2013 BCS AQ Conference Profiles: SEC

BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2013 season. Our easy-to-digest previews come to an end with the vaunted 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)

2013 Bowl Affiliations and Tie-Ins: Sugar Bowl (BCS), Capital One Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl, Music City Bowl, Liberty Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl, AdvoCare V100 Bowl (10)

2012 Results:
Conference Champion — Alabama Crimson Tide
Conference Runner-up — Georgia Bulldogs
BCS Bowl Results: BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide 42 vs. Notre Dame 14; Sugar Bowl: Louisville 33 vs. Florida 23
Overall Bowl Record: 6-3

2013 Heisman Hopefuls: Texas A&M QB Johny Manziel, Alabama Crimson Tide QB AJ McCarron, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, Georgia QB Aaron Murray

BCS Know How’s 2013 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Alabama Crimson Tide
Conference Runner-up — Florida Gators
BCS bids: Alabama Crimson Tide — BCS National Championship Game; Georgia Bulldogs — Sugar Bowl
Heisman Finalists — Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney

2013 BCS AQ Conference Profiles: Pac-12

BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2013 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)

2013 Bowl Affiliations and Tie-Ins: Rose Bowl (BCS), New Mexico Bowl, MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Fight Hunger Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Sun Bowl (7)

2012 Results:
Conference Champion — Stanford Cardinal
Conference Runner-up — UCLA Bruins
BCS Bowl Results: Rose Bowl — Stanford 20 vs. Wisconsin 14; Fiesta Bowl — Oregon 35 vs. Kansas State 17
Overall Bowl Record: 4-4

2013 Heisman Hopefuls: USC WR Marqise Lee, Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey

BCS Know How’s 2013 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Oregon Ducks
Conference Runner-up — Stanford Cardinal
BCS bids: Stanford Cardinal — BCS National Title Game; Oregon Ducks — Rose Bowl
Heisman Finalists — USC WR Marqise Lee, Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas

2013 BCS AQ Conference Profiles: Big 12

BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2013 season. Our easy-to-digest previews continue with the Big 12. 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)

2013 Bowl Affiliations and Tie-Ins: Fiesta Bowl (BCS), Texas Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Cotton Bowl (7)

2012 Results:
Conference Champion — Kansas State
Conference Runner-up — Oklahoma Sooners
BCS Bowl Results: 2013 Fiesta Bowl — Oregon 35 vs. Kansas State 17
Overall Bowl Record: 4-5

2013 Heisman Hopefuls: Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk, Oklahoma QB Blake Bell

BCS Know How’s 2013 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Oklahoma State Cowboys
Conference Runner-up — TCU Horned Frogs
BCS bids: Oklahoma State — Fiesta Bowl; TCU — Sugar Bowl
Heisman Finalists — None

2013 BCS AQ Conference Profiles: Big Ten

BCS Know How is taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2013 season. Our easy-to-digest previews continue with the Big 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)

2013 Bowl Affiliations and Tie-Ins: Rose Bowl (BCS), Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Gator Bowl, Heart of Dallas Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl (8)

2012 Results:
Conference Champion — Wisconsin Badgers
Conference Runner-up — Nebraska Cornhuskers
BCS Bowl Results: 2013 Rose Bowl — Stanford 20 vs. Wisconsin 15
Overall Bowl Record: 2-5

Heisman Hopefuls: Ohio State QB Braxton Miller, Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez, Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah, Michigan QB Devin Gardner

BCS Know How’s 2013 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Ohio State Buckeyes
Conference Runner-up — Nebraska Cornhuskers
BCS bids: Ohio State — Rose Bowl
Heisman Finalists — Braxton Miller

2010 Heisman Hopeful Countdown: No. 1 Alabama RB Mark Ingram

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 season preview, we will be breaking down our ten favorite Heisman hopefuls to get you ready for this season’s edition of the Heisman Watch.

Here’s our No. 1 selection, Alabama junior running back and defending Heisman Trophy recipient Mark Ingram.

In the same way that his Alabama Crimson Tide are the prohibitive favorites to repeat as national champions, running back Mark Ingram must be installed as preseason favorite to repeat as the Heisman Trophy recipient.

Yes, only one person in the history of the college game has won the trophy more than once in their collegiate career, however in Ingram’s case there are strong reasons to believe it is well within the realm of possibility.

Ingram burst onto the scene in 2009 during the Crimson Tide’s run towards the national championship, balancing the Tide’s offensive attack and allowing for a dynamic offense to emerge in Tuscaloosa. His impact was immediate as the former backup to Glen Coffee struck it big against Virginia Tech in Alabama’s first game — rushing for 150 yards and a touchdown.

