[NCAA-F] Slayer's College Football and Stuff!

SLAYER’S SPORTS AND STUFF!

Hi Everybody! Welcome to another edition of Slaye’s Sports and Stuff and the third and final installment of the College Preview! There are essentially a few types of College Football fans. There are freaks like me that want to know everything about every team. But for most people, they have a few favorite teams or one particular conference they focus on. So they don’t need to know if a certain team uses Pro Set offense with a 4-3-4 neutralizing defense. Because in all honesty, while that stuff matters in the NFL, it really doesn’t matter too much in college football. But it’s good to know a little about everyone.

BUT, FIRST!
My thoughts and prayers to those of you who are being effected by Katrina. And for those of you with a few extra bucks to spare, to put it bluntly, go to the RED CROSS and give them money. Even if it’s only a buck or two.

So, here it is: A rundown of all 119 teams separated by their realistic (and sometimes unrealistic) goals.

One Team with dreams of a Three-Peat
Southern California
In the college football landscape of red states, bible belts, cornfields, and Jesuits, USC is back on top form and ruling the college football world with an iron fist. And they are doing it with Mr. Nice Guy leading the charge with his mellow and humorous personality. They are recruiting every Top 100 blue chipper known to man by promising them a world of sunny beaches, movie stars, and the hottest prostitutes in the country. However, anti-USCers (which includes 98% of the college football media) are already chipping away at them by noting a new coaching staff, academic snafus, and summer camp complacency. Listen, here’s the real deal. They are more then good enough to win a third championship whether you like it or not. And if they don’t, so what. It’s doubtful they will do anything too embarrassing this year.

Nine Teams with dreams of a championship
All these teams are dreaming roses. Some of them are mass media favorites to do so, others are a bit under the radar. Expect a few of these teams to make a legitimate run at it, several to lose their ground in the middle or late season, one or two will drop a bomb in the beginning but make a hell of a comeback, and one or two will completely lay an egg this season.

Iowa
Ok, this is in alphabetical order, so the least likely happened to be the first one I’m mentioning and admittedly a dark horse. Still, one look at that roster, and DAM, they got talent. If they can stabilize those offensive and defensive lines, they have a legitimate shot of making a run, or at the least a Big Ten championship.

Louisiana St.
It’s test time for new coach Les Miles to take the reigns and he won’t be given too much of a mulligan. Their most difficult games are at home so they lucked out in that area, but they are in a bit of a quarterback controversy at the moment. The team has championship potential but they need to make some daring and lucky roster decisions. Still, anything more then a 1 loss season will be considered a disappointment.

Ohio St.
Quite possibly the best defensive team in the country. And the one man three ring circus known as Ted Ginn on offense too. They have a tough schedule, but if they can beat Texas before getting into conference play they will be a front-runner. People are both very optimistic about this team for the obvious reasons but some are pessimistic due to no true tailback which makes it hard to score points in the Big Ten. It will be another fun year in Omgdrama State University.

Michigan
Every year, this team is almost there, then there lack of concentration is exposed in the late season. Many have criticized the program and its players to be pompous jerks as many of them are Top 100 Blue chippers from all over the nation. One of the reasons many feel this program has so much trouble getting the “perfect record” is because their team never meshes with 50 all-staters in one team. I think that may be a poke from people who don’t like Michigan, but there could be some truth to that. They do have a tendency to take a one or two week break every year.

Miami (FL)
Considered a sleeper this year but hey, they’re Miami! What else do you want? Ok, well, if you want more, the championship hopes will be decided in the first two weeks against Florida St. and Clemson. If they can get past those two, they could shoot up the rankings and start getting attention.

Oklahoma
Well, Jason White had a nice 73 year career at Oklahoma, but his eligibility is up and now it’s time to move on. Most are expecting somewhat of a decline due to new receivers, offensive lines, and secondary but even if they don’t contend, they shouldn’t lose more then a couple games. But their recruiting has been so top-notch, if they can hit their stride early on, don’t be surprised for them to be undefeated by the Big 12 championship game.

