Tag Archives: College Football

“College Football Week 7: Still Loving It”

 

One of the major surprises this year has been Auburn, led by dual threat quarterback Cameron Newton (pictured above). Can he keep Auburn's SEC title hopes alive this weekend against a tough Arkansas squad?

College Football has entered Week 7.  It feels like just yesterday that the season was just starting.  Well now some of the contenders have been separating from the pretenders.  Alabama will not go undefeated.  There is a real possibility of an undefeated team coming out of the Big Ten, the Pac 10, and the Big 12.  Not to mention a real possibility of Boise State running the table and qualifying for the BCS Title Game.  This could be a year that really demonstrates all of the true flaws of the BCS System and could ultimately lead to the horrible system’s demise.

So when looking at this weeks’ matchups initially, not too many games really stand out.  There are not many hotly anticipated matchups of highly ranked teams.  But this is College Football.  And there are always great games and boat load of surprises.

Here is my look into some of the major matchups.

Texas at Nebraska:  So this game has lost some of the flare and mystique that many envisioned it having.  These are two teams heading in very different directions.  The Longhorns got this past week off after losing two consecutive games.  When can you remember a Mack Brown team losing two straight games?  Texas has sported a mediocre offense and a mediocre defense.  They have struggled running the ball and really are missing main stays off of last year’s National Runner up, like Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley.  Nebraska on the other hand.  There is only one word to describe this team.  WOW.  Everyone expected this team to have a solid defense.  Not sure with the departure of Ndamukong Suh they were expecting the defense to be scary.  This team defends better than any team I have seen in the country.  I do not care if they rank 4th in points given up.  Watch them and let me know what you think.  The real question mark on this team was would there be enough offense?  Well Freshman QB Taylor Martinez has been absolutely outstanding and looked like the new Eric Crouch (former Nebraska Heisman winner).  The kid has been extremely efficient passing the ball.  But he has been even better with his legs.  His amazing leadership as a freshman has helped Nebraska become the 2nd best rushing team in the entire country.  Sorry Texas.  Normally, coming off two losses I would pick a big time win.  But on the road against a team with a defense as scary as the one Bo Pelini has at Nebraska?  I got the Cornhuskers by 10 at home.

Arkansas at Auburn:  This is another one of those amazing and highly anticipated SEC Brawls.  The SEC is the best conference in the country for a reason.  And due to it’s amazing depth there will be outstanding matchups each and every week.  Normally multiple great games.  So in this one, we have a surprise undefeated taking on a team with perhaps the most highly hyped player in the country.  Can Ryan Mallett pick up his first signature victory and prove his critics wrong?  Well Arkansas has had an electric passing attack.  The problem has been converting in the Red Zone and running the ball effectively.  In the SEC it is impossible to be one-dimensional and win consistently.  Too much depth on all of these squads.  Auburn on the other hand has been a team that has lived on a very strong rushing attack led by dual threat QB Cameron Newton.  This Junior has been absolutely sensational in every sense of the word.  So all logic would point towards Auburn protecting their home turf in this one.  But I am going to go with my gut.  Ryan Mallett will finally bust out with the signature performance of his Razorback career thus far and clinch a major road victory for Arkansas.  Though Auburn is very good.  They have flown by the seat of their pants in 4 games this year.  Unfortunately in the SEC, there will always be a team waiting to convert in a close game the next week.  That team is Arkansas.  I got the Razorbacks by 3 in a major road upset.

Ohio State at Wisconsin:  Though Wisconsin has lost a conference game already, do not count this team out in making a run at the Conference Championship.  That quest starts Saturday in an old-fashioned  Big Ten Heavyweight battle in Madison.  Ohio State is the cream of the crop in the Big Ten, and possibly in the entire country.  They have won 5 straight conference titles and are looking to make it 6.  Wisconsin has a very dangerous rushing attack led by junior John Clay.  Ohio State has its usual outstanding defense.  Can Wisconsin control the tempo of the game through their devastating rushing attack?  I would have to say no.  Ohio State’s defense is too athletic and too deep.  Not to mention the offense continues to improve each week behind the steady growth of Heisman hopeful, Terrell Pryor.  I got the Buckeyes surviving a tough road contest by 7.

