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2012 Review: Last season, Ohio State ushered in a new era for their revered football program due to a myriad of offseason controversy. The infamous “Tattoo-Gate” scandal combined with other various suspensions left the Buckeyes without their head coach, starting quarterback, and a number of other key contributors. Interim coach Luke Fickell and his depleted squad scratch and clawed their way to bowl eligibility, finishing the regular season at 6-6. Despite a 24-17 Gator Bowl loss to Florida, the Buckeyes enter 2012/2013 with heightened expectations thanks to new head coach Urban Meyer, rising sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, and an impressive recruiting class.

Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller (Kyle Robertson, Columbus Dispatch)

Offense: Urban Meyer arrives in Columbus with plans to employ his high-powered spread offense that had been so successful during his tenure at Florida. Dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller (1,159 passing yards, 715 rushing yards) could not be a more perfect fit for this system. Thrown to the wolves a season ago as a true freshman, Miller showed incredible poise and command in the pocket, and should only improve with another year of seasoning. Junior Carlos Hyde and freshman Bri’onte Dunn will get the majority of backfield carries, while speedy senior Jordan Hall should get touches at running back and receiver. Fullback Zach Boren is one of the best blockers for his position in the country. Two returning starters, tackle Jack Mewhort and tight end Jake Stoneburner, were recently removed from scholarship after offseason arrests. Assuming these players do not return in the fall, the Buckeyes will be left with only one returning starter on the offensive line and a young, inexperienced receiving corps.

Cornerback Travis Howard (7) (Jamie Sabau, Getty Images)

Defense: Nine starters are back for co-defensive coordinators Luke Fickell and Everett Withers. Senior John Simon (7 sacks) and junior Johnathan Hankins, potential All-Americans, anchor what is sure to be on the nation’s best defensive lines. A trio of talented freshmen, Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington, and Tommy Schutt, should allow the Buckeyes to go 3-deep at every line position. The linebacking corps, although young, should be much faster than a year ago. Seniors Storm Klein and Etienne Sabino are steady tacklers while sophomores Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier are primed for breakout seasons. The secondary returns five players with starting experience, including lockdown corners Travis Howard and Bradley Roby. Juniors C.J. Barnett (75 tackles) and Christian Bryant (70 tackles) give OSU two ballhawking safeties.

Impact Newcomer: Last year’s starting running back Dan Herron has since departed, leaving an opening in the backfield alongside junior Carlos Hyde. Bri’onte Dunn, a freshman from Canton, Ohio enrolled at Ohio State in January and should be well acquainted with Urban Meyer’s offense after going through spring practice with the Buckeyes. The 6’2 215 four star recruit could sneak into a backup role and should get around 20-30 touches this fall.

Wide receiver Devin Smith (Jeremy Wadsworth, The Blade)

X Factor: A major goal of Urban Meyer’s first season in Columbus will be to improve a passing attack that ranked last in the Big Ten and 115th nationally at 127 yards-per-game. While Braxton Miller should be a much better passer this fall, the amount of experienced talent surrounding him still appears limited following the graduation of receiver DeVier Posey and the dismissal of tight end Jake Stoneburner. To make matters worse, depth along the offensive line looks very thin. Ohio State needs a big year from receivers Corey Brown, Devin Smith, Chris Fields, and Mike Thomas if they plan to see any improvement in the passing game.

2012 Ohio State Buckeyes Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
09/01/12
RedHawks Miami (OH) RedHawks 
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
12:00 p.m. ET
BTN & BTN2Go
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/08/12
Knights UCF Knights 
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
12:00 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/15/12
Golden Bears California Golden Bears 
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
12:00 p.m. ET
ABC
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/22/12
Blazers UAB Blazers 
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/29/12
Spartans at Michigan State Spartans 
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/06/12
Cornhuskers Nebraska Cornhuskers (HC)
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
8:00 p.m. ET
ABC/ESPN/2 TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/13/12
Hoosiers at Indiana Hoosiers 
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
8:00 p.m. ET
BTN & BTN2Go
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/20/12
Boilermakers Purdue Boilermakers 
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/27/12
Nittany Lions at Penn State Nittany Lions 
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
6:00 p.m. ET
ESPN or ESPN2
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/03/12
Fighting Illini Illinois Fighting Illini 
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/10/12
Open Date
Saturday
11/17/12
Badgers at Wisconsin Badgers 
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/24/12
Wolverines Michigan Wolverines 
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
12:00 p.m. ET
ABC
Buy
Tickets

Schedule Outlook: The Buckeyes open up with four home non-conference games before rattling off six Big Ten games in consecutive weeks. Following a bye, OSU travels to Madison to take on the Badgers before facing Michigan in Columbus on November 24th to end the year. NCAA sanctions will hold Ohio State out of postseason play for this season, but Urban Meyer will certainly find other ways to motivate his young squad. The defense should be better in 2012/2013 and will allow Ohio State to stay in games they may not deserve to win. If the offense, led by Miller, can make strides in the passing game, a nine win season does not appear to be a pipe dream. A conference slate that includes road trips to East Lansing, State College, and Madison will be tough to overcome, though, and that is why Ohio State currently lies just outside Gridiron Digest’s Preseason Top 25 Poll.

