BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Thursday, August 30, 2012

College Football Week 1 matchups to watch

We have been waiting for this day since Alabama beat LSU in the National Championship back on January 9th. It's that time of year again, and it is officially week 1 of the 2012-2013 College Football season. Here are ten games to pay attention to in Week 1.

ESPN College GameDay will be live from Arlington, TX (Live at 10 AM ET on ESPN)

Matchup: #8 Michigan vs #2 Alabama

Thursday, Aug. 30th

1. Washington State @ BYU  10:15 PM ET  ESPN

- Everyone is making a big deal about South Carolina's annual opening night game against SEC opponent Vanderbilt. The best game of opening night though, will be the later game between Wazzu and BYU. Mike Leach and company will travel to Provo and take on a BYU team that returns 14 starters and won 10 games last season. It will be interesting to see how Leach's offense looks, and if the the defense has improved since last season.

Pick: BYU

Friday, Aug. 31st

2. Tennessee vs NC State (Atlanta, GA)  7:30 PM ET ESPNU

-This game is going to be important for both teams, but probably more so for Tennessee. The Vols need to start the season off right, as they have disappointed the past few seasons. The Vols return 18 this season, including QB Tyler Bray. The Vols will be without wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers though, because of a recent suspension. The Wolfpack also look to surprise this season with the play of senior QB Mike Glennon. This is going to be a very close game and the offenses should play a crucial role in deciding the outcome.

Pick: Tennessee

3. #24 Boise State @ #13 Michigan State  8:00 PM ET ESPN

- It is going to be a Friday night showdown in East Lansing. Boise State lost 15 starters from last season, including all-time leading passer QB Kellen Moore. Michigan State also lost QB Kirk Cousins. We are going to see just how much talent Boise State lost from last season, and if they can be the same team that went on the road and beat Virginia Tech and Georgia the last two seasons. This game could potentially destroy Boise State's chances of making it to a BCS game. For Michigan State, this game is huge for their momentum heading into the season. The Spartans want to show that they are a contender to win the Big Ten Legends Division this season.

Pick: Michigan State 

Saturday, Sept. 1st

4. Notre Dame vs Navy (Dublin, Ireland)   9:00 AM ET CBS

- The Fighting Irish will start off the season against long time rival Navy in Dublin. We will finally see  the play of QB Everett Golson is, and if the offense has improved from last season. We will also see if the Irish defense can stop one of the best rushing attacks from last season.

Pick: Notre Dame 

5. Miami (OH) @ #18 Ohio State  12:00 PM ET  Big Ten Network

-This shouldn't be much of a test for the Buckeyes, but it will be the first game of the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State. The nation will get to see the new and improved Buckeyes offense run the spread offense. The Buckeye defense should look stellar as usual against a Miami (OH) team that struggled last season.

Pick: Ohio State 

6. Ohio @ Penn State  12:00 PM ET ESPN

- This will be the first game since Joe Paterno passed away and since the Nittany Lions were hit with sanctions. In my opinion, the pre-game is what's going to be the most interesting part of the game. On a nationally televised game, the country will see if Head Coach Bill O'Biren has his boys ready to go. If he doesn't, watch for Frank Solich and his Bobcats to give the Nittany Lions a rude wake-up call to the 2012 season.

Pick: Penn State 

7. Iowa vs Northern Illinois (Chicago, IL)  3:30 PM ET ESPNU

I attended the Iowa-Northern Illinois game at Solider Field back in 2007. The Hawkeyes escaped the Huskies 17-3. This is on my list as a top ten game to watch, because the Huskies could give the Hawkeyes a run for their money again. The Hawkeyes still have no apparent running game and will have to rely heavily on the passing game. 2nd year Husky Head Coach Dave Doeren led the Huskies to eleven victories in his first season at Northern Illinois last season. It will be a close game for the most part, until the Hawkeyes pull away in the fourth quarter with a few minutes remaining

Pick: Iowa 

8. #14 Clemson vs Auburn (Atlanta, GA)  7:00 PM ET ESPN

-Two seasons ago,  this is the game that showed the nation that Cam Newton and Auburn were legit national title contenders. It was one of the most physical games I had seen in recent memory. Auburn escaped in overtime, after Clemson missed a game-tying field goal. Last season, Clemson came out on top at home and ended Auburn's 17 game winning streak. How could we forget Dabo Swinney's post game interview and him yelling, "I can't think of a better place than to end the streak than Death Valley, SC." This year should be another battle in the trenches. With Clemson Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins suspended for the first few games of the season, Auburn will hav a chance to knock off the 2011 ACC Champions. Clemson has been notorious for not being prepared to play in important early season games. 

Pick: Auburn

9. #8 Michigan vs #2 Alabama (Arlington, TX) 8:00 PM ET ABC

- This will be the spotlight game of the day and a rematch of the 2000 Orange Bowl. Who knew that Michigan would actually have a legit shot to compete with Alabama in this game prior to last season? It is going to be interesting to see if Denard Robinson and company can move the ball down the field against a tough Alabama defense. I will be surprised if there is a lot of scoring in this game. I feel it will be a defensive game for the most part.

Pick: Alabama 

Monday, Sept. 3rd

 10. Georgia Tech vs #16 Virginia Tech  8:00 PM ET ESPN

- This is a crucial conference game for the first week of the season. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech will be the two teams contending for the ACC Coastal Division. This game could be a deciding factor of who wins this division this season. Virginia Tech's QB Logan Thomas will play an important role in leading the Hokie offense. The key to this game though, will be an experienced Virginia Tech defense trying to stop the always difficult Paul Johnson triple option attack. This is going to be a really good game to cap off week 1 of the 2012 College Football season.

Pick: Virginia Tech 

· Week 1 recap will be ready on Tuesday, September 4th.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012-2013 NFL Projections

The AFC is going to be a strong conference again. QB Peyton Manning joins the Broncos this season, Houston QB Matt Schaub returns after a foot injury sidelined him for the last eight games of the 2011 season, and Brady and company look to be the dominant team of the AFC.  The race for the conference championship will again be between New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Denver.  Other potential teams that could find themselves in the playoffs this season are San Diego, Buffalo, N.Y. Jets, and Kansas City.

AFC Projections

AFC East           W-L

1. New England 13-3     There is no surprise about the New England Patriots this season. They are back and ready for another Super Bowl run. QB Tom Brady, WR Wes Welker, and TE Rob Gronkowski will look to lead an explosive offense again this season. The defense should be much improved this season, after ranking 31st in the league last season. It will be another solid season for the Patriots as they will have another thirteen win season.

2. Buffalo            9-7       Buffalo started the 2011 season off to an impressive 5-2 start, then the Bills dropped their next 8 of 9 games due to injuries. The Bills defense will be solid this season with the addition of DE Mario Williams. Also, if QB Ryan Fitzpatrick can stay healthy, the Bills could make their first playoff appearance since 1999.

3. N.Y. Jets         9-7       Sanchez or Tebow? As of this point, neither have thrown a single touchdown pass in the pre-season. Once again, the Jets are going to have to run the ball the whole season with Shonn Greene. The defense will be heavily relied on with CB Darrelle Revis and LB Aaron Maybin. Head Coach Rex Ryan and his Jets will be in the playoff hunt again this season. The real question for the Jets this season is if Antonio Cromartie has gained two children in the off-season for a total of fourteen?

