Tag Archives: Kellen Moore

Higher Learning Week 7

This aint good for Oregon.

Not an exciting week in college football but Here’s what we learned last week:

  1. Oregon’s injuries are becoming a serious issue. First LaMichael James went down with an injury to his elbow and now Darron Thomas is questionable after a leg injury marred a 41-27 win over Arizona State. Oregon doesn’t have to worry about James or Thomas’s health this week at Boulder to face Colorado nor will they against Wazzu in two weeks. But with big games coming up against Stanford and Washington you have to wonder if the Ducks will be strong enough to handle the dark horse national title contenders in Palo Alto or the upstarts in Seattle.
  2. Georgia Tech certainly can disappoint can’t they. One minute they look like a clear cut ACC favorite, the next they’re losing to Virginia. Last week’s stinker comes at a bad time as the Jackets begin a stretch against Miami, Clemson and Virginia Tech and another loss could kiss their Orange Bowl hopes good-bye. One way that they can stop another swoon is passing the ball better. 2-8 and 2 picks is totally unacceptable even for the triple option.
  3. Michigan State might be for real after beating previously unbeaten Michigan 28-14 in East Lansing last weekend. Their defense continues to impress as one of the nation’s best as they shut down Denard Robinson in impressive style limiting him to 42 yards on the ground and forcing him into a 9-24 day and sacking him 7 times. If this Spartans team is truly for real then they will prove it against Wisconsin this week.
  4. The West is certainly best in the SEC. As Auburn, Alabama and LSU keep rolling SEC East powers South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee all continue to struggle. South Carolina looks like it’s safe to make it to the Georgia Dome for the SEC title game but a 14-12 win over disappointing Mississippi State gives us all reason as to why they won’t win against any of the 3 West powers. Connor Shaw came back down to earth and they lost Marcus Lattimore for the rest of the season. The Gamecocks should be safe against the Gators coming up but don’t expect much out of them after.
  5. Illinois disappoints… again. After a promising start they lost to the offensively inept Ohio State Buckeyes this week and looked  just as bad. The Illini turned the ball over three times and never got a good flow going. Losses like these are no wonder the Illini never can get over the hump in the Big Ten.

THE GOOD

That blur was Senquez Golson... ouch.

 

Ryan Tannehill took advantage of Baylor’s poor pass D to the tune of 415 yards and 6 td’s in a 55-28 in College Station.

THE BAD

The Big East was rejected by Army, Navy and the Air Force last weekend for admittance… they also contacted Boise State… yeah this won’t end well for the Big East.

THE UGLY

Sure Ohio State won this past weekend, but they had one completion… one. Even Tresselball wasn’t this conservative.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The Brooklyn Buckeye man crush Kellen Moore: 26-30 for 338 yards and 4td’s in a 63-13 win for Boise over Colorado State.

EMBARASSMENT OF THE WEEK

Senquez Golson of Ole Miss… what Trent Richardson did to your ankles was horrible. YouTube that please.

TOP 5

  1. LSU
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Boise State
  5. Wisconsin

HEISMAN TOP 5

  1. Kellen Moore, Boise State
  2. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
  3. Trent Richardson, Alabama
  4. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
  5. Andrew Luck, Stanford

The best matchups this weekend includes #20 Auburn vs. #1 LSU,  #25 Washington vs. #8 Stanford and #6 Wisconsin vs. #16 Michigan State.

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Higher Learning Week 3

It wasn't pretty but Oklahoma is still perfect.

So it’s been a hectic work week, sorry for the delay but here we go!

What did we learn this weekend?

