- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

PHOENIX (AP) - College football is in for some big and, some say, much-needed changes with the switch to a four-team playoff.

Before we get to that, there’s still a couple more seasons under the current system; the playoffs don’t begin until 2014.

And this one will be worth watching.

There’s plenty of interesting story lines, from Penn State trying to rebuild in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal to Urban Meyer’s return to coaching with Ohio State.

There’s no shortage of great players, either.

Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley skipped the NFL for the chance at a national title, Michigan’s Denard Robinson is a blur even without his shoelaces tied and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball is like trying to tackle a wrecking ball.

Great teams? Could be a few of those, too. USC, LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon _ the BCS could be under a lot of strain this season with those teams all bidding for No. 1.

So to get you ready, we’ve got a rundown of some of the things to watch out for this season.




USC. Barkley is back. So is his top target, Robert Woods. Former Penn State running back Silas Redd was a nice addition. Postseason eligible again, the Trojans aren’t aiming for just any bowl; they want a trip to Miami and national championship.

Alabama. The Crimson Tide have won two of the past three national championships. They figure to be contenders for another.

LSU. The Honey Badger is gone. All those other NFL prospects _ such as defensive end Sam Montgomery and safety Eric Reid _ should keep the Tigers from missing him.

Oklahoma. The Sooners have a record-setting QB in Landry Jones, a brick wall of an offensive line and with the return of Mike Stoops, Bob’s feisty little brother, they should be good on defense, too.

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