Understanding College Football
Compliments of Guest Blogger Heels and Helmets: It’s August and college football is here! Over the weekend, college football programs opened camped and the USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll released its 2010 Preseason Top 25. Here are the teams that the 59 head coaches on the USA TODAY Board of Coaches voted to be on the 2010 preseason poll.
|Rank||Team (first-place votes)||2009 record||Points||Final 2009 rank|
|2.||Ohio State (4)||11-2||1,392||5|
With the preseason poll out, I want to give some thoughts on the top three teams and their quest to play in the BCS title game on January 10, 2011.
1. Rollin’ with the Tide – The University of Alabama Crimson Tide (#1), 2009 National Football Champions, have one goal: University of Phoenix Stadium to defend their title. From the preseason poll, it looks like the majority of the coaches think that they have the talent to accomplish this goal. They have a solid foundation on offense. Starting quarterback, Greg McElroy is 14-0 as a starter at Alabama. Plus, they return a powerful and fast running back duo in Mark Ingram (2009 Heisman winner) and Trent Richardson. However, as Head Coach Nick Saban admits the preseason poll is all about what a team did last year. This year is a new year. Saban’s challenge getting Alabama back to the BCS title game is an inexperienced defense. The Crimson Tide lost 14 defensive players to the 2010 NFL Draft. The defense was key to keeping Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators to just 13 points in the 2009 SEC Championship Game. This offense will put up some points, but remember defense wins championships.
2. No Consistency in Columbus – The Ohio State University Buckeyes (#2) is the highest ranked school representing the Big 10 in the poll. Quarterback, Terrelle Pryor has a decent arm and leads the team in rushing, but he has not shown any consistency to demonstrate that he will do anything great. The Buckeyes passing game was ranked 103rd last year. That is not the performance of a Heisman quarterback and national championship offense. As a result, Iowa (#10), Wisconsin (#12) and Penn State (#14) could easily challenge Ohio State for the Big Ten Conference Championship and a spot in the BCS title game. Iowa will play all three schools. While Wisconsin and Penn State will both play Ohio State, they will not play each other. This could make things tricky if they have similar records with victories over Ohio State. (A Big 10 Conference Championship game can’t start fast enough.) On the other hand, if Pryor avoids 9 interceptions in 13 games and is the guy that we saw against Oregon in the 2010 Rose Bowl all season, this will not be a conversation. The scary part for Buckeye fans is that they could see the guy who was a disaster when Purdue upset them last year.
3. Life After Tebow – The University of Florida (#3) feel that the 2009 season was a disappointment. The Florida Gators started the season as the defending National Champions ranked #1. They held on to this spot until they suffered their first and only loss of the season to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. This cost them the opportunity to play for a back-to-back championship. The Gators want to avenge last season, but it is going to be difficult. They are starting over after the “Tim Tebow Years” and beginning a season without any returning All-American players since 2007. The young man who is now leading the Gators at the quarterback position, John Brantley, has never started a game; but he did spend three years behind one the best quarterbacks to play at Florida. Now we’ll see if Brantley learned enough job-shadowing Tebow to get the Gators back to a BCS title game.
Looking at the top three teams, I think that Nick Saban will get his defense together during camp and play in the BCS title game for the second consecutive year. Let’s see how they handle their SEC match-up against Florida on October 2. You also have to be leery of Boise State (#5) because they always have some tricks up their sleeves.