Sunday, July 19, 2009

College Football 2009...

the Rev. Joshua rebuttal.

Florida - when you return all eleven starters from your national championship defense and two of them aren't even going to be starters anymore, that's scary. And they lost Percy Harvin, but Harvin was kind of gimpy last year and never seemed to really tear it up even though Florida put up ridiculous numbers. Tim Tebow has a choice: demand that Urban Meyer let him develop prototypical drop-back NFL/pro-style passing skills, which will be very, very selfish and pretty much shelve any chance of Florida repeating as national champions; or do the totally WWJD selfless thing and risk any chance of an NFL career at QB by letting Urban Meyer use him just like they did in 2007, putting up 4500+ yards of total offense with 50 TDs and win his second Heisman, third National Title, and the right to have sex with every person in Gainesville, Florida.

Texas and Oklahoma - Oklahoma has some holes in the O-Line and some upperclass-yet-inexperienced wide receivers. Texas not having a solid running game may put too much pressure on McCoy to do it himself over the long run. Texas Tech and Missouri will not put up the kind of fights that they have in recent years and Oklahoma State isn't ready yet, so the Big XII South, the Big XII Conference Title, and probably Florida's National Title game opponent, will be decided at the Cotton Bowl in October.

USC - USC reloads as effectively as anyone, but that inexperience on the defense is going to hurt. A sophomore starter at QB will also take its toll in ways that their experienced O-Line can't really mitigate. This could be the year that Cal or Oregon take their shot and make their move. However, if USC can beat Ohio State early and then put themselves in any reasonable position for the National Title game by the end of the season, expect the voters to do everything they can to force a National Championship matchup between the dynasty of the early part of the decade and the reigning Florida powerhouse.

Alabama - Losing way too many key players on offense; they put up a lot of points last year and won a couple of big games (Georgia, Ole Miss, LSU) last year that required more than just stout defense. VA Tech could easily give them a push in the wrong direction to start the season, but they're fortunate to draw South Carolina rather than Georgia from the SEC East. Their schedule won't require as much playing over their heads this season, but it doesn't mean they'll win a lot.

Ohio State - Their few defensive starter losses are being filled exclusively by upperclassmen, but they're going to have a very young, inexperienced offense. They have a very favorable schedule, but they will be the choice of last resort for the BCS National Title game.

Penn State - lost waaay too many players on both sides of the ball, which they are replacing with a not-inconsiderable amount of youth. Look, we'd all love to see JoePa either win a National Title or put together a string of double-digit-win seasons before he finally shuffles off this mortal gridiron, but even this weak schedule of theirs is going to make it hard to put them in the top 10.

Oklahoma State - returns over half their starters and the replacements skew older on the defensive side, plus they'll benefit from the reset at Texas Tech and Missouri.

Georgia - similar starter situation as Oklahoma State: returning half their starters, defensive replacements skew older, but their offensive replacements skew older, too. With an SEC East littered with UT, UK, Vandy, and South Carolina, Georgia will be the team that steps up to Florida in the division. It won't make much difference, but they'll at least try.

Oregon and Cal are in a similar spot: if they can avoid stepping on their own dick, they can wrest the Pac-10 crown from USC and maybe run at the National Championship. Oregon has early games against Boise State and Utah that will provide the kind of quality wins that can propel a dark horse into the National Title game. But, teams like Boise State and Utah know that to keep what respect they've earned in the past, they have to win the big non-conference regular season games. Too many new starters for Oregon to finish in the top ten. Cal has an inexperienced O-Line, but veterans at QB and RB and on defense with a very nice schedule that includes ACC scrub Maryland and Pac-10 scrubs University of Everybody-but-USC-and-Oregon.

Ole Miss - I'm really wavering on the Rebels. I've said that I don't think they'll be a top ten team, but then I look at what they have going for them: a great coach in Houston Nutt, a favorable schedule that won't see them facing Georgia or Florida unless they make the SEC title game, and a lot of returning players, importantly at skill positions on offense. I'm going to flip on them and put them in at the #2 team in the SEC

Virginia Tech - I'd love to homer for the ACC, but I don't have a lot of hope for a strong finish out of this team, even if they do win the ACC title. I'm not sure experience is going to cure what ails Tyrod Taylor. The have plenty of returning starters, but the ACC has been a bizarre black hole of talent and ability that no one can escape. And you never know when Florida State is going to get their shit together and go on a run, so it could just as easily be them in this spot as Va Tech, or even some weird shit where they both finish in the top ten.

The really hard part of doing a top-10 is finding the dark horse. Boise State has a very favorable schedule that includes only Oregon in terms of notable opponents; Utah has Oregon and Louisville, although Louisville is still suffering from the Petrino defection and is more notable than talented, plus Utah will battle TCU for the Mountain West crown. TCU has early games against Virginia and Clemson, which could wind up being Quality Wins, Quality Losses, or meaningless games they played against ACC opponents.

My top ten:

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. USC
4. Oklahoma
5. Ohio State
6. Ole Miss
7. Cal
8. Boise State
9. Georgia
10. Oklahoma State

Predicting the the Heisman coming down to Tebow, McCoy, and Bradford is pretty much a certainty on par with "the sun will rise tomorrow," and I'm sticking by my prediction that it is Tebow's to lose based on his choice of how to play this season, so I'll throw in two dark horse candidates from the backfield: running backs Jahvid Best of Cal and C.J. Spiller of Clemson. If they stay healthy and everything lines up, they could find themselves at the awards ceremony.

Barring an epic disaster, half of the National Title game should be Florida. The other half will either be the team that wins the Red River Shootout or USC. I say USC because I can see the voters jumping an 11-1 (with a quality loss) USC into the National Title game for a matchup of the first two powerhouse programs of the new millennium. Regardless of who it is, Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow get their third crystal football.


Buck said...

I think most of your picks are on point. I disagree with your pick of Florida being the lock to take the title. You know it's gonna be tough to run through the SEC with everybody taking their best shot at you week after week. I think a one loss Gators team will still get a spot in that game unless there are two unbeatens from other major conferences. When was the last time a college player had three rings? I look for Florida to stumble this year. Either late enough in the season to keep them out of the big game or in the big game itself. As far as the Heisman goes, Tebow is not going to have the best numbers no matter which style he plays. In a numbers game Bradford will own him. McCoy will too. Tebow is going to need another signature moment like last year's Florida State game.

Ron said...

I can say on good authority (namely because I park next to the practice field and know people who know people) that they are running more dropback plays in practice this year and they are grooming Brantley to be ready to step in next year already (much like they did with Tebow during Leak's last year).

Rev. Joshua said...

This Florida team is going to be terrifying in the way that 2001 Miami or 1995 Nebraska were terrifying. Too many big guns. The SEC isn't going to be easy, but we're just one season removed from an SEC game with a final score of 3-2. Anything can happen in college football and it's a beautiful thing, but anyone looking to beat Florida this year is going to have to come hard with everything they've got and then some.