So there you have it.  Though there are not a ton of games pitting two ranked foes, there are some very quality games.  Games in the SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12 will provide major indications towards this year’s conference champions and the at-large BCS bids.  It should be a fun weekend.  Hopefully my picks will be more on point this week in that I have struggled the past couple.  But I still love the unpredictability of the College Game.  It keeps all of us on our toes every week.  Make sure to tune in for the games.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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“College Football Week 5: A Midseason Championship Week?”

Florida Freshman, Trey Burton (pictured above on the right) is bringing back memories of Gator legend, Tim Tebow (pictured above on the left). Could this stellar freshman be the difference maker against Alabama on Saturday?

Folks, major conference play is getting under way or right around the corner for most.  Now we are hitting October football.  This is where the games really heat up, even though the weather is beginning to cool down.  Injuries are taking its toll on teams, but the best teams will continue to find ways to win.

I will state this right now.  Week 5 will be live.

Texas vs Oklahoma:  The Red River Rivalry is one of the best games College Football has to offer year in and year out.  And let’s be honest, it is in essence, a midseason Big 12 Championship game (normally).  Though Nebraska has looked just as good or better than both of these formidable squads, this game will go a long way in determining who wins the mighty Big 12 in its last year as the normal Big 12.  Texas is coming off of a horrible home loss to a decent UCLA game.  This loss really shocked the country and showed Texas to have some big time holes this year.  I will admit though, Mack Brown demonstrating great sportsmanship and gave UCLA all the credit in the world, putting the blame on him and his team’s shoulders.  Got to respect that.  Oklahoma barely escaped in a game that they should have lost to Cincinnati, the best 1 and 3 team in the country.  Oklahoma has grinded out close games in 3 of their 4 victories this year.  This team is extremely talented and athletic, though they are lacking much to be desired in the discipline department.   I know the age-old rule is that actual talent can get thrown out the window when it comes to big time rivalry games, but this year, the talent will be the difference.  Oklahoma is head and shoulders better than Texas and will win this game by at least 14 points.  Oklahoma, in their only other game against a big time ranked opponent (FSU), looked like a juggernaut and ran the overmatched Seminoles off the field.  Expect more of the same on Saturday as the combination of Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles continues to shred opposing defenses.

Wisconsin vs Michigan State:  Welcome to a big time brawl in the Big Ten folks.  These two old rivals do not have the greatest of relationships.  Though it is heartwarming to hear that Coach Dantonio will still be able to play a role in the game from the booth for the mighty Spartans.  Michigan State has looked tough this year, though they could have easily been defeated by Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish.  Wisconsin, though they struggled vs Arizona State 2 weeks ago, put up a stunning 70 points last weekend.  This offense is lethal.  The defense is solid, and I think the vaunting Badger rushing attack will prove to be too much for the Spartans on this day.  Michigan State is close to breaking into the elite ranks of College Football, but Greg Jones and the defense will struggle stopping John Clay all day on the way to a tough loss.  I got the Badgers by 3 on the road in this one.

Florida at Alabama:  This is probably the best game of the entire weekend, and maybe even the entire year.  The two best coaches with the two best teams the SEC has to offer battling it out in front of a National Audience.  This game represents what College Football is all about.  Saban vs Meyer.  Talk about an amazing matchup of elite coaches.  Many feel that the Tide will “Roll” against the Gators as they did last year in this one.  And I say not so fast.  The Gators looked to be gaining back their offensive swagger last week against Kentucky and will surprise the Tide with their stellar freshman Trey Burton.  The kid reminded me of a young Tim Tebow last week, accounting for 6 TDs.  There is a reason why no team has ever repeated as BCS National Champions in the BCS era.  There are just too many good teams in College Football, especially in the SEC.  Look for the Gators to pull the unthinkable upset, shocking Nick Saban, Mark Ingram, and the Crimson Tide.  I got Florida shocking the country, with a  3 point victory.

