to the playoffs in all three years as a starter. The combination of LT and Darren Sproles will be lethal, and with Merriman back, the Chargers can go back to being aggressive on defense.

2. Kansas City Chiefs
-Oh, the wonders of a weak division! There are a lot of question marks here like: Is Matt Cassel any good now with an average team? Can Larry Johnson stop being injury prone? Can the young Chiefs gel this year?

3. Oakland Raiders
-The Darrius Heyward-Bey draft pick still baffles me, but every thing about the Raiders always baffles me. They have the talent in place but without a great leader, the talent cannot go in the right direction except far, far away.

4. Denver Broncos
-Who the hell does Josh McDaniels think he is? First, he alienates his young franchise QB (Cutler) and trades him, then he's alienating his young franchise WR (Marshall) and he's asking for trade demands. Where's Mike Shanahan when you need him?

Shawne Merriman (LB - Chargers)
-The defense lost its power and tenacity last year without him, but in the last two years with him they won 14 and 11 games.

Tyson Jackson (DE - Chiefs)
-He can help out this young D-Line, and he's reunited with fellow LSU alum, Glenn Dorsey.

Kyle Orton (QB - Broncos)
-Every eye is on him...EVERY one. However, he does have a better receiving tandem now even WITHOUT Brandon Marshall (if they trade him)

New England @ Denver (October 11 - Week 5, Mentor vs. Student)
Philadelphia @ San Diego (November 15 - Week 10, aggressive D's square off!)
Oakland @ Dallas (November 26 - Week 12, two historical franchises, owners square off on Thanksgiving)
Dallas @ Kansas City (October 11 - Week 5, K.C.'s throwbacks of Dallas...Cowboys v. Texans)
San Diego @ Denver (November 22 - Week 11, Chargers return to the scene of the crime)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Non-BCS teams that have crashed the BCS party have been very successful. In 2004, the Utah thrashed the Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl, 35-7, following a decent schedule that included Texas A&M (who went to the Cotton Bowl) and an opening ranking of #19. In 2006, Boise State played in arguably one of the best college football games EVER after beating Oklahoma, 43-42, in an overtime thriller in the Fiesta Bowl, but not before beating Oregon State and Utah earlier in the season. After Hawaii made a mockery of the BCS by fattening themselves up with a cupcake schedule before being exposed by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in 2007, Utah made it back in the BCS picture in 2008 by beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, 31-17, and scheduling Michigan and Oregon State. There's a good handful of teams who can actually turn the trick this year, provided that everything goes well.


The Conference USA might have lost its firepower when Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida, and TCU all left during the great realignment of 2005, but it gained a title game and great teams such as UCF, Tulsa, and UTEP to name a few. Last year, East Carolina captured the hearts of everyone as an early BCS buster after beating Virginia Tech and West Virginia to shoot up in the rankings. Even though they couldn't finish that dream, they did win the C-USA title and went to the Liberty Bowl. This year, look for the Pirates to be competitive but Memphis could wind up winning the Eastern Division.

Conference Rank: 9th out of 11

1. Memphis Tigers
2. East Carolina Pirates
3. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
4. UAB Blazers
5. Marshall Thundering Herd
6. Central Florida Knights

1. Houston Cougars
2. Rice Owls
3. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
4. SMU Mustangs
5. Tulane Green Wave
6. UTEP Miners

Houston d. Memphis


Southern Mississippi

Case Keenum (QB from Houston)
-Last year he had over 5000 yards and 44 touchdowns, sure call it the system but if he can duplicate those numbers...

1. ECU @ West Virginia (September 12)
2. Virginia Tech @ ECU (November 5)
3. Rice @ Houston (November 28)
4. ECU @ Memphis (October 27)
5. Texas Tech @ Houston (September 26)


This is not the Mid-American Conference of ten years ago. Back then, Marshall was dominating the conference with players like Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich while the other teams were in awe at this juggernaut. Now, the conference has gone through different shades of parity, making it hard to predict a winner each year. Who would have thought that Ball State would go undefeated in all 12 games of the regular season? Who would have thought that Buffalo would emerge out of the doldrums to not only receive a bowl bid, but win the MAC title game against Ball State? Who would've thought that Buffalo would have one of the most sought after coaching candidates (and I'm not talking about the Bills)? This year, the best QB not named McCoy, Bradford, or Tebow is Dan LeFevour and if that holds true, expect Central Michigan to win the MAC.

