Friday, August 28, 2009

Rank 'Em

The AP preseason polls are out, and so are the polls for The Boomer Blog. 

BB Polls
1. Florida *
2. Oklahoma *
3. Texas
4. USC *
5. Ohio State 
6. Ole Miss
7. Va. Tech
8. Oklahoma State
9. Alabama
10. California
11. LSU
12. Penn State
13. Georgia
14. Iowa *
15. Boise State *
16. Oregon
17. Nebraska
18. TCU
19. Kansas
20. Miami
21. UNC
22. BYU
23. Notre Dame
24. FSU
25. Utah

* = Depicts teams that will win their conference


- Tennessee will the the surprise team of the '09 season. They're not going to make a run at the SEC East, and they won't be upsetting teams left and right. But, what you can expect from Tennessee is for them to go out and make an impression that will let the entire conference know that they will be a team to reckon with in '10.

- The recent decision to start Matt Barkley for USC will have nothing but a positive effect on the Trojans this season. Barkley is probably the closest thing to an NFL ready freshman quarterback that college football has ever seen. The bottom line is that both Barkley and Corp are starting above Mitch Mustain, a good quarterback who started as a freshman as Arkansas before the messy breakup in Fayetteville. Before Barkley leaves USC for the NFL he will have easily wrapped up a Heisman and probably a few national titles as well. 

- There won't be a non BCS team in the discussion for the National Championship game this year. BYU, Utah, TCU and Boise State will all lose games this year, which means there will be no discussion about leaving anybody out in the cold. Oregon has a shot to knock off both Boise State and Utah, and they have the talent to do it. TCU will have to make it through UVA, Clemson, BYU and Utah to be in the discussion...which is very unlikely. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bold Predictions: The NCAA At Large

Do the Hawkeyes have a real shot at taking the Big-10?

5. Cal will take down USC.

As recent history will tell you, somebody's gotta do it! And who better to take down the mighty Trojans than the Bears?

I see USC losing at least two games this year, and don't understand why the experts (and ESPN) are putting the Trojans so high in the polls. The men of Troy play a decent schedule with tough games coming at Ohio State, Notre Dame, California, and in Eugene to face Oregon.

California is my dark horse for the National Championship, so who better (in my opinion) to take down USC than the Cal Bears.

4. Iowa will win the Big-10

This pick is as bold as bold gets. So do I honestly believe it? No, but it makes things interesting. The truth of the matter is that nobody can predict what's going to happen in the Big 10 this year and Iowa has as good of a shot as anybody at taking the conference. Penn State and Ohio State both have quarterbacks and defenses, but no real offensive weapons. And the rest of the conference is pretty forgetable, save maybe a Michigan State or an Illinois.

The smart money is on Ohio State to win the Big-10, but I just don't see them as much better than Iowa at this point.

3. North Carolina will finish (10-2), but won't win the ACC Coastal.

This pick might be because I'm partial to Chapel Hill, but the Tar Heels are looking good coming into the 2009 season and their schedule is favorable.

On the offensive side, receivers will need replacing after the Heels lost Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks to the draft. Look for Dwight Jones and true freshman Jheranie Boyd to fill that void. UNC will also return quarterback T.J. Yates who played well last season.

Carolina's strength is their front seven, which is why they're picked to win against a very one dementional Georgia Tech team. Look for DT Marvin Austin to have a breakout season that will get him some national attention.

This team is easily good enough to win the Atlantic division, but unfortunately for Butch Davis he has to play Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and a much improved Miami. Davis will lead the Tarheels to a record that looks something like this

Sep. 5: The Citadel (W)

Sep. 12: at UConn (W)

Sep. 19: East Carolina (W)

Sep. 26: at Georgia Tech (W)

Oct. 3: Virginia (W)

Oct. 10: Georgia So. (W)

Oct. 22: Florida State (W)

Oct. 29: at Virginia Tech (L)

Nov. 7: Duke (W)

Nov. 14: Miami (L)

Nov. 21: Boston College (W)

Nov. 28: NC State (W)

2. Numbers will drop for all three Heisman finalists.

You can't talk college football without mentioning one of these guys, but in 2009 they won't be putting up numbers quite like in the previous season.

-Bradford will be surrounded by an offense that will produce with more of a ground game than last season. The line is smaller and the running backs are deep enough to push Mosis Madu out to the slot, which means the Oklahoma offense is about to get a lot less interesting. Bradford will have the receivers as Adron Tennell and Cameron Kenny will emerge to join Ryan Broyles and Jermaine Gresham as the leading pass catchers. But the line won't pass block quite as well as it did in 2008 so Oklahoma will be forced to take less shots down field.

-This year McCoy won't have to do it all, and that's why his numbers will drop. Early on the Texas offense will have some trouble trying to replace Quan Crosby, and they might not find a legitimate option all season. McCoy's completion percentage should drop considerably now that the majority of his targest will be of the Freshman/Sophomore variety.

The Horns will also find some semblance of a running game with Vondrell McGee and true freshman Chris Whaley, which is something they didn't have last year. Colt's rushing numbers will significantly diminish if the Horns can find a guy that can rush for over 500 yards.

-Tim Tebow will also see his numbers slowly diminish, as well as shift. Urban Myer's love affair with Tebow will lead him to turn the Heisman winner into more of a pro-style quarterback in hopes of increasing Tebow's draft status. The transformation will be successful due to Florida's excess stock of speedy receivers, but still not the optimal way to run the offense or their superstar quarterback. Expect to see a few less jump passes and a few more fades this year.

