Preseason 2010-11 Bowl Projections – BCS and Non-BCS

With the college football season now less than 48 hours away, its time to take a final stab at some projections. Here, we’ll go after the most daunting and impossible of all, projecting the bowl games that are more than three months away.

Trying to predict all 35 bowl games is always going to be as successful as trying to win the lottery, but everyone’s looking for projections this time of the year.

So after trying to project the preseason Heisman favorites, conference favorites and a preseason top 25, here’s our final preseason attempt at projecting all 35 bowl games starting with the BCS Bowls.

After the end of each week’s play, we’ll continue our projections by projecting the BCS bowls each week, and then projecting the non-BCS bowls again midway through the season.

These picks coincide with our conference profile section and the basic understanding of how each bowl game wants to select its teams. However, bowls don’t select by finishing order, just how they want to fill their bowls up, so it is a VERY dicey proposition to try to project what the bowls want for their matchups.

Each projected participant is listed with their conference affiliation and the selection order from that conference the bowl retains.

Projected 2011 BCS Bowls

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (BCS No. 2)

Rose Bowl: Boise State Broncos (Automatic at-large selection) vs. Oregon State Beavers (Pac-10 Champion)

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 Champion) vs. Connecticut Huskies (Big East Champion)

Orange Bowl: Iowa Hawkeyes (At-large selections) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC Champion)

Sugar Bowl: Texas Longhorns (At-large selection) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection)

Projected 2010-11 Non-BCS Bowls

December 18: New Mexico Bowl: Idaho Vandals (WAC No. 4) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (MWC No. 4)

December 18: uDrove Humanitarian Bowl: Fresno State Bulldogs (WAC No. 3) vs. Ohio Bobcats (MAC No. 3)

December 18: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (Sun Belt Champ) vs. Southern Miss Golden Eagles (No. 5)

December 21: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl: Tulsa Golden Hurricane (C-USA No. 4) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Big East No. 5)

December 22: MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: TCU Horned Frogs (MWC Champ) vs. California Bears (Pac-10 No. 5)

December 23: San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Navy Midshipmen (Independent) vs. Utah Utes (MWC No. 2)

December 24: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii Warriors (WAC) vs. Southern Methodist Mustangs (C-USA No. 1)

December 26: Little Caesars Bowl: Northern Illinois Wolfpack (MAC Champ) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (Sun Belt No. 3)

December 27: AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: BYU Cougars (MWC No. 3) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (ACC No. 7)

December 28: Champs Sports Bowl: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Independent) vs. Florida State Seminoles (ACC No. 3)

December 28: Insight Bowl: Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 No. 5) vs. Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten No. 6)

December 29: EagleBank Bowl: East Carolina Pirates (C-USA No. 6) vs. Duke Blue Devils (ACC No. 8 )

December 29: Texas Bowl: Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 7) vs. Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten No. 7)

December 29: Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon Ducks (Pac-10 No. 2) vs. Missouri Tigers (Big 12 No. 4)

December 30: Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force Falcons (MWC No. 5) vs. Central Florida (C-USA No. 2)

December 30: New Era Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers (Big East No. 3) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (Big 12 No. 8 )

December 30: Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Ole Miss Rebels (SEC No. 7) vs. Clemson Tigers (ACC No. 6)

December 30: Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Washington Huskies (Pac-10 No. 3) vs. Colorado Buffaloes (Big 12 No. 6)

December 31: Meineke Car Care Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers (Big East No. 2) vs. Boston College Eagles (ACC No. 5)

December 31: Hyundai Sun Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-10 No. 4) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (ACC No. 4)

December 31: Autozone Liberty Bowl: Houston Cougars (C-USA No. 3) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (SEC No. 8 )

December 31: Chick-fil-A Bowl: LSU Tigers (SEC No. 6) vs. Miami Hurricanes (ACC No. 2)

January 1: Dallas Football Classic Bowl : Baylor Bears (Big 12 No. 9) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (Big Ten No. 9)

January 1: Outback Bowl: South Carolina Gamecocks (SEC No. 5) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten No. 4)

January 1: Capital One Bowl: Florida Gators (SEC No. 3) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten No. 3)

January 1: Gator Bowl: Arkansas Razorbacks (SEC No. 7) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (Big Ten No. 5)

January 6: GMAC Bowl: Troy Trojans (Sun Belt No. 2) vs. Temple Owls (MAC No. 2)

January 7: AT&T Cotton Bowl: Auburn Tigers (SEC No. 4) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big 12 No. 3)

January 8: Birmingham Bowl (Big East vs. SEC): Cincinnati Bearcats (Big East No. 4) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (SEC No. 9)

January 9: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Nevada Wolfpack (WAC No. 2) vs. Arizona Wildcats (Pac-10 No. 6)

Road to Glendale 2011: Conference Championship Games Star in Week 14

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to Week 14 where the three BCS conference championship games will play a huge role in which teams make BCS bowls in 2011.

