Archive for July, 2010

2010 College Football Betting: SEC Odds & Predictions

July 29th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on 2010 College Football Betting: SEC Odds & Predictions
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Complete List of Odds To Win the SEC Conference Can Be Found Below

It’s almost time for College Football wagering season! To get you ready, we will break down the odds to win the ultra-competitive SEC at Bankroll Sports, brought to you by

The Alabama Crimson Tide (Odds to Win the SEC: 1 to 1 @ Sportsbook) are locked, loaded and ready to repeat as conference and BCS champions. Last year’s 12th ranked rushing offense is going to improve with the return of Heisman Trophy winning RB Mark Ingram, along with backup sophomore Trent Richardson. QB Greg McElroy is returning for his final season, looking to avoid his first college loss. He will retain his top two receivers in Julio Jones and Marquis Maze. An explosive offense may need to do some early lifting for a defense that returns just two starters. In the secondary, the Tide can build around junior DB Mark Barron. At linebacker, the team returns Dont’a Hightower, while DE Marcell Dareus would anchor the line, pending his NCAA investigation. The schedule isn’t bad, with the four conference road games well spread out. A home date with Florida should be a preview of the SEC Championship game.

The Florida Gators (Odds to Win the SEC: 2.5 to 1 @ have plenty of talent to return to the SEC Championship game. Believe it or not, there is life after Tim Tebow on offense. Junior John Brantley will take the starting job, having thrown for seven scores and no picks in mop-up time for Tebow last year. The issue on offense is actually the wide receiver spot, with just junior Deonte Thompson returning out of last season’s best five. Formerly a running back, Chris Rainey has converted to receiver to help alleviate this issue. Jeffrey Demps will lead a solid rushing attack, backed up by Emmanuel Moody. The defense has some work to do up front. The line will be led in pass rushing by DEs Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens, replacing Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham. At linebacker, the Gators feature seniors A.J. Jones and Brandon Hicks. The secondary will be led by two gifted safeties in junior Will Hill and senior Ahmad Black. On the schedule looms that October showdown at Alabama, along with a game at Georgia.

Playing the role of SEC dark horse are the South Carolina Gamecocks (+2000 at BetUS). Nine starters return to the offense, including quarterback Stephen Garcia, who was impressive despite being sacked 33 times last year. This year’s offensive line will be led by senior tackle Jarriel King. At wide receiver, Garcia gets his top option back in Alshon Jeffrey. Sophomore Tori Gurley will have to step up to become the second target. The success of the offense hinges on developing a running game. Sophomore RB Kenny Miles led last year’s unit in yardage, but only scored once. This problem was due in part to the struggling line. The Gamecocks will be strong on defense. Sack leader and all-conference selection Cliff Matthews returns at defensive end, while Shaq Wilson will lead an experienced and deep group of linebackers. The secondary will be anchored by senior safety Chris Culliver, ensuring that South Carolina will again be among the best SEC defenses. The schedule is downright brutal, with Georgia and Alabama coming to Columbia early in the season. The Gamecocks will face Florida on the road.

The Kentucky Wildcats (Odds to Win the SEC: 66 to 1 @ went bowling last season, but won’t be an SEC factor this year. The offense returns its two star dual threats in Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb, but four starting linemen are gone and who will be the starting quarterback is anything but decided. Senior Mike Hartline and sophomore Morgan Newton are competing for the job, but neither was impressive last year. The defense is also full of question marks, if not holes. A pass rush that accounted for just 15 sacks last year sees Jeremy Jarmon return at one of the end positions. The linebacking unit will have to improve. All-conference selection Micah Johnson will again start in the middle, but the two outside positions will see inexperience, with no clear-cut talented starters. The secondary will be led by senior safety Ashton Cobb. Kentucky opens conference play with consecutive road games at Florida and Mississippi, which will set the tone for a rough year.

