An Early Look at the 2011 College Football Season

As the snow piles grow larger across the country, we are approaching the last weeks of the important 2011 recruiting season. On the first Wednesday of February the recruits will sign pledges to their school of choice and then it will be time to prepare for the 2011 season.

The 2010 season might have just ended this past Monday night, but it’s never too early to look to next season. This week the most important underclassmen are deciding whether to go to the NFL or come back to school for another year. There have been surprises like Andrew Luck returning to Stanford, and moves that were expected like Cam Newton and Nick Fairley running off to the NFL.

Next year should be another entertaining season, and perhaps the best part is that there is no clear preseason number one team. Over the last decade its seemed like every year there was a team or maybe two that stood out before the season started. While many times they have proved to be incorrect choices preseason, there has always been that team or two.

As we look ahead to 2011 I see alot of teams that could compete for a National Title, and none that stand out to me above the others. Lets take a look at each of the major conferences and some of the key non-BCS conference teams.

Pac Ten (12)-

The Pac Ten next year should be quite top heavy. Oregon looks to be a top five team again coming off their appearance in the National Championship. Stanford gets a huge boost with the return of Andrew Luck, but still lose Jim Harbaugh and some seniors from an extremely good team in 2010. Past that, the sexy pick for third place is Arizona St. The Sundevils return almost everyone from a mediocre 2010 team. While they might be improved I’m not sold of them being better than an 8-4 team in 2011. USC figures to be decent as they still retain many of the skill players from 2010, but they will once again not be considered for postseason bowls. The interesting part of the Pac Ten in 2011 will be the additions of Utah and Colorado to the conference. While I agree with the decision to expand to 12 teams, the additions of Colorado and Utah will not immediately effect the Pac Ten in a positive way. Colorado is a team that has struggled alot over the last few seasons and they aren’t looking much better next year. Utah has been a great member of the Mountain West, but this season they proved to be a bit overrated and will probably settle into the middle of the pack next year in the conference.


1. Oregon

2. Stanford

3. California

4. Oregon St

5. Washington

6. Washington St.


1. Arizona St

2. USC


4. Utah

5. Arizona

6. Colorado

Big 12-

The new Big 12 in 2011 will be set up much like the former Pac Ten (now Pac 12). Each of the ten teams will play nine conference games, once against each opponent. Comparing this conference’s strength in 2011, to that of the Pac Ten the last few years, I find it hard to argue it is not better. I’ve always been a bit skeptical of the Big 12, but in 2011 there should be some strong competition in conference. The top eight teams look like they could go bowling and we could see 3 to 5 ranked teams next year. While this is all true, I believe Oklahoma is head and above all the others. A talented team this year, Oklahoma returns a great nucleus of players in 2011 that could contend for a National Title. Oklahoma State should once again have a potent offense, along with Texas A&M. Missouri might need some help from quarterback play in 11′, but they do return an experienced, but overrated defense. Texas is a mystery to me for 2011. Coming off the horrid 5-7 season, it is hard to argue they will be good next year, but given the amazing amount of talent they return, its hard to imagine another losing season. Baylor could once again surprise people, along with Texas Tech and Kansas State.

1. Oklahoma

2. Oklahoma State

3. Texas A&M

4. Missouri

5. Texas

6. Baylor

7. Texas Tech

8. Kansas State

9. Iowa State

10. Kansas

Big East-

To put it bluntly, the Big East was bad in 2010. Forget the decent bowl record, they almost all came against weak opponents. UConn put together a heart-warming season to win the conference, but showed repeatedly throughout the year they did not belong on the same field as other Big Conference teams. In my opinion, West Virginia might have been the best of the Big East teams in 2010, but they still lost to UConn and in their Bowl Game to NC State. Syracuse might have the coolest story in the Big East, as they came from no where to win eight games. Next season I think we’ll see West Virginia emerge as clearly the best from the Big East under a new offense. South Florida returns alot from last year, and looks to build off a good first season under Skip Holtz. Pittsburgh, UConn and Syracuse should also field competitive teams in the Big East, but 2011 might spell another year of poor out of conference performance for Big East schools.