Big 12 Championship Game: Saturday Dec. 4, TBA

In what will be the conference’s final championship game, a matchup of two top-ten teams is more than likely in a very deep 2010 Big 12.

Among the favorites in the North are the defending division winners Nebraska, a revitalized Missouri team and even possibly an unexpected team, like a Colorado or Kansas.

The Big 12 South is sure to once again provide some of the best conference action in the country in the upcoming season, and when the time comes for the South to fill its bid, it could go to a team that has been battered by a tough schedule.

Oklahoma and Texas — as in years past — are the favorites, but don’t overlook teams like Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in the division.

Projected Matchup: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

ACC Championship Game: Saturday Dec. 4, TBA

Some might wonder if the ACC Championship Game has lost some of its luster in the past few years when the game failed to provide truly compelling matchups.

However, in 2010, you can expect two high-quality opponents to make their appearance in Charlotte for this years’ edition, as the ACC looks to have a bevy of talent and good teams all around the conference.

Among the favorites are Virginia Tech, Florida State and defending ACC champ Georgia Tech.

No matter what the matchup is, you can expect the ACC Champion to be a nationally vaunted team, and who knows, even a contender for a BCS National Championship.

Projected Matchup: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Florida State Seminoles

SEC Championship Game: Saturday Dec. 4, TBA

The last four years of the BCS have been ruled with an iron fist by the teams from the SEC. And for each of those four teams, the SEC Championship Game was their penultimate proving ground before making their way to a national title.

Could 2010 be more of the same?

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Arkansas and even more give the SEC the depth we’re used to expecting from the conference, meaning that we could be headed for a national semifinal of a SEC Championship Game, as it has been in the past few seasons.

The defending champion Crimson Tide must be the preseason favorites, but any of the aforementioned teams can make a legitimate run at the title. The SEC continues to be the best conference in the country, and there’s no reason to think the dominance will end anytime soon.

We should be treated to yet another high-quality and top ranked matchup when the final week of the regular season comes around.

Projected Matchup: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Oregon at Oregon State: Saturday Dec. 4, TBA

Last year, this “Civil War” decided more than just the statewide bragging rights for the Ducks and Beavers.

Oregon’s victory in this game allowed the Ducks to return to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1995 and their first Pac-10 title since 2001.

This year’s matchup will feature some of the stars that featured heavily in the decisive game last season, including Oregon running back LaMicahel James and Oregon State back Jacquizz Rodgers.

However, both teams will be relying on new quarterbacks this season and their respective play could end up not only deciding which team is victorious in the Civil War, but whether that team is successful throughout the 2010 year.

Other Games of Note: C-USA Championship Game, MAC Championship Game, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.

Road to Glendale 2011: Traditional Rivalries Hold Extra Weight in Week 13

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to Week 13 where the Iron Bowl, Backyard Brawl and Sunshine Showdown rivalries will headline Thanksgiving weekend.

West Virginia at Pittsburgh: Friday Nov. 26, TBA

The Backyard Brawl rivalry is a huge game no matter the records of the Panthers and Mountaineers. However, in 2010, this could be an essential piece in the puzzle for either teams’ hopes of a Big East conference title and BCS bowl bid.

In the wide-open Big East, West Virginia and Pittsburgh are the favorites to capture the conference crown and when Thanksgiving weekend rolls around, this game could decide the Big East’s 2010 champion.

Both teams will rely on their top-level talent at running back — West Virginia trotting out Noel Devine and Pittsburgh keying Heisman hopeful Dion Lewis.

Running backs aside, both teams are well balanced and experienced around the field, but the key to the game might be the offensive lines. With strong running backs and quarterbacks that are not well-tested, the protection and movement at the point of attack will be of the utmost importance.

Pittsburgh lost three interior lineman from last season’s team, and may struggle to adapt to the new line early, but will hope to have things worked out by the time this game comes along. If the Panther line can get itself together, Lewis could easily be a late season Heisman favorite.

West Virginia is lucky to return a group of young but experienced group on the offensive line and will hope that they stay injury-free to protect Devine and pocket-passing quarterback (yes a pocket passer at West Virginia) Geno Smith.

Auburn at Alabama: Friday Nov. 26, TBA

As a part of the Crimson Tide’s run to the National Championship Game last season, they had to squeak by the Tigers in the annual Iron Bowl rivalry game. The five-point victory was a surprise to some, seeing as though the Tide had crushed Auburn in the previous year, 36-0.

Now that Auburn looks to making its way back to the form that allowed for six straight victories in the rivalry from 2002-2007, this game could turn out to be a classic in the making.

