Tag Archives: Virginia Tech

“NCAA March Madness Preview Part 1”

The brackets are out. Let the journey to Houston begin!

The Brackets are finally officially set.  No more speculation.  No more bracketology.  I will admit that what ESPN Bracketology specialist Joe Lunardi does is pretty remarkable.  But it is made out as if his bracket is more important than the real thing some times.  I will take the bracket presented by the CBS Selection Show every day of the week over Lunardi’s.  Anyways, after watching the Selection Show this evening, here are a few initial items that really jumped out at me: Continue reading

“The SEC Basketball Preview”

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari (pictured above), took the SEC by storm in his first year in the conference. Will he have a repeat performance in year two?

Today we are in for a special treat.  We have our debut post from our SEC expert out of Lexington, Mr. Matt Murray.

Matt is the Editor in Chief for the University of Kentucky’s student run newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel.  You can follow him on twitter @MurrNation

Six weeks into the college basketball season, teams are gearing up for conference play, and their non-conference schedule has helped provide a litmus test for just how good they are, while other teams still haven’t quite figured it out. While the SEC hasn’t been the best league from top to bottom the decade or so, it has produced the second most Final Four teams over the last five years, and ties the ACC for the most national championships over the last five years.

The SEC has surprised many critics in the early stages of this season, but it’s the lopsidedness of the conference that is glaring. The East appears to have 6 teams that could rightfully make their way into the NCAA tournament, while you’d be hard-pressed to find a single team from the west that could legitimately find themselves in the field in March.

 

SEC WEST
1. Mississippi- Ranking the teams in the SEC West is like playing pin the tail on the donkey. You are just as likely to nail it as you are to accidentally stick the pin in your great aunt Edna’s ass. The Rebels are 7-2, but they have yet to play a ranked opponent. However, the Rebels have an experienced squad and are able to put up points. Senior guard Chris Warren averages more than 19 points a game and shoots nearly 92% from the free throw line. The Rebels average almost 80 points per game, but that offense is yet to be tested by a worthy opponent. The Rebels first real test comes in their SEC opener at #19 Florida. This team will have a better feel of how good they are after they see how they play on the road in Gainesville.

2. Arkansas Razorbacks– Arkansas is currently 7-2, and each of their two losses has come in overtime. However, head coach John Pelphrey has much to prove. He has only won 14 games in each of his first two seasons at Arkansas. Arkansas’ rich basketball history will have Pelphrey on the hot seat if he can’t push his team above a .500 record this season, and there’s reason to believe he finally has the pieces to do so. Sharp-shooter Rotnei Clark has another year of experience under his belt and is currently the Razorback’s leading scorer. The good (and bad) news for the Razorbacks is that they have no real star. Clark is the leading scorer with a mere 13.8 a game, while their second leading scorer is senior Delvon Johnson with 11.1 per game. The Razorbacks have an even scoring distribution and get decent production out of their bench. The problem is that unlike many of the marquee teams in the SEC, they lack playmakers that can get them out of a bind, but if their squad continues to gain experience and play smart, they can become one of the deeper teams in the division.

3. Mississippi State- Sitting at 7-3 after finishing last season with an eye-opening deep run in the SEC tourny taking a stellar Kentucky team into overtime in the SEC Championship game last season, the Bulldogs are working on rebuilding, particularly after losing swat machine Jarvis Varnado. However, like most of their SEC West counterparts, this team has yet to face a ranked opponent, and thus has no real way of knowing exactly what they are capable of.  In fact, all they know as of now is that they’ve lost to a 4-5 East Tennessee State and ACC bottom-feeder Virginia Tech. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they kick off SEC play against three straight SEC West opponents, which might give them a chance to get their feet under them before facing a surprising Georgia team in Athens, kicking off a stretch against three straight tough SEC East opponents. However, if senior guard Ravern Johnson continues his outstanding play, which has him averaging 22 points per game, this team has reason to believe they can rise to the top of the SEC West.