Tennessee
The media favorite to win this year, and why not as they may have the best team in the country player by player. But a brutal schedule. Their NCS while not horrifying, is no picnic (UAB, Notre Dame, Memphis) and every time they face a top SEC team they will be on the road including at Florida and at LSU and they play them both within the first three weeks. If they can navigate through September without a loss, they will be ranked #1. And if they go through the SEC undefeated, they will probably be ranked #3. But I digress”¦..

Texas
Is it me or are they a preseason favorite every year? I don’t know guys, beat Ohio St. and Oklahoma then we’ll talk. There defense is prime and QB, Vince Young is extremely gifted, but no tailback to speak of and a corps of receivers that are suspect at best. With their two toughest games in the first six weeks of the season, they don’t have a lot of time to mix and match. But if they can get past it”¦then they have Texas A&M waiting for them at the end of the season.

Virginia Tech
Vick II is at this point very talented but a bit immature and keeps getting in trouble (OMG, he’s a kid!). Still, they could make a run and are as of now the favorite to get into the ACC championship game. Most of VT’s season will be defined in the second half as they will spend the first half beefing up their record against the have-nots. But they need to watch out for that first game against N.C. State.

15 Teams with dreams of being in the Top 10
The majority of these teams will have 8-3 or 7-4 seasons; get a second tier bowl and fall somewhere in the Top 25. That’s respectable but that’s not their goal. They want to try to get 10-1 or 9-2, make a first tier bowl and fall somewhere in the Top 10 (expect it to be from the Big East; hint, hint). As usual, expect a couple of these teams to bomb the season and a couple of others to even maybe make a run at it.

Arizona St.
Unlike California , they have a good even NCS with a bad team (Temple) a descent team (Northwestern) and good team (LSU). If they can get through it 2-1, they will be well on their way considering the weakened state of the Pac-10. They better watch out though because since many Pac-10 teams feel they cannot beat USC or California, they will put the bull’s-eye on the Sun Devils.

Auburn
Most of last yea’s offense comes back but most of the defense is new so most aren’t expecting another undefeated season. But their NCS is easy and they avoid Tennessee and Florida”¦so if they can beat Georgia and LSU”¦hmmmmmmmm

Boise St.
The Broncos have one thing on their mind, BCS. That will be difficult with a NCS against Georgia, Oregon St., and Bowling Green. But if they get through that with a 3-0 record, watch out and get ready for another annual controversy. Because the only other time they will get challenged by is Fresno St.

Bowling Green
The Falcons haven’t won a league title since 1992, and with some teams out of the way, a new division, and Omar Jacobs, this is their shot. If Bowling Green can get through its NCS with games against Wisconsin and Boise St, it could be this yea’s Cinderella. But don’t expect MAC rivals, Miami and Toledo to roll over for them.

California
Another 10-1 season ain’t out of the question if Lynch continues to progress and they find a Quarterback, but with a weak NCS (Sacramento St., Illinois, New Mexico St.) and no Arizona St. on the schedule, it will be difficult to garner respect and even more difficult if they lose a few.

Florida St.
Newsflash! Newsflash! This team does not have a quarterback”¦as of yet. It’ll be interesting who steps up. So much of the Seminole’s identity will be based on the first game against Miami. If they win, a mild schedule awaits them and they could make a run. If they lose, it could get chaotic for the first several weeks.

Florida
Yes, Gator fans, I know, I know. They should be on the other list. Well, they are more then free to prove me wrong but the staff knows it, the players know it, and the more seasoned fans know it. This team ain’t making a run at it, not in a transition year. However, a 9 win season is a realistic goal. (They also better watch out for that first game against Wyoming).

Georgia
Yes, Bulldog fans, I know, I know. They should be on the other list. Well, they are more then free to prove me wrong but the staff knows it, the players know it, and the more seasoned fans know it. This team ain’t making a run at it, not in a transition year. However, a 9 win season is a realistic goal. (They also better watch out for that first game against Boise State).

Georgia Tech
Every year it seems the Jackets are about to make that next step”¦and then they don’t. If anything is going to change the pattern, their skill positions players are going to have to step up and become stars. If not, expect the usual wins against bad teams/losses against good teams season.

