It's that time of year again; time to make ridiculously early and completely unfounded predictions for the upcoming season. Today we'll hit some of the big non-conf. games, tomorrow we'll see some of the biggest conference match-ups, and then you'll get your annual conference blasts capped with the world famous official FTS preseason poll.
1. Oklahoma at Florida State - Throw last year out the window. I know the Sooners are going to be a lot of folks' favorites for the BCS title in '11, but I'm not seeing it. I'm thinking there'll be some early struggles before the ship rights itself and the Seminoles in week 2 will be a tough opponent to play while OU's still finding themselves. Maybe I'm drinking the Jimbo-Aid, but I think FSU will be ready. FSU 30, Oklahoma 24
2. Oregon-LSU (Arlington, TX) - It's odd to write this about an SEC team, but LSU will have trouble keeping up with Oregon's team speed (insert Cliff Harris rental car joke here). And, if a track meet doesn't break out, we saw in last year's BCS title game that the Ducks can play defense if they need to. I know LSU is on a lot of peoples' short lists, but Oregon's near the top of mine. And, while the trip to Texas and it being opening week might clip Oregon's wings a little bit, the Tigers have too many question marks, especially for such a big game on opening weekend. Oregon 29, LSU 27
3. Boise State-Georgia (Atlanta) - Same song, different verse: if Boise wins, blah, blah, blah, BCS title game. I'm not trying to take anything away from the individuals that make up the BSU program, but this has been their narrative for so long, they don't know anything else. Meanwhile, Georgia has NO expectations and Richt's seat is getting quite warm. If the Dawgs play with nothing to lose, and they should, there could be some re-writes on deck for the Broncos' storyline. Georgia 34, Boise State 24
4. Alabama at Penn State - It'll be defense and Trent Richardson early and often and Penn State will slowly be suffocated...much like last season. Bama 27, Penn State 6
5. Arkansas - Texas A&M (Arlington, TX) - This game should be exciting...at least I hope it will be. While it certainly has the potential for a shoot-out, it also looks like one of those that could turn in the 2nd quarter or so, only keeping Aggies and Hawgs interested. Either way, I'll take the Razorbacks, but not by much...A&M will be a good team this year. Arkansas 38, Texas A&M 30
6. Auburn at Clemson - The '07 CFA Bowl, this 2010-'11 home and home, and the 2012 CFA kick-off classic; this cat fight's becoming quite the rivalry. Last year was a hard-fought, OT come back for Cam and crew that left Kyle Parker picking up pieces of lung. This year, Auburn has lost most of that BCS title team and Clemson brings back a lot of talent. While I don't think AU will struggle as much as Phil Steele does, I do think Death Valley gets the better of them. Clemson 29, Auburn 24
7. LSU-WVU - Hell, I'd rather just watch the two coaches in this one, chuggin' Red Bull, eatin' grass, greasy hair, and big hats - these guys are all kind of crazy. Too bad we can't say the same for the game itself. It could honestly be quite boring, with LSU steadying its season on win in Morgantown. The Tigers' D will do most of the work, containing a 'Neer squad learning a new system. LSU 20, West Virginia 13
8. Arizona at Oklahoma State - I really want to pull for this Wildcat squad; I like Nick Foles, I like Mike Stoops, I don't care much for ASU...but I know it's just not gonna happen for them. * wins might be the best they can hope for. That said, I'm not nearly as high on this Oklahoma State team as some people are, either, though. The offense hasn't lost much, but they'll be adjusting without Holgorsen. Still, I think the Pokes take this one, but it'll be closer than last year's Alamo Bowl. OK State 37, Arizona 24
9. San Diego State at Michigan - Ooh, the drama. Hoke's old team visits the Big House...and wins? I won't go that far. I think Hoke will be able to create some improvement at Michigan right away, with an almost in tact offense returning, a wild card like Denard Robinson, and a (hopefully) improved defense. But the Aztecs will be tricky to put away and the emotion will keep it even closer. Michigan 34, SDSU 27
10. Texas at UCLA - I've seen some people predicting a blowout here...in favor of UCLA. That surprises on two levels. One, I think it'll be close (read: boring for non 'Horn or Bruin fans) and I think Texas will be back on track in 2011. The Bruins won't be too improved over last year's squad, but I see Texas roaring back to double digit wins...and the trip to LA should be one of them. Texas 21, UCLA 13
Honorable Mention: OKST at Tusla - This could be a record setter. Both offenses return almost everyone and it'll be in Tulsa, erasing some of the big boy's edge. Look for over a thousand yards and a hundred points here. I've got no formal prediction, just wanted to give this one a shout out. If you like offense, this is one for you.