Top 25 Games of 2012



1. Michigan vs. Alabama (Cowboy Stadium – Arlington, TX): This is only the fourth time these two teams have met. Michigan is 2-1 against the Crimson Tide. The last meeting was in the 2000 Sugar Bowl, with Michigan winning. Whoever wins this game will most likely be ranked in the Top 2 early for the National Title race.


2. Boise State vs. Michigan State (East Lansing, MI): This is the first meeting between the Broncos and the Spartans. The last three seasons, the Broncos have won their opener against powerhouses Oregon, Virginia Tech, and Georgia. Boise State has lost 3-year starting QB Kellen Moore to the NFL. Both teams are coming off bowl wins.


3. Michigan vs. Notre Dame (South Bend, IN): Last year, in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines rallied for a 35-31 victory over the Irish. This time, it is in South Bend, and both teams are still stacked. There was a big loss for each, though, with Notre Dame losing Michael Floyd and Mike Martin for Michigan.


4. Washington vs. LSU (Baton Rouge, LA): This will be the third meeting between the Huskies and the Tigers. Both teams are coming off tough losses in the Alamo Bowl and National Title, respectively. The Tigers will most likely be ranked in the Top 5, and returning most of their defense. The Huskies’ high-scoring offense will have to strike fast and often to keep LSU guessing.


5. Ohio vs. Penn State (State College, PA): This is the fifth meeting between Penn State and Ohio. All five games were won by Penn State. Ohio will try to punish what is left of the once-powerful Nittany Lions. Penn State will need a miracle just to walk away with some respect.


6. Notre Dame vs. USC (Los Angeles, CA): USC is coming off a 3-year Bowl suspension and will be in the hunt for the National Title for the first time since 2004. In the last seven meetings, USC has won six. Since this is the final game of the regular season for both teams, it will have a “survival of the fittest” mentality.


7. South Carolina vs. Clemson (Clemson, SC): The past three games have been won by South Carolina. Last year, Clemson came into the game ranked 18th, and lost 34-13. This year Clemson has seven starters returning on both offense and defense, and will try to keep Clemson from dropping its fourth straight to the Gamecocks.


8.Michigan vs. Ohio State (Columbus, OH): It took seven years for Michigan to beat Ohio State.  Last year OSU lost by six, but this year is an all-new OSU team. New head coach Urban Meyer will have the Buckeyes ready for whatever U of M will throw at them. Brady Hoke will try and take Michigan for its second straight against OSU. The rival has been down for a bit, but it seems like this could be the start of a new war!


9. Alabama vs. Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR): This will quite possibly be the deciding game for the SEC West.


10.Wisconsin vs. Nebraska (Lincoln, NE): The Wisconsin Badgers welcomed the Cornhuskers to the Big Ten with a 48-17 loss in Madison. Nebraska has brought back seven starters on both sides of the ball. They now know how the Big Ten teams play, so Nebraska will try to win its first Big Ten conference opener.


11. Alabama vs. LSU (Baton Rouge, LA): Last year these teams met twice  (in the regular season and the National Title game). Both games had a maximum of one touchdown. The first game was won by LSU and the Title game won by Alabama (Bama-384 yards, LSU-92 yards). This year the game will be in Baton Rouge, and the teams will definitely be scoring more than field goals.


12. Texas vs. Oklahoma (Dallas, TX): The Red River Rivalry has been mostly dominated by Oklahoma for the past decade. Against Texas last year, Oklahoma dominated with a 55-17 victory. With eight returning starters on offense, the Sooners will try to rack up the points again. Last year Oklahoma put up 453 yards of total offense to Texas’s 259.


13. Nebraska vs. Ohio State (Columbus, OH): Last year, Nebraska came from behind in the second half and upset Ohio State in Lincoln for their first Big Ten win. OSU was up 27-6 in the mid-3rd quarter, but Nebraska scored 28 unanswered points. This will be the first trip to Columbus for Nebraska since 1956. The Cornhuskers will be challenged both on the field and by the crowd nose, for the Horseshoe is one of the loudest stadiums in the country.


14. Oregon vs. USC (Los Angeles, CA): The past few seasons, Oregon has beaten USC. Last year, however, USC got their revenge. With the loss of LaMichael James, Oregon’s running back De’Anthony Thomas will be challenged to take over the ground force. That said, USC QB (and Heisman hopeful) Matt Barkley passed for 323 yards and will most likely add to that this year.


