Preseason College Football Rankings 2012: BCS Contenders with Early-Season Tests
Alabama is one of several BCS championship contenders in the upcoming college football season that has a difficult early-season test against a challenging opponent.
Playing a top team early in the season has its advantages because it's a good opportunity to boost your out-of-conference strength of schedule.
If you're going to play a superior team that has a good chance to defeat you, it's better to play them as early in the season as possible so there is plenty of time to recover in the weekly polls.
Let's look at three national championship contenders that have difficult early-season matchups.
The defending BCS champion Crimson Tide will battle Big Ten powerhouse Michigan at Cowboys Stadium in Texas to kick off their title defense.
Will Alabama repeat as BCS champions?
They will lead the Crimson Tide offense against a Wolverines team that should be better than last season since head coach Brady Hoke is entering his second year in charge at Ann Arbor.
This could be one of the greatest games of the 2012 season and will be a fantastic Week 1 matchup.
Auburn will be looking to improve on last season's disappointing 8-5 finish after they won the national championship with current NFL quarterback Cam Newton during the 2010 season.
Clemson's national title hopes would be destroyed if they lost to Auburn in the season opener, but the Tigers offense, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, will be too much for Auburn to stop.
The first of those matchups is their Week 3 battle with Alabama at home. Arkansas lost 38-14 to the Crimson Tide last season at Bryant-Denny Stadium and will need a much better defensive effort this time around to earn an upset win.
We will learn a lot about the Razorbacks after their early-season SEC showdown with Alabama.
|Nicholas Goss' Preseason Top 25|
|8. Florida State|
|9. South Carolina|
|11. West Virginia|
|12. Kansas State|
|13. Michigan State|
|17. Ohio State|
|18. Virginia Tech|
|20. Oklahoma State|
|23. Boise State|
|25. Notre Dame|
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