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Quarterback Landry Jones led the Sooners to a quick 6-0 start in 2011/2012 (Ronald Martinez, Getty Images)

2012 Review: The Sooners began last season with a bevy of expectations. Quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles were billed as one of the top offensive duos in the country, and a defense laden with savvy veterans was deemed good enough to justify a preseason #1 ranking for OU. For the first six games of the year, this enormous hype seemed warranted as Oklahoma charged to a 6-0 start, outscoring their opponents 272-95. Things began to fall apart for Oklahoma in week 8 during a 41-38 home loss to Texas Tech. The potent Sooner offense was exposed for being entirely one-dimensional, and the Oklahoma secondary, which was expected to be a team strength, was surrendering far too many yards. Two weeks later, Broyles tore his ACL, and OU’s national title hopes seemed to be shredded along with it. Oklahoma still managed to finish a respectable 10-3, and a horde of talent returns on both sides of the ball in 2012/2013.

Sooner wideout Kenny Stills (Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman)

Offense: Quarterback Landry Jones already holds the record for career passing yards at Oklahoma, and should rewrite the entire OU record books in 2012/2013 barring any major injury. Once dubbed as a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate, Jones should be one the Big-12’s top signal-callers despite a disappointing end to last season. His backup, Blake Bell, is a powerful runner who excels in goal line situations. The Sooners had a four-man running back rotation last season, led by former walk-on Dominique Whaley. Whaley, a junior, will be competing for carries with fellow juniors Brennan Clay and Roy Finch, along with sophomore Brandon Williams. Five offensive linemen with starting experience are back, including All-Big 12 performers Gabe Ikard and Tyler Evans. This group only allowed 9 sacks a season ago and should be a team strength once again. Receiver Kenny Stills, who caught 61 passes for 849 yards last year, is now the clear-cut number one target for Jones following the graduation of Ryan Broyles. The remainder of the receiving corps is entirely unknown, as projected starters Jaz Reynolds and Kameel Jackson were recently dismissed from the team.

Tom Wort highlights an imposing group of Sooner linebackers (Wesley Hitt, Getty Images)

Defense: Former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops is the new defensive coordinator at OU following the defection of Brent Venables to Clemson. He’ll have seven returning starters to work with from a defense that allowed 383 yards per game; good for 62nd in the country. Three former All Big-12 performers must be replaced, them being defensive ends Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis and linebacker Travis Lewis. The linebacking corps should be just fine, as Tom Wort (71 tackles, 3.5 sacks), Corey Nelson (59 tackles, 5.5 sacks), and Tony Jefferson (74 tackles, 4.5 sacks) spearhead a talented unit. Three starters return in the secondary, led by senior corner Demontre Hurst, but significant improvement must be made. The Sooners were 83rd in the country in pass defense a year ago, giving up 244 yards per game. Four seniors are lined up to start along the defensive line, led by tackles Casey Walker and Jamarkus McFarland. Former 5-star end R.J. Washington should have a productive year after a 5 sack 2011/2012 campaign.

Trey Metoyer could have a big year at receiver for OU (rivals.com)

Impact Newcomers: As part of Oklahoma’s 2012 recruiting class, Coach Bob Stoops signed five wide receivers rated with at least four stars. Seeing as only one receiver with starting experience returns for the Sooners, the opportunity is available for one or more incoming pass-catchers to make an impact for OU. Junior college transfers Trey Metoyer and Courtney Gardner will be counted on heavily in 2012/2013. Both have the necessary size (6’2 and 6’3) and speed (4.5 and 4.4 forties) to compete right away in the Big 12.

X Factor: The play of the young Oklahoma wide receivers will determine how successful OU is in 2012/2013. Former Sooners Jaz Reynolds and Kameel Jackson were the projected second and third receivers for Landry Jones until about a month ago, when both were suspended indefinitely by Coach Stoops. The two have since been removed from scholarship, leaving the door wide open for the five incoming Sooner receivers. The good news is that Metoyer simply dominated spring camp and has been praised by the coaches ever since he arrived in Norman.

2012 Oklahoma Sooners Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
09/01/12
Miners at UTEP Miners
Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/08/12
Rattlers Florida A&M Rattlers
Gaylord Family OK Mem. Stadium, Norman, OK
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/15/12
Open Date
Saturday
09/22/12
Wildcats Kansas State Wildcats 
Gaylord Family OK Mem. Stadium, Norman, OK
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/29/12
Open Date
Saturday
10/06/12
Red Raiders at Texas Tech Red Raiders 
Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/13/12
Longhorns Texas Longhorns
Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX
Time TBA
ABC
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/20/12
Jayhawks Kansas Jayhawks 
Gaylord Family OK Mem. Stadium, Norman, OK
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/27/12
Fighting Irish Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Gaylord Family OK Mem. Stadium, Norman, OK
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/03/12
Cyclones at Iowa State Cyclones 
Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/10/12
Bears Baylor Bears 
Gaylord Family OK Mem. Stadium, Norman, OK
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/17/12
Mountaineers at West Virginia Mountaineers 
Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, WV
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/24/12
Cowboys Oklahoma State Cowboys 
Gaylord Family OK Mem. Stadium, Norman, OK
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
12/01/12
Horned Frogs at TCU Horned Frogs 
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets

Schedule Outlook: The season begins with two walk-throughs before the Sooners face off with conference rival Kansas State in Norman. OU then travels to Texas Tech for a tough road game before meeting Texas in Dallas for the Red River Rivalry. Few teams will have a more challenging four game stretch to end the season than Oklahoma, as they play Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and TCU in consecutive weeks. Although I’m nowhere near as confident about the Sooners as I was a few weeks ago, I still see Bob Stoops’ squad as a 9 or 10 win team. There are still major question marks at running back, receiver, and in the secondary, but there’s simply too much talent at quarterback, offensive line, and in the defensive front seven for Oklahoma to lose more than 2 or 3 games. If OU can get by Kansas State on September 22nd, the schedule sets up nicely for a potential Big 12 title run.

