College Football Powerhouses That Will Experience Redemption in 2012
After winning the Urban Meyer sweepstakes, Ohio State's new-look offense should be hitting on all cylinders this season after a mediocre 2011.
However, Ohio State isn't the only traditional powerhouse that will be looking to improve its fortunes next season.
Let's take a look at five college football teams looking forward to redemption in 2012.
As mentioned in the intro, Urban Meyer will bring so much to the table offensively, as well as recruiting—which will start to make an impact in his first year.
Meyer already made his imprint known on the Big Ten recruiting trail as he was able to pry away top-10 prospects from big programs within weeks of inking his deal with the Buckeyes.
His work has translated into early success with verbal commitments in the 2013 class—a group already ranked in many pundits’ top five.
On the field, the Buckeyes struggled mightily in the pass game, ranking 115th in the nation with an average of 127.0 yards per the game through the air.
With a quarterback with loads of raw talent in Braxton Miller, Meyer’s coaching ability will be aiming to mentor the signal-caller into becoming a consistent, electric player.
Even though Ohio State can’t make it to a bowl due to NCAA sanctions, Urban Meyer will look to establish success among a young nucleus that can be counted on in the following season.
While the Clemson Tigers had a fantastic season in 2011, it ended on a sour note, leaving them itching to get on the practice field and improve.
After coming into the Orange Bowl with hopes to end the season positively, the Tigers were spanked by Geno Smith and West Virginia.
However, Clemson will have a manageable schedule in 2012, as an overrated Auburn is its hardest opponent in the non-conference.
After taking the college football world by storm in 2011, rising sophomore Sammy Watkins and rising junior Tajh Boyd have another year of experience under their belts, and their big-play ability will be hard to stop.
Florida State dealt with major expectations last year after Jimbo Fisher came in and coached the Seminoles to a 10-win season in 2010.
However, after starting out in the top 10, Florida St. caught the injury bug and couldn’t live up to the lofty talk surrounding it.
With an experienced E.J. Manuel holding the keys to the offense, young recruits will not only be able to provide depth, but also viable options in the offense.
With a top-five defense already in place, the only question for the Seminoles is their offensive line, which holds the keys to a running game that ranked 104th in the nation last year.
However, with guys like Devonta Freeman and Chris Thompson rushing the ball, the Seminoles have the talent to establish a running game to complement Manuel, and they’ll need it in 2012.
After a few years of disappointment, Mack Brown’s group in Austin, Texas, is looking to return to the top in 2012.
The Texas Longhorns finished with an 8-5 record last season, going 4-5 in conference play.
However, these Longhorns look poised to make a huge leap forward in 2012.
Even though they surrendered more than 22 points per game last year, their defense is absolutely stacked with athletic talent, especially on the defensive line.
Their front four should be one of the best in the country, including Jackson Jeffcoat, Alex Okafor, Ashton Dorsey and junior college transfer Brandon Moore.
With talent in the wide receiving corps and the running backs, it’ll be up to quarterback David Ash to limit mistakes in 2012.
If he can get better at reading defenses and situational decision-making throughout the season, Ash will be helping his defense get to a BCS bowl by the end of the year.
With Will Muschamp as your head coach, you’re going to have a fantastic defense.
That’s what Florida had in 2011—however, that was the only thing it had.
With arguably the best defensive line in the SEC other than LSU, the Gators will be able to hold opposing offenses to next to nothing.
Despite this, they won’t improve at all from their 7-6 record in 2011 if their offense doesn’t escape from the Gainesville swamps.
With John Brantley gone, Jeff Driskel will likely get the starting job in 2012.
If he can do what David Ash of Texas needs to do, the Gators will be in good shape next year.