We took everything we learned in 2009 to make our predictions for the 2010 season. Starting at the top …
No. 1 Alabama
SN says: After an All-American 2010 season, receiver Julio Jones will leave school early and be a top-10 pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
Alabama color commentator and former NFL general manager Phil Savage says: “If Julio comes back and really improves and has an injury-free season, that could be the case. He has great ability and tremendous size (6-4, 210), but there are some areas where he can improve: route running, concentration, the fundamental things. He was hobbled with injuries pretty much since spring practice, and he didn’t take the step forward many thought he would. He got healthy late and started showing flashes of a player who can dominate a game. He’ll be motivated next year.”
SN says: Despite significant losses, Alabama—which finished the season No. 1 in yards allowed per game among BCS league schools—still will have one of the top three defenses in the SEC.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen says: “The first thing you look at is they have talent, a lot of it across the board at every position. They recruit well, so they’ve got guys that have waited a year or so to play in the system. That’s what all great programs do. Obviously, talent is such a big factor—the game is about players. But I think what they’ve done as a staff over there, developing those players and putting them in position to be successful, can’t be overlooked.”