Monday, August 1, 2011
Though they were overpowered by Auburn in the 2010-2011 BCS title clash, the Ducks simply return too much firepower to be ignored in 2011-2012. They'll be challenged in the title race by some old standbys (Oklahoma, Alabama) as well as at least one superstar-powered dark horse (Stanford).
How does the rest of the Top 25 shake out?
Let's take a look as we the 2011 College Football season is just around the corner.
1. Auburn— The defending National Champion will have their work cut out for them in 2011, and have lost a huge amount of starters. Fortunately for them, they have a young quarterback Barrett Trotter in the wings ready to start as a sophomore, and a great running back in Michael Dyer. The only question is, ‘how will they make up for Cam Newton’s 4,400 yards of offense and 50 touchdowns they lost when he went first overall in the NFL Draft?’
2. TCU— The best defense in the nation is sure to have major setbacks this year, having lost their leader when defensive back Tejay Johnson graduated. They will most likely still be among the leaders in that side of the ball despite this, but the coaching staff has a lot of work to do on offense, filling holes left open when their stars moved on, including quarterback Andy Dalton.
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3. Oregon— The offense that wowed its fans in 2010 will be back, there is no doubt. This is a system offense, and no matter who is carrying out the plays, the plays will still work. The Ducks will have a much tougher schedule this year, that includes an opener against LSU, but they will still be a contender for the Pac-12 title until the end.
4. Stanford— Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year is the Stanford Cardinal, and they will have their enormously talented quarterback Andrew Luck back for his senior year. Luck will also have the majority of his offense to back him up. Stanford has to be the favorite to win the Pac-12 behind the arm of Luck, who no doubt would have gone number one in April’s NFL Draft (Sorry Cam).
5. Ohio State— It is crazy to think that just a few short months ago, many were talking BCS title when they mentioned the Buckeyes. Nowadays, it’ll be a miracle if Ohio State can turn their mess around and actually have a successful season. Terrelle Pryor is gone, and unproven senior quarterback Joe Bauserman will take the reins. And with the departure of their head coach, it looks to be a rough year for Thee Ohio State University.
6. Oklahoma— Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of the Sooners, and there is good reason. The majority of their starters are coming back on both sides of the ball, and their quarterback, junior Landry Jones, is a beast of a man. Jones could carry any team, but fortunately for him, he has a damn good team behind him. The only questionable area on this squad is the rushing attack, but with their offensive line, and a passing attack are sure to take pressure off them, any running back should be able to be plugged in and succeed.
7. Wisconsin— Every year, Wisconsin gets a huge wave of BCS predictions, but it never seems to work out for the Badgers. This year doesn’t seem to be any different. They have a really good team, but it isn’t likely they will make it out of the Big Ten undefeated.
8. LSU— A very underrated team, LSU had a great season in 2010, and was a play or two from playing for the National Championship. This year, they will have a majority of their starters returning, and will look to be better in all aspects of the game once their season opener against Oregon is here.
9. Boise State— The Broncos are in a great position going into 2011. They will have their starting quarterback returning in Kellen Moore, and will have an easy schedule in their new home, the Mountain West Conference, with their only test coming late in the season against TCU.
10. Alabama— Nick Saban has done a spectacular job with the Crimson Tide since rejoining the college ranks, but will have a tough season ahead after losing his starting quarterback and running back to the NFL Draft. It’ll be tough for them to get though the SEC-West undefeated, but if they do, they will be title bound.