As college football fans, we are in the home stretch as only two months separate fans from summer practices starting back up, and we're just three months away from the start of the season.
With the summer now here, news around the nation tends to go silent, but every team in the nation is thinking about last year and its impact on the 2012 season.
Here is one word for all 120 FBS teams from 2011 to describe their status during their transition from the 2011 season to the 2012 season.
Note: New FBS teams Massachusetts, South Alabama, Texas State-San Marcos and Texas-San Antonio were not included since their 2011 seasons were not played as FBS teams.
When the 2011 season came to an end, Air Force came up just short of a bowl win when it missed on a two-point conversion.
This offseason must have a focus on execution as the Falcons hope to not leave an opportunity like that on the field in 2012.
After being gone for a while, Jim Tressel has accepted a vice-president position at Akron.
While it is not with the football program, people will wonder how much interaction he will have with the team while at the school.
At Alabama the Crimson Tide tend to reload and not rebuild. After winning the national championship last year, Alabama is hoping that it can overcome the losses to the NFL and repeat as champions.
With new head coach Rich Rodriguez at the helm, the Arizona Wildcats will be shifting to a much faster and more spread out offense then they have seen before.
The question is how long it will take Rich Rod to have them execute it.
With Todd Graham as the new head coach at Arizona State, a word to describe the team right now is commitment.
The players need to show they are committed to the system, and Graham needs to show he is fully invested in staying with the Sun Devils.
With their head coaching spot empty, the Razorbacks had to turn to John L. Smith to fill in this year. It will be interesting to see how the players react to him since it is apparent that Smith is only filling the spot for one year.
With Gus Malzahn at the helm at Arkansas State, the hope is that the Red Wolves can start to make some moves outside of the Sun Belt conference. Can the leadership of Malzahn help take them there?
In 2010, all of the service academies found a way to make it to a bowl game. This past season, Army missed out and was not eligible. In 2012, Army must adjust its focus and find a way to get back into a bowl game.
As in the Iron Bowl for Auburn. In 2010 the Tigers won on the road against rival Alabama but failed to win when the series returned home last year.
In order to avoid two straight losses in the rivalry, Auburn must find a way to win on the road once again in 2012.
While the non-conference schedule presents some challenges, Ball State has a fairly manageable schedule this year. With Clemson, Indiana, South Florida and Army on the 2012 schedule, winning two or three of those games is not out of the question.
No matter how you slice it, Baylor is heading for a setback in 2012. With the loss of Robert Griffin III, who won last year's Heisman, it would be hard to believe that the Bears can match last year's success.
Now that Kellen Moore has left Boise State for the NFL, the focus has to shift to finding a replacement. The Broncos can't afford to take too long either, as they open up in East Lansing against Michigan State.
Last year Boston College finished the season No. 112 in the nation for points scored. During this offseason, there must be an increased focus on improving the offense.
Last year, Bowling Green finished the season at 5-7 and missed out on a bowl game. This year, the Falcons are going to have to find a way to get to six victories and push themselves into a bowl game.
Many teams would love to have a quiet offseason. For Buffalo, however, "quiet" is strictly because they are a program that not many people expect anything from, especially since the departure of Turner Gill.
Last year in the Holy War against Utah, BYU was blown out in a loss that stuck with them all year.
Coming into 2012, the Cougars have a renewed focus on making sure they don't forget about that loss as this year's matchup draws closer.
For one of the first times since coming to Cal, Jeff Tedford is officially on the hot seat. Cal has a fertile recruiting ground, but as of late the Golden Bears have fallen off the map.
This year must start a turnaround for Tedford and Cal.
Central Michigan had a period of time in which they were extremely competitive in the MAC. Lately, the Chips have fallen behind the pack, and they look to be a program that is currently lost.
With West Virginia out of the picture in the Big East, Cincinnati has a chance to repeat as conference champion. With this open window, the Bearcats must strike while they can.
No team appeared to have a stronger resume through the first half of the season than Clemson. Clemson was able to put together a string of impressive victories but faltered down the stretch.
If the Tigers can finish in 2012, they may be heading to the national title game.