4. Miami             7-9       The Dolphins are going to struggle again this season with new Head Coach Joe Philbin. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill looks promising for the future of the franchise though, and there will be much improvement in the running game with the leadership of Reggie Bush. The Dolphins will be a seven win team this season.

AFC North            W-L

1. Baltimore         10-6    The Ravens will battle it out with the Steelers again for the AFC North Division. The Ravens will rely heavily on RB Ray Rice, who rushed for 1,364 yards and 15 total touchdowns last season. QB Joe Flacco, who is always questioned on his quarterbacking ability, will  again be a valuable part of the Raven offense. Once again, the Raven defense will be one of the best in the NFL if Ray Lewis and Ed Reed can stay healthy.

2. Pittsburgh         10-6    In a tie-breaker scenario, the Ravens will get the nod as the winner of the AFC North. The Steeler offense will be one of the best in the league with Ben Roethlisberger throwing to wide outs Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, who both recorded 1,000 receiving yards last season. The play of RB Rashard Mendenhall will also be key in the offense being successful. The Steeler defense is stacked again, and will be the best in the NFL with LB LaMarr Woodley and S Troy Polamalu. The Steeler defense ranked first in the league in total defense last season.

3. Cincinnati          8-8      The Bengals would have a legit chance to make the playoffs this season, but it is going to be difficult. The Bengals must play the NFC East this season, which consists of Dallas, N.Y. Giants, Philadelphia, and Washington. The Andy Dalton-A.J. Green tandem is going to be key in the success of the Bengals again this season, along with a defense that was seventh in the league in total defense last season. The Bengals will again be in the playoff race, but it will be trickier this season.

4. Cleveland         4-12     The Browns have one of the toughest schedules in the league and it doesn't help that they were among one of the worst teams in the league last season. The Browns will start 28-year-old rookie QB Brandon Weeden in an offense that was the third worst in the league last season. There were not many changes to the Brown defense this off-season, and the defense should be around the same talent level as last season. The Browns defense were second in defending the pass last season. Look for Cleveland to win four games again this season.

AFC South            W-L

1. Houston           12-4          The Texans finally made it over the hump last season, and were one of the biggest surprises in the league. The Texans return starting QB Matt Schaub, who missed the last six games of the season and both playoff games with a foot injury. The great thing about the Texans is if anything happens to Schaub again, they know they can rely on back-up QB T.J. Yates. Schaub will be joined again on offense with RB Arian Foster, WR Andre Johnson, and TE Owen Daniels. The Texan defense, who ranked second in the league in total offense, will be led by ILB Brian Cushing and CB Johnathan Joseph. The Texans will win the AFC South and head to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

2. Tennessee         8-8           The Titans just missed the playoffs last season, and will look to make a run again this season with new starting QB Jake Locker. The Titans will first need to make it through their first six games of the season though, as they must face New England, San Diego, Detroit, Houston, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh. If they make it through this part of their schedule with three wins, they will have a legit chance of making the playoffs. The Titans offense returns 1,000 yard rusher Chris Johnson and WR Nate Washington. The defense was at best mediocre last season, and will need to play better this season if they want to get a birth in the playoffs.

3. Jacksonville     5-11         The Jaguars will be the same team as last year, except that Blaine Gabbert will be a more experienced quarterback and Maurice Jones-Drew may not rejoin the team. The interesting aspect about the Jaguars is how talented their defense is and how untalented their offense is. In the five games the Jaguars won last season, the Jaguar defense gave up an average of 10.2 ppg. The offense will add rookie WR Justin Blackmon, who had his share of off-season problems, and return MLB Paul Posluszny, who recorded 119 tackles last season.  

4. Indianapolis     4-12         The Colts have franchise QB Andrew Luck and are ready to improve on one of the worst seasons in Colt's history. Luck will be fortunate enough to have a talented group veteran wideouts in Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie. Luck will also have Stanford TE Coby Fleener. The Colts defense will include OLB Dwight Freeney and ILB Pat Angerer, who will be out the first six weeks of the season with a broken foot.

AFC West           W-L

1. Denver           12-4           The Broncos made the playoffs for the first time since the 2005 last season with the magic of QB Tim Tebow. Tebowmania is officially over in Denver, and the Broncos have acquired future Hall-of-Fame QB Peyton Manning. With Manning at the helm, the Broncos will now have a a more consistent passing game and will be an even stronger team than last year. Manning will have RB Willis McGahee and WR Eric Decker. The Broncos defense will be good this year as well with OLB Von Miller, DE Elvis Dummervil, and CB Champ Bailey. The Broncos should win the AFC West again this season.

2. San Diego       11-5            The Chargers should have been a lock to win the AFC West last season, but couldn't find a way to win in close games. The Chargers are back this season with high expectations of redeeming themselves and showing they are one of the best teams in the AFC. The Chargers will have one of the best offenses in the league with QB Phillip Rivers, RB Ryan Matthews, who will miss the first six weeks of the season with a collarbone injury he suffered in preseason, and TE Antonio Gates. The Charger defense returns Pro Bowler Eric Weddle, who had seven interceptions last season. The Chargers have a favorable schedule and will be a threat to win the AFC West.

3. Kansas City      9-7               I feel the Chiefs this season will be one of the most improved teams in the league. They have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball with QB Matt Cassel, a solid running back, and wide receiving core. RB Jamaal Charles returns after suffering from torn ACL early last season, and will be backed up by a solid runner in Dexter McCluster. The wide receiving core will be solid with Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, Jon Baldwin, and rookie Devon Wylie. TE Tony Moeaki also returns after suffering an ACL injury last season. On defense, SS Eric Berry returns after tearing his ACL in week 1 last season, and pro-bowler ILB Derrick Johnson, who recorded 131 tackles last season, will be the leader of the Chiefs defense. The Chiefs have a favorable schedule this season and should hit nine wins.

4. Oakland          8-8               Oakland was the ninth best offense in the league last season. The Raiders should be talented offensively again, even with a new offensive scheme. The Raiders return QB Carson Palmer, RB Darren McFadden, and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey. The defense should be improved this season with Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver. The Raider defense was the third worst overall defense in the league last season. If McFadden can stay healthy, Palmer can cut down on interceptions, and the defense can show up to play every week, the Raiders have a chance to contend in the AFC West.

AFC Playoff Seeding
1. New England
2. Houston
3. Denver
4. Baltimore
5. San Diego
6. Pittsburgh

Wild Card
Pittsburgh over Denver
Baltimore over San Diego

Divisional Round
New England over Pittsburgh
Baltimore over Houston

AFC Championship
New England over Baltimore

The NFC is going to be interesting this year to say the least. It consists of the best division, the NFC East, and the worst division, the NFC West. The battle for the top spot in the NFC will be between Green Bay, N.Y. Giants, and San Francisco. Atlanta will battle it out with New Orleans for the South Division, who will be without Head Coach Sean Peyton the whole season. The battle for who will get the wild card spot in the playoffs will be fun this season. Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta/New Orleans, will fight for the fifth and sixth seeds.

