NCAA Football Preseason Rankings 2012: Highlighting Top Championship Contenders
LSU's season ended with a miserable 21-0 loss at the hands of SEC rival Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game, but the Tigers are a top contender to walk away with college football's biggest prize this season.
Led by the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, Baton Rouge may have the nation's most talented team once again, despite the losses of quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson.
However, the Tigers are far from alone as being the only contender for the BCS title.
With just a few more months before the season kicks off, these are the top national championship contenders in college football.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The reigning national champions, Alabama is poised for a repeat performance under head coach Nick Saban
Even with Trent Richardson gone, this team brings in more than enough talent to replace him with a top recruiting class.
The team's defense will remain among college football's best, and the offense won't be too shabby either, thanks to the development of quarterback A.J. McCarron.
Never count Nick Saban out. Never.
With an incredible 19 returning starters and the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation according to Rivals, USC is going to be the best team that's not in the SEC.
Quarterback Matt Barkley will be key in the Trojans' title hopes, but the Heisman hopeful will surely be able to shoulder the load for head coach Lane Kiffin.
Games against Stanford, Washington and Oregon will determine whether this team is a success or a failure, but we could potentially see the Trojans go undefeated if they can make it through their Pac-12 schedule.
Speed, speed, speed.
The Ducks are going to be the fastest team in the nation next year, and you can bet that they'll use that to their advantage.
This team has ridiculous skill players who could make any team in the country a championship contender, even without LaMichael James. But there's just one problem.
Games are won in the trenches, and the Ducks probably wouldn't beat SEC powerhouses like Alabama and LSU without big men.
The Tigers of Baton Rouge have everything they need to make another trip to the National Championship Game.
A stingy defense, a revitalized offense under JUCO transfer quarterback Zach Mettenberger and a successful coach.
The No. 1 team in the country, the Tigers are looking to make up for their pitiful performance in the title game. As of now, it looks like they will get a chance to do so, as long as they beat Alabama on Nov. 3.
My Complete Preseason Top 25 Rankings
1. LSU Tigers
2. USC Trojans
Which top-10 team could emerge as a fifth national championship contender?
3. Alabama Crimson Tide
4. Oregon Ducks
5. Georgia Bulldogs
6. Oklahoma Sooners
7. Florida State Seminoles
8. Michigan Wolverines
9. Arkansas Razorbacks
10. South Carolina Gamecocks
11. West Virginia Mountaineers
12. Michigan State Spartans
13. Ohio State Buckeyes
14. Stanford Cardinal
15. Wisconsin Badgers
16. TCU Horned Frogs
Which top-25 team could become a national championship contender?
17. Clemson Tigers
18. Virginia Tech Hokies
19. Kansas State Wildcats
20. Oklahoma State Cowboys
21. Nebraska Cornhuskers
22. Texas Longhorns
23. Florida Gators
24. Washington Huskies
25. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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