Colorado found out that life wasn't much better in the Pac-12 than it was in the Big 12. The Buffaloes have to find a way to rise to the challenge and compete, or they will remain in the conference basement.
Last year Colorado State ranked No. 91 overall in terms of passing yards, a stat that must change in 2012. The Rams finished with only three wins last year, and that was in part due to their inability to air out the ball.
Connecticut is another team looking to reverse the trend of last year. After winning the Big East in 2010, the Huskies finished near the bottom of a bad conference and hope to reverse the downward trend this year.
Duke is still hoping it can have a season that allows it to peak out of the shadow of its basketball team. The football program is often overlooked and are unable to attract the talent to do much about it.
Since the hire of Ron English, Eastern Michigan has been a team to keep an eye on in the MAC. The team has shown improvement year after year, and English has the Eagles fans believing.
ECU has become a team that can be best described as average. The Pirates have found way to stay in the middle of the pack in Conference USA, continued to do so last year and likely will this year as well.
Since the departure of Tim Tebow, the Florida fans have been waiting for this team to rise back to the top of the SEC. That wait has continued, and fans are hoping that 2012 may mark the end of this departure from the top.
Last year was an embarrassing season for the Florida Atlantic Owls, something that may not change in 2012. The roster is depleted, and they simply do not have the talent to compete right now.
Florida International looked pretty good as the 2011 season drew to a close. As they head into 2012, the Golden Panthers are a team that appear close to being ready to challenge for a conference title.
Seems like every season the Seminoles enter the year with high hopes and come up short. As the 2012 season draws closer, the expectations are still there, and the failure to match them may cause the fans to reach a boiling point.
After a dismal 2011 season, Fresno State has made the choice to make a move at head coach. With a new coach, the Bulldogs hope to get a fresh start and get back to being a competitive program.
After dropping to 0-2 last year, Georgia won 10 straight games and made it to the SEC title game. While they came up short against LSU and Michigan State in their bowl game, Georgia showed it can be resilient and shouldn't be counted out.
The focus at Georgia Tech has always been on the run game and will continue to be in 2012. 2011 saw a transition to new pieces to Paul Johnson's offense, and this year those players should show growth in their execution.
If you are a player at Hawaii, the best way to describe your summer status is being in heaven. Regardless of what has gone on during the season, players there are treated to the most beautiful weather in the world.
After having Case Keenum at the helm for a while now, Houston starts the 2012 season without him. Much like Baylor and Robert Griffin III, Houston will struggle to even come close to last year's success.
When you go 2-10 in the WAC, being in the basement is the best way to describe how things are going. It is still going to take a while for the Vandals to see any sort of turnaround.
Last year Illinois won six straight and then lost six straight before finishing the year with a bowl win.
After the season was over, Ron Zook was fired, and the Illini began to transition to new head coach Tim Beckman.
Even someone who is an eternal optimist probably cannot look at Indiana as anything but being half-empty. The talent and depth for the Hoosiers is not there, and last year will not be the end of their worries.
While Iowa has remained competitive over the past few years, they want to relive the days when they were competing for the conference title, which was not too long ago.
If the Hawkeyes are hoping this is the year, their defense will need to carry the load.
Iowa State had both good things and bad things happen last year. The best moment was their home win over Oklahoma State. \
The Cyclones need to take that positive and build on it as we head towards the 2012 season.
Questionable describes a lot about Kansas and its current status. Their defense is questionable, their offense is questionable and their choice to hire Charlie Weis is even questionable.
Kansas State seemed to come out of nowhere last year and challenge for the Big 12 title. This year it will be interesting to see how the Wildcats do with everyone knowing what to expect out of them.
Last year Kent State was simply offensive on offense. The Golden Flashes finished No. 114 overall in terms of points scored, and they must find a way to get that turned around if they hope to have more success in the MAC this season.
While Joker Phillips has done a great job so far at Kentucky, the downside is he may have reached his ceiling there. With the focus mainly on the basketball team, Phillips will have to do a lot with a little.
Last year's WAC champion needs to show some focus during this down time in the year. The Bulldogs have the depth and talent to repeat; it's only a matter of if they can keep themselves as focused as last year.
