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The 26 Biggest Mismatches of the 2012 College Football Season

Dan VastaSenior Writer IIIApril 5, 2012

The 26 Biggest Mismatches of the 2012 College Football Season

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    How often do you predict the wins and losses on your favorite team’s schedule, months before the season starts?

    Well, those cupcake games that make you relax and ease up actually allows the youngsters to develop before conference play starts. More importantly, it is a great game to witness your team absolutely obliterate the opposition.

    Banking on the top-tier teams in the nation to dominate the lesser-talented, here are your 20 biggest mismatches of the 2012 college football season.

    Note: These games listed are for FBS matchups only, so no matchups involving a team from the FCS will be included. Also, if you feel like there are some other mismatches do not hesitate to share your opinion

Oregon vs. Arkansas State (Sept. 1)

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    The Ducks might hang 50 points in this game, which means De’Anthony Thomas may have a few long touchdown runs.

    Bryan Bennett has a nice warm-up game against one of the better Sun Belt squads, but that does not mean there will be many, if any, struggles. These Ducks can fly with the best of them, especially in the non-conference matchups in which they are heavily favored

    The Ducks' defense thrives in these type of ballgames as once they see blood, they go for the kill. 

Oklahoma vs. UTEP (Sept. 1) ,vs. Kansas (Oct. 20)

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    The Sooners do not have Florida State in the non-conference slate, but they did pick up Notre Dame. Luckily, they get an enjoyable and expected blowout win with the Miners of UTEP on the slate.

    Although it is a road game to start the season, Landry Jones may throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns in this one.

    In a game later in the season, Kansas does not look like they have the horses to hang with Bob Stoops and the boys.

    The Jayhawks' run defense might get gashed severely, as Oklahoma will attempt to get more of a balanced attack going in 2012.

    Both of these potential massacres will involve a ton of points and a boatload of haymakers from Tony Jefferson and the Sooners defense. 

Texas vs. New Mexico (Sept. 8)

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    The Longhorns are being overrated by many experts, but I look at it the exact opposite—their defense is the key, and it has the makings of becoming the best in the nation.

    The poor Lobos will attempt to improve upon their total defense (118th) and scoring defense (119th).

    A loaded backfield with more production from the quarterback position should enable Texas to put up a bunch of points and win the game by four or more touchdowns. 

West Virginia vs. Kansas (Dec. 1)

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    Kansas may get a rude awakening from West Virginia, because Geno Smith and his sixth-rated passing offense (346 yard per game) have the capability of going bonkers in this one.

    Tavon Austin will be a household name if he isn’t already, but guys like Ivan McCartney and Stedman Bailey will show their talents off as well.

Alabama vs. Western Kentucky (Sept. 8), Florida Atlantic (Sept. 22)

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    Nick Saban got a scare against Georgia Southern last season, but the FBS teams have been obliterated by a much more talented and deeper Crimson Tide team.

    Look for two more blowouts against a pair of teams that may allow 250 yards or more on the ground.

LSU vs. North Texas (Sept. 1), Idaho (Sept. 15)

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    I wonder if the Bayou Bengals will be licking their chops in these two matchups?

    LSU will slash, dash and gash these two opponents, but the second and third-string defenses will get their fair share of snaps in these matchups.

    The most important aspect of these games would be the development and ability to improve with Zach Mettenberger as the signal-caller.

Tennessee vs. Akron (Sept. 22)

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    Tyler Bray wants to go bonkers this season in the SEC, and he has the receiver to do so in Da’Rick Rogers.

    The Volunteers rocked Cincinnati at home last season in the non-conference slate, and it might get even worse when Zippy and Akron head into Neyland Stadium.

Wisconsin vs. UTEP (Sept. 22)

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    The Badgers should do to the Miners what they have accomplished against the Indiana Hoosiers for the last two seasons (outscored them 142-27).

    Montee Ball and his 39 touchdowns might not be needed, but if they call his name, expect him to tote it 20 times.

    Wisconsin should expect a boatload of production from Ball and company, as they are still running behind that beefy Badgers offensive line.

Michigan vs. Massachusetts (Sept. 15)

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    See Denard run.

    See Denard throw.

    Denard Robinson will do it all against the newest members of the FBS (alongside UTSA, Texas State and South Alabama), and he won’t be the only Wolverine feasting on the Minutemen at the "Big House."

    Some might remind Michigan of when they lost to Appalachian State back in 2007, but I doubt we will that see that anytime soon. The Maize and Blue should win this one in a rout.