  1. Oklahoma deserves to be number 1 after a hard-earned victory in Tallahassee this past weekend. Oklahoma’s 23-13 victory was brutal for the normally offensive minded Sooners as they struggled to move the ball past a Seminole defense that was looking for payback from a brutal 49-17 drubbing in Norman last year. Landry Jones overcame two interceptions to find Kenny Stills for the go ahead score while the Sooners defense did the rest including 2 interceptions by Javon Harris. The Sooners defense evoked memories of their national title days a decade earlier as Florida State had trouble moving the ball with or without E.J. Manuel who left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. 3 of the next four games should be pieces of cake for the Sooners except their annual Red River Shootout with Texas in three weeks. If they get past that matchup then the Sooners have nothing to worry about until Texas A&M and Oklahoma State come calling.
  2. Stanford is the forgotten team amongst the top 10 and they seem just fine with that title. After an efficient 37-10 win in Arizona the Cardinal sit at #6 in the rankings and are patiently waiting for the crowd to get smaller. Andrew Luck has been his normal spectacular self and he’s been aided by Stepfan Taylor who emerged last week as a threat running the ball adding a new dimension for the Cardinal. Their next five games should be winnable even a matchup in L.A. versus USC. Their true challenge comes November 12th when Oregon comes to Palo Alto.
  3. Staying in the Pac-10 its starting to look like Rick Neuheisel will be out of a job at the end of this year. His UCLA Bruins lost 49-20 to Texas a team that hadn’t scored 20 points in a game this season and looked like a mess. That is until Case McCoy ran on to the field and Texas ran up almost 500 total yards of offense. These are virtually the same two teams from last year’s game at Austin that saw UCLA come away with a victory. Ever since that game the Bruins are 3-8 and it looks like Neuheisel is headed for the chopping block.
  4. It doesn’t matter who is under center for the Ohio State Buckeyes, they just aren’t good. Their 24-6 loss to Miami was embarrassing as Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller combined to go 4-18 for 38 yards… yep, that’s the entire game total. Even when they get all of their suspended players it’s hard to see the Buckeyes playing for anything more than 4th in the Big Ten.
  5. This conference realignment stuff is going to get messy. With Syracuse and Pitt going to the ACC, West Virginia and UCONN looking to move and the entire Big 12 in limbo it’s hard to tell just what the landscape will look like soon. The worst part of all of this is that it makes no sense geographically. Syracuse in the ACC? Texas in the Pac-16? TCU in the Big East? Can’t we just bring back the Big 8, SWC and leave tradition alone?

THE GOOD

South Florida racked up 745 total yards and dropped 70 on FAMU including B.J. Daniels 382 and 4 TD tosses.

BYU and Jake Heaps would like to forget about this weekend.

THE BAD

Maryland’s black uniforms… yeah they’ll be on here all year trust me.

THE UGLY

You expect a FCS team to have a BCS team run it up on them like FAMU, BUT KANSAS ALLOWING 738 YARDS INCLUDING 600 ON THE GROUND IN A 66-24 LOSS TO GEORGIA TECH? C’MON SON!!

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The Brooklyn Buckeye favorite Kellen Moore. He went 32-42 for 455 yards and 4 TD’s in Boise’s 40-15 win over Toledo.

EMBARASSMENT OF THE WEEK

On their third play from scrimmage versus Utah, BYU center Terence Brown snapped the ball high over QB Jake Heaps head. Heaps then tried to throw the ball away but lost it. Utah defensive end Derrick Shelby recovered it and Utah led 7-0… you figure out the rest of the game.

The top 5 remains the same as last week while Andrew Luck jumps ahead of Landry Jones in the Heisman top 5.

Big games next week include LSU traveling to Morgantown to take on West Virginia, Florida State taking on Clemson coming off of a big win over Auburn, Arkansas takes on Alabama, and the game of the week features Oklahoma State taking on Texas A&M.


Higher Learning Week 1 CFB

Yep... It's us again.

So to fully analyze the silliness that is college football I’ve decided to dedicate a weekly recap entitled “Higher Learning.” Get it? college? Learning? Education?… well it’s cool to me so deal with it. so let’s start it off shall we with five things I learned this weekend:

  1. As if we needed anymore proof that Boise State is a powerhouse program they gave us a new reason to be afraid of them… they beat an SEC team… in SEC country… and it wasn’t even close. Boise’s 35-21 beat down in the ATL was as impressive of a performance offensively and defensively as I’ve seen from them. They weren’t intimidated by the SEC name, the partisan crowd or the fact that they lost a ton of experience on both offense and defense. Fact is that as long as Kellen Moore is under center then it really doesn’t matter who’s there. Moore led a balanced attacked up and down the Georgia dome and the defense was stellar save for an 80 yard touchdown run by Brandon Boykin. Boise looks like they’re primed to make another BCS run and doesn’t look like it’ll be tested seriously until October 7th when they face up with Pat Hill’s always pesky Fresno State squad. Let the Boise hype begin.
  2. How about the Big 12 putting the Texas A&M controversy and the concerns about the future of the conference to the side and putting together a 10-0 weekend including Baylor’s 50-48 upset of then #14th ranked TCU . The conference flexed its offensive muscle as 7 of the 10 teams scored 42 points or more and looked unaffected by the constant banter surrounding the conference. It gets to flex more muscle this week as Oklahoma State faces a good Arizona team, Missouri takes on Arizona State, Texas faces BYU coming off of a win against Mississippi in Oxford and the battle for the Cy-Hawk trophy in Ames, Iowa between Iowa and Iowa State.
  3. LSU might be the team to beat in the SEC. Florida, Alabama and Auburn all won this weekend (Auburn barely) but LSU was the most impressive team this weekend. Jarrett Lee made Jordan Jefferson seem expendable with his performance against Oregon as he led the Tigers to 24 straight points in route to a 40-27 route at Cowboys Stadium. However, what was very impressive was the LSU front four that gave LaMichael James and the Ducks no room to run and stuffed them at every turn. If they can get by two tough road games against Mississippi State and West Virginia then we could be talking about LSU playing for the National Championship in New Orleans for the third straight time.
  4. I wouldn’t pencil in Alabama into the National Championship just yet. even after a sound 48-7 beating of Kent State you have to be very concerned of their QB situation. AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims threw two picks each and looked shaky at times. I can imagine how shaky they will be when facing 107,000 rabid Nittany Lions fans this weekend at Beaver Stadium. The Tide should roll to victory this weekend but not without some mistakes under center.
  5. The weather needs to calm down after this weekend. Lightning caused delays during games in Morgantown, South Bend and Ann Arbor and caused one fan serious injury in Morgantown. Hopefully mother nature will be on her best behavior going forward and people will be safe… and games can get finished in less than 8 hours.