Stanford at Oregon:  In essence, this is the makeshift Pac 10 Championship.  Two very good teams battling it out on National Television.  Sound familiar to what we have going on in both the Big 12 and the SEC?  Against a fairly difficult schedule so far, the Cardinal has looked outstanding both offensively and defensively ranking among the nation’s elite.  This team can flat-out play, and really stepped onto the National scene with an old-fashioned butt whipping of Notre Dame last week.  Oregon on the other hand, may be the only team in the country that has ranked even better than Stanford both offensively and defensively.  This team has looked nearly invincible, other than during a minor lull against ASU last week.  So conventional wisdom would say to pick the home team.  And that is what I am going to do.  These are both great teams.  But I feel the speed and athleticism of the Ducks, mixed in with the home crowd will give them the edge.  Look for the Ducks to upend the Cardinal by 3 in a great football game.  LaMichael James may find his way onto the short list for the Heisman Trophy after this one.

So there you have it folks.  Week 5 has arguably the most exciting slate of games we will get all year.  In essence, there is a makeshift Big 12 Championship game, SEC Championship Game, and Pac 10 Championship Game.  I am not sure if you can ask for more excitement.  And the amazing thing, there are other great matchups that I had to leave off of this post.

Week 5 appears to be a “Midseason Championship Week” for half of the major BCS Bowl Conferences.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Week 4: We Want Some More”

Boise State star receiver, Austin Pettis (pictured above), looks to help lead Boise to another big time victory on Saturday and keep the Broncos National Championship aspirations alive and well.

The 4th week of this College Football season is already upon us.  Yes, we will be a 3rd of the way through the regular season after this weekend.  Hard to believe, but the intrigue continues to mount.  And we all love the excitement.  After last weekends, “Dud Saturday,” the excitement is back with many big time matchups.  So as usual, I am going to give you my thoughts on a few of the primetime showdowns.

Miami (FL) at Pittsburgh:  These are two teams that are still really looking to prove themselves.  Many experts saw both of these teams as definite BCS Contenders, and even possibly as National Title Game Sleepers.  Though neither of these teams really have a chance at playing in Arizona come January 10th, they both have a lot to look forward to.  For Miami, they have had an extra week to clear their heads out for yet another big time road test.  After Jacory Harris demonstrated his old ways, tossing 4 Interceptions against a very good Ohio State team in Columbus, the U looks to make amends.  Pitt is still recovering from an opening night road loss to Utah.  And I think their reeling period is going to continue, as the overall speed and athleticism of the U bombards the Panthers at Heinz Field.  Though it is hard to pick against a good team at home,  I got the U by a touchdown in this one.

Alabama at Arkansas:  Welcome to the SEC folks.  And both of these teams are already in for big time showdown even with it only being the 4th week of the season. For Alabama, this game will be the first of three consecutive against top 12 ranked foes. Can Ryan Mallett, and the explosive offense of the Razorbacks handle the defending National Champs?  Sadly, I do not think so.  Though Arkansas has made tremendous strides and has looked very tough, Bama is at full strength now with Mark Ingram and just look to be “rolling.”   Also take note that Arkansas has lost 4 of 5 to top 25 ranked opponents.  I feel like not only will Mark Ingram at full strength be a difference maker, but the Alabama defense as a whole will play an intricate part in this one.  The game will come down to which defense can get stops.  And though Nick Saban is sporting a young defensive unit, I give them the edge over the Razorbacks D.  Look for Bama to nab a big road win in a shootout type of game by 7.

South Carolina at Auburn:  This may be the best matchup of the whole weekend in my eyes, though there are many great ones.  A good old-fashioned SEC brawl.  We are fortunate enough to have 2 of these top-tier SEC matchups already in a fun-filled Week 4.  But the difference in this one will come down to Auburn’s home field advantage.  I will state that South Carolina sports probably the most exciting freshman talent in the country in Marcus Lattimore.  But after watching the Gamecocks exhibit some flaws in their game last week against a less than flattering opponent in Furman, I have jumped off the bandwagon a little.  Auburn, though it has not been pretty, has learned to win close games.  Winning by 3 each of the last 2 weeks against quality opponents.  I expect them to utilize that resiliency and the home field advantage to edge a Gamecocks team that has lost 5 straight conference road games by a large margin.  Look for Auburn to win by 3.