Iowa St.
So is this team for real? We’ll find out but the safe bets are yes. Almost all their players return and if logic holds up, they should only be better in a rather weak Big 12 North. But cyclone fans should remember 2002 in which hopes were high and dreams were big but then kablooie.

Louisville
Welcome to the BCS Cardinals, now here’s your chance. And this year there chance is better then ever as the usual contenders will have mild slips this year and they are running on all four cylinders with quite possibly the best offense in college football.

Purdue
Easy NCS+ no Michigan + no Ohio St.=no excuse not to gain an impressive win-loss record. Purdue’s goal this year is to knock one of the above three Big Teams off if only by record and steal a top-tier bowl spot.

Texas A&M
This program is officially out of its rut and has progressed nicely over the past few years. They have Heisman candidate Reggie McNeal leading the charge and to make the next step, they need to be more physical on defense as well as more daring. Gonna have to steal a game or two.

Utah
While they can only go downhill from last yea’s 12-0 run, it shouldn’t be that far down. They embarrassed a lot of teams last year so expect them all to be ready and willing to get revenge this year. They are still the team to beat in the MWC but they could be beat in the MWC and sometimes that’s all it takes to lose the conference championship. Either way, new coach Wittingham has the spotlight.

Virginia
The Cavs got reaped by the NFL last year, but there is enough talent on defense to have another good season and even raise above expectations. Groh uses the 3-4/4-3 switch that Belichick does and like him has became successful with it. Still, much of their team’s fortunes is on Quarterback Marques Hogans who showed flashes of brilliance.

25 Teams with dreams of being in the Top 25
The following teams are expected to have winning seasons and make bowl games, but most of them will try to get a 8-3 or 7-4 record and have a true impact on the college football landscape. This is where things get a bit chaotic as more then a few of these teams will not even achieve expectations and have losing records and more then a few will have stronger outings then projected. Expect the annual “surprise teams”, “Cinderellas’, etc to come from this list.

Alabama
They’re back, baby! Well, sort of. Actually the coach is on the hot seat if he doesn’t make an improvement to at least 7 regular season wins. Their schedule is ridiculously easy, so if there is a season to make a comeback, this is it. If not, expect heads to roll.

Colorado
If there is a team wanting to prove everyone wrong, it’s this one especially considering last yea’s debacle and then their Big 12 North win which prevented the firing of Barnett. Hey, there defense if solid and if they can move the ball, they got another shot at it. Though one bad losing streak, and expect drama.

Fresno St.
The bulldogs finished 22 in both polls last year. They’ve done this before, and it seems everytime they do and get everyone excited, they have a bust of a season. Many think due to their mild schedule, they could go undefeated. But they have to beat Boise St. first, a team they haven’t beaten since they came to the conference.

Kansas St.
Fans of the Little Apple are a little frightened that the program may fall back into obscurity after their nice decade long run. While a 6-5 record is really most realists can hope for, some upsets and surprise wins to get them back in the Top 25 will give fans a sigh of relief.

Maryland
Good defense, good special teams, good offensive line, good receivers, no running backs, no quarterbacks. Ah, well. Still, good enough to get a winning record if they can grind it out against the upper echelon of the ACC.

Memphis
They improved steadily over the past few years but are in the strong side of the conference not to mention a NCS that includes a trip to Tennessee. They are more then capable of holding their own though. A conference championship could be difficult.

Miami (OH)
They’ve owned the MAC East for a couple years now but with Bowling Green making the switch, the power may structure may change a bit. But if that offensive machine that puts 40 points a game keeps rolling, anything can happen.

Michigan St.
This team has hovered around the .500 mark for the past several years. Sometimes they make a bowl, sometimes they don’t. Fans are getting a little itchy and would really like to see them make the next step. The offense can score lots of runs but the defense ain’t there and the more time they can stay off the field (i.e. forced fumbles, interceptions), the best chance Spartans can win games.

Minnesota
Like the psycho-killer from Talking Heads, this team likes to run, run, run. And their defense rarely moves off the zone. Expect the usual from this team: Get off to a fast start due to a mild schedule, then they will fall back down to earth when they see the meat of the Big Ten. This team is just an ultra-conservative in their play and their scheduling. However, they don’t play Illinois or Northwestern so they have the toughest Big Ten schedule.

