Monday, August 9, 2010
NCAA Football Preview: Coaches Poll 15-25
So I debated about commenting on the pre-season coaches poll. As most of you know, I think pre-season polls are dumb, especially since they are used as a starting point to determine the national champion. However, I decided these 25 teams are the teams with the most storylines this year, so commenting on each team and not their rankings is acceptable
The first of three parts
Part 1: 15-25
Part 2: 14-7
Part 3: 6-1
Others Receiving Votes
Duke is not listed, Steve Spurrier used to rank them 25 every year until their first loss as a thank you for giving him his start. USA Today told him to stop because it was effecting the credibility of the poll.
I forgot to list Jerrod Johnson as a player to watch out for this fall in my NCAA preview column.
25. West Virginia
Noel Devine should have an outstanding year this year in Morgantown. I see this team finishing 2nd in the Big East finishing around 8 wins. Their two biggest games of the year are both on the road. They are going to Death Valley at LSU at night as well as at Pittsburgh for the Backyard Brawl.
Utah’s last year in the MWC before moving to the Pac-12 should be a good year for the team. They get both BYU and TCU at home. Pittsburgh (AP and ACSS pick to win the Big East) at home to start the season should be a good game. They do travel to South Bend to play Notre Dame, that could be a good game or a blow out.
I think Auburn is going to struggle this season. I don’t think it has as much to do with the team, as it does with who they are playing. Auburn, like most SEC teams, have a pretty soft non-conference slate with 1 AQ conference school in Clemson; however they do play in what I feel will be the toughest division in football the SEC West and ending the season vs Georgia and @ Alabama will be a tough way to close out the season. Besides going to Tuscaloosa and Oxford, all their tougher games will be at home, which should help.
22. Oregon State
Oregon State needed a victory in the Civil War to win the Pac-10 and go to the Rose Bowl last year. They should be in the running to the end again. The Rodgers Brothers are another year older and should be one of the top duo’s in the nation this year. I do have to give Oregon State’s AD a lot of credit this year for out of conference scheduling (Yes I know these are done years out, and no one knows how good teams will be, but a schedule like this still deserves praise). Oregon State scheduled two of the premiere no AQ schools along with AQ school Louisville. Home vs TCU to start the year, home vs Louisville, and @ Boise State before heading into the Pac-10 round robin (last season for this). Oregon State will be in a lot of good games this year, so they should be a fun team to watch.
Georgia should be able to rack up some wins in the down SEC East, I actually am predicting they beat Florida in the World’s Largest outdoor cocktail party on 10/31 in their biggest game of the year. Mark Richt has been a good coach, but has yet been able to develop a team that can get to the national title game. I don’t think this year will be the team, but I think that he has the potential to.
20. Florida State
Florida State should have a pretty good year based solely on their Offense. They will be one of the higher scoring teams, but how well they do in the ACC will depend mostly on their Defense. I could see them winning the ACC, but I feel better about 2 or 3 teams. They have a tough early trip to Oklahoma which should be a good barometer test for how the season will go, as well as a good game.
Arkansas is my sleeper team in the SEC West even if ESPN Radio College football junkies Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo disagree. QB Ryan Mallet should have a great year and will keep this team in games they shouldn’t be in. The defense will need to get better, but I like Bobby Petrino as a coach, he took an average at best Louisville program and had them one win away from playing in the NCAA title game. The schedule looks tough mainly from playing in the SEC West. They do get ‘Bama and LSU at home, but have to travel to UGA and Texas A&M
18. North Carolina
Come on and raise up (Petey Pablo anyone?). Butch Davis has done a great job recruiting for this school. I have heard a lot of people predict that they could be the team that wins the ACC. I think they will have a good, but not great year centered around good, fundamental defense. They kick off their season in what should be a great game with LSU coming to Chapell Hill at night.
17. Georgia Tech
Paul Johnson is probably my favorite NCAA coach there is. The one issue I see with his Triple Option system, is a good defense that properly prepares, can shut it down, and they have no second option. Saying that, they are still my pick to win the ACC this year. They do get Miami at home, but have to travel to Virginia Tech and North Carolina
Look, another SEC west team. LSU is going to have to find a way to win games against some pretty tough competition, and I don’t see that happening. I see LSU losing 3-4 games. On top of the SEC West, one of their crossover SEC games is @ Florida. They are also going to UNC and have West Virginia coming to them. Lucky for them ‘Bama is coming to Death Valley at night, one of the toughest places and times to play in NCAA. This is probably why all their home games are night games. Actually looking at their schedule, any game time that is not TBD is a is a night game. So get ready to watch a lot of LSU games while you are going out to the bars on a Saturday night. Biggest question for LSU this year is how the Mad Hatter Les Miles will handle the clock this season.
Pittsburgh is my pick to win the Big East. Dave Wannstedt has one of the best backs in the country in Dion Lewis who should be putting up big stats again behind a solid offensive line. They have road games at Utah and Notre Dame while getting Miami at home. In Big East Play they get West Virginia at home in the Backyard Brawl, while they are on the road for the river city rivalry against Cincinnati. I see them winning around 10 games this year along with the Big East Title.