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2009 Spring Preview - The Predicted BCS Games
Florida LB Brandon Spikes & USC S Taylor Mays
Florida LB Brandon Spikes & USC S Taylor Mays
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 1, 2009


There's no need to play the season. It might only be April 1st, but here's the best guess for the biggest games of the season with Florida and Brandon Spikes taking on USC and Taylor Mays for the national title. Check out the potential BCS games, and how the teams will get there, in the CFN 2009 CFN Spring Preview.

Spring Preview 2009

The 20 Big Questions ... No. 1

By Pete Fiutak 

Spring Preview 2009
20 Big Questions

- No. 2 - The top Heisman candidates
- No. 3 - The good players about to go nuclear
- No. 4 - The pain-in-the-butt team in each league
- No. 5 - The pressure will be on ...
- No. 6 - The major unit issues
- No, 7 - Ranking the leagues

- No, 8 - The teams that could tumble

- No, 9 - The teams that could surprise

- No, 10 - The 10 coaches who must win now
- No, 11 - Is the SEC worth the hype?

- No. 12 - Will the Pac 10 finally get some respect?
- No, 13 - The top BCS. vs. non-BCS games

- No. 14 - Why no Big East love?
- No, 15 - Does the Big Ten suck?

- No. 16 - Was the Big 12 exposed?

- No, 17 - Just how good is the ACC?
- No. 18 - Are we any closer to a playoff?

- No, 19 - Potential BCS Busters

- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 1 to 10)
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 11 to 20)
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 21 to 30)
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 31 to 40)
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 41 to 50
With spring ball underway, here are the 20 Big Questions to start off the offseason.

1. The 2010 BCS matchups will be ...

There’s no reason to play the season. Here are your 2010 BCS matchups (or at least the best possible guesses on April 1st). Remember, part of the battle is being really good, part of the battle is being bumped up high in the rankings, and a huge part to remember is the scheduling. For example, LSU will probably be the second best team in the SEC, but it has to go on the road to face Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss and deals with Florida at home. There can be a 2-2 record in those four games, but even if the Tigers go to the SEC title game, they’ll likely lose to Florida and finish with three losses and likely out of the BCS.

Some of the simple rules to remember here. 1) If the conference champion isn’t in the BCS Championship, the Big Ten and Pac 10 champions automatically go to the Rose Bowl, the SEC champion goes to the Sugar Bowl, the Big 12 champion goes to the Fiesta Bowl, and the ACC champion goes to the Orange Bowl.

2) The bowl that loses the No. 1 team in the BCS rankings gets the first pick of the at-large teams, and the bowl that loses the No. 2 team gets the second pick.

3) After the bowls that lose the No. 1 and 2 teams get their pick of the litter, the pecking order for the at-large selection this year goes Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar.

4) One team from Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West, the Sun Belt or WAC gets an automatic bid if it finishes in the top 12 or is in the top 16 and is ranked higher than a BCS conference champion that gets an automatic bid.

5) Notre Dame gets an automatic berth if its finishes in the top eight of the final BCS rankings.
 
BCS Championship
Florida vs. USC

Florida will start the season No. 1 and won’t budge off the spot all season long. There’s a road trip to LSU in early October, but this Gator team is far better than the Tigers and isn’t going to be intimidated by the hostile environment. There’s the Cocktail Party against Georgia, but that’s about it as far as challenges with the toughest road trip outside of the date in Death Valley at South Carolina … whatever. No one will touch the team until the national title game in Pasadena, and even if there is a stumble along the way, the SEC champion will always, always get the benefit of the doubt in the national title debate (for right or wrong) if everything is equal. However, no one does the Rose Bowl (even though it’s the BCS Championship and, technically, not the Rose Bowl) like USC.

But the defense has to replace just about everyone of note up front. But Mark Sanchez bolted early for the NFL and the Trojans don’t know who the quarterback is going to be. But there are four road games in five and six in eight. But it’s USC, and there’s always going to be a choke somewhere along the way.

Pish.

Forget about the battle at Ohio State. USC doesn’t lose spotlight road games against top teams, and no, Notre Dame isn’t going to pull off the upset in South Bend. Fine, so this is USC and this isn’t the 2004 team so there will likely be a road loss to either Cal or Oregon, but everyone wants to see a Trojan vs. SEC champion national title game and the voters are going to make it happen.

No one other than Florida will go unbeaten in the regular season, and the only one-loss team with a shot at knocking out a one-loss USC from the national title game is Texas. The Longhorns will win the Big 12 title game but will lose two games, opening up chance for Pete Carroll’s team to drive up the street to play for the whole ball of wax for the first time since the 2006 Rose Bowl.

Rose Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Ohio State

Assuming the Rose Bowl loses USC to the BCS Championship, it would likely get the second choice of at-large teams to face Ohio State, the Big Ten champion. The Sugar Bowl, who loses Florida, would take Georgia first, and the Rose would be more than happy to get Oklahoma to create one of the biggest matchups of the bowl season. There will be some debate about whether or not to take Boise State, but Oklahoma is Oklahoma.