Odds To Win The SEC Conference @ BetUS Sportsbook(as of 7/29/10):
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Alabama +100
Florida +250
Arkansas +800
Auburn +800
Georgia +800
LSU +1000
South Carolina +2000
Tennessee +2500
Mississippi +3500
Kentucky +6600
Mississippi State +6600
Vanderbilt +12500

2010 College Football Betting: Pac-10 Odds & Predictions

July 29th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on 2010 College Football Betting: Pac-10 Odds & Predictions
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With College Football betting season just around the corner, we want to get you prepared by looking at the odds to win the Pac 10 at Bankroll Sports, sponsored by BetUS Sportsbook .

With USC ineligible for a title, the road is paved for the Oregon Ducks (+250 at to repeat as champions. The biggest problem standing in their way is replacing QB Jeremiah Masoli. Senior Nathan Costa is expected to lead the unit and will be aided by the return of the entire starting line. Jeffrey Maehl will be a solid playmaker at wide receiver, while D.J. Davis looks to become the second target. All-conference tailback LaMichael James is also expected to again spearhead a top ten ranked rushing offense, though he has been suspended for the first game of the season for off-the-field issues. The defense returns several key players, starting with last year’s sack leader in linebacker Kenny Rowe. At cornerback, the Ducks return their interceptions leader in CB Talmadge Jackson. Safety John Boyett will be a mainstay in the secondary. The Ducks’ conference schedule has two challenging road games at USC and Oregon State, but the rest of the way should be smooth sailing back to the Rose Bowl.

Keep an eye on the Arizona Wildcats (+500 at The offense returns starting QB Nick Foles behind a line that features two All-Conference award winners in center Colin Baxter and tackle Adam Grant. The wide receivers run deep, with Juron Criner and David Roberts looking to become the top two options. The ground game will be led by two strong backs in Keola Antolin and Nicholas Grigsby. The defense only returns four starters from last year, but has talent to build on. The worst problem will be at linebacker, where JUCO transfer Derek Earls will be among the new starters. On the bright side, the line retains sack leader DE Ricky Elmore and another powerful end in Brooks Reed. The secondary contains junior CB Trevin Wade, who was last year’s interceptions leader. The schedule isn’t the worst, with USC and Oregon State coming to the Wildcats. The big road tests will be at Oregon and Stanford. The defense will be the make or break factor for the Wildcats’ season.

Continuing their run as one of the worst FBS programs in the nation are the Washington State Huskies (+2500 at The offense will again be led by sophomore Jeff Tuel. He will need to improve on last year’s 6 touchdowns and five picks. His primary target will be junior WR Jared Karstetter. He is the only returning receiver who caught more than one touchdown pass last season. At running back, the Huskies feature senior James Montgomery, who is relatively inexperienced. The talent pool is more like a puddle on defense, as well. A success would be giving up less than 500 yards per game. The pass rush will be led by DEs Travis Long and Kevin Kaoyman, who returns from a knee injury. The schedule does the Huskies no favors, with road games at Stanford and Oregon State. Winning a conference game would be a huge step for Wazzu, but a lack of playmakers on both sides means a winless year is more likely.

Pac 10 Odds @ BetUS Sportsbook(as of 7/29/10):
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Oregon +250
Oregon State +250
UCLA +350
Arizona +500
Washington +500
California +800
Stanford +800
Arizona State +1200
Washington State +2500
USC – Not Eligible

2010 College Football Betting: Big 10 Odds & Predictions

July 29th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on 2010 College Football Betting: Big 10 Odds & Predictions

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The 2010 college football betting season is fast approaching and to prepare you, we will look at the odds to win the Big Ten at Bankroll Sports, provided by BetUS Sportsbook .

It’s no secret that the clear-cut favorites are the Ohio State Buckeyes (-250 at BetUS). The offense is led by Heisman hopeful quarterback Terrelle Pryor. As we know, he is a powerful passer, but would have no trouble leading his unit’s ground game for a second consecutive year. However, that might not happen with several strong running backs, including senior Brandon Saine and junior Daniel Herron. Junior DeVier Posey and senior Dan Sanzenbacher will again be effective at wide receiver. The offensive line is full of experience and depth, but struggled at times last year. The defense returns seven starters, including its sack leader Cameron Heyward and two outstanding starting LBs in Brian Rolle and Ross Homan. The Buckeyes benefit greatly from a schedule that contains eight home games. Road contests at Wisconsin and Iowa will ultimately decide if OSU runs the table, but the Buckeyes should have no problem topping the Big Ten.

