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The college football season is finally upon us…now hopefully some cooler weather will follow.  There are always many questions heading into the first week of the college football season.  With new contenders, new coaches, new players, fluctuating schedules and the BCS, there is never a shortage of issues to address.

Here are five college football questions I am looking forward to getting the answer to in week one:

5.  How seriously can TCU contend for a national title?

Many people have their eyes on Boise State as the non-BCS school that could be playing for a national championship.  But TCU could have just as good a shot with a preseason #6 rating and comparable schedule.  They open at home against #24 Oregon State on Saturday night and we should get an early indication of how strong the 2010 Horned Frogs will be.

TCU's Matthew Tucker

TCU's Matthew Tucker - Running Toward a BCS Championship?

4.  Was coaching all that was missing from Notre Dame?

New coach Brian Kelly comes to the Irish after winning two consecutive Big East Championships with Cincinnati.  There is little question that Notre Dame still has a lot of talent.  Is Kelly the man to make them successful?  We’ll find out when the Irish play Purdue tomorrow.

3.  How many UNC players will be suspended for the opening game against LSU?

The current word is that 12 Tar Heels will miss Saturday night’s game and three more may be suspended as well.  Among those 12 players are defensive leaders Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn and Kendric Burney, as well as explosive receiver Greg Little and two tailbacks – Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston. Whew, that’s a lot of talent.

2.  Will Michigan take a step toward saving Rich Rodriguez or burying him?

Rodriguez enters his third season with an 8-16 record at Michigan and alumni howling for his departure.  The Wolverines need to show some real progress to save his skin in Ann Arbor.  They open against a game Connecticut team that will be determined to score the upset on Michigan’s home turf.

1.  Can Boise State go into Virginia Tech’s backyard and get the win?

As college football darlings, Boise State was looked upon as the little team that could.  Now that they have built their program to be more successful than many BCS schools and have gotten a #3 preseason ranking there is a big backlash.  The fact is, Boise State has to be considered a serious National Championship contender…IF they can beat the Hokies in D.C.

Please share the questions you are looking forward to getting answered and/or any predictions in the comments section below!

Photo source: SD Dirk

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It’s always fun to look back on predictions and see how they compared to the final results…especially if you were not the one that made the predictions.  I did not put any preseason college basketball predictions in print so instead of looking back at my predictions I will look at the predictions of the Sports Illustrated team.  First, I’ll give credit where it’s due:

Hit the Bullseye

  1. Kansas – SI picked the Jayhawks at #1 and although they did not achieve their ultimate goal they did have a wonderful season that was worthy of the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
  2. Michigan St. – Chosen by SI at #2 the Spartans rallied from a challenging season to make the Final Four and had a solid chance to beat Butler.
  3. Kentucky – Maybe dead on, SI picked the Wildcats in the #5 slot. 
  4. Washington – While the Huskies did not have the best regular season, they made a nice mini-run to get to the Sweet Sixteen.  SI picked them at #9.

Hit Below the Bullseye

  1. Butler – SI wasn’t way off on this one – they picked Butler at #14.  Doubtful that anybody would have picked the Bulldogs at #2.  Although they should be picking them there for next season.
  2. Syracuse – The #1 seed and Big East regular season champions were picked at #35 by SI before the season.
  3. Kansas St. – Right below the Orange SI picked the Wildcats at #36.  Kansas St. played their way to a #2 seed in the big dance.
  4. Baylor – The Bears’ excellent season was a surprise to many, including the writers of SI who did not pick them to make the tournament in their college basketball preview.

Overthrew the Target

  1. Texas – Picked #4 by SI the Longhorns were never able to pull all their talent together in a way that resulted in a lot of wins.
  2. North Carolina – Many were surprised by the poor performance of the Tar Heels this season.  SI picked them at #7.
  3. Connecticut – The Huskies played like a group of individuals instead of a team throughout most of the season.  They did not live up to expectations, including those of SI who picked them at #10.
  4. Michigan – I personally expected a lot out of this team coming into the season and so did SI who picked them at #15. 

The team that most outperformed my expectations was Pittsburgh.  I did not expect anything from them but they really had an excellent season built on the foundation of high effort and defense that they’ve been exhibiting for quite some time.  Michigan is the program that most underachieved when compared to my expectations.  With the return of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims along with the three other starters from the previous season I thought the Wolverines would be really good – they certainly were not.

What teams surprised you most, both positively and negatively?

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