Current topic: 10 bold predictions

I didn’t have a category to put some of these random things in. So we’ve created this one – and then we’ll finally be into the single-digit preview categories. As the one writing these, I can say that it’s about time.

Without further hesitation …

10. Texas Tech will be in the top five at some point: And by “some point”, I mean after beating Texas A&M on Oct. 18 to move to 7-0 on the season. Will the Red Raiders close it? I doubt it, not with trips to Kansas and Oklahoma and visits from Texas and Oklahoma State. But they’ll be hot early.

9. Illinois will lose four times: The Illini crept up on people last year, but that won’t happen again You also can’t underestimate the loss of Rashard Mendenhall to the NFL. He was arguably the best running back in the conference last year – and that’s with Beanie Wells around. Could this team have another big year? Sure, there’s a lot of talent. But at Missouri, at Penn State, at Michigan, at Wisconsin and a visit from revenge-minded Ohio State will keep them to 8-4.

8. Mississippi State will get shutout more than twice: OK, so there’s a lot of ways this prediction could go wrong – long field goal, turnover, safety, etc. – but they’re not called “somewhat surprising predictions”. The Bulldogs were bad on offense last year, and haven’t solved any problems. The quarterbacks look lost at times, and there is the daunting SEC schedule – plus a trip to Georgia Tech – awaiting. The score of Mississippi State’s spring game? 0-0.

7. Javarris James will lead the ACC in rushing yards: I know what you’re thinking … what about CJ Spiller or James Davis? Well, the Clemson backs could both go over 1,000, but it will be tough to go way over that when they’re splitting carries. And while there are other candidates to lead this league (Josh Adams comes to mind), James looks primed to explode. Miami needs to run the ball well, and James is a sensational talent just waiting to bust out.

6. Joe Paterno will not retire this year: No real reason for this one – just a hunch.

5. Purdue won’t win a road game: I don’t know how stunning this is – the Boilers aren’t exactly a killer on the road. But with Purdue hoping to explode in Joe Tiller’s last season, this won’t help. The Boilers will lose at Notre Dame, Ohio State, Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa – plus at least once at home – and finish no better than 6-6.

4. Notre Dame will allow at least 20 less sakcs than in 2007: 58 sacks last year. Fifty. Eight. Unreal number out of South Bend, and the reality is that the offensive line just cannot be that bad again. As a matter of fact, with Paul Duncan, Sam Young and Dan Wegner back, they should be greatly improved. Plus games with teams like San Diego State, Syracuse, Stanford and Washington should help the keep the heat off of Jimmy Clausen.

3. BYU will be undefeated on Nov. 22 … and 11-1 after: Everyone’s chalked the Cougars up as the BCS buster from a smaller conference and there’s good reason for that talk. Trips to Washington and TCU are daunting road trips, but BYU gets through everything – until losing at Utah on the last weekend of its season.

The Diag-M