2012 Review: Few teams were as explosive and exciting as the Oregon Ducks were a season ago. Despite an opening weekend defeat at the hands of BCS runner up LSU, the Ducks quacked to a 12-2 finish, with the only other loss being to rival USC. The offense put up some mind-boggling statistics, including 4,187 combined rushing yards, 42 rushing touchdowns, and a 38.5 points per game average. Coach Chip Kelly won his first BCS game as a head coach when Oregon outgunned Wisconsin 45-38 in the Rose Bowl. Many familiar names from the Ducks roster have since departed, but U of O has more than enough talent returning to make consecutive Rose Bowl trips quite probable.

Oregon sophomore De’Anthony Thomas, A.K.A. The Black Mamba (Harry How, Getty Images)

Offense: Chip Kelly must replace six starters from his record-setting 2012 offense including quarterback Darron Thomas, running back LaMichael James, and pass-catchers Lavasier Tuinei and David Paulson. Luckily, De’Anthony Thomas could make up for this lost production all by himself. The sophomore all-purpose back rushed for 595 yards, caught 46 passes for 605 yards, and accumulated 16 total touchdowns during his freshman season; he’s unquestionably of the most explosive players in the country. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota and sophomore Bryan Bennett are in a heated competition for the quarterback job. Bennett was 2-0 as a starter last year when Darron Thomas went down with an injury, but Mariota is budding with potential and had a spectacular spring. Whoever wins the job definitely has the tools to be successful in Oregon’s spread offense. Senior Kenjon Barner may be entering his first season as a starter for the Ducks, but the 5’11 195 pound running back still managed to compile 939 rushing yards and 11 TD’s a season ago despite being hampered by injuries. The offensive line should be strong once again and will receive a significant boost around midseason when senior guard Carson York is expected to return from a knee injury. Junior Josh Huff should be the top receiving target in 2012/2013, and will be complemented by 6’4 Daryle Hawkins who had a solid spring.

6’7 All-Pac 12 defensive end Dion Jordan (Cal Sports Media, AP Images)

Defense: Coordinator Nick Aliotti’s defense struggled at times in 2011/2012, finishing 60th overall and giving up 381 yards per game. A secondary that was stricken with youth a season ago should be much better, as the majority of last year’s cornerback snaps were taken by freshmen. Senior all-conference safety John Boyett and his 107 total tackles from last season should spearhead this unit. Senior Michael Clay (102 tackles, 13.5 for loss) is the team’s lone returning starter at linebacker, but Rose Bowl Defensive POTG Kiko Alonso and junior Boseko Lokombo are more than capable. The defensive line will be anchored by All-Pac 12 end Dion Jordan and tackle Taylor Hart. Jordan is on almost everyone’s early All-America lists while Hart has one of the best motors in the Pac 12. Improved continuity and consistency could make this one of the top defenses on the west coast.

Impact Newcomer: Arik Armstead surprised many when he announced his intentions to play defensive line in college rather than offensive line; a position seemingly less suitable for his 6’8 280 pound frame. He surprised even more people when he decommitted from USC and verbally committed to Oregon on January 29th. Despite the controversy, Armstead has the strength and size to play immediately for Coach Aliotti, and could provide a great complement to Dion Jordan at defensive end.

A DUI arrest could keep Josh Huff on the sidelines for Oregon’s first few games (Jonathan Ferry, Getty Images)

X Factor: On paper, Oregon has one of the more talented rosters in the country. The running game shouldn’t miss a beat even without LaMichael James, the defense will be improved, and there’s speed at every position. One question still lingers, though: Who’s going to catch passes from the quarterback? 6’5 Lavasier Tuinei was Oregon’s big target on the outside a season ago while tight end David Paulson was a reliable third down receiver over the middle. Josh Huff definitely has the speed and skills to be a number one wideout, but he is only 5’11 and could be facing a suspension stemming from a DUI arrest in March. De’Anthony Thomas is even shorter at 5’9 and could be spending more of his time in the backfield with Barner following the departure of LaMichael James to the NFL. Coach Kelly is counting on sophomore tight end Colt Lyerla and receiver Daryle Hawkins to emerge in 2012/2013.

2012 Oregon Ducks Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
09/01/12
Indians Arkansas State Red Wolves 
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/08/12
Bulldogs Fresno State Bulldogs 
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/15/12
Golden Eagles Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/22/12
Wildcats Arizona Wildcats 
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/29/12
Cougars at Washington State Cougars 
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/06/12
Huskies Washington Huskies 
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/13/12
Open Date
Thursday
10/18/12
Sun Devils at Arizona State Sun Devils 
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/27/12
Buffaloes Colorado Buffaloes 
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/03/12
Trojans at USC Trojans 
Los Angeles Mem. Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/10/12
Golden Bears at California Golden Bears 
California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/17/12
Cardinal Stanford Cardinal 
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/24/12
Beavers at Oregon State Beavers 
Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR
TBA Buy
Tickets
Friday
11/30/12
Pac-12 Pac-12 Championship Game
Hosted by team with best Pac-12 record.
TBA Buy
Tickets

Kenjon Barner (24) and the Ducks will have revenge on their minds when Oregon travels to USC on November 3rd (Ross William Hamilton, The Oregonian)

Schedule Outlook: The regular season will come down to two games for the Ducks; November 3rd at USC and November 17th at home against Stanford. If Oregon can manage to win these two games, they will likely have to play USC again for the Pac-12 championship. Gridiron Digest has USC ranked #1 in our preseason poll, and beating the Trojans twice in one season seems pretty close to impossible. However if there is one team that can do it, it may be Oregon. Chip Kelly’s 2012/2013 squad has the firepower on offense and the horses on defense to beat anybody, and if they can somehow get by USC twice to win the Pac-12 title, a BCS Championship Game matchup with LSU or Alabama could be in the cards for the Ducks.

