Wednesday, September 1, 2010

College Football Predictions

Tomorrow starts off college football season and Friday kicks off another high school season in California. It's my 4th year covering HS football and it's still as excited as my first game - mainly because I'll be doing it for a new paper this season. (For my California people, I've been doing the preseason all-area teams for Cal-Hi Sports so check over there for some additional prep coverage in addition to the state's Top 25 poll)

As for college, I got a few predictions for this season. Like to hear it? Here it goes!

- USC freshman Robert Woods will make an impact as a wide receiver and return man. I've covered Woods for the last two seasons at Gardena Serra HS and you won't find a more talented, hard-working yet humble individual. The fact he's gonna be starting for the Trojans tomorrow at Hawaii is a tribute to his work ethic and I can't wait to see him shine.

- Woods Pt. 2: He will score a touchdown tomorrow in some fashion

- Sticking on USC, super freshman Dillon Baxter won't start a game this year barring injury to starter Marc Tyler but he'll be another impact freshman. The San Diego phenom was voted Mr. Football in CA last year and when I saw him in the Army All-American Game, he's definitely a Reggie Bush type. I see Lane Kiffin using him in a lot of ways to keep him on the field like they did Joe McKnight 3 years ago.

- USC will not win the Pac-10. Hardy Har - easiest prediction I'll make all year.

- UCLA defensive back Rahim Moore won't get 10 interceptions again but he'll have between 5-7 and show why he's the best DB in the country. Another hard-working, good kid from L.A. (Dorsey HS) who's a combo of role model/exceptional cover safety.

- Despite 3 freshmen getting the boot for being stupid, I really like the hype around this kid Owamagbe Odighuzuwa. Defensive end from Oregon who could get extend playing time with some injuries and his performance in fall camp. Remember that name - the last kid from Oregon with an African name and great hype turned out okay. Somebody named Ndamukong Suh.

- That said, despite our new pistol offense, the schedule is crazy tough (At Cal, Oregon, AZ State, Washington AND going to Kansas State and Texas). Hate to say it but I don't see more than 6 wins unless we come together on offense quickly and the defense recovers from losing DE Datone Jones all season with foot surgery.

- Best QB in the Pac-10? Stanford's Andrew Luck, who will get some honorable All-American love as a sophomore this year.

- Oregon State's Jacquizz Rogers will find his way to the Heisman Trophy ceremony after he rushes for 1,600 yards and 25 TD's

- Predicted Pac-10 finish. 1) Oregon, 2) Washington, 3) USC, 4) Oregon State, 5) Stanford, 6) Cal, 7) UCLA
*Even with Jeremiah Masoli gone, the Ducks still two great tailbacks in LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner and speed on defense. Still think USC will have a bounce-back year but I think Washington will be the sleeper of the conference.

- Across the country, Mark Ingram will not win the Heisman. Easy enough, but what if I also predicted Trent Richardson will have an 1,000 yard season as a backup. Kid's a beast and Ingram's knee injury all but guarantees it.

- Nebraska will reach a BCS game. Welcome to the 1990's all over again.

- Jacory Harris from Miami is the best quarterback you need to discover this year. Love this kid's arm, poise and leadership. Passed for 3,000 yards last year and if he can cut down the INT's (17), he'll get some serious All-American buzz.
*Sidenote, I briefly was a Miami fan a decade ago, strange considering their return to prominence came at UCLA's expense in 1998. 2001 Hurricanes are the best team of the last 15 years after the 95 Huskers.

- Boise State WILL play for the national championship.

- Florida will NOT play for a BCS bowl game.

- Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor will finally put it together and build on his Rose Bowl performance to have a great season. Unfortunately his full skill set will still be leashed by the Sweater Vest Jim Tressel.

It's a short list but as a fan of the game, I just enjoy watching to see who will be the surprises of the season, what players will step up and how the Pac-10 looks all around. Sadly my alma mater San Diego looks like it's back to middle-of-the-road status. Those days with Jim Harbaugh coaching and current Tampa Bay Bucs backup Josh Johnson winning big are long gone.

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