Oregon State at Boise State:  Oregon State has practiced on a blue field all week in preparation for a monumental matchup against a very talented Boise team.  Boise has been a main topic of conversation throughout College Football all year and will continue to be until they lose a game (which may not happen).  Chris Petersen’s squad has shown that they can really play football despite their somewhat lackluster schedule.  This is probably the toughest game the Broncos have left, and luckily for them, it is at home.  Oregon State has already dropped a game against a tough TCU team this year.  They got blown out on the blue field 42 to 14 in 2006.  And though the Rodger’s brothers are a lethal tandem, it will not be enough.  Boise is too good all around.  Look for Kellen Moore, Titus Young, and Austin Pettis to have another field day on National Television.  I got Boise in this one by 14.  Do not expect it to be close.

So these are 4 of the marquee games of the weekend.  I realize there are other major matchups such as West Virginia at LSU, Oklahoma at Cincinnati, Kentucky at Florida.  So sit back, enjoy, and watch as many of the games as you can.

Week 4 will be one to remember in the College Football Stratosphere.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Week 3: Dud Saturday”

Ricky Stanzi (pictured above), looks to lead Iowa to a big road victory over 24th ranked Arizona on Saturday, in a weekend full of lackluster matchups.

 After last week’s “Monster Saturday”, College Football has managed to put together a “Dud Saturday.”  I mean in all honesty, when looking at this coming weekend versus last, not sure exactly what happened, but it wasn’t good (for entertainment value that is).  People like to see ranked teams go head to head.  Preferably highly ranked ones at that.  It is human nature for fans to want to see good teams go to battle.  Well this weekend, there is only one match up between two ranked teams.  And one of them is ranked 24th (Arizona). 

So here is my inside look at a few of the main matchups in what I am proclaiming “Dud Saturday.” 

Arkansas at Georgia:  Ryan Mallett and the Razorbacks bring the offensive juggernaut that is Arkansas into Georgia for an SEC rumble.  Now Georgia did not look great in a loss to South Carolina last week, as freshman phenom Marcus Lattimore ran all over them.  And the Bulldogs will still be without star receiver AJ Green.  Georgia’s highly touted freshman quarterback, Aaron Murray, has shown glimpses of greatness in his first two games.  And definitely looks game to live up to the hype that has surrounded him since his early high school days.  But sadly for Mark Richt, he may be in deep trouble if this game turns into a track meet.  Ryan Mallett is arguably the best quarterback in the country, with great weapons and a plethora of experience at his disposal.  Could we be seeing the year of the Razorback in the SEC?  I got Arkansas winning this SEC duel by 10.  

Georgia Tech at North Carolina:  Two of the ACC’s best go to battle.  Or at least these are two of the ACC’s most hyped teams.  After the weekend of death for ACC football (last weekend), two of the League’s titans go to battle in what should be a great game.  Georgia Tech still boasts the old school triple option threat and is one of the few well-known teams in the country to really have no passing attack.  Their quarterback, senior Josh Nesbitt, has been a three starter, and knows the offensive scheme inside and out.  Sadly for GTech, Nesbitt has not only been their quarterback and leader offensively, he has become their whole offense.  This could be a major problem when facing the swarming type defense of a Butch Davis led Tar Heels team.  The Tar Hells almost pulled off the unthinkable upset against a pro LSU crowd in a primetime matchup in Atlanta.  Not to mention they had over 12 players suspended.  After 2 weeks rest and a little chance for the program to clear its head a little, look for the Tar Heels to come out and take care of business at home over the Yellow Jackets.  Hard to believe that GTech could come out and lose 2 of their first 3 games (after playing in the Orange Bowl last year). 

Iowa at Arizona:  In the only match up of two ranked foes on this dud of a weekend, the Big Ten and Pac 10 go to battle in the desert.  Iowa has looked solid in its first two powder puff games of the year.  They appear to have the look of a team ready to take that next step and compete with OSU for the Big Ten title (I don’t think they can beat OSU though).  Ricky Stanzi is one of the most poised, experienced, and battle tested quarterbacks in the country.  He is also yet to throw an interception yet this year, which has been his achilles heel in the past.  This team is one of the few teams in the country that is able to both run and pass the ball effectively.  This makes a team very hard to stop in today’s College Football stratosphere.  Arizona on the other hand has looked awesome both offensively and defensively so far.  Granted they have played Toledo and the Citadel.  Arizona started the year unranked, and is one of those schools that has always been a basketball first University.  Well times are changing as Sean Miller failed to take the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament last season.  Is this team, behind 2nd year starting quarterback, Nick Foles, the real deal?  Well they will be solid in a very weak Pac 10, but they will not be able to secure the victory this weekend even though they are at home.  I got Iowa by 7 stealing one on the road. 