The Penn State Nittany Lions (+650 at are an unknown this year, with the potential to surprise the major powers. Obviously, the quarterback situation is the top issue. Kevin Newsome appears to have won the job, having thrown just eleven passes in his young career. At running back, the Nittany Lions feature Evan Royster, who could break school rushing records. WRs Derek Moye and Graham Zug return after being the top two targets last season. The offensive line also returns three starters. On defense, Penn State needs to replace some major talent, including conference Defensive Player of the Year DT Jared Odrick. At linebacker, the Lions will need big playmakers to replace three NFL picks. Look for DE Jack Crawford to make an impact in the pass rush. The unit is strongest in the secondary, with returning junior safeties Nick Sukay and Drew Astorino. On the schedule, Penn State will face Iowa and Ohio State on the road, but avoid Wisconsin. If the offense can click, the Nittany Lions could shock the conference.

Looking up at the contenders will be the Minnesota Golden Gophers (+3000 at, who will drop like flies after last year’s Insight Bowl appearance. On offense, starting quarterback Andrew Weber returns, having thrown more picks than touchdowns last season, however. Juniors Da’Jon McKnight and Troy Stoudermire will be counted on to become the top two wide receivers. Stoudermire has also shown himself to be an effective kick returner. The running back situation should be solid with juniors Duane Bennett and DeLeon Eskridge. It all sounds good so far, but the monumental problem for Minnesota is the defense. The unit returns just two starters, the fewest among FBS teams. Some positions will also be filled with inexperience, with freshman Ra’Shede Hageman expected to play defensive end. All the pressure will be on the offense to dominate time of possession, at least until the defense can find itself. A brutal non-conference schedule with games against USC and Northern Illinois could have the Gophers beat up just in time for the conference home opener against Northwestern.

Big Ten Odds @ BetUS Sportsbook(as of 7/29/10):
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Ohio State -250
Iowa +350
Wisconsin +350
Penn State +650
Michigan +1200
Michigan State +1200
Illinois +2000
Northwestern +2000
Purdue +2000
Indiana +3000
Minnesota +3000

2010 College Football Betting: Big East Odds & Predictions

July 29th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on 2010 College Football Betting: Big East Odds & Predictions

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College Football betting season will be here in just over a month! To get you ready, let’s take a look at the odds to win the very contentious Big East conference at Bankroll Sports, sponsored by

Among the solid contenders for this year’s title are the Pittsburgh Panthers (+250 at BetUS). The offense has a new starting quarterback in sophomore Tino Sunseri, but new QBs are not uncommon this year in the conference. Plenty of talent surrounds him, starting with RB Dion Lewis, last season’s National Freshman of the Year. Sunseri will also have two talented throwing options in junior Jonathan Baldwin and sophomore Mike Shanahan. The defense will remain difficult to beat, with an excellent pair of pass rushing senior DEs in Jaball Sheard and Greg Romeus. Senior safety Dom DeCicco will anchor the secondary. The Panthers have a difficult schedule; they will face Connecticut and Cincinnati on the road, while hosting West Virginia. However, non-conference games against Utah and Miami(FL) will prepare this unit for Big East glory.

The Connecticut Huskies (+250 at lost several close games last season, but return plenty of stars to take another crack at the title. It starts with senior QB Zach Frazer, who didn’t end up with impressive numbers last season, but had a strong finish. He is accompanied by junior running back Jordan Todman, a rising star in the Big East. The wide receiving corps is now lacking a big playmaker, but juniors Kashif and Isiah Moore at least have some experience. On defense, there is little concern. Eight starters return, including first-team all conference linebacker Lawrence Wilson. Three of the front four are also back. The Huskies kickoff conference play at Rutgers, but things are made slightly easier because Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Cincinnati all travel to East Hartford.

