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15 Colleges Already Done with Basketball, Ready for Spring Football

Carl StineCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2012

15 Colleges Already Done with Basketball, Ready for Spring Football

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    Time marches inexorably on, and with it pass the seemingly endless days until we get a glimpse of what the upcoming college football season holds in spring practice.

    While every team has issues to sort out in practice, and all of them will be prepared to deal with those issues, there are some programs that should be more anxious for the start of football season than others.

    You see, the teams on this list are those stuck in the throes of woefully inadequate basketball seasons.

    With the exception of possibly Northwestern (and what's a list about ineptitude without them?) these teams are nowhere near sniffing the NCAA basketball tournament come March.

    For this reason, they should abandon all hope of any success on the court, and focus on spring practice.

15. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    In the muddled ACC Coastal Division, the Jackets have as a good a shot as any team at getting to the ACC title game.

    If Tevin Washington continues to progress, we could see this team make a big jump in the conference.

    Not so much in the basketball universe.

    Tech is tied for dead last in the conference, with an overall record of 9-14, and has lost to such powerhouses this season as Northwestern, Mercer and Fordham.

    Spring can't get here soon enough for these guys.

14. Northern Illinois Huskies

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    NIU, led by the play of quarterback Chandler Harnish, has won 11 games in each of its last two seasons.

    This season, in their second under head coach Dave Doeren, the Huskies will look to build on that success with a new cast of characters.

    The basketball team is not quite so fortunate.

    At 2-19 overall and 1-8 in MAC play, they are comfortably entrenched at the bottom of the conference.

13. Northwestern Wildcats

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    Northwestern is going to miss the NCAA men's basketball tournament yet again.

    At least, we think they are.

    If the selection committee takes a hard look at their losses, and they avoid a first-round loss in the Big Ten tournament, and Bill Carmody's defense continues to function semi-well, they have a shot.

    But that's a ton of "ifs."

    The football team, while not exactly championship-caliber, is in the middle of a three-year streak of bowl appearances.

    That's more than we can say for the basketball team, which has not made the tournament since, ever, and hasn't won a Big Ten title since 1933.

12. Texas A&M Aggies

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    The Aggies are not a terrible basketball team by any stretch of the imagination, but they are going to be on the outside looking in when the time rolls around for March Madness.

    This, coupled with their inaugural season in the SEC, should have fans stoked for football season.

    On a side note, they also do not face Texas next season, who beat them in 2011 in football, and has now beaten them twice on the hardwood.

    Whether the Aggies find success in the SEC, it's time to start looking forward to football and forget about the round ball for now.

11. Clemson Tigers

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    Clemson's basketball team has enjoyed moderate success in the ACC in recent seasons, but is struggling in 2012.

    The Tigers are sitting at .500 overall, with a 3-5 record in conference play.

    Dabo Swinney's football squad has a much-anticipated season ahead of it, and the beginning of spring practice will be relief from a season filled with disappointing basketball.

10. Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Bill O'Brien is taking over the reins, and PSU actually has a shot at winning the Big Ten's Leaders Division in 2012.

    This is already the total antithesis of the basketball slate in the conference, where the Nittany Lions don't have much of a shot at winning anything.

    Running back Silas Redd will be one of the top backs in the conference, and most of us are anticipating, if not eagerly, a season with no JoePa roaming the sidelines.

    PSU has its issues, but football is just around the corner.

9. SMU Mustangs

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    You might ask why the 'Stangs are on this list.

    It's simple.

    The basketball team is in last place in C-USA, and football coach June Jones was on the verge of leaving for another job in the offseason.

    So the football team can't possibly be worse, and there is a little bit of drama on the side.

8. Boise State Broncos

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    Boise State basketball has not ever been a major source of interest on a national level.

    This season is no different.

    The Broncos are toiling with a miserable 0-7 record in the WAC.

    Chris Petersen's football squad, on the other hand, has only lost six games total since the 2006 season.

7. Utah Utes

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    Utah is finding the going tough in their inaugural Pac-12 basketball season.

    The Utes are currently 5-18, with a 2-9 record in the conference.

    Utes fans, hang in there.

    The dulcet tones of strident coaches' yells and ear-splitting whistles are just around the corner, and with the return of quarterback Jordan Wynn from injury, the Utes are looking at a pretty solid football season.

6. South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Steve Spurrier's squad battled through some injuries and dismissals to finish near the top of the SEC football standings in 2011.

    Running back Marcus Lattimore is returning from injury, and with the plethora of stars the Gamecocks boast on defense, this team is primed for another run at the top.

    Maybe a little of that success could rub off on the basketball team, which has one win this season in SEC play.

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    If only to see that face, hundreds of times, I am ready for the Huskers to start football again.

    Really, the Huskers' inaugural season in Big Ten basketball was much more difficult than their maiden voyage with the pigskin.

    They are 3-8 in the conference, with no shot at the tournament outside of a miraculous run in the conference tourney.

    For those reasons, among others, the Huskers should focus on football.

    Taylor Martinez may have actually learned to throw a ball by now...

4. Virginia Tech Hokies

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    The return of Logan Thomas and several key starters on defense has Hokies fans longing for the first snap of spring practice.

    There is potential for Va. Tech to earn a trip back to the ACC title game in 2012, especially if the defense is as stout as is being forecast.

    However, their hardwood counterparts are fumbling through a tough season with a 13-10 record, 2-6 in the conference and not much chance at the Big Dance.

3. Georgia Bulldogs

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    That man buried under a pile of green jerseys is Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.

    His progression, and likely emergence as one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, is a pretty solid reason to get excited about football season, as is the Dawgs' extremely manageable schedule.

    Georgia has a great shot at a return trip to the SEC title game in 2012.

    This is remarkably unlike the basketball team, which has one win in SEC play this season.

2. Oklahoma Sooners

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    The Sooners' basketball team is not a complete disgrace, but it's difficult to see them in the tournament with their abysmal conference record.

    They currently sit at 3-8 in the Big 12.

    However, the return of Landry Jones and Dominique Whaley, along with a solid defensive scheme, has got to have Sooner fans longing for that first snap of the ball in spring practice.

1. USC Trojans

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    Matt Barkley's return has the Trojans at or near the top of nearly every pre-season football ranking that can be found.

    Of course, Oklahoma was there last season, so we know how accurate those things can be.

    Lane Kiffin's club is going to be very, very good, much better than their counterparts on the hardwood.

    The basketball Trojans have only one win in Pac-12 play, and six overall, and are 341 in the country in points scored per game.

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