THE GOOD

No comment.

Cincinnati beat up Austin Peay University 72-10 racking up 561 total yards and putting up the most points this weekend of any FBS team in the country.

THE BAD

TCU’s defense. Gary Patterson’s bunch has been a force on the defensive end in the last few seasons ranking in the top ten nationally. Against Baylor they resembled the Bad News Bears allowing 50 points, 564 total yards and giving Patterson an aneurysm.

THE UGLY

Maryland’s uniforms… yuck.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Kellen Moore: 28-34, 261 yards and 3 TD’s in a 35-21 beat down of Georgia.

EMBARRASSMENT OF THE WEEK

Notre Dame’s effort against South Florida. Dayne Crist could be permanently benched, the offense looked stagnant and Brian Kelly dropped about 30 F-Bombs on NBC… oops.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s best matchups Alabama faces Penn State at State College, and Notre Dame heads to Ann Arbor to play Michigan under the lights at The Big House.


The Sad And Painful Reality Of Boise State Football

Kellen Moore watches Boise go from National title contender, to just another small school.

I watched a dream die tonight. I watched a season of high expectations, hopes and dreams go up in flames due to what can only be described as $#!! happens.

I watched a program go from the penthouse to the outhouse, from destiny to the dirt roads. I watched a team who had dreams of being one of the greats and becoming a trendsetter for the next generation of college football turn into just another small conference team.

Yep… tonight I witnessed the final night of the movement that was the Boise State Broncos drive for national respect… and the way it ended is so gut-wrenching and cold that it makes me cringe with every tap of my keys.

First and foremost give credit to the Nevada Wolfpack; they won this game Boise State didn’t lose it. Nevada fought off a 24-7 deficit by bringing its vaunted running attack back from the dead with a 239 yard second half. Colin Kaepernick capped off a stellar career by leading his team back from the dead one last time on senior night in Reno and murdering Boise State’s BCS dreams.

Those dreams are the subject of debate that Boise will once again never have the chance of realizing.

Teams like the one that Boise fielded are once in a lifetime for mid-major programs. UNLV had it in 1990 with Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and Stacy Augmon for the basketball program. Butler’s basketball program just had it with Gordon Haywood, Matt Howard and Ronald Nored, and Boise had it with a roster full of guys that will play on NFL Sundays from Titus Young to Austin Pettis and even D.J. Martin. They had Kellen Moore who if not for the amazing Cam Newton, would be a shoe in for the Heisman. They had Chris Petersen who is one of the top 5 coaches in America who turned this program into somewhat of a power.

Colin Kaepernick and Nevada won the game just as much as Boise lost it.

Yes they played in the WAC conference which is low on star power and good competition. The likes of San Jose State, Idaho and Wyoming don’t strike fear into anyone’s hearts. However, like most good teams they destroy lesser competition without a sweat leaving no room for error.

When they do get their shots at the big boys (which are few and far in between due to fear of losing to the Broncos) they have proven their worth. They swept a home and home versus Oregon, beat Oklahoma, physically dominated Virginia Tech 4 hours away from Blacksburg in a “Neutral Site” game and beating fellow BCS buster TCU in the Fiesta Bowl last year.

They have proven time and time again that they are not a mid-major program; rather they are a growing power akin to Gonzaga or the aforementioned Butler Bulldogs in college basketball. They belong in the conversation of the national title much like Oregon and Auburn and others though many people are still skeptical of their talent level and level of competition.