Looking to sneak into contention are the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+500 at BetUS). Their offense features the return of QB Tom Savage, who showed great talent last season as a freshman. With him will be a versatile weapon in sophomore WR Mohammed Sanu. Senior RB Joe Martinek will again lead the rushing attack, while freshman Casey Turner will provide a second option. The Knights’ defense could again be one of the best in the nation, let alone the conference. All-American DT Scott Vallone leads a large line upfront. Two senior starting linebackers return, and safety Joe Lefegad will lead the secondary. Rutgers opens conference play at home against Connecticut, with spread out road tests at Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and West Virginia.

The Big East is loaded with talent, but somebody has to lose. In the cellar, you will find the Louisville Cardinals (+800 at BetUS). First year head coach Charlie Strong is implementing a new spread offense for senior quarterback Adam Froman, who took a beating on the field and on the stat sheet last year. A razor thin wide receiving unit will be led by junior Doug Beaumont, who didn’t catch a touchdown pass last year, and sophomore Josh Chichester. The rushing attack will be led by three backs: Victor Anderson, Darius Ashley, and Bilal Powell. A defense that has just four starters returning will see plenty of new faces. Short of two senior linebackers coming back, several starters remain unnamed. The team is expecting big things from freshman DT De’Antre Rhodes. It will take awhile for this unit to gel, and the pressure will be on as the offense learns its new system.

Big East Odds @ BetUS Sportsbook (as of 7/27/10):
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Connecticut +250
Pittsburgh +250
West Virginia +250
Cincinnati +500
Rutgers +500
South Florida +500
Louisville +800
Syracuse +1500

2010 College Football Betting: Big 12 Odds and Predictions

July 24th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on 2010 College Football Betting: Big 12 Odds and Predictions
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Complete List of Odds To Win the Big 12 Conference Can Be Found Below

In just a few weeks, the College Football betting season will commence! To whet your appetite and get you informed, we are going to sort out the odds to win the Big XII conference at Bankroll Sports, brought to you by BetUS Sportsbook.

The Oklahoma Sooners (+125 at are ready to retake their place atop the Big XII. Sophomore quarterback Landry Jones proved to be an effective backup to Sam Bradford and this year, the team is his alone. At wide receiver, juniors Ryan Broyles and Dejuan Miller will post huge numbers, while senior RB DeMarco Murray will again provide a dual threat option. The defense should concern you slightly, only returning four starters, but there is more than enough talent to build around. The unit returns its leaders in sacks (senior DE Jeremy Beal), interceptions (senior safety Quinton Carter), and tackles (junior LB Travis Lewis). The conference schedule has the Sooners taking on Texas and traveling to Oklahoma State in their most challenging games before the conference championship game.

Likely appearing in the Big XII title game against the Sooners will be the Nebraska Cornhuskers (+200 at BetUS). Nebraska’s offensive strength will be their ground game, led by senior running back Roy Helu. The offensive line remains the same this year, minus the center position, which will provide Helu and senior quarterback Zac Lee the push and pocket they need to succeed. Lee has yet to show a strong game, but WR Niles Paul will be a solid target when needed. Defensively, the Cornhuskers feature strong cornerbacks, including All-Big XII selection Prince Amukamara. The secondary will be the weak point with the departure of safeties Matt O’Hanlon and Larry Asante. Nebraska will get Texas and Missouri in Lincoln, with a trip to Oklahoma State being the toughest road test.

If you’re looking for a bit of an underdog contender, look no further than the Missouri Tigers (+1200 at The Tigers feature a strong junior quarterback in Blaine Gabbert and a powerful ground attack led by senior Derrick Washington. The wide receiving corps is a slight question mark, with last year’s third and fourth wide receivers, Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kamp, becoming the expected playmakers. Nine defensive starters return, including sophomore DE Aldon Smith, an All-Conference selection in 2009. However, the secondary will again be a concern, but if senior safeties Jarrell Harrison and Jasper Simmons can be impact players, the Tiger defense will be difficult to pick apart. Missouri’s conference title run will be made or broken in October, with three consecutive games against Oklahoma, at Nebraska, and at Texas Tech.

