8/31/11

Preseason Heisman Favorites

Preseason Top 5 Heisman Candidates: 

1. Andrew Luck- The 6'4, 235 pound quarterback enters this season as the face of College Football after a very impressive 2010 campaign and a 2nd place finish in Heisman voting. If Luck repeats the year he had last season and leads Stanford to another great season then he should be a shoe in for the Heisman Trophy.

Richardson will have to face some of the
toughest defenses in the nation
2. Kellen Moore- Boise St's starting quarterback for the last three seasons is entering his Senior year and looks to lead the Broncos to their first National Title game. Moore lead the nation in passer rating last season along with throwing for 3,845 yards and 35 touchdowns. Moore's Heisman hopes rely on how far he carries the Broncos. 

3. LaMichael James- The speedy Oregon running back finished third in the Heisman voting last year despite missing the first game due to a suspension. The 5'9 back eventually rebounded by leading the nation in rushing with 1,731 yards. James also reached the end zone an NCAA best 24 times. Look for James to be the leader of arguably the best running back core in College Football.

4. Trent Richardson- Richardson is the best player on the nation's best team and looks to thrive with uncertainty at the quarterback position. Richardson had an unimpressive 700 yards on the ground last season but was the back up to 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram. Look for the Bama back to get at least 250 touches, twice as much as he had in 2010. If he gets anywhere near his amazing 6.2 yards a carry from last season he should be in the hunt.

5. Stephen Garcia- Despite not being the most talented player on the South Carolina roster I think Garcia has the best shot at winning the Heisman out of anyone playing for the Gamecocks. Most of that is due to All American Wide Receiver Alshon Jeffery along with Marcus Lattimore in the backfield keeping defenses on edge. Garcia has a chip on his shoulder after being suspended the entire offseason and looks to improve on his 3,000 yard 20 touchdown season in 2010. 

Jacory Harris and seven others suspended

Miami's starting quarterback, Jacory Harris, was one of the dozen Hurricane players to be reprimanded for receiving improper benefits from former booster Nevin Shapiro.

Harris is one of eight that will miss at least one game and all twelve of them must pay restitution.

Defensive lineman Oliver Vernon will sit out six games while safety Ray Armstrong and Tight End Dyron Dye will have to sit out four games a piece. Armstrong is one of the best safeties in the nation and will likely be the biggest loss.

Miami opens their season on Labor Day with a trip to College Park to take on the Maryland Terps. This will be the first game for Al Golden and Randy Edsall at the helm of their respective programs.

Stephen Morris, who played when Harris was out for three and a half games after a concussion he suffered vs Virginia, will get the starting job in Week 1. Morris had 1,240 passing yards with 7 touchdowns but 9 interceptions last season and played a majority of the Sun Bowl game vs Notre Dame.

Harris will be allowed to play when the Ohio St Buckeyes come to face the Hurricanes at the Orange Bowl on September 17th.

8/30/11

Must Watch Games

College Football is finally here! While most teams play low level DI teams and even some play DI-AA teams opening weekend, there are also some games that you MUST watch. I take a look at some of the key games coming up this weekend.

Friday

#14 TCU at Baylor: The Horned Frogs get back on the field after a 13-0 season last year an a Rose Bowl victory. Many say that they are ranked to high in the preseason but we'll see what Gary Patterson has done this offseason to make up for the loss of Andy Dalton and his top targets on offense. The TCU defense that gave up only 12 points a game last season will be tested early and often while trying to stop Baylor's Robert Griffin III.

Saturday


Duck's quarterback Darron Thomas is back
#3 Oregon vs #4 LSU: This is the best match up in the opening weekend and one of the best all season as two top 5 teams will face off. Oregon starts their campaign to get one step further and win the national title while LSU looks to shrug off their recent offseason troubles at Cowboys Stadium. This will also be a battle between elite defense and elite offense.

#5 Boise St vs #19 Georgia: This game sets up very well for Mark Richt and his Bulldogs because in all likelihood 90% of the Georgia Dome will be in Red and Black. The Broncos knocked off Virginia Tech in a hostile environment at Fedex Field last season and it looks like they can do it again. This will also be the measuring stick for quarterback Aaron Murray, who some say is the best in the SEC.

South Florida at #16 Notre Dame: Brian Kelly enters his second season at the helm of the Irish program as he looks to bring them back to a BCS Bowl for the first time since an embarrassing Sugar Bowl loss to LSU in 2007. B.J. Daniels leads an underrated and athletic Bulls team that could surprise many in this opener. Daniels will also test a Notre Dame defense that has been terrible the last few seasons. There are always high high hopes in South Bend come football season but this looks like it could be the year that those hopes pan out.

Cyrus Grey could be the best
running back in the Big 12
Akron at #18 Ohio St: This should be an easy win for the Buckeyes but it should be interesting to see how Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller preform. Also I'd like to see how Luke Fickell manages his team in his first game in command of The Ohio State football team.

Sunday

SMU at #8 Texas A&M: Could this be the beginning of the Aggies last season in the Big 12? Looks like it will. They start off vs the Mustangs, who are coming off of two straight bowl games, and look to keep the ball rolling with a win over a top 10 opponent. This should be the Aggies game from the beginning but don't be surprised if the Mustangs hang around during this instate rivalry.

Miami (FL) at Maryland: The Hurricanes will be playing their first game since the Nevin Shapiro scandal that will result in some huge coinsecquences and possible destroy the program. Look for Al Golden and the Hurricanes to try and prove themselves vs quarterback Danny O'Brien and the rest of the Terps in College Park.


8/25/11

Sooners On Top, Again

As the preseason Associated Press released over the weekend their preseason College Football poll and the USA Today's Coaches Poll  was released a couple weeks back, both had the Sooners atop the rankings. This is the tenth time that the Sooners have been ranked #1 in the AP poll, most of any program in College Football. The Sooners have failed to win a National Title in over a decade but can they change that this season and live up to the preseason hype?

The last team to be ranked #1 in both the AP and Coaches preseason polls and eventually go on to win the National Title were the '04 USC Trojans, arguably the best team in the last decade.

The Sooners are very capable of winning their 8th national title with the return of many key players from their Big 12 Championship and Fiesta Bowl winning team from last season. The offense was more than dominate last season and they return many key players back from last years team, the leaders will be Heisman candidate Landry Jones and All American receiver Ryan Broyles. Jones will be joined by freshman Brandon Williams in the backfield while receiver Kenny Stills is a rising star after nearly a 800 yard season as a freshman. Up front the offensive line returns four starters from last year and will lead the way for first year starter Williams. The Sooners have the offense for a national title but many question if they have a defense that can keep up.