Then comes nights like tonight. Nights where Boise State is subject to the same kind of happenstance as other teams in other conferences but since they play in the WAC the microscope is so much brighter. Losing to Nevada, no matter the record, no matter the circumstance, no matter how underrated Kaepernick or Vai Tuau are unacceptable is unacceptable for the #4 ranked team in the country from a small conference who people are saying should play for a title. For Gordon Gee, Nick Saban and other detractors a loss like this proves their point, no matter how unfair it is, that Boise doesn’t belong with the big boys.

If #4 Ohio State or USC loses to #19 Michigan State or Arizona then it’s no big deal, it’s big time college football, $#!! Happens. However, in the life of the small budget BCS buster, $#!! happens isn’t a reality. $#!! can’t happen. You have to beat everyone no matter the competition and when you don’t, you’re just another little team from a little conference. That’s Boise State’s reality when they wake up tomorrow morning.

They are no longer darlings of the college football world. We know they can play with the best… but they lost to Nevada… Nevada. Within minutes of Kyle Brotzman becoming the new age Scott Norwood, the Broncos went from the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl to the Kraft Hunger Bowl or the Humanitarian Bowl. They were somebody’s, now in an instant they’re that cute little team with that funny blue turf. Life on the D-list.

It was torture the way it happened too. Building a 24-7 lead in the fashion that won them 24 straight games with a quick strike offense and a defense that pushed around Nevada’s o-line. Then they stalled and Nevada came back to tie it up at 24-24. Then with the score 31-31 and overtime eminent, Moore had his Heisman moment; a 50 yard completion to Young who somehow got separation from the secondary and hauled in a prayer. It was over, 25 straight and a win over Utah State away from another BCS game. The Brotzman supplanted Steve Bartman as the biggest goat that sports has seen.

Kyle Brotzman... the new Scott Norwood.

He missed to chip shot field goals in the center of the field, wide left, wide right. Kellen Moore screamed in anguish as the second shot missed and Boise was on the ropes. Then Nevada’s walk-on kick Anthony Martinez did what Brotzman couldn’t, he ended the game by hitting a dead center 35 yarder… and ended the Boise State dream.

I have no ties to Boise, I just wanted the establishment of college football to be shaken, I wanted it to be blown up, and I wanted the little guy to prove that they belong just as much as the big boys and I was sure that this was the team to do it. they had it all, the QB, the coach, the players and the fear of every major conference foe… and in two seconds it was gone. Now Boise State is no better than Hawaii, SMU or… well… Nevada.

Sure TCU is still there, and they will be in a BCS game after they finish 12-0 this Saturday. However, if they play in the BCS title game it won’t feel the same. Boise was a dream team, the chosen team to upset the established order. They started with Oklahoma, progressed to another level by beating Virginia Tech and they were supposed to be the team that reached the mountain top of the BCS. Yet after Friday night in Reno reality sets back in as they get ready for the Aggies on Saturday next week. They’re just another team.

I know they’re better than LSU, Wisconsin, UCONN or any other major conference team that’ll play in a BCS game. They showed what they can do on the national stage. But they lost to Nevada in a cold night in little Reno, Nevada. That’s all that matters. Not that Nevada is 11-1, not that they have the most potent rushing offense in the league, but because they’re Nevada. You don’t lose to Nevada if you beat Virginia Tech and Oregon. That’s the way it is, and that’s why Boise State is once again just another mid-major.


Gee Gets It Wrong With TCU and Boise

President Gee's comments have sparked another BCS controversy

Going to Ohio State University in the last few years I’ve developed a little bit of an affinity for our school President E. Gordon Gee.

The little man with the bowtie, coke bottle glasses and satellite ears is 76 years old going on 23 it seems. When he comes to any event on campus it’s like that scene from Goodfellas when Robert De Niro’s character Jimmy Conway walked into that gambling hall with a young Henry Hill fetching him seven and seven’s, everyone goes nuts.

Kids stop partying and dancing to run over to him and shake his hand or take a picture or tell him they love him. He’s the biggest rock star on campus and we all admire him. I’ve even had the pleasure of waiting on him a few times at the restaurants I’ve worked at in Columbus and to watch even older people break their strides to talk the guy’s ear off while he’s eating a fish sandwich is hilarious.

He deserves it though. The guy runs a great university with great programs and one hell of an athletic department that features a perennial top ten program that fills up a 100,000 seat stadium every week. That program brings in a ton of revenue from its dealings with the Big Ten Network as well, which is one of the nation’s top three conferences with marquee matchups every week that catch the eye of the viewer.