Ohio State vs. UAB (Sept. 22)

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    The Buckeyes open up with four home games and this one should be the most lopsided of them all.

    Braxton Miller will attempt to connect with several different receivers, but it should be the Buckeyes' young, quick and athletic defense that leads the way.

Arkansas vs. Louisiana-Monroe (Sept. 8)

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    Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis should rank as one of the most explosive and elite duos in the nation.

    Throw in Cobi Hamilton at receiver on top of a plethora of offensive options and you should see Bobby Petrino’s 15th-rated scoring offense from a season ago (36.77 points per game) post video-game numbers.

Auburn vs. New Mexico State (Nov. 3)

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    The Tigers will not have Michael Dyer, but they still have a few talented guys that have been waiting for their time.

    Corey Grant is the one that has caught everybody’s attention, but they still have Onterio McCalebb. Throw in a developing defense and this game could get worse than it did for the Aggies against Georgia last season.

Georgia vs. Buffalo (Sept. 1), Georgia vs. Florida Atlantic (Sept. 15)

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    Speaking of the "Dawgs," Georgia has a few cupcakes. if you will, against squads from the MAC and the Sun Belt.

    Even without a few starters on the defensive side of the ball, look for blowouts here.

    Aaron Murray has plenty of options on the offensive side of the ball and I would anticipate a balanced attack along the way.

    These games may not be as easy since Bacarri Rambo and a few will be out, but the youngsters and depth should help Georgia flex their muscles nonetheless.

Stanford vs. San Jose State (Sept. 1)

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    Those oddsmakers were wrong quite a bit about the Cardinal last season and the non-conference games have suggested how much Stanford enjoys winning by a ton.

    Stanford will still thread the needle with Zach Ertz and Ty Montgomery stretching the field, but the bread-and-butter of this team is still their running game.

USC vs. Hawaii (Sept. 1), Syracuse (Sept. 8)

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    The Trojans might be the top-ranked team in the country when the season gets underway, so their game against Hawaii could be nationally televised.

    We saw them score 49 on Hawaii two seasons ago to start off the season, but the defense allowed 36.

    The Warriors will be improved from last season with Norm Chow at the helm, but USC’s offense is capable of rattling off seven touchdowns in this one. Look for a 30-plus point victory in which we will see Traveler the horse running around quite a bit.

    In another non-conference matchup, the Orange will likely put up a stronger fight since it is essentially a home game for them (East Rutherford, N.J.).

    Still, barring a snowstorm, it will not prevent USC’s electrifying offense to light up the scoreboard.

Clemson vs. Ball State (Sept. 8)

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    The Clemson Tigers had North Texas two seasons ago and they won in a beatdown fashion, 35-10.

    Against a fairly respectable MAC squad that was pummeled by Oklahoma last season, Clemson is capable of doing the same.

    Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins might be seen a lot in this game— or the first half, for that matter. 

Florida State vs. Duke (Oct. 27)

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    Since the Seminoles have joined the ACC back in 1992, the Seminoles have never lost to Duke (17-0).

    That is not the stat you may be aware of , and, in fact, it is one your more dominating ones in the game of college football.

    Florida State should be able to stifle a respectable Duke offense, but more importantly, 30-35 points should be more than enough to secure this comfortable victory.

Virginia Tech vs. Bowling Green (Sept. 22)

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    The Hokies are ridiculous every season, as they have now posted eight straight campaigns of 10 or more victories.

    Frank Beamer deserves all the credit in the world and Virginia Tech should not struggle too much with quarterback Logan Thomas returning.

    However, this might be the toughest game on this entire list, although Blacksburg is not a place you will often see upsets (barring a James Madison-like loss).

Boise State vs. New Mexico (Sept. 29), Boise State vs. UNLV (Oct. 20)

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    The Broncos may get made fun of a bit with their cupcake schedule compared to the other elites in the game, but every team out there has a few easy and winnable games on paper.

    Boise State is accustomed to ranking among the tops in the country in points per game, so look for somewhere near 40 or more points scored in these games.

BYU vs. Idaho (Nov. 10)

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    The Cougars want respect, and their schedule last season was not exactly eye-popping. It is tougher this season, even though it still has a few cupcakes on the slate.

    This matchup against the poor and lowly Vandals would be the definition of a walk-in-the-park game. Don’t tell Bronco Mendenhall that, though, because he will be expecting Cody Hoffman and Riley Nelson to be on target all game long until this one starts to get ugly.

    Follow Dan Vasta on Twitter.

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