With this much time still remaining until the college football season finally kicks off, we writers can get bored. And when we get bored, we start coming up with very odd and specific predictions.
This article is an example of this. Home-field advantage is very important in college football, perhaps more so than in any other major sport. But winning at home also has to do with the schedule you are playing.
With that in mind, here are four teams that I am predicting will keep their hometown faithful happy each and every time they make the trek to their respective teams' stadiums.
I don't think the Alabama Crimson Tide will win the BCS National Championship or SEC Championship next season. But they will win 10 games, and all their likely losses are coming in away games. They face the LSU Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks on the road, and play the Michigan Wolverines in a neutral site game.
I see next season going for Alabama the way it did in 2010. They will start out slow because of the rebuilding necessary on defense, but then they will finish strong.
Bryant-Denny Stadium is obviously a very tough place to play, and by the time Alabama faces their two toughest home opponents (the Auburn Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies, neither of which will start the season ranked), they will be ready to steamroll both.
The Virginia Tech Hokies don't play as easy a schedule in 2012 as they did last season, as they face the Pittsburgh Panthers, Miami Hurricanes, Clemson Tigers, Cincinnati Bearcats, and North Carolina Tar Heels this year. However, all of those games will be played outside of Blacksburg.
Lane Stadium is one of the toughest places to play, and that momentum could be enough to get Virginia Tech through their tough Thursday night matchup with the Florida State Seminoles—who the Hokies have handled well in the past few years.
If the Hokies can top the Seminoles, they have a relatively easy home slate, which includes Bowling Green, Duke, Austin Peay, the rival Virginia Cavaliers, and the somewhat difficult Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
With Logan Thomas and nine starters back on defense, the Hokies will be better in 2012.
I have two reasons for including the Georgia Bulldogs on this list: first, they return 10 starters on defense as well as Aaron Murray and Malcolm Mitchell, and thus are my dark-horse pick to win the SEC and BCS Championships. Second, they have one of the easiest home schedules in college football.
The Bulldogs face the Auburn Tigers, South Carolina Gamecocks, and Missouri Tigers on the road, and of course play the Florida Gators in Jacksonville. Their home SEC games are against the bottom-dwelling Vanderbilt Commodores, Tennessee Volunteers, and Mississippi Rebels.
With three of their non-conference home games coming against the Buffalo Bulls, Florida Atlantic Owls, and Georgia Southern Eagles, they have no excuse for losing to the rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Athens.
I think the Michigan Wolverines have a good shot to win the Big Ten in 2012. But whether or not they can beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Ohio State Buckeyes on the road (or the Alabama Crimson Tide in Cowboys Stadium), they have a good shot of going undefeated in Ann Arbor next year.
By far the toughest opponent Michigan faces in the "Big House" next season is the Michigan State Spartans. While some people think the Spartans are Top 10 material, I think Michigan State will fall off severely next year, with the losses of Kirk Cousins and essentially the entire receiving corps.
If the Wolverines take down the Spartans, it's smooth sailing in Michigan Stadium. Their other home opponents include the UMass Minutemen, Northwestern Wildcats, and Illinois Fighting Illini.