So by being in an elite program in the Big Ten, as well as serving as President at Vanderbilt in the SEC, Gee decided to let his opinion be known about the possibility of an undefeated TCU or Boise State playing for the national title. Let’s just say the folks down in Dallas or Boise won’t be rushing to shake the man’s hand anytime soon.

Gee said that he doesn’t believe the Frogs or Broncos should play in the BCS title game because they lack the elite schedule and competitive balance that an Ohio State has to become a title contender.

He feels that since the Buckeyes don’t play “little sisters of the poor” as he so eloquently put it, like the Frogs or Broncos (OOOOOHHH SNAP!), that schools such as his and the other elite programs in the country regularly have the edge when it comes to having an inside track on the national title game.

Pretty much all Gee did was something that every BCS conference coach and president wanted to say about the little guys from the little conferences that are getting all of the attention. They don’t want the little guys to take the spotlight from the 80,000 seat stadiums with the million dollar facilities that teams like OSU and Oklahoma, and more importantly take their money. The BCS games hand out 18 million dollars to each participant who adds little more to the pot for spending on their facilities and coaches and bowties.

What Gee forgets to think about and mention is this… if everyone doesn’t think that TCU and Boise State play tough enough non-conference schedules and that they should schedule tougher competition… then why not play them? Oh wait, because everyone is scared too, including Ohio State.

Virginia Tech brought Boise east and couldn't keep up.

Boise and TCU can’t get a fair shake at playing a better non-conference schedule because every time they try to play someone in a neutral site game every big school says no unless it’s at their house. TCU and Boise were only able to get Oregon State to come to their houses this year and look what happened, they got beat up. Then there was the Virginia Tech game for Boise which was technically a neutral site in Washington D.C…. that was 2 hours from Tech’s campus, and a ten hour flight from Boise.

But the result is what scares teams. Boise flew half way across the country and beat up the Hokies and won the game late 33-30. The first half was all Boise in every aspect of the game. Games like that one, the TCU upset of Oklahoma at Norman three years ago and Utah’s thrashing of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl are the dirty little secret that the big boys are scared to talk about when they criticize the schedules of the smaller schools. Deep down they know that these schools on any given day have just as much talent, just as good a coaching and can beat the Texas’s, Alabama’s and others in an instant.

That’s why you’ll never see Boise versus Ohio State in Cincinnati, because the Buckeyes don’t want a loss on national TV to a small program like Boise even if it is in their own backyard.

Another point… has Mr. Gee seen Ohio State’s non-conference schedule lately?

They never left Columbus this year to face mighty Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan. Oooohhh!!!

It’s not just the Buckeyes either. No.2 Auburn had hard fought matchups against Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Chattanooga, no.7 Stanford scheduled powerhouses Sacramento State and Wake Forest and no.1 Oregon squeaked by New Mexico and Portland State by a combined 141-0. By the way all of these games were at home.

Then when the so-called elite played neutral site games or road games against competition that couldn’t touch the Frogs or Broncos on the field, look what happened. Oklahoma almost to a rebuilding Cincinnati team at Paul Brown Stadium, LSU barely escaped North Carolina and even Iowa got blitzed by an upstart Arizona. So just imagine if any of those teams dared to face TCU or Boise on a neutral field… trouble, trouble, trouble.

What Gee doesn’t understand is that the big boys schedule worse competition than Boise plays on a weekly basis in the WAC. I mean can Minnesota beat Fresno State or Nevada? Because Illinois or Wisconsin couldn’t, I don’t think Mississippi State could go to Salt Lake City and come out with a win, and you know how pitiful the Pac-10 is against the Mountain West. So if San Jose State and Hawaii are the little sisters of the poor then what do we call Indiana, Vanderbilt and Kansas? Distant cousins?

As much as I love Gordon Gee the person, I think the president misspoke about the level of competition at TCU and at Boise State. I’ve watched the Buckeyes, Horned Frogs and Broncos if the Buckeyes got to play these guys in the Rose Bowl or wherever, it wouldn’t be a good outcome for the Bucks.

Boise’s speed and quickness with Kellen Moore’s precision passing would eat up the Ohio State secondary, and TCU’s defense would eat up OSU’s running game and force Terrelle Pryor to win the game for the Bucks.

(By the way: if we had a quiz of quarterbacks and I gave you no names just a description of play who would you choose? The QB with only 6 interceptions in the last two seasons that is a precise passer who makes few mistakes, the Nation’s leading QB in wins in the last four years with 40 wins to 4 losses, or the 6 foot 6 QB with great skill but who routinely makes mistakes and wilts under pressure? Now guess the QB and the school that they play at. Here’s a hint: the first two play for Boise and TCU.)