A team to be avoided is the Oklahoma State Cowboys (+4000 at This squad has few returning starters to build around on either side of the ball. Offensively, the team is left with last season’s leading wide receiver, Hubert Anyiam. Senior Justin Blackmon will likely become the second option for unproven junior quarterback Brandon Weeden. The unit’s running game also takes a hit, with inexperienced, but talented senior RB Kendall Hunter now taking the bulk of the carries. The defense suffers from similar problems, but has some experienced replacements. Most notably, no starters are returning at linebacker, leaving the starting jobs to seniors Tolu Moala, Orie Lemon, and junior James Thomas. DE Ugo Chinasa will again be a mainstay, but the defense will face great pressure with the question marks on offense. In an ultra-competitive conference, the Cowboys won’t be able to keep up this season.

Big XII Odds @ BetUS Sportsbook(as of 7/21/10):
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Oklahoma +125
Nebraska +200
Texas +200
Missouri +1200
Texas Tech +1500
Texas A&M +1800
Kansas State +2000
Kansas +4000
Oklahoma State +4000
Colorado +5000
Baylor +6000
Iowa State +8000

2010 College Football Betting: ACC Odds & Predictions

July 23rd, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on 2010 College Football Betting: ACC Odds & Predictions
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The 2010 college football betting season is almost here! In order to prepare you for the start of the season, we are analyzing the college football odds to win the ACC at Bankroll Sports, courtesy of BetUS Sportsbook.

There are several teams in this conference capable of taking home a championship, but Florida State Seminoles (+300 at BetUS) is the best choice. The offense returns ten starters, including junior quarterback Christian Ponder. He will have plenty of talented options to throw to, as three top junior receivers in Bert Reed, Jamar Fortson, and Taiwan Easterling will take the field. The Seminoles also have plenty of playmakers at tailback, with Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones being the primary workhorses. New defensive coordinator Mark Stoops will provide a spark for a unit in need. Expect a big showing from cornerback Ochuko Jenije and a much improved run defense, with three returning linemen and two returning linebackers. The conference schedule shapes up nicely, with Boston College and Clemson coming to Tallahassee. The only road challenge will be in Miami.

Also strong contenders for the ACC crown are the Virginia Tech Hokies (+300 at The offense features eight returning starters, including 2009 ACC Rookie of the Year Award winning RB Ryan Williams. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor will have a core of three junior WRs at his disposal, with Jerrett Boykin, Danny Coale, and Dyrell Roberts. On defense, the team only has five returning starters, but has plenty of talent to build around. The team returns its starting linebackers and senior cornerback Rashad Carmichael will again provide a big impact in the interceptions department. Of course, no analysis of Virginia Tech is complete without mentioning Beamer Ball. Expect plenty of blocked kicks, while Dyrell Roberts will provide numerous yards on kick returns. The Hokies open their season against Boise State and have a history of losing their first game of the season. However, after that, they have an easy run until November when they face Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Miami.

Not far behind these two giants are the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+1000 at BetUS). Of the seven returning starters on offense, the most important is quarterback Josh Nesbitt. He was one of the team’s two 1,000 yard rushers from a year ago. The defense may be a slight problem, with limited depth on the line. However, a deep core of linebackers and a switch to the 3-4 system greatly helps the situation. The schedule is not going to be easy, with road games at Clemson and Virginia Tech, followed by Miami coming to town. However, if Nesbitt can keep up his dual threat capability and the defense can gel in its new scheme, Georgia Tech could surprise.

As always, there are those conference teams who won’t be so lucky. For the ACC, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+3000 at BetUS Sportsbook) fit the bill. The Demon Deacons need to find a new quarterback and have implemented a new, option-based offensive system. The line is inexperienced at best. If the team has to rely on the ground game, the damage could get worse, as neither of last year’s top running backs in Josh Adams and Brandon Pendergrass averaged more than 4.8 yards per carry. The defense has a few strengths, but is not deep. Two starting linebackers in Hunter Haynes and Matt Woodlief will be relied on heavily with the loss of tackles Boo Robinson and John Russell up front. The strong secondary will be offset by a weaker run defense, along with the added pressure that comes with a new offense trying to gel. All this plus a tough schedule with road games at Virginia Tech and Florida State makes for a two win ACC campaign at best.