4. LSU Tigers- Unlike the others in their division, the Tigers have faced a top 25 team, and held their own, losing to #19 Memphis by nine. The problem is that the 7-4 Tigers have posted three additional losses to teams that won’t be dancing in March and that they have the daunting task of playing their games against SEC East leaders Kentucky and Tennessee on their home floors. This LSU team will most likely stumble their way through SEC play, and would be lucky to finish out their season at .500.

5. Alabama Crimson Tide- The Tide has a faced a host of respectable opponents. The problem is that they are 5-6 as a result. The Tide puts up a measly 64 points a game, and has no real leadership. The young squad is led in scoring by a sophomore and junior, and find two freshman in their starting lineup. In a conference full of teams boasting rosters that are either full of experience or freshman that are far more talented than those on Alabama, the Tide are going to find themselves outmatched in the majority of their SEC match-ups this season.

6. Auburn Tigers- The Tigers are bad. In fact, they’ve been bad for quite some time, and there’s no reason to expect any change this season. They rank in the 200s in almost every major statistic and already find themselves in a 4-7 hole, despite having yet to play a ranked opponent. They barely average 60 points a game, and their latest recruiting class was lackluster at best.  The Tigers would be lucky to post 14 wins this season.

SEC EAST
1. Kentucky Wildcats- The fight for the top of the SEC East should be a slugfest. Tennessee and Florida find themselves at the bottom of the division with three losses a piece, while every other team has only two losses to their name. So far, the East has collectively knocked off opponents like Pitt, Notre Dame, Villanova, Washington and  Kansas State. The Wildcats sitting at 9 and 2, are responsible for two of those wins, and their only two losses have come to ranked opponents away from Rupp Arena. Kentucky is young, and there is no doubt this class lacks the talent of last year’s highlight reel squad. But what the Cats do have is an intelligent team that has come off as very coachable so far this season, as well as one of the top NBA prospects in freshman forward Terrance Jones. Jones is averaging a double double this season, with 19.8 points and 10 rebounds a game as a freshman. Additionally, Calipari has reloaded yet again in the point guard position, as Brandon Knight has replaced John Wall, who replaced Tyreke Evans, who replaced Derrick Rose. Knight averages 17.2 points per game, but the problem is that he only averages about four assists per game. Unlike Wall, Knight isn’t a true point guard, but also unlike wall, Knight is a much better shooter. In fact, this Kentucky team is in many ways the polar opposite of last year’s team, which was the tallest team in the NCAA. With Cousins, Patterson and Orton, the Cats could push the ball and earn points in the paint. This year’s team lacks a big man, as Josh Harrellson is its starting center. However, now the Cats are a real threat from behind the arc. The Cats are likely to finish about 12-4 in the SEC, which would likely put Calipari in position to post yet another 30-win season. Lucky for the Cats, no team in the SEC has a dominant big man, which is the only real kryptonite for this team and Calipari has the Cats playing the kind of defense he is known for, and their length has proven to be a big challenge for opponents.

2. Tennessee Volunteers- Of those marquee wins listed for the SEC, the Volunteers are responsible for some of the biggest as Tennessee has already knocked off Big East powerhouses Pitt and Nova. Had I written this preview 10 days ago, Tennessee would’ve been my hands-down favorite to finish at the top of the SEC East. However, after starting 7-0 and knocking off two top 10 teams, the Volunteers have dropped two straight to non-BCS conference teams Oakland and Charlotte, and a third straight to USC. Two-faced Tennessee is capable of beating any team in the NCAA by double digits, but they’re just as capable of losing to anyone. More than likely, these early loses will bring the naysayers back out of the woodwork, but there’s no reason to expect this Tennessee team won’t get back on track and make a serious run for the top of the conference and an equally deep run into the NCAA tournament. Their match-ups against Kentucky and Florida could likely determine who comes out on top of the conference, but then again, every SEC East matchup could be that pivotal this season.  What will be interesting to see is whether or not Bruce Pearl’s eight-game SEC suspension will really affect his team. During that stretch, Tennessee will have to face Florida and Vanderbilt, outcomes which could very well effect the SEC East standings for the season.