Missouri
If this team is ever going to come out of its 80 year run of mediocrity, now is the time to do it with a weakened division. There conference schedule is relatively tame and their non-conference schedule is a joke. However, reality is the talent just isn’t there and sometimes neither is the motivation.

North Carolina St.
Not much on offense, but plenty of defense. One of the best, actually. Forget about last year, in 2005 they get an EZ non-conference schedule, are in the softer division, and there is no excuse to lose more then three games and score an upset or two

Northern Illinois
Like Toledo, The Huskies lucked out with the realignment and could beef up their record to 8 or 9 wins. This is a relatively young team and aren’t as good as the ones we’ve seen these past few years, but should still be competitive.

Notre Dame
The toughest schedule in college football and a new coach. Irish fans should be patient but they won’t be and will want 7 or 8 wins. They’re probably not going to get it, ok! Just deal with it! For crying out loud”¦If they get six wins, that’s a hell of an accomplishment. Why am I so angry?

Oklahoma St.
This team is expected to make a bowl but some are asking why not aim for higher aspirations. But this is a transition year between players and a new coach, so fans may have to accept that after two steps forward, they will have to take a step back.

Oregon
Their skill positions are outstanding, as for the rest of the team, it’s eh. In order to avoid their second losing season in a row, some of the freshmen and sophomores are going to have to step up, especially at both lines and the linebacker position.

Penn St.
Not much of on offense, but a good defense and looking at the schedule, they should win at least seven games if they can bully around the lower half of the Big Ten. If this team can stabilize their offensive skill positions, don’t be surprised if this team catches fire.

Pittsburgh
Though it’s highly debatable, the Panthers are considered to be the best of the Old Guard in the Big East. They come into the season with a new coach and a new system which will give them a fresh start after their embarrassing display at the Fiesta Bowl. 8 or 9 wins is very doable for this team, but they could hit some snags within the pesky conference.

Southern Miss
Every year they have the same season. The score an upset against a major team, do well in the conference, and get to a bowl game. Why should things change now? Expect the most consistent team in CUSA to roll along.

Texas Tech
Come on guys! A NCS against Florida International, Sam Huston St., and Indiana St.???!!!!. You guys scored 70 points against TCU and Nebraska and slammed BCS contender California in the Holiday Bowl. The team is better then this, but now we’ll never know. Needs to make one heck of a Big 12 run to get any respect.

Toledo
Over the past several years, the Rockets have made quite a few trips to the Top 25 and even stayed there a couple times. Outside Northern Illinois, they really don’t have too much competition from their division.

UAB
The program did have a cup of coffee in the Top 25 last year but didn’t stay too long. This team is talented and experienced enough to win the C-USA and are the preseason favorite to do so. The C-USA is weaker which will make things easier for them, but is also congested making it more difficult to stay on top.

UCLA
Weird team to analyze. Most of their losses were less then six points including a strong showing against USC. But they have a tendency to come to games unmotivated and other times just smack the have-nots around. If they are going to get in the rankings and gain entrance to an upper tier bowl, their dual running backs will need to carry the injured offense.

West Virginia
Once every four years, the Mountaineers go crazy and contend for the national championship. This probably won’t be one of those years, especially with new starters at the skill positions, but the Big East and a BCS bowl isn’t unrealistic.

Wisconsin
This team is in somewhat of a rebuilding year but they have enough talent especially on offense to have a respectable season. The Badgers have traditionally done very well and competed for a New Yea’s day bowl when everybody pegs them for a down year, so watch out for them.

Wyoming
After last yea’s trumping of UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl, they come in this season with the most momentum they’ve had in over ten years. Almost all the key players are back and if they can get past the Florida game without too many scratches, they could make a nice run and get into the Top 25.

40 Teams with dreams of a Bowl Game!>
The following teams are expected to hover around the .500 mark all year. For the BCS conference teams, one win (5-6 vs. 6-5) will be the difference between a successful season and a bust. For mid-major teams, they are going to have to win a couple more to get into bowl games.