NFC Projections

NFC East               W-L

1. N.Y. Giants        10-6      The Giants always find a way to make a surge at the end of the season. Last season, the Giants ended up winning their last six games of the season to win their second Super Bowl in five years. The Giants will be tough again, even with the losses of WR Mario Manningham and RB Brandon Jacobs to the 49ers, because of free agency. Eli Manning has proven that he is one of the elite Quarterbacks in the NFL, and the Giants passing game should be potent with wideouts Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. The running game though will again be a mystery for this team. The Giants defense was inconsistent last season, but seemed to come up big when it mattered the most. DE Jason Pierre-Paul, who had 16.5 sacks last season, will look to have another big season again. The Giants defense also consists of DE Osi Umenyiora and CB Corey Webster.

2. Philadelphia        10-6      The Eagles disappointed last season and were supposed to be one of the best teams in the league. This season, the Eagles are my dark horse to make the playoffs. Dual-threat QB Michael Vick with have RB LeSean McCoy in the back field and an explosive wideout in DeSean Jackson. The Eagles had one of the best defenses in the league and were ranked eighth in total defense last season. The defense returns CB Nnamdi Asomugha and DE Jason Babin.

3. Dallas                  8-8        The Cowboys have not hit expectations the last two seasons and Cowboy fans continue to be split over QB Tony Romo. The Cowboys are going to struggle to get over the eight win total with a tough schedule this season. The offense should be solid this season with Romo, TE Jason Witten, and WR Dez Bryant. One of the main issues with the Cowboys could be if the defense hasn't improved from last season. The Cowboys are in the toughest division in the NFL and will need Romo, along with the defense, to be clutch when it matters most if they want to have a shot at making the playoffs.

4. Washington         6-10      Overall, the Redskins should be an improved team this season. Their record won't improve much due to a tough East Division, but we should see improvement in the offense with rookie QB Robert Griffin III aka RG3. The defense should be just as strong as they were last season with ILB London Fletcher, OLB Brian Orakpo, and CB DeAngelo Hall. If the offense can improve this season by decreasing the number of turnovers, the Redskins could actually exceed everyone's expectations.

NFC North             W-L

1. Green Bay          14-2       The Packers were upset in the playoffs last season by the N.Y. Giants and were not able to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. The Packers are the clear favorite to win the North again this season, and will at most lose three games during the regular season. The Packers offense, which was ranked third in total offense last season, will be led by QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Jordy Nelson, WR Greg Jennings, and TE Jermichael Finley. The Packers passing game will be one of the best in the league again this season, but the rushing attack is questionable. The rushing attack was 27th in the NFL last season. The defense is also questionable, as it was the worst defense in the entire league. This is one of the main issues for the Packers, and it costed them last season in the playoffs against the N.Y. Giants.

2. Chicago              11-5     The Bears are going to be back in the playoff picture this season. If QB Jay Cutler and LB Brian Urlacher stay healthy this season, watch out! The Bears added a lot of depth to their team in the offseason. The Bears added RB Michael Bush, QB Jason Campbell, and WR Brandon Marshall. This team could be dangerous both offensively and defensively. The play of DE Julius Peppers will also play an important role in the Bears success this season. Watch for the Bears to be a wild card team this season.

3. Detroit                 9-7        The Lions are back and ready to make another run at the playoffs this season. The Lions are that new team on the block that like to play a really physical style of football. The Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson tandem is one of the best in the NFL. Stafford passed for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdown passes. Calvin Johnson had 1,681 receiving yards and 16 touchdown receptions. The offense will continue to be the success of the Lions. What is most surprising about the Lions is that they were ranked 23rd in the league in total defense. The ferocious Lion defense consists of some of the most physical players, or dirtiest players, in the NFL in DT Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. There is no way this defense should be struggling. The Lions will fight for another wild card spot this season.

4. Minnesota           6-10        The Vikings were among one of the worst teams in the NFL last season. Just about everything the Vikings did went wrong. The Vikings can only go up this season with the return of RB Adrian Peterson and a more experienced QB Christian Ponder. The defensive line will still be solid with the veteran leadership of DE Jared Allen, DT Kevin Williams, and DE Brian Robison. Six wins will be ideal for the Vikings this season, as they will not be able to compete at the same level as their opponents in their division.

NFC South              W-L

1. Atlanta               11-5        The Falcons have made the playoffs the last two seasons and will be the heavy favorite to win the South Division this season because of the problems surrounding the Saints. The offense and defense were both ranked in the top half of the NFL last season. The offense is potent with gunslinger QB Matt Ryan and his four weapons RB Michael Turner, WR Roddy White, WR Julio Jones, and TE Tony Gonzalez. The defense has their own weapons in LB Sean Weatherspoon, who recorded 115 tackles last season, and DE John Abraham, who had 9.5 sacks last season.  

2. New Orleans       9-7         The Saints will take step back this season without Head Coach Sean Peyton and LB Jonathan Vilma, because of a bounty probe. The Saints will still be a competitor though, and have a shot at winning the South Division. QB Drew Brees, who led the NFL in passing yards last season with 5,476 yards, will be the heart and soul of this team again. He will be the main reason if the Saints are able to win the division. Brees will be joined again by always scrappy running back Darren Sproles and possibly the best receiving core in the league. Brees will have WR Marques Colston, WR Devery Henderson, WR Adrian Arrington, WR Lance Moore, and TE Jimmy Graham. The Saints will need to improve defensively this season, as they ranked 30th in the league against the pass last season. The Saints defense consists of SS Roman Harper, who had 95 tackles and 7.5 sacks last season. DE Will Smith will also play a crucial role in the Saint defense this season.

3. Carolina              7-9           The Carolina Panthers were reenergized last season with dual-threat rookie QB Cam Newton. The Panthers upped their win total to six last season and won impressively against Washington and Houston last season. The Panthers offense improved drastically last season and ended the season being ranked first in the NFC in rushing and seventh in total offense in the league. The rushing attack will again be led by DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The Panthers defense was the fourth worst last season and gave up an average of 26.8 ppg. The Panther defense should be improved this season with the return of seven players who suffered from injuries last season.

4. Tampa Bay         4-12         The Buccaneers started the season off to a 4-2 start, then lost the rest of their games. New Head Coach Greg Schiano will have his hands full in his first NFL season. QB Josh Freeman had a rough season last year throwing 22 interceptions, but still managed to pass for 3,592 yards. The rushing attack will hopefully improve this season with rookie Doug Martin and LaGarrette Blount. The passing attack was the only positive aspect of the Bucs offense last season, which consisted of Mike Williams. The Bucs defense is going to be what needs to improve tremendously this season. The Bucs were ranked dead last against the run last season, and were 30th in total defense. It could be another rough season for the Bucs with one of the youngest teams in the NFL.

NFC West               W-L

1. San Francisco     13-3         Second year Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and his 49ers are the only contender to win the NFC West. There are no other teams that even come close to the talent level of the 49ers in the West Division. Alex Smith and the offense were cool in the clutch last season, and the defense was one of the elite in the league. An offense that was ranked 26th in total offense last season will have the additions of wide receivers Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, as well as RB Brandon Jacobs. The additions of these three players joining forces with QB Alex Smith, RB Frank Gore, and TE Vernon Davis, will be to give the 49er offense an element they didn't have last season. The defense consisting of NaVorro Bowman, who had 143 tackles last season, and OLB Aldon Smith, who had 14 sacks last season, will be a force to be reckoned with again this season.

