Michigan vs. Alabama September 1st, 2012 (Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas)
An extremely intriguing matchup given that Alabama returns tons of talent and Michigan is poised to make a statement after a (11-2) season. After Alabama took care of Penn State with a 27-11 victory in 2011. Can they dominate the Big 10 again? Will Alabama’s defense be able to control the versatile Denard Robinson who scored 16 TDs in 2011 and has brought new life to a Michigan program hungry for respect?
Early Pick: Alabama
Why: Tide’s defense and game managing QB A.J. McCarron.
Notre Dame @ Oklahoma October 27th, 2012
Oklahoma will be great next year with the return of QB Landry Jones. I’ll take the Sooner’s in this one as ND will be tired after having played Michigan State, Miami, Stanford and BYU. Although, ND should continue to get better look for Oklahoma to avenge last years disappointing (10-3) season with a huge year and a favorable schedule. Can newly touted starters in the ND secondary be able to control WR’s Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds? Probably not…
Early Pick: Oklahoma
Why: Kenny Stills and Landry Jones should lead an explosive offense once again.
Michigan @ Notre Dame September 22nd, 2012
This game has emerged into an instant classic every year, especially after each team has made strides in recent seasons. With a 35-31 victory in the Big House last fall expect Notre Dame to come out looking for revenge. If Notre Dame can get a grip on its QB situation the Irish could be (3-0) going into a huge national spectacle at home. However despite this, Michigan’s season most likely will be on the line as an early loss to Alabama could send them into a panic mode.
2011 Score: Michigan: 34 Notre Dame: 31
Betting Analysis: Michigan is (5-1) Last Six Games against the spread, winning 4 out of the last 5 years.
Early Pick: Michigan
Why: Denard Robinson proves to be too much to handle as the defense disrupts a new Irish QB.
Boise State @ Michigan State August 31st, 2012
Given that Kellen Moore has departed Boise State will begin a new era when they take the field August 31st. With only 2 defensive returnees expect the Bronco’s to be a bit lost on defense and for Michigan State to be the favorite. Michigan State proved to be legit last year as they went (11-3), however they too will have to break in a newcomer at QB. Expect 8 defensive starters for MSU to play well and standout running back Le’Veon Bell to have some great runs in this one.
Early Pick: Boise State
Why: Boise State is going to have to make a statement early and this is the perfect game to do so.
Florida @ Florida State November 24th, 2012
Game could potentially mean everything for the Noles who could come into the game boasting an undefeated record if they play up to their potential. With E.J. Manuel at QB FSU will be looking for there third consecutive win over the Gators in 2012. If Florida can put its QB struggles aside this game may be close, however at this moment I will take FSU. 2012 is a make of break season for FSU. After a 9-4 campaign in 2011 look for the Noles to bounce back.
Early Pick: Florida State
Why: I feel like everything could align in 2012 given that 2011 was a huge disappointment for FSU. Could this have been what they needed to get over the hump.
South Carolina @ Clemson November 24th, 2012
Will be a very interesting matchup as a high powered offense that features QB Tajh Boyd & WR Sammy Watkins will face a defense with stars such as Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor. The Clemson defense will strive to improve especially on the defensive line, after giving up 34 points to the Gamecocks last year. Defense will be the main focus for the Tigers. In my opinion look for RB Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw to bounce back, however in my opinion a vengeful Tigers team will hold the battle much closer than last year’s game.
2011 Score: South Carolina: 34 Clemson: 13
Betting Analysis: South Carolina (5-1) last 6 against the spread
Early Pick: Clemson
Why: Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins are hungry for revenge.
Notre Dame @ Southern California November 24th, 2012
Always one of my favorite match ups of the year and USC will emerge victorious once again. Given that the game will be in LA this is a huge advantage for the Trojans and a hassle for a team that will already be more than intimidated when they will have to play a team most likely that will be (11-0) or (10-1). Look for USC’s elite speed to take over once again and for Barkley to pick apart the Irish’s overwhelmed secondary. USC has won 9 out of the last 10 games in the famous rivalry.
2011 Score: USC 31 Notre Dame: 17
Betting Analysis: USC (4-1) against the spread: Last 5 @ home
Early Pick: USC
Why: USC will be too much to handle on offense and Barkley will be looking to solidify his Heisman Trophy at this point.
BYU @ Utah September 15th, 2012
Battle of Utah. Taking Utah early, as Jordan Wynn should have a bounce back year. I feel that Utah may be the only other legitimate contender in the Pac 12 and will be looking to show this holy state who is boss. As both teams try to build on successful seasons last year and return a solid number of starters look for this game to be closer than last years 54-10 victory by Utah.
2011 Score: Utah: 54 BYU: 10
Betting Analysis: Utah (3-1) last 4 against the spread (4-1) last 4 @ home
Early Pick: Utah
Why: Jordan Wynn is finally back and healthy.
Auburn vs. Clemson September 1st, 2012 (Atlanta)
This is going to be a great game. Auburn returns 18 starters and should build after a (8-5) season and a 24-38 loss to Clemson. Home field advantage will definitely play a role in the outcome. Set to be decided early in the year the games winner will be given a huge boost of confidence. A victory in a game as big as this could set forward a run by either team. If Auburn can come into the game with good QB play they could keep it closer . The Tigers however need this one as momentum is important going into games at Mississippi State, LSU and Arkansas.
Last Years Score: Clemson 34 Auburn 24
Betting Analysis: Clemson (3-1) Last 4 against the spead
Early Pick: Auburn
Why: Gene Chizik has had this one marked on the calendar for awhile.
Miami vs. Notre Dame @ (Chicago)
I wish both these teams were in better situations, however this should be a great matchup. If ND doesn’t have its QB issues resolved Miami could capitalize as the DB’s are the strong suit on a Miami team returning 11 starters. Stephen Morris at QB for Miami is intriguing however given that Im already jumping on a successful Irish campaign this up coming fall I expect this game to be won by the Irish, given that this is pretty much a home game.
Betting Analysis: Miami (1-3) last 4 against the spread
Early Pick: Miami
Why: The Hurricanes are looking for a big win to put them back on the map, Chicago provides them the opportunity.
Washington @ LSU September 8th, 2012
Pac 12 offense vs. SEC defense… Keith Price is the Huskies only hope as they have to travel into one of the toughest places to win in college football. LSU is loaded up again and should pound Washington’s offense and defense into the ground. Defensive stars such as Eric Reid, Barkevious Mingo and Tyrann Mathieu will be too much to handle for the Huskies. Expect a 35-14 type of game as LSU and Zach Mettenberger will be trying to find comfort in the offense early in the season.
Early Pick: LSU
Why: SEC defense all day…
Navy vs. Notre Dame September 1st, 2012 (Dublin, Ireland)
Being played in Dublin, Ireland? This is a first. After a (56-14) Irish victory last year expect a big day once again. In my opinion ND is on the upswing and will look to start strong in 2012. Unfortunately I just don’t think Navy will have the athletes to make this one competitive as ND has begun to bring in solid talent under Coach Kelly. If Midshipmen RB’s Gee Gee Greene and John Howell are contained early this should be a another very long day. I’ll be taking ND to cover in this one, however do consider the effects of the long haul overseas.
2011 Score: Notre Dame: 56 Navy: 14
Early Pick: Notre Dame
Why: I doubt Navy has improved that much from last season. Shipmen won’t be able to keep up.