Press Release

Posted by Rachel Margolis on August 27, 2012

ESPN College Football Analysts Select Conference Winners, BCS National Championship Contenders


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The spirited trio of ESPN College GameDay Built by The Home Depot analysts – Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard tested each other’s expertise during Saturday’s College GameDay Season Preview. They predict the winners of the six automatic qualifying BCS conferences and the teams that will square off in the Discover BCS National Championship Game (Jan. 7, at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio). An additional 15 ESPN college football analysts weighed in with their conference predictions as well as the teams competing for the national title.

No. 4 Oklahoma was the overwhelming favorite out of the Big 12, as well as No. 7 Florida State of the ACC and No. 25 Louisville of the BIG EAST. The closest race came out of the Pac 12 with 10 analysts selecting No. 1 USC and eight picking No. 5 Oregon to claim the league title. The SEC, the winner of the last six BCS National Championships, will be a wide open race between No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 LSU and No. 6 Georgia, according to ESPN’s top analysts.

With the SEC title race always competitive, three different teams were selected to play for the BCS National Championship. Overall, 12 different pairings were picked to vie for the prestigious title. The top vote-getters were Alabama vs. Oregon, LSU vs. USC and Alabama vs. USC.

ESPN’s 2012 college football coverage will include an industry-record schedule of more than 450 regular and postseason games for ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, ESPN 3D, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN Radio and ESPN GamePlan. The majority of Saturday game selections will be made as the season progresses, generally 12 or six days before the date of the game.

The season will begin with 44 games in five days as part of the fifth annual DICK’s Sporting Goods Kickoff Week August 30 to September 3. This season’s Labor Day weekend season kickoff celebration – the most extensive schedule over the five days – will showcase 15 teams in the Associated Press poll highlighted by eight of the top 10. The weekend coverage will conclude with Georgia Tech at No. 16 Virginia Tech in a Labor Day telecast Monday, Sept. 3, at 8 p.m. on ESPN.  Full Season Schedule 

ESPN Analysts College Football Preseason Picks

AnalystACCBIG EASTBig TenBig 12Pac-12SECNational Title Game
Mike BellottiFlorida St.LouisvilleWisconsinOklahomaUSCLSULSU vs. USC
Todd BlackledgeFlorida St.LouisvilleWisconsinOklahomaOregonLSULSU vs. Oklahoma
Lee CorsoFlorida St.LouisvilleMichigan St.OklahomaUSCGeorgiaOklahoma vs. USC
Ed CunninghamClemsonRutgersMichigan St.West VirginiaOregonGeorgiaWVU vs. Georgia
Joey GallowayClemsonSyracuseMichiganOklahomaUSCAlabamaAlabama vs. USC
Rod GilmoreFlorida St.LouisvilleWisconsinTexasOregonAlabamaAlabama vs. Oregon
Brian GrieseFlorida St.LouisvilleMichiganOklahomaUSCLSULSU vs. USC
Dan HawkinsVirginia TechCincinnatiMichigan St.OklahomaOregonAlabamaOklahoma vs. Oregon
Kirk HerbstreitFlorida St.PittsburghMichigan St.OklahomaUSCAlabamaFlorida St. vs. USC
Desmond HowardFlorida St.LouisvilleMichiganOklahomaUSCLSUFlorida St. vs. Oklahoma
Brock HuardFlorida St.LouisvilleMichiganTexasOregonAlabamaAlabama vs. Oregon
Danny KanellFlorida St.LouisvilleMichiganOklahomaUSCGeorgiaFlorida St. vs. Georgia
Trevor MatichFlorida St.RutgersWisconsinOklahomaOregonAlabamaAlabama vs. Oregon
Matt MillenVirginia TechLouisvilleWisconsinOklahomaUSCAlabamaAlabama vs. USC
Jesse PalmerFlorida St.LouisvilleMichiganOklahomaUSCLSULSU vs. USC
David PollackFlorida St.LouisvilleMichigan St.OklahomaOregonLSUFlorida St. vs. Oregon
Chris SpielmanFlorida St.LouisvilleWisconsinWest VirginiaUSCGeorgiaGeorgia vs. USC
Matt StinchcombVirginia TechLouisvilleMichiganOklahomaOregonAlabamaAlabama vs. Oregon

Percentage Breakdown of Analyst Preseason Picks

ACC Florida St. – 72.2%Virginia Tech – 16.7%Clemson – 11.1%
BIG EAST Louisville – 72.2%Rutgers – 11.1%Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Syracuse – each at 5.6%
Big 10 Michigan – 38.9%Wisconsin – 33.3%Michigan St. – 27.8%
Big 12 Oklahoma – 77.8%Texas – 11.1%West Virginia – 11.1%
Pac-12 USC – 55.6%Oregon – 44.4%
SEC Alabama – 44.4%LSU – 33.3%Georgia – 22.2%
BCS National Championship^Alabama vs. Oregon – 22.2%LSU vs. USC – 16.7%Alabama vs. USC – 11.1%

^ – Analysts had additional picks for possible matchups (LSU vs. Oklahoma; Oklahoma vs. USC; Georgia vs. West Virginia; Oklahoma vs. Oregon; Florida St. vs. USC; Florida St. vs. Oklahoma; Florida St. vs. Georgia; Florida St. vs. Oregon; Georgia vs. USC)