Heisman Prediction: Colt McCoy

1. The University of Florida WILL NOT go into the SEC Championship undefeated.

I will agree with everybody reading this in saying that Florida is the best team in college football. But with that being said, I don't see the Gators having quite the same success they enjoyed last season. Florida is looking at a fairly easy schedule by not having to play either Alabama or Ole' Miss out of the SEC West. But, tough games are coming for Florida with a game against LSU in Baton Rouge and in Jacksonville against Georgia for the world's largest outdoor cocktail party.

Some food for thought: The 2002 Miami Hurricanes, 2004 Oklahoma Sooners and 2005 USC Trojans were proclaimed the greatest college football teams of all time before both losing their respective national title games. Both teams returned talent like Florida's on both sides of the ball and couldn't get it done. 

Prediction: A one-loss Florida team will win the SEC and go on the play in the National Championship in Pasadena, but will be "upset" by whomever ends up winning the Big 12 South.

Bold Predictions: Big Time Freshmen

Jermie Calhoun is ready to run after spending his first year being red-shirted.

Each week leading up to the kickoff of the 2009 college football season I'll be offering up my own bold predictions about what might turn the NCAA on it's head this year. Today, we'll be looking at freshman that might have a real impact on a very talented OU team.

Sooner fans have realized that after the 2009 season their Sooners, as well as many other Big 12 squads, are going to be in trouble after most players will either graduate or decide to enter the NFL draft. Younger players from every team will be seen at the top of the depth charts, and some might not be much of a drop off from their older teammates. Here are five freshman that will be making big plays for the Sooners in '09.

5. R.J. Washington - (Red Shirt) Has not shown those flashes of greatness that would have put him higher on this list. This is probably due more to the fact that he has been thrown in the mix with great players like English, Beal and Alexander who made a lot of plays last season. Washington is set to have a fantastic career with the Sooners, he's just not going to be in the spotlight this year because of the strength of the defensive ends.

4. Stacey McGee - (Red Shirt) McGee came into the Oklahoma program and immediately started to impress coaches and players alike. Word is that McGee has put on some muscle by doing his share in the weightroom and is ready to make his mark at defensive tackle. Stacey, like R.J., won't have a really noticable impact because of the strength at the line.

3. Ben Habern - (Red Shirt) As you all know, Habern will be the starting Center for the Sooners in the coming 2009 season. The talented young Center received a medical redshirt from then NCAA after suffering from injuries early in the 2008 season. The line that once was the weak link of the team has been given a boost by a couple of young guys and is now looking like it could hold its own against anybody Big 12. Habern is as good of a natural Center as you can find coming out of high school.

Now if you're worried about this guy anchoring your offensive line in his second year just think back to 2005 and you might remember a guy named Jon Cooper. Yes, Jon Cooper was a four year starter, one hell of a Center and didn't have the talent that Habern posesses.

2. DeJuan Miller - (Red Shirt) If it was a pick for the best career at OU, DeJuan Miller would probably be my first choice out of the 2008 class. Instead we're looking at young impact players for next season and my gut tells me Calhoun is going to get a lot of touches. After seeing DeJuan first hand at open practices last Thursday I can say that the kid is as big and as fast as advertised. Broad shoulders, long arms and massive hands put Miller physically ahead of the learning curve. Not to mention DeJuan still owns track records in the state of New Jersey. I'm going to get really bold and say that DeJuan will be splitting time with Senior WR Adron Tennell after Oklahoma squares off against Kansas.

1. Jermie Calhoun - (Red Shirt) Calhoun will be on the top of almost everybodies list when it comes to breakout freshman. But, it's not his size and speed that put him at the top of this list. Jermie Calhoun is a relentless runner, and that's why he's currently sitting in the poll position. Every down, every play, Calhoun is doing whatever he can to hit the endzone. And I'm talking about practice! Add in the fact that OU really only has one every down back (Chris Brown), and Justin Johnson's transfer out of Norman and you have a lot of snaps to be had by the young tailback from Van Texas.

Honorable Mention: Leaving these guys off the list just seems like a crime.

Josh Aladenoye - (True Freshman) Aladenoye might not be a name Sooner fans are as familiar with, but the young lineman from Mesquite is going to get considerable playing time due to lack of line depth. Oklahoma's first team is looking good heading into the season, but the second team could prove to be a problem in big games. It's expected that players like Josh and Jeff Vinson will be getting reps early to provide depth for the 2009 season, as well as getting them ready to start in what could be a rough 2010. Look for Aladenoye to get some serious play time when the Sooners take the lead against teams like BYU, Tulsa, and Miami. This will allow the twos to get playing experience against some good squads, while keeping the first team fresh for the showdown with Texas in Dallas.

Joseph Ibiloye - (Red Shirt) Ibiloye is a mystery at this point because of his size. He has the speed to play in the secondary but Brent Vennables is seriously considering putting more weight on Ibiloye's 6"4 frame and moving him up to play at the linebacker position. Expect to see him in the rotation at safety this year, but after that, who knows?
Tom Wort - (True Freshman) Yes, the YouTube sensation will be getting in the mix next season, and at middle linebacker no less. Don't expect Wort to be Supermanning players like he did in high school, but word is that Wort will hit ANYBODY he comes in contact with. Wort will see plenty of time on special teams, but nobody really knows how serious Vennables is about throwing him the middle just yet.