ACC Odds @ BetUS Sportsbook(as of 7/20/10):
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Miami +250
Florida State +300
Virginia Tech +300
North Carolina +500
Boston College +800
Georgia Tech +1000
Clemson +1200
North Carolina State +2500
Wake Forest +3000
Virginia +5000
Maryland +6000
Duke +7500

2010 College Football Preview: Top Ten Mid-Major Schools

July 21st, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   1 Comment »
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They are the teams who upset your favorites. They are the underdogs you root for or hate every year. They can win you big money, or they can bust you out with their upset victories. Their dream? Making a BCS bowl game. These are the top ten non-BCS schools, or mid-majors, if you prefer.

#1 Boise State Broncos: We all know the Broncos. Since 2006, the blue turf bandits have made off with victories over Oregon State, Oregon, Utah, and TCU. Let’s not forget the Statue of Liberty play to defeat Oklahoma in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. Since that undefeated year, the Broncos have four total losses. Last year’s team saw QB Kellen Moore throw for 39 touchdowns to just three picks. Wide receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis combined to catch 142 balls for 1,896 yards and 24 touchdowns, while running backs Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin averaged 5.5 yards and 6.0 yards per carry, respectively. The two combined for 21 scores. Last season’s top-ranked scoring offense retains all of these leaders, so matching last year’s 450.8 yards and 42.2 points per game is doable. The defense retains star cornerback Brandyn Thompson, who intercepted five balls in 2009. Most of the defense from last year was made up of freshmen and sophomores, so this unit is only going to improve. This season, the Broncos open with Virginia Tech, a school that has struggled in early-season games as of late. With a win, the Broncos would be set to not just make a BCS bowl, but be the first non-BCS school to reach the National Championship game.

Key non-conference games: Virginia Tech (N), Oregon State
Key conference games: @ Nevada, @ Idaho

#2 TCU Horned Frogs: Since 2005, the Horned Frogs have taken out Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Stanford, Utah, BYU, Boise State, Virginia, and Clemson. Last year’s impressive squad, led by quarterback Andy Dalton, averaged 456.7 yards and 38.3 points per game. Dalton threw for 2,756 yards, 23 scores, and eight interceptions. This year, he will be throwing to a trio of seniors in Jeremy Kerley, Jimmy Young, and Bart Johnson, who combined for 110 receptions and seven scores in 2009. Running back Matthew Tucker averaged 6.4 yards per carry last year, scoring eight times. He will be the primary running back with the loss of Joseph Turner. A defense that gave up just 239.7 yards and 12.8 points per game retains the majority of its starters, though both Jerry Hughes and Darryl Washington are now in the NFL. Like Boise State, the Frogs have several freshmen and sophomores returning with great experience. They will have their chance to make another statement with a week one game against Oregon State.

Key non-conference game: Oregon State (N)
Key conference games: BYU, @ Utah

#3 Navy Midshipmen: Navy sails into 2010 coming off a ten win season, including victories over both of the other service academies. The Middies lost three games by seven points or less. With the return of quarterback Ricky Dobbs and another year of the famed spread-option offense, Navy is looking for another great season. Dobbs threw just 105 passes in 2009, completing 56 of them for 1,031 yards, six touchdowns and three picks. Of course, on the ground, he ran 315 times for 1,203 yards and a whopping 27 tuddies. Joining him in the unique offensive attack are fullback Vince Murray and a host of young, but talented slot-backs ready to replace Marcus Curry. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry on 182 touches, scoring six times. However, Curry was dismissed from the team in May after violating team rules and failing a drug test in January. Eager to step up are backs Gee Gee Greene, Alex Teich, and Aaron Santiago. Greene averaged 6.2 yards per rush last year, while returning 33 kickoffs for 607 yards. Teich contributed 376 yards on 70 carries. On defense, Navy will be led once again by DE Jabaree Tuani and safety Wyatt Middleton. They will have to re-tool at linebacker however, as the three starters are gone. Tyler Simmons will be heavily relied upon to lead the new group. Navy has a favorable schedule, so another ten win season is looking likely.