With last year's bowl win, Louisiana Lafayette started to build some momentum as a program. It was a great year, and they hope to bring that momentum into this season.
Unlike Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe has struggled to hit that next step. The program has remained stagnant and has failed to move forward.
Last year Louisville was another team to earn a share of the Big East title and, much like Cincinnati, should be thinking that it is in control of its own destiny.
With the conference in a down year, the Cardinals are in a great spot to repeat.
Last year was going perfectly for LSU until the Tigers headed into their rematch against Alabama. This year, the season will focus on redemption and getting back to the national title game.
With some of the top teams losing starting quarterbacks to graduation, Marshall has an opportunity to step up and reach the Conference USA title game.
Randy Edsall must do better than last year. 2011 was a bit of a disaster for Maryland, and in only year two of his program, Edsall may start to feel the heat if he doesn't start winning.
Like most small programs, the news around this team during the summer is forgettable. The Tigers do not often make waves, and 2012 will be no different.
Question marks surround the entire Miami program. People are still waiting to hear about how the situation with former booster Nevin Shapiro will impact the program, and all we can do now is wait.
Time for Miami of Ohio to spend some time on the run game. Last year the team finished dead last in the NCAA, and it must find a way to get that turned around in 2012.
Michigan has a chance to validate its 2011 season.
In 2012, the Wolverines face a difficult schedule that starts with Alabama, and putting together another 10-plus win season would go a long way to signifying they are back.
Michigan State has to be prepared to ride its defense in 2012. The offense lost a good amount of talent to graduation, so if the Spartans hope to head back to the Big 10 title game, the defense must stand tall.
During the 2011 season, Middle Tennessee struggled severely in conference play as they went 1-7. If the Blue Raiders want to make any steps to improve, they must win games in conference.
Minnesota had a scare last year when Jerry Kill had a seizure on the sideline. Kill would return to continue coaching Minnesota, but it gives you some perspective when heading into the 2012 season.
Head coach Dan Mullen has done a good job of helping the Bulldog program take over its rivalry against Ole Miss, but they are still in the middle of the SEC. That must change soon.
Missouri is making the move from the Big 12 to the SEC this year. While the Tigers have a solid team, they are not ready to take on SEC teams and will be murmuring, "Uh-oh" all year.
Like Army, Navy also missed out on the bowl season last year. The Midshipmen are back for the 2012 season and will start their march towards a bowl game in Dublin, Ireland against Notre Dame
Mike Glennon was an outstanding fill-in for Russell Wilson last year. As he returns for his final year at NC State, Glennon will be the key to the program's success this year.
If Nebraska hopes to have more success in the Big 10, it needs to find a greater balance on offense. With the ability to run, the Huskers can be even more dynamic if they can turn up the air game.
Last year the non-conference schedule caused Nevada to get off to a slow start. In 2012, the Wolfpack are going to look for a faster start as the season opens up.
New Mexico has been dreadful for a while now, and they need to focus on the number one. That is how many wins they had last year, and that should be enough to motivate any team.
New Mexico State had one of the worst defenses in the nation last year. In 2011, the Aggies defense finished No. 112 in the nation in terms of points against.
North Carolina has hired Larry Fedora as its new head coach. With his exuberance, the hope is that Fedora can give this team a spark entering the 2012 season.
In 2011, North Texas went 4-4 in their conference play, yet they still missed out on a bowl game. While the Mean Green may not have made it last year, they are close and could get there next year.
Northern Illinois won the MAC title last year, so as it enters the 2012 season, the team is looking to defend its conference crown. It could end up being difficult to hold off Toledo this season.
It has to seem like forever since Northwestern has won a bowl game. Last year the Wildcats made it to a bowl but fell short, keeping their bowl game losing streak intact.
What better way for the Irish to start its season then overseas in Dublin, Ireland. This year the Irish will play Navy in what is sure to be a great matchup.
Tyler Tettleton is back under center for Ohio, and the Bobcats will need him to play just as well as he did last year, if not better, if they hope to return to the conference title game and win it this year.
This year Ohio State will be dealing with a postseason ban that will keep them out of the Big 10 title game and a bowl game.
It will be interesting to see how Urban Meyer keeps his team motivated with that hanging over the program.