1. West Virginia

2. South Florida

3. Pittsburgh

4. UConn

5. Syracuse

6. Louisville

7. Cincinnati

8. Rutgers

Big Ten-

The new Big Ten might have been the only conference to actually improve over the conference realignment. Nebraska brings one of the most tradition rich football programs in the country to the Big Ten and should compete right off the bat. Ohio State once again looks like the leading contender, as long as they survive the early suspensions. Wisconsin will be strong again along with Nebraska as possible contenders to dethrone the Buckeyes. Michigan State will have to prove last year wasn’t a fluke (and the Alabama bowl game was). Iowa, Penn State and Michigan should make up the second tier of the conference, as Illinois, Northwestern, and Purdue might surprise us next year.


1. Ohio State

2. Wisconsin

3. Penn State

4. Illinois

5. Purdue

6. Indiana


1. Michigan State

2. Nebraska

3. Iowa

4. Michigan

5. Northwestern

6. Minnesota


The SEC has long been known as the toughest conference in College Football and 2011 should be no different. The only change will be who is contending for a National Championship. This year the West Division should rule again, while the East will be weaker again, but perhaps improved a bit. Early on I see Alabama as the favorite to take it all. LSU should be strong too and looks to compete with Bama for the title. The third best team might be the Gamecocks of South Carolina, who should look to capitalize on struggles of the three powerhouses in the East. Mississippi State is continuing to improve under Dan Mullen and should make some noise next year. Look for Georgia to surprise some people as they mature, as well as Florida who will be under the new direction of Will Muschamp. Arkansas and Auburn should both be decent, but after a memorable 2010 for both, look for 2011 to be a big disappointment as the loses of key players to the NFL will hurt.


1. South Carolina

2. Georgia

3. Florida

4. Tennessee

5. Kentucky

6. Vanderbilt


1. Alabama

2. LSU

3. Mississippi State

4. Arkansas

5. Auburn

6. Mississippi


The ACC was struggled to lose its reputation as the second worst BCS conference and for good reason, as their were many struggles in 2010. 2011 spells another chance for redemption and it looks like the Florida State Seminoles might be the best candidate to capitalize. Returning all but four starters, the Noles will have a chance to be a top ten team preseason, and will get a shot at Oklahoma in week three, in what should be a huge matchup. In the Coastal division Virginia Tech might not be that good next year on a National Level, but look for them to cruise through a very easy schedule to win the division. Miami and North Carolina both look to erase the memories of a tough 2010 in which neither were able to capitalize on a strong talent base. Georgia Tech should once again coast in mediocrity as they lose their lead man in Joshua Nesbitt. Virginia could improve, but look for them along with Duke and Wake Forest to sit at home for the Bowls again this season. In the Atlantic Maryland, BC and NC State all look to be decent teams, with a chance to step up and challenge FSU. The team with perhaps the best chance to contend with FSU is Clemson. The Tigers have made many necessary coaching changes in the offseason, assembling an impressive staff. Look for an improved offense with an influx of a top ten recruiting class to help the Tigers improve on the 6-7 record in 2010, despite a tough schedule.


1. Virginia Tech

2. Miami FL

3. UNC

4. Georgia Tech

5. Virginia

6. Duke


1. Florida State

2. Clemson

3. NC State

4. Maryland

5. Boston College

6. Wake Forest

Conference Rankings:

1. SEC

2. Big Ten

3. Big 12

4. Pac 12

5. ACC

6. Big East

7. MWC

8. WAC


10. MAC

11. Sun Belt

Top 25

1. Alabama

2. Oklahoma

3. LSU

4. Oregon

5. Ohio State

6. Florida State

7. Wisconsin

8. Oklahoma State

9. Stanford

10. South Carolina

11. Virginia Tech

12. Texas A&M

13. Boise State

14. Mississippi State

15. Michigan State

16. Nebraska

17. West Virginia

18. Georgia

19. Missouri

20. TCU

21. Arkansas

22. Florida

23. Notre Dame

24. Penn State

25. Texas

Others Considered:

Auburn, Arizona State, USF, Iowa, Clemson, NC State, Baylor, Maryland, Michigan, Miami FL, UNC, Illinois, BC

One Response to “An Early Look at the 2011 College Football Season”

  1. poslovno savjetovanje…

    […]An Early Look at the 2011 College Football Season « 5 BOROUGH SPORTS[…]…

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