2012 Texas linebackers Emmanuel Acho (18) and Keenan Robinson (1) (Harry How, Getty Images)

2012 Review: The 2012 season for the Texas Longhorns was about process; it was about improvement and development. Following a dismal 5-7 campaign in 2010/2011, UT proved that failure was only a temporary setback for this historically esteemed program. The Longhorns finished 8-5 in 2012 and carried some positive momentum going into the offseason with a 21-10 Holiday Bowl victory over Cal. The Texas defense improved drastically; only giving up around 315 yards per game, good for 14th in the country. Many key cogs from this unit return in 2013, setting up the Longhorns for a potential return to the national spotlight.

Sophomore running back Malcolm Brown returns to lead the Texas ground attack (Edward A. Ornelas, San Antonio Express-News)

Offense: Quarterback shuffling was commonplace for the second straight year in Austin, as freshman David Ash and sophomore Case McCoy split time and finished with very similar stats. Ash emerged atop the depth chart following spring camp, but only time will tell if he can hold on to this title. Whoever plays quarterback will have a number of talented running backs lined up behind him. Sophomore Malcolm Brown (742 yards) will be the starter, but Joe Bergeron, Jeremy Hills, and DJ Monroe are too talented to keep off the field. Sophomore Jaxon Shipley (607 yards) will be the top receiving target for Texas this year and is a bonafide playmaker on the outside. The second and third options at receiver are still being fought over, with Mike Davis (609 yards) and Marquise Goodwin (421 yards) being the early favorites. Four starters return along the Texas offensive line next season, led by junior guard Mason Walters.

Weakside end Alex Okafor is one of many defensive playmakers for the Longhorns (Robert Backman, Cal Sports Media)

Defense: Although four multi-year starters must be replaced on the Longhorn defense, there is a plethora of talent returning for coordinator Manny Diaz. The 2013 unit will be characterized by a dominant pair of defensive ends and a lockdown secondary. The ends, Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor, combined for 14.5 sacks a season ago. Three starters return in the secondary, them being cornerbacks Carrington Byndom (2 int’s) and Quandre Diggs (4 int’s) and safety Kenny Vaccaro (2 int’s). Vaccaro is a stud and should be regarded as the best player on the Texas defense regardless of position. Junior Jordan Hicks is the lone returning starter at linebacker after a 51 tackle season in 2012. A pair of sophomores, Steve Edmond and Kendall Thompson, should step in as the other linebacker starters. Calvin Howell returns to his starting nose tackle spot this year, and sophomore Desmond Jackson should replace Kheeston Randall as the 3-technique tackle.

Impact Newcomer: Few players have had as prolific a high school career as Aledo, Texas running back Johnathan Gray. In his four years of high school football, the 5’11 190 pound back ran for 10,881 yards. In Gray’s senior season, the five-star prospect ran for 3,891 yards and accumulated an 11.2 yards per carry average; these are simply ridiculous statistics. The Texas Longhorn backfield is loaded with talent in 2013, but there’s no reason to believe that Gray won’t make a big impact as a freshman.

X Factor: A few things could be considered here, such as quarterback play, health of the offensive line, and the emergence of another receiver, but I’m going to pick something on the other side of the ball. When analyzing the Texas roster, defensive depth is surprisingly thin. If a key player such as Vaccaro or Jeffcoat were to suffer an injury, an inexperienced youngster would be forced to make a big contribution at an important position. The play of the Longhorn defense will make or break UT’s 2013 season, and a big-time injury would be devastating.

2012 Texas Longhorns Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
09/01/12
Cowboys Wyoming Cowboys 
Darrell K. Royal – TX Mem. Stadium, Austin, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/08/12
Lobos New Mexico Lobos
Darrell K. Royal – TX Mem. Stadium, Austin, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/15/12
Rebels at Ole Miss Rebels 
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/22/12
Open Date
Saturday
09/29/12
Cowboys at Oklahoma State Cowboys 
Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/06/12
Mountaineers West Virginia Mountaineers 
Darrell K. Royal – TX Mem. Stadium, Austin, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/13/12
Sooners Oklahoma Sooners 
Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/20/12
Bears Baylor Bears 
Darrell K. Royal – TX Mem. Stadium, Austin, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/27/12
Jayhawks at Kansas Jayhawks 
Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/03/12
Red Raiders at Texas Tech Red Raiders 
Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/10/12
Cyclones Iowa State Cyclones 
Darrell K. Royal – TX Mem. Stadium, Austin, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/17/12
Open Date
Saturday
11/24/12
Horned Frogs TCU Horned Frogs 
Darrell K. Royal – TX Mem. Stadium, Austin, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
12/01/12
Wildcats at Kansas State Wildcats 
Bill Snyder Family FB Stadium, Manhattan, KS
TBA Buy
Tickets

The Cotton Bowl will be divided once again as the Longhorns take on the Sooners on October 13th (Bleacher Report)

Schedule Outlook: For some reason, (I’m weird), the first word that popped into my head when looking at this schedule was “fun”. Texas gets to play in some legitimately fun games in some of college football’s most electric environments. The Longhorns have September road matchups in front of hostile crowds at Ole Miss and at Oklahoma State, and end the year in Manhattan, Kansas to play K-State in what is sure to be a packed Bill Snyder Stadium. UT welcomes West Virginia and TCU to the Big 12 with games in Austin, and plays Oklahoma in Dallas for the annual Red River Rivalry showdown. Despite all the fun, this schedule still is no slouch. However, this Texas team has some impressive pieces that could very easily guide the Longhorns to a 9 or 10 win season. UT is ranked at 14 in Gridiron Digest’s Inaugural Preseason Top 25 Poll, and if the defense holds up and the offense improves only slightly, 2013 will be very fun indeed for the Texas Longhorns.

