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October 1, 2010

Roundtable: Revisiting those preseason picks

At the College Football Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the college football coverage staff for their opinion about a topic in college football.

TODAY'S QUESTION: We're into October, which means conference play is about to get cranked up. Who are your updated projected winners in each league race?

Olin Buchanan's answer:
Preseason picks: ACC: Virginia Tech; Big East: Pittsburgh; Big Ten: Ohio State; Big 12: Nebraska; Conference USA: Houston; Mid-American: Northern Illinois; Mountain West: TCU; Pac-10: Oregon; SEC: Alabama; Sun Belt: Troy; Western Athletic: Boise State.
NOW: I'll go with Miami in the ACC, West Virginia in the Big East, Ohio State in the Big Ten, Nebraska in the Big 12, Houston in Conference USA, Temple in the MAC, TCU in the Mountain West, Stanford in the Pac-10, Alabama in the SEC, Troy in the Sun Belt and Boise in the WAC. Pitt's offensive problems and the injury to DE Greg Romeus made me rethink my Big East preseason pick. I had Oregon in the Pac-10 and the Ducks still may win it, but I've been more impressed with Stanford. I'll stick with Houston even though that's a long shot without star QB Case Keenum.

Tom Dienhart's answer:
Preseason picks: ACC: Virginia Tech; Big East: Connecticut; Big Ten: Ohio State; Big 12: Oklahoma; Conference USA: Houston; Mid-American: Temple; Mountain West: TCU; Pac-10: Oregon; SEC: Alabama; Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee; Western Athletic: Boise State.
NOW: I'll go with Miami in the ACC (beating N.C. State in the title game), West Virginia in the Big East, Ohio State in the Big Ten, Nebraska in the Big 12 (over Oklahoma in the championship game), East Carolina in C-USA (over SMU for the league crown), TCU in the Mountain West, Temple in the MAC (beating Central Michigan for the title), Stanford in the Pac-10, Alabama in the SEC (beating Florida in the championship game), Middle Tennessee in the Sun Belt and Boise State in the WAC.

David Fox's answer:
Preseason picks: ACC: Virginia Tech; Big East: Pittsburgh; Big Ten: Iowa; Big 12: Oklahoma; Conference USA: Houston; Mid-American: Northern Illinois; Mountain West: Utah; Pac-10: Oregon; SEC: Florida; Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee; Western Athletic: Boise.
NOW: The best conference race -- the Pac-10's -- really gets started this week, with Stanford-Oregon. I think the Ducks win Saturday and win the conference, but they won't get through unscathed. I'd take a Florida-Alabama rematch in the SEC championship game, but I've flip-flopped on my preseason pick of Florida to win the league; the Tide beat the Gators twice this season. In the Big Ten, Ohio State appears to be a step or two ahead of Iowa and Wisconsin. West Virginia is the clear favorite in the Big East and has a chance to win 10 games, given the state of the rest of the league. TCU needs to beat Utah in Salt Lake City to win the Mountain West, but the Horned Frogs should pull it off. Nebraska shouldn't lose a game in the Big 12 North, and may have a chance to go undefeated if Texas and Oklahoma (my pick to win the South and lose to Nebraska in the title game) don't get their acts together. Now that the ACC title game is in Charlotte, look for a Miami-Florida State title game, with the Hurricanes winning. As for the rest of the conferences, East Carolina over SMU in Conference USA, Temple over Toledo in the MAC, Boise State in the WAC (but Nevada will make the Broncos sweat) and Troy in the Sun Belt.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
Preseason picks: ACC: Virginia Tech; Big East: Pitt; Big Ten: Ohio State; Big 12: Texas; Conference USA: Houston; Mid-American: Temple; Mountain West: TCU; Pac-10: Oregon; SEC: Alabama; Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee; Western Athletic: Boise State.
NOW: I'll stick with my preseason picks in the ACC, Big Ten, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-10, SEC, Sun Belt and WAC. The Big East is a big mess; I really don't think anyone in the league is that good. But because someone has to win it, I'll go with West Virginia. In the Big 12, here's a lukewarm endorsement of Nebraska; the Huskers should cruise through the North, and the teams in the South seem too inconsistent or too lacking on defense. Finally, in Conference USA, QB Case Keenum's injury dooms Houston, so I'll go with SMU.

Steve Megargee's answer:
Preseason picks: ACC: Virginia Tech; Big East: Pitt; Big Ten: Ohio State; Big 12: Oklahoma; Conference USA: Houston; Mid-American: Temple; Mountain West: TCU; Pac-10: Oregon; SEC: Alabama; Sun Belt: Troy; Western Athletic: Boise State.
NOW: Let's start with the six major conferences. I'll go with Miami to defeat Florida State in the ACC championship game, though it wouldn't surprise me if Virginia Tech wins its third title in four years. I like Ohio State in the Big Ten, Oregon in the Pac-10 and West Virginia as the best of a bad lot in the Big East. I'll pick Alabama to win a rematch with Florida in the SEC championship game and for Nebraska to knock off Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game. Boise State's still the clear favorite in the WAC, though that Nov. 26 showdown at Nevada looks more interesting with each passing week. I think TCU will survive a scare at Utah on Nov. 6 to win the Mountain West. Now that Houston has lost Case Keenum for the season, I'll pick East Carolina to beat SMU for its third consecutive Conference USA title. I like Temple to beat Northern Illinois for the MAC title, assuming RB Bernard Pierce can stay healthy. And I'll go with Troy to win the Sun Belt.



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