The 2011 college football season is just about over as the bowl games are quickly coming to a close. But looking ahead to next year, who will the top teams in the nation be entering the 2012 season and why? Here is a closer look at the top schools and a brief overview to the reasoning behind their choice.
LSU is playing in the BCS Championship against Alabama, and the Tigers will enter next year as the top team in the nation, regardless of the outcome of the title game. LSU will lose an All-American defensive back, but a strong group returns and will have another year of experience under their belts. The offense will have a new quarterback, but the running game is strong and a good group of receivers return. And if Les Miles can keep his group of kids motivated, there is no reason to believe that LSU won't return to the BCS Championship again next year.
USC received good news when quarterback Matt Barkley decided to forgo the NFL and return to school. The Trojans will have talent all across the board on offense with the best wide receiver duo in the nation and a good group of running backs. The defense made big strides over the last 12 months and with most of the starters in the unit returning, look out for the Trojans in 2012.
Clemson might have the best young talent in college football and though the team showed its inexperience at times this season, it should all pay off for the team next year as the kids get bigger and stronger over the spring. Quarterback Tajh Boyd is a definite Heisman contender next season and freshman All-American wide receiver Sammy Watkins made a huge splash this season for the Tigers. Clemson will need to replace two starters from the defensive line, but with another strong recruiting class, this team could play for a national title next year.
Several teams across the country will have a legitimate shot at a BCS bowl game next year, but these three teams are all deep in talent, have good coaching, and have a strong recruiting class entering school this year, and that makes them the top teams to watch in the 2012 college football season.