Conference Rank: 10th out of 11

1. Miami (Ohio) Redhawks
2. Buffalo Bulls
3. Ohio Bobcats
4. Bowling Green Falcons
5. Akron Zips
6. Temple Owls
7. Kent State Golden Flashes

1. Central Michigan Chippewas
2. Ball State Cardinals
3. Toledo Rockets
4. Western Michigan Broncos
5. Northern Illinois Huskies
6. Eastern Michigan Eagles

Central Michigan d. Miami (OH)

Ball State
Central Michigan
Miami (OH)

Dan LeFevour (QB from CMU)
-An injury derailed any chance for the Chips to win the MAC last year, but if he's healthy he can be one of the best pure QB's heading to the draft.


The Mountain West last year was dynamic to say the least. BYU, TCU, and Utah all got ten wins or more last year while serious talks of breaking up the BCS were very rampant. This year, expect more of the same, as all three teams are dangerous and the games between them will not be anything short of a knockdown, drag-out fight.

Conference Rank: 6th out of 11

1. Brigham Young Cougars
2. TCU Horned Frogs
3. Utah Utes
4. UNLV Rebels
5. Colorado State Rams
6. Air Force Falcons
7. San Diego State Aztecs
8. New Mexico Lobos
9. Wyoming Cowboys



Austin Collie (WR from BYU)
-Last year, he had 100+ catches and 1500+ yards all with the experienced team they have, expect more of the same

Oklahoma v. BYU (September 5th in Arlington, TX)
Utah @ Oregon (September 19th)
TCU @ BYU (October 24th)
Utah @ TCU (November 14th)
Utah @ BYU (November 28th)


Ever since its inception in 2001, the Sun Belt has been the conference that one forgets about but makes a lot of noise anyway. Despite nearly sacrificing good seasons for mediocre ones by playing numerous money games, it shows that it some times works to the advantage. North Texas won the first four Sun Belt titles and got to the first four New Orleans Bowls from 2001 to 2004. In 2004, Troy defeated Missouri in front of a national television audience and got to the Silicon Valley Classic, the first time the Sun Belt sent two teams bowling. In 2007, who would've thought that Alabama would have lost to TWO Louisiana teams, as ULM defeated one of the most storied collegiate football programs of all-time. In 2008, Arkansas State gave Texas A&M a scare while ULM nearly beat Arkansas, while the conference reached argeements with the Independence, St. Petersburg, Motor City, and Bowls in order to take an additional good team. The message has been simple...the Sun Belt may still be the "littlest brother" but is still making noise and great strides, nevertheless.

Conference Rank: 11th out of 11

1. Arkansas State Red Wolves
2. Florida Atlantic Owls
3. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
4. Troy Trojans
5. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
6. Florida International Golden Panthers
7. North Texas Mean Green
8. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
9. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Arkansas St.

Cardia Jackson (LB) and Greg James (S) (from ULM)
-Ok, maybe I'm biased, but check these stats...Jackson recorded 127 tackles last year, and James is the NCAA's active leader in interceptions with 13.


The Western Athletic Conference has been one of those strong conferences that love passing games and to put up points, but they have also had good teams to compete for the BCS. Boise State has always been a threat in years past until finally cracking the code in 2006, and coming close in 2008, while Hawaii got in in 2007. Heck, Fresno State is a good team that normally plays a tough schedule and nearly snapped USC epic winning streak in 2005, if not for Reggie Bush having a career game and a behind-the-back fakeout play. There's no deny this though, Boise State will be ready to defend their conference crown on the coolest turf of all...the blue turf!