Add to that the preseason hype the Tigers are getting and that many predict the Tigers could be undefeated when the 2010 edition of the Iron Bowl rolls around, and this could be the defining game of the SEC schedule in 2010.

On the line in Tuscaloosa could be the SEC Western Division crown and positioning in the BCS standings.

The faces on Alabama should be pretty familiar to those on the visiting Auburn squad. However, Auburn must replace a large portion of their starting rotation including filling holes at running back and quarterback along with inserting new talent on the defensive line.

No matter whether the Tigers can gel by the time the game comes up or not, don’t expect a repeat of the 2008 shellacking by either side — this game could prove one of the most entertaining of the month.

Florida at Florida State: Saturday Nov. 27, TBA

A non-conference rivalry matchup in the midst of conference positioning throughout the country might seem like a unnecessary showcase for the time of year, but this year’s version of the rivalry could hold feature something we haven’t seen since 2003 — a Seminole victory.

True the Gators will likely be favored in the matchup despite the Tallahassee setting of this year’s rivalry game, but for the first time since 2005, a tight, hard-fought game is expected and both teams have a great chance of coming into the matchup with a BCS bowl bid in their near future.

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder is capable of picking apart any defense, and Florida’s is no exception.

And for the first since before the Tim Tebow era, the Seminoles can say that their quarterback is just as big of a weapon as the Gators’ man behind center.

That is not to say, however, that by Week 13 Florida’s new quarterback, John Brantley, will not have complete control over the Gator offense and be orchestrating yet another trip to the BCS National Championship Game for the Gators and coach Urban Meyer.

Boise State at Nevada: Saturday Nov. 27, TBA

Despite the Broncos having another game in Week 14, this game may be the make or break game of their year.

Victories against Virginia Tech and Oregon State early in the season would easily put Boise on their way to a BCS bowl bid and an undefeated record, but this trip to Nevada to play an always tough Wolfpack could prove the last step towards an undefeated 2010 season.

The Wolfpack are favored to be the only team able to unseat the Broncos from atop the Western Athletic Conference, making this matchup a de facto conference title game as well, only adding to the pressure Boise State will likely feel coming into the meeting.

Last season’s edition of this WAC rivalry was a close affair, as the Wolfpack showed their best against the Broncos, including quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who passed for three touchdowns and kept the game close until the fourth quarter.

In the end, the performance of Kaepernick will  be measured against that of Bronco quarterback Kellen Moore, and whichever leader is able to triumph what is sure to be a statistical explosion might translate into a victory for his team.

Other Games of Note: LSU at Arkansas, Georgia Tech at Georgia, Michigan at Ohio State, Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Houston at Texas Tech, BYU at Utah.

Road to Glendale 2011: Big Ten Tussle Tops Week 12 Slate

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to Week 12, where Big Ten and ACC titles could be on the line.

Ohio State at Iowa: Saturday Nov. 20, TBA

Preseason hype and expectations will mean very little when Ohio State takes the treacherous trek to Iowa City in this late-season Big Ten matchup that seems destined to be an elimination game for the Big Ten crown.

Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes will hope to have the Big Ten title all sewn up by the time this game rolls around, but, like in year’s past, that’s not going to be an easy task.

The Buckeyes will have to deal with tough opponents all season, not to mention the strong possibility of three or even four teams vying for the Big Ten title all the way throughout the season. All that skill spread around the country could spell a very muddled picture in the Big Ten in 2010, making this game of the utmost importance to two of the teams that seem primed to make a run at the title.

Last season these two teams met up on this same weekend with the Big Ten title on the line in Columbus. The Hawkeyes were able to comeback from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit, but they were beaten in OT by the Buckeyes, 27-24.

Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi and the Iowa defense will be fired up to welcome the Buckeyes into town and will look for some revenge, especially if the Big Ten title is up for grabs once again.

Virginia Tech at Miami (FL): Saturday Nov. 20, TBA

Two of the three teams that jumped the Big East ship in 2004 have made the ACC a comfortable fit for themselves, and 2010 looks to be no different, as both the Hokies and Hurricanes are among the favorites for the ACC title.

Both could use this game as a springboard to the ACC Coastal Division crown and to secure a berth in the ACC Championship Game. Once again, Tyrod Taylor and Jacory Harris will be tested against tough defenses and will measure against one another. Both are capable of doing damage with both their feet and their arms—in fact the teams could benefit from playing against a similar-style quarterback in the practices leading up to the game, as the two have similar styles.

A key for both teams will be to stay healthy down the stretch of the ACC schedule. Injuries riddled the 2009 campaign for the Hurricanes and prevented them from continuing their hot start to last season.

Virginia Tech was uncharacteristically weak during the middle of last season, dropping games to eventual ACC Champion Georgia Tech and to ACC foe North Carolina.

The Hokies will have to avoid those kinds of losses, especially at home, in order for this game to mean something to them when late November rolls around.

