College footballs west coast has a lot to prove going in to 2012. The league was 2-5 in bowl games last year while one of it’s best teams sat out of post-season play due to NCAA sanctions. The league has plenty of new faces in the coaching ranks, some top class players, and high expectations. Let’s take a look at 5 things going into the season.
1. Matt Barkley for Heisman
Barkley is a stud and he has to be odds on favorite to bring home the Heisman. He looks to lead the Trojans out of sanction city to glory city. His decision to return to the college ranks made someone outside of the SEC one of the favorites to hold the crystal ball at the end of the season. His 3900 yds and 39 tds will be hard to improve on, but I expect he will.
2. New Coaches will make noise
The league will feature 4 new coaches with fairly impressive resumes. Rich Rodriguez was selected to lead Arizona, Mike Leach to Washington St., Jim Mora (Jr.) to UCLA, and Todd Graham at ASU. None of these coaches will have very good teams this year but they will take plenty of opportunities to make some noise. Leach and Mora are well known talkers and should probably provide some great sound clips as they look to bring the spotlight to their schools. RichRod will try to build a team from nothing and he should have free reign at a school who is dying to have grid iron success. Of the four, Leach will have the best year but his Cougars may only finish .500. 3 years from now we could be talking about two of these coaches in the league’s championship game.
3.Stanford will be ranked at the end of the season
Coach David Shaw walked into a gold mine when he was selected to replace Jim Harbaugh at the helm for the Cardinal (i know, where’s the s?). The team finished 11-2 last year with a trip to a BCS bowl. They lost a bevy of top players to the NFL including the Troll Pub mascot Andrew Luck. He would have been good enough to make up for a lack of talent, but he was surrounded by talent from linemen like Castro to weapons like Colby Fleener. Shaw will now be required to compete with lesser talent and stronger recruiters with the entrance of coaches like Leach and Rodriguez. I expect Stanford to return to their pre-Luck lifestyle. They should be expected to have a huge GPA and a .500 record.
4.Pac 12 is a top 3 Conference
The Pac 12 is the only confernence, outside of the SEC, with a winning BCS Bowl record. Yet, it has been very top heavy with the likes of Oregon and USC carrying it for the last few years. These two teams are also expected to carry the league with the Trojans and Ducks ranked in the preseason top 5. Utah will provide a solid team that has had a consistent run for the last decade and could be a dark horse to win the league this year with classy QB Jordan Wynn leading the way. Along with the Pac12, The Big10 (12) and Big 12 will battle to have the right to dethrone the SEC. I expect one of the Pac12 teams to make the championship.
5. Oregon and USC are the class of the league
This is a very top heavy league but the top is really heavy! The Ducks will look to return to the conference championship game and this year will get to face the true South division champs in the Trojans. Along with the SEC, it is hard to punish the loser of the league’s championship game. The only team I can see sneaking in the mix could be Utah. I don’t expect it but if USC slips at all they could certainly slide right in. The Ducks are not expected to slip but after losing LaMichael James and QB Thomas it is possible Bryan Bennett is not ready for the job. Yet, Coach Chip Kelly rarely disappoints! Don’t expect any surprises in the PAC12, but remember it is college football.
Category: College Sports