College Football Preseason Rankings: The Bottom 25 Heading into 2012
While most college football rankings right now are focused on the positive, this one looks at the antithesis of good teams.
The dregs of college football, the absolute worst of the worst for 2012—the "Bottom 25."
Here they are, from 25 (bad) to 1 (worst). The teams that will be sacrificial lambs for most of next season.
It's scary, and it could be called a "compendium of ineptitude."
Either way, the teams featured in this list have not enjoyed much recent success, nor will they in 2012.
25. Kentucky Wildcats
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The Wildcats have been hovering around .500 for the past several seasons.
There are some great young players suiting up for this team, but the talent level is not there to compete in the conference.
While the non-conference schedule is manageable, with likely three wins out of four, the Wildcats have a brutal conference schedule and could find themselves winless in the conference.
24. Colorado Buffaloes
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It was a rough first season in the Pac-12 for this unit, and their sophomore season does not look to be much better.
The schedule is not as difficult as last season's 13 games with no off week, but it's still rough.
The Buffs will start 3-2 and finish without a win after their off week in 2012.
23. Minnesota Golden Gophers
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Jerry Kill will have both spring and fall practice to help his team improve, and the talent level is getting better at Minnesota.
That said, it's still going to be a rough year, as just about every conference team the Gophers will face is simply better than they are.
If Minnesota's athletic department will stick with Kill, he will get things turned around, just not this season.
22. UTEP Miners
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Leading rusher Joe Banyard is gone from a team that desperately struggled to move the ball at times.
C-USA is no cakewalk, and the Miners are down, for the moment.
Throw in games at Ole Miss and Wisconsin, as well as vs. Oklahoma, and the season will be bad from start to finish.
21. Maryland Terrapins
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The exodus taking place since the arrival of Randy Edsall has been one of biblical proportions, and the cupboards are pretty bare of experienced talent.
The recent departure of quarterback Danny O' Brien has to be a tough pill to swallow and must leave supporters wondering what the heck is going on.
20. Kansas Jayhawks
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Kansas is awful.
Charlie Weis may eventually take them from horrendous to mediocre but not in the first couple seasons.
Dayne Crist is a nice pick-up at quarterback, but there are just too many issues for the Jayhawks to be a serious threat in the Big 12.
19. Syracuse Orange
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The Big East should be an easy conference for the Orange to make some noise in, as it is shrinking daily and weaker than a paper wall.
However, they don't have enough talent to work their way out of the bottom 25.
Antwon Bailey and Ryan Nassib are gone from the backfield, leaving gaping holes in production, which will leave the Orange struggling.
18. Buffalo Bulls
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It's Buffalo, not much more needs to be said.
This team has not enjoyed much success the past few seasons since head coach Turner Gill left.
That is not going to change in 2012.
17. Arizona Wildcats
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The one good thing the Wildcats had in 2011 was quarterback Nick Foles.
Sadly, the man is gone.
Now, the Wildcats are left with Rich Rodriguez trying to figure out how to produce offense without Foles and with the worst rushing attack in the Pac-12 in recent memory.
16. Ole Miss Rebels
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The Rebels belong to the best conference in the game.
This does not necessarily transition to success.
Just ask the departed Houston Nutt.
Hugh Freeze has his work cut out for him as the new head coach, trying to avoid having his players wind up on opposing teams' highlight reels.
15. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
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The Blue Raiders offense has been fairly consistent the past several seasons.
Not so much the defense.
They finished 110th in points allowed last season, and things are not going to get better in 2012.
Let the comparisons to a leaky sieve begin.
14. New Mexico State Aggies
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New Mexico State finished with four wins last season.
Alas, three of the four came against other teams that show up on this dreaded list.
While they keep much of their talent from last season, it's difficult to picture the Aggies winning more than three games in 2012, unless they get to play New Mexico repeatedly.
13. UNLV Rebels
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Going into Bobby Hauck's third year with the program, things better start getting more copacetic if he wishes to keep his position.
Phillip Payne, the Rebels' star wide receiver, is gone, but Tim Cornett and Caleb Herring form a dangerous backfield rushing combo.
Defense is the issue.
They allowed a ridiculous 40.4 points per contest in 2011.
Even if that number improves minimally in '12, it won't be enough to work their way off this list.
12. Army Black Knights
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I'm not trying to pick on the military academies.
As a matter of fact, the respect that I think we all feel for these guys is huge.
When it comes to football, however, they struggle.
The one-dimensional offense does not help them at all.
11. Boston College Eagles
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The Eagles finished near the bottom of the ACC last season.
Now, their biggest star is gone.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly is gone, and his play in the middle of the defense held down the entire unit.
The defense is porous, the offense anemic and the schedule is scary.
10. Memphis Tigers
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Memphis is just Memphis.
They have not been relevant for several seasons, posting only four wins over the past three seasons.
C-USA is not an easy conference, and the Tigers have never been a football powerhouse.
This season's edition of the team is no better than last season's, and unless recruiting takes a 180 in the very near future, they will never get better.
9. Duke Blue Devils
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Head coach David Cutcliffe has gotten the Blue Devils as close to being respectable as they are like to be in today's world of FBS football.
The problem remains; it's just not good enough.
The Dukies struggle in the conference and cannot get wins against even mediocre teams.
It has been that way for a long time, and it's not likely to change in the near future.
8. Akron Zips
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Akron's football program has been epic in their flailing about and failing to succeed.
The last two seasons have featured just one win apiece, last season's against VMI.
That's Virginia Military Institute.
Outside of a non-conference bout with Morgan State, it's difficult to predict the Zips winning a single game.
7. UAB Blazers
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The Blazers have plenty of experienced players coming back for the 2012 campaign, particularly at the offensive skill positions, where their leading passer, rusher and receiver are all returning.
However, they struggled to score last season, checking in at 108th nationally.
This, coupled with their generosity in allowing opponents to rack up almost 37 points per contest is not going to change and will be their downfall again in 2012.
4. Tulane Green Wave
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That is all.
They have not been close to good since their undefeated 1998 season, and there is no reason to think that trend will reverse in 2012.
5. Indiana Hoosiers
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The Hoosiers have been the laughingstock of the Big Ten, even in the seasons when it appeared that they might enjoy some success.
After losing all kinds of quarterbacks in the offseason, the Hoosiers are still in rough shape.
They do not have the talent or a favorable schedule to turn this thing around, and 2012 will be another rough outing for Kevin Wilson's crew.
4. FAU Owls
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Howard Schnellenberger is gone.
Last season was brutal.
In 2012, the Owls' leading receiver and running back are both gone.
It's going to be a long season.
3. UMass Minutemen
Photo courtesy of Michael Beswick
Look, it's tough to transition to FBS football.
Just ask Western Kentucky, who had four wins in 36 attempts in their first three seasons in the Sun Belt conference.
Or FAU, who enjoyed moderate success in their first few seasons, but went 1-11 last season.
The Minutemen will not have any better luck as they begin to make their transition.
2. Idaho Vandals
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It must be tough seeing all of the success that Boise State enjoys.
This squad cannot find their way.
In 2012, their non-conference schedule is going to be impossible, as they must play BYU, LSU, Wyoming, North Carolina and Bowling Green.
Hope springs eternal, at least until the first snap.
1. New Mexico Lobos
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It does not seem to matter who coaches, who they play or which players make the team.
The Lobos cannot win games.
They have come away with only one victory in each of the past three seasons, and things are not looking better for next season.
While they will likely get a win Texas State and/or Southern in non-conference play, it will be difficult for them to succeed against actual FBS foes.