Akron
6-5 and one game from taking the division. So close! If they can find a new quarterback within the first few weeks, they could be right in it again.

Arizona
Though they only went 3-8 last year, they did win two of those in December, so they come into 2005 with momentum. The talent isn’t really there, but the conference is weak enough that Stoops can make a charge to six wins if the spirits are high.

Arkansas
They missed the bowl boat last year and got injured all over the place so they should be extra motivated this year. Tough schedule, but they have a few easy ones in there that should give them a good base to build a six win record.

Baylor
They are more talented then the teams in the list after this one but logistically, they are in the Big 12 south so it’s not realistic to expect a bowl game. However, going 3-0 against their soft NCS (SMU, Samford, Army) is not out of the question and a possible upset or two, they could sneak it.

Boston College
It’ll be interesting to see how this rough and tough team that mimicked Big Ten play will do in the freestyle ACC. They will probably get kicked around some by the first tier ACC teams but their non-conference schedule is a cinch and the bad teams in the ACC are really bad.

Brigham Young
The once mighty Cougars have gone into tailspin since losing their grips on a potential undefeated season and national championship a few years ago. Whether Mendenhall can get this team back to prominence or not is a huge question mark but two things are for sure. The fans won’t be patient and their MW rivals still hate them and will play their best game to keep them down.

Clemson
This team is still an enigma that could win 8 games in dramatic fashion or struggle to get a winning record. It’s been a long time from the glory days when Clemson was consistently competing for first place in the league, but they are trying to get back there.

Colorado St.
The program has fell into the middle of the pack over the past few years but they aren’t accepting it which is a good sign that a turnaround back to the top of the MWC is not too far in the future. This year may be asking too much, but six or seven wins is not.

Connecticut
Last year, the Huskies were great but expect them to take the necessary step backward as their seniors went to the NFL. But their NCS is soft and getting six or seven wins is not out of reach.

Eastern Michigan
If there is one team in the MAC West that can usurp Toledo or Northern Illinois, it’s Eastern Michigan. No defense, but their offense has potential. The bonus factor is their kicking game which is one of the best in college football.

Hawaii
An NCS that includes USC, Michigan State, and Wisconsin puts them at a huge disadvantage and they could find it difficult to get six wins solely from the WAC.

Houston
They are talented enough and have a fair schedule to reach a bowl game. They should be even able to contend for the division. But this team has a bad habit of laying eggs when expectations fall upon them.

Illinois
Most aren’t expecting much from this team in Zook’s first year, but still it is Illinois so one would think even in this state, six wins would be the goal. However, most aren’t holding their breath. A mulligan season. Next year won’t be.

Kansas
To get a winning record, they need to go 3-0 in their non-conference schedule (Fla. Atl, Appalachian St., and Louisiana Tech) then play their strengths (defense) and not get rolled over by the Big 12.

Kent St.
After winning their final four games last year, there is some hope of a bowl game. But it cold honestly be false hope. Too many new players at the skill positions and there aren’t enough bowl sports for even the good MAC teams.

Kentucky
It’s bowl game or death for Brooks and improving on the two win season won’t be easy in the SEC East not to mention a game against Louisville. If they can win against the other have-nots, it’s possible, but still not likely.

Louisiana Tech
They lost Moats to the NFL but are still the best of the rest in the WAC and should be able to garner six wins from here or there and make a bowl berth.

Marshall
It’s a new era in Marshall football. A new coach and a new conference. But unfortunately, with Kansas St, and Virginia Tech on their NCS, it could be tough to get those six wins.

Middle Tennessee
Man for man, the most talented team in the Sun Belt. Their bowl hopes will be decided early on when the see North Texas in the second week.

Mississippi
This team is more then capable of getting six or seven wins, but to oversimplify things, they still really don’t have a quarterback yet. Hopefully Rebel Nation will give Ogregon a little more time to build an actual program.

Mississippi St.
Since Croom took over, 15 players have either been dismissed, resigned, or transferred. He’s discipline happy or maybe they don’t wanna play for black coach. Hey, just calling it how it its. The team is still aways from getting that big season, but if a couple SEC teams above them collapses and they can take advantage of it, they could slide in a bowl game.

