On the eve of the first Saturday of the 2012 season we here at Heisman Pundit have been talking a lot about the eventual national champion.
While we haven’t spoken in terms of specific teams and potential Heisman winners on these national championship participants, we have talked about the road certain teams will need to travel to end up in Miami.
We’ve come to the conclusion that 2012 (the year of the Mayan apocalypse) has a distinctly non-Biblical feel about it. For starters, every team’s final goal is to end up Miami, where women stroll around mostly naked and every night is a party. At USC, Lane Kiffin has all-but-admitted that Matt Barkley will be an offensive glutton, trying to rack up ungodly numbers on his way to New York in early December. The final heretical element of the 2012 season is in direct opposition to Matthew 7:13, which states that the way to heaven is the tough and narrow path.
Not this year.
The road to Miami (college football heaven) is on the broad and easy path littered with the bodies of also-ran teams and cellar-dwelling division opponents.
I’d love to see Arkansas shock the world and sweep its SEC competition but the road is too tough, the margin for error too narrow. Oklahoma finally has the team it’s been building towards since Sam Bradford left, but Texas, West Virginia, TCU, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Kansas State stand directly in its path to the BCS title game. There is no team (in my opinion) good enough this year to beat any team in the nation on any given Saturday so it comes down to which team can beat every team on its softer-than-usual schedule.
Two teams in particular stand out to me in this easiest road scenario. First, there is Georgia, a team that must beat a not-so-tough South Carolina team, Florida and Georgia Southern. If the Bulldogs roll into the SEC Championship game at 12-0 they might just believe they can beat an LSU or Alabama. Hello South Beach.
Then there’s USC, arrogant as hell and ready to prove you can’t sanction the end zone. For the Trojans, the season comes down to two Oregon games, a trip to a Luck-less Stanford and a Thursday night matchup at Utah. Are there easier schedules out there? Yes, but these two teams have the friendliest schedules among the top contenders.
Games to Watch — Week One
Michigan +14 v Alabama — Bama should and will win this game, by a touchdown even, but that’s not the point. This game will accomplish two things: First it will vault the Tide to #1 in the polls for the foreseeable future. This is one of only two match-ups between ranked teams this weekend (the other being Boise State vs. Michigan State) and a win by Bama will stick in voters’ minds. This may also be Denard Robinson’s coming out party…or funeral. Last year when Robert Griffin III had arguably his strongest game against TCU in week one, Heisman voters took notice. If Robinson can put together an otherworldly performance against Alabama and keep the game close, look for him to steal votes from Barkley in the second week of the HeismanPundit/CBSsports.com Straw Poll.
Northwestern -1.5 @ Syracuse — Two words, Kain Colter (his name will be on every tongue come December)
Missouri St. @ Kansas St. (infinity) — I couldn’t find a line on K-State but I’ll still take them. Collin Klein is my true Heisman dark horse and I believe he could have a Tim Tebow/Cam Newton like season and create a 25-25 club.
Ohio +6.5 @ Penn St. — The season (in the metaphorical sense) of Penn State’s decline begins swiftly in this upset special.