As the 2009 season wore on Ingram experienced ups and downs during the Crimson Tide’s run through an undefeated SEC regular season, and jockeyed for position at the top of the Heisman race with a variety of contenders, including eventual runner-up Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.

It wasn’t until the season’s final week that Ingram truly separated himself from the pack, when he ran all over the feared Florida Gator defense in the SEC Championship Game, helping the Tide complete their undefeated regular season.

Ingram’s 1,658 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns to go along with three more touchdowns through the air were just enough to squeak him by Gerhart in the early-December Heisman balloting — Ingram coming out on top by the slimmest margin in Heisman history.

Now in 2010 Ingram looks to take his production to another level as most the offense that thrived with him as a centerpiece returns, including three of his blockers up front.

Bottom Line: Ingram will benefit greatly from the bevy of returning talent around him, but it could be a returning star who could derail his Heisman hopes.

Many believe that Trent Richardson, who backed up Ingram in ’09, is actually the better of the two running backs, and should get more touches in the offense as a sophomore.

Increased production and opportunities for Richardson could spell doom for Ingram’s hopes of a repeat Heisman victory, however Ingram himself will be improved from just a year ago as he settles into his second year of starting for the Tide.

Once again, Ingram will be faced with strong competition around the country for the trophy, however he cannot be discounted as the early national favorite for the trophy he claimed in just his first year as a starter.

2010 Heisman Hopeful Countdown: The Best of the Rest

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 season preview, we will be breaking down our ten favorite Heisman hopefuls to get you ready for this season’s edition of the Heisman Watch.

2010 looks to be one of the most open Heisman races in memory, so ten candidates can’t possibly be enough for anyone. Here’s five more candidates who could easily vie for the awards before we reveal our (pretty obvious) No. 1 selection.

Washington QB Jake Locker

The early favorite as the jewel of the 2011 NFL Draft class, Washington quarterback Jake Locker will test his pro-style skills against collegiate defenses for one more season from the helm of the Huskies’ offense — and could very well see a Heisman award ceremony invitation if he continues his upward progression.

Locker returns to a Washington squad which has seen ups and downs during Lockers’ years in Seattle, this time as a polished passer and leader of a team many see near the top of the heap in a very competitive 2010 Pac-10 conference.

Locker welcomes back his top seven pass catchers from 2009 and an offense which could rank among the best in the country — all key elements to a season Locker hopes will have Heisman written all over it.

Navy QB Ricky Dobbs

Fleet of foot, strong armed and poised as a senior leading a revitalized Navy program, quarterback Ricky Dobbs has all of the tools needed to run a convincing 2010 Heisman campaign.

Last season was a record setting one for the Midshipmens’ most dynamic threat, as he rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards while accounting for an astounding 26 rushing touchdowns.

The question in 2010 will be if Dobbs can take Navy to the next step, and in the process, run the triple-option to an even greater output than in 2009 — not an easy proposal.

Florida State QB Christian Ponder

Injuries and inconsistency have haunted Florida State’s prized senior quarterback Chirstian Ponder his entire career, but in 2010, the quarterback looks to move past his troubles and make this season one which reaches its full potential.

Ponder had a solid start to the 2009 season, while not piling up the statistics, it was never Ponder’s mistakes which doomed an underwhelming season for the Seminoles. However, in what would prove to be his final two games of the season, Ponder threw a combined six interceptions against Clemson and NC State before injuring his shoulder.

If Ponder wants a shot at the Heisman this season, he’ll have to be able to bounce back from mistakes, and lead the Seminoles back to the top of the college football world.

Penn State RB Evan Royster

Six 100-yard-plus games and pro-level abilities made many believe that Penn State running back Evan Royster would leave College Park after the 2009 season, but the running back returned for his senior season — with a legitimate shot at Heisman contention.

The senior running back will need to help his offense out, as the Nittany Lions will transition to a new quarterback and a new lineup on the offensive line.

Look for Royster to be key to Penn State’s success this season.

Miami QB Jacory Harris

Unpredictable and sometimes over zealous with his passes, Miami quarterback Jacory Harris could very well be on his way to national stardom this season as the Hurricanes look to return to their familiar position among the top ten teams in the nation.

However, Harris will need to control his wild side, which was responsible for an ACC-leading 17 interceptions in 2009, which was not beneficial to a Miami team which looked — at least early on — to be a national contender.

In 2010, Harris may finally get the chance to meet his potential and make a run at a Heisman trophy.

2010 Heisman Hopeful Countdown: No. 2 Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 season preview, we will be breaking down our ten favorite Heisman hopefuls to get you ready for this season’s edition of the Heisman Watch.