Conference Rank: 8th out of 11

1. Boise State Broncos
2. Fresno State Bulldogs
3. Nevada Wolf Pack
4. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
5. Hawaii Warriors
6. Utah State Aggies
7. San Jose State Spartans
8. Idaho Vandals
9. New Mexico State Aggies

Boise St.

Boise St.
Fresno St.

Kellen Moore (QB from Boise)
-As a freshman, he threw for nearly 3500 yards, and had an undefeated regular season...what more can you ask for?


Boise State (v. Oregon)
-Pros: not in the Mountain West and one BCS opponent, Cons: will playing a 13th game tire them out?

BYU (v. Oklahoma [in Arlington, TX], Florida St.)
-Pros: experience and at home v. TCU and Utah, Cons: tough schedule including Oklahoma

East Carolina(@ West Virginia, @ North Carolina, v. Virginia Tech)
-Pros: beat WVU and VT last year, Cons: a grueling schedule

TCU (@ Virginia, @ Clemson)
-Pros: a great defense and the BCS opponents are winnable, Cons: BYU is out for revenge

Utah (@ Oregon, v. Louisville)
-Pros: decent schedule, Cons: the experienced starters are gone and on the road @ BYU and TCU

Monday, August 10, 2009


Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the five part series of the football previews! Each week, I'm going to break down an aspect of the NCAA and NFL by giving my predictions on the outcomes of the season. This week, we will take a look at the BCS conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10, and SEC) on the players to watch for, teams to watch for, and the games to watch. So without further ado...


The Atlantic Coast Conference has struggled with trying to find a National Championship contender since Florida State's dominance in the 1990's, but ever since adding in Miami and Virginia Tech in 2004, and Boston College the following year, the conference has struggled in mediocrity ever since. Last year, the Atlantic Division was a mess as all six teams finished a game within each other, and I'll expect the same this year, just don't count on two-time defending division champ Boston College to retain their crown due to a new coach and QB. Florida State looks like the team to beat in the division due to their experience. The Coastal Division was a bit more tame as Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech fought for the crown, with the Hokies winning, and I'll expect the same for the third year in a row. Both teams have running QB's, but VT QB Tyrod Taylor can actually throw better than GT QB Josh Nesbitt, if need be. If Virginia Tech stays focused, they can reach their third straight Orange Bowl in a not-so-impressive conference.

Conference Ranking: 5th out of 11

1. Florida State Seminoles
2. North Carolina State Wolfpack
3. Clemson Tigers
4. Wake Forest
5. Maryland Terrapins
6. Boston College Eagles

1. Virginia Tech Hokies
2. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
3. North Carolina Tar Heels
4. Miami Hurricanes
5. Virginia Cavaliers
6. Duke Blue Devils

Virginia Tech d. Florida State

Virginia Tech

Florida State
Georgia Tech
North Carolina
North Carolina St.
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest

Jonathan Dwyer (HB from Georgia Tech)
He had nearly 1400 yards in Paul Johnson's triple option offense as a sophomore and there's no reason on why he cannot improve upon that.

1. ACC Title Game (December 5th in Tampa)
2. Virginia Tech v. Alabama (September 5th in Atlanta)
3. Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech (October 17th)
4. Miami @ Florida St. (September 7th)
5. Georgia @ Georgia Tech (November 28th)


Say what you want about the Big Ten (slow-paced conference, cannot win the big game, hard to adapt to change, etc...) but they have put two teams in BCS games over the last three years while Ohio State was the only constant from all three years and the other three teams (Michigan in 2006, Illinois in 2007, and Penn State in 2008) got their butts handed by USC in the Rose Bowl. I believe that Ohio State will finally make the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1997, but that might not stop another team from possibly traveling to Pasadena, as Penn State has a good team and favorable schedule to possibly go the National Championship Game held there. Now, if that is not the case, then the Rose Bowl will do. However, wouldn't we like to see an 83-year old Joe Paterno win a national title, in this day and age where the norms of tweeting on Twitter, updating Facebook statuses, or sending messages on Myspace don't apply to him?