Miami will have the home field advantage in this one, which could prove more important than any other factor in this game, as the Hurricanes were 5-1 at home in 2009.

USC at Oregon State: Saturday Nov. 20, 8:00 p.m. ET

The state of Oregon has been quite unkind to the Trojans these past couple of years, delivering crushing loss after loss in four consecutive seasons and hampering the Trojans’ attempts at BCS National Championship Game berths.

This season the Trojans will be unable to compete in any postseason bowls, but they will still have to take the treacherous trip up the Pacific coastline to the state of Oregon, this year to face the Oregon State Beavers.

The Beavers have been underdogs in the two team’s meetings during the Trojans’ dominating Pac-10 run, but this year Oregon State might find itself in an unusual situation—favored against a USC team.

The Beavers are among the favorites for the Pac-10 title, and they have a chance to make their way to the top of the conference if they can overcome the growing pains of a new quarterback.

Oregon State will feature running back Jacquizz Rodgers extensively in this one—as they have the past few years against the Trojans—and will hope for a similar result to that of 2008—when the Beavers shocked the country by beating Mark Sanchez and the then-No. 1 Trojans.

Although the Trojans are ineligible for the postseason, don’t expect Lane Kiffin and USC to go quietly. Quarterback Matt Barkley and a group of talented returners will do their best to play spoiler to the entire conference and claim a Pac-10 title despite their inability to play in the Rose Bowl.

This game might be a perfect opportunity for the Trojans to do just that.

Other Games of Note: Wisconsin at Michigan, Arkansas at Mississippi State.

Road to Glendale 2011: Conference Favorites Face Make or Break Week 11

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to Week 11 where every game is make or break for conference contenders.

Pittsburgh at Connecticut: Thursday Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m. ET

Down the stretch of the Big East race in 2009, Connecticut nearly pulled upsets against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Rutgers. Not one of those losses came by more than four points.

Finally, after nearly knocking off the eventual Big East champ Bearcats, the Huskies ended the season on a four-game winning streak—including a Bowl victory over South Carolina.

That kind of end to a season would make any team excited about its future prospects, and Connecticut is no exception. 2010 holds unprecedented expectations in Storrs, and when Pittsburgh comes to campus in this late-season matchup, things could get very interesting.

The Panthers themselves are considered among the favorites in the Big East, but this year Connecticut could be in position to actually complete the upsets it nearly pulled off in ’09, and this might be a key game in the Huskies’ drive for a possible Big East championship.

If the Huskies defense can contain Pittsburgh’s Heisman-hopeful running back Dion Lewis for four full quarters, there’s no reason to think an upset isn’t possible.

Combine this visit from the Panthers with a visit from West Virginia to Storrs the week before, and it’s not too much of a stretch to think the Huskies could win the conference if they can protect home field.

Miami (FL) at Georgia Tech: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

Two of the ACC’s most dynamic quarterbacks and Heisman hopefuls—Georgia Tech’s Josh Nesbitt and Miami’s Jacory Harris—will feature prominently in this marquee matchup of ACC Championship hopefuls in 2010.

Georgia Tech will be coming off an extended break following a matchup with ACC favorite Virginia Tech, giving it enough time to prepare for an on-the-rise Hurricanes squad led by Harris and coach Randy Shannon.

Miami’s schedule to this point is not daunting, and after a fast start brought some of that swagger back to Miami last season, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Miami back near the top of the rankings when November 13 comes around.

Injuries and small mistakes kept the Hurricanes from being more than a nine-win team in 2009, but a year of experience—and hopefully for the ‘Canes a less injury-riddled season—could spell some real success in Shannon’s fourth season.

Tech will once again be testing the ACC with its spread-option offense, which Nesbitt has become a master of orchestrating, something that the Hurricanes will need to prepare for if they hope to top Georgia Tech on the road.

South Carolina at Florida: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

Forget for a moment that this will be another Steve Spurrier return trip to the Swamp and that emotions will likely run high—this game is likely to be great on its own merits.

Spurrier, who will call all of the Gamecocks’ offensive plays this season, will be looking to put a scare into the Gators on the road. And if the Gamecocks can get a couple of the finer points ironed out earlier in the season, just a scare would be a disappointment.

South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia had transformed into the SEC’s most prolific passer and will need to bring an even better effort if the Gamecocks want to improve on a 7-6 record in 2009 that ended in a disappointing loss in a January 2nd bowl to Connecticut.

Florida’s quarterback situation is also a key point to this potentially important game, as by Week 11 we’ll probably know whether John Brantley is an adequate replacement for Tim Tebow or if he has struggled to adapt to his new role in the Gator offense.

The Gamecock defense should be an especially tough test for the new Gator quarterback—one that was able to rank highly in many statistical categories despite youth and injuries in 2009.

