In just three months and a day, college football teams will take to fields from coast to coast for the first full football Saturday of the 2011 season.
All of them will have high expectations. Everyone is a champion in September.
What better to do on a hot summer day that get out the old crystal ball and gaze at what might happen? My crystal ball works better at some times than others. No doubt, I’ll be reminded about its malfunctions, but here’s what I see:
LSU will put a quick end to Oregon’s national championship dreams.
Georgia will show Boise State that there is a big difference between the Southeastern Conference and the Mountain West Conference. It won’t even be a close game. We can only hope that will stop Bronco mania before it even gets started.
Ohio State will be slammed with serious NCAA sanctions and will not be eligible for postseason play.
After getting lots of preseason love, Mississippi State will prove to be, well, Mississippi State.
Georgia and Florida will reclaim their places as the dominant teams in the East Division, but the SEC champion will come from the West.
The champion in each division will have at least two losses, probably meaning that, for the first time since 2005, there won’t be an SEC team in the BCS Championship Game.
South Carolina will be the season’s biggest SEC disappointment.
Auburn will have its struggles but will be good enough to look anyone in the eye by season’s end.
Tennessee will take a hit from the NCAA, but it won’t be hard enough to cripple the program.
Southern Cal athletic director Pat Haden will have some decisions to make after his coach, Lane Kiffin, is hit with personal sanctions resulting from his time at Tennessee.
Auburn’s Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb will be the most productive 1-2 running back punch in the SEC.
Philip Lutzenkirchen will be the top tight end in the SEC, maybe in the country.
Auburn’s offense will average 30-plus points per game, regardless of who starts at quarterback, sparking another round of speculation about Gus Malzahn leaving to be someone’s head coach.
Auburn’s first 11 on defense will be plenty good by SEC standards, but developing crucial depth will be a season-long process.
Most of these predictions will be wrong.