We've reached the magical point in the preseason where the bookies let us know what they expect out of our favorite college teams in the upcoming season.
Based on the win total set for Oklahoma--9.5--it would seem Vegas' initial assessment of the Sooners jibes with my own. Keep in mind that the threshold for hitting the over is 10-2, which, if looked at as a best-case scenario, would almost certainly take the Sooners out of the national championship race. (It should be noted that the odds on the over are -150 in this case.)
While Homerism doesn't think any of the projections seem particularly off-base, a few opportunities did catch my eye.
Take the Over
In case Homerism's loyal readers haven't figured it out by now, I'm big on the pig this year. I've previously discussed all the reasons to love this team: great coach in his second year, a talented quarterback and 18 starters returning from a 2008 team that finished strong down the stretch. Homerism thinks nine wins is possible.
*North Carolina (8)
Big ups to Homerism associate P$ for putting the bug in my ear on this one. The Tar Heels should contend for the ACC title in Butch Davis' third season. The non-conference schedule is more than manageable: Citadel, Georgia Southern, East Carolina and a trip to Storrs to take on rebuilding UConn. Virginia and Duke come to Chapel Hill, and both show no signs of sucking any less than usual. Assuming those are six wins, two wins out of the following six games would be a push: Miami, at Virginia Tech, at Georgia Tech, at Boston College, Florida State, North Carolina State. Works for me.
Homerism buys into the buzz surrounding Jim Harbaugh and his Cardinal reclamation project, which has even caught the eye of talent evaluator extraordinaire Al Davis. "Captain Comeback" has upped the talent level in Palo Alto considerably. Witness standout quarterback recruit Andrew Luck, who will be piloting the offense this year. A loss to USC is a given, but I can't find another game where I'd count the Cardinal out right away.
*Alabama (9.5, Under -140)
Nick Saban's team oozes talent. Yet, the Crimson Tide lost experienced standouts at important positions--quarterback, left tackle, running back and free safety. (OK, it's a stretch to call Sunshine Wilson a standout, but you get my drift.) Hence, Homerism expects 'Bama to struggle early on, so a couple losses in the first half of the year--probably Virginia Tech and at Ole Miss--wouldn't surprise me. Working in the Tide's favor, though, is the fact that Florida isn't on the regular season schedule. This is the shakiest out of all of these picks.
With all the losses this team sustained in the offseason, a few steps back is inevitable. Out-of-conference matchups against Illinois and Nevada are dicey, while the Tigers draw Texas and Oklahoma State out of the Big 12 South. A .500 record would be an accomplishment.
*West Virginia (8.5, Under -150)
If I gave a flip about the Mountaineers, I'd shudder for their football future. With Pat White last year, WVU won eight regular season games. Why should we believe a White-less team will win nine this year?