Yesterday I pooh pooh’d the chances of an undefeated season for the AP Top 10 teams not called TCU; today I’ll finish out all 25. I’ll probably be a little more brief with the remaining 15 teams because, what the heck am I really going to say about North Carolina? And does anyone even know if Penn State has a living, breathing Coach?
Also, not sure if I was clear yesterday, but all I’m trying to do is determine when I think each team will lose their first game, thus putting TCU in the driver’s seat as the only undefeated team in the country, and not attempting to pick each loss per team.
#11 Oregon Ducks
Potential Pitfalls: 9/11 @ Tennessee, 10/2 vs. Stanford, 10/30 @ #14 USC, 12/4 @ #24 Oregon State.
When They Fall: Oregon being ranked this high, to me, is the biggest outlier in the entire Top 25. I can accept Nebraska because there’s always that hype team every single year that is over-ranked and ends up finishing with 3 losses and a low 20s ranking, and while I have no respect for Iowa, I get that half the voters attended a Big Ten school and overrated the hell out of those guys. But Oregon? Really? A team that lost its quarterback to the law and then to Houston Nutt? A team whose starting running back is suspended for beating up a lady? A team who, were they not owned by Nike Founder Phil Knight, would be Washington State? Please. All of those games are loseable, but I’m throwing spitpurple a bone here and saying they drop that week 2 game to the Vols. Predicted Fall: Week 2.
#12 Wisconsin Badgers
Potential Pitfalls: 9/4 @ UNLV, 10/16 vs. #2 Ohio State, 10/23 @ #9 Iowa.
When They Fall: Really wishing I had that Ohio State pick back from yesterday, but seeing as how I’ve already locked myself in, the only solution left is for the Badgers to beat OSU and then drop their game next week against Iowa in your much ballyhooed “letdown game.” Had to toss UNLV in there for some conference love, and based on their previous history the Rebels typically fare pretty well against early, non-conference games against BCS teams, but I don’t see it happening this year. Predicted Fall: Week 8.
#13 Miami Hurricanes
Potential Pitfalls: 9/11 @ #2 Ohio State, 9/23 @ #15 Pitt, 10/23 @ #18 UNC, 11/20 vs. #10 Virginia Tech.
When They Fall: Again, due to previous info, the Canes drop their week 2 game against Ohio State. So, in other Miami Hurricanes news, Jimmy Johnson will be on the next season of Survivor. Unfortunately for all you Cowboys haters, he has already returned from Nicaragua, so he didn’t’ die from lack of hair products or starvation. I’ve never watched Survivor, but may have to give it a chance. At least it’ll give me something to wash the Entourage flavor out of my mouth. This week's 'sode almost made me hate Mark Cuban for being associated with it. Almost. Although if they want to complete the then Dallas sports owners trifecta, invite Tom Hicks on and have Sasha Grey R him to death, then I'm fine with that. Predicted Fall: Week 2.
#14 USC Trojans
Potential Pitfalls: 10/9 @ Stanford, 10/30 vs. #11 Oregon.
When They Fall: Well, technically they already have as they’re ineligible for bowl play, so let me pose this question: Shouldn’t we root for them to go undefeated, finish #1 in the AP Poll, but then have to relinquish their spot in the BCS National Championship due to ineligibility? That’s MUCH worse than losing 2-3 games this year. This would be equivalent to Dustin Johnson making his putt on 18 last week and THEN finding out he had illegally grounded his club, but times 50. To be the first undefeated team in the BCS era to not get invited to the big one because of cheating? That’s really something to get excited about right there. Couldn't happen to a better group of guys. But, they’re losing to Stanford anyway. Predicted Fall: When Reggie Bush signed his letter of intent.
#15 Pitt Panthers
Potential PITTfalls: 9/2 @ Utah, 9/23 vs. #13 Miami, 10/9 @ Notre Dame, 11/26 vs. #25 West Virginia.
When They Fall: Much like Iowa, Pitt is one of those teams that gets a ton of credit for more or less accomplishing nothing year after year. Sure, Dave Wannstedt has recruited some solid talent to Ben Rapeslithbergersylvania over the years, but what has he done with it? He wasn’t even around when Utah blasted them in the Fiesta Bowl, and his team two years ago screwed the conference out of National Championship money when they beat West Virginia in the last game of the season. So for that, I’m calling them to be the first team of the 2010 season to fall next Thursday against the Utes. As much as I enjoy Utah not getting the same respect in the AP as they did in the Coaches Poll, I would LOVE for them to be undefeated heading into November 6 so we can give them a swift kick in the ass out of the MWC. Predicted Fall: Week 1.
