Going out on a limb with predictions for the 2010 season
Enough with the two-a-days, coach-speak, NCAA committee of distractions, poll posturing and depth charts — it’s time for Hawaii and USC to strike up the sand.
With the season opening Thursday, we offer a kitchen-sink slew of phony-baloney predictions you can take straight to the Bailey Savings & Loan.
—Expect upsets over Labor Day weekend. The numerically challenged Big Ten (Minnesota) will steal an early game from the Sun Belt (Middle Tennessee) now that Blue Raiders quarterback Dwight Dasher has been suspended for accepting a $1,500 loan in violation of NCAA rules.
Middle Tennessee had been favored.
—Kansas State will pull off a mild home upset over UCLA. The Bruins can’t get through a walk-through without someone ending up in surgery. Quarterback Kevin Prince’s back muscle injury will be lingering and threaten to turn the “pistol” offense into the pop gun.
—UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers will make first-team All-America.
—A janitor sweeping Pauley Pavilion will be determined to have eligibility left and end up starting at left guard.
—UCLA will finish closer to 4-8 than 8-4.
—Contrary to reports, USC will end its season with a bowl game (Dec. 4, vs. UCLA at the Rose Bowl).
—A school will find its starting kicker after holding a contest among the student body.
Five schools that, if not careful, could lose their home openers next weekend:
—Michigan . . . to Connecticut.
— Brigham Young . . . to Washington.
—Iowa . . . to Eastern Illinois.
—California . . . to UC Davis.
—Virginia . . . to Richmond.
—Former USC quarterback Aaron Corp will lead Richmond to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title and Pete Carroll will tweet “I’m pumped for Aaron!”
—Someone will try to argue a September game, Clemson vs. Presbyterian, before the Supreme Court.
—Alabama will blast San Jose State in its home opener, 73-6 (or something like that).
—Wisconsin will blast San Jose State the next week in Wisconsin, 56-13 (or something like that).
—Utah will blast San Jose State on Sept. 25 in Salt Lake City, 46-12 (or something like that).
—San Jose State’s first-year Coach Mike MacIntyre will say these kind of games build character (or something like that).
—USC will receive another visit from the NCAA., but this time it will be the University of South Carolina.
—North Carolina’s once-promising season will unravel under the weight of an academic scandal.
—The BCS will join the Football Writers Assn. of America and strip USC of its 2004 national title. Trojans Athletic Director Pat Haden will return the trophy and call a news conference to announce he’s out of bubble wrap.
— Reggie Bush will be forced to return his 2005 Heisman Trophy.
—Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez will keep his job if he goes 7-5 but lose it if he goes 6-6.
—This season will define Notre Dame’s future. If Brian Kelly is as good as people think, and he restores greatness to a program that hasn’t won a national title since 1988, Notre Dame can survive as an independent. If Kelly fails, the Fighting Irish will have to strongly consider joining the Big Ten.
—Boise State or Texas Christian will play in the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl.
—A team will lose a game because of a player’s taunting his opponent on his way for a touchdown. Rule change this year: Instead of the penalty’s being assessed on the extra point or kickoff, taunting is now a spot foul, meaning the points come off the board and the penalty is marked off from where the taunting occurred.
—A San Jose State player, during the Alabama game, will be penalized for wearing an eye-black message that reads “Call 911.” Eye-black messages have been banned this season.
—Some national columnists willing to sell out college football’s regular season for a 16-team playoff will go ballistic if the Big Ten dares to compromise the integrity of the regular season by moving the Ohio State-Michigan game to October.
—The Pacific 10 will retain the firm of Richter and Associates to help divide the future 12-team league into divisions on either side of a major fault line: San Andreas “East” and San Andreas “West.”
And it will all, ultimately, be Texas’ fault.
—Mike Riley of Oregon State will lose tough games to Texas Christian and Boise State in September but have his team in contention for the Pac-10 title at the end.
—No more naked Oregon State players will be arrested until after signing day next February.
—Alabama won’t repeat as national champion, and the reason is: It’s hard. No school in the BCS era has won consecutive BCS titles. The last school to do it was Nebraska in the mid-1990s.
—The Southeastern Conference will not win a fifth straight national title.
—Oregon will win the Pac-10 no matter who starts at quarterback. The Ducks named Darron Thomas over Nate Costa for the New Mexico opener, but the important name here is Coach Chip Kelly, who has made better every quarterback he has coached.
—Former Ducks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli will have minimal impact at Mississippi. SEC linebackers will have maximum impact on Masoli.
—The Big East will be better than expected. The conference had no teams ranked in the preseason top 25 last year but ended up with three, including a Cincinnati squad that nearly made it to the BCS title game.
—Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, six victories shy of 400, will reach the milestone on Nov. 6 at home against Northwestern.
—Dennis Erickson will not allow Arizona State to finish ninth in the Pac-10, as was predicated in the preseason media poll.
—Two years after going 0-12, Washington will go to a bowl game.
— Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will be named Pac-10 offensive player of the year, after which he and Coach Jim Harbaugh will declare for the NFL.
—Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year, will complete an amazing comeback from cancer.
—Kansas quarterback Kale Pick’s first pass of the season will be intercepted.
—Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor will win the Heisman Trophy, but Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers will have deserved it.