It was a struggle to choose 3 intriguing matchups in this dud of a weekend.  “Monster Saturday” had 5 or 6 big time matchups and made me have to leave a major game or 2 out, because there were so many good ones.  Either way, football is football.  And I, along with the rest of America will watch.  

Also, there is always the NFL on Sunday.. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze 

“The Green Light Gone?”

Venus Williams (left in picture above) is carrying the "Green Light (Hope)" of American Tennis on her shoulders in Flushing Meadows.

 In one of the most popular and renowned pieces of literature in history, there is talk of a green light.  A look into the orgastic future.  F. Scott Fitzgerald, the novel’s author, filled a seemingly simple plot in his classic with depth and heavy meaning.  It has become an American literature classic and a book that encompasses themes that we as Americans talk about daily.  I mean, how frequently do you here about the so-called “American Dream.”  And I am a firm believer in this idea and fully stand behind it.  Except when talking about American tennis recently, more specifically, American Men’s Tennis. 

The US Open is the grandest and most high scale tournament we have to offer in the United States.  Each year from Labor Day up until the middle of September, all eyes of the tennis world are focused on Flushing Meadows.  Arthur Ashe Stadium is the place to be.  It is all a part of the moment.  This year sadly, I feel the US Open has been vastly overshadowed.  This in large part has been due to the early exit of America’s top player, Andy Roddick. All of the sporting world’s attention has shifted focus towards College Football, the NFL, and the scintillating stretch run that is September baseball.  And I honestly cannot blame the American public for seeming to lose interest. 

I, myself, am a major tennis connoisseur. I love to watch tennis on television or in person all the time.  I was an avid player and still like to consider myself a pretty big fan. But my focus has shifted from this tournament to College Football’s opening weekend and my beloved Reds pennant race.  Now I realize that guys like Sam Querrey, Mardy Fish, and John Isner all made decent runs this year.  And who can forget the amazing Ryan Harrison’s first round upset victory?  But today, the men begin the quarterfinals.  And want to know how many Americans are left in the draw?  A big fat 0.  The women are now entering the semifinals.  Want to know how many women are left in the draw?  Try 1. 

This tournament began with 256 total players comprising both the Men and Women’s Draw.  There were 17 American men participating in American’s pride and joy tournament.  We have hit the Final 8, and there are 0 left.  There were 12 American women participating in our gem of a tennis tournament.  We have hit the prestigious Final 4, and there is 1 remaining.  So Americans as a whole made up over 11 percent of the total 256 participants, and we have hit the final 12 players left, with 1 participant remaining?  Does not really sound like our tournament very much anymore now does it? 

Now Venus Williams has a good chance at capturing the women’s title in that she is a Williams sister.  Though she has a bum knee and had taken the past 2 months off, she appears fit and ready to handle business.  Amazingly, she has not played in the Finals in Flushing since 2002, when she lost to her sister Serena.  Hard to believe in that Venus used to own the Wimbledon/US Open part of the season every summer for years.  Can Venus bring home her 8th Grand Slam singles title (she has won 12 doubles)?  I am going with a probably not.  Kim Clijsters is an amazing player at Flushing, capturing her only 2 Grand Slam Titles here, and Wozniacki is looming in the top half of the draw. 

So the Green light may be disappearing in American tennis, but at least I got a pennant race, College Football, and the opening weekend of the  NFL to watch.  It is not so bad being an American sports fan right now. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze 

“Monday Night Football?”

Virginia Tech boasts arguably the best rushing attack in the country led by the two headed monster that is Darren Evans (left #32) and Ryan Williams (right #34).

