With the college football season only a week away, it is time to think about who has a chance to make a run for a BCS Bowl. In analyzing the top teams, Alabama is the only favorite to reach the National Championship game. The rest of the top teams will have many questions to answer: will Ohio State get by Miami, Wisconsin and Iowa? Will QB John Brantley for the Florida Gators be able to fill Tim Tebow's shoes? Will Texas and Oklahoma survive with young QB's? All these questions will be answered as the season goes on, but as of now these are important questions to be considered. With that said, here are my predictions for this year's 2010-11 BCS Bowls:
The Tostitos BCS National Championship Game - Alabama vs. Boise St.
Yes, you saw it right, Boise State in the National Championship game. If they beat Virginia Tech and Oregon State, and I obviously believe they can, then it will be smooth sailing from there on to the National Championship. However, their National Championship berth hinders on how other top programs perform. With an easy schedule and a veteran team with all but one starter returning, Boise State will be undefeated resulting in their first national championship berth.
Alabama is a totally different story. After winning a Heisman Trophy (Mark Ingram, returning RB) and a National Championship last year, you would be crazy not to consider them the favorites. Their offense will be exciting to watch with Greg McElroy at QB, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson at RB, and the receiving trio of Julio Jones, Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks. However, they are not perfect and will have many new faces with the departure of 9 starters on defense. Still, Nick Saban is a great defensive minded coach; he will rebuild his defense, and bring them back to the National Championship game.
Orange Bowl - Miami vs. Pittsburgh
Miami: After a couple of down seasons, the Miami Hurricanes will finally return to old form. Their roster is one of the most talented and deepest in the country. On offense, they are led by Heisman hopeful Jacory Harris. His health, and cutting down the interceptions thrown, is key to a successful season. Their WR's are the deepest in the nation, with Leonard Hankerson, Laron Byrd, and Travis Benjamin to name a few. Their defense is also very talented with Allen Bailey at defensive end and Brandon Harris at cornerback. This team has the talent to go to the BCS, but they will have to play through one of the toughest schedules in the nation. As long as they stay healthy throughout the season, the Hurricanes could do some damage this year.
Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh has returning Offensive Player of the Year Dion Lewis (RB) and co-Defensive Player of the Year Greg Romeus (DE), and has playmakers on both sides of the ball. The Panthers have only four seniors starting this year; therefore this team will be young and inexperienced. But they do have some young stars like Dion Lewis that could lead the way to a successful season. Pittsburgh has some tough games to watch out for including out of conference games with Miami and Notre Dame and conference games against South Florida, West Virginia, and Cincinnati. Pittsburgh should get through the Big East with a conference championship and an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game
Fiesta Bowl - Nebraska vs. TCU
Nebraska: Although Nebraska lost their top defensive players from last year, Ndamukong Suh and Phillip Dillard, this year's defensive unit could be just as good, which will lead them to a BCS Bowl. Nebraska's defensive line is very deep, with Jared Crick at DT and Cameron Meredith at DE. They also have a playmaker in the secondary, Eric Hagg, who last year helped his team to the top scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. For the offense, they can't get any worse than last year, which ranked 99th in the nation. The star of the offense is Roy Helu, a RB that amassed 1,147 yards and 10 TDs last season. They might have questions at QB, but with Helu at RB, the offense will be able to survive. In the end, Nebraska and Bo Pelini's stingy defense will overshadow the questionable offense and make it to a BCS bowl.
TCU: TCU has the talent to get to a BCS bowl game, but in order to get there they will have to play one of the biggest games in school history versus Oregon State. With Andy Dalton at QB and the talented trio of running backs on offense, and with 24 of the 30 defensive players returning, TCU should be able to get past Oregon State and compete for a BCS bid.
The Rose Bowl - Ohio State vs. Oregon
Ohio State: Ohio State could potentially play for a National Championship, but with matchups against Miami, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Penn State, they will fall somewhere, resulting in a still successful season and BCS bowl game. The leader of the talented offense, Terrelle Pryor, who led the team in rushing last year will be asked to throw more. Pryor has plenty of help on offense with running back Brandon Saine and WR DeVier Posey. Ohio State's defense is very talented as well with DT Cameron Heyward, and LB's Ross Homan and Brian Rolle. Ohio State is very experienced having 25 seniors on their roster; however, the Big Ten is talented this year so going undefeated in the conference should be tough.
Oregon: With USC out of contention for at least two years, it's time for Oregon to step up and take over the Pac 10. Oregon has 18 returning starters with all of their offensive line, running backs, and receivers coming back. This is dangerous for opposing teams; last year their running game averaged 231.7 yards per game and this year has a possibility of improving those numbers. Their defense might have some questions on the line, but with a running back like LaMichael James and the rest of their offense, they should not have to worry. Watch out for the Ducks this year. - Jared Levine
Jared is Journalism and Sports Administration major at the University of Miami providing introspective, insight, information and opinion on the world of College Football.
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