2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: SEC


BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Our easy-to-digest previews come to an end with as much of a “BCS” conference as there is, the SEC. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Southeastern Conference (SEC)

Active Since: 1933

Current Member Schools:
East Division: Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee Volunteers, Vanderbilt Commodores, Missouri Tigers
West Division: Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, Louisiana State (LSU) Tigers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels, Texas A&M Aggies (14)

Bowl Affiliations: Sugar Bowl (BCS), Independence Bowl, Music City Bowl, Liberty Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl, Cotton Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl (10)

2011 Results:
Conference Champion — LSU
Conference Runner-up — Georgia
BCS Bowl Results: 2012 BCS National Championship Game: Alabama 21 vs. LSU 0
Overall Bowl Record: 6-3 (BCSNCG accounted for both a win and a loss)
Heisman Vote Recipients: Alabama RB Trent Richardson (Third Overall); LSU DB Tyrann Mathieu (Fifth Overall)

2012 Outlook: By now, you probably know the story, the debates and the outcome. For the first time in BCS history, 2011 saw a title game between two teams from the same conference. It wasn’t all that surprising that the conference that was first the break through that barrier was the SEC, which has now provided the BCS’s last six champions.

Alabama was victorious in that game, after being bested by LSU earlier in 2011’s regular season. But that now must become a memory, as the conference searches for its next title hopeful. The question is, of course, would their best hope be the Tigers and Crimson Tide again? Or can another squad from the ever-deepening rosters of the SEC send another team to the top?

This certainly isn’t a two-team conference, and with two new teams this year — Big 12 transfers Missouri and Texas A&M — the conference has literally never been deeper. While the two newbies probably don’t have the firepower to hang with the Tigers and Tide, there are plenty of teams that do.

South Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia join Alabama and LSU as consensus top-ten teams across the country, and just like last year, this season could be another one dominated by the SEC, long the pride of the short-for-this-world BCS.

Heisman Hopefuls: South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, Georgia QB Aaron Murray, Alabama QB A.J. McCarron, Alabama RB Eddie Lacy, Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas RB Knile Davis, LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions:
Conference Champion — LSU Tigers
Conference Runner-up — Georgia Bulldogs
BCS bids: LSU Tigers — BCS National Championship Game; Alabama Crimson Tide — Sugar Bowl
Heisman Finalists — South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore

2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Pac-12


BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Our easy-to-digest previews continue with the Pac-12, a conference experiencing a true renaissance. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Pacific 12 Conference (Pac-12)

Active Since: 1915

Current Member Schools:

North Division: California Golden Bears, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Stanford Cardinal, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars
South Division: Arizona Wildcats, Arizona State Sun Devils, UCLA Bruins, Southern California (USC) Trojans, Colorado Buffaloes, Utah Utes  (12)

Bowl Affiliations: Rose Bowl (BCS), New Mexico Bowl, MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Fight Hunger Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Sun Bowl (7)

2011 Results:
Conference Champion — Oregon
Conference Runner-up — UCLA
BCS Bowl Results: Fiesta Bowl – Oklahoma State 41 vs. Stanford 38; Rose Bowl – Oregon 45 vs. Wisconsin 38
Overall Bowl Record: 2-5
Heisman Vote Recipients: Andrew Luck (Second Overall); Matt Barkley (Sixth Overall), LaMichael James (10th Overall)

2012 Outlook: There’s a simple reason the SEC has been the conference everyone has associated with the BCS in the last decade. The south expects to dominate the bowl series, and especially the national title game. But in recent years, and in the years leading up to the six-title SEC streak, the Pacific had a lot to say about the BCS.

Most notably, USC had plenty to say in those mid-2000s, before a non-BCS season and then NCAA sanctions kept them quiet for a while. But with the expected return of the Trojans to national prominence, so too has the Pac-12 become relevant once again in a national title discussion.

Oregon and Stanford have spent the last two bowl seasons representing the conference of champions on the BCS stage, and this year, bowl-eligible-again USC looks to head there as well. The Trojans expect to vie for a national title, but so too do the Ducks have title aspirations. Stanford could be out of the national title conversation, but there’s no denying a renaissance in Palo Alto is at hand.

Washington, under the guidance of Steve Sarkisian and leadership of quarterback Keith Price seems ready to make some noise as well.

The conference is stacked, that’s for sure. Can it compete with the SEC? That remains to be seen.