You understand where Gee comes from in a business sense, but on the field it makes no sense. TCU and Boise deserve just as much of a shot as Ohio State, Auburn or Oregon at playing for the national title. If you complain about who they play, man up and knock them down it’s that simple. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes they don’t have room for the Broncos pr the Horned Frogs, they have big time matchups versus Akron, Toledo, Miami (Ohio), Colorado and UAB all at home in the next two years. I guess the little sisters of the poor weren’t available.

 


The Haters College Football Preview

So here’s an interesting scenario for college football this year, there actually is only one team to beat this year, Alabama. They’re back, reloaded and just as good as last year. Mark Ingram returns for a possible second Heisman, John Parker Wilson comes back at the helm at QB, plus the defense is anchored by Marcel Daerus who is gaining lots of attention for the NFL draft.

Mark Ingram is back to add to his collection

They do play in the SEC, you know the best conference in college football (yawn) and looking at the SEC they should go undefeated due to Florida having to replace key pieces on offense and defense and teams such as Georgia, LSU and Auburn who all have little kinks to work out before they become contenders again.

So there you have it, it’s a shoe-in, Bama repeats as national champions with ease—if any of you know me, you know damn well I’m not this stupid.

Honestly I could see Alabama winning it all because when you look at the preseason top ten there isn’t one team I actually could see myself picking to win it all, however this includes Bama.

Yeah yeah yeah, they play in the SEC, Ingram’s back blah blah blah… they lost Rolando McClain, Javier Arenas and Terrance Cody on defense, that’s key ingredients in three areas that were all important on that defense. You don’t just replace three all-SEC players and expect to just run through a conference no matter how down of a year it might have—

Yup you read that correctly, DOWN YEAR and SEC in the same sentence. I know that as far as talent on the field goes no one is better than them and it’s showed, they’ve won the last four national titles and have done it convincingly. However, when you look around the league you really can’t see any of the guys factoring into the title chase.

Florida is replacing #15 behind center (you know I never use Jesus’ name in vain) Aaron Hernandez, Riley Cooper and Maurkice Pouncey on offence and Brandon Spikes and Joe Haden on defense. Auburn is throwing another quarterback under center in Cam Newton. LSU with Jordan Jefferson has underachieved mightily since its title win three years ago and Les Miles is starting to feel the heat (luckily for him Rich Rodriguez will be fired in three months so can slide right into his alma mater without a hitch). Then there’s the Betty Ford clinic in Ole Miss with Jeremiah Masoli, the school for convicts in Tennessee and Georgia (no jokes, no shaking of the head just Georgia. When will this school put Mark Richt on the burner for a. never winning an SEC title, b. always coming up short in big games, c. not factoring into national title picture at all and d. ALWAYS ALWAYS UNDERACHIEVING?!?!) You’re probably saying hey Arkansas is a dark horse—they are but I still hope Bobby Petrino gets run over by a Greyhound bus and Arthur Blank drives by to laugh at him with Matt Ryan in the passenger seat, so I am a little biased towards them.

So here is where you probably think I’m going to persuade you into thinking that the Ohio State Buckeyes, my alma mater as of June 2010 thank you, will overtake an over confident Alabama team and win the national title—eh not quite.

I like the Buckeyes I really do but (warning: beating a dead horse) I don’t really trust Terrelle Pryor. For all of the hype that Pryor has received, and is still receiving as he is the favorite for the Heisman, the only really good game that he has put together since coming to Columbus was that Rose Bowl win against Oregon.

I’ve watched Pryor, dissected him, criticized him, prayed that Jim Tressel put him at wide out and I still can’t trust that for a full season based on that Rose Bowl that he will put it together running and throwing the ball. Is that wrong? Maybe but that’s what I’m rolling with (plus Ohio State has to figure out their running game. Is it Brandon Saine? Jordan Hall? Jamaal Berry? Carlos Hyde? Maurice Clarett? Who’s running the ball consistently for them?).

I want to trust the both of you, but I know I can't.

So who do I like then for the national title? No one really. I’m a hater this year. I can’t find reasons to like these teams enough to pick them to win the national championship including Boise State who I’ve been touting since they embarrassed Bob Stoops at the Fiesta Bowl years ago.

The top 5 is really a top 3. Florida and Texas? I have no clue how teams that lose that much talent the year before, can start the year in the national championship race. Garrett Gilbert at QB for Texas can grow into something special in Austin especially after his gutsy debut at the Rose Bowl versus Bama last year. However, number 4 in the country? No, not yet.

