2011 NCAA Football Preview: Final Thoughts

September 1, 2011

The day is finally here…at six o’clock Eastern time tonight, the first college football game will begin and the 2011 season will be underway. While I’ve already released all of my conference previews, I have one more preview post left to share. Heisman Trophy candidates, what I think will be the biggest storylines of the 2011 college football season, and BCS bowl predictions are some of the things included in this post.

Heisman Trophy Short List (in random order)

Andrew Luck, Stanford Cardinal quarterback

Luck is my pick to win the bronze bust in December. How your team does has a lot to do with how you will be viewed by the voters. Considering that I think the Cardinal will not only beat Oregon but win the Pac-12 title, Luck should be just fine there.

Luck will be going head-to-head with another Heisman hopeful, LaMichael James, when Stanford takes on the Ducks in November. If Luck performs well and the Cardinal come away with a win, the battle for the Heisman Trophy may be settled early.

Kellen Moore, Boise State Broncos quarterback

Moore is an extremely talented quarterback, but unfortunately neither fans nor voters get to see him enough during the regular season for him to be a serious Heisman Trophy contender. Other than the Georgia and TCU games, Moore will be playing against supposedly lesser competition, which hurts his chances greatly.

Kellen Moore will make it to New York City just like last season, but probably doesn’t have a great chance of bringing the trophy back to Boise unless the Broncos are playing for the national title.

Trent Richardson, Alabama Crimson Tide running back

Richardson will be the focal point of an Alabama offense that should be very good this season. He has been the backup for former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram for the past two seasons, but gets his chance to shine in 2011. Richardson isn’t as strong as Ingram, but is faster and is just as much of a threat to break loose for a big gain. 

If he can stay healthy, Richardson will be a dark horse candidate largely because of his team’s performance.

LaMichael James, Oregon Ducks running back

Kirk Herbstreit’s Heisman pick is one of the most dynamic players in college football. He led the nation in rushing yards last season, and with his speed there is no reason to think that he can’t lead the nation once again. For James, his chances to win the trophy may come down to the performance of his team; the game against Stanford will be extremely important in the voters’ eyes.

James would become the first Duck to win the Heisman Trophy. With last year’s most dynamic player now playing quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, things look promising for LaMichael James.

Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina Gamecocks running back

As good as Marcus Lattimore was in his freshman year, he will be even better this season. Lattimore bulked up in the weight room during the off-season and will be a load to bring down. Considering the unpredictability of Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia, Lattimore will be counted on to do great things for South Carolina.

He isn’t the best running back in the nation as of now, but has the tools to be. A monster season will definitely land Lattimore an invitation to New York City.

Things I Think Will Happen

Boise State WILL go undefeated

I know that I’ve said this before, but I believe it just as much this year as I did last year. Questions about the Broncos receiving corps are being blown out of proportion. It would be one thing if Boise State did not have one of the top quarterbacks in college football, but they do. Also, thanks to a strong offensive line, Kellen Moore will have plenty of time to find an open receiver.

Boise State must look good beating both Georgia and TCU if they want their perfect season to mean anything, though. Close calls against either of those teams will hurt their chances of getting a national title bid because they just don’t play enough other “strong” teams.

I feel confident that they will do everything they need to do this year. You heard it here; the Boise State Broncos will play for the national championship this season.

The Big Ten will be the most exciting conference

The conference may not have any teams that will contend for a spot in the national championship game, but will still be very exciting to watch. With no odds-on favorite to win the conference, several teams should feel like they have a legitimate shot at ending up in the Big Ten title game. Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin all have the talent to win their division, and all could beat one another on any given weekend.

The team that emerges from the scrum may be bruised, beaten and not have a very attractive overall record, but at least you know they earned it. Let the bloodbath begin.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will announce they will leave the Big 12 after this season

I know that fans of the Longhorns don’t want to hear it, but the Big 12 is dying. Texas A&M is all but gone, and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be next. The Sooners want to join the Pac-12, effectively making that conference the first super-conference that will become the norm in a few years. Oklahoma State will just follow, but it makes sense for them, too.

It is no secret that college football is all about the green, and teams in the Big 12 realize that there isn’t enough green to be made in that conference. The grass is greener other places, and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both know that it is the right time to bolt for those pastures.

BCS Bowl Predictions

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Stanford

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia

Sugar Bowl: Nebraska vs. Texas A&M

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Oregon

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Boise State

I’ve really enjoyed doing all of these college football preview posts. As I’m sure that you all don’t agree with everything that I’ve written, send me an email at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com or post a comment in any of the comment boxes to share your opinion. Part of what makes college football so fun is that it is so unpredictable. A lot of my predictions will be wrong, but that doesn’t make the season any less interesting.

Again, thanks to anyone who has read even one of my college football preview posts, and I hope that you’re as excited for the season to begin as I am!

– K. Becks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *