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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

Analyst ACC BIG EAST Big Ten Big 12 Pac-12 SEC National Title Game
Mike Bellotti Florida St. Louisville Wisconsin Oklahoma USC LSU LSU vs. USC
Todd Blackledge Florida St. Louisville Wisconsin Oklahoma Oregon LSU LSU vs. Oklahoma
Lee Corso Florida St. Louisville Michigan St. Oklahoma USC Georgia Oklahoma vs. USC
Ed Cunningham Clemson Rutgers Michigan St. West Virginia Oregon Georgia WVU vs. Georgia
Joey Galloway Clemson Syracuse Michigan Oklahoma USC Alabama Alabama vs. USC
Rod Gilmore Florida St. Louisville Wisconsin Texas Oregon Alabama Alabama vs. Oregon
Brian Griese Florida St. Louisville Michigan Oklahoma USC LSU LSU vs. USC
Dan Hawkins Virginia Tech Cincinnati Michigan St. Oklahoma Oregon Alabama Oklahoma vs. Oregon
Kirk Herbstreit Florida St. Pittsburgh Michigan St. Oklahoma USC Alabama Florida St. vs. USC
Desmond Howard Florida St. Louisville Michigan Oklahoma USC LSU Florida St. vs. Oklahoma
Brock Huard Florida St. Louisville Michigan Texas Oregon Alabama Alabama vs. Oregon
Danny Kanell Florida St. Louisville Michigan Oklahoma USC Georgia Florida St. vs. Georgia
Trevor Matich Florida St. Rutgers Wisconsin Oklahoma Oregon Alabama Alabama vs. Oregon
Matt Millen Virginia Tech Louisville Wisconsin Oklahoma USC Alabama Alabama vs. USC
Jesse Palmer Florida St. Louisville Michigan Oklahoma USC LSU LSU vs. USC
David Pollack Florida St. Louisville Michigan St. Oklahoma Oregon LSU Florida St. vs. Oregon
Chris Spielman Florida St. Louisville Wisconsin West Virginia USC Georgia Georgia vs. USC
Matt Stinchcomb Virginia Tech Louisville Michigan Oklahoma Oregon Alabama Alabama 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)