Penn State at Ohio State: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

Perennial Big Ten contenders Ohio State and Penn State will do battle once again in Columbus in a game that could help decide—once again—the Big Ten champion.

Ohio State might have higher aspirations than a Big Ten championship this season, but it’ll have to get past a visit from the Nittany Lions if it wants to make a run at the championship game.

You know the major players here: coaches Paterno and Tressel, OSU QB Terrelle Pryor and Penn State RB Evan Royster, and just like any high quality Big Ten matchup this one will likely include some classic Big Ten rough, physical play.

Defenses and offenses will be tested all game and the winner will have a great shot at the conference title.

Expect both teams to come out fired up, and for the Buckeyes’ home field advantage to play a huge role in this one.

Georgia at Auburn: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

This is another SEC matchup that could be a matchup of undefeated squads or one where both teams have taken a beating in early SEC action.

But despite the unpredictability of the SEC, most believe that both teams are serious contenders for their respective SEC division crowns, and this game will be key if either wants to meet that goal.

Both teams look stocked with talent all around the field, including Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, a Heisman candidate, and an Auburn offensive line that is loaded with experienced players.

In the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” Auburn holds the slightest of edges over the Bulldogs, 53–52–8, and will look to extend the lead after Georgia has done a great deal of catching up in the past couple of years.

Road to Glendale 2011: Five Marquee Matchups Headline Week Ten

ryan williams

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to a jam-packed week ten filled with huge matchups around the country.

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech: Thursday Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. ET

Despite losing four marquee names from the team that won the ACC title last season, Georgia Tech seems primed to make another run at the conference crown in 2010.

However, standing squarely in their way are the Hokies of Virginia Tech. Shut out of the ACC Championship Game last season, the Hokies are the prohibitive favorite in the 12-team conference and will start the season ranked among the best in the nation.

Both teams have simple conference schedules before this game and could very easily be undefeated in the ACC when the square off for a Thursday night battle in Blacksburg.

The Hokies will be hoping that the game will serve as a sort of passing of the guard from the Yellow Jackets to themselves, as a win here could send either on the fast track to the ACC Coastal Division crown and a berth in the 2010 ACC Championship Game.

The game could also be an opportunity for both teams’ quarterbacks — the Hokies’ Tyrod Taylor and Yellow Jackets’ Josh Nesbitt — to state their case for ACC Offensive Player of the Year, as both will be preseason favorites for the award.

TCU at Utah: Saturday Nov. 6, 3:30 p.m. ET

What has become an annual conference battle that oftentimes tops the pressure and excitement of some BCS conference rivalries will make its final appearance in 2010 as Utah is headed to the Pac-10 in 2011.

And there’s no doubt — this rivalry could go out with a bang in 2010.

Both teams have high aspirations this year, conference championship and a BCS bowl game bid included, however this game might end up being an elimination style battle for both opportunities.

TCU quarterback Andy Dalton will look to pick apart a young Utes defense that only returns four of its 11 starters from the 2009 team that finished 10-3. Utah will counter with Jordan Wynn, who started 2009 on the bench but took over for Terrance Cain midway through the season.

Alabama at LSU: Saturday Nov. 6, 8:00 p.m. ET

For a preseason national title favorite, the Alabama Crimson Tide will have a terribly difficult time returning to the BCS National Championship Game with the caliber of opponents on their schedule.

Week ten will be no different for the Tide, as they head to Baton Rouge to face off against the Tigers of LSU in another classic SEC matchup.

By now you know the story of the defending champion Crimson Tide — returning most of the core that brought them their first national championship in 2009 since 1992.

The Tigers are looking to improve upon an underwhelming nine-win season in ’09 with a team full of potential, but a schedule that could prove daunting for a team that will rely on a defense that only returns four starters and an unsure quarterback situation.

Both teams could be undefeated when the early November meet up occurs, or they could both have two losses — the SEC schedule is that tough and unpredictable. But no matter what the records are when the game rolls around, you can definitely expect fireworks and high quality football.

Washington at Oregon: Saturday Nov. 6, TBA

Depending on who you ask, any of four (or even five) teams seem to hold the preseason position as Pac-10 favorite for 2010.

Both Washington and Oregon are among those teams, and when they meet up for this Pacific Northwest battle in week ten, both will likely be gunning for a Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl bid.

Yet, despite both receiving some preseason national praise, the quarterback situations in Eugene and Seattle could not be more different.

Washington returns preseason Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year favorite Jake Locker after the senior quarterback decided to forgo the NFL draft and stay with the Huskies one final year. The Ducks, on the other hand, lost their star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli after he was kicked off the team and transferred to Ole Miss.

Offense will be a key in this matchup, as Locker will be tested against an experienced and skilled Ducks defense while the Ducks will contend with a less than spectacular Washington defense — which has especially large holes at defensive line and in the secondary.