Running back Lamar Miller was one of the few bright spots for the Miami offense in 2011/2012 (Lynne Sladky, AP)

2012 Review: The Miami Hurricanes entered 2011/2012 with cautious optimism. Their #1 rated 2008 recruiting class, which had collectively been a mild disappointment over the course of its first three seasons on campus, was finally expected to carry the ‘Canes to a great season. Also, a new face was ready to lead the program in a different direction, that being former Temple coach Al Golden, following the rocky tenure of previous head man Randy Shannon. Miami fans know that 2011/2012 may have been the last shot at a successful season for a few years, as massive roster turn-over and the looming sanctions from the NCAA following the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal would be beginning in 2012/2013. This cautious optimism was gone by opening weekend, as a 32-24 loss at Maryland brought fan expectations back down to earth. The ‘Canes would rebound to upset Ohio State the following week, but a lack of offensive firepower would prove too much for Miami to overcome the rest of the way as they slumped to a 6-6 season. Miami was eligible for a bowl game, but declined, hoping to get on better terms with the NCAA; this was a classy move by the Miami administration.

Junior quarterback Stephen Morris takes over as a full-time starter following the graduation of Jacory Harris (John Bazemore, AP)

Offense: Only three starters return from an offensive unit that struggled for a good portion of the 2011/2012 season. The new quarterback is junior Stephen Morris, who, as you may remember, played in six games back in 2010 in place of Jacory Harris and completed 82 of 153 passes for 1,240 yards with 7 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He recently underwent back surgery and was not able to fully participate in spring practice. Following the early departure of Lamar Miller to the NFL, three runners are competing for the starting tailback spot. They are senior Mike James (275 yards), junior Eduardo Clements, and redshirt freshman Dallas Crawford. Touted freshman Duke Johnson arrives in the fall and should provide some playmaking ability for a backfield that seems to be lacking explosiveness. The Hurricanes top two receivers from a year ago are gone as well, them being Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin. The production of 86 catches for 1,420 yards between the two of them will look to be subsidized by junior Allen Hurns and sophomore Phillip Dorsett. Both have steady skills, but neither appear to be the type of explosive playmaker Miami needs. Three starters must be replaced on the offensive line, and the current unit has had a disappointing spring to say the least. Coaches are still waiting on former #1 national recruit Seantrel Henderson to live up to his lofty ranking, but he should retain his starting right tackle spot regardless.

Telemaque (7) and Armstrong (26) are two of the more experienced players on the Miami defense (JC Ridley, The Daily Caneshooter)

Defense: Miami had the 45th best defense nationally in 2011/2012, giving up 359.92 yards per game. The unit enters 2012/2013 with a handful of new faces in big-time spots. Six of the Hurricanes’ top nine defensive linemen have departed, including Marcus Forston and Olivier Vernon who left early for the NFL. Despite the attrition, Miami has three talented starters in super-soph Anthony Chickillo and tackles Darius Smith and Curtis Porter. The other end spot as well as the overall depth of the line are currently made up of unknowns. Junior Shayon Green is penciled in as the other end starter opposite Chickillo, and freshmen arriving in the fall will be needed to step up in a big way to provide depth along the defensive front. Only three linebackers return who have any significant game experience. The starters should be solid, them being sophomore Denzel Perryman, junior Jimmy Gaines, and senior Ramon Buchanon. Early enrollee Raphael Kirby has been competing with all three in spring practice and should definitely see the field. Two starters return in a secondary that had issues giving up big plays a season ago. Senior safeties Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque return and form a nice tandem. The cornerback situation, though, is a bit more hazy. Thomas Finnie, Brandon McGee, and Ladarius Gunter should play, but Miami coaches are really waiting on incoming freshman Tracy Howard to arrive on campus this summer. The 5 star recruit is already the most talented player in the secondary and should start at corner from the moment he puts on a ‘Cane uniform.

Incoming freshman Duke Johnson will be leaned on heavily in the Miami backfield this fall (Courtney Miller Safrit, ESPN)

Impact Newcomer: Two players stand out for having the ability to bolster this Hurricane team right from the beginning. Freshman running back Duke Johnson and freshman cornerback Tracy Howard will need to be big contributors for Miami to have a good season, and both definitely have the talent to do so. Johnson possesses elite speed and elusiveness, while Howard is a fast, rangy corner with great ball skills.

X Factor: Couldn’t really decide on one, single X Factor, so I’ll go with two: offensive playmaking ability and defensive depth. Both have been the two biggest concerns for coach Al Golden as spring practice recently came to a close. He brought in a huge recruiting class to help offset the departure of so many Hurricanes to graduation, and these freshmen will be counted on heavily to win ball games; particularly at the positions of running back, wide receiver, and in the defensive front seven.

