3 Top 25 Teams to Watch in 2012
Each and every year, there are a number of college football teams across the country that exceed preseason expectations.
There always seems to be those one or two teams that wind up in the BCS, despite the fact nobody had been talking about them as a team to watch in the preseason.
As I wrote in my last article, the sleeper teams are part of what make college football so great. The upset wins over the supposed favorites cause chaos in the polls.
This article will take a look at my top three teams that will exceed expectations and crack the Top 25 in 2012.
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The seemingly ageless Bill Snyder returns for another season at the helm of the Wildcats.
Led by Heisman candidate Collin Klein, Kansas St. brings back 14 other starters, with eight of those starters coming back on the defensive side of the ball.
A team that surprised many by finishing second in 2011 has a chance to potentially win the Big 12 outright this season.
The 10-3 squad from 2011 finished with a Cotton Bowl loss to Arkansas, but expect this year's version to once again exceed expectations and flirt with the top 10 for the majority of the season.
However, if the Wildcats are to be legitimate contenders in the Big 12, they will have to navigate their way through a tougher schedule.
Kansas St. will travel to Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU and Baylor, while also hosting Texas, Oklahoma St. and Miami.
A brutal schedule to say the least.
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No matter what, Mark Dantonio's squad seems to always exceed expectations and finish much higher than projected in a Big 10 that is as tough as ever.
This season, despite the loss of Kirk Cousins and B.J. Cunningham, and Jerel Worthy on defense, Sparty should once again field a solid team with a total of 13 starters coming back.
William Gholston (pictured above) returns to anchor the defense, while Le'Von Bell leads the charge for the offense.
The Spartans are never the most exciting team to watch and they play their fare share of tough games in the brutal Big Ten, but they always manage to rack up the wins.
The schedule isn't overly tough with Ohio St. and Nebraska both coming to East Lansing, but the Spartans will travel to Michigan and Wisconsin. The non-conference slate also features a pair of home games against Boise St. and Notre Dame.
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Yes, the Gamecocks are ranked in most of the preseason polls, but next to no one is taking them seriously as a potential championship contender.
A team that went 11-2 in 2011 brings back their two of their top offensive weapons in Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw, along with eight other starters on the defensive side of the ball.
The biggest problem for head coach Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks has always been getting the job done when it matters most.
In recent years, South Carolina has been able to rack up nine or 10 wins no problem, but has yet to take that next step and win the SEC.
2012 may be the year for that, as the team avoids facing Alabama, but the team must travel to both LSU and Florida.
The schedule isn't as brutal as some past years, but remains tough due to the nature of playing in the difficult SEC. Some home games on the slate are Arkansas, Georgia and conference newcomer Missouri.