The defense faltered last season in giving up 36 points to a mediocre Missouri team, 33 to Texas A&M and also allowing Brandon Weeden and Oklahoma State to throw all over the place while giving up 41 points. If this team wants to win their defense needs to be improved. The loss of star linebacker and leader Travis Lewis to toe injury that will keep him out for at least the first month isn't a good start. Along with Lewis' loss they also lose FS Quinton Carter, DE Jeremy Beal and tragically lost LB Austin Box.

The defense will be young with only two seniors in the starting line up. The line loses Big 12 defensive lineman of the year in Beal but have loads of potential up front. If that potential translates into success on the field then this line could be a game changer, if not we could see offenses exploit them on the ground. The linebacking core was going to be an area of strength for the Sooners this season but with the tragic loss of Box and having Lewis out for at least the first four or five games it has become a concern. Defensive freshman of the year last season, Tony Jefferson, will anchor the linebackers while Lewis is out. The secondary should be the best part of the defensive unit come game one with two of the best corners in the conference. Their will be two first year starters at the safety position, which may not be figured out till the Florida St game comes around.


The Sooners will face tough competition early and often throughout the season. They play at ACC favorite Florida St in the second week of the season and will also have to face top 25 teams Oklahoma St, Texas A&M, Missouri and Texas throughout the rest of the season.

Bob Stoop's teams have been known to crack in big games, especially in BCS games (only 3-5), but with loads of senior leadership combined with young talent the Sooners will not accept anything less then to be holding the Coaches Trophy come January 9th in New Orleans.

8/17/11

Second "Death Penalty"?

The Miami football program is sitting here helpless as they NCAA investigates their program after a former booster, Nevin Shapiro, confessed about his gift giving to Miami players. Shapiro is currently incarcerated for 20 years because his role in a 930 million dollar Ponzi scheme. Shapiro said that he given benefits to at least 72 players from 2002-2010 and at least seven Miami coaches and three staff members had knowledge that these events were going on and some even received benefits as well. This doesn't look good for a program that was rocked back in the 90's with a similar problem about paying players and benefits.

Former Miami All American and current Tampa Bay
Tight End Kellen Winslow II with Shapiro
The 42 year old Shapiro gave out gifts and benefits ranging from cash, entertainment in his houses and on his yacht, paid trips to high class restaurants and strip clubs, prostitutes, jewelry, travel, and even bounties for on the field (that included injuring other players.) Some of the elite players included in the scandal: Vince Wilfork, Jon Beason, Kellen Winslow Jr, Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, Antrel Rolle, Jonathan Vilma, Willis McGahee, D.J. Williams and many other current NFL players. The list also includes 12 members on the current Miami roster.

Why is Shapiro spilling the beans now? Shapiro, now in jail, feels as though he is being betrayed and forgotten about after giving so much to these players. "Some of those players-a lot of those players-we used to say we were a family" Shapiro said "Well, who do you go to for help when you need it? You go to your family. Why the hell wouldn't I go to them?


With these recent revelations the Miami program will likely join SMU and be the second team College Football team to be given the "Death Penalty" by the NCAA, the "Death Penalty" is the harshest punishment given out by the NCAA and bans the school from participating in the sport for a year. After all that happened with "The U" back in the 80's and 90's and now that the NCAA knows that again the program broke major rules we will likely see huge consequences for Miami and a major crackdown in the rest of College Football.


If the Hurricanes get the dreaded "Death Penalty" from the NCAA then it could be a long time till the program gets back to notoriety. Keep in mind that this is a team that has won 5 national championships! It took SMU 20 years to get back to a bowl game in the football rich state of Texas after their "Death Penalty" and if the Hurricanes get the same sentence they hope to bounce back quicker but don't expect it to be less then a decade.

8/10/11

Preseason Award Winners

Here are the favorites to win the many awards for the upcoming season:



Heisman: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Maxwell Award, Outstanding Player: Andrew Luck, Stanford

Walter Camp, Player of the Year: Andrew Luck, Stanford

Home Depot Coach of the Year: Mike Gundy, Oklahoma St

Doak Walker, Running Back: LaMichael James, Oregon

Davey O'Brien, National Quarterback Award: Andrew Luck, Stanford

Fred Biletnikoff, Wide Receiver: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.

John Mackey, Tight End: Michael Egnew, Missouri

Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Senior Quarterback: Kellen Moore, Boise St

Outland Trophy, Interior Lineman: Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

Vince Lombardi/Rotary, Lineman: Jared Crick, Nebraska

Rimington Trophy, Center: Matthew Brewster, Ohio St

Chuck Bednarik, Defensive Player of the Year: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Dick Butkus, Linebacker: Luke Kuechly, Boston College

Jim Thorpe, Defensive Back: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

Lou Groza, Place Kicker: Blair Walsh, Georgia

Ray Guy, Punter: Drew Butler, Georgia

Ted Hendrick, Defensive End: Brandon Jenkins, Florida St

Daily Sports' Freshman of the Year: Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas

8/9/11

Preseason Top 25

Here is my College Football preseason Top 25...


1. Alabama- Best defense in the nation and "defense wins championships"

2. Oklahoma- Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles lead a strong Sooners offense

3. Oregon- Darren Thomas, LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner lead the blazing fast Ducks offense

4. LSU- If Jordan Jefferson can run a successful offense then the Tigers will win. Big time.

5. Stanford- Andrew Luck.

6. Boise St- Kellen Moore and Doug Martin will anchor the always good Bronco offense

7. Florida St- FSU is a favorite to win their first ACC title since 2005

8. Wisconsin- Russell Wilson makes the Badgers the favorite in the reformed Big Ten

9. Texas A&M- Arguably the best running back duo in College Football, Cyrus Grey and Christine Michael

10. Oklahoma St- Brandon Weeden will throw to the best receiver in the nation, Justin Blackmon, early and often

11. South Carolina- Marcus Lattimore, Stephen Garcia, and Alshon Jeffery lead the Gamecocks

12. Arkansas- Tyler Wilson looks to bring the Razorbacks back another BCS Bowl

13. Nebraska- Jared Crick leads one of the best defenses in the nation

14. Michigan St- Spartans have a great backfield with Kirt Cousins, Edwin Baker, and Le'Von Bell

15. TCU- They lose four year starter Andy Dalton but another perfect season is possible

16. Mississippi St- Chris Relf looks to carry the Bulldogs through the SEC West

17. USC- They cant make the Pac 12 Championship game but they look to be the favorites in the Pac 12 South

18. Georgia- Aaron Murray looks to carry the Bulldogs to a SEC Championship game

19. Virginia Tech- David Wilson will try and make up for the loss of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans

20. Missouri- A questionable quarterback situation is holding the Tigers elite receivers back

21. Florida- John Brantley looks to flourish under Charlie Weis

22. Arizona St- The Sun Devils return 20 starters back to the roster

23. Notre Dame- Dayne Christ and Michael Floyd present problems for opposing secondaries

24. Ohio St- Luke Fickell enters the season with his top three players out for five games.

25. Penn St- Beaver Stadium and a strong O-Line could carry Joe Pa and the Nittnay Lions to success


10 Others
Auburn, West Virginia, Utah, Texas, Miami (FL), Arizona, Air Force, BYU, Iowa, Northwestern


Conference Previews:

8/4/11

Preseason Outlook: ACC

The ACC finished last season with only three teams in the top 25 and not one in the Top 15. The ACC Champ and BCS bowl representative, Virginia Tech, was embarrassed by Andrew Luck and Stanford in the Orange Bowl. The ACC has some elite talent at schools like North Carolina, Florida St, Virginia Tech and Clemson but they need to produce that talent into results on the field. A take a look at the ACC and some key players for the upcoming season on the east coast.

Atlantic


1. Florida St: The Seminoles return many key starters from a team that reached the ACC Championship game last season and added the 2nd best recruiting class in the nation. Jimbo Fisher should have the Seminoles heading into the season as a Top 10 team and they will be ACC favorites. Look for quarterback E.J. Manuel to thrive with his top 5 receivers returning.

1st team All American Luke Kuechly
will anchor the BC defense
2. Boston College: BC has been winning for years but double digit wins have been hard to come by since the departure of Matt Ryan from Chestnut Hill. The Golden Eagles look to get back this season with ACC player of the year front runners RB Montel Harris and LB Luke Kuechly on the roster.

3. Clemson: The Tigers struggled last season with a disappointing 6-7 record and lost the best defensive player in the nation in Da'Quan Bowers but things look to be brighter on the other side of the tunnel. The Tigers bring back running back Andre Ellington, DeAndre Hopkins at receiver and have one of the best recruiting classes in the nation coming in, loaded with four 5 star recruits.

4. Maryland: Maryland let go of Ralph Friedgen after a 9-4 season and hired former UConn head coach Randy Edsall to take over commands. I believe Edsall is a good coach but not the great coach that Maryland was looking for to take the program to new heights. I believe that the Terrapins will succeed and reach another mediocre bowl game in their first season under Edsall with sophomore quarterback Danny O'Brien leading the way but wont challenge Florida St.

5. North Carolina St: The NC State faithful received a huge blow in what looked to be a very promising season when quarterback Russell Wilson headed to Madison to play for Wisconsin in the upcoming season. The Wolfpack return 8 starters on defense that was one of the best in the ACC last season and have a very good up in coming coach in Tim O'Brien. They should salvage a bowl game but the expectations for a Top 15 team and a possible BCS game will not happen this season.

6. Wake Forest: The Wake Forest football program has gone down the drain since they won the ACC title and appeared in the Orange Bowl back in 06-07. Look for this disappointment to continue for Demon Deacon fans in 2011 but Sophomore quarterback Tanner Price could be the answer next season as they try and turn around the program.

Coastal

1. Virginia Tech : Tech has dominated the ACC in recent years and has had 10+ win seasons every year since 2003. Even when they looked like they may slip up at the beginning of last season they won 11 straight claimed the ACC title. The Hokies should be good once again this upcoming season but they may not be the favorites headed in. The Hokies lose quarterback Tyrod Taylor along with running backs Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. They return four offensive lineman that will lead the way for running back David Wilson and an always strong defense.
Running back and return man David Wilson will carry
the Hokies offense in 2011

2. Miami: If Jacory Harris starts this season for the Hurricanes and if he limits his interceptions then the Hurricanes could easily challenge for a ACC Championship with all the talent they have. The O-Line will lead the way for two back-up running backs from last season while a strong linebacking core will anchor the defense.

3. North Carolina: Butch Davis is headed out of Chapel Hill and Everett Withers is in as interim head coach for the Tarheels. This is the second year in a row that they have been hurt big time in the off season. The Tarheels failed to bounce back after high expectations last season and it looks like this could be the same this year. Their defense should once again be electrifying, especially up front with three high draft picks but the quarterback and running back situations are limbo for the upcoming season.

4. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets go into the season without a settled quarterback situation despite Tevin Washington playing four games last season. The defense doesn't return a lot of starters but looked very strong throughout the spring. If the triple option get rolling in the upcoming season then we could see the Yellow Jackets fighting atop the ACC.


5. Virginia: The Wahoo's return 17 starters, most out of any team in the ACC, its just too bad it was from a 4-8 team last season. That experience puts them above Wake Forest and the Duke Blue Devils and I wouldn't be surprised if they pull off a couple of upsets but they may just fall short of a bowl game for another season. The Cav's averaged 400 yards of offense last season, third in the ACC, and the return 8 starters from that side of the ball while the defense will be led by all american candidate CB Chase Minnifield and DE Cam Johnson.

Jimbo Fisher and the Florida St Seminoles are
the preseason favorites for the 2011 season
6. Duke: The Blue Devils should have a strong passing attack for the upcoming season with returning quarterback, Sean Renfree, and their top two receivers back on the roster but the Defense will haunt Duke once again this season. If their defense doesn't improve big time then we will likely see them missing out on a bowl game for the 17th season in a row.


ACC Championship Game: Florida St over Virginia Tech


Preseason Awards

Player of the Year: Montel Harris, RB, Boston College

Defense Player of the Year: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Coach of the Year: Jimbo Fisher, Florida St.

Freshman of the Year: Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida St


More Previews:

Preseason Outlook: Big "12"

The Big 12 has started to crumple with the losses of powerhouses Colorado and Nebraska for the upcoming season but that hasn't stopped them from having a highly anticipated season in 2011. The Big 12 will produce some of the best offense in the nation with elite quarterbacks and the two best wide receivers in the country but defense will be the game changer. I take quick look at the Big 12.

