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National Champs

Its time to start jumping around

22
July
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We still have about two weeks before college football players return to school for the fall semester, but that?s not going to stop us from predicting a national champion. Now in order to add credibility to my selection I decided to call on some help. My help is NCAA Football 11. I started a dynasty and then simmed to the end of the season, and the winner of national championship game was definitely a surprise. However, after looking deeper into the matter the outcome became extremely feasible. Before we talk about our winner, lets take a look at the national runner-up, the Boise State Broncos.

Despite Boise State having a combined record of 45-7 from ?02 to ?05, the Broncos didn?t get national love until the ?06 season when they had a magical 13-0 season that concluded with a memorable win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Since the 2007 Fiesta Bowl the Broncos have been looking for their program to take the next step, a chance to play for the national championship. Well the 2010 season might be their lucky year. The Broncos enter the season in the top five of several preseason polls, a detail that has hamstringed the school in the past. Let me explain, last season the Broncos were a preseason rank of 16, and although they had an undefeated record they were shut out of the national championship game, because they had to climb there way through the rankings. However, with such a high preseason ranking this year, conceivably all the Broncos have to do is run the table.

The Broncos toughest opponent will be their first. They open up on Sept. 6th against Virginia Tech (pre-season 5). Boise will be favored in every game they play this year, which is similar to most every year. However, one thing the Broncos have been able to avoid is the upset, and I don?t see this year being any different. They return junior quarterback Kellen Moore who is 26-1 as a starter, and threw an astonishing thirty-nine touchdown passes with only three interceptions. The defense isn?t too bad either, returning 4 out 5 starters from the secondary, and the defensive line has the capability to produce four ALL-WAC players. This could be the deepest team Boise State has ever had, and the timing is perfect for them to make their first national championship appearance.

However, despite the Broncos outstanding resume they will be defeated in the national championship game by no other then the Wisconsin Badgers. I know what your thinking, no way! Well let me tell you there is a way. The Badgers have a pre-season ranking of 9, which is close enough where they don?t have to worry about being shut-out. The Badgers have a very manageable schedule, which is why they might be able to navigate through the season untouched. Wisconsin?s first six games only feature two real opponents in Arizona State, and Michigan State, but those should not be a problem. The real test comes on October 16, when the Buckeyes come for a visit to Camp Randall. Well let me be the first to make this prediction, if Wisconsin enters the Ohio State game 6-0, the Buckeyes will walk out of there with a loss. There is just no way Wisconsin will lose in front of the Camp Randall faithful on national television. Wisconsin also has to go on the road to Iowa and Michigan, and neither one is ever easy. However, if they get past the biggest test in Ohio State, I don?t see any other opponent being able to stop them.

Wisconsin will be lead on the offensive side of the ball by the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, John Clay. Clay didn?t start five of Wisconsin?s first six games last season and he still managed to rush for 1,517 yards. The defense has some major holes on the line, as they only return one starter from the team that ranked fifth nationally against the rush. The Badgers return four linebackers, and their entire secondary from last season (with the exception of their strong safety).

The Badgers are by no means the most talented team in the country, but they have the chance to be the most opportunistic. A combination of a solid pre-season ranking, a manageable schedule, and a solid returning core makes Wisconsin a serious contender. This is the same team that man-handled Miami last year in the Champs Sports Bowl. Madison you might want to start jumping around a little early.


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