2009 Spring Preview - The Predicted BCS Games
Florida LB Brandon Spikes & USC S Taylor Mays
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 ...
spring ball underway, here are the 20 Big Questions to start off the
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
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.
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
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)
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Boise State vs. Georgia
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.
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
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