Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — Preseason

One more time. Just once more will the BCS decide a champion in college football. Whether you loved or hated it, you have to admit the BCS was a lightning rod for conversation and lively debate in the college football world.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Louisville
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. TCU
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Boise State
Scroll down for more

It’s always been fun to project what’s about to happen in each season under the BCS. And this one is no different. Could Alabama close the BCS era on an unprecedented streak that will likely imprint them as the team of the era?

We’re about to find out. Plus there are nine other slots to be filled one last time in this group of five bowls that has survived years of debate and hatred. We can only hope it finishes strong.

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Alabama could very well complete a run so unmatched in modern college football that the BCS will be inextricably linked to the Crimson Tide, even though Alabama didn’t even capture its first BCS victory until the 2010 title game. Looks like 2013 is shaping up to be another crimson year.

On the other sideline you could find another red — the Cardinal of Stanford. With a home contest against Oreogn on the docket and a very high preseason ranking, it’s not too difficult to see Stanford making the final climb in the last BCS year.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten champion)

Comment: It is that one contest against Stanford in Palo Alto that makes a trip to the Rose Bowl more likely than one to the title game for the Ducks, who similarly come into the season with a big preseason ranking and a handful of Heisman hopefuls.

The Buckeyes of Ohio State are a prohibitive No. 2 this year after sitting out a year with postseason ineligibility, but unlike their cakewalk schedule of last year, there are landmines to trip over, and we’ll say that at least one of them gets the Buckeyes, keeping them from a final trip to the BCS title game.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion)

Comment: Georgia was a few yards from a title game berth last year, and instead got left out of the BCS all together. Not a pretty sight for the Bulldogs’ faithful, but with the right set of circumstances in 2013, it seems like the season could finally play out for a Georgia return to the BCS for the first time since the 2008 Sugar Bowl.

Louisville has what amounts to one of the country’s easiest schedules in 2013, and though they may survive without a blemish to their record, it will be a tough climb to get into the title game picture. If they do miss out, a berth in a BCS bowl as the inaugural champs of the American Athletic Conference shouldn’t be too tough to come by.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (At-large selection)

Comment: Clemson’s recent rise as an ACC power comes not surprisingly as a result of the play and reputation of quarterback Tajh Boyd and a threatening offensive attack. After missing the BCS last season, expect the Tigers to take advantage of a somewhat young and weakened ACC to a conference title and a bid to the last BCS-era Orange Bowl.

TCU’s first two bids to the BCS came as a result of their surprising seasons as a member of a non-AQ conference. The Horned Frogs showed they could hang with the big boys then, and now, with a year of Big 12 experience under its belt, TCU should vie for a shot at a BCS berth.

Fiesta Bowl: Boise State Broncos (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: No one school symbolizes what the BCS tried to do with its at-large and non-AQ addendums than Boise State. And with a high preseason ranking and a somewhat breezy schedule ahead of them, the Broncos could make one last bow on the BCS stage.

Oklahoma State leads a bunched-up Big 12 conference of favorites, but we’ll say with a favorable schedule and a strong returning group of players that the Cowboys will grab this automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl as Big 12 champs.


UPDATED Simulated Preseason BCS Rankings: Alabama, Oregon Preseason BCS Favorites

If one thing’s been constant throughout the final BCS era, it’s been the SEC. This year, the BCS’s last, looks to be little different.

Simulated BCS Rankings
Rank Team
1 Alabama Crimson Tide
2 Oregon Ducks
3 Georgia Bulldogs
4 Texas A&M Aggies
5 Stanford Cardinal
Scroll down for more

By this point, most know that 2013 is going to be the BCS’s swan song. And though few are sad to see it go, it’s still here to crown a national champion for one more year before the College Football Playoff takes over.

And like in the seven years that have preceded this one, it looks ripe for an SEC to finish the year on top.

Every year at BCS Know How, we’ve put together some simulated BCS rankings as the season comes close, and as the season progresses before the real BCS hits the airwaves. Here, we’ve started early, using a few adjustments to create an early look at what the BCS might look like if it came out today.

