Written by Frank Jordan of VegasTopDogs.com
Its fall which means another start to football season and before the pros lace them up the college kids kick things off. It was a very interesting offseason and should make for a big year with all the changes in conferences for some team, but in the end the main schools of the major conferences will be there or can there be some outside school stepping up to throw a wrinkle in things?
The SEC has dominated the top of the college rankings the last ten years winning the National Championship each of the last seven years and eight of 10 with one of those two years they didn’t win it they were the runner up. This year coming into the season they have six teams ranked in the top 25 of the AP poll and five are in the top 10 and two in the top three. The winner of the Alabama vs. LSU game on Saturday November 3rd will determine there representative in the title game barring something big.
The newly named PAC-12 is looking to return to glory as they have the AP number one team in USC and a second team in Oregon in the top five. Overall they have three teams in the top 25 with Stanford at number 21. USC had a good run during the mid 2000’s, but after scandals came out they had fallen on some hard times as far as getting to the top of the rankings. Look for USC to make a push for their spot back in the title game or at least the Rose Bowl unless Oregon has anything to do with it. These two teams like LSU vs. Alabama play on Saturday November 3rd which could lead to the top two teams in the nation with the dust settles on that day.
The Big East and the ACC are thought of more as basketball conferences and for the most part that is true, but they can still make some noise and rack up the wins in football also. The Big East has just one team in the AP top 25 in Louisville who is number 25, but they did earn that finishing strong winning five of their last six which is hopefully where they will pick up to start the season. The ACC has an even stronger football conference with three teams in the top 16 of the AP top 25 with FSU at number seven, Clemson at number 14 and Virginia Tech at number 16. FSU did go 9-4 last year and won their bowl game, but they need to improve against ranked opponents and on the road if they are going to improve on that nine win mark.
The Big 12 is kind of gotten lost in the big SEC and PAC-12 hoopla as they still have a top 5 AP team in Oklahoma and have the most top 25 teams with West Virginia at 11, Texas at 15, Nebraska at 17, Oklahoma State at 19, TCU at 20 and Kansas State at 22 to go along with Oklahoma. Oklahoma wins out and USC, Oregon, LSU or Alabama falter they can slide right it to be the top team in the land and lock in a spot in Miami.
The Big 10 has had their share of issues with two of their biggest schools getting hit with sanctions of late. Ohio State is finally off and ready to do some damage with Urban Myer at the helm and Penn State has a lot of rebuilding to do within the team, campus, country, community and court of public opinion. With all that behind them the Big 10 does have an AP top 10 team entering the year in Michigan at number eight. They also have three other teams in the top 20 with Wisconsin at 12, Michigan State at 13 and the aforementioned Ohio State at 18. Michigan plays number two Alabama in week one and if they can knock of the number two team, then look for a big shake up at the top and Michigan to try and take a big step towards Miami and a national championship possibility.
Non BCS power conference team on the rise is . . . ? There isn’t one on the rise as we all know this team very well but they are still an outsider in the Mountain West Conference and that is of course Boise State. Boise State is ranked number 24 coming into the season and finished 2011 12-1 including a win over #19 Georgia to start the season, however they have to be perfect as they play a weaker schedule. This year they start up against number 13 Michigan State and if they can win that road game it looks impressive, but would still need to win out to attempt to get a big bowl game.
Out of the top eight teams in the AP top 25 right now they will only have six total losses. USC will go undefeated and be in the Championship game as they only face two ranked opponents in the regular season and they have the home game against Oregon which they will win and beat them again in the PAC-12 Championship game because of the home field. Oklahoma has to face four ranked teams during the regular season but all in the high teens or 20’s so they have an easy route and will meet USC in Miami for the Championship game after going undefeated also. Alabama and LSU will each go 11-1 as the SEC is so tough and one will lose when they face each other and the other will get tripped up along the way probably right before or after the big November 3rd game either looking ahead or taking someone too lightly. Oregon will go 11-2 as they will lose twice to USC, but still play in the Rose Bowl as USC will get to the Championship game. Michigan will fight hard in their three tough games against Alabama, Michigan State and Ohio State, but will lose to two of those teams and go 10-2. Georgia plays in the easier of the two SEC divisions but it is still the SEC and they will get tripped up either during the regular season or in the SEC championship game so they will have 1-2 losses on the year. FSU plays in an easy ACC however they do have some teams on the rise and FSU has a date with Florida and that instate rivalry does tend to be a tough one.
In the end the National Championship game between USC and Oklahoma will be won by Oklahoma 31-26. Oklahoma is your National Champion!