Navy
It’s doubtful another 10-2 season is on the horizon (ha! Get it?) with 16 starters going to war but their schedule is easy enough to get six wins and bowl games are more then happy to take them.

Nebraska
Can this team change direction and shut up their ridiculously impatient fans? Find a quarterback first. If that happens, they have enough talent to steal the North. If not, best hopes are to limp in a bowl game.

Nevada
I explained the situation in the Coaching Carousel. If Nevada doesn’t get into a bowl game, the school will press the reset button.

New Mexico
After years of instability, this program has been in a nice little run going to bowl games in the past three years. However, most of that team has graduated and much of the MWC has improved. They could be battling throughout. Solid defense, but almost no offense.

North Carolina
Ow, ow, ow. Tough schedule for this team: Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, NC State, Utah, Louisville, Virginia, Miami, and Virginia Tech. By the time October roles around, expect fans to be waiting for Midnight Madness. Still if they can score a win or two”¦you never know.

North Texas
The Mean Green has gone to a bowl game for the past four years. But for the first time since 2000, they have no quarterback and all of a sudden, the Sun Belt is wide open. Still the team to beat though.

Northwestern
This is a pass-happy team and has been since Randy Walker took over. Because of it, they take Big Ten teams by surprise who are used to smashmouth football. They will get their Big Ten wins but whether they get to a bowl game or not will be dependant of how they do in their non-conference schedule and one or two lucky bounces.

Oregon St.
Well, beaver fans. I got good news and bad news. The good news is they don’t play USC. Yayyyyyyyy! The bad news is they play Louisville and Boise St. in their NCS. Boooooooo! They also need a quarterback, a secondary, a defensive line, and an offensive line. But the Pac-10 is so up and down, a bowl game is more then reachable.

South Carolina
Six wins is a reachable goal for Spurrier and the new soon-to-be Air Gamecocks. But in a division with Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia, and games against Alabama and Auburn, don’t expect too much this year.

South Florida
This team has yet to get into a bowl game and if it happens this year they need make the wins within the conference as their NCS includes Penn St. and Miami (FL). A program with great upside but some ways to go.

Syracuse
New coach, new era, and for the first time in a few years, there is excitement in Upper New York. No one should expect too much as their NCS isn’t that light but the Big East is the Big East, so they could rack up the six wins.

TCU
While they are an improving team and a legitimate mid-major, they are in a new conference, and more importantly a tougher conference filled with solid programs and real hateful rivalries. It could be a bit of a culture shock to them or they could sneak up on everyone and take them by surprise. The choice is theirs.

Troy
Can they have another magical season? Best defense in the Sun Belt says they have a hell of a shot if they can move the ball.

Tulane
No offense to speak off, but a good enough defense and a weenie NCS so that it’s not impossible for them to get six wins.

UTEP
Last year will be tough to duplicate but they did land in the weak side of the conference so they could actually get enough wins to go into the championship game. If Mike Price has another good year, his blacklisting will be officially over and schools will run each other over to try to get him.

Vanderbilt
One of these days, Vanderbilt will make a bowl game. But most likely not this year. If I didn’t pick the number 40 and was more prejudicial they would be on the list down below.

Wake Forest
The pressure is on to get a winning season (see my last column), but they are so weak on the far sides of the ball, it’s difficult to see them do anything. They’re gonna have to straighten out some issues and get lucky in the final two minutes several times in order to have that ‘comeback’ season

Washington
Unless the Huskies go 3-0 against their NCS, a bowl game will be tough to garner. The focus here were will be on rebuilding i.e. estimating needs, and finally recruiting those needs.

Washington St.
It’s not impossible for the cougars. Their first five games are against Idaho, Nevada, Grambling, Oregon State, and Stanford. That could be 4-1 if they play their top game. Now just find two wins somewhere in the Pac-10 and you’re in!

