Michigan Wolverines Football and the 5 Most Overrated Programs Heading into 2012

Kenneth Hicks@hicks_kennyCorrespondent IIApril 17, 2012

Michigan Wolverines Football and the 5 Most Overrated Programs Heading into 2012

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    Preseason college football rankings are always overrated, and 100 percent of the time you will have the likes of Michigan, Florida State, Florida, Notre Dame, Texas and Oklahoma all within the top 25.

    Of course these teams are good, but they also always fail to meet expectations and have been disappointing their fanbase since forever.

    In fact, there is a chart that includes the most overrated/underrated teams from 1989 to the present, that lists these six teams as among the worst in college football at starting off the year with high expectations, only to falter at some point during the season. It will not get any better for them heading into 2012.

It's Only Just Begun

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    Expected Heisman candidate Denard Robinson will be returning for the Michigan Wolverines along with 12 other starters.

    However, you know who won't be returning is First Team All-American and Rimington Trophy Winner (nation's top center) David Molk, who, oh by the way, was a vital piece to the Wolverines success in having two rushers, Denard Robinson and Fitz Toussaint, eclipse 1,000 yards in the same season for the first time since 1975

    Nothing is more vital to an offense than the center-to-quarterback exchange of the ball. That was exposed early on in Michigan's spring game this past Saturday where Ricky Barnum, who is making the transition from guard to center, was among the worst sights to see at the spring game mishandling several exchanges.

    The Michigan offensive line is very thin as they also lost Mark Huyge and on the defensive line will also have to replace defensive linemen Mike Martin and Will Heininger. 

    The schedule does not get any better for a team that is preseason No. 14 who will play No. 2 Alabama in Arlington, TX and then at No. 24 Notre Dame, home to No. 9 Michigan State, at No. 17 Nebraska and at No. 16 Ohio State to end the regular season. 

    It was good while it lasted, as no one would have ever thought this same Michigan team that got crushed against Mississippi State in the 2010 season bowl game would have finished 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl the following season.

    Now with expectations high again, look for this high flying offense to take a step back in 2012. 

Consistently Overrated

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    Florida State is overrated every year it seems in the preseason college football rankings. Great example would be in the 2011 season where Florida State started with very high expectations with a preseason ranking of No. 4 and finished the season ranked No. 24.

    In fact, to prove Florida State does the failing expectations part exceedingly well, look back to 2006, where the Seminoles started preseason at No. 10 and finished the season out of the top 25, and then again in 2002 Florida State started off preseason No. 4 and finished No. 21. 

    In the 2012 season, Florida State has a lot of issues surrounding the health of their quarterback E.J. Manuel who had a separated shoulder during the 2011 season and broke his leg in the Champs Sports Bowl game.

    Additionally, the offensive line lost Zebrie Sanders and Andrew Datko to graduation which will only hurt E.J. Manuel even more with his injury-prone career, and no consistency of a running game doesn't help when starting running back James Wilder Jr. is now suspended.

    Florida State has a top five defense and is preseason No. 8 in the nation, but because of too much inconsistency on offense, the Seminoles will experience another setback in 2012 and games home against No. 23 Clemson, at South Florida, at No. 20 Virginia Tech and finishing the regular season home against No. 25 Florida will not do the Seminoles any favors either.

Another Year in the Swamps

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    The Florida Gators started the 2010 post-Tim Tebow era at No. 4 in the preseason college football rankings and finished out of the top 25.

    Then in the 2011 post-Urban Meyer era, Florida finished again out of the top 25, but for whatever reason the media still puts Florida at No. 25 in the preseason college football rankings to start the 2012 season.

    Florida still does not have a legitimate starter at quarterback and lost most of their offense from last season in Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. Florida also faces four teams in the top 10 in their 2012 schedule: Georgia, Florida State, South Carolina and LSU.

    Florida finished 3-5 in the SEC and 7-6 overall in the 2011 season, and in 2012 they will finish even worse. 

Expectations Are Always Bigger in Texas

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    Texas has not been ranked since the Colt McCoy era, and in 2010 the team started No. 6 in the preseason college football rankings but finished out of the top 25 and finished unranked again in 2011, much like the Florida Gators.

    Texas still does not have a starter at quarterback between David Ash and Case McCoy, and the defense will have to replace linebackers Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho.

    Texas will be paced by a good combo of running backs with Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, but the inconsistent play at quarterback will ultimately doom the Longhorns yet again. The 2012 schedule has some easy wins, but competition will get stiffer against West Virginia, Oklahoma, TCU and at Kansas State.

    I would not be surprised if Texas finished out of the top 25 again much like Florida, as both teams are very similarly overrated and in a little bit of rebuilding modes. 

There Is No Luck in South Bend This Season

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    Notre Dame thought they had a starter at quarterback to start the 2011 season with Tommy Rees and a preseason ranking of No. 9, but finished the season out of the top 25 and no legitimate starter still at quarterback.

    In fact, the Irish have not finished in the top 25 during the regular season since 2006.

    Heading into the 2012 season, Notre Dame is great on defense, but with no consistent play at quarterback and losing wide receiver Michael Floyd to the NFL draft, the Irish will again finish outside the top 25 in the 2012 season.

    The Irish also face a very tough 2012 schedule at Michigan State, home against Michigan, home against Stanford, at Oklahoma and closing the regular season at preseason No. 1 USC. 

Bowl Bound but Not Championship Bound

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    Oklahoma started the 2011 season ranked No. 2 in the preseason college football rankings, but finished No. 16 to end the season. Even worse was in the 2009 season when they started at No. 3 in the preseason and finished out of the top 25.

    This was not a fluke as the Sooners did the did the same thing in 2005 starting at No. 5 in the preseason and finished at No. 22 to end the season.

    On the bright side, to start the 2012 season Oklahoma will be No. 4 in the preseason college football rankings and will return Heisman hopeful Landry Jones, but will miss playmaker Ryan Broyles and will lose defensive ends Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis and linebacker Travis Lewis.

    Oklahoma will have a tough schedule in 2012 against the likes of Kansas State, Texas, Notre Dame, at West Virginia and ending the regular season at TCU.

    With a tough schedule in 2012, and losing some key pieces on offense and defense, the Sooners will again take a step back and finish within the top 20. But again Oklahoma just can't live to the hype of high expectations. 

    Moreover, preseason college football rankings might be overrated, but so are Michigan, Florida State, Flordia, Texas, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. These teams will always be associated with high expectations at the start of the season and just never live up to hype more often than not, especially in 2012.