The Oklahoma Sooners anticipated a big year in 2011, but they went bust instead. Now, one of college football's proudest programs will try to achieve what it couldn't a season ago.
This year, the USC Trojans are once again in position to contend for a national championship. The two-year postseason ban is over. The sanctions imposed by the NCAA are not forgotten, but they can now be used as a motivational tool instead of being seen as the albatross they once were.
The Georgia Bulldogs will enter the 2012 season with far more confidence than they ever could have imagined back on September 11, 2011. They hope they can put their newfound mental fuel to good use.
Holiday Bowl berths are generally not looked upon in a favorable way at the University of Texas, but in 2011, the honest truth is that the Longhorns did well to make that second-tier postseason game.
The South Carolina Gamecocks spent the 2011 football season living in a world of contradictions and upside-down realities. On one hand, they accomplished so much, and from another perspective, they failed to attain very realistic goals. The Gamecocks regularly won, but they looked ugly in the process of winning. They produced many first-time achievements in the history of their oft-beleaguered program, but they still left their fans wondering, "what if?" Life can be perplexing that way, but the Gamecocks will probably stand back and say that their journey last autumn was worth the struggle.
There wasn't a lot of drama in the 2012 offseason for the Arkansas Razorbacks as the winter ended and the spring began. January melted into February which drifted into March. The weeks and months passed by, and a loaded team with an unusually comfortable coach were ready to make a run at the national championship.
This year, the Wisconsin Badgers shouldn't have to sweat very much in their divisional race. Winning the Big Ten Championship Game will prove to be a particularly daunting challenge.