Crash! Landen’s Not So Bold College Football Predictions for 2010

Before the 2010 College Football season gets underway, I thought I’d make a few picks and predictions… here they are.The SEC will NOT win the national championship this year.  I also think the mid-major ‘BCS Busters go down early. I can only hope, leastways.

One of the guys that will help FSU 'Turn The Corner'...

Teams That will ‘Turn The Corner’ (and show substantial improvement)… Nebraska. Notre Dame. Rutgers. Arkansas. UCLA. Washington. Georgia. Mississippi State. FSU.

Teams That Won’t: Michigan…

Arizona State has tremendous fans, though...

Arizona. Illinois. Auburn. Maryland. Arizona State. South Florida. North Carolina. South Carolina.

JoePa has 30 more good years of coaching... At least.

JoePa will get Win #400 against Indiana if he gets it at all. There’s always next year…

My Top 5 Heisman Finalists (and I’m just throwing these out there… Who knows until the season starts?):

#5 Case Keenam

#4 Christian Ponder

#3 Mark Ingram

#2 Ryan Mallet

#1 Dion Lewis (Pitt)

My Picks for the Major Conferences…

The PAC10: There are several teams that could end up winning the conference.  Oregon would’ve been my pick if they hadn’t lost their knuckleheaded QB to crime. They’re still loaded, though.

They do have some extremely ugly uniforms year in and year out, but luckily they have cheerleader to balance it all out.

THEIR uniforms are just fine. (I think Oregon also might get shocked in Knoxville in their second game by a Tennessee team that no one expects anything out of. I do believe early ‘shocking’ losses can affect a team’s confidence and losing to the Vols could throw their entire season out of whack).

Washington has 20 starters coming back which sounds good, but they have 20 starters coming back from a below average team. They’ll be improved and will get to a bowl game.

USC has talent and will win a lot of games despite being placed on NCAA probation, losing their cheating head coach (who bailed at the appropriate time as cheaters often do) and losing a myriad of players for a variety of reasons (the Draft, suspension, transfer, injury, you name it).

A face you can trust... Especially if you're a Vol fan.

They also now have  ‘The Vortex’ Lane Kiffen as head coach, who seems to do nothing but suck negativity towards himself, whoever  he’s standing by or whatever location he’s standing at. His daddy can coach defense, but I think they lost too much and will have a similar year to last year, where they beat a pretty good team or two, then lose to several ‘middle of the PAC’ teams (like Arizona and Washington). They’re reign of dominance is over for a while.

My Pick:Stanford. They have one really tough stretch (@ Notre Dame, @Oregon, and USC). They lost  a great back, but Harbaugh will find a suitable replacement. Harbaugh’s a hard nosed coach and his players play like him. Don’t Sleep on Cal, either…

The BIG10. Or Big 11. Or Big 12 North. Or whatever: Everybody and their uncle thinks this one’s automatic; Ohio State right? Not this year. Michigan? RichRod better win 10 games (including a win over Ohio State) if he wants to keep his job and I don’t think he does it. Wisconsin has 20 starters back and they’ll be loaded on offense and have one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. They might be my pick for 2nd best Big10 team this year.

But my pick: Iowa. They were undefeated until they lost their QB Stanzi last year. They’ve had really good defenses at Iowa the last few years. They win mostly on playing sound on offense and playing slobberknocking defense.  And they play REALLY hard. The way they completely shut down Georgia Tech’s Triple option in their bowl game was impressive. They flirted with the national title picture late last year. They get even closer this year.

The real Big 12. I think Texas reloads and despite everyone else picking Oklahoma for the Conference Title, I think Texas keeps their foot on the Sooners for another year. It won’t surprise me if they did beat Texas, though. What will surprise me is if anyone challenges the Huskers to get to the Big12 title game.

Nebraska coach Bo Pellini...

My Pick for the Big 12: Nebraska. I think Bo Pellini is very quietly reestablishing the bruising power football tradition of Nebraska. The Blackshirts seemed to be back and they did have the #1 D in the nation (statistically) in a conference of high octane offense. They have 2 or 3 somewhat difficult games, but they’re scattered throughout the season (and they catch Texas after the annual Red River Shootout).

The SEC: Probably the toughest one to call (for me). The safest pick… Alabama to win the title again.They’re going to have a great offense with a QB that hasn’t lost a game in like 73 years. They have the Heisman Trophy winner at tailback. They have another back that may be as good or better: Pensacola’s own Trent Richardson. They have arguably the nation’s best wide receiver (and he’s healthy). They have a good line even though they’re replacing a couple of starters. They’ll also have to find some new special teams guys, but the reason they won’t repeat as (even) SEC champs is because they lost too much on the defensive side. I know, I know… Saban has stockpiled a ridiculous amount of talented players and they’ll just fill in and shut everyone down again because Saban’s a defensive genius… I know… But even so, I do think they will lose at least a couple. Alabama always has a great defense, but I think there are several up and comers that might sneak up on them and maybe one or two that won’t have to. We’ll see though. It ain’t like I’m pulling against ’em. Go Trent!

