My projection: 7-5 losses: Florida, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn, Alabama
Record: 10-2 losses: Florida & LSU
- Everyone was saying how the Aggies could not compete in the SEC Conference this season. First year head coach Kevin Sumlin turned the program around in one season with the help of freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Aggies lost to Florida and LSU, but had possibly the best win of the season in college football at Alabama. Texas A&M ranked in the Top 15 in passing yards, rushing yards, and in scoring.
3. Oregon State:
My projection: 5-7 losses: Wisconsin, UCLA, BYU, Utah, Washington, Stanford, Oregon
- After this season, it was thought that Head Coach Mike Riley would be on the hot seat and his job would be in jeopardy after losing seven or eight games. Riley once again proved the nation wrong and led his team to a 6-0 start and ended the season with a 9-3 record. The defense ranked as one of the best against the rush and the offense became dangerous with a passing attack led by quarterbacks Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz. The wide receiver play of Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks presented problems for secondaries all season long as well.
My projection: 8-4 losses: USC, Washington, Notre Dame, Oregon
Record: 10-2 losses: Washington, Notre Dame
- With the departure of quarterback Andrew Luck, there weren't many people who thought the Cardinal would be competing for the Pac-12 Championship with Oregon and USC appearing to be the true contenders. David Shaw's team hung around in the rankings the whole season. The Cardinal upset #2 USC in the second week of the season and then were upset two weeks later at Washington. The Cardinal two weeks later lost in a controversial overtime loss at #7 Notre Dame, but won out the regular season as they upset #2 Oregon on the road and defeated #16 UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship. A major reason for the improvement of the Cardinal at the end of the season was in part to the switch of quarterbacks from Josh Nunes to Kevin Hogan. The defense continued to be one of the best in the nation again this season.
5. Kansas State:
My projection: 8-4 losses: Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU, Baylor
Record: 11-1 losses: Baylor
- I think most people thought that last year was simply a fluke. The 73-year-old Bill Snyder and his captain quarterback Collin Klein apparently did not feel the same way as the Wildcats made it all the way to number one in the nation until their second to last game of the season when they were upset at Baylor. The Wildcats were not flashy, but were a solid team offensively, as well as defensively. Without Heisman finalist Collin Klein, this team does not go on the road and get a signature win at Oklahoma, nor do they win the Big 12 title.
My projection: 9-3 losses: Alabama, South Carolina, LSU
Record: 4-8 losses: LA-Monroe, Alabama, Rutgers, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Mississippi State, LSU
- The departure of Bobby Petrino hurt the Razorbacks, but who would have seen a 4-8 record coming? The upset loss, most likely the biggest one in Arkansas history, again LA-Monroe in overtime put the Razorbacks in panic mode and everything hit rock bottom after that. Interim coach John L. Smith lost control of the situation and senior quarterback Tyler Wilson battled through an injury early in the season and was not able to be as successful as last season. Arkansas's only SEC wins came against Auburn and Kentucky, who both combined for a total of five wins on the season and no wins in SEC play.
My projection: 13-0 losses: none
Record: 7-5 losses: Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Notre Dame
- The Trojans came into the season as a lock for the Pac-12 Championship and a potential BCS National Championship contender. Only three weeks into the season though the Trojans were upset at Stanford. After that loss, USC went on to win their next four games and were at a solid 6-1 record. Once late October/November hit the Trojans season went literally down the drain. USC lost at Arizona, gave up 62 points to Oregon at home in a 62-51 loss, lost the Pac-12 South Division as UCLA beat USC for the first time since 2006, and then lost at home to Notre Dame. The offense led my senior quarterback Matt Barkley and potential Heisman candidate wide receiver Marqise Lee was solid for the most part, but the Trojan defense looked awful and struggled most of the season. "Unfinished business" was not finished as the Trojans settled with a 7-5 record.
My projection: 8-4 losses: LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama
Record: 3-9 losses: Clemson, Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama
- This team may have been the biggest nightmare of them all. Auburn looked to be an improved team this season and everything was bad from start to finish. The offense was atrocious averaging just 18.7 points per game and had one of the worst passing attacks in the country. The Auburn offense was my preseason biggest disappointment. The defense which should have been improved this season ended up giving up 439.8 yards per game and 28.3 points per game. Auburn failed to beat a team from a BCS automatic qualifying conference and had their worst season since 1998. Head Coach Gene Chizik was fired just two seasons after he had won a BCS National Championship.
My projection: 8-4 losses: Michigan State, Northwestern, Michigan, Nebraska
Record: 4-8 losses: Iowa State, Central Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska
- The Iowa Hawkeyes may have been projected to be the fourth best team in the Big Ten Legends Division, but their were expectations this season of being at least an eight win team. The schedule set up nicely for the Hawkeyes as they did not have to face Ohio State or Wisconsin this season. Iowa began the season in a tussle with a Northern Illinois team that is now playing in the Orange Bowl. The Hawkeyes came away with a one-point victory, but lost two of their next three non-conference games at home to in-state rival Iowa State and Central Michigan. As the season went on in Big Ten play the offense struggled to put points on the board as they averaged just 19.3 points per game. This ended up putting the Hawkeye defense in a difficult position to win ball games. The expectations of senior quarterback James Vandenberg were not fulfilled and there continued to be problems with depth at the running back position. Heading into next season Kirk Ferentz will be on the hot seat.
My projection: 8-4 losses: BYU, USC, Cal, Washington
Record: 5-7 losses: Utah State, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington, Arizona
- A team that was supposedly going to be improved and an asset to the Pac-12 Conference were a disappointment this season. It started with being upset at Utah State in overtime and losing quarterback Jordan Wynn with an injury for good. This Utah team should have been at worst second in the Pac-12 South Division with an 8-4 record. This team made costly mistakes in close games and turned the ball over. This is what prevented this Ute team from being bowl eligible and a contender in the Pac-12 Conference this season.