1. Oklahoma: Sooner fans have been excited for the upcoming season since January 11th and they are less than a month away from seeing Bob Stoops and the boys take the field as the preseason #1. The last team to win the nation title after being the preseason favorite was USC in 2004 but Oklahoma looks to stay ontop all season long and bring a title back to Norman in January. The Sooner offense should be one of the best in the nation with Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles on the roster. The defense took a huge blow recently with the loss of star LB and Big 12 defense player of the year favorite, Travis Lewis, to a broken toe injury. Even with the loss of Lewis for 6-8 weeks the Sooner defense should still be an improvement over last season's unit.

2. Texas A&M: The Aggies return 18 starters from a team that finished in the top 20 last season, most starters returning in the Big 12. Cyrus Gray and Christine Micheal will surprise many and they could represent the best running back tandem in College Football while proven winner,Ryan Tannehill, will be under center (6-1). The defense will try to bounce back after the loss of All American Von Miller to the draft and leading tackler Micheal Hodges.
Nation's best Receiver Justin Blackmon

3. Oklahoma St: QB Brandon Weeden, soon to be 28, will lead one of the best passing offenses in College Football and his number one option will be the best receiver in College Football and Biletnikoff winner Justin Blackmon. The two connected 111 times for over 1700 yards and 20 touchdowns last year and they look to improve on that stat in 2011. RB Joesph Randle looks to fill in for 1500 yard rusher Kendall Hunter. The defense will be led by CB Brodrick Brown and Big 12 defensive freshman of the year Shaun Lewis.

4. Texas: Mack Brown is still in the rebuilding process but this year it should result in a bowl game for Longhorn fans. The Longhorns return 13 starters and have talent in every position because of Top 10 recruiting classes year after year. Texas loses their long time defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to Florida but defense should still be the focus in 2011. The offense is still developing with an inexperienced line, an unproven quarterback in Garrett Gilbert, and an incoming freshman likely to start at running back.

5. Missouri: The Tigers dont have the elite receiver like Oklahoma and Oklahoma St but overall it should be a better receiver core. 1,000 yard receiver T.J. Moe, Elite TE Michael Egnew, and young receivers Wes Kamp and Jerrell Jackson are exactly what a young quarterback needs. The Tigers lost two players to the first round of the draft but should still have a winning team in Columbia.

Michael Egnew caught 90 passes last season and comes in
to the season as one of the best Tight End is College Football
6. Baylor: Robert Griffin III helped end a 15 year bowl drought for the Bears and he returns as one of the elite dual threat quarterbacks in College Football. Griffin's five best receivers return to field but they will need to make up for the loss of Jay Finely at running back. The defense gave up 435 yards a game last season and if the Bears want to improve on their 7-6 season in 2011 that number will have to drop.

7. Kansas St: This upcoming season is all about transfers for the Wildcats. Brothers Bryce and Arthur Brown lead the strong transfer list. RB Bryce comes from Tennessee and was the #1 overall recruit in the 2009 class while LB Arthur comes from Miami and looks to start right away for a defense that struggled in 2010. Chris Harper (Oregon) and Brodrick Smith (Minnesota) will be two new targets for quarterback Collin Klein. The struggle for this upcoming season will be improving the front seven, who gave gave up the most rushing yards in the NCAA last season (3,008). If the Wildcats improve their defense and the offense gets rolling then we should see another bowl appearance in 2011.

8. Texas Tech: Tommy Tuberville enters his second season at command of the Red Raiders but its not looking like a promising season with only 11 starters returning, lowest in Big 12. Tech loses star quarterback Taylor Potts, leading rusher Baron Batch and their top two receivers but they have an fairly easy first 8 games. Junior Seth Dodge will come into a pass happy offense buy their defense must improve dramatically for this team to succeed in 2011.

9. Iowa St: The Cyclones lost their two best playmakers, QB Austen Arnaud and RB Alexander Robinson and depth remains an issue but there is still optimisium for the upcoming season. Most of the key players from a solid defense last season return, led by linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott. If the offense can hold its own then we could see the Cyclones back in a bowl game.

Malcolm Brown will be the workhorse
in the Longhorn backfield
10. Kansas: The Kansas football program has gone severely downhill since their Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech in 2007. The quarterback situation will probably fall in the hands of part time starter last season, sophomore Jordan Webb, and the Jayhawks have two good young players at running back in sophomore James Sims and transfer Darrian Miller. Many key players on the team are young unproven players so I would say that the program is still a year or two away from another bowl appearance.

Preseason Awards
Player of the Year: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St

Defensive Player of the Year: Jake Knott, LB, Iowa St

Coach of the Year: Mike Sherman, Texas A&M

Freshman of the Year: Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas



More Previews:

Preseason Outlook: Big East

The Big East aka "Big Least" had two teams preseason ranked in the Top 15 last season but failed to have one in the Top 25 at the final poll. The conference looks to bounce back this season and put at least a couple teams back in the top 25 for the upcoming season even with all the off season coaching drama at major programs. I take a look at the top players and teams in the conference for the upcoming season.

1. West Virginia: Bill Stewart resigned over the summer after West Virginia assigned Dana Holgorsen to head coach in waiting for 2012 and placed him as offensive coordinator for this season. Holgorsen now takes over for the Mountaineers but has some big expectations. The Geno Smith to Tavon Austin connection should be used alot this season while the Mountaineers  count on the support of on of the best defensive lines in College Football. Replacing Noel Devine and having a solid running game could be the problem in Morgantown.

Isaiah Pead had three 150+ yard rushing
games last season for the Bearcats
2. Cincinnati: Whenever you have the two best players in the conference on an team they should be ranked #1 but not with an unproven defense. QB Zach Collaros and RB Isaiah Pead will lead another strong Cincinnati offense despite losing five starters. The defense returns every single starter, which would usually merit a Top 25 ranking but not with a defense that struggled so much last season. Butch Jones looks to bring the Big East title back to Cincinnati but their success will rely on the defense, specifically the DB's.

3. South Florida: B.J. Daniels has been a love hate player for Bulls fans but looks to be the savior for the 2011 season. His amazing ability to escape from trouble with his legs but his very questionable throwing decisions make fans go crazy. DE Ryan Giddins and LB Sam Barrington will led a strong and athletic Bulls defense that looks to take advantage of coaching problems at Pitt and West Virginia and win their first ever Big East Championship.


4. Pittsburgh: The Pitt Panthers have consistently been at the top of the Big East  but have failed to hold up that Big East trophy since the Larry Fitzgerald days back in 2004. Tino Sunseri returns at quarterback and Ray Graham will lead the rushing attack anchor by an offensive line should be the best in the Big East. Pitt has the talent to do great things this season but I believe that this first season under Todd Graham will be a struggle.

