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Making The Rounds: Taking A Look At 2012 Football Opponents

From time to time during the summer this link post will take a look at 2012 opponents.

Boise State Vs. Michigan State

B1G 2012 // Michigan State: Shhh....Don't wake the Giant! - Off Tackle Empire
Can the MSU Spartans maintain their dominance in football? Here is at look at why they just might.

MSU places three linebackers in Big Ten's top 10 | Little Brother Blog

Colorado/Fresno State vs. Colorado

2012 Colorado Football Preview: Recovering Your Lost Soul -
Looking at simple games played (and number of defenders who made contributions) tells you a lot about how much lineups were shuffled and, presumably, how many players got hurt through the course of the season. For Colorado, these numbers speak volumes: The Buffs had just eight defenders play in all 13 games: four linemen, three linebackers ... and a single defensive back. To repeat: One defensive back played in all 13 games for Colorado in 2011. And guess what: Colorado had one of the worst passing downs defenses in the country. Go figure, huh? It got so bad that Embree had to pull a Bill Belichick and toss former running backs into the secondary just to keep 11 guys on the field.

Hawaii vs. USC

2012 USC Football Preview: The Hype Returns -
Back from a two-year postseason ban, USC is once again considered a national title favorite. But is a late-2011 hot streak enough to counter scholarship restrictions and 2.5 years of mediocre (for USC) play?

UNLV vs. Minnesota

B1G 2012 // Minnesota's Smartest Guys In The Room - Off Tackle Empire
Our week long Minnesota preview rolls on. Today, let's talk coaching staff

Nevada vs. Cal

2012 California Football Preview: The Comfort Of Your Own Bed -
For the first time since 2006, Jeff Tedford's Cal Golden Bears actually improved last fall. With some exciting skill position players on offense and a load of former star recruits on defense, can they do it again in a Pac-12 North that is suddenly loaded?

Positional Breakdown: QB - Golden Bear Lair
The position of the most contention amongst Cal fans last year was undoubtedly quarterback. Cal returns senior Zach Maynard, the starter, as well as his backup, junior Allan Bridgford. Maynard is still listed as the starter with Bridgford as the backup on the post spring depth chart and their positions are pretty well locked in at this point.

Positional Breakdown: RB - Golden Bear Lair
The strength of the California offense will be in their depth and versatility at running back. Cal returns every back of note from a team that amassed over 2,000 yards last season. It is well within reason to expect Cal to rely even more on the run this year with the lack of experience at receiver.

Positional Breakdown: Receivers - Golden Bear Lair
The receiving group, while inexperienced, boasts one of the countries top playmakers in Keenan Allen. Allen, a junior, is projected as an early first round pick due to his blend of size and speed and incredible body control working sidelines and finding holes in the defense. We all know what Allen can bring to the table, but what about the rest of the receiving corps?

San Diego State vs. Washington

Better, Worse Or Neutral: Wide Receivers - UW Dawg Pound

Better, Worse, or Neutral: Safeties - UW Dawg Pound

2012 Washington Football Preview: Welcome Back -
Looking at Washington's offensive stats in 2010 and 2011, you might be surprised to learn that there was a quarterback change at all. The Huskies' run-pass rates were almost exactly the same (they ran on passing downs slightly more with Jake Locker, but that could have just been Locker scrambling), and there were only slight differences in quality -- UW ranked 32nd on standard downs and 49th on passing downs in 2010, and they ranked 39th and 24th in 2011. Keith Price completed 10 percent more of his passes than Locker did, but the Huskies' passing game was slightly less explosive overall. In all, though, they treaded water.

UNLV Vs. Washington State

2012 Washington State Football Preview: Welcome Back -
I have no idea what to expect from Mike Leach in Pullman. Outgoing coach Paul Wulff coaxed a rebound out of Wazzu in 2010-11 after a historically bad pair of seasons in 2008-09, and he did win four games with a ridiculously young squad last year. It doesn't seem like too much to ask for Leach to pretty quickly build a six- or seven-win program in the Pacific Northwest, but their ceiling evades me at this point. He can build a good offense anyway, but Texas Tech became a national contender in 2008 when four-star recruits like Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree entered the fray and matured. Will he be able to reel in the personnel he needs to succeed at a similar level?

Interview with head coach Mike Leach - Solid Verbal