2. Seattle                 6-10          Pete Carroll led the Seahawks to a seven win season last year. The chances of hitting seven wins again will be difficult though with a tougher schedule. The Seahawks will start rookie QB Russell Wilson, who proved in college that he has the arm strength and accuracy to play at the NFL level. The pressure will lie on the Seahawks offense, and if there will be improvements in the rushing and passing game. The defense is another story. The Seahawks defense will be good again, and the secondary will be the best part of it with FS Earl Thomas, SS Kam Chancellor, and CB Brandon Browner.

3. St. Louis             4-12            St. Louis has new Head Coach Jeff Fisher, who has proved he can take a mediocre team and make them good. The Rams need to improve on a 2-14 campaign from last season, and will need QB Sam Bradford to be that quarterback from two seasons ago. Bradford threw just six touchdown passes last season. LB James Laurenaitis and DE Chris Long are the main forces on the defensive side of the ball and will need to be the heart and soul of the defense this season. The offense needs to make major improvements, as they ranked dead last in the league in scoring at 12.1 ppg. The Rams should improve and get two more wins this season.

4. Arizona               4-12            Nobody knows who wants to be the starting Quarterback for the Cardinals this season. Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the clear starter this season, but has proven to be inconsistent and timid in the pocket. John Skelton could very well be on his way to being the starting quarterback for the Cardinals. The rushing game will be led by 1,000 yard rusher Beanie Wells and wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and rookie Michael Floyd. The defense is up in the air still and should be mediocre like last season. The Cardinals could potentially have their worst season since 2003. Time to put those brown lunch bags over your faces Cardinal fans, like 2003, and hope for a number one draft pick. Can you say Matt Barkley???

NFC Playoff Seeding
1. Green Bay
2. San Francisco
3. Atlanta
4. N.Y. Giants
5. Chicago
6. Philadelphia

Wild Card
Atlanta over Philadelphia
N.Y. Giants over Chicago

Divisional Round
Green Bay over N.Y. Giants
San Francisco over Atlanta

AFC Championship
San Francisco over Green Bay

Super Bowl XLVII
New England over San Francisco

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

College Football GameDay Experience #1 (Pasadena)

It is finally here, the final GameDay Experience is about to be unveiled. About four months ago, I felt it would be fun to relive my College Football experiences and share with everyone my top ten College Football GameDay experiences. I wanted to share my thoughts and views on the top 10 places I have been. I have had so many different college football experiences and it is so interesting to see the differences of each fan base. For example, it is a lot of fun to watch the interaction of Big Ten fan bases with Pac-12 fan bases. So far, my top ten has consisted of Iowa City (Iowa Hawkeyes), Madison (Wisconsin Badgers), Knoxville (Tennessee Volunteers), Lincoln (Nebraska Cornhuskers), Eugene (Oregon Ducks),  Gainesville (Florida Gators), South Bend (Notre Dame Fighting Irish), Columbus (Ohio State Buckeyes), and Ann Arbor (Michigan Wolverines). My number one GameDay Experience was an easy one. There is nothing better than going to this venue on Jan 1st, or this year Jan. 2nd, and tailgating on a beautiful sunny day in Southern California. It is known as "The Granddaddy of Them All." This is the Rose Bowl and game day in Pasadena.

1. GameDay Experience in Pasadena- (Rose Bowl)

2010 Rose Bowl- Ohio State vs Oregon
There are just some things that you can't get out of your head when you think of the Rose Bowl Game. It was the legend himself, Keith Jackson, announcing the Rose Bowl every year and mentioning it was "The Granddaddy of Them All." Jackson would also say, "We are here at the Rose Bowl, overlooked by the San Gabriel Mountains." We can all remember when he announced his last game on ABC at the Rose Bowl and he said these very words "He's going for the corner, he's got it!" "Vince Young scores." It's moments like these that make this game so special. It is also the pageantry and tradition of the Rose Bowl Parade and the annual Big Ten-Pac-12 match-up. There are some things you just need to experience in life, and this is one of them.

2012 Rose Bowl- Wisconsin vs Oregon 
I have been fortunate enough to have attended two Rose Bowls in the last three years. Thanks to Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks, I was able to attend the 2010 and 2012 Rose Bowl Games. The experience of getting to the Rose Bowl really early in the morning and tailgating on the golf course is an experience in itself. You make friends with the people setting up their tailgates next to you, and you even end up tailgating with opposing fans. This past Rose Bowl, when the Ducks faced the Badgers, we ended up tailgating with Wisconsin fans and had Duck vs Badger drinking games. The tailgating atmosphere is truly an amazing experience and something that you will always remember.

After tailgating, everyone makes their way into the Rose Bowl. It is very old, so it takes awhile to get thought the tunnels. When you finally make your way through the tunnel though, it is one of the greatest sites in all of College Football. I honestly had chills both times, because I understood the history surrounding this very game and had watched the Rose Bowl since I was a young boy. Everything about the stadium is great, except for the bleachers, which have had their better days. I heard a renovation is coming though, so hopefully the seating will improve. If you have nice sunny weather and a close game, it will for sure be one of your greatest memories as a College Football fan. In my opinion, the Oregon-Wisconsin game is one of the greatest games I have ever attended. It was back and forth the whole game and the the electricity in the stadium was great. Nothing can top an experience like that of the Rose Bowl.

Games attended at the Rose Bowl:

1/01/2010   CFB  Ohio State 26, Oregon 17 (Rose Bowl) Pasadena, CA   * ESPN College Gameday
1/02/2012   CFB Wisconsin 38, Oregon 45 (Rose Bowl) Pasadena, CA

Monday, August 27, 2012

2012-2013 Bowl Game Projections/Top 25/ Heisman contenders

Bowl Projections

BCS National Championship 
Sun Life Stadium 
Miami Gardens, FL                  
Jan. 7, 2013
USC vs Oklahoma 

Fiesta Bowl
University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, AZ
Jan. 3, 2013
Texas vs Alabama

Sugar Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA
Jan. 2, 2013
LSU vs Wisconsin 

Orange Bowl
Sun Life Stadium
Miami Gardens, FL
Jan. 1, 2013
Florida State vs Louisville 

Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl
Pasadena, CA 
Jan. 1, 2013
Oregon vs Michigan  

Cotton Bowl
Cowboys Stadium
Arlington, TX
Jan. 4, 2013
Arkansas vs West Virginia

Capital One Bowl
Florida Citrus Bowl
Orlando, FL
Jan. 1, 2013
Georgia vs Nebraska 

Outback Bowl
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, FL
Jan. 1, 2013
South Carolina vs Iowa  

Gator Bowl
EverBank Field
Jacksonville, FL
Jan. 1, 2013
Auburn vs Illinois 

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Georgia Dome
Atlanta, GA
Dec. 31, 2012
Florida vs Clemson 