5. Syracuse: Syracuse got back to a bowl game last year for the first time since 2004 and with 13 starters back they look to improve on an 8-5 record. Ryan Nassib comes back to take command of the offense while Antwon Bailey will be the go to guy in the backfield for the Orange. The defense lost 6 starters and most of their leadership from last years team so we will have to wait and see how it looks come their first game vs Wake Forest.

6. Louisville: Charlie Strong did an unbelievable job in his first season as the Cardinals head coach last season. Taking the team in a 180 degree turn, taking them to bowl game and having one of the best recruiting class in team history. RB Victor Anderson will led the offense and DT Greg Scruggs will be the defensive leader for the Cardinals. Strong lost 25 seniors and 11 starters from their bowl team last season and I think it will be a couple of years before the Cardinals are back on top of the Big East but they still should be headed back to a Bowl in 2011.

WVU's Keith Tandy should be one
 of the nations best corners in 2011
7. UConn: With Randy Edsall and Jordan Todman gone all UConn fans can say is "Uh Oh." The Huskies do return 15 starters from a Big East Championship team. They return a very strong offensive line and have an elite defense returning, 9 returning starters. I think that this 2011 UConn team will be like the 2010 Cincinnati team and will struggle with a new coaching staff in their first season.

8. Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have the potential for a dominant aerial attack with returning quarterback Chas Dodd throwing to two of the best receivers in the Big East in Mohammed Sanu and Mark Harrison. The real question is if the line can protect Dodd after losing four starters. The defense that gave up 69 points to Cincy last year needs to have improved greatly over the off-season for them to have a shot at making a bowl game this upcoming season.

Preseason Awards

Player of the year: Zach Collaros, QB, Cincinnati

Defensive Player of the Year: Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia

Coach of the Year: Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia

Freshman of the Year: Savon Higgins, RB, Rutgers



More Previews:


Preseason Outlook: Big Ten

The Big Ten has some major changes in store for the upcoming season. Longtime Big 12 powerhouse Nebraska heads to the Big Ten for the upcoming season. The Big Ten will now separate into two divisions (Leaders and Legends) and it will all culminate with the first ever Big Ten championship game. Check out who the preseason favorites are in the Midwest.

Leaders Division


1. Wisconsin:  The Badgers return as the co Big Ten Champs and represented the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl vs TCU. They picked up the biggest Free Agency like move of the summer when former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson decided to come to Madison and play for the Badgers in the upcoming season. Wilson will be helped by running backs James White (1,052 yards) and Montee Ball, 777 yards and 14 touchdowns... in the last 5 games. Its very hard to replace 1st team All Americans's (OT Gabe Carimi and OG John Moffitt) as well as 2nd team AA's (DE J.J. Watt and TE Lance Kendricks) but the Badgers should manage.
Wisconsin running back Montee Ball

2. Penn St: Joe Pa's Nittnay Lions return a lot of players from last years team, just not many stars. The quarterback situation between Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden has yet to be decided and they lose star running back Evan Royster. Receiver Derek Moye will look to improve on his 800 yard season no matter who is under center and the offensive line should be very good with 5th year seniors at the tackles. The Nittnay Lions first big test will be vs the Crimson Tide week 2.

3. Ohio St: The Buckeyes were rattled to the core with off season problems but even with all the suspensions and losses they will still be in contention for another Big Ten title. Once Dan "Boom" Heron, DeVier Posey, and Mike Adams come back into the lineup after their five games suspensions we should see the good old Ohio St. More on the Buckeyes in 2011 here: Ohio St Post Tressel

4. Illinois: After being predicted to finish last in the Big Ten last season the Fighting Illini surprised many with a 7-6 record and a bowl win over Baylor. They lose power running back Mikel LeShoure but dual threat QB Nathan Scheelhasse is back and with improved throwing mechanics. The Illini secondary will be very strong, maybe best in the Big Ten, but the front seven will be very questionable come September.

5. Indiana: The Hoosiers bring in former Oklahoma offensive coordinator to take over as head coach in Bloomington. The Hoosiers will have to rely on their big men up front for a successful upcoming season. They return four starters on their line and return five of their front seven on defense. QB Ben Chappell graduated and they are still one year away from five star recruit Gunner Kiel coming in to led the Hoosiers so the quarterback situation is up for grabs.

2nd team All American Jared Crick had 9.5
sacks last season for the black shirts
6. Purdue: The Boilermakers miss Drew Brees, Kyle Orton and Curtis Painter under center and it looks like another disappointing season in Lafayette. They return 16 starters and one of the best kickers in the nation but it could be hard for the offense to get the ball past the fifty. QB Ron Henry is still a one dimensional quarterback, running, and no running back has yet to prove themselves. One positive for the team is the potential for rising sophomore corner Ricardo Allen.

Legends Division

1A. Michigan St: The Spartans shared the Big Ten title but got embarrassed by SEC powerhouse Alabama in their bowl game. Mark Dantonio looks to lead the Spartans back into the Top 10 and he has a very good shot with veteran players on the roster. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will enter his third season as the starter, RB's Edwin Baker and Le'Von Bell return with Tackle Dan France leading the way. The defense loses All American Middle Linebacker Greg Jones but should still be very good with one of the conferences best corners in Johnny Adams and DT Jerel Worthy.

Reigning Big Ten offensive player of
the year Denard Robinson
1B. Nebraska: The Huskers jump from the  the Big 12 to the Big Ten to collect the major benefits of the Big Ten Network. Speedster quarterback Taylor Martinez will be the the key player on the offensive side of the ball and will complement arguably the best defense in the Big Ten. Jared Crick could be the best defensive tackle in the nation while LB Lavonte David set a school record last season with 152 tackles.The winner of the October 29th battle between the Huskers and the Spartans will likely go on to the conference Championship game.

3. Michigan: Michigan starts the Brady Hoke Era in Ann Arbor and he comes in with 18 returning starters. Speedster and reigning offensive player of the year in the Big Ten, Denard "shoelace" Robinson, will be at command of the offense once again. Roy Roundtree will be his top target, 925 yards last season, and RB Vincent Smith will join him in the backfield. If the Wolverines want to improve on their 7-6 season then they will need to completely change a defense that ranked last in practically every category last season. The future looks bright for Michigan but this looks to be just an adjustment year for Brady Hoke and Co.