Arkansas at South Carolina: Saturday Nov. 6, TBA

If the Alabama-LSU matchup is the game of the week in the SEC, this battle is a close second.

Both teams finished distant fourth places in their respective SEC divisions in 2009, but look to 2010 as a year to break out and make some real noise in the nation’s toughest conference.

South Carolina is looking to take advantage of an unusually open East Division in the SEC and make a surprise run at the SEC Championship Game and will need quarterback Stephen Garcia and the offense to perform at a high level to have a shot.

Arkansas has a Heisman hopeful in quarterback Ryan Mallett and could be a surprise contender in the West Division if they can survive a daunting early-season schedule.

Road to Glendale 2011: BCS Conference Action Fills Week Nine


As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to week nine where BCS conference action around the country will once again hold the spotlight.

West Virginia at Connecticut: Friday Oct. 29, 8:00 p.m. ET

The Big East may well be the most open conference of any in the FBS, however, these two squads can confidently say that they are among the favorites in the eight-team league.

Both West Virginia and Connecticut had solid seasons in 2009, and the Huskies were especially surprising in their run to an 8-5 record and were competitive in the conference race until the final few weeks of the season. The Mountaineers fell short of the Big East title, but did finish the season ranked among the nation’s top-25.

Both are hoping that they have the pieces to complete a run towards a Big East title in 2010, especially because last season’s conference champ, Cincinnati, is looking at a down season following the departure of coach Brian Kelly and quarterback Tony Pike.

Both teams could easily head to this Friday-night showdown with undefeated Big East records, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see the Mountaineers have an undefeated record overall.

The teams matchup well around the field, especially at running back, where the Mountaineers’ Noel Devine and the Huskies’ Johnathan Todman are capable ball carriers.

Florida vs. Georgia: Saturday Oct. 30, 3:30 p.m. ET

Nothing quite matches up to a Florida-Georgia SEC battle, sometimes better known the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”. However, recently, the rivalry has been surprisingly one-sided, as Florida has made it a habit of being in the national title race nearly every year.

The Gators have won four of the last six editions of the rivalry game and ten of the last 12. However, the 2010 Gators are recuperating from a big losses to the NFL and the Bulldogs seem to be revitalized, leading some to think Georgia has a good shot to dethrone the Gators from the top of the SEC East.

Georgia has a simpler road to coming into the rivalry matchup with an undefeated record, as the Gators will have to take on Alabama early in the season, but history is any indication, no matter the records of the two teams the game will have an extreme intensity and urgency to it.

Some of the players to keep an eye on are Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green and Florida quarterback John Brantley, both of whom will be key to their respective teams’ chances at an SEC title in 2010.

Missouri at Nebraska: Saturday Oct. 30, TBA

In a game that could easily be a Big 12 North knockout game, the Cornhuskers and Tigers will make sure to come to Lincoln well prepared for a matchup that will be filled with postseason implications.

The Cornhuskers, last season’s Big 12 North division winner, and Missouri, the runner-up, are back again to give another run at a Big 12 title. Despite the North being viewed as a lesser division against the seemingly always stacked Big 12 South division, both teams are legitimate hopes for a resurgence of the North.

And if Nebraska’s near-victory against Texas last year was any indication, the gap is closing. The winner here will likely be on the fast track to the title game, and be the next team to gun for a Big 12 South favorite.

Missouri’s offense attack will certainly be tested in this late-October game against the fear-inducing Cornhusker defense that is keyed by its defensive line despite the loss of Ndamukong Suh. Juniors Jared Crick and Terrence Moore seem ready to take the spotlight vacated by Suh and could turn in similarly dominant season — and will need to if Nebraska hopes to make it back to the Big 12 Championship Game.

In order to be successful, Missouri will need its young defense to step up against a sometimes anemic Nebraska offense and make plays to do something to fight the power that the Cornhusker defense can assert over entire games.

Other Games of Note: Stanford at Washington, Troy at Louisiana-Monroe

Road to Glendale 2011: Conference Favorites Look to Step Up in Week Eight


As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to week eight where the nation’s best can begin to truly separate themselves from the pack.

Oklahoma at Missouri: Saturday Oct. 23, TBA

A young, unproven Missouri team put in a surprisingly good 2009 season, leading many to believe the Tigers are a legitimate Big 12 North contender despite their continued relative youth.

It’s not a stretch to think of the Tigers as co-favorites in the North with Nebraska, especially with junior quarterback Blaine Gibbert leading the way. Full of potential and of the classic quarterback mold, only Colt McCoy was better than Gibbert in terms of Big 12 passing efficiency in ’09.

Equipped with a stable of talented receivers, Gibbert is poised to break out in 2010.

