ARE YOU READY FOR SOME HILLTOPPER FOOTBALL?

There is nothing like the excitment of a new college football season just over the horizon. Predictions are part of the fun so let's take a look at the Hilltoppers first three games.

This is the best time of the year to be an avid college football fan. Every team in America is 0-0 and everyone has aspirations of winning championships. Fans search down the roster of their favorite teams and point why there really aren't any weaknesses and why they can beat each team on the schedule. With WKU about to kick off the start of fall camp, WKU fans are curious about the 2008 season and what it may hold for their beloved Hilltoppers.

When you look at the schedule the first thing you may notice is this is not your typical Hilltopper football schedule. It is not even close!  WKU has jumped in the deep end of the pool and is ready to make a statement in year two of division one football. The Hilltoppers play a tough schedule top to bottom this season and will have four opportunities to beat BCS conference teams.

You never know what can happen on any given Saturday. You can ask Michigan or Southern Cal fans and I'm sure they'll be in strong agreement. Ask a Bama fan and they'll probably tell you never in their wildest dreams did they believe Louisiana Monroe would beat Alabama. WKU fans saw the disbelief of MTSU fans after the Hilltoppers beat the Blue Raiders last season. I said all that to say this, that's why college football is so much fun. If a team wants it more, plays as team, and doesn't quit, anything is possible.

I do not think predictions can very accurate if at all before the first practice of fall camp. So much can happen before the first game of the season. Injuries, Lord forbid, are part of the game. If a key player your team is depending on goes down, it can have a serious negative impact. Injuries are just one of many issues that can affect a team before the first game of the season.

Alright, I have avoided the subject long enough. Here are my predictions for the upcoming season. I will break the season down in four parts starting with the first three games.

FIRST FOUR GAMES

The Hilltoppers open the season at Indiana. The Hoosiers made a bowl game for the first time in over decade last season. I really like this game as the opener for the Hilltoppers. IU is a solid football team and a member of the Big Ten. They had a couple of big wins last season and but didn't play well in their bowl game. The will run a no huddle attack and try to spread the ball around on offense. Defensively the Hoosiers have struggled against the run and better passing teams. As always special teams will play a part in the outcome. IU appears to be sound in the kicking game and an All American kicker, Austin Starr, to depend on.  I believe Cody Hughes and his fellow linemen will have a big year and will make a statement in this game. One concern for WKU will be the defensive line and also replacing graduated "tackling machine" Andre Lewis. WKU's secondary should be strong and lead by a host of returning players will plenty of experience. Depth could be an issue by the fourth quarter but if the Hilltoppers have a lead or are within striking distance, I like our chances.  This is the upset special for opening day for the 2008 college football season, WKU 27 IU 24.  For a preview of the 2008 Indiana Hoosiers follow this link http://cfn.scout.com/2/750809.html

Week two the Hilltoppers travel to Eastern Kentucky to for the Battle of the Blue Grass. These two schools simply don't like one another. This is a rivalry game and as I stated earlier, anything is possible on any given Saturday. However, I expect WKU to win this game and win this game handily. The only problem I really see is that this is a sandwich game between two BCS programs and it could be very easy for players to overlook EKU and ahead to the game against Alabama.  Coach Elson is just too good of a head coach to allow that to happen. If you watched the team practice following the loss to the Gators last season you'd know what I am talking about.  My prediction for this game is WKU 38 EKU 10.

For the third game of the season the Hilltoppers travel to Alabama to take on the Crimson Tide. Alabama is in the Southeastern Conference and as with most SEC teams; they will be big, fast, and talented. Offensively, Bama will pound it between the tackles, attack the edges, run screens, and throw all over the field. Bama can be very multiple on offense seeking to attack weakness while playing to their strengths.  It will be paramount for the Hilltopper defense to stop the run, force turnovers and not allow big plays to win the game. Defensively, the Tide will play fast, bring pressure, and try to force mistakes and turnovers. Alabama should be sound in the kicking game and has one of the best return threats in college football in Javier Arenas. I'll have to step away from my Hilltopper kool-aide and not look through my Big Red glasses for this prediction.  On paper, Alabama is bigger, faster, and has more depth then WKU. The Hilltoppers could suffer the first loss of the season and be 2-1 after this game.  For a preview of the 2008 Alabama Crimson Tide follow this link http://cfn.scout.com/2/745600.html

So there you have it, my predictions for the first three games of the season. The next three games will be available soon. I could be absolutely right or absolutely wrong. This is what makes being a rabid college football fan so much fun. Your favorite team may be on the verge of their greatest season in the history of the program.  However, your favorite team may be on the verge of its biggest disappointment of unrealized potential in recent memory. It is what it is and we all love it!

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