15. West Virginia vs. Texas (Austin, TX): This will be the first big challenge for the West Virginia in the Big 12. It will also mark the second meeting between the two schools. West Virginia QB Geno Smith has seven of his starters returning from last year’s team. They are also coming off an Orange Bowl win against Clemson. West Virginia only has one Big 12 game before they play Texas, but this might be a closer game than we think.


16. Michigan State vs. Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI): In the last four games against State, Michigan has been beaten by at least two touchdowns. State will have to replace QB Kirk Cousins and five other starters from last year’s Big Ten runner up/Outback Bowl Champion team. This will be a great shot for U of M to end the losing streak and make a strong step toward winning the Legends Division.


17.Clemson vs. Florida State (Tallahassee, FL): This will be the first ACC game for both teams. Last season, Clemson won 35-30, which gave the Tigers a huge jump in the polls. This year will be the same, as both teams are bringing back key starters on both sides of the ball. FSU quarterback EJ Manuel and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd had about the same amount of total passing yards in the game (FSU-336 Clemson-344). The winner will again most likely jump ahead in the polls.


18.Oklahoma vs. West Virginia (Morgantown, WV): This will be the first time Oklahoma makes the trip to Morgantown. The last time these teams met was in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, with a West Virginia victory. This might be the deciding game for the Big 12 Championship, and a BCS birth (possibly in the National Title). Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones and West Virginia’s Geno Smith will put up numbers as both teams have 85 percent of their offense back. This also could be a shot at the Heisman Trophy for one of these QBs.


19. Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville, FL): This game could be the one to determine the SEC East. The teams are evenly matched, but Georgia has a much lighter schedule than Florida before they meet. This should give Florida the edge.


20. USF vs. Louisville (Louisville, KY): The Big East always has one or two teams each season that make a statement, and this year will be no different. USF is a very fast team, and last season beat Notre Dame in their first game. This year, USF quarterback BJ Daniels is returning for his senior year, and has seven of his starters back with him. Louisville is also bringing back seven starters on offense, and eight on defense. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater does not have the best stats, but can find yards. When these teams meet, it might be for a BCS bid.


21. Michigan State vs. Wisconsin (Madison, WI): These teams met twice last year, and each won on final plays of the game. The first meeting in East Lansing saw Michigan State come out ahead, and killed Wisconsin’s shot at the National Title. The following meeting came in the Big Ten Title game, where Wisconsin won a trip to the Rose Bowl. Michigan State has lost a lot on offense, but is bring back a strong defense, led by defensive end William Gholston. With Wisconsin getting a new veteran QB from Maryland (Danny O’Brien), they will still put up a lot of points, especially with Heisman hopeful Montee Ball leading the ground charge.


22. LSU vs. Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR): This is the last game of the regular season for both teams, and could determine the SEC West Champion.  Last season, LSU dominated Arkansas 41-17.  LSU outgained the Razorbacks 494 to 254 total yards. The past four seasons the home team has won the game, however.


23. Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (Madison, WI): This game turned OSU quarterback Braxton Miller into a playmaker and leader for the Buckeyes. OSU led all the way to the fourth quarter, when Wisconsin took over late with a 29-26 lead. With time winding down, Miller made the play of the year for Ohio State with a Hail Mary to Corey “Philly” Brown. But, the Buckeyes have lost two out of three meetings in Madison.


24. Florida State vs. Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA): This will be the first meeting between the two ACC powers since 2010. Virginia Tech has lost most of their offense, with the exception of quarterback Logan Thomas. The Virginia Tech defense has a lot of their key starters back, which will put a lot of pressure on FSU.


25.  USC vs. UCLA (Los Angeles, CA): This matchup has always been a one sided game.  USC has only lost to UCLA once in 13 seasons (that loss coming in 2006). This year, USC will be ranked high, and looking for a National Title. UCLA is bringing back a handful of starters, including defensive end Datone Jones and tight end Joseph Fauria. UCLA has nine returning on defense, which will slow USC’s Matt Barkley down a little. The offense will still have a lot of work to do, though.  USC never shows UCLA any mercy, as they cut the Bruins down 50-0 last year.

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