College Football 2012: Insanely Early Preseason Top Five

Michael FitzpatrickCorrespondent IMay 11, 2012

College Football 2012: Insanely Early Preseason Top Five

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    College Football season is getting ever so near.

    The 2012 season will have a retro-feel to it...if retro to you is 2003-2004.

    The Trojans of Southern Cal again look like they are ready to become a dominant program.

    Also making a return to prominence is Michigan. Who knows how long Michigan will last there? The Wolverines have to take on defending national champion Alabama on Sept. 1 in Arlington.

    So without further ado is the insanely early preseason top five:

Two by Air

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    USC (10-2 in 2011) 

    They are back after years of irrelevancy while on probation. Quarterback Matt Barkley is one of the best at his position in the country and is a favorite for all the major awards. In 2011, he threw for 3,528 yards and 39 touchdowns. The Trojans return a pair of 1,000 yard receivers in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Curtis McNeal is the tailback. He rushed for 1,005 yards a year ago and averaged 6.9 yards per carry.

Return to Title

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    Alabama (12-1 in 2011)

    The defending national champions have to replace star running back Trent Richardson. Richardson’s backup from a year ago, Eddie Lacy, averaged 7.5 yards and will be a suitable replacement.

    Quarterback AJ McCarron returns. He threw 2,634 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2011.

    Linebacker Nico Johnson returns for a defense that lost key players.

Mr. Excitement

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    Michigan (11-2 in 2011)

    Most polls have the Wolverines in Top 10, but I think coach Brady Hoke has Michigan in line for a top five finish. Quarterback Denard Robinson rushed for 1,349 yards and 16 touchdowns and threw for 2,173 yards and 20 touchdowns.

    Michigan gets tested out of the box when it plays Alabama on Sept. 1 in Arlington, Texas.

Can Anyone Duck Oregon?

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    Oregon (12-2 in 2011)

    Expect a big year from running back Kenjon Barner. He rushed for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011 while serving as the No. 2 back behind LaMichael James.

    Oh, and then there is a superstar in the making in De’Anthony Thomas. Thomas picked up 314 all-purpose yards in the Ducks' 45-38 win over Wisconsin in the 2012 Rose Bowl. None other than rapper Snoop Dogg nicknamed him the “Black Mamba.” Thomas played in the rapper's youth football league in Los Angeles. 

Sooner or Later Oklahoma Has to Win Another National Title

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    Oklahoma (10-3 in 2011)

    Landry Jones is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He’s got experience and has pro passing skills. In 2011 he threw for 4,463 yards and 29 touchdowns.