Wednesday, August 3, 2011

College Football Preview One

Heading into the college football season this is one of many quick-hits that I will post on teams. 

·         Florida State

o   9.5 Wins: UNDER.  Last year FSU won 10+ games for the first time in 7 seasons.  Jr. QB EJ Manuel leads an offense that returns everyone but 2 OL (and QB Ponder) but figures to be the weak link.  Defensively the Seminoles are stacked led by one of the best lines and secondaries in the country.  Special teams are a major plus.  Hosting Oklahoma, who hammered the Seminoles in Norman last year won’t likely help the win column, while finishing up in Gainesville vs. the revenge minded Gators will be an uphill battle, especially if anything is on line; conference road games @ Clemson (lost 3 of last 5 meetings) & Boston College (lost 3 of last 4) will be tough as those two figure to be in the mix for Atlantic title with FSU.  Expect a possible Atlantic title, but too much inconsistency on offense to win double digit games. . 

o   Conference Title Odds 7/5: YES

o   BCS Title Odds 10/1: NO 

·         Virginia Tech

o   10 Wins: PUSH/UNDER.  The Hokies must replace the winningest QB in school history, a pair of NFL RB’s, and at least one starter at every level of the defense.  Yes, there is talent to fill most of the voids, but it’s young and inexperienced.  That being said they face an easy slate with only 5 road games vs. possibly the four weakest teams in the ACC and Marshall. Won 3 of last 5 ACC titles.  Only lost 1 home conference game last 3 years.  Cupcake OOC schedule leads into a very nice conference slate avoiding FSU, hosting the next 3 best ACC teams in Miami, Clemson and Boston College.  Should be favored in all 12 games, but keep eye on Nov. 10 @ Georgia Tech: VT is 3-2 last 5 meetings, with only 1 of their wins by more than a TD.  Expect a push towards winning the Coastal and possible ACC title.

o   Conference Title Odds 9/5: YES

o   BCS Title Odds 15/1: NO

·         Notre Dame

o   8.5 Wins: OVER.  Brian Kelly is starting to get “his kind” of big time players in place.  Dayne Crist and Michael Floyd will form a dynamic passing attack, while 4 starters return up front.  There are some question marks at all levels defensively, but All American MLB Manti Teo will lead by example.   ND has a tough open and close to the season, with a middle portion that figures to build a solid win base.  Irish have not won first three games of a season in 9 years, and have not beaten both Michigan schools in same season since 2004.  Last three games @ Maryland, BC and @ Stanford could have BCS implications.  The schedule sets up nicely with only 1 road game vs. a ranked team, while the Irish should be favored in 10 of 12.

o   BCS Title Odds 20/1: NO

·         Missouri

o   7.5 Wins: OVER.  Won 10+ games 3 of last 4 seasons, have not lost an OOC game since 2005.  and this year figures to be more of the same even with the loss of 1st round pick QB Blaine Gabbert.  So. QB Ryan Franklin, a potential star, will step in to lead an offense that has most key parts back.  Defensively the Tigers will be aggressive, led by a strong line.  Schedule does not set up stress-free with 3 of their 4 toughest conference games on road.   Of the 4 teams that have beaten Mizzou multiple times over the last 4 years, 2 are at home (Texas & Oklahoma State), Oklahoma is on road, and Nebraska is off schedule.  Going to A&M and Baylor will not be easy wins, but this team has not won 7 or less games since ’05 and there is too much talent for it to happen in 2011.

o   Conference Title Odds 7/5: NO

o   BCS Title Odds 100/1: YES

·         USC

o   7.5 Wins: OVER.  Jr. QB Matt Barkley returns to SC for most likely his last season to lead a young offense that loses quite a few pieces, especially along the offensive line.  Last year’s pass defense was brutal, and overall the results weren’t good for Monte Kiffin yielding 400 yards/26ppg.   Though SC went 8-5 last season, 3 of the 5 losses were by 4 points or less, and the Trojans had 2nd half leads in 4 of the 5.  USC has only lost 1 OOC in last 8 years (last year vs. Notre Dame), and has not lost to cross town rival UCLA since ’06.  Though they likely play 3 of their 4 toughest games away from the Coliseum, talent wise Troy will not be overmatched, and is the class of the new Pac 12 South.  They should go over .500 in conference play, which puts them at a minimum 8-4.