Liberty Bowl
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Dec. 31, 2012
Missouri vs East Carolina

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Sun Devil Stadium
Tempe, AZ
Dec. 29, 2012
Oklahoma State vs Michigan State 

Sun Bowl
Sun Bowl Stadium
El Paso, TX
Dec. 31, 2012
NC State vs Washington 

Holiday Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego, CA
Dec. 27, 2012
Kansas State vs Utah 

Alamo Bowl
San Antonio, TX
Dec. 29, 2012
TCU vs Stanford

Music City Bowl
LP Field
Nashville, TN
Dec. 31, 2012
Miami (FL) vs Texas A&M

Belk Bowl
Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, NC
Dec. 27, 2012
Georgia Tech vs South Florida 

Russell Athletic Bowl
Florida Citrus Bowl
Orlando, FL
Dec. 28, 2012
Virginia Tech vs Notre Dame 

Poinsettia Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego, CA
Dec. 20, 2012
BYU vs Nevada 

BBVA Compass Bowl
Legion Field
Birmingham, AL
Jan. 5, 2013
Mississippi State vs Rutgers 

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
AT&T Park
San Francisco, CA
Dec. 29, 2012
Cal vs Navy 

Independence Bowl
Independence Stadium
Shreveport, LA
Dec. 28, 2012
Virginia vs Tennessee

Godaddy.com Bowl
Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Mobile, AL
Jan. 6, 2013
Ohio vs FIU

Hawaii Bowl
Aloha Stadium
Honolulu, HI
Dec. 24, 2012
Wyoming vs Houston 

Las Vegas Bowl
Sam Boyd Stadium
Las Vegas, NV
Dec. 22, 2012
Arizona vs Boise State 

Idaho Potato Bowl
Bronco Stadium
Boise, ID
Dec. 15, 2012
Northern Illinois vs Louisiana Tech 

Armed Forces Bowl
Amon G. Carter Stadium
Fort Worth, TX
Dec. 29, 2012
Air Force vs Tulsa 

Little Caesars Bowl
Ford Field
Detroit, MI
Dec. 26, 2012
Purdue vs Western Michigan  

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Reliant Stadium
Houston, TX
Dec. 28, 2012
Texas Tech vs Northwestern 

New Mexico Bowl
University Stadium
Albuquerque, NM
Dec. 15, 2012
UCLA vs Fresno State 

Pinstripe Bowl
Yankee Stadium
Bronx, NY
Dec. 29, 2012
Baylor vs Pittsburgh 

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl
Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, FL
Dec. 21, 2012
Southern Miss vs Cincinnati 

Military Bowl
RFK Stadium
Washington D.C.
Dec. 27, 2012
Wake Forest vs Utah State 

New Orleans Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA
Dec. 22, 2012
Arkansas State vs Marshall 

TicketCity Bowl
Cotton Bowl
Dallas, TX
Jan. 1, 2013
Washington State vs SMU 

My TOP 25

1. LSU
2. Alabama
3. USC
4. Oregon
5. Oklahoma
6. Florida State
7. Arkansas
8. Georgia
9. South Carolina
10. Michigan
11. West Virginia
12. Wisconsin
13. Texas
14. Nebraska
15. Clemson
16. Virginia Tech
17. Kansas State
18. Florida
19. Notre Dame
20. Michigan State
21. Oklahoma State
22. TCU
23. Ohio State
24. Stanford
25. Boise State

Top 5 Heisman Contenders

1. QB Matt Barkley, USC (Senior)
-Quarterback Matt Barkley decided to return for his senior season and should be the clear front-runner  with the Trojans back in title contention. Barkley is third in all-time career passing at USC passing for 9,054 yards in his first three years. Last season, Barkley had a completion percentage of 69.1, 3,528 passing yards, and 39 touchdown passes.

2. QB Denard Robinson, Michigan (Senior)
-Denard Robinson has become one of the most dynamic players in the country. The past two seasons, Robinson has shown how dangerous he is and that he is the real deal. The Wolverines are now favored to win the Big Ten this season and he is one of the main reasons why. Last season, Robinson rushed for over 1,000 yards, ran for 16 touchdowns, threw for over 2,000 yards, and had 20 touchdown passes.

3. QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma (Senior)
-As shocking as this may seem to College Football fans, Landry Jones is all the All-Time Passing Leader at Oklahoma with 12,379 total yards. Jones has shown to be inconsistent at times, especially at times  last season when the Sooners were expected to be in the National Championship. Jones still was able to pass for an impressive 4,463 yards and 29 touchdown passes. Look for Jones to lead his Sooners to the National Championship this season and prove to the nation that he is one of the elite quarterbacks in the country.

4.  QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas (Senior)
-Tyler Wilson is a stud and possibly even a freak of nature. Wilson has possibly the best arm in the country and led the Hogs with the number one offense in the SEC averaging 36.8 ppg. Wilson passed for 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns. It's unfortunate that the Hogs have to be in the same division as Alabama and LSU, because the Hogs are one of the best teams in the country. Look for Wilson to put up big numbers again and to fight for the SEC West Title.

5. RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin (Senior)
-The recent off the field problems of Montee Ball and the concussion he suffered shouldn't affect this physical and dynamic runner. Ball was invited to New York for the Heisman Ceremony in 2011, after an impressive season where he led the Badgers to another Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl birth. Ball rushed for 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. Ball has proved to the nation that he can do it all, whether it's picking up big chunks of yards at one time in crucial situations, catching the ball, or even passing the ball. With the departure of QB Russell Wilson to the NFL, Ball will be the main reason if Wisconsin wins another Big Ten title this year.

Just missed the cut:

QB Collin Klein, Kansas State (Senior)
QB Geno Smith, West Virginia (Senior)
QB Aaron Murray, Georgia (Junior)
RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (Junior)
WR/KR De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon (Sophomore)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012-2013 Big East/Notre Dame Projections

The Big East is going to be wide open this season. With the loss of West Virginia to the Big 12, it will for sure be a four team race to win the conference. Louisville looks to be the favorite to win the conference with fifteen returning starters and a stellar Quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. The teams that look to battle it out with Louisville are South Florida, Rutgers, and Pittsburgh. Don't be surprised if a Big East Champion isn't crowned until the last weekend of the season.

BIG EAST        W-L      Analysis

1. Louisville       9-3      Louisville is the heavy favorite to win the Big East this season with So. QB Teddy Bridgewater, who had a completion percentage of 64.5 percent and 2,129 yards as a true freshman last season. The Cardinals will have 15 returning starters this season. The offense will be led by Bridgwater and potential All-Big East first teamer Sr. C Mario Benavides. The defense will be solid again and were ranked 10th in the country in defense against the rush last season. The Cardinals should win nine to ten games with their only real tests being against North Carolina (Sep. 15) and games against Pittsburgh (Oct. 13), USF (Oct. 20), and Rutgers (Nov. 29).

2. South Florida  8-4      This is going to be the Bulls year to win the Big East. Fourth year starting Quarterback BJ Daniels, who is third in Bull's history in all-time career passing with 6,339 yards, will look to lead the Bulls again this season. On offense, Daniels will have Wide Receivers Sterling Griffin and Sterling Dunkley, who is a transfer from Florida. The Bulls defense will be led by potential All-Big East players Jr. DE Ryne Giddins and Sr. WLB DeDe Lattimore, who recorded 94 tackles last season. South Florida must face in-state Florida State and Miami, Fl in non-conference games. South Florida's most important game will be on Oct. 20th when they travel to Louisville.