4. Iowa: Long time starter Ricky Stazi heads to the NFL but the new starting QB is in good hands. RB Marcus Coker dominated for the Hawkeyes in their bowl game, 219 yards and 2 touchdowns, and leading receiving target Marvin McNutt both return. They will struggle mightily upfront on defense with only two starters returning to the front seven and the loss of all american DE Adrian Clayborn. Iowa doesnt have the talent that they've had in years past but no one wants to play in Iowa City come November.

Northwestern's Dan Persa
5. Northwestern: The Wildcats season will rely very heavily on one of the nations best dual threat quarterbacks, Dan Persa. Persa tore his Achilles at the end of last season and is said to be fully recovered and ready to go come September 3rd. Persa's offense is filled with experienced fifth year seniors, WR Jeremy Ebert, TE Drake Dunsmore, and some great lineman up front. DE Vince Browne will be the only elite player on a defense that struggled last season but looks to improve in 2011.

6. Minnesota: Jim Kill takes over in his first full season as head coach for the Golden Gophers and will return with all of his key skill players returning. The struggle for the upcoming season will be replacing the offensive and defensive lines. Kill has a lot of work a head of him if he wants to get Minnesota back to where they were when Marion Barber and Laurence Maroney in the backfield back in 2003-2006.



Championship Game: Wisconsin over Michigan St



Preseason Awards

Player of the Year: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

Defensive Player of the Year: Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

Coach of the Year: Joe Paterno, Penn St

Freshman of the Year: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio St



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Preseason Outlook: Pac 12

Utah and Colorado join the conference to help form the new Pac 12 conference. The Pac 12 has the two best players in College Football from last season and pre season Heisman favorites Andrew Luck and LaMichael James. The Pac 10 is now two teams bigger and has a championship game but will it be better? I take a look at key players in the conference and what you should expect from the Pac 12 in 2011.

North

1. Oregon: Head coach Chip Kelly says that the Ducks are better then they were last season and are poised to make another title run. Darren Thomas will lead the face paced offense once again with running backs LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner at his sides. The only problem for the Ducks offense is the graduation of their two best receivers but they have many speedy athletes to fill in. Ducks defensive leader Casey Matthews graduates but first team all american PR/CB Cliff Harris will carry the 2011 defense. More on LaMichael James and the Ducks here: Oregon's LaMichael James

LaMichael James leads Oregon in the hunt
for another National Championship appearance
2. Stanford: Jim Harbaugh is gone and Andrew Luck is gone...wait. The consensus #1 overall draft pick stayed for another year and Cardinal fans are ecstatic. Andrew Luck comes into the 2011 season as the Heisman front runner, face of College Football, and likely #1 draft pick in 2012. Luck will be helped by 1,000 yard rusher Stepfan Taylor and his top targets  will be TE Coby Fleener and WR Chris Owusu, who missed half of the season with injury. Stanford's 3-4 defense should limit the bleeding while Luck and the offense take over. More on Luck and Stanford here: Andrew Luck

3. Washington: Jake Locker is gone but RB Chris Polk pops out from under his shadow and everyone realizes that the little guy can play. Polk almost got to 1500 rushing yards last season and will try and improve on that performance this year behind a veteran line. The quarterback situation will hold the Huskies back but overall they should still be able to keep it close with the likes of Oregon and Stanford.
4. Oregon St: QB Ryan Katz returns to lead one of the best passing attacks in the conference, if James Rodgers comes back and is performing well from his injury last season. James' brother Jacquizz left early for the draft so their is a wide open hole in the backfield but whoever it is will have a veteran line blocking for them. The front seven will be a very big problem for the Beavers with only two mediocre players returning.

5. California: Ever since Aaron Rodgers graduated back in 2004 the Bears have failed to  thrive and this could be another one of those season with an inexperienced QB. The Bears return a solid line and receiving core and they always have loads of talent and athleticism on the defensive side of the ball but I think this season will be another disappointing one.

6: Washington St:  The Positive is that they return 16 starters. Negative: The 16 starters came from a team that went 2-10 and 1-8 in the conference last season. The Cougars have won two conference game since 2007 seven, Two! Jeff Tuel will try and have the Cougars match that this season. Tuel is a very underrated quarterback and can make some great throws while also being able to scramble away from pressure. The Cougars have some rising stars on defense but as a whole it looks to be pretty weak. Washington St hopes to get out from under the losing cloud and finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sophomore Robert Woods will be Matt Berkley's
top receiving target
South

*1. USC: This looks like it could be the year that Matt Barkley carries the Trojans back to a double digit win season. The Trojans have the most talent out of anyone in the Pac 12 and its Lane Kiffin's job to put them in the right places on the field. Berkley's top targets will be offensive rookie of the year Robert Woods and Kyle Prater while sophomore Dillion Baxter and senior Marc Tyler will be in the backfield. The Trojan defense is always one of the most athletic in the nation but the past few season the athletes have failed to produce. Look for the defense to step up once again this season and carry the Trojans to a 10-2 season.

2. Arizona St: The Sundevils not only have a new logo for the upcoming season but also have 20 returning starters, yes 20! The Sundevils are by far the most  depth in the conference for the upcoming season. Quarterback Brock Osweiler, who started the final two games, is the least experience player on an electrifying offense that returns all their key skill players and the entire line. MLB Vontaze Burfict isa freak of an athlete and will lead a veteran defense. Look for the Sun Devils face Oregon in the first Pac 12 Championship game.

3. Utah: Welcome to the Pac 12 , Utes' fans. No more easy conference games vs New Mexico, Colorado St, and Wyoming\ but they still have the easiest schedule in the conference, no Stanford or Oregon and they face Arizona St and Washington at home. Scrambler Jordan Wynn will lead the Utes' offense that should be very successful under their new offensive coordinator. Utah lacks a proven running back and will hamper the offense and their defense need some improvement in the secondary but they should challenge Arizona St for that Pac 12 championship appearance.

Nick Foles look to have another
3,000 yard season
4. Arizona: The Nick Foles to Juron Criner connection will be seen very often this upcoming season for Wildcat football fans. Foles passed for more than 3,000 yards last season but he may struggle more this upcoming season after Arizona lost all five starters on their line. The defense also took their own hit with after losing their very productive defensive ends, Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore. Arizona shocked many last season with a 7-1 start but fell back to normalcy after losing five straight. They'll look to start off strong with a week on game vs Northern Arizona.

5. UCLA: The Bruins come into the season with experience, 17 returning starters, and amazing young talent but once again go into the season with uncertainly at the quarterback position. There is support for who ever steps in at quarterback as he  will have some amazing athleticism at the WR receiver position and 1,000 yard rusher Johnathan Franklin in the backfield. Look for the defensive line, especially the ends, to cause havoc on the opposing quarterback all season long.

