Thursday, September 1, 2011

College Football Talk With Chooch- Week 1

Phew. After as tumultuous an offseason as a sport could have, we're finally ready to kick off in just a few days. Enough talk about superconferences, tattoos, pay-for-play, and yacht parties in Biscayne Bay. It's time for some football. I'll provide a quick overview of a few topics below as we look forward to 2011. This post will be followed by one each week in which I'll wrap up the prior week's games and look forward to the coming week.

BCS Title Game: Oklahoma vs. South Carolina
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. West Virginia
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Notre Dame
Fiesta: Oklahoma State vs. Michigan State

Overrated Teams for 2011

Stanford: The Cardinal return the nation's top player in quarterback Andrew Luck, who put off the NFL for one more year even though he would have certainly been the top player selected last April. His presence alone should ensure that the Cardinal remain a solid football team capable of competing with Oregon for the Pac 12 north title. However, there is a misconception out there that the Cardinal's success last year lay purely with Luck, and that his returning would allow Stanford to pick up right where they left off last year, after they demolished Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. David Shaw should do a fine job and was a good hire, but losing Jim Harbaugh is going to hurt much more than the media talking heads seem to be anticipating. Harbaugh is without a doubt one of the best, if not the best college football coach in America. He took over a team that went 1-11 under Walt Harris in 2006 and transformed it into one of the most formidable teams in the land. I see a 9-3 season.

Texas A&M: Texas A&M is a team getting a lot of preseason love, and they certainly earned it with their 6-0 finish to the regular season last year. However, I think the blowout bowl loss to LSU is a warning sign. This should be a good team, but when it came up against the big boys, A&M faltered. The Aggies have skill position talent with Cyrus Gray at RB and Ryan Tannehill at QB, but will they have enough on defense to challenge Oklahoma for the Big XII (10?) title? We shall see, but I don't see this as a top-10 team going into the season.

Underrated Teams for 2011

USC: I expect the Trojans to make a solid jump in year 2 under Lane Kiffin. As usual, there is NFL talent galore in LA, and if Matt Barkley can stay healthy, USC should win the Pac-12 south (although they can't play in the inaugural Pac-12 title game due to the bowl ban). Look for Barkley to be a top-5 pick next fall too.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes seem to thrive when the spotlight is off. I can't point to anything in particular that makes me feel they'll surprise in 2011. Expect a tough run game and physical defense, the usual in Iowa City.

Week 1 Highlights:

LSU vs Oregon: This game has been marred a bit by the off the field issues at both programs, but it is still one of the premier non-conference games of the year. Can Oregon recover after the beating its offensive line took in last year's BCS title game? Or will LSU's 'SEC speed' be too much. Many I've spoken with disagree with me, but I see LSU winning this game by 2 touchdowns. The bottom line is, LSU's defenders, like Auburn's will be fast enough to blow up the Oregon lateral running offense. It will be a fascinating matchup.

Boise State vs. Georgia: Mark Richt's already warm seat will become scalding if the Dawgs fall to the Broncos in a de facto home game in the Georgia Dome. Georgia has really fallen far since opening the 2008 season at #1 (they haven't really recovered from the beatdown Bama gave them in that night game between the hedges). I think Boise will play tough but won't be able to stop Georgia late. Georgia by a touchdown.

South Florida at Notre Dame: The Irish faithful are expecting a lot this season, and big dreams could be dashed in a hurry against a tough South Florida Bulls team in week 1. Skip Holtz returns to his alma mater, but as the opposing team's coach this time around. USF should play tough, but I expect Notre Dame to come out firing and win this game.


1 comment:

  1. SCar to the MNC? Your kidding me, Chooch. SCar if they make it out of the SEC East which is always a missisippi gambling boat crap shoot, will not win the SEC title.

    My reponse is titled:
    #HOP, Spurrier Vs. Saban in post season play? Its no contest.

    Spurrier has been 1-6 in post season play at SCar. With that one win coming against an unranked Houston in 2006. Also, in only 2/5 years Spurier has been there he has not finished the season up with consecutive losses in 2006/2009. In 2009 they went 1-4 over the last 5 games of the season however winning against 15th ranked Clemson, then loosing in a bowl game.

    As you know to win the MNC through the devastativing SEC you will have to win two consecutive post season games in a row. If history is any indicator Spurrier has shown at SCar he is unable to do that and is prone to end of season collapses in recent years (2006 was only year he won back to back games in the second half).

    Saban has won a MNC and is 4-3 in all post season play since Saban has been at Alabama.

    The wins include:
    #7 Michigan State(2010)
    #1 Florida (2009)
    #2 Texas (2009)
    Colorado (2007)

    The losses include a loss to
    #2 Auburn (2010)
    #2 Florida (2008)
    #7 Utah

    There is no proof that Saban, with a clear cut coaching advantage and with a #1 recruting class ( and with 17 returning starters (including 10 on defense and 5 all conf players on defense alone) as opposed to the 13 Scar (with 4 all conf total on offense and defense) will not be able to win the SEC and go to the MNC or other bowl game above SCar.