2011-12 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

14 days. 336 hours. 20,160 minutes. 1,209,600 seconds.

This is how much longer we have to wait until Murray State and Louisville kick-off,which will start the entire 2011-12 college football season.

Which teams will shine in 2011-12? Which will fail? It’s time to find out.

Big Ten:

Winner- Wisconsin Badgers-With Russell Wilson at quarterback, and the Montee Ball-James White combination in the backfield, plus a solid

If Montee Ball can keep running past defenses and racking up touchdowns, then the Badgers are in for a stellar year

defense, expect the Badgers to win the Big Ten once again.

Surprise Team to Watch- Northwestern Wildcats- The Wildcats have Dan Persa returning at quarterback, and mixed with great receivers, their offense has firepower. The only thing that may hold them back, though, is their defense.

Player to Watch- Montee Ball (Wisconsin, RB)- It will be interesting to see if Ball can keep doing what he started last year (that is, rushing for 864 yards with 17 touchdowns in the second-half of the season)

Biggest Question- How will Ohio State fair?- It will be tough for Ohio State given that they don’t have former coach Jim Tressel or former quarterback Terelle Pryor. I think Luke Fickell is a good coach, though, and can lead them to a decent year. Let’s say 7-5.

Big 12:

Winner- Oklahoma State Cowboys– Oklahoma State has Brandon Weeden returning for a 6th year, and mixed with the best receiver in the nation, Justin Blackmon, the Cowboys are out to win the Big 12.

Surprise Team to Watch- Oklahoma Sooners- Oklahoma has both quarterback Landry Jones and receiver Ryan Broyles returning, and with the same great defense, the Sonners will thrive in 2011-12.

Player to Watch- Garett Gilbert (Texas, QB)- Gilbert had a horrendous 2010-11 season, and led the Longhorns to a 5-7 record, I think he has the

Garett Gilbert struggled for Texas last year, but all signs point to him rebounding this year.

skills and raw talent to rebound, and play better this year.

Biggest Question- Will Texas get to a bowl game this year?- I think so, last year they lost some close games, but I think they have the talent, and with Coach Mack Brown, a 7-5 season seems realistic for Texas.

SEC:

Winner- LSU Tigers- If  quarterback Jordan Jefferson plays well, the Tigers will win the SEC, it’s that simple. Their defense and supporting cast is good enough to bring them an SEC title if, and only if Jefferson plays well.

Surprise Team to Watch- Alabama Crimson Tide- Many people think that without Greg McElroy and Mark Ingram, Alabama will struggle. I think not. With a fantastic defense, and Trent Richardson at running back, who may be better than Mark Ingram, Alabama could surprise a lot of people.

Player to Watch- Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina, DE)- Clowney was the nations number 1 recruit, drawing comparisons to Julius Peppers, it’s time to find out if he can live up to all of the hype.

Biggest Question- Without Cam Newton, will Auburn do well?- It’s a simple no. Cam Newton was the entire Auburn offense, and the offense will have trouble without him. Also, the defense will struggle without Nick Fairley. It will not be a fun season for Auburn.

Pac 12:

Winner- Oregon Ducks- Oregon’s fast, explosive offense led by Darron Thomas and LaMichael James will carry them to the Pac 12 crown even though their defense is lacking.

Surprise Team to Watch- Utah Utes- In their first year as a part of the Pac 12, I expect Utah to do well led by quarterback Jordan Wynn.

Player to Watch- Andrew Luck (Stanford, QB)- Luck decided to pass up big money in the NFL last season, and coming back to Stanford, expect him to put up big numbers and lead the Cardinal to another great season.

Biggest Question- Will Andrew Luck have as good of a season as he did last year?– Yes he will, and even a better season. There seems no

Expect Stanford's Andrew Luck to keep picking apart defenses in 2011-12.

reason that someone of Luck’s ability would have a Jake Locker type season, expect great things out of Luck and Stanford.

ACC:

Winner- Florida State Seminoles- Even without Christian Ponder, Florida State will do great in 2011-12. They had the best recruiting class, and that will serve them well on the football field.

Surprise Team to Watch- Miami Hurricanes- Even though Miami is having trouble with the NCAA, they can put it al behind them and let Jacory Harris lead them to a standout year.

Player to Watch- James Wilder (Florida State, RB)- The highlight of FSU’s amazing recruiting class, we’ll have to see if Wilder can play as well as the scouts say he will.

Biggest Question- After losing most of their good players to the NFL draft, how will North Carolina fare in 2011-12?- I think that North Carolina will be average, they lost most of their talent, but still have a good defense led by Quinton Coples. I think the Tar Heels will be 5-7.

Big East:

Winner- West Virginia Mountaineers- West Virginia’s offense isn’t great, but a great defense will be enough to propel them to the top of a lowly Big East.

Surprise Team to Watch- Syracuse Orange- Even though Syracuse is lacking in the talent department, coach Doug Marrone will find a way for Syracuse to have a solid year.

Player to Watch- Tino Sunseri (Pittsburgh, QB)- Sunseri had a great year last season, at it will be fascinating to see if he can help Pittsburgh compete in the Big East.

Biggest Question- Will the Big East have a BCS worthy team this year?- No, the best team in the Big East is West Virginia, who is definitely not BCS worthy, I doubt the Big East’s BCS team will be one who belongs there.

The Heisman Award:

Candidates: Andrew Luck (Stanford), Lamichael James (Oregon), Montee Ball (Wisconsin), Justin Blackmon (Ok. State), Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma)

Winner: Andrew Luck (Stanford)

BCS Bowls (Winners Underlined):

Discover Orange Bowl- Alabama vs. Florida State 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl- West Virginia vs. Oklahoma

The Oregon Ducks may very well be the champions of the College Football world at the end of the season.

Allstate Sugar Bowl-  Michigan State vs. LSU

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio- Stanford vs. Wisconsin

Allstate BCS National Championship Game- Oklahoma State vs. Oregon

There are 119 division 1 football teams in the nation, but do you know how many of them can be the champion?

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By Sam Brief

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