3. Florida Gators- Florida may be just as two-faced as Tennessee, posting wins against top 10 Kansas State, and turning around to lose to the Jacksonville Dolphins that very same week. At 8-3 Florida has no reason to panic, especially as one of their losses came from a very realistic title contender in Ohio State in the early stages of the season. Donovan has yet to recapture the talent he had in his back-to-to back title teams 3 years ago, but the addition of Kenny Boynton last year was a good first step. The sophomore averages 12.4 points per game, and in tandem with Erving Walker, Florida is finally building a team that could be a real threat in the NCAA tournament. The Gators have built up a great deal of depth, which will make them tough to beat due to their ability to give guys ample rest. The Gators should win the rest of their non-conference schedule and enter SEC play at 12-3, and pick up an SEC-opening win against Mississippi before having to travel to Knoxville to face Tennessee in one of the first big SEC clashes of the season.

4. Vanderbilt Commodores- The Commodores have found a way to put themselves in the mix for the past four years, and head coach Kevin Stallings has been the primary reason. He finds ways to put his team in position to win games, and while the ‘Dores have never been outstanding, no one plays them expecting an easy win. Playing in Nashville is always a nightmare and the team plays equally well on the road. However, there’s reason to believe that the strength of the SEC East this season could see the Commodores having a less-than-stellar season.  Fortunately for Vanderbilt, they face rival Tennessee during Pearl’s suspension, and any help is welcome. If Stallings can keep his team on their current pace of scoring, which has them at 24th in the country with 80.1 points per game, he can likely get his team into the NCAA tournament, but the graduation of center A.J. Ogilvy is going to be his biggest road block. However, like Kentucky, Vanderbilt too can benefit from existing in a league that lacks a dominant big man.

5. Georgia Bulldogs- Georgia is on the upswing. Junior Trey Thompkins stormed onto the scene last season with a posterizing dunk on Kentucky’s Demarcus Cousins and he’s never slowed down since. He averages 16.2 points per game, and fellow junior, guard Travis Leslie, adds 14 a game. The duo has led the Bulldogs to a 8-2 start, their best start since 2006, and their only losses have been at the hand of now-ranked opponents. There’s no reason to believe this Georgia team won’t enter SEC play at 11-2, and contend for a spot at the top of the conference. The only thing working against them is the strength of the other teams in the East, but if they can win the games they’re supposed to win, and stack that with some surprises, this team could find itself back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since their surprise SEC tournament-winning run in 2008.

6. South Carolina Gamecocks- The loss of Devon Downey is the primary reason for the Gamecocks likely slide to the bottom of the east this season. Yet, somehow South Carolina has earned a 7-2 start, losing only to top 10 teams. This is the biggest question mark in the SEC East, as this team has no reason to finish better than 8-8 in the SEC, but their play against teams like Michigan State has shown the talent and ability that could be extracted from this team if head coach Darren Horn can pull it out of them. Despite any true big man presence, South Carolina is 9th in the NCAA in rebounding, and in a league with no truly talented big man, the Gamecocks’ ability to crash the board could earn them invaluable second chance opportunities if they can stay on that pace. Their biggest problem will be finding offensive production in a league full of a tenacious defense. If the Gamecocks play to their potential, they could get to 10 wins in the SEC, but there are only so many wins to be divided among the conference, and its more than likely a host of talented SEC East teams will be taking a fair share of them from South Carolina.

Only time will tell whether or not this fast start for the SEC East is the real deal, but so far their games against big-time opponents seem to show there’s reason to believe it could be. College basketball as a whole is down this season, and so far, the SEC seems to be capitalizing on this fact.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Week 14: This is It”

Can South Carolina Head Football Coach Steve Spurrier (pictured above) shock the world and bring South Carolina their first ever SEC Football Championship?

Outside of the Army vs Navy game, this is it.  It is the final countdown.  After this weekend, we will know who will be playing for the National Championship.  We will know which teams are going to which bowl games.  All of the sudden the insanity that is College Football will start to make sense.  Or at least a little bit.

