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Midseason Crystal Ball

SI.com's experts give their forecasts for second half

Posted: Thursday October 12, 2006 10:25AM; Updated: Thursday October 12, 2006 2:35PM
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Can anyone stop dynamic quarterback Troy Smith and Ohio State from going wire to wire as the nation's No. 1 team?
Can anyone stop dynamic quarterback Troy Smith and Ohio State from going wire to wire as the nation's No. 1 team?
Matthew Emmons/US PRESSWIRE
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SI.com's college football writers Stewart Mandel, Luke Winn, Cory McCartney and Mark Beech provide their predictions for the second half of the season.

BCS predictions

Mandel:
National title: Ohio State vs. Florida
Rose: Michigan vs. USC
Fiesta: Texas vs. Louisville
Orange: Clemson vs. West Virginia
Sugar: Notre Dame vs. Tennessee

Winn:
National title: Ohio State vs. Texas
Rose: Michigan vs. Cal
Fiesta: USC vs. Louisville
Orange: Clemson vs. Tennessee
Sugar: Notre Dame vs. Florida

McCartney:
National title: Ohio State vs. West Virginia
Rose: Michigan vs. Cal
Fiesta: Texas vs. Boise State
Orange: Clemson vs. Tennessee
Sugar: Notre Dame vs. Florida

Beech:
National title: Ohio State vs. West Virginia
Rose: Michigan vs. USC
Fiesta: Texas vs. Boise State
Orange: Clemson vs. Tennessee
Sugar: Notre Dame vs. Florida

National champ

Mandel: Ohio State. Needless to say, I'm much more comfortable with the Buckeyes than I was going into the season. The offense is a machine and the defense is making opposing quarterbacks' lives miserable.

Winn: Ohio State. I stayed away from the Buckeyes in the preseason Crystal Ball, not because of a lack of faith in Troy Smith but because of their defense, which I figured would break down at some point against either Texas, Iowa, Michigan State or Michigan. After Week 6, OSU has the No. 1 scoring D in the country and my doubts are long gone.

McCartney: Ohio State. I'm sticking with my preseason pick and riding Troy Smith & Co. to the title. They turned road trips to Texas and Iowa into breezes, and the defense, which is tied for No. 1 in the nation with 12 interceptions, has been sensational.

Beech: Ohio State. The Buckeyes are playing with so much confidence on both sides of the ball. I'm beginning to think that their only real opponent is complacency ... until their Nov. 18 date with Michigan, that is.

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