College Football Predictions
Here are the Locksmith Sports predictions on which schools will win their respective conferences in 2012. Click on the conference links at the bottom of the page to check out conference and individual team previews.
SEC Champion: LSU Tigers -The SEC has backed up its claim that it is the strongest league in the country by capturing the last six BCS championships. Alabama got the best of LSU in last season’s national title game, and that loss should drive the Tigers all season. That was LSU’s only defeat, and it figures to have an opportunity to run the table this year. Alabama will once again be tough, but the Tigers should have the edge getting the Tide in Baton Rouge.
Big 12 Conference Champion: Oklahoma Sooners – Oklahoma looked to be a national title contender in 2011, but it disappointed with a 10-3 record. That disappointment will fuel the Sooners this year. They will also benefit from quarterback Landry Jones coming back. Oklahoma State and Baylor, who defeated the Sooners in 2011, both lost key offensive weapons. Those programs taking a step back only help Oklahoma’s chances.
Big Ten Conference Champion: Michigan Wolverines – After an 11-2 season and second place finish in the Legends division, the Wolverines appear ready to win their first Big Ten title since 2004. Dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson is one of the most electrifying athletes in all of college football, and the majority of a defense that ranked sixth nationally in points allowed per game (17.4) is back.
Pac-12 Conference Champion: USC Trojans – With Heisman Trophy contender Matt Barkley back, USC just might have what it takes to run the table. An offense that ranked 21st nationally with 456.8 yards per game in 2011 could be even more explosive. Oregon looks to be the only team capable of standing in USC’s way, and it doesn’t figure to be quite as good as it was a year ago when it lost to the Trojans.
ACC Champion: Florida State Seminoles – The Seminoles should rebound from last season’s disappointing 9-4 finish to win the ACC. They boast one of the top defenses in all of college football and the offense is loaded with talent. It just needs a little bit better line play this season. The schedule sets up well for the Noles as well. They get Clemson at home and a bye week before facing Virginia Tech.
Big East Conference Champion: Louisville Cardinals – The Cards look like they’re going to be a force for years to come under the direction of Charlie Strong. He guided them to a share of the Big East title last season, and I expect his team to return to the top. Outside of road dates with Pittsburgh and Rutgers, the rest of the schedule looks very favorable. A 10-win campaign isn’t out of the question.
Top Independent: Notre Dame -The Fighting Irish are clearly the most talented independent and should prove to be the top independent in 2012 despite facing a difficult schedule that includes Michigan, Stanford, Michigan State, USC and Oklahoma. Notre Dame should be tough as nails on defense, and the offense will improve as long as it takes better care of the football. The Irish get fellow independents BYU and Navy at home and on a neutral field, respectively. It should take care of business in both of those.
BCS Championship Prediction: USC over LSU