6. Colorado: Its very surprising that this program has fallen so far after winning the national championship twenty years ago. This season doesn't look like it will relieve any pain for Buffaloes fans, even with the switch to the Pac 12 and a new coach at the realm. This looks to be a tough year in Boulder with arguable the hardest schedule in the Pac 12. The Buffaloes face Ohio St, Stanford, Oregon, Washington, and the entire Pac 12 south. Running back Rodney Stewart had over 1,300 yards last season and will anchor a struggling Buffaloes offense while linebacker John Miller with be a leader on defense that lost first round draft pick CB Jimmy Smith.
Andrew Luck comes in as the Heisman favorite
and my favorite for Pac 12 POY

*USC is banned from participating in a Bowl game and the Pac 12 championship game.


Big 12 Championship Game: Oregon over Arizona St


Preseason Awards

Player of the Year: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Defensive Player of the Year: Vontaze Burfict, LB. Arizona St

Coach of the Year: Dennis Erickson, Arizona St

Freshman of the Year: James Vaughters, DE/LB, Stanford



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Preseason Outlook: SEC

The SEC has won the last five national championships and with Alabama and LSU in the preseason top 5 it looks like they could bring a sixth straight title back to the SEC. The SEC East also looks to gain back respect after disappointing last season with South Carolina, Georgia and Florida all returning to the mix. I take a look at some of the key players and what teams need to improve on for the upcoming season.
Marcus Lattimore is my preseason favorite for
SEC player of the year

East:

1. South Carolina: Steve Spurrier led the Gamecocks to their best season in school history last year and they have the offensive fire power to do it again. Stephen Garcia was recently reinstated  and will lead the Gamecocks for the upcoming season. All American WR Alshon Jeffery and RB Marcus Lattimore are at the top of their position and are poised for big seasons once again. On defense they return two All SEC players in DE Devin Taylor and CB Stephon Gilmore and bring in the nations best recruit, DE Jadaveon Clowney.

2. Florida: The Gators are under new management this season after Urban Meyer called it quits from football. Will Muschamp comes in to lead the Gators and his offense will be run by former Notre Dame coach and offensive guru Charlie Weis. Weis has every skill player returning for the his offense and they will be led by second year starter John Brantley. Brantley struggled last season but should thrive with experienced guys  around him. Florida has some problems this upcoming season after key loses to the NFL and graduation. The Gators must replace four starters on their line and three starters in the secondary which could mean trouble for pocket passer Brantley.

Aaron Murray will lead a young Bulldog's offense
3. Georgia: Mark Richt is in the hot seat and needs to produce a winner for Bulldog fans. The key to a sucessful season will be on the arm of scrambling sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray. The Bulldogs have the best special teams unit in the SEC with kicker Blair Walsh and punter Drew Butler and they also return all four starters in an already strong secondary. The Bulldogs lose several key skill players last season, athletic freak A.J. Green was taken fourth in the draft and they will probably rely on freshman running back Isiah Crowell to carry the rushing load.

4. Tennessee: Derek Dooley was just a couple bad substitutions away from a 8-5 season and looks to improve dramatically on his 6-7 record from last year. The Volunteers have found their guy at quarterback and now have a line that is a lot more experienced and can actually protect him this year. 6'6 quarterback Tyler Bray will be joined by talented running back Tauren Poole but Bray will need help in the passing game after his leading receiver is Poole with only 22 receptions. The Vol's lose their top four receiver. The weak defensive line will be the achilles heel for this team in a run heavy conference.

5. Kentucky: The Wildcats lose their two best players in all american KR/WR Randall Cobb and running back Derrick Locke but will have a semi experienced quarterback in Morgan Newton. Expect the offense to have some jitters for the first few games. The defense, which has usually been the weakness for the Wildcats, will need to carry through the first five or so games, which includes LSU and Florida. Joker Phillips' 2011 Wildcats will have an outside shot at participating in a 6th straight bowl game.

6. Vanderbilt: No team in the SEC return more starters than the Commodores but that doesn't mean they will be able to play with the likes of South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia or the rest of the SEC. Junior RB Warren Norman is the best player on the offensive side of the ball but had a measly 459 rushing yards last season, that tells you how great this offense should be. CB Casey Hayward and LB Chris Marve will lead a defense that should be much better then the offense. The Commodores have one of the best recruiting classes in school history coming in this season so we'll see if that changes anything.

LB Dont'a Hightower looks to get back to his 2009 form
West

1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide come into the season as preseason favorites in the SEC and should have a good chance at winning another national title but that may rely on the production of first year starting quarterback AJ McCarron. The positive is that  he has talent all around him with one of the best offensive lines in the conference, Trent Richardson in the backfield and Darius Hanks and Marquis Maze as prime time targets at receiver. LB Dont'a Hightower and S Mark Barron should led one of the best defenses in the country. The Crimson Tide want to get that Iron Bowl loss out of their minds and they want to bring the title back to Tuscaloosa.

2. LSU: The Tigers lacked an elite quarterback last season and it caused them to falter several times despite having the best defense in the conference. Jordan Jefferson looks to improve his throwing this season after only 1400 passing yards and four touchdowns last year. Jefferson's top targets will be Juniors Rueben Randle and and Russell Shephard while speedy sophomore Spencer Ware will be in the backfield. The defense loses two elite players in Drake Nevis and first round pick Patrick Peterson but they should still be among the best in the NCAA with LB Ryan Baker and CB Morris Claiborne back. I'll be waiting for the match up between the Tigers and the Crimson Tide on Nov 5th.

Knile Davis lead a potent Razorback offense
3. Arkansas: The Razorback lose their quarterback Ryan Mallet but they have a lot of hope in talented young quarterback Tyler Wilson. Wilson shocked the College Football world when he stepped in for the injured Ryan Mallet vs Auburn and put up amazing stats, 332 yards and 4 TD's. Wilson will be joined by his top four receivers in 2011, all had over 600 yards, and 1300 yard rusher in junior Knile Davis. The offensive line will need to replace three starters and the secondary will need two new starters but overall they are poised to reach another BCS game. Arkansas has the skill to contend with LSU and Alabama once again this year even without Ryan Mallet.

