College football 2011 preview special
By: Donnell Coley
The 2010-2011 college football season should be yet another spectacular showing of struggles, battles, and rivalries that all culminate to exciting bowl games and the crowning of a national champion. The storylines should be nothing short of captivating from beginning to end. Heisman hopefuls, team rankings, and conference battles will all help to provide for an exciting season.
First, let’s take a look at the superstars that left their school and moved on, and who will be filling those large shoes. The Florida Gators lost arguably the most decorated player college football has ever seen in quarterback Tim Tebow. Opponents of the Gators feared every snap that number 15 was under center because of the confusion that he left defenses as to whether he would run or pass the ball. The daunting task of replacing this iconic figure is left to junior John Brantley. Brantley appeared in a couple of games early in the season last year when Tebow was out with a concussion, and he showed flashes of a potential pro prospect who did well throwing from the pocket.
Another quarterback attempting to fill big shoes is sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert starting for the Texas Longhorns. The man he will be replacing was a Heisman finalists the past two seasons as well as the Longhorns all-time most accurate passer in Colt McCoy. When McCoy left early in the national championship game last season, it was Gilbert who stepped in on the game’s biggest stage as a freshman and more than handled his own against the best defense in the nation. Though Brantley and Gilbert have such huge voids to fill for their respective teams, experts and coaches are obviously confident in both players abilities to lead their team as both Florida and Texas find them ranked in the top five of the preseason polls.
Besides the play of Gilbert and Brantley, there are other players that are on the radar to have breakout seasons and are considered to be Heisman hopefuls. Leading the group is Boise State junior quarterback Kellen Moore. Moore passed for 3,536 yards and 39 touchdowns last season and has many anticipating what is to happen this season as he leads his third ranked Broncos. The next quarterback is arguably the most electrifying athlete in college football this season, Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor. Last year he led his team in rushing and passing and racked up 25 touchdowns in total, with 18 of them coming through the air. Senior quarterback Jake Locker from Washington University is considered to be the best National Football League prospect. Locker threw for 2,800 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Virginia Tech boasts a stud sophomore running back Ryan Williams who tallied 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns on his way to becoming the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year last season. Rounding out the bunch is last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. The junior running back led his team to a national championship last season, but because of a knee surgery in the offseason, Ingram will miss time hurting his chances of repeating as Heisman winner.
All of these standout players and those that are under the radar will make for interesting matchups. The number one ranked and defending national champions, Alabama Tide are perceived by many experts and analysts to run the table and repeat as champions. Schools such as Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Miami all have teams that have will have their say in that regard. Emerging superstars, key matchups, and week-to-week drama are what engulf fans in the pageantry that is college football. If this season encompasses all of these aspects, buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Photo from: espn.com