We’ve made the following substitutions/changes to the BCS formula as it now stands:

  • We’ve replaced the Harris Poll, which wont be available until mid-October, with the AP Poll
  • We’re ONLY using the available and up-to-date BCS computers, which at this point is just Massey’s non-BCS and Billingsley’s rankings. As the various computers are released before the start of the season, we’ll add them here and update the standings.

With those changes implemented, Alabama — of course — lands at No. 1. Unlike in the available AP and Coaches’ Poll, however, Oregon grabs the No. 2 spot.

This is because of those pesky computers. After coasting to a 12-0 record last season on what the computers viewed as an easy schedule, Ohio State starts the season well down the list in terms of preseason numerical favorites at No. 4. They’ll have some work to do.

Georgia and Texas A&M give the SEC three of the top six teams in these simulated BCS rankings before Pac-12 co-combatant of the Ducks, Stanford, lands at No. 5.

Florida and LSU also land in the top 11, while reigning national runner-up, Notre Dame, falls all the way to No. 9.

But enough talk, explore our BCS Know How simulated preseason standings for yourself!

Here are the simulated preseason BCS rankings as of August 28:

2013 Simulated BCS Standings — Preseason

Rank Team BCS Score
1 Alabama Crimson Tide .9985
2 Oregon Ducks .9171
3 Georgia Bulldogs .8197
4 Ohio State Buckeyes .8169
5 Stanford Cardinal .8056
6 Texas A&M Aggies .7733
7 South Carolina Gamecocks .7541
8 Clemson Tigers .6325
9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish .6204
10 Florida Gators .6187
11 LSU Tigers .5696
12 Louisville Cardinals .5488
13 Florida State Seminoles .5293
14 Oklahoma Sooners .4687
15 Oklahoma State Cowboys .4172
16 Texas Longhorns .3909

Preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll: Alabama Favored to Repeat Again

The longest standing, largely unchanged vestige of the Bowl Championship Series, the USA Today Coaches’ Poll crowned Alabama as the preseason favorite to capture the final BCS title.

In the final season of the BCS the Crimson Tide will begin the season as the prohibitive favorites to ride the Coaches Poll, Harris Interactive Poll and computers into the final BCS title game before the system shuts down one last time.

Ohio State comes in at No. 2, taking three first-place votes to Alabama’s 58, while No. 6 Texas A&M grabs the last first-place tally. Oregon, Stanford and Georgia round out the top five.

Here we investigate the preseason poll by vote share, the statistic that the BCS will use to calculate the nation’s top teams during the last eight weeks of the college football year.

Preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll – August 1

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Alabama Crimson Tide 1545 .996
2 Ohio State Buckeyes 1427 .921
3 Oregon Ducks 1397 .901
4 Stanford Cardinal 1262 .814
5 Georgia Bulldogs 1250 .806
6 Texas A&M Aggies 1215 .784
7 South Carolina Gamecocks 1136 .733
8 Clemson Tigers 1047 .675
9 Louisville Cardinals 1010 .652
10 Florida Gators 930 .600
11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 872 .563
12 Florida State Seminoles 844 .545

Projected 2013 BCS Bowls — Preseason

You know the story. The Southeastern Conference — the once, current, future, and perhaps last king of the Bowl Championship Series — has won six straight crystal footballs and is looking to close out the BCS era with two more.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game USC vs. LSU
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Orange Bowl Florida St. vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma vs. Michigan
Sugar Bowl Alabama vs. West Virginia
Scroll down for more.

The 2012 season opens with the conference as strong as ever. But whereas the SEC might have seemed in a different category all together these last few years, the competition has slowly but surely crept up.

Could another conference find itself holding the crystal ball at the end of this season for the first time since Texas and Vince Young captured it?

And beyond that — just two sets of BCS bowl games separate us from the coming four-team playoff system. Who will fill the ten BCS slots in this next to the last season of the much derided Bowl Championship Series?

Let’s dive into our first set of projections, which will be available by 1 a.m. PST every Saturday night from here until the end of the season. These projections draw on our BCS conference profile series and reflect those projections.

