Ten College Football Teams With the Best Chance to Go 12-0
The following is a list of the 10 FBS teams with the best chance of going undefeated (12-0) in the regular season.
These teams are not the 10 teams with the best chance to make it to the BCS Championship Game, and they're certainly not the best 10 teams in the country.
Going undefeated depends on the strength of the competition, where you play your toughest games, and home many tough games are on your schedule.
Like in so many years past, it looks like there will be a precious few left standing when the final horn goes off in Philadelphia on Dec. 11, the day Army plays Navy.
No. 10: Auburn Tigers
Auburn finished 8-5 last year after a dismal 5-7 season in 2008. At the end of 2008, in somewhat of a controversial hire, Gene Chizik was brought in to take over as head coach.
The Tigers' biggest challenge will be replacing quarterback Chris Todd. There is plenty of talent returning on both sides of the ball, and Chizik is bringing in a great recruiting class.
Auburn really played tough against National Champion Alabama and lost 26-21 last season, and they went on to defeat Northwestern in the Outback Bowl.
In 2010, Clemson is the only strong opponent on the non-conference schedule, but it plays that game at home.
The SEC schedule is manageable because they play Florida. Three of their four road games are against Mississippi State, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Their final road game is against Alabama.
Clemson's season might boil down to one game: on the road against the reigning National Champion.
If the Tigers can defeat the Crimson Tide, there is a good chance they will end 2010 with a 12-0 regular season record.
No. 9: Texas Longhorns
Texas lost to Alabama in last year's National Championship game. After Heisman Trophy runner-up Colt McCoy left the game in the first quarter, Garret Gilbert came off the bench and moved the team up and down the field. Alabama won 37-21.
It might look like the Longhorns have an extremely tough schedule in 2010 with games against Oklahoma and at Nebraska.
The schedule is tough, but there are only three road games all year. Along with the Nebraska game, Texas has to visit Texas Tech and Kansas State. As always, they meet Oklahoma in Dallas.
The Longhorns return a lot of players from last year's 13-1 team, and if Gilbert can show enough consistency—he certainly showed the necessary confidence and talent in the Alabama game—they have a chance to make it to another BCS Championship game with a 12-0 record.
No. 8: Nebraska Cornhuskers
Nebraska had a coming-out season in 2008 (9-4) and improved on it in 2009 (10-4).
Last year's team beat Oklahoma and lost a 13-12 thriller to Texas in the conference championship game. They finished the season with a 33-0 win over Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.
The player that will be most missed is everyone's All-American defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.
The Cornhuskers bring enough players back on defense and 10 starters back from last year's offensive squad to make another jump in 2010.
The schedule works in their favor because they don't play Oklahoma this year, and they get Texas in Lincoln.
This team is a consensus preseason top 10 pick, and if they can get by Texas, they have a shot to go 12-0.
No. 7: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
After going 5-7 in 2008, the Blue Raiders finished 10-3 last year with a win over Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl.
Senior quarterback Dwight Dasher is the Blue Raiders' signature player, and they are banking on him to to lead this team past conference rival Troy in 2010.
The prognosticators are predicting Middle Tennessee State will win the Sunbelt Conference this year.
The Troy game is at home, and the non-conference schedule has only one real obstacle: Georgia Tech.
Tennessee opens with Minnesota at home, which is a very winnable game. The Blue Raiders come into the season on a seven game winning streak, and if they can pull off the upset at Georgia Tech, they might be able to run the table and finish 12-0.
No. 6: Navy Midshipmen
Navy is coming off a 10-4 2009 season with a 35-13 thrashing of Missouri in the Texas Bowl.
The Midshipmen are once again led by quarterback Ricky Dobbs. Dobbs, though not on anyone's preseason Heisman watch list, is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Last year, he broke the NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (27).
The Midshipmen have to replace all their linebackers but do not expect to fall off at that position. They have solid back-ups waiting to step in.
They return a lot of players from last year and also have—for the first time in their history—some size on the offensive line.
Navy has a real chance to finish the regular season undefeated, and it's very possible it could be favored in every game it plays.
The two games the Midshipmen must win: They open with state rival Maryland in Baltimore, and their seventh game is against Notre Dame at the Meadowlands.
No. 5: Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech finished 10-3 last year and beat Tennessee in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
After a season-opening 34-24 loss to National Champion Alabama, the Hokies won nine of their last 11 games.
The experts are picking them to win the ACC again, but they will have to travel to Miami and North Carolina.
They return one of the most talented backfields in the country led by quarterback Tyrod Taylor. They'll have to replace some key players on defense, but that is never a problem for the Hokies.
The toughest game on their schedule is the opener against powerful Boise State. This game will be played in Landover, Maryland, which is almost like a home game for Virginia Tech.
If they can defeat Boise State and start the season off on a roll, they have a chance of running the table to get to 12-0.
No. 4: Houston Cougars
The Cougars finished 10-4 last year with a big upset win at Oklahoma State.
They bring back all-world quarterback Case Keenum and his favorite receivers and running back.
The Cougars will have to outscore their opponents big time in 2010 with a suspect defense, but last year they had no problem scoring points.
Houston has two games on the schedule that might give them trouble: They have to travel to UCLA on the third weekend of the season, and they close with Texas Tech, a team they defeated last year.
If the defense steps up, and with a winnable schedule, the Cougars could finish 12-0 in the regular season.
No. 3: Alabama Crimson Tide
You're probably asking yourself why Alabama isn't No. 1. Even though they return a Heisman Trophy winner and so many great players from last year, there's a chance the Crimson Tide will get knocked off this year.
One reason they have to worry is because they'll have to replace six of the defense's front seven.
Another reason is that last year, while finishing 14-0 and winning the National Championship, both Auburn and Tennessee gave them trouble. They really dodged a bullet in a 12-10 win over Tennessee which went down to the last play.
This year they added Penn State to the schedule and travel to Tennessee and LSU. They play Florida, Auburn, and Mississippi at home. They do not play Georgia in 2010.
Though the schedule is incredibly difficult, they face two big obstacles to achieve another undefeated season: Everyone will be gunning for them, so the pressure will be intense, and staying hungry after winning the National Championship last year may be a challenge.
No. 2: Boise State Broncos
Can Boise State have another undefeated season? The answer is yes.
Last year, the Broncos went undefeated and beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. They also went undefeated in 2006 and shocked Oklahoma in one of the most exciting games in the history of college football.
They won't be shocking anyone anymore because they've proven they can play and beat anybody.
This year's team is ranked as high as No. 2, and they return All-American quarterback Kellen Moore and 21 of 22 starters from last year.
If they can go on the road and beat a very tough Virginia Tech team, they will be a favorite to run the table and make it to this year's BCS Championship game.
There is an excellent chance for Boise State to finish the regular season with a 12-0 record.
No. 1: Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Can the Horned Frogs go undefeated in this year's regular season? Yes, they did it last year, and they bring back quarterback Andy Dalton and all his receivers.
They also bring back two great runners and four of five on the offensive line. The defense has to do some filling in.
The Horned Frogs have two games on their schedule that might cause concern: They open with Oregon State in Arlington, Texas, and they have to travel to Utah late in the season.
Last year, they beat a good Clemson team on the road and they put up 55 points on Utah. They've shown that they can play with anyone.
It's because of their schedule that they have the best chance of anyone to finish 12-0 in the regular season. It's just not that difficult.