If Missouri can make its way to a Big 12 North title, this game could be a Big 12 Championship Game preview, as Oklahoma is favored to return to the top of the always-competitive Big 12 South.

Quarterback Landry Jones and running back DeMarco Murray will take to the task of replacing the lost talent from the 2009 Sooners, and could be on their way back to a BCS bowl.

It wont be easy, but both the Sooners and Tigers could be undefeated coming into this late-October matchup in Columbia, meaning this could end up being among the most important games of the Big 12 regular season.

Wisconsin at Iowa: Saturday Oct. 23, TBA

Ohio State may rule the roost when the conversation turns to Big Ten favorites in 2010, but these two squads might have something to say about it once the 2010 season actually gets started.

Beside being considered co-favorites along with the Buckeyes, the Badgers and Hawkeyes feature two skill players who are more than capable of taking over a game and making sure their team wins. And if either wants a real shot at the Big Ten conference championship, they’ll have to bring their best to this midseason clash at Iowa City.

Making things all the more interesting is the Badgers will be fresh off the marquee matchup of the Big Ten season against Ohio State just seven days earlier at Camp Randall. If the Badgers can pull the upset, this could turn into a must win for either team if they want the Big Ten championship to themselves.

The obvious key to the game will be offense, as Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi and Wisconsin running back John Clay are among the early favorites for the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. However, defense will likely play a larger role in trying to shut down the game’s skill players, and there Wisconsin might have a slight advantage—especially in the back seven.

Houston at Southern Methodist: Saturday Oct. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET

The two names you might know in this matchup—Houston quarterback Case Keenum and SMU coach June Jones—will be vitally important to each team’s success in 2010. However, in this game, the unheralded players and coaches might play the key in a game that will likely decide the C-USA West Division champion.

Houston’s stable of wide receivers and running backs, anchored by senior wideout James Cleveland and junior running back Bryce Beall, will need to step up against an SMU defense that made huge strides in 2009 and is always ready to take on the pass-happy offenses of the C-USA.

Houston could easily make its way to this matchup undefeated, while SMU will have a more difficult road, but will also likely be undefeated in early C-USA play. Both likely will be favored in all of their remaining conference battles, so this matchup is vitally important to both teams’ hopes of a C-USA championship.

SMU went from 1-11 in 2008 to 8-5 in 2009 after just one year of tutelage from June Jones. Now among the C-USA favorites, can Jones continue the improvement and bring the Mustangs to where Hawaii was when Jones took them into the national spotlight?

This game will definitely be a window into how far the Mustangs have come and whether they have made enough strides to hang with the conference’s most nationally visible program in Houston.

Other Games of Note: LSU at Auburn, Wyoming at BYU,  Notre Dame at Navy, Alabama at Tennessee.

Road to Glendale 2011: Big Ten Favorites Hit the Road in Week Seven

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to week seven where the Big Ten has two marquee matchups on the slate.

Arkansas at Auburn: Saturday Oct. 16, TBA

There’s no denying it—in 2010, the SEC West is absolutely loaded, and it could be any one’s division.

This midseason matchup might feature two undefeated or once-defeated SEC West squads still jockeying for conference positioning as the season turns the corner towards the home stretch.

Arkansas will be coming off a hellacious early-season SEC schedule, faced with taking on Georgia and Alabama on back-to-back weekends before taking on Texas A&M at home the week before this marquee SEC showdown.

If the Razorbacks are undefeated at this point, they would likely be favored to take the SEC West crown and this game at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. However, it’s possible that the Tigers will welcome Arkansas to their house with an undefeated record of their own.

Unlike the Razorbacks, the Tigers do not take on the cream of the SEC crop until later on in the season, and a victory here could propel them towards showdowns with the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide that could decide the conference title contenders.

Auburn will be hard-pressed to replace some significant holes at quarterback, running back, and defensive line, but by the time Week Seven rolls around the Tigers hope to have the wrinkles in their system worked out.

Arkansas, on the other hand, comes into the season very confident with its quarterback Ryan Mallet—who could be a strong Heisman contender when the Razorbacks take the trip to Auburn.

Iowa at Michigan: Saturday Oct. 16, 3:30 p.m. ET

The Wolverines come into the 2010 season with guarded expectations following an underwhelming 5-7 record in the ’09 season, including a very disappointing 1-7 showing in Big Ten play.

If coach Rich Rodriguez wants to cool down his coaching hot seat even a little bit, he’s going to have to come into this Week Seven matchup with a good record. Luckily for Rodriguez, the Wolverines’ first six games this season are winnable (although far from guaranteed) matchups against the likes of Notre Dame and Connecticut.

If Rodriguez and Michigan can come into this meeting with Big Ten co-favorites Iowa with an undefeated or one-loss record, hopes will be high in Ann Arbor for an upset.