As much as I don’t like any of these teams there has to be a way to find a viable national title pick among them so let’s try to find one. (Note: these are my personal rankings, like it matters anyway because rankings this early in this season are foolish)

ALABAMA (no.1, defending champions, SEC, key player: Mark Ingram)

What I don’t like: losing Arenas, Cody and McClain will hurt them at some point. The defense is still one of the toughest in the nation nut I feel it’s going to struggle. They play a soft non-conference schedule with Penn State coming to Tuscaloosa in September then they get a wake-up call from Arkansas and Ryan Mallet in Fayetteville on the 25th, it might not seem like such a big deal right now but I can see a loss to an upstart like the hogs and all those weapons they have on offense.

However, I do like: one, they’re the defending champs; they got the hunger to go back and continue the SEC dominance. Two, it’s a week SEC this year, sure they go to LSU but I don’t see LSU as a challenge for the Tide. It could make for an easy road back to the BCS championship game.

OHIO STATE (no. 2, Big Ten Champions, Winners of the Rose Bowl, Key player: Terrelle Pryor)

Hate: Pryor. He has to put together a full season to gain my trust and the trust of the Buckeye faithful out there. I’m anxious to see if his throwing motion has improved or if he can spread the ball around to receivers other than Dane Sanzenbacher and Devier Posey. Also, I hope Jim Tressel tells Tresselball to kick rocks. He has to open it up and air it out, Tresselball has been the reason for the Buckeyes deficiencies in recent years on offense and Tressel has done nothing about it. He has to either adapt or watch another title dream go down the drain.

Like: Miami comes to the Shoe in three weeks which provides a good early season challenge for the Buckeyes. Also the Big Ten is looking pretty good this year, Iowa and Wisconsin are dark horse national title candidates and will provide the Bucks with their first real Big Ten challenge in years.

BOISE STATE (no.3, WAC champions, Winners of the Fiesta Bowl, Key Player: Kellen Moore)

Hate: I don’t want to hate the Broncos, but they play in the WAC and traditional voters will do everything in their power to use that against them in their contention for the national championship. Also they start off the season in a neutral site game against Virginia Tech in Washington D.C.—Blacksburg is a good two and a half hour drive from the capital— neutral? Yeah, sure.

Like: They are faster, tougher and deeper than you want to believe. Austin Pettis, Jeremy Avery and others provide a punch on an offense that will score lots of points with Heisman Contender Kellen Moore at the helm and Ryan WInterswyk leads a tough defense that shut down Oregon and TCU last year. I’m really pulling for these guys but I don’t see it happening.

TCU (NO. 4, MWC champions, 12-1, Key Player: Andy Dalton)

Hate: They totally choked up in the Fiesta Bowl last year. The mental toughness should be a concern as the Mountain West gets more attention this year than ever with their recent success. Also losing Jerry Hughes in defense hurts more than they’ll know.

Like: They are the best team in Texas. On offense Andy Dalton will get a long look for the Heisman and he’ll have plenty of help in looking good from Jeremy Kerley and Joseph Turner. The defense is still stout without Hughes as Coach Gary Patterson will rely on defensive tackles Kelly Griffin and Cory Grant to lead one of the nation’s top ranked and toughest defensive lines.

VIRGINIA TECH (No.5, ACC, 10-3, Key Player: Ryan Williams)

So I could win the Heisman, we could go 12-0, again and still wont play for the National Title again?

Hate: They play in the ACC, the worst conference in all of football. They have to go to Miami and Chapel Hill against the best the conference has to offer. Also they shrink against the big competition. They lost to Georgia Tech, UNC, and Alabama last year while barely beating Nebraska in a game that they were not impressive in. suddenly that home field advantage versus Boise State doesn’t look like a big deal.

Like: The progression of Tyrod Taylor. He is the undisputed man at Va. Tech and has finally found a way to make them score regularly. Having Ryan Williams in the backfield doesn’t hurt. He should match his 1600 season last year with the cupcakes coming up on the schedule.

IOWA (no. 6, Orange Bowl Champions, 11-2, Key Players: Defensive Line)

Hate: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. They plagued them in losses and in games that shouldn’t have been close last year. Ricky Stanzi has a flash for brilliance at QB but his iffy arm puts the Hawkeyes in trouble A LOT! Also that week three matchup against Arizona will be tougher than most think.