3. Pittsburgh       8-4       Here we go again! The Panthers have a new coach again and will still be in the hunt for the Big East title. The Panthers offensive returns 5 starters and have one of the best running backs in the Big East in senior Ray Graham. The offense should be improved with an offensive minded coach in Paul Chryst, who was the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin. Besides Graham, the offense will rely on Sr. QB Tino Sunderi, who threw for 2,616 yards last season, and Sr. RG Chris Jacobson. The defense returns 5 this season and will be led by potential All-Big East team Sr. FS Jarred Holley. Pittsburgh will be challenged in its third game against Virginia Tech and a mid season game at home against Louisville. The last two weekends of the season will define the Panthers season as they must host Rutgers at home on Nov. 24th and then travel to play South Florida on Dec. 1st.

4. Rutgers          8-4        After last season, the Scarlet Knights looked to be the favorite heading into this season, but Head Coach Greg Schiano departed for the NFL and took the head coaching job for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. New Head Coach Kyle Flood will inherit 15 returning starters though and one of the best overall defenses in the country. The Scarlet Knight offense was inconsistent last season and will potentially have some of the same issues this season. Rutgers will have a good core of wide receivers in So. Brandon Coleman and Sr. Mark Harrison. They will also have a solid running back in Jawan Jamison, who rushed for 897 yards last season. The problem will be at the quarterback position as So. Gary Nova and Jr. Chas Dodd must battle it out and prove that one of them is the true leader of the Scarlet Knight Offense. The defense returns 8 starters and was the best overall defense in the Big East last season. The defense returns Sr. OLB Khaseem Greene, who recorded 141 tackles and 10.5 tfl, as well as Sr. DT Scott Vallone and Jr. CB Logan Ryan. Rutgers has an easy non-conference schedule, besides an early meeting with Arkansas. Rutgers season will be defined by its last two games, which are at Pittsburgh (Nov. 24) and at home against Louisville (Nov. 29).

5. Cincinnati      7-5        The Bearcats went 10-3 last season, but this year will not be the same. The Bearcats lose QB Zach Collaros and will start Jr. Munchie Legaux, who has a little experience as a back-up last season, or inexperienced Brandon Kay. The offense only returns 4 starters from last season, which includes two wide receivers Sr. Kenbrell Thompkins and Jr. Anthony McClung. The running game, like the quarterback situation, will be inexperienced. The Bearcats do have 7 returning starters on defense though. Last season, the Bearcats ranked sixth in the country against the rush giving up an average of 96.2 ypg. Cincinnati will have Sr. SS Drew Frey, who recorded 73 tackles and 2 interceptions, to lead the Bearcat defense. Cincinnati should be a 7-5 team this season and be bowl eligible again.

6. UConn          5-7         UConn didn't meet expectations last season as they went 5-7 and were not eligible for a bowl game. UConn has the best running back in the Big East in So. Lyle McCombs, who rushed for 1,151 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. McCombs will be joined by Butler County (KS) CC transfer QB Chandler Whitmer, who passed for 3,022 yards last season, and Sr. TE Ryan Griffin. The Husky Defense returns 8 and was ranked third in the country last season in defending the rush by giving up an average of 85.7 ypg. The Husky defense will be led by two seniors, DE Trevaedo Williams and WLB Sio Moore. The Huskies would have a good chance to be bowl eligible, but their non-conference schedule consisting of ACC opponents NC State and Maryland is not helpful. Also, the last three of four games are at South Florida (Nov.3), home against Pittsburgh (Nov.9), and at Louisville (Nov. 24). The Huskies will appear to not be going bowling again this season.

7. Syracuse        4-8        It is going to be another tough season for Head Coach Doug Marrone and his squad. The Orange return 12 starters, but the only positive thing about the Orange is the return of Sr. QB Ryan Nassib, who had a completion percentage of 64.4 percent and 2,686 passing yards with 22 touchdowns last season. The Orange will be inexperienced in the running game, but will return last years reception leader WR Alec Lemon in the passing game. The Orange defense returns 7, including Sr. SLB Dan Vaughn and Jr. MLB Marquis Spruill. The Orange defense ranked last in the Big East in total defense last season, meaning much improvement needed to be made in the off-season. The Orange gave up an average of 28.5 ppg and a main problem was the linebacking and cornerback cores. Syracuse honestly would have had a legit chance to make it to a bowl game this season, but their non-conference schedule is brutal. The Orange must host Northwestern and USC, and also travel to Minnesota and Missouri. The Orange will hit four to five wins this season.

8. Temple          4-8        The Owls never won a MAC Championship, but the football program was definitely revitalized. Temple is back in the Big East, but will be in rebuilding mode this season. The Owls only return a total of 8 starters from last season. The offense will be led by Jr. QB Chris Coyer, who played in Temple's last four games last season. He will need to get an established cast quick if the offense is going to be as good as they were last season. The Temple offense averaged 256.5 ypg, which ranked 7th in the country. The Owl defense was also very good last season as they only gave up 13.9 ppg, which was only worse than Alabama and LSU. If the defense can step-up and contend with the Big East talent, watch out for the Owls to pull off an upset or two. The defense is going to need to keep the team in games if they are going to have a chance at contending in the conference this season.

INDEPENDENT    W-L   Analysis

1. Notre Dame         9-3     This is going to the year where the Irish hopefully get over an 8 game win total. The Irish return 14 starters from last season (8 offense; 6 defense). With the problems of Jr. QB Tommy Rees, the Quarterback battle has come down to redshirt freshman Everett Golson and So. Andrew Hendrix. The running game should be solid with returning Jr. TB Cierre Wood, who rushed for 1,102 yards and 9 touchdowns last season, along with potential All-American Jr. TE Tyler Eifert. Eifert had 803 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns last season. The Irish Defense lost a few talented playmakers from last season, but should still be good enough to be at the level they were at last season with the return of potential All-American Sr. LB Manti Te'o. Te'o had 128 tackles and 8.5 tfl last season. The Safety core should be solid as well with the return of Sr. Jamoris Slaughter and Sr. Zeke Motta. The Irish will start off the season by traveling to Dublin, Ireland, to face-off with rival Navy then head home to play Purdue the next week. In week three, the Irish must travel to East Lansing and face rival Michigan State. This game, along with a home game against rival Michigan the following week, will be very important for the Irish to win. I feel the Irish will lose three games this season at the hands of Michigan (Sep. 22), who they face at home, and away games at Oklahoma (Oct. 27) and at USC (Nov. 24). Head Coach Brian Kelly and the Irish will finally be back in the BCS discussion this season.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012-2013 ACC Projections

The ACC did something they have not ever done last season. The ACC received two bids for BCS Bowl Games. Surprisingly, Florida State was not one of these teams, rather it was Clemson and Virginia Tech. This is the year for the Noles to finally win an ACC Championship though, it's now or never. Florida State must battle Clemson, the 2011 ACC Champion, for the ACC Atlantic Division again. In the Coastal Division, it will be a battle between Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Will the ACC be a strong conference again? Or will we need to spin the wheel of destiny to come up with a conference champion?