Here’s our No. 2 selection, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

In a season without a clear-cut Heisman favorite, a Jim Tressell-coached, former PARADE National Player of the Year and second-year starting quarterback is about as good a Heisman candidate as they come.

But for Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor, the qualifications to be listed among the favorites in 2010 run much deeper than that.

Sure, Pryor hasn’t exactly lived up to the huge hype he had coming out of high school, where his recruitment and school commitment was homepage news around the country. And certainly, his first season as a Buckeye — when he split time behind center — was a little underwhelming for his skill set.

But the latter part of his second season and first year as the full-time starter for Ohio State may have finally revealed the Pryor the nation expected to see from day one, and that’s a thought that should scare the entire country in the 2010 season.

In leading the Buckeyes to another Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl bid, Pryor began to finally reveal the dual-threat capabilities of his game, something that had been slightly repressed by the offensive style of Tressell’s offense.

Pryor rushed for 779 yards and passed for another 2,094 in 2009 while throwing for 18 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.

While those numbers don’t exactly pop out of the page, in his final six games Pryor began to control his interceptions (throwing just three) while also rushing for more than 70 yards per game and leading OSU to six straight wins.

The highlight of the season came in the Rose Bowl, where Pryor went head to head with another dual-threat QB in Jeremiah Masoli, coming out on top in the Buckeyes’ victory.

In 2010, Pryor sees the return of most of his offense, including four offensive lineman and his top two receivers from last season, senior Dan Sanzenbacher and junior DeVier Posey, which combined with his continuing maturity, could mean big things for Pryor this year.

Bottom Line: Pryor has seen Heisman talk surrounding his name from the moment he committed to Ohio State, and although he has yet to truly fulfill that potential, 2010 is lining up to be the season that it all finally comes together for the junior quarterback.

Consistency in the system and a slew of returners will help Pryor continue improving, and with an increased freedom granted from coach Jim Tressell, Pryor can finally run the offense the way he feels capable of doing.

Just like any other Heisman hopeful, Pryor will need a nationally relevant Buckeye squad to compete for the trophy, and Ohio State looks ready to do just that as many believe them to be a legitimate national title contender.

The key of course to the Buckeyes success will be Pryor, and there is simply no reason to believe the Buckeyes can’t make another run at a national title.

Pryor is a changed quarterback, in charge of the offense and finally showing the skill we all expected from day one. Put it all together, and he is without a doubt one of the favorites for the trophy this season.

2010 Heisman Hopeful Countdown: No. 3 Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 season preview, we will be breaking down our ten favorite Heisman hopefuls to get you ready for this season’s edition of the Heisman Watch.

Here’s our No. 3 selection, Pittsburgh sophomore running back Dion Lewis.

Just mentioning the name Tony Dorsett to even the most casual Pittsburgh Panther fan evokes all kinds of fond memories from his four year career as a Panther, during which time he was awarded the only Heisman in program history.

So when freshman running back Dion Lewis burst onto the scene in 2009 and broke Dorsett’s freshman season rushing record by more than 100 yards, it was no surprise the nation took notice.

Now back as the nation’s leading returning rusher in terms of yards, Lewis looks poised to help the Panthers back to the top of the Big East, and possibly collect college football’s most prestigious award along the way.

Lewis had entered his first season with doubts about his ability to carry the full load of carries as a first-year starter, but Lewis did more than shoulder the load, carrying the ball 25 times per game and scoring 17 touchdowns to go with the nation’s third-most rushing yards.

2010 will be different for the New York-native runner, as he will be taking his handoffs from a first-year quarterback in Tino Sunseri and will have to help Sunseri adapt to the offense by taking some of the pressure off of the sophomore.

It might not be such an easy proposition, however, as Lewis will be running behind a line that only returns two of its five starters from Lewis’s record-breaking season. Senior Alex Karabin, who played special teams exclusively will take over at center, while both guards will need to be replaced.

Bottom Line: Lewis is going to be the key to any success the Panthers hope to have in 2010, and it won’t be easy. He was an unexpected phenom in his freshman year — in 2010 opponents are more than ready to pressure his every move.

His performance may end up coming down to whether Sunseri can establish the Pitt passing game as a legitimate threat. If he can’t it will be very easy to crowd the line against Lewis and take advantage of an inexperienced line to stop Lewis from excelling.

If, however, Sunseri can establish the threat of a passing game, and the offensive line melds like it seems coach Dave Wannstedt believes it can, Lewis will be the nation’s most dangerous runner and a legitimate threat to win the award as a sophomore.

Plus, a successful Lewis means a successful Panther squad, which only helps the Heisman potential Lewis hopes to have, which despite his age, is extraordinarily good in 2010.