#16 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Potential Pitfalls: 9/11 @ Kansas, 9/18 @ #18 North Carolina, 10/23 @ Clemson, 11/4 @ #10 Virginia Tech, 11/13 vs. #13 Miami, 11/27 @ #23 Georgia.
When They Fall: With the ACC somehow sneaking five teams into the Top 25 and my belief that there’s no way any of those teams lose fewer than two games a piece, picking the first dropped game becomes increasingly difficult to predict as we move along. But, it’s the duty I’ve been tasked with, so pick away I must. (Randomly points to a name on the schedule) Clemson? Sure, why not. Predicted Fall: Week 8.
#17 Arkansas Razorbacks
Potential Pitfalls: With this defense, can I say every week? 9/18 @ #23 Georgia, 9/25 vs. #1 Alabama, 10/9 @ aggy, 10/16 @ #22 Auburn, 10/23 vs. Ole Miss, 11/27 vs. #21 LSU.
When They Fall: My natural inclination here is to go for an undefeated season and a Frogs/Hogs National Championship matchup just to see how much fun Christmas vacation would be with my dad while we anticipated the battle. Santa would probably leave a lump of something in my stocking, and it wouldn't be coal. Unfortunately though, as good as the Hogs offense should be, the SEC is just too rough for them to pull off an undefeated season. But, I think they keep the dream alive for a while and give their fanbase a ton of hope, only to lose to the hated Houston Nutt in October. I realize Ole Miss is extremely unproven, but I know all too well how Nutt always has that one game up his sleeve where he pulls out a win despite having no business to do so, and I’m afraid this year it will be the Razorbacks. With noted criminal Jeremiah Masoli under center, the Rebels received an unexpected boost this off-season and should field a pretty decent offensive attack. As much as we think we hate Texas and Mack Brown or SMU and June Jones, the way Arkansas fans feel about Ole Miss and Houston Nutt is well beyond criminally insane and he absolutely feeds off of that hate, so the vitriol should be absolutely flying. It’ll be a close one, but I’ve watched way too many Arkansas teams fall short of expectations to expect them to win even the games they’re supposed to win. Sorry, Hogs. Predicted Fall: Week 7.
# 18 North Carolina Tar Heels
Potential Pitfalls: 9/4 vs #23 LSU, 9/18 vs. #16 Georgia Tech.
When They Fall: Welp, that was easy. LSU. Predicted Fall: Week 1.
#19 Penn State Nittany Lions
Potential Pitfalls: 9/11 @ #1 Alabama.
When They Fall: Ditto the above. Alabama. They’ll be out of that game before JoPa can change his Ensure saturated diaper. Predicted fall: Week 2.
#20 Florida State Seminoles
Potential Pitfalls: 9/11 @ #7 Oklahoma, 9/18 vs. BYU, 10/9 @ #13 Miami, 11/27 vs. #4 Florida.
When They Fall: The pieces are starting to fall into place now, as due to Oklahoma’s section I have to pick the Noles to lose in Norman. But, back to the whole “Five ACC teams in the Top 25 thing,” why does the ACC get so much respect? It’s the most balanced conference in the entire country, and I mean that in an entirely negative way. Watching the ACC is more boring than watching the San Antonio Spurs run their offense. The ACC, like the Big Ten, is entirely the product of their contract with ESPN. How much do you hate ESPN for forcing Michigan State/Northwestern and Indiana/Illinois down your throat first thing Saturday morning, but hate yourself more for actually watching it? Same goes for all of those Thursday night Georgia Tech/Virginia or Boston College/Miami games. I understand they want their product to be more attractive to the casual viewer, but how can they take themselves seriously? Then again, after jumping the shark with the whole LeBron thing, I’m pretty sure ESPN just wakes up every morning, raises their middle fingers to the world, and goes about their business, as evidenced by Rick Reilly co-hosting Sportscenter this morning and the fact that Bill Simmons gets handsomely rewarded for pumping out Celtics and Red Sox nostalgia tales with just the proper peppering of Karate Kid references. And yes, I am bitter than we’re relegated to Versus and the mtn. while SMU and Houston get the ESPN treatment on a semi-regular basis.