4. Mississippi St: Dual threat quarterback Chris Relf and running back Vick Ballard return this season as seniors and will try to improve a running attack that ranked 16th in the nation last season. The Bullgogs linebacking core should be one to watch watch with five very solid players at the position and it should help them limit the run. If Chris Relf can truly turn into a solid dual threat quarterback then the Bulldogs can hang close with like likes of Bama, LSU, and Arkansas.

5. Auburn: The returning national champs come back in 2011 completely depleted with only five returning starters on the roster. Michael Dyer will be the star of this young team that will need to do a lot of work if they have any shot and being back to back champs. More on the Tigers here: War Eagle Repeat?

Former Texas Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp
will lead the Gators in 2011
6. Ole Miss: Senior RB Brandon Bolden will be the star of an offense that brings back nine starters. Bolden will have a lot of space to run behind a line that returns everyone. The defense has little if any depth and they have already lost some key players due to injuries in the spring. Any other conference the Rebels would make a bowl game this year but in the SEC West it looks like they will fall just short.


Championship Game: Alabama over South Carolina

Preseason Awards

Player of the Year: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

Defensive Player of the Year: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Coach of the Year: Will Muschamp, Florida

Co-Freshman of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina and Isiah Crowell, RB, Georgia



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Preseason Outlook: Non AQ

Here's a look at the top teams that can't automatically qualify for a birth in a BCS Bowl but still have a shot at cracking the Top 25.

1. Boise St: Heisman Trophy finalist Kellen Moore returns to lead the Broncos to hopefully another BCS game and maybe even a national title appearance as they move to the Mountain West. Kellen Moore will be helped by running back Doug Martin, who had over 1200 yards last year, and receiver Tyler Shoemaker. The defense has always taken a back seat to the powerful offense but it is still extremely good, giving up only 12.8 point per game last season. The defense is a little under sized in some areas but is always one of the  fastest and most aggressive defenses in College Football. Boise St starts off with a big game vs Georgia and will face TCU on  November 12th. Article on Kellen Moore and the Broncos here: Boise St in 2011

Ed Wesley looks to lead TCU back to a BCS Bowl
2. TCU: The Horned Frogs are coming into the 2011 season after an upset win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl to finish off the season with a 13-0 record. They are also just a year away from a move to the Big East. TCU loses Andy Dalton, a four year starter at quarterback, and some key players from the best defense in the nation but should only drop of a little bit despite those loses. They return leading rusher Ed Wesley and their top receiver in sophomore Josh Boyce. The defense will be very good in 2011 but not the same team that stepped on the field last season and gave up only 12 points a game. The battle between TCU on November 12th will likely determine the winner of the Mountain West.

3. Notre Dame: Brian Kelly enters his second year as head coach of the Irish and he has them poised to get back to double digit wins in South Bend. Quarterback Dayne Christ is back after a knee injury forced him to miss the final four games and the bowl appearance. He will be joined by Cierre Woods in the backfield and his top three targets from last season will be back, led by Michael Floyd. Junior Monti Te'o was sensational last season and will likely be the leader of an improved front seven. A difficult schedule that includes South Florida, Michigan, Michigan St, Pittsburgh, Air Force, USC, Navy, Maryland, Boston College, and Stanford and a developing secondary could keep the Irish from that ten win season.

Tim Jefferson will lead the Falcons'
triple option attack
4. BYU: BYU fans wish Jimmer played football but instead they'll have to rely to sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps for the upcoming season. The Cougars enter their first season as an independent and Heaps will be at control of the offense. Heaps started last year as a freshman and helped salvage their season after winning five of their last six games and ending with a 7-6 record. Running back JJ Di Luigi, best name in College Football, was a threat in both the running and passing games last season (917 rushing 443 receiving) and comes back as the leader in both categories. BYU's best defenders, LB Jordan Pendleton and DT Romney Fuga, didnt play much last season due to injuries but are coming back to lead a much improved defense.

5. Air Force: Tim Jefferson comes back to lead an Air Force team that ranked second in the nation in rushing last season thanks to the triple option offense. Jefferson comes back with leading rusher Asher Clark and leading receiver Jonathan Warzeka back on the roster. The back seven of the defense will be strong with a great returning linebacking core and a solid secondary. The problem will be up front on the line. The Falcons should hang close with the likes of TCU and Boise in the Mountain West but I think they are just out of reach.

Others to Watch


-Navy Midshipmen: The triple option looks to continue despite not having Ricky Dobbs

-San Diego St Aztecs: RB Ronnie Hillman will be one of the best in the nation

-Houston Cougars: Case Keenum is back.

- Central Florida Knights: The Knights look to improve on a top 25 finish last season

-SMU Mustangs: The most talented team in the C-USA looks to make a third straight Bowl game





More Previews:
ACC
Big 12
Big East
Big Ten
Pac 12
SEC

Preseason Coaches Poll

Rank
Team (first-place votes)
2010 record
Points
Final 2010 ranking
1.
Oklahoma (42)
12-2
1,454
6
2.
Alabama (13)
10-3
1,414
11
3.
Oregon (2)
12-1
1,309
3
4.
LSU (2)
11-2
1,296
8t
5.
10-4
1,116
16
6.
12-1
1,101
4
7.
12-1
1,065
7
8.
11-2
933
10
9.
Texas A&M
9-4
885
21
10.
11-2
829
8t
11.
Nebraska
10-4
814
19
12.
9-5
779
22
13.
11-3
767
15
14.
10-3
750
12
15.
13-0
687
2
16.
12-1
631
5
17.
Michigan State
11-2
536
14
18.
Notre Dame
8-5
440
NR
19.
14-0
329
1
20.
9-4
301
17
21.
Missouri
10-3
266
18
22.
Georgia
6-7
260
NR
23.
8-5
240
NR
24.
Texas
5-7
162
NR
25.
Penn State
7-6
161
NR
 
Others receiving votes
Arizona State (6-6) 158; West Virginia (9-4) 149; Utah (10-3) 50; Miami (Fla.) (7-6) 49; Iowa (8-5) 41; Northwestern (7-6) 30; Arizona (7-6) 28; Central Florida (11-3) 22; Michigan (7-6) 19; Air Force (9-4) 15; North Carolina (8-5) 14; Houston (5-7) 13; South Florida (8-5) 9; Hawaii (10-4) 8; Clemson (6-7) 7; Tennessee (6-7) 7; Southern Miss (8-5) 6; Brigham Young (7-6) 5; North Carolina State (9-4) 4; Northern Illinois (11-3) 4; Oregon State (5-7) 4; Pittsburgh (8-5) 3; Washington (7-6) 3; Georgia Tech (6-7) 1; Nevada (13-1) 1.
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