Conference Ranking: 4th out of 11

1. Penn State Nittany Lions
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
3. Minnesota Golden Gophers
4. Illinois Fighting Illini
5. Michigan State Spartans
6. Iowa Hawkeyes
7. Michigan Wolverines
8. Wisconsin Badgers
9. Northwestern Wildcats
10. Indiana Hoosiers
11. Purdue Boilermakers

Ohio St.
Penn St.

Michigan St.
Ohio St.
Penn St.

Eric Decker (WR from Minnesota)
Who says that the Big Ten is only "three yards and a cloud of dust"? He had over 80 receptions and 1000 receiving yards last year, and he can do it again if the switch from the indoor Metrodome to the outdoor TCF Bank Stadium doesn't affect him during those cold Minnesota days.

1. USC @ Ohio St. (September 12th)
2. Ohio St. @ Penn St. (November 7th)
3. Illinois v. Missouri (September 5th in St. Louis)
4. Ohio St. @ Michigan (November 21st)
5. Notre Dame @ Michigan (September 12th)

BIG 12

If you love high-scoring affairs with also a style of play that can only be duplicated in a game of NCAA Football, then this is the conference for you! Over the past couple of years, the Big 12 has seen an offensive explosion that made players like Vince Young, Roy Williams (Texas), any Texas Tech QB, Vernand Morency, Adrian Peterson, Brad Smith flourish into stardom but all of that was eclipsed in 2008. If not for Tim Tebow, the Heisman race could have consisted of only Big 12 QB's as Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Graham Harrell, Chase Daniel, and Todd Reesing were all worthy of recognition along with Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin. The motto was simple last year: "First to hang half-a-hundred on your opponent wins the game", and Oklahoma took that heart by hanging 60 points five games in a row against Nebraska, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Missouri, while scoring ONLY 58 against Kansas State in the game before the streak. Oklahoma will be the team to beat again in the South Division and the whole conference as they will be looking for their fourth straight Big 12 title, but Texas still looms despite losing some key targets and Oklahoma State will most definitely be a darkhorse. The departure of Daniel and Maclin means that Missouri's days of ruling the North might be over meaning Kansas could be the favorite after stumbling a little in 2008, and Nebraska has an outside shot with mentality to make the defense like the "Blackshirts" of old.

Conference Rank: 2nd out of 11

1. Kansas Jayhawks
2. Nebraska Cornhuskers
3. Missouri Tigers
4. Colorado Buffaloes
5. Kansas State Wildcats
6. Iowa State Cyclones

1. Oklahoma Sooners
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys
3. Texas Longhorns
4. Texas Tech Red Raiders
5. Texas A&M Aggies
6. Baylor Bears

Oklahoma d. Kansas

Oklahoma St.

Oklahoma St.
Texas Tech

PLAYER OF THE YEAR (other than Bradford or McCoy)
Todd Reesing (QB from Kansas)
You like how I threw in that disclaimer, don't you? Reesing was great in 2007, but without the heavy press coverage like his counterparts in the other division, he won't have a lot of pressure to succeed like them along with an easier time.

1. Oklahoma v. Texas (October 17 in Dallas)
2. Big 12 Title Game (December 5th in Arlington)
3. Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma (November 28th)
4. Missouri v. Kansas (November 28th in Kansas City)
5. Georgia @ Oklahoma State (September 5th)


If you ask anyone that knows the Big East about the national appeal that it has now as compared to five years ago, you can figure out on why it actually shouldn't be a BCS conference (or at least one that can be taken off the board if a non-BCS conference champ does better than theirs). Miami and Virginia Tech left in 2004, Connecticut arrived in 2004 just shortly after joining the 1-A, Boston College left in 2005, Temple was booted that year in favor to keep Rutgers, while the conference extended invites to Louisville (a great non-BCS team), Cincinnati (a decent one), and South Florida (an upstart). The result was that there's been only one consistent and respectable team that can beat anyone from any conference, which is West Virginia. The Mountaineers are poised to win the Big East for the third time in five years, thanks to Noel Devine and Jarrett Brown. Look for South Florida to also make noise to behind Matt Groethe and George Selvie, as their willingness to play with the big boys and their meteoric rise over the last 15 years from no team to good contender is amazing.