It is a weekend where dreams will be realized, and dreams will be crushed.  Its Championship Week baby, and you got to love it.

Here is a look at this week’s marquee matchups:

Oregon vs Oregon State:  The Ducks are looking to quack their way into the National Championship.  Sadly for them, they still have one last major hurdle to conquer.  They get the pleasure of heading to their in-state rival’s home in Corvallis, with everything to lose.  Oregon State is in the midst of their worst season in some time, but you better believe that Jacquizz wants to bring his older brother James a win in his final home game.  If James Rodgers was healthy and well, I would give the Beavers a chance.  Oregon just has too much offensive firepower though to lose to their rival.  Count on Oregon to stamp a ticket to the National Championship game with a 10 point victory on the road.

Auburn vs South Carolina:  In the wild SEC, it all comes down to this duel in Atlanta.  A rematch of one of the great games of the season.  The game that really vaulted Heisman favorite Cam Newton into the spotlight.  Even if I do not feel that Cam Newton should be eligible for this game, it is a mute subject because he is.  And you better believe Auburn is riding high coming off of their amazing comeback in the Iron Bowl, where they shocked Nick Saban and

Alabama.  What happens after every high though?  A low.  I think Auburn is a great team, but I have a hunch that Marcus Lattimore is going to dominate this game and South Carolina is going to play smart, turnover free football.  Call me crazy, but I am going out on a limb.  I see Auburn digging themselves an early whole as usual, and this time, coming up just short in pulling themselves out.  Look for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks to be celebrating the biggest win in school history and their first ever SEC Football Championship.  I got the Gamecocks in a 1 point shocker at home.

Florida State vs Virginia Tech:  The ACC Title Game pits two teams with a lot on the line.  The winner of this game heads to the Orange Bowl.  The loser heads to a much less impressive bowl game.  These two programs each boast a very rich tradition.  Neither of these teams have played the most scintillating of schedules though.  FSU is 1 and 1 against ranked foes, and was embarrassed in their trip to Norman, Oklahoma.  VTech is 2 and 1 due to a heartbreaking loss to Boise State in the opener.  I just feel that the Hokies stellar offensive attack, led by Tyrod Taylor, Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, and Jarret Boykin will be too much for the Seminoles.  Both of these teams have very solid defensive units.  But the difference comes in the Hokies ability to rush the ball effectively against any and all opponents.  I got VTech by 6.

Oklahoma vs Nebraska:  Nebraska is playing in its final Big 12 game.  And you better believe that they would like to go out with a bang.  The Cornhuskers have not won a Big 12 title since 1999.   The program resurgence over the past couple of years has been awesome, but Oklahoma is not as impressed by the heartfelt climb back to the top for Nebraska.  Oklahoma is 6 and 1 all time in the Conference Title Game.  The Sooners electric offensive unit has only been held under 30 points twice this year.  On both of these occasions though, they scored at least 27 points.  These teams each have solid defensive units.  Offensively though, they are very different.  The Cornhuskers rely on a lethal rushing attack while the Sooners love to air it out to big targets like Ryan Broyles and Freshman phenom, Kenny Stills.  Normally in big games like this, the team that can run the ball most effectively is the favorite.  For some reason though, I see Landry Jones having a field day and Nebraska’s offense struggling due to an unhealthy Taylor Martinez.   Oklahoma does the rest of the Big 12 a favor and knocks off the Cornhuskers by 3.

So yes, I am calling a shocker in the SEC Title Game.  Would this mean that Oregon would play TCU in the National Championship if all played out as I am predicting here?  You better believe it.

Now I realize that the  majority of the country wants to see Oregon vs Auburn come January 10th.  And I cannot say that I am not in that majority.  Every year shockers happen during the last week.  I see a major surprise happening in Atlanta. 

I hope you all have enjoyed this College Football season thus far.  I know that I have.  This is it.

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

“College Football Power Rankings”

Many have doubted the Buckeyes in recent years due to ther inability to keep up with the speed of the mighty SEC. Well this is their most talented team in a good few years and I have hunch that they will be bringing home a National Championship come January 10th, in Arizona.

