Five Burning Questions for College Football 2009
Posted By:Brett Haynes Tags:
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In just 15 days, the college football season will be upon us in the form of a pair of Thursday night games. This offseason has seemed like an eternity, but it is finally about to draw to a close. The season ahead of us has more storylines than I could ever begin to get all out in a single article, so I decided to focus on five pressing questions.
1. Can the SEC continue it's dominance? With Florida winning two national championships in the last three years, and LSU winning a crystal football, as well, the SEC has become the elite conference for college football. The Gators will certainly spend some more time at number 1 again this season, and will likely only lose that spot at the hands of another SEC foe. Alabama and LSU (and perhaps Mississippi) will also be in and out of the top 10. The team to keep your eye on in the SEC, in my opinion, is Georgia. Joe Cox takes over for Matthew Stafford at qb, and is capable of directing the offense efficiently enough to produce some points. The Georgia defense is always solid, and UGA is flying a bit under the radar to start this season.
2. Will Notre Dame and/or Michigan rejoin the national picture? It has been quite some time now since Notre Dame has been a good football team. In 2005, the Irish played an absolute thriller with USC in South Bend that ended in a devistating loss. Since then, the Irish have not done much. They went 10-3 in 2006, but got their brains bashed in by LSU in the Sugar Bowl, 41-14 - a clear indicator that they were all smoke and mirrors who just finished an easy schedule. 2007-2008 saw Coach Charlie Weis go 9-15. For some reason though, after going 6-6 in 2008, Notre Dame has made the 2009 preseason coaches poll at number 22. My guess is that ND goes 8-4 in 2009, and Charlie Weis is shown the door....As for Michigan, Rich Rodriguez is also feeling the heat in just his second season in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines went 3-9 (2-6 Big 10) in 2008 - not the "upgrade" the UM brass was thinking when luring Rich-Rod away from his West Virginia alma mater. Ten starters return on offense for Michigan, but quarterback is a question mark. These two schools play each other at the Big House in week 2.
3. Can USC win a national championship with a first year quarterback? A battle is going on for quarterback at USC, and whoever wins the battle is going to be a Heisman candidate. Whoever loses the battle may not be seen again until a few years from now when he leads some NFL team to the playoffs as a rookie. The talent at Southern California is just that strong, and whether Aaron Corp or Matt Barkley wins the job, the talent and schedule for USC spell a trip once again to the BCS or better. As fall practice heats up, many believe true freshman Barkley is going to win the job. Yes, the Trojans can win the national championship with a first-year quarterback.
4. Who will be the non-BCS team to crash this year's party? Utah, Boise State, BYU and TCU all field strong teams again this season. The team with the clearest path to the BCS though, is Boise State. The Broncos host Oregon on Thursday night to start the season. If they win that one, I see no team on their schedule that is going to beat them. Utah also has a good chance to make another run as the schedule is managable for them, as well. The difference in Utah and Boise is that the Utes must travel to Oregon, rather than host them, and I see that as a loss. The Utes also travel to face a strong TCU team in Texas in week 10.
5. Will the ACC present a national contender? The last time the ACC was in the national championship game was in 1999, when FSU defeated Virginia Tech for the title. Miami (who did not join the ACC until 2005) won it all in 2001, and was also in the national title game the following season, losing to Ohio State close for the 2002 crown. But in 2006 and 2008, the ACC did not have a single team finish in the top 10 of the AP poll. In 2005 and 2007, only Virginia Tech accomplished that feat as they finished number 7 and number 9, respectively. This year, VT once again is the conference's best hope at a top-ranking under Coach Frank Beamer, who preaches fundamentals and defense. Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden says his team is also getting real close to being back to national contending form. After admitting the last few seasons that his teams were lacking, I'll take his word for it.
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