Unlike previous years, Oklahoma is in a changing Big 12 conference, and it brings some new challenges.
With the addition of TCU and West Virginia, the Sooners will have to face two new teams that may give them a run for their money.
After what the Oklahoma State fans experienced last season, this year will definitely be a letdown for those fans. With a new quarterback under center and no Justin Blackmon, it may be time to rebuild.
For a while now, Ole Miss has not been relevant in the SEC, and with that has come a change at the head coaching spot.
Ole Miss is hoping that a fresh face and a new philosophy can get things turned around.
For the past three years, Oregon has won its conference. While it has been impressive,
USC is now out from a postseason sanction, and it will be time to see what the Ducks can do with a USC team that looks ready to take over the Pac-12.
Time for Oregon State and Mike Riley to have a gut check. While Riley has done a good job with the Beavers, things have not gone well lately, and he needs to get things turned around.
Penn State and its fans are all hoping that this season can provide the Nittany Lions with closure from last year's nightmare.
Hopefully a proud program like Penn State can start moving in the right direction.
What Pitt needs this year is stability for its program and players.
Last year, Todd Graham took over and appeared to be there for the long haul, but he bolted in one year. That cannot happen again, or the program will be in serious trouble.
Purdue may not have an extremely talented team, but the door for them to win their division is open as Ohio State is under a bowl ban, Wisconsin is without Russell Wilson and Penn State is trying to rebuild.
For Rice a fix to last year's problems isn't as simple as focusing on one side of the ball. The Owls finished in the last quarter in both points for and against and will need improvement on both sides.
When the Tampa Bay search came up empty after Chip Kelly turned the job down, the Buccaneers turned to Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. With him out of the picture at Rutgers, they may be a bit lost in 2012.
Since the Aztecs lost Brady Hoke last year, San Diego State took a step back, but this is the year that they need to put that behind them and move forward with a strong 2012 season.
San Jose State is a program that has not been able to do a whole lot to separate themselves. After another average season, the Spartans appear to be heading towards another ordinary season.
With some of the changes going on in Conference USA, SMU appears to be ready to continue to improve and take that next step towards being a conference contender.
With some of the losses other teams have had, now is the time.
The entire focus of the offseason has had to do with the health of Marcus Lattimore.
Lattimore suffered a severe knee injury against Mississippi State, and he is the key to how successful the Gamecocks can be in 2012.
Last year South Florida started the season hot but then completely fell apart. The Bulls have the talent to win the Big East but must find a level of consistency to do so.
Larry Fedora was part of the identity of Southern Miss last year. The Golden Eagles surprised everyone by winning the Conference USA title but may struggle to find their identity in 2012.
Fair or unfair, David Shaw will be judged more for this year than what he did with Andrew Luck last year. Without Luck in the lineup, the Cardinal will see if the run game and defense can carry them.
Syracuse is another team that is often overlooked because of its basketball team. The Orange have had some success in their program's history, just not lately.
With a wide open Big East, now would be a perfect time to capitalize and break their pattern of just floundering.
TCU has been a contender for the BCS a few times now and has tried to break its way into the national title but have fallen short due to their conference.
Now that they have moved to the Big 12, TCU can validate its claim and show it can compete against some of the nation's best.
When West Virginia left for the Big 12, it left a hole in the Big East. Temple saw this opportunity and came right in to fill the spot. It will be interesting to see how this team can do in its new home.
The offseason for Tennessee is completely focusing on making sure that Tyler Bray is healthy and ready to go. Last year the Vols looked great with him calling the shots, and they look forward to having him back under center.
While Texas has rebounded from not making a bowl game, the Longhorns have not been the same since Colt McCoy left the university.
If Texas is unable to get back to competing for the conference title, the fans may grow impatient.
Texas A&M is the other team that is moving from the Big 12 to the SEC, and its main focus needs to be making sure that it holds on to leads.
If the Aggies start going down the path they went down last year, they will be in trouble.
In 2011, the Red Raiders struggled through injury after injury and were unable to achieve the kind of season that they had hoped for.
For the 2012 season, they are hoping that the injury bug will stay away.