One of the most well-known events in American sports is “NFL Monday Night Football.”  It is always the most viewed game of the week and something that whether you care about the teams or not, you watch.  And with the NFL starting later this week, College Football has taken note, and will have their marquee game of the opening weekend played on “Monday Night.”  Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about this in the long run.  But obviously, I am ecstatic to get to see a big time matchup tonight, in that there is no NFL game anyways.  Do I think it is fair to make the College kids to play on a Monday and have to be ready to go by the next Saturday?  Not a chance.  But as a fan, now I have something to watch tonight.

Now for Boise State, who we will refer to as the “Weekday Warriors” for the rest of this year, have next weekend off and do not play again until September 18th at Wyoming (12 day break).  This is their Super Bowl though.  In all honesty, if they win this game, they have a very solid shot at running the table for the 2nd consecutive year.  On September 25th, they play a tough Oregon State team at home.  Realize that TCU beat Oregon State on Saturday though.  Then their only other tough game appears to be against Fresno State on November 19th.  Fresno State knocked off a very good team out of the Big East in Cincinnati late Saturday night.  Fresno’s defensive front looked very strong and gave UC their first regular season loss since an October game in 2008.  But as I said, people are going to have to start referring to Boise State as the “Weekday Warriors.”  On the year, they play 7 games on the tradition College Football Saturday.  They have a Monday game tonight.  A Tuesday game later this year.  And 3 Friday games all in a row in November.  So they have 5 of their 12 games being played on days other than Saturday!  The interesting fact is that all 5 of their games played on weekdays are being aired on an ESPN of some sort.  So I guess the exposure is worth it for the team that plays on the blue field.

Now Virginia Tech.  Sadly, they do not get next weekend off.  They will be back on the gridiron come Saturday against James Madison.  Though James Madison appears to be a powder puff opponent for the Hokies, it is never easy to play on a Monday night and come ready to play again on Saturday.  Virginia Tech has a much more traditional schedule than Boise.  They play 10 times on Saturdays this season.  Then of course they have the Monday game tonight, and then a Thursday night date against the defending ACC Champs Georgia Tech, on November 4th.  Ironically, Virginia Tech only has 4 games this year on the ESPN networks.  With the rich tradition of Frank Beamer’s Hokies, did you ever think you would see the day where Boise State had more games on ESPN than Virginia Tech?

But anyways, back to the business at hand.  Boise and VTech are both outstanding football teams.  Many are picking both of them to appear in BCS Bowl Games come January.  And I will state that this would not surprise me.  Many are saying that this is the year where Boise ends the streak and puts a team from a non BCS conference into the BCS Title Game.  And though I think Boise is an outstanding team that returns all but one starter from their undefeated team of a year ago, this is not the year.  The dream ends tonight in the nation’s capital.  Frank Beamer’s boys are going to run all over the Broncos, and win a very close contest.

Between Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, the amazing Ryan Williams at running back, and the return of junior Darren Evans in the backfield, this team is the real deal.  Boise will have no answer for a bigger and stronger team out of a power conference that has won 10 or more games, 6 straight years.  Not to mention, Frank Beamer is arguably one of the best coaches College Football has to offer, and has been a mar of consistency in his 22 year stint with the Hokies.  The team has made 17 consecutive bowl games and has their most talented team in recent memory.  Lastly, this game is a makeshift home game for VTech, who routinely boasts one of the best defenses in the country and now has a great offense to complement it.

Kellen Moore and his main weapons, receivers Austin Pettis, Titus Young, and running back Jeremy Avery are deadly and will put up big numbers all year. But tonight, they will lose the battle in the trenches.  Look for Virginia Tech to win by 7 in front of a pro Virginia Tech crowd.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.
-TheSportsKraze

“Welcome To College Football”

One of the major stories in College Football this year deals with how Brian Kelly, the former University of Cincinnati Head Coach, handles the pressure of leading the charge in South Bend.

Tonight, another College Football season kicks off with 18 different games around the country.  Let the BCS Madness begin baby.  Here are the main storylines for the year in my eyes.

– Can Alabama “roll” to a 2nd consecutive National Title?

Though Alabama is returning nearly their entire offense, which features future NFL players like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Julio Jones, the SEC is a conference that teams live and die on their defensive units.  Bama is returning just 2 starters from their vaunted defensive squad of a year ago.  In the end, I feel like this team will have a great year, but come up just short due to a lack of experience on the defensive side of the ball.  Also realize that no team has ever repeated as National Champion in the 12 year BCS era.  It is no easy task.