However, standing in its way will be a tested and experienced group from Iowa, led by quarterback Ricky Stanzi and a deep group of running backs. The experience of the Hawkeye offense will prove especially vital in this matchup, as questions have become concerns on the defensive side of the ball for the Wolverines.

On offense the Wolverines can put the Hawkeye defense to the test, especially by utilizing Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier, a dynamic combination of quarterbacks for the Wolverines.

Ohio State at Wisconsin: Saturday Oct. 16, 7:00 p.m. ET

If Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema ever had a shot to prove he could get his Badgers over the hump and make a BCS bowl, it seems like 2010 might be the year.

Along with welcoming back most of the core from the ’09 team that tied for second in the Big Ten, the Badgers were gifted a fortuitous schedule, welcoming conference favorite Ohio State to Camp Randall in what should be a classic Big Ten-style football showdown.

Badger running back John Clay has the ability to batter even the best defenses, and by the middle of October he could be among the early Heisman favorites. A strong performance here would only further his candidacy, especially if he can lead his team to break the national title hopes of the Buckeyes.

It wont be easy though, no matter how excited the team and the crowd in Madison might be.

Ohio State has a Heisman hopeful of its own in quarterback Terrelle Pryor and a shockingly good and experienced defense that has few, if any, holes.

The Buckeyes will be a tough test for any team this season, but Wisconsin could be the team to knock the Buckeyes off the national title track and leave Columbus without a national title shot for another season.

Other Games of Note: Texas at Nebraska, Oregon State at Washington, Southern Methodist at Navy, BYU at TCU, Middle Tennessee at Georgia Tech.

Road to Glendale 2011: MAC and Sun Belt Positioning at Stake in Week Six

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to week six where two marquee matchups in non-BCS conferences will probably be your best bet for pressure packed college football this early in the season.

Troy at Middle Tennessee State: Tuesday Oct. 5, 8:00 p.m. ET

This mid-season Sun Belt showdown between the two conference favorites could act as a de facto Sun Belt championship game. With the skill both teams bring to the table in 2010, it wouldn’t be surprising to find these two teams at the top at season’s end.

This seemingly unimportant non-BCS conference game suddenly becomes a marquee matchup of Week 6, and could also provide high entertainment for 60 straight minutes of football.

The likely star here, Middle Tennessee State’s quarterback Dwight Dasher, is an all-around threat with the ability to pick apart defenses with both his feet and arm. Dasher will put his skills to the test against Troy, whose run of Sun Belt titles may be over this year after losing their long-time quarterback Levi Brown.

Brown, who holds many Troy all-time records, will be sorely missed in what will likely be a shootout between the two teams. However, the Trojans won’t be without any hope when they travel to MTSU’s Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium in early October.

Long time Trojan coach Larry Blakeney returns star running backs DuJuan Harris and Shawn Southward, along with defensive ends sophomore Jonathan Massaquoi and senior Mario Addison, who will need to put the pressure on Dasher if they are to have any hope of pulling off the road victory.

Temple at Northern Illinois: Saturday Oct. 9, 12:00 p.m. ET

Another high quality non-BCS matchup will again feature two conference title hopefuls, this time the Temple Owls and Northern Illinois Huskies of the Mid-American Conference.

Both teams fell just short of the conference title game last season. With major changes occurring all over the conference, both teams could be right in the middle of the hunt for a berth in the championship game.

The game will feature two unheralded running backs in Northern Illinois’s Chad Spann and Temple’s Bernard Pierce. Both had shining seasons, including Pierce’s surprising MAC rushing title as a freshman in the ’09 season. Questionable quarterback situations will cause both teams to rely heavily on their running games.

Florida State at Miami (FL): Saturday Oct. 9, TBA

A rivalry that was once a non-conference affair has lost some of its luster after the teams joined the same conference and were unable to keep pace with the results of past decades for both teams.

However, after an entertaining edition of the rivalry in 2009, 2010 looks like it could be a reminder of what made both programs so strong during a dominant stretch of Florida football.

Quarterbacks Jacory Harris and Christian Ponder have a lot to do with it, and are early ACC Player of the Year favorites along with Heisman contenders. Coaches Randy Shannon and Jimbo Fisher, although both young and relatively inexperienced in relation to their programs’ history, have returned some youthful energy in the programs and could make the upcoming years more successful.

When the teams meet in Sun Life Stadium in Miami in Week 6, don’t be surprised if you see a game that reminds you of the “Wide Rights I-IV” and “Wide Left” that seemingly define this rivalry.

Just in case you’re wondering: Senior Matt Bosher kicks for the Hurricanes and sophomore Dustin Hopkins takes kicks for the Seminoles.

Other Games of Note: Wyoming at TCU, Pittsburgh at Notre Dame, Mississippi State at Houston, Alabama at South Carolina