ATLANTIC DIVISION                 W-L        Analysis

1. Florida State                                 11-2      The Noles had high hopes of winning an ACC Championship last season, then lost three consecutive games early in the season to Oklahoma, Clemson, and Wake Forest. There are no excuses this season for the Noles. Florida State has to win the ACC Crown. They have almost all of their returning starters from last season with 17 (8 offense; 9 defense). Heisman Hopeful Sr. QB EJ Manuel looks to finally live up to expectations this season and lead an offense that was ranked 39th in the nation in scoring last season. The running game, which includes Sophomore Devonta Freeman, will need to improve after last season by only averaging 112.2 ypg (104th in the country). Manuel's main targets will return this season with So. Christian Green, Sr. Rodney Smith, and So. Rashad Greene. Once again, The defense for the Noles will be one of the best in the country. The Nole Defense was the 4th best in the country last season by only giving up an average of 15.1 ppg and an average of 2.35 yards per carry. The Nole Defense will consist of two potential All-ACC candidates in Sr. DE Brandon Jenkins and Jr. SS LaMarcus Joyner. The defense will also return Jr. Linebacker Christian Jones, who recorded 56 tackles and 3 sacks last season. The Noles should have a pretty easy ride to the ACC Championship game. Their only potential losses could occur on Sep. 22 at home against Clemson, at Virginia Tech (Nov.8th), and a non-conference home game against rival Florida (Nov. 24th). The Noles will play in their first BCS bowl game since 2005.

2. Clemson                                        9-3      Clemson was that underdog/surprise team last season. Most of the country figured they were at best average and had no chance of winning the ACC. But Head Coach Dabo Swinney proved the nation wrong early in the season. Clemson knocked off three straight ranked opponents. First, Clemson beat Auburn and ended their 16 game winning streak 38-24 in Death Valley, then beat #11 Florida State at home 35-30, and then traveled up to a hostile Lane Stadium and upset #11 Virginia Tech 23-3. Clemson ended up starting the season off 8-0, until they were upset at Georgia Tech. A big reason why Clemson won the ACC and earned a birth in the Orange Bowl was because of the play of now Jr. QB Tajh Boyd, who had 3,828 passing yards and 33 Touchdown passes last season, and explosive So. Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins, who had 1,219 reception yards and 12 touchdown receptions. Watkins will miss the first two games of this season though because of  disciplinary reasons. An offense that averaged 33.6 ppg last season will have seven returning starters. Clemson will have 1,000 yard rusher from last season Sr. Andre Ellington and Jr. Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was second in command to Sammy Watkins. The Tiger Defense was among one of the worst in the ACC last season. The Clemson defense was absolutely manhandled by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl giving up 70 points. Seven starters return on the Tiger Defense, including Sr. DE Malliciah Goodman. You can bet that new Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables will have his defense in gear when the season starts. The Tigers will be a contender once again this season in the ACC. They open up in Atlanta vs Auburn, which will be a tough opening game and then travel three weeks later to Florida State. After Florida State, the Tigers will only have two other tough games as they will host Virginia Tech (Oct. 20th) and South Carolina (Nov. 24th).

3. NC State                                       8-4      Ok, so last season Quarterback Mike Glennon proved doubters wrong as he threw for 3,054 yards and 31 touchdowns, after NC State had said they were finished with Russell Wilson. The Wolfpack finished the season 8-5 and are looking to improve with 13 returning starters this season. Mike Glennon will once again be the leader on the offensive side of the ball and potential All-ACC 1st team Jr. CB David Amerson will lead the Wolfpack Defense. Amerson had an impressive season for the Wolfpack last season as he recorded 59 tackles and led the country in interceptions with 13. The Wolfpack will open the season with a tough opening game in Atlanta, where they must battle Tennessee. The next three games will be easy, then they must play at Miami, FL (Sept. 29th) and home against Florida State (Oct. 6th). Their last five of six games could go either way. The Wolfpack should be good for an 8-4 season.

4. Wake Forest                                 6-6      The Demon Deacons found a way to make it back to a bowl game since the 2008 season last year. Jr. QB Tanner Price must play a crucial role in an offensive that only returns 4 from last season. Price threw for 3,017 and 20 touchdowns last season, and played a major part in the Deacons making a bowl game. Price loses his main target though and running back from last season, so players like Jr. Tailback Joshua Harris and Jr. Wide Receiver Michael Campanaro will need to make a lot of improvements for this upcoming season. The Demon Deacon defense returns seven and will need to be better than last season as they were ranked 9th in the ACC in scoring and gave up an average of 27.4 ppg. Wake Forest will be a .500 team this season again. It would be an impressive season for Jim Grobe's team if they could hit seven wins.

5. Maryland                                      4-8       The Randy Edsall era started off on a high note as they rocked their crazy fashionable Under Armour jerseys and upset Miami at home 32-24. After their 1-0 start though, it all went all down hill from there. Maryland was blown out by Temple at home 38-7 and the Terps had nothing left in the tank. This season, the Terps can only go up from their two wins from last season. With the departure of Quarterback Danny O'Brien to Wisconsin, Jr. C.J. Brown will take over an offense that returns six starters. The defensive will need much improvement as well, as they were ranked last in the ACC in almost every defensive category. The Terp defense though will have potential All-ACC first team candidate Sr. Defensive Tackle Joe Vellano, who recorded 94 tackles last season and 4.5 tackles for loss. Maryland will improve their win total to four this season. They will get wins over three of their four non-conference opponents: FCS-William and Mary, Temple, and UConn. Maryland will get their lone ACC win over Wake Forest or Boston College.

6. Boston College                             3-9       Last season was the first season since 1998 that the Eagles didn't go bowling. The offense returns ten from last season and will have new Offensive Coordinator Doug Martin making the calls. Again the offense will be on the shoulders of Jr. QB Chase Rettig and the rushing attack led by Jr. RB Rolandan Finch and Jr. RB Andre Williams. The passing game was 100th in the nation last season and only gained an average of 167.8 ypg. The Eagle defense was mediocre last season giving up an average of 18.2 ppg. Boston College's Defense will be led by Jr. LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, who had 74 tackles last season. The Eagles will probably not hit their four game win total from last year. The Eagles will win games against Maine and at Army. The third win could come against Maryland or Wake Forest. It's going to take another year for the Eagles to get back into bowl contention.