29 Teams with dreams of being somewhat competitive!!!!
To be blunt about it, these are the teams that completely suck, and their best hopes are to not embarrass themselves and perhaps play spoiler to one or two conference rivals. As is every year, it is possible for one or two of these teams to get into a bowl game, especially those in the mid-majors, but it would take some considerable focus and a few lucky bounces.

Air Force
The Academy which once was the best Armed Forces team in the land and competed well with some of the best in college football is in a bit of a lag lately (pun!). Feel free to blame that on war or the rise of the rest of the MW or both. This year their goal is simply to get back the Commander in Chief’s trophy.

Arkansas St.
Are clearly in the bottom half of the Sun Belt, but a fourth or fifth place is a reasonable goal.

Army
They moved out of the CUSA because they wanted to make an easier schedule. They should have stayed, because the conference weakened anyway. Ha, suckers! (Is it incorrect to say anything negative about Army this year?)

Ball St.
Hard times have fallen on the once mighty Cardinals. Expect them to continue as they have lost track with the rest of the MAC.

Buffalo
They will continue to be one of the worst programs in college football and the poster child of why there are too many teams in 1-A. I went there, so I can say that.

Central Florida
Well, after 0-11, they can only improve and it’s more or less the same team so expect a few wins on the record for them.

Central Michigan
Their goal this year is to make a small step of improvement and finish no lower then fourth in MAC-West. But they could fall back into oblivion too.

Cincinnati
One of the largest graduation turnovers in college football, this team will be a far cry from the one that went 7-5 last year. They’ll be back though.

Duke
There is nothing I can say that changes the fact this is still one of the worst major conference teams and has been for the last ten years. The coach promises an all new playbook this year, but don’t expect much.

East Carolina
Welcome to your new team, Skip Holtz! Yup, it’s a mess.

Florida Atlantic
Only Nine starters return so don’t get confused about their late season run last year. Newbie 1-AA team is gonna be on the bottom of the barrel for awhile.

Florida-Intl.
Their three wins last year were against 1-AA teams. Now that they are in the Sun Belt, they could win less.

Idaho
Are about to be culture shocked at the WAC.

Indiana
Hoeppne’s first year here will just be about getting used to Big Ten play. If this team improves under him, it won’t happen for a few more years. Still the bottom feeder of the Big Ten. Though one or two upsets would be nice for Hoosier fans to help get some momentum going.

La-Lafayette
This team has made a little improvement each of the past three years, and it’s not impossible to envision them winning the Sun Belt with a 5-6 record.

La-Monroe
The team can score, no doubt about it. But, a little too much transition going on at the moment.

New Mexico St.
If Mumme can do anything with these guys, God bless him.

Ohio
One day, the traditional MAC schools decided to turn their teams into high octane offensive machines that breeds future NFL stars. Ohio must have missed that meeting.

Rice
The team imploded last year after Rice was looking like it was heading in the right direction. They also have a killer NCS. Five wins would be a hell of a season.

Rutgers
Poor Knights. They can never get the ball rolling can they? They probably won’t this year either. Unless they rack up six wins, the coach gets fired and this team will fall back into the abyss.

San Diego St.
Not much going on here outside a coach who is getting flack from the media. Program is ways away from getting back to where it once was.

San Jose St.
The school may be forced to go back to 1-AA if it can’t get their hardware together soon and create a fanbase.

SMU
This once competitive SWC program got really bad in the late 1980s and just keeps getting worse and worse and worse”¦

Stanford
Not getting 10th place and having four or five wins will be the main goal for new coach Harris. This year, not a lot to work with.

Temple
This is a bit of a transition year for the Owls as after being banished by the Big East, they are applying for the MAC which may not want a Philly team. Meanwhile, they still suck and have a tough schedule this year.

Tulsa
Absolutely no defense what to speak of. Fell off the wagon since 2003.

UNLV
New coach, Samford has all the support in the world from the school and the city. It still may not be enough though. Tough gig.

Utah St.
Are about to be culture shocked at the WAC.

Western Michigan
Of all those directional Michigan schools in the MAC, this is the most directionless. It hasn’t gone anywhere in ten years.

Sad note to end on but that’s it! Have fun!

Shoutouts are welcome at nyslayer@insidepulse.com

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!