2008, the picks are a little more difficult.
Especially taking into account that last season
is still etched into the minds of many a college
football fan. The zaniness that was 2007, when
the No. 1 ranked team got knocked off their
perch an astounding six different times, when
a team with two losses wound up winning the
national championship and parity (even at the
Appalachian State level) appears to be more
of a factor than at anytime in the history of
all this said, it's time for NationalChamps.net
to make a call. Who plays for the BCS National
Championship Game in 2008?
so it seems we may have gone out on a limb to
some degree with Mizzou, even though they are
currently ranked 6th in the recently released
AP Preseason Poll. Here are the ‘Why's’
and the ‘Why Not’s’ concerning
the championship race.
WHY: Chase Daniel, Defense
The term "spread offense" is dominating
the landscape and for good reason, given the
offensive numbers being produced by every team
currently running some form of the spread. No
conference is doing it better than the Big 12.
And Daniel may be the best and most experienced
at operating this offense. The significant stat
that goes unnoticed (aside from his 4,306 yards
passing, 68% completion rate and his underrated
ability to run with the pigskin - 253 yards
rushing) is his ability to hit nine different
receivers as he did versus then-undefeated Kansas
in the final regular season game of last year.
This kid is a special college QB.
When people think about the Big 12, they think
offense. So in retrospect, the team that can
field the best defense has to have a shot. With
nine starters back on this side the Tigers are
primed to be one of the better defenses prepared
to slow down other conference foes. DE Stryker
Sulak, LB Sean Weatherspoon and CB William Moore
are all capable of earning All-American status
by season's end.
How important is this? Missouri gets Illinois
in the opener, which is a tough task given the
skills of Illini QB Juice Williams. Get by that
game and the Tigers should run the table heading
into Austin on October 18. Also of note, South
Division power hitters Oklahoma and Texas Tech
are not on their regular season schedule.
30 - vs. Illinois @St. Louis, MO
October 18 - at Texas
November 29 - vs. Kansas @Kansas City, MO
December 6 - Big 12 Championship Game
WHY: Talent, Experience and
There is no question coach Jim Tressel has stocked
his cupboard. Two national championship appearances
the past two years tell us just as much.
No team in the country has as much
to prove in terms of getting over the hump to
win a national championship after the previous
two BCS debacles. But understand this - Ohio
State should have been pointing to 2008 as the
year they got back to the title game…not
2007. Last year put them in this bonus position
based on two aspects. One, the zaniness of college
football…the Buckeyes lost in November
at home to Illinois and still backed into the
title game. Two, the schedule was fairly light.
The non-conference opponents were appalling
and the Big Ten was, well...not so strong.
Back in the fold will be 18 starters, the most
of any team in the current top 10 by a good
margin. If the thought of OSU playing in the
title game makes you cringe, our recommendation
is that you skip ahead to 2009.
WELLS: RB Chris "Beanie"
Wells is flat out the best running back in college
football. He is our favorite to be the only
RB invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation.
If you have seen him play or practice, no more
explanation would be needed. Only a junior,
this physical specimen should be performing
for the last time this year at the collegiate
13 - at Southern California
September 27 - at Wisconsin
October 25 - Penn State
November 15 - at Illinois
November 22 - Michigan
WHY NOT: The schedule is absolutely
brutal (NationalChamps.net No. 1 ranked schedule
in all of the FBS). The Bulldogs are not accustomed
to being in this situation...entering the season
as a No. 1 ranked team. Injuries and dismissals
have already started to hamper their cause.
The offensive line is full of fresh faces and
is not quite set to handle some of the better
SEC front lines. Don't write the Dawgs off,
though; there is a reason they come in as the
top team. But that schedule thing again…ugh-a!
20 - at Arizona State
September 27 - Alabama
October 11 - Tennessee
October 25 - at Louisiana State
November 1 - vs. Florida @Jacksonville, FL
November 15 - at Auburn
December 6 - SEC Championship Game
WHY NOT: Bringing back only
four full-time starters on the offense is not
a concern considering the recruiting classes
Pete Carroll has lined up. With a new QB and
rebuilt OL, the task of lining up against Ohio
State the second game of the season - in what
is surely going to be tabbed "The 2008
Game Of The Century" - is a tall one. Granted,
the Pac Ten is considered the worst BCS conference
according to our numbers, and no one else on
the schedule currently represents a legitimate
top 15 team. So the schedule, as well as the
time given to overcome an early loss, will be
in their favor. But it also could hamper the
Trojans in the end when it comes down to deciding
between teams with identical records.
