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TQ - Terry Johnson's Preseason Picks
Posted Aug 27, 2013

Tuesday Question - Terry Johnson's Picks and Predictions

By Terry Johnson
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The BCS Champion Will Be... Ohio State
Yes, I realize that everyone is expecting me to pick Alabama. However, history suggests that the Crimson Tide will lose at least once this year. After all, no team has won three consecutive national championships since Minnesota pulled off this rare trifecta back in 1936.

Even if Saban's squad finishes the regular season undefeated, I'm predicting that Ohio State will wrestle the crystal football away from the SEC. Sure, the Buckeyes need to break in some new starters on defense, but they have plenty of time to figure things out before Wisconsin comes to town on Sept. 28. With nine starters returning from a unit that averaged 37.2 points per game last season, the OSU offense has enough firepower to outscore anyone on its schedule.

The Heisman Trophy Winner Will Be... AJ McCarron
Let's be honest, McCarron was only one play away from winning this award last year. Had he rallied the Tide to a victory over A&M, the voting would have been over long before the season ended. Considering that he and Amari Cooper put up Tecmo Bowl-type numbers against the Tide secondary in the spring, I like his chances to win college football's most coveted trophy.

The Most Disappointing Team Will Be... Kansas State
Make no mistake about it: the Wildcats will make it back to the postseason again in 2013. However, with so many new faces on defense this fall, it's tough to envision K-State finishing in the upper half of the Big 12.

The Biggest Surprise Team Will Be... Wisconsin
Even though Bret Bielema - one of the nation's most underrated coaches - departed for Arkansas, the Badgers will make their fourth straight Rose Bowl appearance. Gary Andersen's Utah State teams could move the ball on the ground against anyone, including SEC opponents. That trend won't change this fall with James White and Melvin Gordon running behind one of the nation's most talented offensive lines.

Don't Be Shocked If... Mississippi State beats Oklahoma State
Yes, I realize that many of you expect the Cowboys to win this contest by at least two touchdowns. However, it's worth noting that Oklahoma State will be breaking in a new defensive scheme this fall, looking to improve upon the 4.3 yards per carry that it surrendered away from home last year.

Why is that number important? Since Dan Mullen took over in Starkville, the Bulldogs are 21-2 when they run for more than 4.0 yards per carry.

The AAC Champion Will Be... Louisville
Charlie Strong's squad is the most talented team in the AAC, and has an outside shot to play for the national championship. Even if the Cards do stub their toe against Rutgers or Cincinnati, the rest of the league is so balanced that no one else will emerge with fewer than two conference losses.

The ACC Champion Will Be... Clemson
The Tigers will defeat North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game. While Florida State has the most talented team in the league, Dabo Swinney's squad will win the Atlantic because this year's game is in Death Valley, where Clemson has won the last five meetings.

The Big Ten Champion Will Be... Ohio State
There's not much to say here. The Buckeyes are the most talented team in the Big Ten, and will have no trouble outscoring any opponent on their schedule.

The Big 12 Champion Will Be... Oklahoma State
With seven starters returning from a unit that finished fourth nationally in total offense a year ago, the Cowboys are clearly the favorite to take home the Big 12 crown. While the offense will receive most of the recognition for the team's success, Glenn Spencer's aggressive style of play on defense will force more turnovers, leading the 'Pokes to their second conference title in the last three seasons.

The Conference USA Champion Will Be... Tulsa
Make no mistake about it: Marshall and Tulsa have the two most explosive offenses in the league. Since the team that runs the ball most effectively usually wins, look for the Golden Hurricane to capture their second straight C-USA championship.

The MAC Champion Will Be... Toledo
Yes, Northern Illinois has appeared in the last three MAC Championship Games, but the Huskies have the misfortune of playing Toledo in the Glass Bowl. With an experienced Terrance Owens under center, the Rocket offense will score just enough points to avenge an Oct. 26 loss to archrival Bowling Green.

The Mountain West Champion Will Be... Boise State
Despite returning one of the most inexperienced rosters in the country last year, the Broncos still managed to finish 11-2, narrowly losing to Michigan State and San Diego State. With an improved Joe Southwick playing behind a seasoned offensive line, it's tough to see Boise losing to the Aztecs again this season.

The Pac 12 Champion Will Be... Stanford
Defense wins championships, which is why the Cardinal narrowly edge out Oregon for the top spot. Whoever wins the epic showdown on November 7, will have no trouble handling the Pac 12 South Champion for the third straight season.

The SEC Champion Will Be... Alabama
With the most talented roster in the country and an extremely favorable schedule (see: two weeks to prepare for both Texas A&M and LSU), there's no reason why the Crimson Tide shouldn't finish the regular season undefeated. Provided Alabama outlasts Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, it will play Ohio State for all the marbles.

The Sun Belt Champion Will Be... Arkansas State
While this race will be a very competitive one, I expect the Red Wolves to win the title again this season. Sure, they'll have some dangerous road tests against Louisiana-Monroe and Western Kentucky, but the three-headed monster of Adam Kennedy, David Oku, and JD McKissic makes the offense every bit as lethal as it was a year ago. That type of firepower will guide ASU to a third straight conference title and a top 25 ranking at the end of the season.

BCS Bowls

Orange Bowl - Clemson (ACC Champ) vs Boise State (at-large)

Sugar Bowl - LSU (at-large) vs Louisville (AAC Champ)

Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma State (Big 12 Champ) vs Oregon (at-large)

Rose Bowl - Stanford (Pac 12 Champ) vs Wisconsin (at-large)

National Championship Game - Ohio State (Big Ten Champ) vs Alabama (SEC Champ)