Conference Rank: 7th out of 11

1. West Virginia Mountaineers
2. South Florida Bulls
3. Cincinnati Bearcats
4. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
5. Pittsburgh Panthers
6. Louisville Cardinals
7. Connecticut Huskies
8. Syracuse Orange

West Virginia

South Florida
West Virginia

George Selvie (DE from USF)
The NCAA's most feared defender lies here in USF, and he looks poised to terrorize offensive linemen, running backs, and quarterbacks.

1. West Virginia @ South Florida (October 30)
2. West Virginia @ Auburn (September 19)
3. South Florida @ Florida State (September 26)
4. Miami @ South Florida (November 28)
5. Cincinnati @ Oregon St. (September 19)


When the vote was passed to add in a 12th game to the NCAA schedule in 2006, teams either went the extra mile to schedule a hard opponent and national power OR they scheduled a cupcake team from some directional school that you may have never heard of. That was not the case in the Pacific 10 Conference, where they added an extra conference game, therefore allowing every team to play everyone every year. You also gotta like the different regional rivalries that the conference has so that the regions of Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Southern California, and Arizona can have bragging rights at the last week of the year. However, the conference's bragging rights have gone to USC for this decade as they are the favorites to win again this year too. For those of you that think that USC will dominate, think again, because the margin of error will be closer this year than in previous years, so expect Oregon, California, and Oregon State to challenge just in case the inevitable may happen, but at the end of the day, expect USC to be at the Rose Bowl, possibly beating the hell out of an unsuspecting Big Ten team.

Conference Rank: 3rd out of 11

1. USC Trojans
2. Oregon Ducks
3. California Golden Bears
4. Oregon State Beavers
5. Arizona Wildcats
6. Stanford Cardinal
7. UCLA Bruins
8. Arizona State Sun Devils
9. Washington Huskies
10. Washington State Cougars


Oregon St.

Jahvid Best (RB from Cal)
People are comparing him to Reggie Bush, and after running for nearly 1600 yards while averaging over eight yards a carry, you can see why he's the front-runner for this honor (another was running for 311 against Washington)

USC @ Ohio St. (September 12)
Oregon @ Boise St. (September 3)
Oregon St. @ USC (October 24)
USC @ Notre Dame (October 17)
Washington St. @ Washington (November 28...don't laugh, both teams can be winless by then, lol)


The Southeastern Conference has been very consistent this decade as the toughest conference to win in. No games are actually gimmes (just ask Florida when they lost to Ole Miss last year), every team is tough (yes, even Vanderbilt who was ranked and won a bowl game last year), and the fan bases are just phenomenal. The past three national champions reside here thanks to the 2006 & 2008 Florida Gators, and the 2007 LSU Tigers. This year, Florida should cakewalk to the Eastern Division title as Georgia's rebuilding and they are really, really irate at Tennessee and South Carolina (well, just only "The 'Ol Ballcoach"). The Western Division will be tough as always as LSU, Ole Miss, and Alabama will battle for the crown, but watch out for Arkansas as a darkhorse team.

Conference Rank: 1st out of 11

1. Florida Gators
2. South Carolina Gamecocks
3. Georgia Bulldogs
4. Kentucky Wildcats
5. Vanderbilt Commodores
6. Tennessee Volunteers

1. Mississippi Rebels
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
3. LSU Tigers
4. Arkansas Razorbacks
5. Auburn Tigers
6. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Ole Miss d. Florida

Ole Miss

Ole Miss
South Carolina

PLAYER OF THE YEAR (other than Tebow)
Jevan Snead (QB from Ole Miss)
This guy is the best PURE QB in the SEC, and you can understand why South Carolina voted for him as best QB (well maybe), Ole Miss better be counting their blessings after he was passed over at his last university for another Heisman caliber QB...Colt McCoy of Texas.

SEC Championship Game (December 5 in Atlanta)
Florida @ LSU (October 10)
Tennessee @ Florida (September 19)
Virginia Tech v. Alabama (September 5 in Atlanta)
LSU @ Ole Miss (November 21)