BCS National Championship Game: LSU Tigers (BCS No. 1) vs. USC Trojans (BCS No. 2)

Comment: LSU has seen unfortunate circumstances arise in the lead up to its season openers each of the last two seasons. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson brawled before the 2011 campaign, and Tyrann Mathieu found himself kicked off the team before the 2012 season. Despite Jefferson’s suspension and the distraction, the Tigers made an undefeated run through the SEC and secure a title game bid. Expect the loss of Mathieu to prove a minimal blow to another strong-at-all-spots Tiger team.

USC sees the weight of the bowl ban lifted off its shoulders at just the right moment — as many expect the Trojans to return to the glory of the pre-NCAA sanctions years. With quarterback Matt Barkley, wide receiver duo Marquise Lee and Robert Woods and running back tandem Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal leading the way, don’t be surprised to the see the Trojans back in the title game after a seven-year absence.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Champion)

Comment: Though it is a rematch of last year’s Rose Bowl, who wouldn’t want to see another edition of that offensive fireworks display from Jan. 2? Oregon might not capture a fourth straight Pac-12 title with USC standing in its way, but keeping up with the Trojans and the rest of the nation’s best would likely mean a repeat trip to the BCS as an at-large selection, and where better than a replacement for the title game-bound Trojans.

Wisconsin could easily rejoin the Ducks here in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, as they enter the season with a chance for a third-straight Rose Bowl appearance, though the Badgers have dropped both games. Faced with a tough Big Ten schedule and rising challenges from around the league, it is no easy proposition for the Badgers to return to the Rose Bowl, but they look as equipped as any.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (At-large selection)

Comment: The Sugar Bowl was unable to invite a SEC team to New Orleans last season as the conference sent both its BCS combatants to the title game. Baring a repeat of that history-making event, the Sugar Bowl would likely love the chance to revive its SEC affiliation in the 2013 set of BCS bowl games, and who better to invite than Alabama, which has appeared 13 times before.

West Virginia provides an interesting case study on conference expansion and realignment, moving to the Big 12 just when they seemed back in the national conversation. The Mountaineers will likely not only compete for an at-large BCS bowl bid in 2012, but also could vie for the Big 12 crown itself. If they do fall short, the Mountaineers could give an attractive option for a bowl selection committee such as the Sugar Bowl’s, which would be silly to pass up a matchup like this.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. Louisville Cardinals (Big East Champion)

Comment: A return to former BCS glory might be in the cards for Florida State in 2012, after a few years of preseason hype went unmatched in regular season play. Led by quarterback EJ Manuel, the Seminoles look ready to return to the BCS for the first time in seven years. If Florida State can make it through the ACC, the Orange Bowl will be happy to welcome them back to the BCS.

Louisville has quietly built its way to the preseason Big East favorite in 2012, largely on the strength of a strong returning starters corp. Capturing a share of the Big East regular season crown last season wasn’t enough to get them to a BCS bowl, but expect the Cardinals to land here in 2013.

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 Champion) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Once again, Oklahoma rides into the season on a wave of hype. Quarterback Landry Jones and the Sooners would sooner forget their fall from the top of the preseason polls in 2011. This season could spell the return of Bob Stoops’ squad to national prominence, but they have to fight through the Big 12 first. If they capture another conference crown but fall short of the title game, the Fiesta Bowl is always here to catch the Sooners.

The adage going into the year about Michigan is that it’s a better team than it was in 2011 that’s about to have a worse record in 2012. While this might be true — especially with the schedule the Wolverines are looking at — a strong Michigan team that’s BCS eligible is about as good an option as an at-large selection as any. Again, the Fiesta Bowl would be silly to pass up on this potential meeting.

Preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll: LSU, Alabama grab top spots

The preseason 2012 Coaches’ Poll might be somewhat reminiscent for most college football fans, seeing LSU and Alabama atop the rankings once again.

But USC’s No. 3 spot is all the more stark, given the Trojans’ ban from the rankings last season as part of their NCAA sanctions.

Preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll – August 2

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 LSU Tigers 1403 .951
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 1399 .948
3 USC Trojans 1388 .941
4 Oklahoma Sooners 1276 .865
5 Oregon Ducks 1258 .852
6 Georgia Bulldogs 1061 .719
7 Florida State Seminoles 1055 .715
8 Michigan Wolverines 1023 .694
9 South Carolina Gamecocks 981 .665
10 Arkansas Razorbacks 948 .643
11 West Virginia Mountaineers 833 .565
12 Wisconsin Badgers 743 .504

Projected 2012 BCS Bowls – September 5th

The first week of the college football season rarely reveals much to illuminate the season to come. Blowout victories and third-stringers playing in the fourth quarter is the norm.

In 2011, however, quite a bit was revealed during college football’s first week. Some preseason favorites looked great, (Alabama, Oklahoma, Stanford, Wisconsin) while others (Oregon, Notre Dame) didn’t quite pass muster on their first go ’round.

How will that change the projected BCS bowls? Well not too much in the first week of play, but there is definitely a different feeling in the air after one week of play.

The dominoes seem ready to start falling, the question — as it always is — will be which one goes first?

For reference, the at-large selection order for the 2012 bowl slate (after hosting contracts have been filled and the NCG is filled) is: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange.

BCS National Championship Game: Oklahoma Sooners (BCS No. 1) vs. LSU Tigers (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Oklahoma looked like the preseason favorite it was meant to be against Tulsa, easily dispatching the Golden Hurricane. The Sooners will have a far tougher test come Sept. 17, the next time they hit the field, when they play Florida State. A win there, however, would give the Sooners a firm position very early in the year.

Drama surrounded the final days of LSU’s offseason, but now, could the possibility of a national championship surround the final days of its actual season? LSU showed just the kind of power and effectiveness that could get them all the way to the BCS title game. Of course, standing in their way is a daunting schedule, but the Tigers impressed more than any Saturday.

Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 Champion) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Champion)

Comment: Two teams looking to return to BCS bowls this season showed the same power and finesse during week one that got the Cardinal and the Badgers to the Orange and Rose bowls respectively. Stanford and Andrew Luck plastered San Jose State, while Wisconsin had no trouble filling up the scoreboard against UNLV. Expect more of the same moving forward from both.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection) vs. Boise State Broncos (At-large selection)

Comment: Alabama likely has higher aspirations than the Sugar Bowl, but if LSU is to win the SEC and take the BCS NCG bid away from the Tide, don’t be surprised to find their explosive offense in New Orleans anyways.

Boise State proved once again that they’re a legitimate contender, no matter the flack they receive in the press. Taking down yet another ranked opponent on national television during the first weekend, the Broncos are once again in the chase for the title. But if they still can’t become the ultimate BCS buster, then a Sugar Bowl could be in the cards.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. South Florida Bulls (Big East Champion)

Comment: Florida State breezed by the competition on its opening weekend, easily topping Louisiana-Monroe. Of course, playing the Sun Belt doesn’t reveal much about the Seminoles potential as ACC champions, but it did show a strength in the team early. Next week should be just as easy a breeze, as FSU takes on Charleston Southern, but after that, the Sooners await.

South Florida showed a surprising amount of fight against Notre Dame and shocked much of the country by posting a victory in South Bend. That’s good enough to see the Bulls as having a real shot at the Big East crown.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)

Comment: Two teams whose weekends didn’t go quite as planned, but both have plenty of time to recover and reconstitute a run at a BCS bowl. The matchup here is still too inciting for any bowl to pass up, and the Fiesta Bowl would certainly love to see it.

Projected 2012 BCS Bowls — Preseason

A wide open college football landscape gives us another year of a nearly impossible-to-predict BCS bowl slate. Will we see yet another SEC champion or is it time for another conference to rise to the top of the pack?

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game USC vs. LSU
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Orange Bowl Florida St. vs. Louisville
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma vs. Michigan
Sugar Bowl Alabama vs. West Virginia
Scroll down for more.

Ten spots, five bowls and one national champion. The chase starts Thursday, but these teams seem best suited for a BCS bowl run today.

Two weeks from now? Could be a whole different picture.

For reference, the at-large selection order for the 2012 bowl slate (after hosting contracts have been filled and the NCG is filled) is: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange.

The college football season begins today. Are you ready?