– Can Terrelle Pryor live up to the hype and bring home the first Heisman to Columbus since Troy Smith, in 2006?

This storyline will also be very key in determining if the Buckeyes can bring home their first National Title since 2002.  They have the defense to do it.  It is all a matter of if Terrelle Pryor can lead the offense to playing at a National Championship level.  There is no rhyme or reason why I or anyone else in America believes in this guy. His stats in his two-year stint in Columbus have been nowhere near a Heisman level.  In actuality, they have been quite less than flattering.  But the “swagger” of Terrelle Pryor has led me to believe that he can vault to a Heisman Trophy level of play and lead the Buckeyes to the BCS National Title Game.

– Can Boise State be the first non BCS Conference team to bring home a BCS National Title?

First of all, this team went undefeated a year ago.  They are returning every starter on both sides of the ball except graduated cornerback, Kyle Wilson.  Kellen Moore, who threw for over 3500 yards and had a TD to Interception ratio of 39 to 3 is back.  This team is the real deal.  And with the non conference schedule they have put together, “if” they go undefeated, they deserve a shot to play for the National Championship as much as anyone.  But also realize that they are opening up with the Virginia Tech Hokies.  Led by legendary coach Frank Beamer, the Hokies feature perhaps the best rushing attack in the country.  Sadly for Boise, I see them losing in Week 1, but this team is definitely the real deal and has a definite chance to play in Arizona for the National Championship if they go undefeated.

– Coaching in South Bend is like coaching the Yankees in Major League Baseball.  The pressure is at an all time high every day.  The media and fan base are unforgiving and cold. Can Brian Kelly handle the heat better than some of his predecessors?

Brian Kelly is perhaps the most charismatic coach in America.  He is a phenomenal salesman and says all the right things.  If you have ever heard the expression, “You talk like a man with a paper asshole,” though I am not 100 percent sure what this means, I think it would be the perfect away to describe BK.  Brian Kelly not only is smooth off the field though, he produces on the field.  This guy won two National Titles at Grand Valley State.  He completely turned around an abysmal Central Michigan program and captured a MAC Championship.  Then he went to Cincinnati and made the city believers in Bearcat football.  During his three-year reign, he won 10 or more games all three years (had not won 10 games in a season in Cincinnati since 1951), two Big East Championships, and sent them to two BCS Bowl games.  Coach Kelly has always been known as a mastermind of the spread offense.  He will provide fireworks in South Bend with a high-flying, aerial spread attack.  But also realize that his partner in crime and his right hand man for nearly 20 years, Jeff Quinn, is now the head coach at Buffalo University.  Can BK still put together an offense that puts up 40 plus points a game without his old running mate?  Well I will tell you this, Notre Dame has probably their easiest schedule in the past 10 years.  These guys could rise back to prominence real fast.  Do not be surprised to see a 9 or 10 win season.

– Will an SEC team bring home a 5th consecutive BCS National Championship?

In my eyes, it is a no brainer that this is the best and most elite conference in College Football yet again.  No conference really can touch the coaches, the talent, and the overall speed that this conference demonstrates top to bottom.  There is a reason why the SEC generally plucks players from the Southeast region, with the vast majority of 4 and 5 star recruits coming from this talent rich region.  Why wonder away from home?  But I will state this.  I believe this is the year that a non SEC school wins the National Title.  I feel it is time for the Buckeyes to break through in a National Championship game.  It is a gut feeling, but still expect this conference to be the best in the land again.

– Herbies vs the Forde Dash?

Kirk Herbstreit and Pat Forde are both fantastic at what they do.  They are well-known analysts for ESPN who do an absolutely outstanding job.  They both recently released some of their big thoughts on this upcoming College Football season.  Kirk Herbstreit put out the Herbies while Pat Forde put out the Forde Dash.  The edge in my eyes goes to the Herbies.  Though the Forde Dash is a cool name, the Herbies was easier to follow and I agreed with more of the predictions.  But it was a very tough call.

Welcome to College Football folks.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze