Welcome to our weekly discussion amongst The Ralphie Report's staff. Same format as last year, so dig right in.
Feel free to throw your answers to the same questions into the comments below.
1) Predictions! Who will be the Buffaloes offensive and defensive MVP's at the end of the season?
Bob: Offensive MVP - Tyler Hansen. I still think Rodney Stewart and Paul Richardson have the best shots but this is the pick with the hope that Hansen has a breakout senior season. If the Buffs are going to make a bowl game this year, it will be because Tyler Hansen had a great year.
Defensive MVP - Doug Rippy. As the starting middle linebacker, Rippy has been great this fall and spring. He is slimer, faster and is playing excellent right now. I think he blows up this year. Jon Major and Conrad Obi are right behind Rippy with a dark horse being Chidera Uzo-Diribe.
Ash: Offensive: Tyler Hansen primarily because I'm guessing our rushing attack will be by committee (or otherwise split), whereas he will be on the field almost every down, making people miss.
Defensive: Now that we're in the 3-4, I'd have to look to Jon Major. I want him messing people up.
David: Easy answer on offense would be Rodney Stewart or Paul Richardson, so I'm going to go with the MVLRP (Most Valuable, Least Recognized Player), and I think that will honestly be Matt Bahr. He's going to give the offense some real versatility. He is a very good blocker, and I believe his ability to reel in the occasional pass will be demonstrated early this season. He's going to allow us to take advantage of mismatches. On defense, I'm going to go with Kanavis McGhee. You didn't say we had to go with a player, so I'm going to vote for our pass rush coach. If we're going to be successful (and you'll see my predictions there soon enough), we're going to have to get a lot of pressure on opposing offenses. Coach McGhee is going to be the key to that, and I believe the work he's been putting in with our ends and OLBs will pay off big time.
Jon: On offense I think you have to go with Speedy (although I think Paul Richardson is going to have a great season with the play action and teams loading the box to stop Stewart). Defense, I hope it's Obi, clogging up the middle and giving the rest of the front seven room to work.
2) Who will be the Buffaloes newcomer (true or redshirt freshman) at the end of the season?
Bob: K Will Oliver - The Buffs need him to be clutch this year and turn a position of worry into a positive.
Ash: Tony Jones...?
David: Again, there is an easy answer (Greg Henderson, I believe he's the real deal), so I'm going with someone else. Tyler McCulloch really does catch every pass thrown his way, and I think he is going to get his fair share of looks this year. I think he's going to be a big time redzone threat for us and he's already pretty good at shielding the defender away from the ball with his body.
Jon: I really, really hope that it's Will Oliver. He will have a direct effect on whether or not we win at least two games this season. Write that down, I guarantee it.
3) Predict the Buffs final record, with wins and losses listed.
Bob: Tough freakin' schedule. Optimistically I have the Buffs going 6-7. Please prove me wrong
@ Hawaii W
Colorado State W
@Ohio State L
Washington State W
@Arizona State W
Ash: 7-6 Regular Season
Hawai'i - Win
Cal - Win
csu - Win
Ohio st - L
Wazzu - Win
Stanford - Loss
Washington - Win (for Sal)
Oregone - Loss
Arizona St - Loss
USC - Loss
Arizona - Win
UCLA - Win!
Utah - Loss (unless there is a bicycle)
Bowl Game - I'm guessing this would send us to San Francisco to take on Army where we would Win by 2 points, like anyone else who plays Army in a bowl game.
David: Yeah...anyone last year remember how I predicted we'd...yeah, let's not go there.2011-@ Hawaii - Win. Moniz is the real deal, but they've got too much turnover on offense. And I think we best their defense again. 1-0-vs California - Win. First game at home. This team & coaching Staff will make sure we beat them this time around. 2-0-vs Colorado State (in Denver) - Win. With no Nebraska, the team comes out strong against it's only established rival. 3-0-@ Ohio State - Loss. They may have lost a lot of weapons, making this a totally winnable game, but that's a tough place to play... 3-1 (because I would be crazy to predict 4-0 again...)-vs Washington State - Win. It's going to be a close one, though. I think WSU will be much improved this year, but so will we. 4-1-@ Stanford - Loss. I would like to think we will keep this close, and maybe we will for a half, but they are too good. 4-2-@ Washington - Loss. Another winnable game, and possibly the first time having such a young kicker hurts us. 4-3-vs Oregon - Loss. Do I have to say anything? I think the altitude affects them a bit, but not enough to change things 4-4-@ Arizona State - Win. Why? Because I don't want to predict 4 straight losses, but I also think ASU is overrated. 5-4-vs USC - Loss. I think USC might be playing for the conference championship if they weren't DQ'd from participating. 5-5-vs Arizona - Win. Yeah, I know, this means we're bowl eligible, and they've got an exciting passing game, but I believe! 6-5-@ UCLA - Win. I think UCLA ends the season at the bottom of the division. They don't show signs of improvement. 7-5-@ Utah - Loss. I think this game is fairly close, but I also think Utah runs the table in the division. 7-6That means we make a bowl game, but I have never ever once correctly picked bowl game participants before the season, so I abstain from deciding who we will play.
Jon: Uh oh, I always tend to be ridiculous when I have to go game by game...
- @ Hawaii - W
- Cal - W
- CSU - W
- @ Ohio State - L
- WSU - W
- @ Stanford - L
- @ Washington - L
- Oregon - L
- @Arizona State - W
- USC - L
- Arizona - L
- @ ULCA - W
- @ Utah - W
Well I guess that's 7-6
1) What team are you looking at as your biggest surprise in 2011?
Bob: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Ash: Auburn; as in surprisingly bad. Most people have them ranked in the low twenties but my guess is that they won't be bowl eligible.
David: I hate to sound too Pac-12-centric, but I think it's going to be Utah. I don't think they win the conference championship game, but I don't think they lose more than 2 games (including the conference championship game) all year.
Jon: SMU. If the schedule wasn't so damn hard I may call for an undefeated Hawaii type season, but two losses out of the road games at A&M, TCU, Southern Miss, Tulsa, and Houston will keep the Ponies out of the BCS discussion. However, three wins out of the above mentioned games and a 10-2 Conference USA champions season will have SMU in the top 15-20 at the end of the year.
2) Would you prefer that the Big 12 attempt to stay together with the addition of 1 or 3 teams (and which teams) or that the conference split apart (and what teams would you want to join the Pac-12)?
Bob: I am so glad we don't have to worry about the Big 12 anymore! Easy answer is I could care less. I like Oklahoma, like the way the approach everything so whatever happens, they will be fine. Everyone else I could care less. If I had to choose, I would love the see Air Force get into a BCS conference like the Big 12. As a fan, that would be fun to see them play at that level week in and week out. They can be competitive in that league as well, just ask Oklahoma how tough Air Force is to play.
Ash: This is the SWC all over again. Any teams they do add will need to up the ante for the conference in a big way; I'm talking LSU, Floriduh St, the SEC West, or similar. (Just like when they glommed onto the Big 8). I don't think that Beebe can broker a deal like that, but we'll see.
I'd like for A&M to keep their helmets in texas where they belong and for the conference to add 2 big-market schools to at least be numerically correct.
I don't really want the Pac-12 to add any teams from the Big 12 that have their own TV network, haven't played in a NC game in the past ten years, or are already talking about basketball. Which only leaves oklahoma. And I don't want them either.
David: They better not split up. That'll put the whole super-conference thing into effect way too quickly. I don't think the SEC wants to be the first team to go to 16 (too many good teams = more losses for the top teams and higher chance of them not making or winning the Nat'l Championship Game). I don't think anything happens for at least two seasons, but I don't think Texas wants to have a conference championship game, so they only will add 1 team. I don't want any teams to join the Pac-12. If we lose the yearly game in LA I'm going to be incredibly upset. Mainly for recruiting, but I also want one close home game each year.
Jon: I hope that they can stay together, whether or not that can happen is a different story. The three (although not that feasible) teams I would like to see come aboard are USF, UCF and either West Virginia or Pitt. Even better, kick out Baylor or ISU and take them both.
3) Guess the the final scores:
- TCU @ Baylor
- Oregon @ LSU
- Boise State @ Georgia
- South Florida @ Notre Dame
- Colorado @ Hawaii
TCU @ Baylor 24-27
Oregon @ LSU 24-21
Boise State @ Georgia 31-28
South Florida @ Notre Dame 14-28
Colorado @ Hawaii 34-31. Will Oliver with the winner. Paul Richardson two scores
- TCU @ Baylor - 24 - 16
- Oregon @ LSU - 35 - 30
- Boise State @ Georgia - 21 - 17
- South Florida @ Notre Dame - 17 - 21 - With a surprise run by Darrell Scott
- Colorado @ Hawaii - 30 - 14 Buffs Win!
- TCU @ Baylor - I think TCU stomps those obnoxious Bears. I hate them! 43-17 (RG III makes some good plays, though)
- Oregon @ LSU - This will still be close. 33-29 Oregon.
- Boise State @ Georgia - 41-21 BSU. Those Broncos know what they're doing.
- South Florida @ Notre Dame - Yikes, can I choose not to pick? I gues, 23 USF - 13 ND.
- Colorado @ Hawaii - 38 - 19 Buffs. Start the season off strong!
- TCU 24 @ Baylor 27
- Oregon 24 @ LSU 20
- Boise State 28 @ Georgia 31
- South Florida 13 @ Notre Dame 24
- Colorado 31 @ Hawaii 20
1) If you could travel to just one Buffs home and one Buffs road game which would you pick? As a bonus, pick one non-Buffs game you would attend if you could.
Bob: Home game - Colorado vs Oregon. I a really excited for that Cal game but I have been looking forward to watching Oregon for a while now
Away game - Colorado vs Stanford. Would like to see Luck before he goes to the pros
Non Buffs game: Oklahoma vs Florida State. Huge non-conference early season game
Ash: Home: Cal, because it really will be different.
Away: Ohio St, because when else will we get the chance?
Other: Texas/OU, because it's the only game played in the actual Cotton Bowl anymore, and it'll be the only actual football game played in the Big Xii.
David: I'm definitely attending the UCLA game (and all future Los Angeles games now that I live here) so that's not the exciting answer. I think I'm going to try to go up to Palo Alto to see us play at Stanford. And I'm considering coming back to Boulder for the USC. And honestly? The non-CU game I want to attend is Oregon-Stanford. That's going to be an awesome game. Yes, I'm being a little Pac-12 centric, but still, that should be awesome.
Jon: I would definitely choose the USC game for the home choice. Friday night, national TV... can't wait for that. I'm going to Ohio State so I'll stick with that but I'd also love to go to Washington. As for national? Can't go wrong with OU @ FSU.