COASTAL DIVISION                  W-L           Analysis

1. Virginia Tech                              9-4          The Hokies found themselves in another BCS Bowl Game last season. Frank Beamer's squad lost two season games, both of which were at the hands of Clemson. The Hokies lost the ACC Championship game to the Tigers, but ended up getting an at-large bid and the nod over Kansas State to play in the Sugar Bowl and play Michigan. The Hokies will return just three starters on offense, including dual-threat Jr. Quarterback Logan Thomas, but will return nine starters on a defense that was ranked in the top ten only giving up 17.6 ppg (7th in the country). QB Logan Thomas will have his work cut out for him this season with only Sr. WR Marcus Davis and Jr. C Andrew Miller being the returning starters from last season. Thomas threw for 3,013 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. Thomas also rushed for 11 touchdowns. The defense is what's going to keep the Hokies in the run for the ACC Crown. Virginia Tech's defense is led by potential All-American Sr. Linebacker Bruce Taylor. Taylor is joined by Jr. Defensive End James Gayle and Jr. Cornerback Kyle Fuller, as well as Jr. Cornerback Antone Exum. The Hokies open the season with a tough conference game against Georgia Tech, then travel to Pittsburgh two weeks later. The Hokies should be 6-1 when they hit the hardest part of their schedule. The Hokies must travel to Clemson (Oct. 20th), travel to Miami (Nov. 1st), and then host Florida State (Nov. 8th). Look for the Hokies to drop two of these three games, but still find themselves with a 9-3 record and a birth in the ACC Championship game.

2. Georgia Tech                              8-4          The Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech look to be in the mix to win the Coastal Division this season. The Yellow Jackets return seven on offense and six on defense. The offense will again have an explosive running game, but there will be questions surrounding the passing game. Sr. QB Tevin Washington returns for his final season after leading an offense that was ranked 1st in the ACC last season in scoring at 34.3 ppg, rushing at 316.5 ypg, and in total offense at 458.8 ypg. The passing game ranked dead last in the ACC at 142.3 ypg. Washington rushed for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. Washington will have Jr. RB David Sims to help him in Paul Johnson's triple spread option offense. The Yellow Jacket defense returns potential All-ACC defensive players Jr. Linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu and Jr. FS Isaiah Johnson. The defense was mediocre last season ranking 5th in the ACC giving up 359.3 ypg. Georgia Tech will need to be ready in week 1 as they will travel to Coastal Division foe Virginia Tech. The Yellow Jackets should be 4-1 heading into a road game at Clemson on Oct. 6th. After Clemson, Georgia Tech will only have tough games at home against non-conference opponent BYU (Oct. 27), a road game at North Carolina (Nov. 10), and a season finale at in city rival Georgia (Nov. 24).

3. North Carolina                          7-5             North Carolina will be playing for pride this season with new Head Coach Larry Fedora. The Tar Heels are still suffering from the sanctions received when Butch Davis was the head man at UNC and the Heels will not be eligible to play in a bowl game this season. The Tar Heels return 13 total starters (7 offense; 6 defense) and look to prove that they have a chance at being the best in the Coastal Division. The Tar Heel offense returns Jr. QB Bryn Renner, who last season passed for 3,086 yards and 26 touchdowns, as well as potential All-ACC So. RB Giovani Bernard, who rushed for 1,324 yards and 13 touchdowns as a Freshman. The offensive line also returns  potential All-ACC Sr. OG Jonathan Cooper. The Tar Heel Defense should be stellar this season as they return potential All-American Sr. LB Kyle Reddick and potential All-ACC player Sr. DT Sylvester Williams. Last season, the Tar Heel defense ranked 27th in the nation in rushing defense. North Carolina should start off the season 2-0, then travel for a non-conference game against Big East favorite Louisville. After facing Louisville, the Tar Heels will get Idaho, then have a showdown at home against Virginia Tech (Oct. 6) and an away game at Miami, FL (Oct. 13). Other than NC State on Oct. 27th or Georgia Tech on Nov. 10th, the Tar Heels should win four of their last five games of the season. This season will be motivation for next season when the Tar Heels will be able to compete for an ACC Championship.

4. Miami (FL)                             7-5               Second year Head Coach Al Golden and his Hurricanes will be looking to improve their win total from 6 last season and become bowl eligible after taking the bowl ban last season. The Hurricanes will have a chance to hit 7 wins this season, even though they only return 10 total starters and will be in rebuilding mode. 6 players left early for the NFL draft after last season, and put the Hurricanes at a disadvantage to compete for the Coastal Division. The Cane offense will be led by new starter Jr. QB Stephen Morris, who only had 37 pass attempts all of last season. There is not a lot of fire power on the offensive side of the ball with only 4 starters remaining from last season. The defense returns 6 starters and was ranked 17th in the nation by only giving up 20.1 ppg. The Cane defense will consist of potential All-ACC Defensive player Sr. FS Ray-Ray Armstrong and Sr. SS Vaughn Telemaque. Miami will need to start off strong as they must travel to Manahattan in week 2 and seek revenge on Kansas State, who beat them on a last second goal line stand. Miami is going to have a tough schedule after their third game against Bethune-Cookman (Sep. 15). The Hurricanes have to play NC State at home (Sep. 29), go to Chicago and play Notre Dame (Oct. 6), then host North Carolina (Oct. 13), Florida State (Oct. 20), and Virginia Tech (Nov.1). It is going to be a tough road this year for the Hurricanes and seven wins would be ideal.

5. Virginia                                   6-6              Mike London, who was the 2011 ACC Coach of the Year, and his Cavaliers came out of nowhere last season. Virginia was one win away from winning the Coastal Division last season, but was blanked at home against Virginia Tech 38-0. The Cavaliers return 7 on offense and 5 on defense, but will probably not hit their win total of 8 from last season. The offense returns Jr. QB Michael Rocco, Sr. TB Perry Jones, and potential All-ACC Sr. RT Morgan Moses. The defense will have another All-ACC potential Sr. MLB Steve Greer, who led the Cavs with 103 tackles last season. Sr. LB LeRoy Reynolds will also return and be on the defensive side of the ball. Reynolds recorded 88 tackles and 8 tackle for losses last season. The Cavaliers will be a .500 team this season, as they have two tough non-conference games against Penn State at home on Sep. 8th and at TCU on Sep. 22nd. They will need to win one of their last four games against either NC State, Miami, FL, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech, to become bowl eligible.  

6. Duke                                       4-8             Three years ago, Duke was one win away from playing in their first bowl game since 1994, but the least two seasons the Blue Devils have had a combined win total of six. Duke has 17 returning starters from last season, but the experience may only give them one more win than last season. If the offense wants to put points on the board this season it will be up to Sr. QB Sean Renfree and potential All-ACC Sr. WR Connor Vernon. Duke was awful in every offensive category last season besides the passing game, where they averaged 272.2 ypg (2nd in the ACC). The Blue Devil defense struggled last season giving up 31.2 ppg and 425.4ypg. The defense will rely heavily on Jr. CB Ross Cockrell and Sr. FS Walt Canty. Duke should hit four wins this season with non-conference wins over FIU, NC Central, and Memphis. Duke will potentially get one ACC win at  in-state rival Wake Forest or at home against Virginia.

ACC Championship Match-up: Florida State vs Virginia Tech

Top Ten (ACC)

1. Most important game: Sept. 22nd-Clemson @ Florida State
2. Biggest potential upset game: Oct. 6th- Virginia Tech @ North Carolina
3. Biggest surprise team: NC State
4. Best Quarterback: EJ Manuel, Florida State
5. Best Defense: Florida State
6. Biggest Bust: Georgia Tech passing game
7. Best Head Coach: Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
8. Most valuable to his team: QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
9. Best offensive duo: QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
10. Toughest environment to play in: Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech