2001 Conference Champs

Hey, you don't have to tell me that May college football predictions are imprecise and are basically a desperate attempt to speed up the upcoming season. But they sure are fun. So here goes one man's totally premature and insignificant prognostication of the 2001 college football major-conference champs.

SEC - Florida The Gators may not make it to the SEC championship game unblemished but they will again take the crown. The Vols will be looking for revenge (yet again) after last year's controversial Gator win in Knoxville, but will fall short in the Swamp. The Ragin' Cajuns from Louisiana should also give the Gators all they can handle on Oct 6th in the bayou. If Spurrier can avoid a potential late-season toe-stub at the hands of Lou Holtz's Gamecocks in Columbia, wrapping up the regular season with a win at home against the mighty Noles could put Florida in the BCS title game.

Big 12 - Texas Mack Brown's relentless stockpiling of blue-chip talent will finally start to pay off for the Horns. Only two potential speed bumps exist in next year's regular season schedule, the battle at home against the defending champ Sooners and the finale/war in College Station. The clash against the Aggies will likely have big-time BCS implications. Nebraska and Kansas State both have tougher schedules, but you can never count the Huskers out.

Big 10 - Northwestern A very favorable schedule puts the Wildcats in the driver's seat for the Big 10 title. Why does that sound funny. Michigan could challenge, but the loss of Drew Henson to MLB (Moneygrubbers Love Baseball) may be too much to overcome for the Wolverines. Northwestern's offense was prolific last season, scoring 50+ in three different games, but the defense was suspect at best. If Randy Walker's team can show some steady improvement, especially on the defensive side, they will be looking at a BCS run.

Pac 10 - Oregon State News flash! Dennis Erickson is a great coach! He has successfully transformed the Beavers into contenders. Who'd've ever thunk it. This team will face a very tough schedule in 2001. After an early season road test at UCLA, Erickson's wrecking crew will close out the year with a bang with consecutive-week battles at USC, at home against Washington, and at Oregon. If the Beavers emerge from this nightmare schedule with one loss they could play for the title.

Big East - Miami Butch Davis has gone on to greener pastures. But the Canes are still mighty, especially when the only significant competition, Virginia Vick... I mean Tech... has lost their franchise player, Michael Tech... I mean Vick... to the NFL (Nefarious Felons League). Make no mistake, Miami has all the tools and if they can beat the rival Noles in the Doak while skating through the conference they should be playing for all the marbles.

ACC - FSU Until somebody knocks them off, the Tribe will be the favorite every year. Be aware though, that there will be a much smaller gap between the Noles and the other legit ACC teams (of which there are not many) next season. Georgia Tech returns a very experienced squad that overachieved last season while the Noles have lost a ton. But the old phrase still applies... something about Seminoles and reloading? Clemson and NCState will also put up a struggle, and the Noles have a history of too-close-for comfort victories in Death Valley, SC, so anything could happen. The coaching turnover in the conference this year is staggering. Four teams have new head coaches and the only school with an incumbent at offensive coordinator is Duke.

There now, was that so terrible? Admit it... you kinda liked it.


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