BCS National Championship Game: Oklahoma Sooners (BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 2)

Comment: Oklahoma has once again claimed the spot as a preseason darling of the pollsters around the country. The question, as it always seems to be, is can coach Bob Stoops deliver on yet another team filled with NFL-caliber talent and all kinds of potential with a BCS bowl victory and — more importantly a BCS national championship?

Alabama, who seem ready to go once again after missing out on its shot at a repeat crown in 2010, seem to be the de facto favorite in the SEC, especially considering the drama surrounding the LSU program. ‘Bama has a favorable schedule all things considered in the tough SEC West, but could very easily claim that crystal ball once again.

Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 Champion) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Champion)

Comment: Stanford spent much of 2010 playing second fiddle to Oregon, but in 2011, all that could be different. With the Heisman favorite behind center in Andrew Luck and skill to fill nearly every position, the time is right for the Cardinal to take advantage of a relatively weak Pac-12 top-to-bottom.

Wisconsin claimed the Big Ten’s automatic BCS bid last season on the strength of its BCS ranking. No tiebreaker will be necessary this season, as the Big Ten’s new 12-team format allows the conference to hold its own conference championship game, but there’s plenty of reason to believe Wisconsin could once again claim the conference’s automatic bid.

Sugar Bowl: LSU Tigers (At-large selection) vs. Boise State Broncos (At-large selection)

Comment: The Sugar Bowl has had the luxury these past few years of having first choice of the eligible at-large BCS teams as it has lost the SEC champion to the BCS National Championship Game every year during the BCS’s double-hosting format. There’s no reason to think this year will be any different, and with LSU likely prepping for a high-flying season, the Tigers would be a perfect fit for the Sugar Bowl’s New Orleans locale.

After they take their replacement, the Sugar Bowl will have to wait for the Fiesta Bowl to pick twice (once to replace the Big 12 champion Oklahoma and once as the first at-large pick). We’ll project that Boise State, yet again eligible, will be waiting with an attractive record and a consistency in BCS bowls that the Sugar Bowl will have to respect.

Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (ACC Champion) vs. South Florida Bulls (Big East Champion)

Comment: The Seminoles fell just short of an ACC title last season and an automatic berth to the Orange Bowl. But with a weakened ACC (especially a weakened Virgina Tech) the time is right for the Seminoles to rise to the top of the conference yet again, and a Orange Bowl berth will be their reward.

South Florida (yes South Florida) could join the Seminoles in an all-Florida Orange Bowl by taking the Big East’s bid from a conference that is truly without a 2011 favorite. Skip Holtz and the Bulls might just have what it takes in this toss up Big East year and saddled with the final at-large pick the Orange Bowl will likely see the Big East champ — whoever that might be — fall to it.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (At-large selection)

Comment: If the Fiesta Bowl does in fact lose Oklahoma (or any Big 12 champion) to the national championship game, the bowl would have two of the first three choices among the bowl for at-large teams. The strategy is always unpredictable, but bowls often go for the best available teams and the teams they hope can attract the largest national interest.

With Oregon likely providing a top-ten team and Notre Dame the kind of national fan base every bowl hopes to attract, the Ducks-Fighting Irish matchup looks about as juicy as any bowl could hope for, and for now at least, that’s what we’ll project.

2011 Preseason Heisman Watch: Returning Stars Highlight Trophy Chase

This Heisman Watch is from Aug. 19. To see the most recent edition of BCS Know How’s Heisman Watch, scroll down to the end of this post. Thanks!

Trent Richardson

Back-up to a Heisman winner. Replacement for an injured Heisman winner. At times, out-performing a Heisman winner.

This was Trent Richardson’s 2010. What can he do to make 2011 even more special? Well compete for a Heisman of his own, of course.

As backup to Mark Ingram, Richardson’s profile was somewhat diminished at the beginning of last season, but this year, Richardson comes into the season with the gig and the hype to match.

Richardson hit the ground running at Alabama with a key performance in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, one that keyed the Crimson Tide’s victory over Texas. Now in 2011, the junior has a chance to lead his team all season, and with the national media electing Alabama as the preseason favorite for a return bid to BCS glory, Richardson will be squarely in the viewfinder of the media, in prime position for a Heisman run of his own.