Typical Florida fan...

Florida. The hated Gators. Urban Crier. No more Tebow. Thank you, Lord. No… More… Frickin’…  Tebow. That’s a huge loss. I know the new guy there is supposed to be maybe the best passer that’s ever played the game of football, but he’s still going to have a difficult time trying to make the kind of plays that Tebow did in key situations. They lost a tight end that was very important to their success last year along with some other key offensive key opponents. And they lost practically their entire defense to the NFL. Urban’s a great coach and they have a lot of young talent there, but this will be the year where they get gashed a few times. I say they have an 8-4, maybe a 9-3 regular season and don’t get to the title game. Neither does ‘Bama.

This is probably going out on a limb, but my SEC winner: Arkansas. Bobby Petrino’s a pretty good college coach, especially on the offensive side of the ball. His teams at Louisville were lethal and he’s got far more talent to work with at Arkansas. They have more returning players than any other team in the SEC including their highly regarded QB Ryan Mallet. He has maybe the best group of receivers to throw it to including one of the nation’s top tight ends. Petrino always has great tailbacks (or his offensive scheme makes them look great) and they’ll have a decent line.

They’re loaded on offense. They should be better on the defensive side, too with 7 returning starters on that side. They won’t need a great punter or kicker. they won’t be punting or kicking a whole lot of field goals. Usually defense wins out in the SEC, but I think this will be a down year defensively for the league overall. I’ve been wrong before, though.

And finally…The ACC. This was really the only one I missed last year. I could say picked with my heart since I picked the ‘Noles, but I think if you had told anyone that follows NCAA football that the 2009-2010 Seminole D would be ranked 108th they wouldn’t believed it. Not a Mickey Andrews defense… Unless you’re a Gator. But they’re stupid. And biased.

This year Miami appears to be the popular pick and they should be pretty good, especially on defense, but I think they have too many tough games early and late. Ohio State. Clemson squeezed in between Pitt (who I think will win the Big East) and FSU. They also have North Carolina; then Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech at the end (followed by South Florida that might be interesting if the new coach can keep  things going there). No way do they get through all of those without multiple losses. Of course they are Miami and I’m an FSU fan so they’ll probably… No. Don’t want to lose confidence in my pick.

There is also a lot of love from the ‘experts’ for Virginia Tech, but I think they lost too much on defense. I would also relish them to make it to the ACC title game because my pick for the ACC winner usually destroys them (at least in the past 30 years with 1 exception). But I don’t think they get there anyway. Hope they can beat Boise, though for the sake of the nation. And the world.

Georgia Tech would be my dark horse if I had one. Coach Johnson has my highest respect. And they should be better on the defensive side with Al Groh taking over. He got canned at Virginia, but he’s still a good coach. Dwyer shouldn’t be too be of a loss. I think Johnson will just plug another back in there and they’ll be fine. As long as Josh Nesbitt stays healthy, I think they’ll end up playing my pick for  the ACC. Who’s my pick (cue warchant)?

FSU. Who’d you think? And this time I think it’s going to actually happen. FSU’s going to lead the conference in offense and I think there’s going to be a drastic change in the defense and the attitude of the team in general. And i think they’re going to sneak up on some teams that think they’re going to suck like they have for the last few years. I think while Ponder won’t have numbers like Case Keenam or the kid at Arkansas, he’ll lead one of the most efficient offenses in the country. They have solid receivers, a few decent tight ends and a plethora of outstanding tailbacks. Plus they’ll have one of the Top O-Lines in the country.  The defense  may not be the Seminoles of the 90s, but they will look more like a Seminole defense. if they get past Oklahoma in the second week, look out.

And those are my conference picks (the Top 5 conferences, at least). I got 4 of the 5 right last year, but it seemed a lot more clear cut… Again, I missed on the ACC pick last year. As for the BCS title pick, I got it half right last year. Texas vs… Notre Dame? Wht can I say, they had a weak schedule and a pretty good core back. Which they do again this year. The cupboard’s not empty in South Bend. We’ll see what Kelly can do with them.

For this year’s Title Game Pick: Nebraska vs Florida State. Yep. You heard me. Nebraska vs Florida State. I bet I get it half right again.

And Go ‘Noles!

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