Love: That defense. Ask the Big Ten about it. Led by Adrian Clairborn and Karl Krug they can rush the QB at will with just the front four. The front line won six of their games last year and can do it again this year. Also Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State have to come to Kinnick Stadium this year. Talk about a lucky break.

FLORIDA (No. 7, Sugar Bowl Champions, 13-1, SEC, Key Player: John Brantley)

Hate: They’re young, with unproven receivers, no real threat in the backfield and a defense that lost four key starters. They face South Florida September 11th which could be a tough test for them. This might be the year that Florida State restores the balance of the rivalry in their favor.

Like: Mechanically and from the eye test John Brantley is a better quarterback than Tim Tebow (BLASPHEMY!!). With the spread offense in play they should still put up lots of points especially with Vandy, Appalachian State and Miami (Oh) on the schedule.

TEXAS (No. 8, National runner-up, 13-1, Big 12, Key Player: Malcolm Williams)

Hate: The fact that they are ranked third in the nation without their returning top QB, WR, tackler and defensive back. If Malcolm Williams cant step up and be Garrett Gilbert’s main target then that offense will have problems scoring, even in the pass happy Big 12.

Like: They only play Nebraska, and Oklahoma. There schedule screams 10-2 or 11-1 even without the clarity on offense.

OKLAHOMA (No. 9, 7-5, Big 12, Key Player: Landry Jones)

Hate: Normally I’d rage against a coach for scheduling Utah State as its first game of the year… until you see Oklahoma facing Florida State, Air Force and Cincinnati in their non-conference.  Nice job Coach Stoops scheduling your team coming off of a wretched year against a rejuvenated Seminole squad a tough Air Force team and the Big East champs on the road. Oh yeah followed by a matchup versus Texas.

Like: Landry Jones was a revelation last year. With Sam Bradford being injured Jones got his reps early and knows what to expect this year. He’s got weapons by the boatload and will put up lots of points. Oh and the top ten defense returns all of its starters too, that helps.

NEBRASKA (No. 10, 10-4, Big 12, Key Player: Jared Crick)

Hate: Replacing Ndamukong Suh is not going to be easy for Jared Crick. While he won’t be expected to put up the same numbers as Suh they will expect the same presence and motor that Suh brought every Saturday.

Like: Bo Pelini’s defensive schemes gave the big dogs nightmares last year, ask Texas; also no one is throwing on Prince Amakamura (great name). QB Zac Lee looks to rebound from an up and down year but won’t be asked to do much with this great defense in front of him.

Hey Tressel! Here's your preview of what's to come!

Ideally I would love a TCU vs. Boise State BCS title game however that will never happen in a million years. So I’ll instead settle for Nebraska vs. Ohio State in Glendale. Why? Why not.

Look, of all of these teams these are the two I feel safest in picking. The Buckeyes because they get Miami at home early and should handle two tough tests at Iowa and Wisconsin, The Huskers because they get Texas at home and in a conference that’s offensive minded they will have the upper hand with their suffocating defense. Also do you really see Oklahoma beating them in the Big 12 title game with the Prince all over Ryan Broyles, Landry Jones’s only real threat down field? Nope.

So that means the national champion will be… NEBRASKA!!! The Buckeye faithful hate me right now. I like Nebraska a lot. They have an NFL mentality, defense wins championships and Zac Lee will play Trent Dilfer easing the ship on its course. Plus we know how Jim Tressel fails versus the SEC over and over, so coaching against Pelini and his SEC ties to LSU will be a nightmare for him. Also wouldn’t that be interesting? Nebraska beating Ohio State then starting Big Ten conference play the next year as the clear favorites? Hmmm…

So as it turns out, I do like one team. Even without Ndamukong Suh the Huskers are still a force to reckon with and won’t fall a second short like they did last year versus Texas. Also its sort of a win for the SEC as one of their old coaches gets another ring. So everyone’s happy, well except the folks in Columbus. Another failed title game appearance and to lose to the new guy coming in next year? Ugh. There’s something to hate.

ACC Winner- Florida State (Dark Horse- Georgia Tech)

Big East- Pittsburgh (Cincinnati)

Big Ten- Ohio State (Wisconsin)

Big 12- Nebraska (Oklahoma)

Pac 10- Oregon (Arizona)

SEC- Alabama (LSU)

BCS Busters- Boise and TCU

Orange Bowl- Florida State vs. TCU

Sugar Bowl- Alabama vs. Pittsburgh

Fiesta Bowl- Oklahoma vs. Boise State

Rose Bowl- Oregon vs. Wisconsin

BCS Title Game- Nebraska vs. Ohio State

Heisman Winner- Kellen Moore, Boise State