2012 Miami Hurricanes Football Schedule

Date   Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
09/01/12
Eagles at Boston College Eagles 
Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/08/12
Wildcats at Kansas State Wildcats 
Bill Snyder Family FB Stadium, Manhattan, KS
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/15/12
Wildcats Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/22/12
Yellow Jackets at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 
Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/29/12
Wolfpack NC State Wolfpack
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/06/12
Fighting Irish Notre Dame Fighting Irish 
Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
7:30 p.m. ET
NBC
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/13/12
Tar Heels North Carolina Tar Heels 
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/20/12
Seminoles Florida State Seminoles 
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/27/12
Open Date
Thursday
11/01/12
Hokies Virginia Tech Hokies 
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Time TBA
ESPN
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/10/12
Cavaliers at Virginia Cavaliers 
Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/17/12
Bulls USF Bulls 
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/24/12
Blue Devils at Duke Blue Devils 
Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
12/01/12
ACC ACC Championship Game
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TBA Buy
Tickets

Schedule Outlook: There are very few gimme wins on this schedule for Miami. Aside from Bethune-Cookman and Duke, every week provides a new test for a Hurricane team with some glaring holes. The schedule opens up with a tough conference road test at Boston College, and for those who don’t remember, the Eagles beat the ‘Canes last year in Miami to close out the regular season. The following week, Al Golden’s squad travels to Manhattan to take on the Kansas State Wildcats, who will likely begin the year ranked in the top 15. Following a home matchup with Bethune-Cookman, Miami will then take on eight formidable opponents in a row before ending the year at Duke. To say that the 2012/2013 Miami Hurricanes are in for a rough season would be putting it nicely. The ‘Canes simply have too few positions of strength and too many weaknesses to put a conference title or even a  7-8 win season into consideration. A productive year for Miami would include 5 or 6 wins, 2 or 3 conference victories, and continued development of the young playmakers such as Johnson, Howard, and Kirby.

Tyrann Mathieu (7) and Morris Claiborne (17) formed one of the best cornerback tandems in the country last season (Derrick Hingle, US Presswire)

2012 Review: The Bayou Bengals were the face of college football for the majority of the year last season, and deservedly so. The Tigers had to overcome scores of adversity throughout their 2012 campaign which ended with a trip to the BCS Title Game. Analysts wrote them off as true contenders before the season began due to a soul crushing schedule and the lack of a game-changing quarterback under center. LSU kicked off their season in Dallas against Oregon, a team with title aspirations themselves. The Tigers triumphed 40-27, which ended up being the most points they’d allow in a game all season. On September 24th, LSU passed a difficult road test, 47-21, over West Virginia in Morgantown. Three wins later, Les Miles’ squad faced another quandary: stars Spencer Ware, Tharold Simon, and Tyrann Mathieu were suspended for the Auburn game for violating the team’s drug policy. How did the Tigers respond? With an emphatic 45-10 victory in front of a raucous Baton Rouge crowd. A dominant defensive showing against Alabama in Tuscaloosa produced a 9-6 overtime victory, and LSU’s 42-10 thumping of Georgia in the SEC Title Game set up a rematch with the Tide for the BCS Championship. Here, a Tiger team that had battled through so much adversity throughout the year couldn’t climb one final peak, losing 21-0 to their conference rival. A ton of talent returns with something to prove in 2013.

Junior Spencer Ware is one of many talented backs for the Bayou Bengals (Jonathan Bachman, AP)

Offense: There’s no question that this is the weakest of the two units for LSU, but Tiger fans hope that this is a testament to the productivity of the defense rather than the inefficiency of the offense. Last season, the Tiger offense was hindered by the lack of a passing attack. Despite a plethora of talented receivers, the inefficiency of quarterback Jordan Jefferson limited LSU’s run/pass balance. Jefferson has graduated, leaving junior college transfer and former Georgia signee Zach Mettenberger in his place. There’s no question that Mettenberger has the raw talent for the job, he just hasn’t experienced games against SEC defenses yet. Despite the loss of leading receiver Rueben Randle to the NFL, Mettenberger will have no problem finding guys to throw to. Sophomores Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry are burners, while 6’2 junior James Wright should fill in for Randle on the outside. The wild card here is senior Russell Shepard. The former 5 star, ultra-talented quarterback signee has shuffled positions for three years in Baton Rouge, and hopefully the pocket-passing Mettenberger can help him find his role at receiver. While questions about the passing attack definitely exist, there is no doubting LSU’s four-headed monster at running back, consisting of Spencer Ware (707 yards), Alfred Blue (539 yards), Michael Ford (756 yards), and Kenny Hilliard (336 yards). Each brings a different running style to the Tiger ground game, and they should be featured just as much as they were last year. A ton of talented offensive linemen return to block for this dynamic quartet, including senior center P.J. Lonergan, who is simply a mauler.

Sam Montgomery (99) and Barkevious Mingo (49) are two headaches off the edge for opposing quarterbacks (Rusty Constanza, The Times Picayune)

Defense: Not much needs to be said about how dominant LSU’s defense was in 2011/2012. They finished #2 in the country in yardage and yielded a mere 14 touchdowns in 13 games. 10 of LSU’s 14 opponents failed to score more than 11 points the game. Simply ridiculous. Coordinator John Chavis had an abundance of playmakers at his disposal and incorporated a great scheme to match all of their abilities. In 2012/2013, most of this talent returns; a scary thought to SEC offensive coordinators. Chavis rotated his defensive linemen almost constantly last season, and this year should produce more of the same, as 8 of the top 10 d-linemen are back. Tackles Bennie Logan and Anthony Johnson will be a force to be reckoned with in the middle. Meanwhile, their backups (if you can even call them backups) Josh Downs and J.R. “Ego” Ferguson aren’t too shabby themselves. Speed rusher Barkevious “Keke” Mingo should take over as a full time defensive end opposite from Sam Montgomery, as Kendrick Adams was lost to graduation. Basically, this defensive front is fast, big, and physical. Try and stop it. The linebacking corps,