#21 LSU Tigers
Potential Pitfalls: 9/6 @ #18 North Carolina, 9/25 vs. #25 West Virginia, 10/9 @ #4 Florida, 10/23 @ #22 Auburn, 11/6 vs. #1 Alabama, 11/27 @ #17 Arkansas.
When They Fall: LSU is always a tough team to gauge because even when they look golden, Les Miles mucks up the clock management or their overmatched QB throws a pick 6 to kill their chances. So with a highly suspect QB situation heading into the season, and the fact that they pick up Florida and Tennessee in the SEC East along with the more difficult than usual west schedule, this team is looking hard at a four loss season. At best. But, as the hat taketh away, the hat also giveth, and they’re sure to knock off someone silly along the way, which should also be attributed to the opposing team cowering in fear at the rageaholics putting voodoo hexes on them in Death Valley. I already said they would beat North Carolina to kick off the season, and they play a much improved Mississippi State team in week 3, but I’m looking hard at that matchup with West Virginia for a multitude of reasons, although its mostly because this could be the greatest matchup of fan bases ever. Backwoods? Check. Ravenous? Check. Unhealthy due to fried food consumption? Check. Probably had sex with a relative and/or a farm animal? check. Moonshine swillin’? Big check. Seriously, matching up the booze and meth filled Cajuns of Southern Louisiana with the booze and meth filled Mountain folk of the state of West Virginia will be a sight to behold and may actually have been prophesized somewhere in the book of Revelation. But, do you really want to bet against LSU in this situation on their own turf? Didn’t think so. So I’m going with Florida in October. Predicted Fall: Week 6.
#22 Auburn Tigers
Potential Pitfalls: 9/18 vs Clemson, 10/16 vs. #17 Arkansas, 10/23 vs. #21 LSU, 10/26 @ #1 Alabama.
When They Fall: Under the guidance of Gus Malzahn and Florida QB transfer Cam Newton, Auburn’s fans are pretty confident that this will be the year that they take a little bit of state momentum back from Alabama, who, after a decade of Tiger dominance, has pretty much run the place since the coming of Saban. The Auburn schedule sets up well as they somehow managed to book only four road games, with the only tough one coming against Alabama at the end of the year, unless you count Kentucky and Georgia. They get Mississippi State in Starkville during Week 2, and Clemson comes to town the following weekend, but I think the big one comes against Arkansas. The Hogs may not take out enemy #1 in Houston Nutt, but Malzahn is right behind him on their hit list and surely God will allow at least one victory over a major enemy. If not though, ole Gus better watch his text messages, because the Fayettecong are about hijacking some telecommunications. Predicted Fall: Week 7.
#23 Georgia Bulldogs
Potential Pitfalls: 9/11 @ South Carolina, 9/18 vs. #17 Arkansas, 10/9 vs Tennessee, 10/30 vs. #4 Florida, 11/13 @ #22 Auburn, 10/27 vs. #16 Georgia Tech.
When They Fall: Pretty interesting that you have three SEC teams ranked this low in the Top 25. Not that any of them necessarily deserve any more respect than they have, but if Nebraska can be ranked in the Top 10 despite not having named a starting QB, then there really isn’t any logical reason why a team like Georgia can’t be ranked higher than 23rd as they have named a QB and have a pretty good track record. But, thems the breaks I guess and, regardless of what I said a few seconds ago, the starting QB they have named is a youngun and has apparently not impressed in pre-season camp. So they’ve got that going for them. And, I already picked them to lose to Arkansas, so there you have it. Predicted Fall: Week 3.
#24 Oregon State Beavers
Potential Pitfalls: 9/4 vs. #6 TCU
When They Fall: Must you ask? Predicted Fall: When they step off the plane at Love Field.
#25 West Virginia Mountaineers
Potential Pitfalls: 9/25 @ #21 LSU
When They Fall: … and I’ve officially run out of steam. See Above. Predicted Fall: Week 4.
So, if you take my estimations into account from the entire Top 25, TCU should fully expect to be the only undefeated team in the country right around the time everyone is preparing to head home for Thanksgiving. Or it could be well before that. Or not at all. I don’t have all the answers. Leave me alone!