So, who's going to win it all?
You'd be hard pressed to find a team that can challenge Texas in the Big 12. USC has the Pac 10 locked down in a big way. The ACC? Clemson? Wisconsin should be extremely tough in the Big 10. The cannabalistic SEC is a toss-up, as usual, but Arkansas has to be at the top unless Tebow can learn to pass and LSU finds a capable replacement for Jamarcus Russell. The Big East winner will be Louisville or West Virginia, but nobody in the conference can play defense so it really doesn't matter...
First of all, teams that should go undefeated. Texas and USC have the easy road to undefeated seasons (fairly weak conferences), which make them immediate contenders and probably favorites for a rematch in the title game, but there are certainly some other teams capable of making it through the season unbeaten. Either one of the Big East powerhouses, if you can call them that, has the ability to run the table, but the BCS probably won't like their schedules any more than the Big 12 or Pac 10. The Big 10 should be a fairly tough place to play this year if Ohio State finds some offensive leaders and Michigan can replace the defensive stars they lost to the NFL, but Wisconsin has almost the entire team returning from a one loss season, which has to make them a favorite. The SEC is too competive to have an undefeated, but if they manage one, that team should be a shoe in for the national title game. The ACC has no clear cut leader, but Clemson has some real talent to work with if the can get consistent play at the QB position.
As far as the major conferences are concerned -
Pac 10 - This is a one horse race. USC all the way. They will be better than they were last year and the losses last year were flukes anyway. PREDICTION - USC
Big 12 - This is a one horse race with a couple of ponies trying - Texas wins it, but A&M and Oklahoma will try to make it interesting. Texas lost five NFL caliber players on defense, but returns an excellent offense minus three lineman and always reloads with their excellent recruiting. Oklahoma has to find a replacement for Adrian Peterson and a good majority of their defense. Allen Patrick filled in well for Peterson, but he's not the horse that Stoops needs at RB to compete. A&M either has a lot of returning talent or just overachieved last year, because they didn't have a single player drafted for the first time in about 30 years. Texas Tech is always a spoiler, but never consistent enough to content for the Big 12 title. PREDICTION - TEXAS
Big 10 - I believe the Big 10 will be a lot of fun to watch this year. Wisconsin is going to be very tough along with Michigan, Ohio State, and possibly Penn State. Michigan is bringing back a strong offense with a lot of star power, if they can stay healthy, but lost six starters from a great defense. Ohio State's defense should be extremely tough, but might be vulnerable up the gut and their offense has to find starters to replace every skill position, except RB, where they should be very good. Penn State is a wild card and good be a very good team or a .500 team. It's hard to call at this point. PREDICTION - WISCONSIN
SEC - As I said earlier, this is a tough place to play. If you can make it through unbeaten or with one loss you should probably be in the national title game, but that's easier said than done. LSU has a ton of talent, but the need to find skill position replacements on offense, especially at QB. Their defense should be one of the top 10 in the country, as usuall. The defending champs have a lot of holes to fill on defense and need Tim Tebow to show that he's more than a gimmick QB. Tennessee has a great passing game, but lost all their starting wide receivers and they either refuse to or they just can't run the ball consistently. They also have to replace key starters on both lines. Arkansas is a one trick pony with Darren McFadden, but it's quite a trick and they have some under-rated talent around him on both sides of the ball. Alabama could suprise a few folks and is a spoiler. Auburn is always tough, but could be sliding and Georgia is in the same boat. South Carolina is a lot like Texas Tech, in that they can beat anyone on any day, but they're too inconsistent to be a real contender. PREDICTION - LSU
Big East - Rutgers was a nice story last year, but I don't expect another year like that from them. Louisville and West Virginia own this conference. Both are returning excellent quarterbacks and offenses, but nobody plays defense around here so it's a little hard to gauge just how good they are. The schedules may be a little weak for the BCS. PREDICTION - WEST VIRGINIA
ACC - How far have the great one's fallen? Miami and Florida State are both just hollow shells of their former selves and nobody really fears playing either program anymore. Boston College and Wake Forest both looked pretty good last year, but I'm afraid they're more like Rutgers than Virginia Tech and Clemson. VT and Clemson are the teams to watch in the ACC. If Tech can keep Ore healthy and keep feeding him the ball their defense should make enough plays to keep them in the hunt. The opposite is true for Clemson. The Tigers should score a ton with their two headed monster at running back, but their defense has to show up and keep the opposition out of the endzone. PREDICTION - CLEMSON
For all you Conference USA, Notre Dame, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, and WAC fans out there - Let's keep it as real as possible, ok? Especially for you Notre Dame fans, who I'm sure will be rather upset, beating up on the Service Academies and getting beat down by the other national contender really doesn't help your case.
When it's all said and done I believe we get a rematch of the 2005 Rose Bowl, due to the fact the both of their schedules are weak enought for them to go undefeated but will be strong enough to put them at the top of the BCS. The Big 10, SEC, and ACC all make strong arguments, but in the end they don't have any undefeated teams. West Virginia may go undefeated, but should lose in "strength of schedule" to USC and Texas. They'll be this year's Boise State. In the end we get a rematch of a classic from the Rose Bowl a couple of years back with Texas upsetting USC behind the arm and legs of Heisman candidate (and possible winner) Colt McCoy, the lightning quick Jammal Charles, and potential top ten draftee Limas Sweed.