College Football 2012: Top 10 Games That Can Bust Up BCS
The BCS standings are still a little bit over two months away from coming out, but many are aware of who the BCS title contenders will be, and there are several games that will test them.
The 2012 season will bring hundreds of memorable moments, and we cannot wait for things to get kicked off.
We saw so many missed kicks ruin opportunities for a few contenders to play for all the marbles, so what will be in store for us in 2012?
USC, LSU and Alabama are the early favorites, but there are a few others out there who aren't far behind (if at all) in overall talent.
Defense, as we have seen, is what wins championships, but upsets are a part of college football, and it is the shocking stunners that get everybody chirping around the water cooler.
Looking at your elite contenders in the country heading into the 2012 season, here are your top 10 games that could completely bust up the BCS.
No. 10: Georgia at Missouri
This will be the very first test for my preseason darlings, as the Georgia Bulldogs had better be prepared for the first SEC game that Missouri will play.
Many are looking at this game as one for the Tigers to showcase their talents in their new conference, but most should be looking at it as whether or not the SEC slate will trip up UGA.
The Dawgs are actually favored in all but one of their games at the moment (at SC), so clearly there is a shot they remain flawless heading into Atlanta for the SEC title game.
This will be a brutal game, as the Tigers will attempt to show the world they are as talented as any in the SEC East, and they will get their fair crack in this one.
One should not forget the defensive suspensions UGA has heading into this SEC opener (Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings and Chase Vasser are likely out at least the first two weeks) because Mizzou quarterback James Franklin will certainly be a serious threat without those starters.
The defensive line and linebackers are still as talented as any team in the country, but their hands will be full if Aaron Murray and the offense cannot pull their own weight.
Danny V’s Pick: UGA by 7
No. 9: Texas at Ole Miss
The Longhorns defense will arguably be as impressive as any on the planet, and whether or not their offense improves could be the difference between contending and pretending for a BCS bowl.
Still, these Rebels are not quite the same as they were when Mike Wallace and Dexter McCluster were running wild on the SEC. The only thing they have going for them is this game is early on, and Ole Miss could hang for three quarters.
As gorgeous of a town as Oxford (The Grove) is, Ole Miss is still a notch away from competing with some of the elite competition in the country, and a Texas offense that is finally experienced and loaded with talent should reap the benefits.
Danny V’s Pick: TX by 21
No. 8: Washington at LSU
Washington should get abused at the point of attack in this one, but Keith Price has a ton of weapons that could give LSU a decent game for a half.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is one of the best tight ends in the nation, but Price will be running for his life when the Bayou Bengals' annihilating defense harasses him.
KeKe Mingo and Sam Montgomery are All-American defensive ends up front and they have a few defensive backs plucking pigskins by the names of Eric Reid and the “Honey Badger” Tyrann Mathieu.
As long as Zach Mettenberger avoids turning the ball over, he can rely on a dominating run game and one of the best defenses and special teams in the country to take hold of this one.
Danny V’s Pick: LSU by 13
No. 7: Oregon at Washington State
There will be a boatload of first downs, yards, explosive plays and ultimately electrifying touchdowns in this offensive showdown.
WSU's Marquess Wilson is one of the better receivers in the country, and the Ducks must key on the 2011 consensus All-American, or else Mike Leach’s offense could bite them in the behind.
Luckily, Chip Kelly has an offense that has been unstoppable, and it really doesn’t matter who is starting at quarterback for his team. The likes of Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas should enable the Ducks to put up plenty of fireworks.
Danny V’s Pick: UO by 28
No. 6: Oklahoma at Texas Tech
The Sooners offense is going to be a bit depleted with the suspension that was handed down to Jaz Reynolds, and though he will miss multiple games, he has been reinstated, which should do wonders for quarterback Landry Jones.
Kenny Stills and Trey Metoyer are sensational receivers that will likely open up the running game if they can get any push from an inexperienced offensive line.
A neck injury plagued Ben Habern, and he has since retired from football. The loss of Tyler Evans for the season (to an ACL tear) is also brutal.
This has made Gabe Ikard move over to center, which could be costly when they take on the likes of Texas, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, TCU and even Notre Dame.
Still, payback will be on the minds of the Sooners after they were stunned in Norman by the Red Raiders last season, and we should expect their talented defense to make the slightest of differences.
Danny V’s Pick: OU by 7
No. 5: Florida State at South Florida
B.J. Daniels defeated the 'Noles on the road in his hometown as a freshman, but both programs have had a few roller-coaster seasons since then.
E.J. Manuel brings back his entire cast of playmakers on offense, and the defense ranks among the best in college football.
This, of course, is true despite the loss of their dynamic punt returner and cornerback Greg Reid. Reid was set to break Michael Ray Garvin and Deion Sanders’ kick and punt return records, respectively, but the depth in the secondary should still be fine without the electric player.
Titles are won on defense, and the front four is as dominant as any on the planet, with Bjoern Werner, Everett Dawkins, Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Jenkins forcing relentless pressure on opposing signal-callers.
Still, this should be a tight game because the Bulls have a talented defense that could challenge for a BCS bid if Daniels can take that next step forward as a leader.
Danny V’s Pick: FSU by 10
No. 4: LSU at Florida
The top-ranked Bayou Bengals (it's either them or USC) could be in for a rude awakening when they enter the Swamp on Oct. 6.
The Gators may have a few losses when they eventually meet up, but they could quickly get back into the SEC race with a victory over the media favorites to win both the conference and BCS title.
This game should be one of the top ones to see all year before November rolls along because of the players on defense. Scouts will be in attendance, and they will be drooling when they witness the filthy talent in the trenches.
Both offensive lines are legit, but the defensive side of the ball is what makes this matchup so alluring.
LSU has arguably the best front four out there (save FSU), but the Gators are not too far behind either (top-five when healthy).
Danny V’s Pick: LSU by 7
No. 3: Alabama at Tennessee
The Crimson Tide should be rolling when they head into Knoxville for the classic “Third Saturday in October” matchup between two storied programs.
The Vols will be a team to watch in 2012 because of their explosive talent on offense, and it all starts with quarterback Tyler Bray (minus their improved offensive line).
Bray has a few NFL options at receiver with Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers, but do not forget about junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson. Outside of USC and Clemson, this is arguably your top receiving corps in the country.
Luckily Nick Saban is the best in the game, because he will reload his Alabama defense into one of the best in the SEC once again. It doesn't hurt that his offensive line can single-handedly control games.
Danny V’s Pick: Bama by 10
No. 2: USC at Utah
This Thursday night tilt could change the landscape of college football if the Trojans were to fall in Salt Lake City.
First off, USC is as talented as it gets, with three or more first-round picks in the not-too-distant future (Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, Marqise Lee).
Throw in the fact that Curtis McNeal has Penn State transfer Silas Redd backing him up, and all of sudden you may be unsuccessful at finding many weak links (if any).
The Utah Utes, though, will be playing with a huge chip on their shoulder as they head into this season unranked.
However, they may leave ranked with ease, thanks to the star play of running back John White IV and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.
Jordan Wynn at quarterback has a sensational receiver in DeVonte Christopher to stretch the field against an extremely talented Trojan defense, but it will take a few turnovers and some luck.
However, I am calling for the stunner in early October, as the heavily favored Trojans (9.5 points at the moment) will truly understand what it feels like again to be the hunted instead of the hunter.
Danny V’s Pick: Utah by 2
No. 1: LSU at Auburn
The annual battle of the Tigers is always an intriguing matchup, despite it turning into a massacre last season.
LSU throttled Auburn 45-10 after losing the previous season to Cam Newton (24-17), but this should be an electric atmosphere in which we perhaps see the top-ranked team in the country coming into the Plains.
Auburn should be legit up front on the defensive side of the ball thanks to Corey Lemonier, Jeffrey Whitaker, Gabe Wright, Kenneth Carter, Nosa Eguae and Dee Ford.
Throw in a respectable back seven, and this defense really could give LSU’s offense some trouble. That is why the play of LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger in his first-ever hostile environment should be highly anticipated.
Everybody knows that LSU was battle-tested last season, and it has everybody back on defense, but how will Mettenberger respond if LSU comes out flat and/or trails?
It is BCS title or bust for LSU, and this game could go a long way in determining its fate.
Danny V’s Pick: AU by 1