BCS National Championship Prediction
Written by Curt Popejoy on 08/27/2012
With the recent announcement that starting in 2014 there would be a huge change in the format of the BCS level of college football with a 4 team playoff, articles like this are going to be dinosaurs. Instead I’ll have to turn my attention to predicting my “final 4” so to speak, assuming I can keep straight which conference has rights to which bowl and which bowl is hosting a semifinal game and blah blah blah, let’s just move on.
This year thankfully for me, it is business as usual, so that means the most beloved yet maligned BCS championship is a hot debate. Let me say this about this year’s crop of teams. There are at least 10 teams that can make it to the title game. Having said that, while I do think the list of potential candidates to play in the game is long, I really only see a handful of those teams that have the talent to win it. Let’s break them down, shall we?
Alabama-Last year was no fluke. The 2011 version of the Crimson Tide was dominant and not just on defense. Everyone watched Alabama struggle on offense against fellow SEC rival LSU, but when you consider just how good the Tigers were, it was easy to see how Alabama scored almost at will against everyone else. This year the offense is going to lean more heavily on the passing game and Junior quarterback AJ McCarron. But there’s a good chance this defense could actually be better than last year, and on that alone they will be a contender all season long.
LSU-Another powerhouse SEC team that is going to count on a dominant defense(best in the nation) to win. One thing I think that works in LSU’s favor this year is Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee are gone and the team can focus on a point of consistency with Zach Mettenberger. I have no doubt that this LSU team will be better on offense than last year and that could be a huge problem for everyone that the Tigers play. And this team gets no penalty for losing cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. This defense is simply too deep for it to be a long term problem.
USC-Last season there were people who thought that the Trojans were the best team in the country, and if not for their sanctions would have been playing for a BCS title game. While I don’t share that level of enthusiasm, I do think that USC can roll through a PAC-12 that is down in talent across the board and they already have the media on their side. But make no mistake, USC is talented, led by one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Matt Barkley and the top tandem of wide outs for him to throw to. Their defense is quick and aggressive and have a knack for the big play. Not to mention this team has a chip on its shoulder from last season and will be looking for payback. You add in Penn State transfer running back Silas Redd and it'll really just be a case of the defense doing it's job to keep them in games.
Oklahoma-While the Sooners may not be the best at anything they do, they might be the best all around team in the nation. They are led by a top tier college quarterback in Landry Jones, and even minus the suspended wide outs a stocked group of pass catchers. The defense is built around a veteran secondary that will need to play well while some new pieces on the front 7 get things together. But they play in a very winnable Big 12 and will be ranked high from the start of the year, which will help them in the end. Their schedule is very favorable, and should really help them slide into a BCS Bowl. Assuming they don’t trip up against their rivals Texas and Oklahoma State they could finish the season undefeated.
Florida State-If you break a team down by what it takes to be successful, the Seminoles absolutely look the part. Experienced senior quarterback in EJ Manuel, tons of athletes at the skills positions, and a stifling defense are all there. Also, their schedule is quite favorable. Their worst game of the year against West Virginia is a home game and early in the season. They win that, they could be in a great spot to win out, with maybe 1 loss against Clemson or Virginia Tech but still firmly in the driver’s seat for a BCS bid.
Oregon-If USC isn’t as good as we all think, than it’ll be the Oregon Ducks who upset their plans. There is something that just can’t replace speed, and this team has it in and then some. QB Bryan Bennett, RB Kenjon Barner, and WR De’Anthony Thomas are the fastest trio on any team in the nation. They will be matchup nightmares for every defense they face, even the Trojans. The key to this team’s success is getting better play out of their defensive secondary, especially for that November road game against USC.
Georgia-On paper, the Bulldogs might be the most talented team in the SEC on both sides of the football. No, they don’t have the raw depth of talent on defense that LSU or Alabama has, but there are some first round picks on there for sure. And neither the Tigers nor Tide have a player like Aaron Murray under center, or a wide receiver tandem like Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell. And their schedule is very favorable to head into the SEC championship game undefeated.
All the rest
Teams like Michigan, Arkansas, West Virginia, Clemson, Texas, and Wisconsin are all in that next tier. Very talented teams but all flawed somehow in a way that keeps me from looking at them as a true contender. Whether it’s the problems Texas is having at quarterback or Clemson on defense, there is something that keeps them in the BCS mix, but not the NC picture.
But who is going to win it all? Part of winning a national championship is attrition. You have to trudge through your schedule and win. For a couple more seasons, this regular season will remain the most important in all of sports, so winning every game is vital. Teams like Alabama and LSU obviously have to play each other. But as we saw last year, the of that game may not impact the BCS championship game. But this year I think it’ll be different. I think Alabama’s offense is going to break through and separate themselves from LSU. On the other side, this seems to be the year that USC gets back in the title game. Their passing offense is going to be efficient and productive, and the defense is loaded with athletes. There are some really nice teams out there, but I’m putting on the Crimson Tide to take on the Trojans in the BCS title game, with the dominant defense of Alabama winning out over the offense of USC. It’ll be an epic game, but in the end, it’s Roll Tide 2 years in a row.
Last Edited: 08/27/2012