13 - Ohio State
October 4 - Oregon
October 11 - Arizona State
WHY NOT: Finding a “why
not” reason on paper for OU is almost
impossible. Bob Stoops' team is stacked with
household names. If Missouri can't get there,
Oklahoma likely will. The sting of losing the
past two BCS bowl games still haunts the Sooner
program. A good many freshmen and sophomores
will be stepping in on defense (to provide depth
and starting roles at some positions), which
is not the formula needed for slowing down the
Big 12 conference’s offensive juggernauts.
11 - vs. Texas @Dallas, TX
October 18 - Kansas
November 22 - Texas Tech
December 6 - Big 12 Championship Game
WHY NOT: Defense, plain and
simple. Everyone knows about the offense under
the direction of Heisman Winner Tim Tebow and
the wealth of talent and experience surrounding
him. But the defensive line and secondary have
as many question marks as they did last season.
Watching the stale Michigan offense drive up
and down the field in last season's Capital
One Bowl cannot be forgotten. The SEC foes won't
make life any easier.
20 - at Tennessee
October 11 - Louisiana State
November 1 - vs. Georgia @Jacksonville, FL
SEC Championship Game
WHY NOT: Quarterback, plain
and simple. The defending national champs lost
incumbent Ryan Perrilloux, and now the reigns
have been handed over to two guys that have
a combined two pass attempts at this level.
Coach Les Miles is certainly capable of reloading,
which is what he will have to do defensively.
The great secondary lost all but one starter
and maybe even more important...D-coordinator
Bo Pelini has left for Nebraska.
20 - at Auburn
October 11 - at Florida
October 25 - Georgia
November 8 - Alabama
December 6 - SEC Championship Game
WHY NOT: While Pat White continues
to rack up the rushing yards and becomes the
all-time NCAA record holder for rushing by a
QB this fall, his defense loses a good many
people. With only four starters back on this
side of the ball, the task of outscoring opponents
may prove too overwhelming. The ability to throw
the ball has to become more of a factor in tight
games down the stretch, and we have yet to see
this element effectively employed in three years
with White as the starter.
23 - Auburn
December 6 - South Florida
WHY NOT: The ACC won't produce
a national champion anytime soon. While Clemson
is certainly the most worthy team capable of
getting in, they have not proven over the Tommy
Bowden any ability to play consistently week-in
and week-out. The one area that holds Clemson
back is ostensibly the offensive line. If they
could secure this unit, one where only two proven
starters return, they may not be far off. But
if games are won up front, scratch these Tigers.
TOP TEN SURPRISE TEAMS FOR 2008
(Not from a national championship perspective)
Texas Tech - Defense outplayed the
offense in the spring. We know the Red Raiders
score points and put up phenomenal statistics
offensively. That won't change. Defense is the
missing key annually, and this group is capable
of getting Tech over that hump.
Florida Atlantic - Six of the seven
Sunshine State schools participating at the
FBS level are, to us, worthy of top 50 bowl
status. Watch out for Howard Schnellenberger's
team as they continue the trends of success
recently set by South Florida and UCF.
Ball State - The MAC is back. After
somewhat of a drop-off the past few years, teams
like Ball State and Central Michigan are putting
this conference back on the map, with neither
being an opponent that can be take lightly.
Ball State has legitimately six players worthy
of making a team roster at the next level.
Connecticut - No one remembers the
fact that UConn shared the 2007 Big East crown.
The Huskies held 10 of 13 opponents under the
20-point barrier and returns eight of those
starters on defense.
Fresno State - How did coach Pat Hill's
squad earn a top 25 preseason spot in the Coaches
(USA Today) Poll? The Bulldog’s nine-win
season of 2007 has most of its parts back, and
the Bulldogs can beat everyone on their schedule...which
includes Rutgers, Wisconsin and UCLA
Arizona State - The Pac Ten has become
well known for producing great passers. QB Rudy
Carpenter is the best of the conference. Georgia
makes a trip to Tempe in September and the Dawgs
had better beware.
Cincinnati - Another 10-win season
is not impossible. The Bearcats have the best
senior cornerback tandem in American with Smith
and Mickens, while DT Terrill Byrd is a high
first round pick in next April’s NFL Draft.
UC is capable of making games with Oklahoma
and WVU closer than most think.
Rutgers - Gone is Ray Rice. But unsung
senior Mike Teel is the best passer in the Big
East and he is primed to put up sizeable numbers
with superstar receivers Britt and Underwood
at his disposal.
Michigan State - With the Big Ten wide
open after Ohio State, the Spartans may be in
line for one of those tie-ins with the Capital
One or Outback Bowls. Seniors Brian Hoyer and
Javon Ringer at QB and RB, respectively, are
as good as any backfield duo in the conference.
Coach Mark Dantonio is already building bigger
expectations in just his second season.