Key games: @ Air Force, Notre Dame(N), @ East Carolina

#4 Houston Cougars: There is a significant drop-off after Boise State and TCU, but Houston took out Texas Tech, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State last season. The Cougars feature a high-powered offense and the nation’s statistically leading quarterback in Case Keenum. Keenum completed 492 of 700 balls last year for 5,671 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 15 picks. The team returns three 1,000 yard receivers in James Cleveland, Tyron Carrier, and Patrick Edwards. The three combined for 27 touchdowns, all averaging at least 11.3 yards per catch. Clearly, there is not much use of the running game, but if needed, the Cougars have two running backs in Charles Sims and Bryce Beall, who are capable. Sims averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored nine times, while Beall gained 670 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Don’t look for the 108th ranked defense to improve much, however. Last year’s unit gave up 451.3 yards and 30.1 points per game. Senior cornerback Jamal Robinson intercepted five balls a year ago and will lead a defense that is extremely young. Houston will be in the spotlight in its final game of the year at Texas Tech.

Key non-conference games: @ UCLA, Mississippi State, @ Texas Tech
Key conference games: @ SMU, UCF, Tulsa

#5 Temple Owls: You’re asking yourself: “How did Temple get on any top ten lists, other than maybe the worst schools ever?” Well, my friend, Temple has turned it around, at least for a little while. Yes, it lost to Villanova in week one of the 2009 campaign, but then again, Villanova won the FCS championship. The Owls put together a nine game win streak, finishing the regular season at 9-3 before losing by nine to UCLA in their first bowl appearance since 1979. Vaughn Charlton returns as the quarterback for 2010, but last year was not impressive; he completed 107 of 213 passes for 1,390 yards, ten scores, and 11 picks. This will obviously have to improve. The wide receiving corps is deep, with only two players getting more than 20 catches. Five receivers caught at least two touchdowns, but none caught more than three. The ground game is the real excitement for the Owls, with star running back Bernard Pierce. Last season, Pierce carried 236 times for 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns. Matt Brown also ran for 529 yards and five scores on 89 carries. On defense, the Owls should again be strong against the run, with an experienced and large line and senior linebackers Elijah Joseph and Amara Kamara leading the way. However, opposing quarterbacks racked up 226.4 yards per game, blasting through the Owls’ secondary. The schedule is no cakewalk, with the first four games against Villanova, Central Michigan, Connecticut, and Penn State. However, Temple could easily get another 9-3 season and MAC title game appearance.

Key non-conference games: Connecticut, @ Penn State
Key conference games: Central Michigan, @ Northern Illinois, Ohio

#6 Nevada Wolfpack: The Wolfpack quietly had a 7-1 conference record and the best rushing offense in the nation a year ago. After getting stomped by Notre Dame, Colorado State, and Missouri, the team went on an eight game win streak, before losing its final regular season game and a bowl bid against SMU. Returning this year is quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who completed 166 of 282 throws for 2,052 yards, 20 touchdowns, and six picks. He was the top dual threat in the nation, adding 7.3 yards per rush on 161 carries, scoring 16 times. Rejoining last year’s number one ranked ground game is Vai Taua, who averaged 7.8 yards and scored ten times on 172 carries. The team loses its third 1,000 yard rusher in Luke Lippincott, but there is plenty of depth in Mike Ball and Mark Lampford. At wide receiver, the team returns Brandon Wimberly, Tray Session, and Chris Wellington. The three combined for just nine touchdowns in the nation’s 107th ranked passing offense. The Wolfpack will need to improve their passing offense to keep up their winning ways. Last year’s unit gave up a second to last ranked 297.8 yards per game through the air. In the team’s five losses, the opposition scored at least 31 points. The line and linebacking core losses are minimal, and the only way to go is up for the secondary. The conference road schedule is terribly brutal, however.

