Wednesday July 16th, 2008

With just over two months separating the end of the 2008 College World Series and the start of the 2008 college football season, college sports aren't out of the limelight for very long. With that in mind, we asked one of our experts to peer into his crystal ball during this down period and give us an idea of what might transpire in the upcoming season. Among the many things he predicts is a suprise entrant in the BCS national title game.

Check out our college basketball predictions as well.

1. I predict that trash bins at security checkpoints at Dolphin Stadium next January 8 will overflow with cheap plastic imitation cutlasses and faux prosthetic "hooks."

The profusion of buccaneer regalia will be the result of Texas Tech's stunning appearance in the BCS National Championship Game, to be played that night, in that venue. (In addition to his obsessions with Geronimo, rugby-union, chimpanzees, Daniel Boone and Donald Trump, Red Raiders head coach Mike Leach is also obsessed with pirates.)

2. I predict that title game will pit against each other a pair of guys who went clubbing together after the Heisman awards ceremony: Tech quarterback Graham Harrell (who threw for 5,705 yards and 48 touchdown passes in 2007) and James Laurinaitis, the Ohio State middle linebacker who spearheaded the nation's most dominant defense in '08.

3. I predict a phone call from an editor, because I really don't want to predict a Heisman winner.

4. I predict the Buckeyes will launch their run at a third-consecutive national-title game by taking down USC at the L.A. Coliseum on September 13 in what will be the lowest-scoring game of the season for both teams. Laurinaitis, fellow LB Marcus Freeman & Co. will stifle the Trojans' rushing attack, inviting first-year starter Mark Sanchez to beat them with the pass. He won't.

5. I predict Mike the Tiger will be listless and miserable in the 90-degree heat sure to accompany LSU's 4 p.m., August 30 kickoff against Appalachian State. I also predict App quarterback Armanti Edwards will outplay his Tiger counterpart, whether it's Jarrett Lee or ex-Harvard jayvee product Andrew Hatch. With the game moved from night time to mid-afternoon for TV purposes, LSU will lose some of its mojo, but not enough for App State to shock the world two years in a row.

6. I predict that, despite giving us our last two national champions, the SEC will be shut out of the title game due to its annual, in-conference fratricide. Aided by the absence of Gator-slaying Auburn on its schedule, Florida will get through October undefeated. But Urban Meyer will drop his second straight GFKATWLOCP (Game Formerly Known As the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party), as Georgia tailback Knowshon Moreno goes for 150-plus yards, despite being briefly separated from his helmet and senses in a SportsCenter-worthy collision with Major Wright.

7. I predict that Florida's crack sports info staff will compile a new statistic -- to be named "SYs" (as in SEE Ya!) or "PHMs" (as in, "Percy, Have Mercy!") to keep track of the number of defenders juked off their feet by Percy Harvin, who, I also predict, will suffer dehydration and require intravenous fluids after piling up 450 yards of total offense in the first half against The Citadel on November 22.

8. I predict that, after knocking off the Gators, Georgia will lose at Kentucky the following week. Game's got "let-down" written all over it.

9. I predict that Chase Daniel will carve up the Illini in their August 30 opener, a loss that won't look so bad as the season goes on, and the Tigers take up residence in the top three. Despite a dip in the ground game, Juice, Zook & Co. will win their next six, then head north to Madison, Wisc., for a game that will determine the runner-up in the Big 10.

10. I predict that Mizzou will be undefeated going into its October 18 game at Texas, a contest Daniel, (a former Lone Star State prep star at whom the Longhorns turned up their noses) has had circled on his calendar for four years. I also predict the Tigers will still be undefeated on October 19.

11. I predict that Nebraska's defense will be drastically improved -- to the point where it achieves actual mediocrity. (It cannot help but be dramatically better than last year's semi-permeable unit, which gave up, to various opponents, 49, 40, 41, 45, 36, 76, 31 and 65 points.)

12. I predict that Bo Pelini's honeymoon in Lincoln, and the good will generated by his savvy vow to revive the Big Red's once-potent walk-on program, will last for up to seven weeks, at which point the 'Huskers will have lost three straight, and be staring down the barrel of a second-straight losing season.

13. I predict, while on the subject of Nowhere-To-Go-But-Up programs, that after losing a pair of games to the service academies in '07, Notre Dame will cut that number in half in 2008. (It helps that the Irish play only Navy this year, having dropped Air Force from their schedule.)

14. I predict that a popular brain teaser in the Big 12, in coming weeks, will be: How many beers does it take to get a 6-foot-8, 350-pound lineman's blood-alcohol level to 0.15?

15. I predict that the third time will be the charm for Brutus Buckeye.

16. I predict that the coaches and players of the teams mentioned in these predictions will read them in the whimsical, droll spirited way in which they are intended, rather than bear a grudge, and take in vain the author's name, who was simply carrying out an assignment from an editor, for Crissakes.

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