LSU, Alabama, USC atop our odds to win 2012 national title

Never too early for a look ahead. Here's a breakdown of the favorites to win the 2012-13 national championship. Any chance someone ends the Southeastern Conference's stranglehold on the title? LSU and Alabama again start at the top.
BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, thaney@opubco.com Published: January 10, 2012
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Never too early for a look ahead. Here's a breakdown of the favorites to win the 2012-13 national championship. Any chance someone ends the Southeastern Conference's stranglehold on the title? LSU and Alabama again start at the top.

Louisiana State

Odds: 2-1

Les Miles has repeatedly said the 2011 team was actually built for 2012. Alarming, considering how well the Tigers played until the final game. LSU recently landed a quarterback, too. But will Gunner Kiel be ready for action as a freshman? If not, plenty of defensive youth prowling to keep the Bayou Bengals in low-scoring games. Tyrann Mathieu and Sam Montgomery are juniors in 2012.

Alabama

Odds: 4-1

The defending champs will lose a lot on both sides of the ball. But here's the thing: The guys replacing the outgoing players were all blue-chippers, and Bama is currently No. 1 in most services' 2012 recruiting rankings. You might not have heard of the youngsters yet, but you can bet a handful will be stars right away and have the Tide right back in the national title mix. Quarterback A.J. McCarron looked this week like he's ready for a big junior season.

Southern Cal

Odds: 5-1

Lane Kiffin got Matt Barkley to come back on the basis of what the team could do in 2012. It was enough to sell Barkley, who likely would have been a top-10 pick. Barkley's best receiver, Robert Woods, is back and so is the bulk of the Trojans' defense — but that has sometimes been a sore spot for USC. Don't discount the fact that this team, fresh off probation, now has something to play for.

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