Landry Jones

Sam Bradford’s shoulder and Landry Jones’s career will forever be linked. But with the right kind of 2011, Jones could see another link appear between the two Sooner legends — Heisman Trophy recipients.

Jones’s early days at Oklahoma were marked by his substitution for Bradford after rough hits against BYU and Texas in 2009. But ever since that Red River Rivalry game in ’09, the Sooners have been Jones’s team.

After an up-and-down 2011 for the senior that did result in a BCS bowl victory, Oklahoma’s first since 2002, but little Heisman consideration.

Expect that to change in 2011 as Jones and Oklahoma are favored to join Alabama in the national title game. If Jones is able to lead his Sooners to New Orleans in January, it would surprise no one to also see his face in New York in December.

LaMichael James

Speed, speed and more speed. That was Oregon’s offensive attack in 2010. Expect more of the same in 2011.

At the heart of this Duck plan of attack is of course LaMichael James, the speedster who finished 2010 with a nation’s-best 1,682 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns.

James will be the dangerous Pac-12 back everyone expects him to be, but will his national profile continue to be as large as it was while Oregon was on its way to a BCS National Championship Game berth? The answer to that question will be key to whether James can jump from a third-place finish in last year’s balloting for the Heisman to lifting the trophy come December.

Don’t be surprised to see James’s name atop many of those Heisman watch lists (this one included) if the Ducks can march back to the title game in 2011.

Andrew Luck

After Andrew Luck spent 2010 staking his claim as the nation’s best pro-style quarterback, the NFL called to Andrew Luck. With pro scouts drooling over Luck’s arm and intellect, he was projected as the year’s No. 1 overall pick.

But Luck wanted to stay in school. To many, it seemed foolish. But now, Luck returns to college football as the de facto favorite for the Heisman trophy in 2011 after finishing second to Cam Newton in 2010.

Luck will take on the new Pac-12 in 2011, but don’t expect different results. Luck is sure to once again pick apart the best the expanded conference can offer, and will be in the Heisman conversation for the long haul.

Did Luck make the right decision? Many might say no, unless Luck is to win the trophy. But don’t be surprised if he ends up doing just that.

Kellen Moore

Idaho is not exactly a bastion of quarterbacking legend. Rare is it that the nation’s premiere passer — and winner — resides in the state. But there Kellen Moore is, with just two losses to his name, a BCS bowl victory and all kinds of scintillating passing numbers.

Moore returns in 2011 as a household name of college football, ranked by the Sporting News as the very best college football player in the country. With that comes the expectation that on the iconic blue field he will once again make a run at the Heisman Trophy.

Moore spent much of last year near the top of Heisman watch lists, but never could quite push past the sheer domination of Cam Newton, the eventual trophy recipient. For his redshirt senior year, Moore will be at the top of the list again, but this time as the old guard — and to some the favorite.

His Boise State team is once again ranked in the top 10 in preseason balloting, and Moore will certainly look to break the Broncos into the national title discussion again. If he can finally break that barrier for the non-AQ schools, there will be no denying Moore’s place among the all-time great winners in college football history, and might just mean a Heisman is waiting in New York City for him.

Others to Watch

Matt Barkley

Now in his third year as the starter at USC, Barkley will look to lead the Trojans despite the postseason ban continuing as part of the NCAA sanctions against the school. A second year under the tutelage of Lane Kiffin might give the junior a better grasp on the offense, and a possible Heisman run may await.

Justin Blackmon

Blackmon did quite a number on Big 12 defenses last season, and returns in 2011 looking to do more. A DUI charge likely halted his Heisman hopes in 2010, but with a new season comes possibility for this junior.

Case Keenum

Injuries decimated Keenum’s run at a Heisman last season, but the gaudy passer in Houston’s air-attack offense is back for another year, and if he can withstand the injury bug, could put up numbers that will shock voters in considering the sixth-year senior.

Marcus Lattimore

A breakout freshman year in a Steve Spurrier offense did wonders for Lattimore’s national recognition, and helped South Carolina win the SEC East. Now in 2011, Lattimore, along with Richardson, is one of the premiere offensive players in the SEC. That’s been a good thing to say these past couple years — Cam Newton and Mark Ingram will tell you that — can Lattimore do more of the same?