Heisman Hopefuls: USC QB Matt Barkley, USC WR Robert Woods, Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon RB Kenjon Barner, Washington QB Keith Price, Washington State QB Jeff Tuel, California WR Keenen Allen

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions:
Conference Champion — USC Trojans
Conference Runner-up — Oregon Ducks
BCS bids: USC Trojans — BCS National Title Game; Oregon Ducks — Rose Bowl
Heisman Finalists — USC QB Matt Barkley

2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Big 12

BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Our easy-to-digest previews continue with the Big 12, the conference of change. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Big 12 Conference (Big 12)

Active Since: 1996

Current Member Schools: Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas State Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks, West Virginia Mountaineers, Baylor Bears, Oklahoma State Cowboys, TCU Horned Frogs, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns. (10)

Bowl Affiliations: Fiesta Bowl (BCS), Holiday Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl, Cotton Bowl. (7)

2011 Results:
Conference Champion — Oklahoma State
Conference Runner-up — Kansas State
BCS Bowl Results: 2012 Fiesta Bowl — Oklahoma State 41 vs. Stanford 38
Overall Bowl Record: 6-2
Heisman Vote Recipients: Baylor QB Robert Griffin III (Heisman Trophy Recipient)

2012 Outlook: If there is one conference that embodies the churn rate of college football conference affiliation these days, it might as well be the Big 12.

After losing two schools before the 2011 season, the conference lost two more this offseason, as Missouri and Texas A&M vacated the conference for the SEC’s greener pastures. In replacement, the Big 12 recruited West Virginia and TCU to replace the two, keeping the league at a solid 10 teams.

But whereas some conference additions around the country have little chance in their first years in town, the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs look able to compete right away. The Mountaineers bring a tradition of Big East dominance, having visited the BCS three times as Big East representatives, and coming away victorious each time. The Horned Frogs, though not of AQ breeding, have two BCS bids of their own in last two years, claiming a Rose Bowl victory in 2011.

The immediate attention might be focused on the newbies, but traditional powers are here to play as well. Oklahoma looks reinvigorated and many have fingered the Sooners as conference favorites. Kansas State, who had a surprising run to the Cotton Bowl last year look to ride quarterback Colin Klein to national prominence once again. And Oklahoma State, who just missed out on a chance at a national title shot, is back to prove it wasn’t all a fluke.

All in all, though it might be difficult to keep track of what teams actually belong to this conference, the Big 12 looks as strong as ever in 2012.

Heisman Hopefuls: Oklahoma QB Landry Jones, West Virginia QB Geno Smith, Oklahoma State RB Joseph Randle, Kansas State QB Colin Klein, Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Oklahoma Sooners
Conference Runner-up — West Virginia Mountaineers
BCS bids: Oklahoma — Fiesta Bowl; West Virginia — Sugar Bowl
Heisman Finalists — West Virginia QB Geno Smith

2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Big Ten

BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Our easy-to-digest previews continue with the B1G Ten. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Big Ten Conference (Big Ten, B1G)

Active Since: 1896

Current Member Schools:

Leaders Division: Nebraska Cornhuskers, Michigan Wolverines, Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats, Michigan State Spartans, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Legends Division: Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Purdue Boilermakers, Wisconsin Badgers (12)

Bowl Affiliations: Rose Bowl (BCS), Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, TicketCity Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl (8)

2011 Results:
Conference Champion — Wisconsin Badgers
Conference Runner-up — Michigan State Spartans
BCS Bowl Results: 2012 Rose Bowl — Oregon 45 vs. Wisconsin 38; 2012 Sugar Bowl — Michigan 23 vs. Virginia Tech 20
Overall Bowl Record: 4-6
Heisman Vote Recipients: Wisconsin RB Montee Ball (Fourth Overall); Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson (Ninth Overall)

2012 Outlook: Variations in power within college football conferences are more than ordinary, they’re expected. It’s just the nature of the game these days. But with two league titles and Rose Bowl bids to match in the last two years, Wisconsin is on the verge of creating a more permanent shift. But Badgers beware, the 2012 Big Ten season is sure to put Wisconsin to the test.

After a victory in the conference’s inaugural conference title game, the Badgers were on their way to the BCS again, this time joined in the by Michigan, a surprising 10-2 squad with power to spare. Michigan State similarly provided fireworks at the end of the season, reaching the conference title game and a New Year’s Day bowl. Both look to build upon successful 2011 campaigns in 2012.

Expect traditional powers Nebraska and Ohio State to again rise to the challenge of this changing landscape. Nebraska will look to put its own fingerprints and smudges on the conference championship trophy. And don’t be too surprised if the bowl-ineligible Buckeyes are still able to make some noise under Urban Meyer.

With skill position players such as Denard Robinson, Montee Ball and Taylor Martinez highlighting the conference, this season might be everything the Big Ten could hope for.

Heisman Hopefuls: Michigan QB Denard Robinson, Wisconsin RB Monte Ball, Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez, Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead, Michigan State RB Le’Veon Bell, Ohio State QB Braxton Miller

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Wisconsin Badgers
Conference Runner-up — Michigan Wolverines
BCS bids: Wisconsin — Rose Bowl; Michigan — Fiesta Bowl
Heisman Finalists — Michigan QB Denard Robinson, Wisconsin RB Monte Ball

2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Big East


BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Short and sweet previews continue with the eight-team Big East. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Big East Conference (Big East)

Active Since: 1979

Current Member Schools: Cincinnati Bearcats, Connecticut Huskies, Louisville Cardinals, Pittsburgh Panthers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Syracuse Orange, South Florida Bulls, Temple Owls. (8)

Bowl Affiliations: BCS Bowl Bid, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl, Belk Bowl, Russell Athletics Bowl, New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Liberty Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl. (7)

2011 Results:
Conference Co-Champions — West Virginia, Cincinnati and Louisville
Conference Runner-up — Rutgers
BCS Bowl Result — 2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia 70 vs. Clemson 33
Overall Bowl Record: 3-2

2012 Outlook: Three squads split the Big East crown last year, but the conference’s BCS participant — West Virginia — is long gone to the Big 12. So what next for the unstable and comparatively diminutive eight-team Big East?

With a new member school in Temple and a Louisville team that returns much of its co-champion squad from 2011, there’s plenty to be excited about. Add a USF squad that coach Skip Holtz says was five plays away from 10-2, and you might just have the makings of a conference to watch in the 2012 season.

The pall of the Big East being the butt of BCS jokes is in the offing, as the BCS isn’t long for the college football world, but in the remaining two seasons of BCS reign, could the conference see a reawakening and return to national prominence? It’ll have to start in 2012. Stay tuned.

Heisman Hopefuls: Pittsburgh RB Ray Graham, Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater.

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions: 
Conference Champion — Louisville Cardinals
Conference Runner-up — Cincinnati Bearcats
BCS bids — Louisville Cardinals — Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists – None

2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Atlantic Coast Conference

BCS Know How will take you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Short and sweet previews begin with the ACC. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

Active Since: 1953

Current Member Schools:

Atlantic Division: Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, Maryland Terrapins, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Coastal Division: Duke Blue Devils, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes, North Carolina Tar Heels, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies (12)

Bowl Affiliations: Orange Bowl (BCS), Military Bowl, Belk Bowl, Independence Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Music City Bowl, Sun Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl (8)

2011 Results:
Conference Champion — Clemson Tigers (10-4, 6-2, Coastal Division Champion)
Conference Runner-up — Virginia Tech Hokies (11-3, 7-1, Atlantic Division Champion)
BCS Bowl Results: 2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia 70 vs. Clemson 33; 2012 Sugar Bowl: Michigan 23 vs. Virginia Tech 20
Overall Bowl Record: 2-6

2012 Outlook: Up, down and up again, Clemson spent the early part of the 2011 season as a top-10 team. Stumbles mid-season broke any chance of a national title shot for the Tigers, but a Clemson ACC championship game victory over Virginia Tech brought the ACC two BCS bids for the first time in conference history.

With an unparalleled season in that respect in the review mirror, can the ACC again deliver top-flight talent on a national stage? The pieces seem in place, as Florida State — BCS bowl-less since 2006 — is a preseason top-10 team and the consistent Hokies figure to play a role in the national discussion somewhere down the line.

A conference that hasn’t participated in the BCS title game since 2003 may have a shot with the Seminoles in 2012. but a so0n-to-be-outdated BCS title shot or not, the ACC is certainly a force to reckon with.

Heisman Hopefuls: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas; North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard; Florida State QB E.J. Manuel

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Florida State Seminoles
Conference Runner-up — Virginia Tech Hokies
BCS Bids — Florida State — Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists: None