2011 College Football Picks: Handicapping the Major Conferences

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NCAA Football bettors! Are you ready for another fantastic season on the gridiron! We are too, and we are kicking off this season by making our college football picks for all of the biggest conferences in the country.

2011 ACC Picks: There are really only two clear choices this year in the ACC due to the fact that the middle and bottom end of this conference are really questionable at best. The Florida State Seminoles (+175) and the Virginia Tech Hokies (+175) are both good enough to meet once again in the ACC Championship Game. We just don’t see any challenges coming for the Hokies, as we don’t have any faith in the suspension riddled Miami Hurricanes (+400) or the North Carolina Tar Heels (+650). If you’ve got to pick an underdog, go with the Maryland Terrapins (+1500), as they have a great opportunity to play well in the first year under Head Coach Randy Edsall. Still, our ACC picks are on the Noles, as QB EJ Manuel has the goods to lead this team in this rather inexperienced conference.

2011 Big 12 Picks: Again, here we have a conference with only a few obvious choices. We tend to think that the Texas Longhorns (+500) have dipped too far to win this conference crown and that the Texas A&M Aggies (+300) are incredibly overrated. The Oklahoma State Cowboys (+800) have some real potential with this offense. However, none of these teams really hold a candle to what the Oklahoma Sooners (-250) are offering. QB Landry Jones and WR Ryan Broyles make up the most lethal passing combination in the country, and this year, we know that Head Coach Bob Stoops is going to have his defense playing significantly better ball. This is a team that has 11-1 written all over it this season, and that’ll be good enough to walk away from this conference.

2011 Big East Picks: The Big East is really a crapshoot this season, as it usually is. The West Virginia Mountaineers (+175) are the favorites on the college football odds once again, but it really seems to be that way every single season. We’re just not buying what the ‘Neers are selling. The up and coming team from last year was the Syracuse Orange (+1500), and they have themselves a great price this season. However, the pick in the Big East is the South Florida Bulls (+350) from our standpoint. QB BJ Daniels rounded into form in USF’s bowl game, and we know that he is going to be able to shine under Head Coach Skip Holtz. It’s only a matter of time until this team finally makes it to the BCS, and though it might only be via an 8-4 season, this is the year for the Bulls.

2011 Big 10 Picks: This is a tough, tough division to try to handicap this year. The Ohio State Buckeyes (+500) might be the fourth choice on the board, but they are definitely going to still be contenders, contrary to popular belief with QB Terrelle Pryor. The favorites are the Wisconsin Badgers (+175) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers (+150). We’re not so sure that Big Red is going to be able to march right into this conference and come away with the conference crown, but this year, we are all about the Badgers. Wisconsin has really done a great job building a heck of a program, and adding QB Russell Wilson for this year to the bunch only made things all the more intriguing. If he can keep his team on the move offensively, the defense for Head Coach Bret Bielema is always fantastic.

2011 Pac-12 Picks: Forget about the South Division of the newly formed Pac-12. This conference only has five eligible teams, and we know that the only team that could possibly sneak up on anyone is the Arizona State Sun Devils (+450). The Utah Utes (+500) aren’t coming into a big boy conference and winning a BCS bid in their first try no matter how good QB Jordan Wynn is. Instead, we have to go with the two National Championship contenders, the Oregon Ducks (+125) and the Stanford Cardinal (+250). We wouldn’t be opposed to taking both teams and pretty much guaranteeing ourselves the North Division representative in the first Pac-12 Championship Game. The only reason we suggest this is because the meeting of these two developing rivals is play on “The Farm” this year instead of in Autzen. The Ducks have the better team, but the winner of that Oregon/Stanford game is winning this conference.

2011 SEC Picks: It feels like we’ve been saying “Go West, young man” when we’re handicapping the SEC for a number of years. Save for the Florida Gators (+175), there really haven’t been any contenders emerge from the East Division to be a National Championship contender. Florida isn’t quite there this year yet under first year Head Coach Will Muschamp, but the South Carolina Gamecocks (+650) probably are. The only thing that scares us is that the team’s first SEC game is at the Georgia Bulldogs (+500), who are also worth a flyer to win this conference. The teams in the West, the Alabama Crimson Tide (+170) and the LSU Tigers (+450) are just overhyped this year, so go with either the Dawgs or the Cocks from the East and take your chances.

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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