 With everyone else putting out College Football power rankings, and with the season less than a month away.  I figured why not put out my own version. 

5 Teams Most Likely to Win a National Title

1.  Ohio State 

–  I know many are scratching their heads on putting this team ahead of the defending National Champs, Alabama.  But this team is very talented and returns a plethora of players off of last year’s Rose Bowl Champion.  Terrelle Pryor, in an outstanding Rose Bowl performance, finally looked ready to meet the heavy expectations that Buckeye Nation bestowed on him upon his arrival in Columbus. Without a weakness to be found, I have these guys as my number 1 at this point.  Also remember that though the Big Ten will be tough, it is not as rugged as the SEC. 

2.  Alabama 

– With the return of their quarterback, Heisman Trophy winning running back, outstanding backup running back, and top 2 receivers, you better believe that Nick Saban’s boys will be ready to play.  But the SEC is brutal and with question marks on defense, I have them sliding to number 2 on my power rankings. 

3. Virginia Tech 

– They have arguably the most dangerous backfield in America.  They play in the ACC.  And if they can manage to find a way to get by a very strong Boise State team in Week 1.  The Hokies should cruise until a late November date with the U.  This is the game that should make or break their National Championship or ACC Championship hopes for that matter. 

4. Florida 

– Urban Meyer is the best coach in the country.  And though he lost a ton of talent off of last year’s underachieving squad, the Gators will be chomping at the bit all year. Do not be surprised to see this team knock off the Tide on October 2nd at Alabama.  As the University of Cincinnati and so many other opponents of the Gators have learned over the past few years, speed truly does kill. 

5. Oklahoma 

– Bob Stoops claims he has a formidable squad ready to go and take care of business in the Big 12 this year.  And when Stoops speaks, people tend to listen.  They will have to overcome a big time early season challenge in Cincinnati on September 25th.  But do not be surprised to see the Sooners back in a BCS Bowl game or dare I say the National Championship.  

Very Probable BCS Bowl Game Participants (Best of the Rest)

Boise State 

– I would have these guys ranked in the top 5.  But I am not sure if they can beat Virginia Tech in Week 1.  I see this as probably their only loss on the year though.  With great power comes great responsibility. With great talent comes great expectations.  And with this being said, the expectations are at an all time high.  It is never easy to deal with big time expectations.  

Texas 

– The Longhorns will be tough again.  Minus the Oklahoma game, I only see them struggling at Nebraska.  Do not be surprised if this team under the great coaching of Mack Brown somehow sneaks past the Sooners for the Big 12 Title though. 

Iowa 

– This team is back and hungry after a BCS Bowl victory down in Miami.  Outside of Ohio State, this is the toughest team in the Big Ten.  The Hawkeyes will be one of America’s best in 2010.  And though many do not give this team much respect, they will make some noise this year with their accomplishments on the field. 

Miami 

– The U invented swagger.  This should be the best team Miami has had in some time.  September 11th will be an extremely tough game at Ohio State.  But if they can find a way to knock of the Hokies on November 20th, this team will be heading to a BCS Bowl for the first time in years. 

Pittsburgh

– The Dion Lewis led Panthers are hungry to atone for their heartbreaking loss to end the regular season against their rival Cincinnati last season.  They will not get rid of that bad taste until they clinch a Big East Championship, earning an automatic bid to a BCS Bowl game.  Behind a strong rushing attack and a great defense, this team is dangerous, and a force to be reckoned with.  Do not be too surprised though if the Bearcats shock the Panthers again in Cincinnati come December 4th to go to a BCS Bowl Game for a 3rd straight year.

Other Teams that Could Sneak Into BCS Bowls

 Cincinnati, TCU, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Arkansas 

College Football is always very unpredictable and fun.  I know many will question my pick of a non SEC team winning the National Title.  Realize that though the Big Ten will be tough this year, OSU will have an easier time going undefeated than if they played a brutal SEC Conference schedule.  The beautiful thing about College Football is its mysterious nature.  This year appears to be no different as teams enter their 3rd day of official practices. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze