Friday, August 31, 2012

College Football 2012 Bowl Predictions

New Mexico Bowl - UCLA Bruins vs Wyoming Cowboys
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs Western Michigan Broncos
Poinsettia Bowl - Nevada Wolfpack vs BYU Cougars
Beef O'Brady's Bowl - Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs Louisiana-Lafayette Rajun Cajuns
New Orleans Bowl - East Carolina Pirates vs Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
Las Vegas Bowl - Boise State Broncos vs Washington State Huskies
Hawaii Bowl - Fresno State Bulldogs vs Marshall Thundering Herd
Little Caesars Bowl - Norther Illinois Huskies vs Illinois Fighting Illini
Military Bowl - Arkansas State Redwolves vs Bowling Green Falcons
Belk Bowl - Clemson Tigers vs Cincinnati Bearcats
Holiday Bowl - Utah Utes vs Kansas State Wildcats
Champs Bowl - Louisville Cardinals vs Virginia Tech Hokies
Independence Bowl - San Diego State Aztecs vs Georgia Tech Yellowjackets
Texas Bowl - Baylor Bears vs Northwestern Wildcats
Armed Forces Bowl - SMU Mustangs vs Air Force Falcons
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - California Golden Bears vs Navy Midshipmen
Alamo Bowl - Stanford Cardinal vs West Virginia Mountaineers
Pinstripe Bowl - Pittsburgh Panthers vs Missouri Tigers
Music City Bowl - Virginia Cavaliers vs Vanderbilt Commodores
Insight Bowl - TCU Horned Frogs vs Iowa Hawkeyes
Sun Bowl - Washington Huskies vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Liberty Bowl - Houston Cougars vs Tennessee Volunteers
Chick-Fil-A Bowl - Florida Gators vs NC State Wolfpack
Ticket City Bowl - Southern Miss Golden Eagles vs Texas A&M Aggies
Capital One Bowl - Michigan Wolverines vs Arkansas Razorbacks
Outback Bowl - Nebraska Cornhuskers vs South Carolina Gamecocks
Gator Bowl - Auburn Tigers vs Purdue Boilermakers
Cotton Bowl - Alabama Crimson Tide vs Texas Longhorns
BBVA Compass Bowl - South Florida Bulls vs Mississippi State Tigers
GoDaddy Bowl - Ohio Bobcats vs Florida International Panthers

Rose Bowl - USC Trojans vs Wisconsin Badgers
Orange Bowl - Florida State Seminoles vs Rutgers Scarlett Knights
Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma Sooners vs Michigan State Spartans
Sugar Bowl - LSU Tigers vs Oklahoma State Cowboys

BCS National Championship - Oregon Ducks vs Georgia Bulldogs

College Football 2012 Preview - SEC

Jabesblog Projected SEC Standings

East Division
1.  Georgia Bulldogs (13-0, 8-0)
2.  South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2, 6-2)
3.  Florida Gators (7-5, 4-4)
4.  Vanderbilt Commodores (7-5, 3-5)
4.  Tennessee Volunteers (6-6, 3-5)
6.  Missouri Tigers (6-6, 2-6)
7.  Kentucky Wildcats (3-9, 0-8)

West Division
1.  Arkansas Razorbacks (11-2, 7-1)
1.  LSU Tigers (11-1, 7-1)
2.  Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2, 6-2)
4.  Auburn Tigers (7-5, 4-4)
5.  Mississippi State Tigers (7-5, 3-5)
6.  Texas A&M Aggies (6-6, 2-6)
7.  Ole Miss Rebels (4-8, 1-7)

SEC Championship Game
Georgia Bulldogs over Arkansas Razorbacks

Thursday, August 30, 2012

College Football 2012 Preview - MAC

Jabesblog Projected MAC Standings

MAC East
1.  Ohio Bobcats (12-1, 7-1)
2.  Bowling Green Falcons (8-4, 6-2)
3.  Miami (OH) Redhawks (6-6, 5-3)
4.  Kent State Golden Flashes (5-7, 4-4)
5.  Buffalo Bulls (3-9, 2-6)
6.  Akron Zips (2-10, 1-7)
7.  Massachusetts Minutemen (0-12, 0-8)

MAC West
1.  Northern Illinois Huskies (10-3, 7-1)
2.  Western Michigan Broncos (9-3, 6-2)
3.  Toledo Rockets (7-5, 5-3)
4.  Ball State Cardinals (5-7, 4-4)
5.  Eastern Michigan Eagles (5-7, 3-5)
6.  Central Michigan Chippewas (4-8, 2-6)

MAC Championship Game
Ohio Bobcats over Northern Illinois Huskies

Urban Who?
The best team in Ohio in 2012 may very well be in the MAC.  The Bobcats also may very well represent the best chance for a non-BCS conference to go undefeated in 2012.  Ohio is an experienced team with an experienced quarterback in Tyler Tettleton and should boast one of the top defenses in the MAC.  Non-conference road tests against Penn State and Marshall loom, but with the Nittany Lions predicament heading into the opener and a 44-7 thrashing of Marshall a year ago, Ohio could be poised to enter the conference schedule unbeaten, where the toughest road test will be at Miami (OH). 

Under the Radar D
Lost in all the offensive fireworks of Chandler Harnish and the Northern Illinois offense was the significant strides the defense made as the season went on.  Harnish and several offensive pieces are gone from the Huskies, but the defense will be the difference in getting NoIL back to the MAC title game in a rematch with Ohio.

Other Contenders
Alex Carder is the top throwing quarterback in the MAC and if he finds new weapons to his liking, Western Michigan could easily unseat Northern Illinois in the MAC West.  Toledo figures to have a say in the MAC West title race but may ultimately lack the firepower of the other two in this race.  If Ohio is not as good as I am advertising, Bowling Green has a favorable schedule and Miami (OH) has the talent to take advantage.  Finally, the supersleepers are Ball State and Kent State, both who sport solid defenses but need to make significant offensive strides to contend.

College Football 2012 Preview - Sun Belt

Jabesblog Projected Sun Belt Standings
1.  Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (8-4, 7-1)
2.  Florida International Golden Panthers (8-4, 6-2)
2.  Arkansas State Redwolves (8-4, 6-2)
2.  Louisiana-Lafayette Rajun Cajuns (8-4, 6-2)
5.  Troy Trojans (5-7, 5-3)
6.  Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (5-7, 4-4)
7.  Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (4-8, 2-6)
7.  North Texas Mean Green (3-9, 2-6)
7.  Florida Atlantic Owls (3-9, 2-6)
10.South Alabama Jaguars (1-12, 0-8)

College Football 2012 Preview - ACC

Jabesblog Projected ACC Standings

Coastal Division
1.  Virginia Tech Hokies (10-3, 6-2)
2.  Virginia Cavaliers (8-4, 5-3)
2.  Georgia Tech Yellowjackets (7-5, 5-3)
2.  North Carolina Tar Heels (8-4, 5-3)
5.  Miami Hurricanes (4-8, 2-6)
6.  Duke Blue Devils (3-9, 1-7)

Atlantic Division
1.  Florida State Seminoles (12-1, 7-1)
2.  North Carolina State Wolfpack (10-2, 6-2)
2.  Clemson Tigers (9-3, 6-2)
4.  Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-8, 2-6)
4.  Boston College Eagles (4-8, 2-6)
6.  Maryland Terrapins (3-9, 1-7)

ACC Championship Game
Florida State Seminoles over Virginia Tech Hokies

College Football 2012 Preview - Big 10

Jabesblog Projected Big 10 Standings

Legends Division
1.  Michigan State Spartans (11-2, 7-1)
2.  Michigan Wolverines (9-3, 6-2)
3.  Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-3, 5-3)
4.  Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5, 4-4)
4.  Northwestern Wildcats (7-5, 4-4)
6.  Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-8, 1-7)

Leaders Division
1.  Wisconsin Badgers (12-1, 7-1)
2.  Ohio State Buckeyes (9-3, 5-3)
2.  Purdue Boilermakers (8-4, 5-3)
4.  Illinois Fighting Illini (6-6, 3-5)
5.  Penn State Nittany Lions (3-9, 1-7)
6.  Indiana Hoosiers (3-9, 0-8)

Big 10 Championship Game
Wisconsin Badgers over Michigan State Spartans

College Football 2012 Preview - Big East

Jabesblog Projected Big East Standings
1.  Rutgers Scarlett Knights (9-3, 5-2)
1.  Louisville Cardinals (9-3, 5-2)
1.  Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3, 5-2)
1.  Pittsburgh Panthers (8-4, 5-2)
5.  South Florida Bulls (6-6, 4-3)
6.  Connecticut Huskies (5-7, 2-5)
7.  Temple Owls (2-9, 1-6)
7.  Syracuse Orange (2-10, 1-6)

College Football 2012 Preview - PAC 12

Jabesblog Projected PAC 12 Standings

North Division
1.  Oregon Ducks (12-1, 8-1)
2.  Stanford Cardinal (9-3, 6-3)
3.  Washington Huskies (7-5, 5-4)
3.  Washington State Cougars (7-5, 5-4)
5.  California Golden Bears (6-6, 4-5)
6.  Oregon State Beavers (3-9, 2-7)

South Division
1.  USC Trojans (12-1, 9-0)
2.  Utah Utes (8-4, 5-4)
3.  UCLA Bruins (6-6, 4-5)
4.  Arizona Wildcats (5-7, 3-6)
5.  Arizona State Sun Devils (3-9, 2-7)
6.  Colorado Buffaloes (2-10, 1-8)

PAC 12 Championship Game
Oregon Ducks over USC Trojans

College Football 2012 Preview - WAC

Jabesblog Projected WAC Standings
1.  Lousiana Tech Bulldogs (9-3, 6-0)
2.  Utah State Aggies (8-4, 5-1)
3.  San Jose State Spartans (5-7, 3-3)
3.  New Mexico State Aggies (5-7, 3-3)
5.  Idaho Vandals (2-10, 2-4)
6.  Texas State Bobcats (2-10, 1-5)
6.  UTSA Roadrunners (5-7, 1-5)

College Football 2012 Preview - Independents

Jabesblog Projected Independent Standings
1.  BYU Cougars (9-3)
2.  Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-5)
2.  Navy Midshipmen (7-5)
4.  Army Black Knights (4-8)

College Football 2012 Preview - Mountain West

Jabesblog Projected Mountain West Standings
1.  Boise State Broncos (10-2, 7-1)
2.  Nevada Wolfpack (9-3, 6-2)
2.  Wyoming Cowboys (8-4, 6-2)
2.  Fresno State Bulldogs (8-4, 6-2)
5.  San Diego State Aztecs (7-5, 4-4)
5.  Air Force Falcons (6-6, 4-4)
7.  Hawaii Warriors (5-7, 3-5)
7.  Colorado State Rams (4-8, 3-5)
9.  UNLV Runnin' Rebels (2-11, 1-7)
10.New Mexico Lobos (2-11, 0-8)

College Football 2012 Preview - Conference USA

Jabesblog Projected Conference USA Standings

East Division
1.  Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (8-5, 6-2)
1.  UCF Golden Knights (8-4, 6-2)
3.  East Carolina Pirates (7-5, 5-3)
3.  Marshall Thundering Herd (6-6, 5-3)
5.  UAB Blazers (3-9, 1-7)
5.  Memphis Tigers (2-10, 1-7)

West Division
1.  Houston Cougars (11-2, 7-1)
2.  Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8-4, 6-2)
2.  SMU Mustangs (7-5, 6-2)
4.  Tulane Green Wave (2-10, 2-6)
4.  UTEP Miners (3-9, 2-6)
6.  Rice Owls (2-10, 1-7)

Conference USA Championship Game
Houston Cougars over Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

College Football Previews

Unfortunately time did not cooperate with what I had hoped to do for my 2012 College Football Previews.  Therefore I am bringing a more abridged version with my predictions for the upcoming season.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

College Football 2012 Preview - Big 12

Jabesblog Projected Big 12 Standings
1.  Oklahoma Sooners (11-1, 8-1)
2.  Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2, 7-2)
3.  Texas Longhorns (9-3, 6-3)
3.  West Virginia Mountaineers (9-3, 6-3)
5.  Kansas State Wildcats (8-4, 5-4)
5.  TCU Horned Frogs (8-4, 5-4)
7.  Baylor Bears (6-6, 4-5)
8.  Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-7, 2-7)
9.  Iowa State Cyclones (4-8, 1-8)
9.  Kansas Jayhawks (3-9, 1-8)

Non-Conference = Non-Challenge
With the 9 game conference schedule, it appears that most Big 12 teams are avoiding any marquee non-conference affairs.  Beyond Oklahoma welcoming in Notre Dame, the top challenges appear to be Virginia playing at TCU, Texas at Ole Miss, a rebuilding Miami, FL at Kansas State and the annual game with Iowa State traveling to Iowa.  Therefore you see why the gaudy non-conference record is expected for the Big 12, but wait...

Baylor will miss RGIII more than they think
Griffin often made up for a porous defense that gave up over 488 yards per game in 2011.  The offense will still be good, but it might take a little time to truly get the motor running on all cylinders.  Baylor has a tricky game against 2011 FCS runner-up Sam Houston State on September 15th, one of the FCS games I have circled as a potential upset.  They also host SMU and play at a tough Louisiana-Monroe team in the first 3 games, so the Bears appear to be one Big 12 team that will not emerge unscathed from the non-conference season.

"I'm a man" and I am building a program
There seems to be an expectation that the Oklahoma State Cowboys are going to take a big fall after losing Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon to Sundays.  I was a big proponent of the Cowboys a year ago and I am going to stick with them.  What Mike Gundy is doing is building a consistent winner and a system that works.  The defense should be better and the running game will turn it up a notch with underrated Joseph Randle.  I look for the Cowboys to be the runner-up in a very competitive top 6 of the Big 12 this season, with a chance to repeat if they can top Oklahoma in the annual Bedlam game.

Welcome to the Big 12
West Virginia and TCU join the league this year and both come in with high expectations.  Both teams bring high-powered offenses to the Big 12 (what's new) but both will be facing offenses far superior to the ones they faced a year ago on a weekly basis.  The Mountaineers are picked by many as a top 10 team, but I think too much stock is being put into the bowl blitz they performed on Clemson.  The defense will have to be much better and this team lost 2 Big East games a year ago where offenses would only be described as mediocre-powered.  TCU has had a lot of success against the Top 25 in recent years, but the weekly jump in competition is even more pronounced for them.  While both teams are top 25 caliber, I think it will take a year or two to build the depth to compete for the Big 12 title.

A Return to Prominence?
Texas dominated the Big 12 in a not-so-distant time ago and many expect this to be a year where they return to the top.  After all, they jumped from a disastrous 5 win season in 2010 to an 8 win season in 2011.  In a league full of high-octane offense, the Longhorns will undoubtedly boast the league's most high-octane defense.  Texas should also boast a strong running game that came on as 2011 progressed.  Sounds like a team ready to reclaim their spot at the top of the Big 12.  Wait, did I mention the sporadic play from their quarterbacks and lack of proven playmaker to stretch defenses?  Or that last year they lost to the Big 12 elite (Oklahoma State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas State) by an average of 18 points?  Their best win in 2011 was the swan song at now former rival A&M?  I think Texas will be better, but with some of the offensive question marks, it seems unreasonable to expect that they would make the jump from beating none of the leagues elite to beating all of them.

Why am I hating on Texas Tech and Iowa State?
I am not hating on either of these teams, but the top 6 in the Big 12 look very, very strong this year.  Texas Tech is relying on JUCO transfers to improve a defense that imploded after the Oklahoma upset last year.  Iowa State was able to parlay big wins over Iowa and Oklahoma State into a bowl a year ago, but lacks the overall talent of the top of this league.  While Tech should be better and Iowa State is headed in the right direction, 2012 seems to be a year where the record will not be indicative of the strides these teams are making.

Will the Oklahoma Sooners meet expectations?
Last season, Oklahoma started the year in the #1 spot and failed to come close to those expectations.  With the return of Landry Jones, the Sooners are once again in everyone's pre-season top 5.  I am going to drink the Sooner kool-aid this year but I am cautiously sipping it.  This is a team that must replace some key defensive parts from an underachieving defense (especially in big games) last year, must replace an all-world wide receiver (who Jones was lost without after Broyles was injured last year) and has injury issues at running back.  That said, there is still talent everywhere and this team has a very high floor.  I am going with Oklahoma to win the Big 12, but the strength of this league combined with their question marks makes this one of my more tenuous picks.