OU will reload again and be dangerous, but it won’t be the juggernaut of last year. That doesn’t mean there won’t be blowouts over good teams like BYU and Tulsa. The trip to Miami could be a statement moment for the ultra-athletic Hurricanes. They’re young, but they’re talented and they’re on the verge of being really, really good. Even if the Sooners get out alive, they’ll still have to deal with Texas, a trip to face Kansas, who’ll have one of the nation’s most explosive offenses, and road games at Nebraska and Texas Tech. The season-ender against Oklahoma State will be one of the most entertaining offensive matchups of the season. There will be a loss to the Longhorns and one other defeat, likely at Nebraska, to send Texas to the Big 12 title game and OU to either Pasadena.

Ohio State will be out of the national title hunt early on with a home loss to USC, but the rest of the schedule is a layup. Wisconsin and Iowa will be tough, but those games are in Columbus, while three of the road games are against Indiana, Purdue, and Michigan. Just when there’s talk of the Buckeyes, despite the loss to the Trojans, possibly getting to the BCS Championship after jelling midway through the season, the trip to Penn State in early November will end all of that. Even so, there won’t be too many complaints about the first Rose Bowl berth in the Jim Tressel era.

Fiesta Bowl
Penn State vs. Texas

The Fiesta Bowl almost always gets an interesting matchup because it gets a top Big 12 team and its choice of other big names. It’ll be either West Virginia or Penn State to play Texas, but the Orange Bowl will likely take the Mountaineers first in a handshake deal with the Fiesta. Mountaineer fans will likely go to Miami but will have a hard time going to Glendale for the second time in three years.

It’s time for Texas to finally make win the Big 12 title again. Colt McCoy has been so close, and now he has the team and experience to make it to the conference championship game. However, the Longhorns will have problems going unbeaten with Oklahoma, at Missouri, and at Oklahoma State in a three-week span to deal with. Don’t laugh, but November road trips to Baylor and Texas A&M won’t be walks in the park. Also, don’t just dismiss the Big 12 opener against a Colorado team that’s healthy and could be night-and-day better, while a high-powered Kansas team should be able to bomb away with anyone. Fine, so the Longhorns will be better than everyone on the schedule except Oklahoma, who’ll be their equal, but there are just enough sneaky-tough games to get tagged with two losses to prevent a trip to the national championship.

Meanwhile, Penn State has a joke of a schedule, but has just enough problems and concerns to potentially lose at Illinois and Michigan State and blow the Big Ten title shot.  The Ohio State game might be in Happy Valley, but with a rebuilding receiving corps, big replacements needed on both lines, and some key defensive backs gone, there might be a home loss to Iowa early on and a trip to Northwestern could be tough.

Sugar Bowl
Boise State vs. Georgia

It’s almost impossible now for there not to be a non-BCS conference champion in the BCS. There will always be a BCS champion ranked outside of the top 16, so it’s not that hard for some “mid-major” to slip in and get an automatic spot. The Mountain West won’t have an unbeaten team like Utah of last year and there’s no one out of Conference USA who’ll be close to the BCS. Boise State can lose the Thursday night home opener to Oregon and still get into the BCS by running the table in an improved, but not killer WAC. The toughest non-Oregon non-conference game will be at Tulsa. That’s not all that bad, and if the Broncos can beat the Ducks, a BCS spot will be automatic.

Assuming Florida gets to the BCS Championship, the Sugar Bowl will grab the best available SEC team left on the board first. Ole Miss will be the hot preseason choice with a good returning team and the biggest games (Alabama, Tennessee and LSU) at home, but it’ll lose at least one of those three games and will drop at least one road game, maybe two, against South Carolina, Vanderbilt (who’ll be far better than last year), or Auburn. Even if Houston Nutt’s club gets to the SEC title game it’ll get Florida in what will be (at least) a third loss.

Georgia will be just good enough to sneak up on everyone even with some rebuilding to do in the offensive backfield. The season opener at Oklahoma State will be nasty, but that’s the type of statement road game the Dawgs tend to win under Mark Richt. The remaining road games are going to be tough facing Arkansas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, but no one’s better on the road than Georgia. There can be a loss to Florida in the Cocktail Party and one other loss, like the home game against LSU, and Georgia can still get into the BCS by going 10-2. The BCS will always find a way to take two SEC teams.

Orange Bowl
West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech

Long the dumping ground for the Big East and ACC champions, the Orange Bowl will be more than happy to get West Virginia and its fan base. After the Sugar and Rose Bowls make their selections, the Orange will get the next pick of the at large teams and it’ll take the Mountaineers, who’ll be just outside of the national title discussion, over the No. 2 Big 12 team or Boise State.

While the Orange Bowl would more than happy to have West Virginia, it would be ecstatic if South Florida could pull off the Big East title. The Bulls get West Virginia at home, but cold weather road games at Rutgers (Thursday night, November 12th) and Connecticut (December 5th) will cost them the championship.

The Mountaineers will be the class of the Big East, but they’ll have to go on the road to face Auburn, South Florida, Cincinnati and Rutgers. There will be at least one loss against those four teams, maybe two, but they’ll run the table at home including a key Friday night win over Pitt in late November.

Throw all the ACC teams other than Duke into a hat, pull one out, and you probably have the eventual representative in the Orange Bowl. North Carolina will probably be the best team, but games at Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Boston College and NC State all but ends any ACC title discussion. Georgia Tech will know what it’s doing on offense this year and should be fantastic, but the schedule is way too harsh. Virginia Tech has a ton of issues, but the conference road games are against Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Virginia. That’s as good as can reasonably be asked for, while the home games are against Miami, Boston College, North Carolina and NC State. Again, if you want to pick a different ACC team, there won’t be any argument here.