Key non-conference games: California
Key conference games: @ BYU, @ Idaho, Boise State

#7 Utah Utes: The Utes are looking tough once again for 2010. They have some holes to fill on defense, but with BYU losing Max Hall and other staples, Utah is primed to be right there with TCU. The offense will be led by sophomore QB Jordan Wynn, who threw for 1,329 yards, eight scores, and four picks in a half season’s work after replacing junior Terrance Cain. The team loses a 1,000 yard wide receiver in David Reed, but retains Jereme Brooks, who led all receivers with seven scores. Sophomore Luke Williams will be the second throwing option for Wynn, having caught just nine passes last year. The rushing attack will be led by Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata. Asiata tore his ACL early last season and was granted an extra year of eligibility. Wide emerged as a more than capable replacement, racing for 1,070 yards and 12 touchdowns on 202 carries. On defense, only five starters return. Last year’s unit allowed just 176.2 passing yards and 20.2 points per game. The biggest hit comes at linebacker, with all three starters now gone. However, junior J.J. Williams is expected to lead a young group. The schedule isn’t easy, but Utah does get most of the big games at home, including Pittsburgh, TCU, and BYU.

Key non-conference games: Pittsburgh, @ Notre Dame
Key conference games: @ Air Force, TCU, BYU

#8 Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders: MTSU isn’t exactly one of the most talked about mid majors, but last year it showed it really does have a capable football program. The Raiders finished behind Troy for the Sun Belt title, but won ten games, including a bowl victory over Southern Miss. Now, it might just be MTSU’s year to win the Sun Belt. The offense will be led by a great dual threat in Dwight Dasher. He led his team with 1,154 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, while throwing for 2,789 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. At wide receiver, the team loses Chris McClover and Patrick Honeycutt, who combined for 961 yards and nine scores. Remaining are Garrett Andrews and Shane Blissard. The two only combined for 19 catches last year, though. This year’s defensive unit also has some strength. DE Jamari Lattimore returns, having racked up 5.5 sacks. Safety Jeremy Kellem has been named the Sun Belt preseason Defensive Player of the Year. The Blue Raiders will have their first statement game opportunity in week one, when the Minnesota Golden Gophers come to Tennessee.

Key non-conference games: Minnesota, @ Georgia Tech
Key conference games: @ Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy

#9 Northern Illinois Huskies: The Huskies are again on the rise, with back-to-back bowl appearances and an impressive win at Purdue last season. Now, they return several key starters and look to appear in the MAC Championship game with Temple. The offense will once again feature a strong running game, with senior Chad Spann. Last season, Spann gained 1,038 yards and scored 19 times on 179 carries. Fellow running back Me’Co Brown has left the program, so JUCO transfer Jasmin Hopkins will see action early. Chandler Harnish will again be the quarterback and will try to improve on a mediocre performance, throwing for 1,670 yards, 11 touchdowns, and six interceptions last season. The 109th ranked passing offense will be searching for a top wide receiver, as only two caught more than one touchdown. Landon Cox appears to be the man, leading last year’s squad with 535 yards and four scores on 45 receptions. Defensively, the Huskies should be set. Nine starters are returning, but will need to improve on last year’s measly four total interceptions. Last year’s unit also allowed opponents to convert 41.2% of the time on third down, but did sack the quarterback 29 times. Where it really counts, the Huskies only surrendered 21.2 points per game. This season, the Huskies will face a brutal schedule, with four of the first five on the road. However, with the departure of Dan LaFevour at Central Michigan, the MAC West is NIU’s to lose.

Key non-conference games: @ Iowa State, @ Minnesota
Key conference game: Temple

#10: Central Florida Knights: The Knights are going to be a power in Conference USA’s East Division. The story here is the defense, which allowed just 84.7 rushing yards per game last season. Seven starters are returning, including DE Bruce Miller, who was responsible for 16 sacks in 2009. At cornerback, sophomore Josh Robinson will make another impact, intercepting six passes in his freshman debut. A unit that a year ago allowed just 22.5 points per game has nowhere to go but up. The offense is a different story, with junior Rob Calabrese stepping in at quarterback. He threw for three scores and no interceptions in limited action in 2009. Leading running back Brynn Harvey should be back from knee surgery in time for the season opener. On the plus side, the offense returns four starting linemen and its top receiver in Kamar Aiken, who scored nine times and averaged 16.9 yards per catch last year. The Knights have an excellent chance to make the C-USA title game, led by their lights-out defense.

Key non-conference games: North Carolina State, @ Kansas State
Key conference game: @ Houston