Denard Robinson

Michigan’s dual-threat quarterback was all the rage in 2010 while his team was undefeated and Robinson looked like an early-season favorite for the award. The meat of the Big Ten schedule certainly returned Robinson to earth. Can 2011 be different for the dynamic athlete?

Oklahoma, Alabama Lead Way in Preseason Coaches’ Poll

With less than a month to go before college football begins once again, the latest sign of the forthcoming season has arrived. The preseason Coaches Poll is out today, giving our first look at one of the three components of the BCS formula and what the FBS coaches think about the coming season.

Oklahoma captures more than half of the first-place votes from the 59 coaches, and leads the poll over No. 2 Alabama, who received 13 first-place votes of their own.

No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 LSU are the only other two teams to receive first-place votes, and the teams will play one another in the first week of the season at Cowboys Stadium as part of the kick-off weekend.

Florida State rounds out the top five as the ACC favorite, followed by Stanford and Boise State — the highest-ranked non-AQ conference school.

The Big Ten and Big 12 take the next four spots as Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Wisconsin and Nebraska all look to build on strong 2010s in 2011.

Auburn, last year’s national champion, comes in at No. 19, while traditional powers Florida (No. 23), Texas (No. 24) and Penn State (No. 25) round out the top 25.

Preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll – August 4th

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Oklahoma Sooners 1454 .986
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 1414 .957
3 Oregon Ducks 1309 .887
4 LSU Tigers 1296 .879
5 Florida State Seminoles 1116 .757
6 Stanford Cardinal 1101 .746
7 Boise State Broncos 1065 .722
8 Oklahoma State Cowboys 933 .633
8 Texas A&M Aggies 885 .600
10 Wisconsin Badgers 829 .562
11 Nebraska Cornhuskers 814 .552
12 South Carolina Gamecocks 779 .528

Alabama Overwhelming No. 1 in Coaches’ Preseason Poll


Let the debate begin.

The first of the major media preseason polls was released this morning, and not surprisingly, the defending national champions are at the top by a convincing margin.

Alabama, who won the BCS National Championship Game in January and topped every postseason ranking, starts the 2010 season just where they left off, at No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll — looking down at the rest of the 119 FBS schools.

The Crimson Tide’s immediate company should also be pretty familiar to the boys from Tuscaloosa, as all of the preseason top five in the Coaches ended the 2009 season among the top five, although in a different order.

Ohio State enters the season with big hopes, and sees that reflected in the Coaches’ Poll, coming in at No. 2.

Usual suspects Florida (No. 3) and Texas (No. 4) are right near the top once again, followed by No. 5 Boise State. The Broncos have never received such high preseason praise, and have some people thinking a national championship run could be in the works.

ACC favorite Virginia Tech and another BCS-buster TCU come in at No. 6 and No. 7 respectively — separated by a mere point.

Two Big 12 teams — Oklahoma and Nebraska — take the next two spots, forecasting another strong year out of the Big 12 in its final year of existence.

The Iowa Hawkeyes round out the top ten, as part of four Big Ten schools in the top-14 of the rankings (No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 14 Penn State)

Other items of note:

  • The Pac-10 does not have a team ranked in the Top 10 in the preseason poll for the first time in years. As a reminder, USC will not be ranked by the Coaches’ Poll in 2010 because of NCAA sanctions against the school.
  • The SEC contributes six of the polls first top-25 teams.
  • Pittsburgh (No. 15) is your highest ranked Big East team.
  • Utah (t-No. 24) is your only other non-BCS school in the preseason top-25. Houston comes in at No. 27.

The coaches poll is one-third of the BCS formula, along with the Harris Interactive poll and the computer polls.

USA Today Coaches’ 2010 Preseason Poll

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Alabama 1469 .996
2 Ohio State 1392 .944
3 Florida 1245 .844
4 Texas 1240 .841
5 Boise State 1215 .824
6 Virginia Tech 1052 .713
7 TCU 1051 .712
8 Oklahoama 1035 .702
9 Nebraska 1001 .679
10 Iowa 952 .645