Believe it or not, the 2010 College Football season is halfway over. So, with that in mind, it's time to take a look at my picks before the beginning of the season and see just how poorly I've done. In case you want to look back at those picks, you can click the link here.
ACC: Originally, I had Boston College and Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game at the end of the year. Well, Boston College has not done as well as I had hoped, as they have had issues at the quarterback position. As for Virginia Tech, they have had a disappointing season as well up to this point, but still are in the lead in the ACC Coastal Division and gave N.C. State their only loss. With Georgia Tech and Miami both having up-and-down seasons of their own, Virginia Tech is still in prime position to clinch the Coastal Division title. As for the Atlantic division, it looks as if it's shaping up to be a two team battle between N.C. State and Florida State, with the October 28th battle between the two likely to decide which team will play in the ACC Championship game. If I were a betting man, I'd say Florida State will be the team that emerges, and ultimately wins the ACC.
Big East: It's highly likely that the WAC and Mountain West Conferences are better than the Big East, but since the Big East winner has an automatic spot in the BCS, they're going to get more attention. The Big East has only one team ranked in the top 25, which just happens to be my preseason choice to win the conference, West Virginia. On one hand, West Virginia is only a 6-point loss to #9 LSU. On the other hand, West Virginia isn't as consistent as one would like, as a near-loss to Marshall clearly showed. Although West Virginia is the favorite, the race is still wide open, as there's time for early disappointments Pitt and Connecticut to right the ship, and the surprising Syracuse Orangemen could be a factor as well. Overall though, I still feel pretty confident that West Virginia will take the conference.
Big Ten: Wisconsin was my preseason pick to win the conference, and if they beat #1 Ohio State at home this Saturday, then the Badgers have quite a good shot at winning the Big Ten. It would be silly to count out the Buckeyes, as they really have only two tough games (at Wisconsin, at Iowa) standing between them and a perfect season. Michigan may have college football's most exciting player in QB Denard Robinson, but their defense is offensive, and will keep them from being a serious threat. Michigan State is the other undefeated team in the Big Ten (Ohio State is also undefeated), and they get a break by not playing Ohio State this year. Iowa was thought to be a serious contender at the beginning of the year, and with home games against both Michigan State and Ohio State, Iowa may still be the favorite to win the conference. At the end of the day, even though I picked against Ohio State at the beginning of the year, I find it hard to choose against them now. But I'm doing it anyway, as I'm just not convinced that they can run the table. Give me Iowa this time around.
Big Twelve: I picked Texas at the beginning of the year, and that's going to be wrong. The Longhorns already lost to Oklahoma and are big underdogs this Saturday against a Nebraska team still angry over last year's defeat to Texas in the Big 12 Championship game. It looks like Nebraska and Oklahoma will represent the North and South divisions, respectively, in the Big 12 Championship Game. However, both teams should face major challenges from rivals Missouri and Oklahoma State, respectively, as both teams are also undefeated. When the dust clears, I expect Nebraska to finish their final season in the Big 12 as the conference champion.
Pac Ten: I must say that I was spectacularly wrong in picking Washington to win the conference this year, as they have clearly shown not to be a championship level team at this point. I also felt that the race would be wide-open all season with a number of quality teams contending for the crown. Well, while the Pac Ten does have a plethora of quality football teams, the #2 Oregon Ducks have emerged as the clear favorites, especially after their big win against then #9 Stanford earlier this season. Yes, Arizona is also a very good team, but not quite at the level of Oregon. If there is one team that could derail Oregon from a championship season, it could be the Ducks' rivals the Oregon State Beavers. Yes, the Beavers have lost two games this season, but both of those losses came on the road against top 5 teams (Boise State, TCU). Plus, the Beavers looked mighty impressive in dispatching Arizona last week, and Oregon has to come to their home stadium at the end of the year. If the Beavers get past Stanford the previous week, then we could be looking at a de facto Pac Ten title game in the final week of the season. With all that said, I'm still picking Oregon to win the conference.
SEC: Alabama's loss to South Carolina last Saturday shook up the whole landscape of the conference. In the East, South Carolina is in the lead, and is really the only team in that division playing at a high level. The team's biggest test left is a trip down to The Swamp to face the Florida Gators in a game likely to decide the Eastern Champion. Since both Florida and Georgia have disappointed, it may be the Gamecocks' year to finally play in the SEC Championship Game. In the West, Alabama's loss leaves LSU and Auburn as the two lone undefeated teams in the conference. You can make the argument that LSU has been more lucky than good, and we shall see in the next two weeks just how good the Tigers are as they play both Auburn and Alabama in back-to-back games. Auburn has been powered by QB Cam Newton and a top-notch offense, and could very well take the Western crown. It would also be unwise to count out Arkansas. However, Alabama, despite their loss last week, is still the best team in the conference, and will prove that by winning the West and avenging their loss to South Carolina in the SEC Championship game.
Other Conferences: In the WAC, preseason favorite Boise State has not disappointed, beating BCS teams Virginia Tech and Oregon State thus far and currently ranking #3 in the polls. The Broncos have a tough test upcoming against Nevada, but should be able to win the WAC once again. Over in the Mountain West conference, TCU has a battle on their hands with Utah, and the two would be BCS-busters meet November 6th in Utah and what is likely to be the only loss for one of these two teams, provided Air Force doesn't shock TCU and Utah between then. I picked TCU at the beginning of the year, and I will not change my mind now. In Conference USA, QB Case Kessum's season ending injury has put preseason favorite Houston in a difficult spot and has opened the door for a number of teams to step in. Right now, that team looks to be SMU, so that's who I'll go with. Even though I picked Temple to win the MAC at the beginning of the season, last week's lost to Northern Illinois has convinced me to go in a different direction, as now I feel Northern Illinois will be the MAC champs. In the Sun Belt conference, Troy crushed my preseason pick Middle Tennessee St. last week by a 29 point margin, and very little stands between Troy and a conference title.
National Championship: With Alabama losing last week, I have had to change my original pick, as I feel that at least two teams will go undefeated and leave Alabama out of the title game. I still have Boise State playing for the title, but I have replaced Alabama with Oregon. This might prove to be advantageous for the Broncos, as they beat the Ducks last season. That, and the fact that Boise State has proven it can beat top-notch competition on a regular basis, is why I'm picking Boise State to shock the world and win the 2010 National Championship.
Heisman Trophy: Well, my preseason pick of Washington QB Jake Locker did not work out so well. As for my other contenders, Ohio State QB Terelle Pryor has done everything expected of him, while West Virginia RB Noel Devine has been good, but not great so far. Alabama RB Mark Ingram has battle injuries this season, and Houston QB Case Kessum is now out for the season due to injury. My darkhorse was Florida QB John Brantley, and well, that's just not going to happen this year, as Brantley has struggled this year. The current favorites right now are Pryor and Michigan QB Denard Robinson, who in spite of his poor performance last week against Michigan State, has put together one heck of a season thus far. Boise State QB Kellen Moore is getting some consideration, as are the Oregon Ducks duo of RB Lamichael James and QB Darron Thomas. Other than Robinson, Auburn QB Cam Newton may be the most valuable player to his team so far this season. Also, QBs Ryan Mallet of Arkansas, Andrew Luck of Stanford, and Nebraska's dual threat Taylor Martinez all could win the trophy with a monster second half. Ultimately, it's Robinson's to lose at this point, as long as he doesn't have another game like last week's. If not Robinson, look for Pryor or James to take home the Heisman.
Well, thanks for reading. Hopefully the second half of the College Football season will be as interesting as the first, and hopefully the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will run the table from here on out. Remember, if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, than let us know them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.