2010 Heisman Hopeful Countdown: No. 4 Boise State QB Kellen Moore

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 season preview, we will be breaking down our ten favorite Heisman hopefuls to get you ready for this season’s edition of the Heisman Watch.

Here’s our No. 4 selection, Boise State junior quarterback Kellen Moore.

Kellen Moore is not your typical Heisman candidate in the same way his Boise State Broncos are not the typical national title contender.

But in the 2010 college football season, where anything really seems plausible, both are likely to be in the thick of conversation until the trophies are lifted on December 11th and January 10th respectively.

Although Moore and Boise State are admittedly more focused on the crystal football than the bronze stiff arm trophy, the pursuit of a BCS championship could lead to a legitimate run at the Heisman for the third-year starter.

Moore has gone from unheralded recruit who nearly was unable to receive a scholarship offer from Boise State coach Chris Peterson to one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation, and in 2009, Moore put on a statistical performance that was unmatched by anyone in the country.

In leading his Broncos to an undefeated season, Moore passed for 3,536 yards and 39 touchdowns, which are amazing statistics by themselves. But looking closer, the efficiency with which Moore picked apart defenses was astounding, as he threw for a paltry three interceptions, was sacked just five times and had a 64.3-percent completion rate.

And all of this from an undersized quarterback who was at the helm of a complex offensive system and a team opponents circled on their calendars from day one of fall practice.

From Hawaii to the blue turf at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Moore was efficient as could be, and there’s reason to believe that 2010 will be another step in the right direction for the quarterback. The question is how much more can you improve on a 13:1 TD to INT ratio?

Bottom Line: The deal is pretty simple for Moore if he wants any shot at the Heisman Trophy in his junior season — lead Boise State to an undefeated season, and more preferably, a national championship game bid.

For the most part, non-AQ quarterbacks don’t get the time of day from a majority of the Heisman voters unless they have led a team to domination, like say Alex Smith did for Utah in 2004.

However, Boise State looks poised to do just that, and if Moore can be as good as he was in 2009 or better (which would be hard) his resume would be hard to ignore.

Moore’s receivers will have a lot to do with what the quarterback can achieve in 2010, and Moore is lucky to have two All-WAC receivers in Austin Pettis and Titus Young on the outside with Moore’s younger brother Kirby Moore at the ready in the slot.

After a seventh place finish in the voting in ’09, it may be that an invite to the trophy presentation is all Moore can hope for this season. However, that could easily set him up for a run as the Heisman favorite in 2011 for his senior season, if he decides to come back to the Broncos for one final year.

2010 Heisman Hopeful Countdown: No. 5 West Virginia RB Noel Devine

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 season preview, we will be breaking down our ten favorite Heisman hopefuls to get you ready for this season’s edition of the Heisman Watch.

Here’s our No. 5 selection, West Virginia senior running back Noel Devine.

Noel Devine is the kind of running back college football coaches dream about when recruiting time comes around.

So when Bill Stewart took over for Rich Rodriguez and had a back like Devine at the ready — and with a year of backup duty already under his belt — he must have felt blessed to be so lucky.

Yet as they enter the final year of the duo’s relationship, many believe that Devine has been criminally underused by Stewart, something that has been among the arguments against what Stewart has done with the Mountaineer program these past two years.

In 2010, however, Devine looks ready to finally overcome the doubts about his size and durability and take the next step statistically and make a strong case for this year’s Heisman.

His 2009 season looked to be his breakout year, but despite being the featured back on a strong West Virginia team, Devine did not get more than 23 attempts out of the backfield in any game, and averaged a paltry 18.5 carries per game.

He did finish with a career-best 13 touchdowns and 1,465 rushing yards but it could have been more for a back that averaged 6.1 yards per game for the season.

A strong year from Devine could bring the Florida-area speedster the all-time Mountaineer rushing record, but he’ll have to pass West Virginia greats Pat White, Amos Zereoue, Steve Slaton and current leader Avon Cobourne.

Bottom Line: It’s going to be all about how many times Devine can touch the ball in 2010.

Devine averages 6.5 yards per carry, and in his freshman year, averaged an amazing 8.6 ypg. When he touches the ball, its usually a big gain. It would then follow that the more he touches the ball, the more he can produces, right?

That’s the bet the Mountaineers will have to rely on, since their outlook rests pretty squarely on whether Devine can produce on a Heisman-worthy level.

He’ll be running behind an experienced line, which could be key in increasing his touchdown production. A repeat 13 scores last season will not be good enough for the award.

Devine looks ready to take the next step, but it will need to be a gigantic leap to other-worldly numbers if he even wants to think about being the first Mountaineer to receive the honor.