Safety Eric Reid became famous overnight for this gritty interception against Alabama last year (Kevin Cox, Getty Images)

however, is far from seasoned; all three starters must be replaced from last year’s unit. Kevin Minter played a bunch at middle linebacker a year ago, possibly enough to be considered a “co-starter”, and should definitely start this season. Next to him will likely be fellow juniors Lamin Barrow and Tahj Jones. Freshmen Kwon Alexander and Lamar Louis will likely see some major playing time. This unit has the potential to be great, but I’m taking a wait and see approach until I can, you know, see them. The Tiger secondary, which was arguably the best in the country last year, loses some big-time talent. Cornerback Morris Claiborne was drafted #6 overall by the Cowboys, and safeties Ron Brooks and Brandon Taylor were mid round selections themselves. The Honey Badger is back, though. Corner Tyrann Mathieu (76 tackles, 2 interceptions) had a ridiculously productive sophomore season opposite Claiborne, and should assume the same role he had last year. Big-bodied (6’3) junior Tharold Simon should start at the other corner spot after playing a ton of nickel last year. Safety Eric Reid made a name for himself last year by intercepting Alabama’s Marquise Maze at the goal line in last year’s regular season matchup, ripping the ball away from tight end Nick Williams. Reid had 76 tackles himself last year and should compete for All-Conference or All-America honors in 2012/2013. The punishing Craig Loston, a former 5 star prospect from Texas, will assume the other safety spot left vacant by Brandon Taylor.

Impact Newcomer: If there’s one question mark on the LSU defense, it is at linebacker. Les Miles was prepared for this, and brought in three studs to help bolster the position. Lamar Louis, a four star prospect from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana is already listed as a second string outside linebacker for the Tigers, and could push for a starting job.  The 6’2 220 ball of muscle will be joined by fellow freshmen Kwon Alexander and Lorenzo Phillips as the Tiger ‘backers of the future.

Question Mark: For LSU to improve their offensive production this year, the passing game needs to take a step forward. As we saw with Alabama and AJ McCarron a season ago, young, inexperienced quarterbacks are well suited for success if they have a strong running game and veteran receivers. Mettenberger without question has the tools and talent at his disposal, it is now a matter of getting it done on the field. A better air attack will create some bigger holes for the dynamic LSU runners to explode through, as safeties will not be able to stack the box against the run like they could last year.

2012 LSU Tigers Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
09/01/12
Mean Green North Texas Mean Green 
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/08/12
Huskies Washington Huskies 
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/15/12
Vandals Idaho Vandals 
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/22/12
Tigers at Auburn Tigers 
Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/29/12
Tigers Towson Tigers 
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/06/12
Gators at Florida Gators 
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/13/12
Gamecocks South Carolina Gamecocks 
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/20/12
Aggies at Texas A&M Aggies 
Kyle Field, College Station, TX
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/27/12
Open Date
Saturday
11/03/12
Crimson Tide Alabama Crimson Tide 
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
7:00 p.m. CT
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/10/12
Bulldogs Mississippi State Bulldogs 
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/17/12
Rebels Ole Miss Rebels 
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Fri. 11/23
or
Sat. 11/24
Razorbacks at Arkansas Razorbacks 
D.W.R. Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR
1:30 p.m. CT
CBS
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
12/01/12
SEC SEC Championship Game
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Time TBA
CBS
Buy
Tickets

 

LSU fans will get to see the likes of South Carolina and Alabama play at Tiger Stadium this fall. (bleacherreport)

Schedule Outlook: Like every other year, LSU’s schedule (and conference schedule in particular) is littered with formidable opponents. Four tough conference road games exist at Auburn, at Florida, at Texas A&M, and at Arkansas. Luckily, though, SEC frontrunners South Carolina and Alabama have to travel to Baton Rouge to play the Tigers. LSU will likely start the year ranked in the top two in the country, and for good reason. At times last season it appeared as if LSU was destined for greatness; they seemingly got all the right bounces, made every clutch play, and had a chance to win every game. It was not luck; there was a reason for this. Despite the offensive disabilities that the Tigers endured, the defense and the special teams were, without a doubt, some of the best units nationally. Kicker Drew Alleman and Punter Brad Wing both return in 2012/2013 and their impact cannot be understated. LSU is likely to play some tightly contested, low scoring games in which converting field goal attempts and winning the field position battle will be vital for victory. If LSU can improve their offensive efficiency against quality opponents, their defense is too deep and talented for them to lose games. If all this comes true, Baton Rouge could easily be called Title Town next January.

2012 Review: Despite being banned from postseason play, the final year of the “Reggie Bush Scandal Era” at Southern Cal ended with a ton of momentum as the Trojans carry a 10-2 record into the offseason. When star quarterback Matt Barkley announced he would return for one final season as the USC signal caller, national title dreams for 2013 were born all over LA. Anyways, back to last season, the Trojans had one of the most prolific offenses in the country led by Barkley and All-Americans Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. The passing combo seemed to get better as the season went on, as the Trojans lowest single-game scoring output over the final eight games was a rather high 30 points. A young defense steadily exhibited progress and capped the year off with a 50-0 shutout of crosstown rival UCLA. 17 starters return in 2012/2013 and aspirations for this Trojan team are through the roof.