Toledo came up just short of going to the MAC title game but showed true improvement.
During the 2012 season, Toledo looks ready to make the next step, leap frog Northern Illinois and head to the title game.
Tulane was simply defenseless last year as its defense was one of the nation's worst. If it hopes to improve on last year's two-win season, the team must improve on the defensive side of the ball.
Troy tried its best last year to compensate on offense. The Trojans were in the top 20 for passing yards, but when it came to rushing, they were one of the worst in the nation.
In 2012, they must make sure they find balance, or a repeat of 2011 may be coming.
Last year Tulsa came up just short of having a shot at the conference title. This year, the Golden Hurricanes will be without their star quarterback G.J. Kinne and will have to find a way to replace his production.
Points both for and against were a big problem for UAB last year. In 2011, the Blazers were one of the worst team in terms of points scored and points against, and it must change for the wins to start coming in 2012.
UCF had a great defense that helped keep them in games last year. At the end of the year, the Knights defense ranked No. 9 in the nation in terms of points against.
If that effort can continue in 2012, then UCF will have a shot at a good season.
There is a new day starting at UCLA, and fans hope that Jim Mora can find a way to turn things around for this program. With the recruits that UCLA pulls in, Mora should have the talent to get this team back on track.
UNLV only managed to win two games last year. Overall, the offense and the defense were awful, and if the win total is going to change this year, the team must find a way to improve on both sides of the ball.
For USC, the offseason has been spent focusing on the fact that they are out from underneath the sanctions that have kept them out of postseason play.
Now that the penalty is gone, the Trojans have their eye on the national title.
Last year, Utah had a shot at the Pac-12 South title but came up short late in the year. Early on in 2011, the Utes struggled in conference play and put themselves in a difficult position.
If they can get a jump on conference wins early, they could push USC this year.
Utah State was one of the surprise teams of the 2011 season. It started with the season opener against Auburn and ran throughout the season.
Now that everyone knows what the Aggies can do, it will be interesting to see how they do in 2012.
UTEP had a tough 2011, and it appears that 2012 is going to get off to a difficult start as well. In the first month of the season, the Miners play Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Wisconsin and ECU, not an easy month.
In 2011, James Franklin helped lead Vanderbilt to a bowl game and helped them improve immensely. This year, it will be a test for Franklin to continue to build this program and help them compete in the SEC.
Last year Mike London and Virginia came out of nowhere, and going into the last week of the season, they had a shot of going to the ACC title game.
This year will be a chance for the program to confirm that it is a team on the rise.
After the two losses that Clemson handed Virginia Tech last year, Virginia Tech has to have had the Tigers on its mind all offseason.
Frank Beamer and his team must be up for the challenge as the Hokies and Tigers face off in another regular-season game this season.
During the 2011 season, Wake Forest started the year at 5-2 and limped to a 6-6 finish. The message during the entire offseason has to be to make sure that the Demon Deacons finish the job.
Washington may be in trouble sooner rather than later based on how Washington State is improving as well as Oregon's continued control in the rivalry with them.
Something needs to be done, especially on defense, if the Huskies hope to get things turned around.
In the offseason, Washington State brought in Mike Leach to be its new head coach. Leach is often described as the pirate due to his fascination with them, and he has a great opportunity to make an impact at Washington State.
West Virginia is another team that is a dark horse competitor in the national championship race, but as they move from the Big East to the Big 12, the competition will be turned up.
The Mountaineers must be ready to answer the challenge.
Western Kentucky made a strong push towards the Sun Belt conference title, but ultimately the inability to pass the ball effectively limited the team.
This year, the Hilltoppers need to find a way to be more effective through the air if they hope to take down Arkansas State in the Sun Belt.
Alex Carder is back and leads one of the best passing attacks in the nation. If Western Michigan wants to be a player for the conference title, Carder must be even better than he was in 2011.
With the loss of Russell Wilson, Wisconsin caught a huge break when Montee Ball announced that he would return for his final season. Ball's return is huge but may not be enough to get them to a third straight Rose Bowl.
Wyoming could be described as being very average last year. When it comes to points scored and points against, the Cowboys finished in the middle of the pack and were unable to separate themselves in either category.