Trojan quarterback (and total bro) Matt Barkley put up Heisman-worthy numbers in 2011/2012 (Bobak Ha’Eri)

Offense: For Matt Barkley, the numbers tell the story. The 6’2 senior completed 308 of 446 passes (69.1%) for 3,528 yards, 39 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions. Barkley was clearly one of the top three quarterbacks in the nation last year; the other two are projected to go #1 and #2 in the NFL Draft. Barkley’s top three targets return: Robert Woods (111 catches, 1,292 yards), Marqise Lee (73 for 1,143), and tight end Randall Telfer (26 for 273). Sophomore George Farmer is oozing with talent and could have a big year in the slot for the Trojans. The USC backfield last year was mired with off-field controversy (see Marc Tyler & Dillon Baxter), and saw freshman Amir Carlisle transfer to Notre Dame. This unit enters 2013 with some much needed stability. 5’7 185 pound senior Curtis McNeal ran for 1,005 yards last year and seems to have the starting spot all locked up. His backup, D.J. Morgan, carried the ball 42 times himself last year and should see the field. Four starters return along a good offensive line, but projected 1st round pick Matt Kalil is gone. Sophomore Aundrey Walker is his probable replacement.

Senior safety T.J. McDonald passed on the NFL Draft and should anchor a stingy Trojan secondary (AP)

Defense: Seven starters return off a defense that ranked 54th in the country, giving up 374.75 yards per game. However, this poor number may be more due to playing in the explosive Pac-12 (Stanford, Oregon, etc.) than a real indication of talent level. USC has never lacked talent. The defensive line loses three starters, including all-everything end Nick Perry. The other end, 6’5 260 pound Wes Horton returns. Senior Devon Kennard, who has switched positions more than I can count, is expected to start in place of the departed Perry. Kennard is loaded with ability, and Trojan fans hope he can settle into a successful pass-rushing role this year. J.R. Tavai is expected to play nose tackle while George Uko should line up at the other tackle spot. Two starting linebackers return off a laughably young unit last season, and many played enough to be considered part-time starters anyways. Dion Bailey, Lamar Dawson, and Hayes Pullard should be the starters, and some talented backups such as Marquis Simmons and Anthony Sarao will get snaps. The secondary looks to be the strongest unit on the defense, led by three returning starters: cornerback Nickell Robey, and safeties T.J. McDonald and Jawanza Starling. Isiah Wiley and Brian Baucham are listed as co-starters at the other cornerback spot as spring camp comes to a close. This defense should be improved next season as long as the new faces along the defensive line step up.

Incoming freshman receiver Nelson Agholor is simply too talented to keep off the field (Gator Country photo by Tim Casey)

Impact Newcomer: For a Trojan team that is so loaded at receiver, how is it possible that a freshman could come in and make an impact? Well, my readers, few freshmen are as talented as Nelson Agholor. The 6’2 180 pound 5 star prospect from Tampa who picked the Trojans over his hometown Florida Gators is simply a special player. He possesses the unteachable combination of size, speed, and fluidity and also has great hands. Woods and Lee are the guaranteed top two USC receivers, but look for Agholor to work his way onto the field, whether it being early in the season or down the stretch. The man is simply too talented to keep on the sidelines.

X Factor: Defensive line. Every other positional unit on this USC team looks dynamite. Technically, three starters are gone off the d-line (Kennard played both end and outside linebacker last year) and their production must be replaced; particularly that of Nick Perry. Former 5 star prospect Devon Kennard is finally locked into a starting position for the first time and has the potential for a big year. If Uko and Tavai are able to stuff the middle and free up lanes for the likes of Dawson and Bailey to fly to the ball, USC will be GOOD.

2012 USC Trojans Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
09/01/12
Warriors Hawaii Warriors
Los Angeles Mem. Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/08/12
Orangemen Syracuse Orange
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Time TBA
ABC/ESPN TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/15/12
Cardinal at Stanford Cardinal
Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/22/12
Golden Bears California Golden Bears
Los Angeles Mem. Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
09/29/12
Open Date
Thursday
10/04/12
Utes at Utah Utes
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/13/12
Huskies at Washington Huskies
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/20/12
Buffaloes Colorado Buffaloes
Los Angeles Mem. Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
10/27/12
Wildcats at Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/03/12
Ducks Oregon Ducks
Los Angeles Mem. Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/10/12
Sun Devils Arizona State Sun Devils (HC)
Los Angeles Mem. Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/17/12
Bruins at UCLA Bruins
Rose Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
11/24/12
Fighting Irish Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Los Angeles Mem. Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Friday
11/30/12
Pac-12 Pac-12 Championship Game
Hosted by team with best Pac-12 record.
TBA Buy
Tickets

LA Coliseum (photo credit to Bobak Ha’Eri)

Schedule Outlook: One word to describe this schedule? Favorable. Two cupcakes (mmmm..cupcakes) to begin the year set the table for a showdown with Stanford in Palo Alto. However, Luck is gone and Fleener is gone meaning this is not the same Cardinal team we saw last year. Games at Utah and at Washington could present some challenges, but the Trojans definitely have the firepower to overcome these games. Every other tough game on the schedule comes against a team with quarterback controversies: Cal, Oregon, ASU, UCLA, and Notre Dame. (Are you thinking what I am? Almost half of USC’s schedule doesn’t know who their quarterback is. Wow.) The question for this USC team is: How far can they go? The talent is there and the coaching appears to be there. As long as these kids have their heads screwed on straight, a national title is possible. Remember, though, many of the Trojans’ key players have never played in a BCS bowl game or a bowl game at all. Not saying they aren’t experienced or ready for the big stage, but it’s something to think about. I’m calling 12-0 through the regular season, and if two SEC teams don’t go undefeated, a BCS Title Game appearance is in store for this loaded Trojan squad.