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50 College Football Players Coaches & Programs with a Shot at Redemption in 2012

Alex CallosCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2012

50 College Football Players Coaches & Programs with a Shot at Redemption in 2012

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    The saying there's always next year has a lot of meaning, particularly to the players, coaches and programs on this list.

    While some names on the list had success last year, there was enough disappointment that 2012 could not come soon enough.

    Some of it had to do with injuries and a lot of teams, players and coaches had disappointing seasons in 2011 that they would soon like to forget.

    Here are 50 names that are looking for a shot at redemption in 2012.

50. South Florida Bulls

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    Once again last season South Florida started off strong and finished with a thud.

    They ended up 5-7 overall and missed out on any postseason action.

    This has seemingly been the case for the Bulls over the past few seasons and with the talent they have coming back, the 2012 season will be a good shot to redeem themselves.

49. Derek Dooley

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    Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers had a disappointing season in 2011 and will be looking for a bounce back year in 2012.

    If they can stay injury free, they have the talent to do just that.

    Dooley has had sub-par seasons nearly every year he has been a head coach and has a career overall record of 28-34.

    He might just need a bowl season to keep his job.

48. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Indiana was one of the most disappointing teams in the nation last season and only won one game.

    This year, the Hoosiers should have enough talent coming back to win a few more games.

    Either way they are going to have trouble finishing anywhere but the bottom of the conference. At least they have a shot.

47. Eric Stephens

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    Texas Tech was off to a solid start last season having won their first four games. During the fifth game of the season running back Eric Stephens went down with a season-ending injury and that spelled the end of the line for the Red Raiders.

    Stephens had already rushed for 565 yards and eight touchdowns in under five games.

    He will get another shot this season as will Texas Tech.

46. Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Arkansas did not exactly have a terrible season in 2011, but with all that has happened in the offseason, an even better 2012 would feel great for the Razorbacks. 

    They have the talent to compete for an SEC West title and how great would that feel after what Bobby Petrino put the program through?

    Either way, the Razorbacks have a talented group in 2012.

45. Randy Edsall

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    Randy Edsall had so much success at Connecticut that it was hard to imagine him doing as bad as he did at Marlyand.

    The Terrapins only won two games last season and there is no question that they will win more games in 2012.

    Edall struggled when he first started out at Connecticut and turned them around, eventually leading the Huskies to a BCS Bowl game.

    He just might do the same at Maryland.

44. UCLA Bruins

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    Jim Mora Jr. is taking over a bit of a mess at UCLA. The program that lost eight games last season will have a lot of work to do to get back to where they once were.

    The Bruins will be able to get the recruiting classes necessary to get back near the top of the Pac-12 at some point.

    They have plenty of shots at redemption over the next few years.

43. Ray Graham

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    Ray Graham was one of the best running backs in the country last season before a devastating knee injury cut his year short.

    In just over seven games, he had already rushed for 958 yards and nine touchdowns.

    If he comes back healthy, Pittsburgh should be able to contend in the Big East.

42. Kendial Lawrence

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    Kendial Lawrence was the starting running back at the beginning of last season for the Tigers and went down early on with an injury.

    He should be back and ready to go this season. 

    Lawrence is a big part of the Tigers offense, particularly with Henry Josey expected to be out.

41. Connecticut Huskies

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    Like a few other teams in the Big East, Connecticut was disappointing last season finishing 5-7 overall. 

    This came just a year after wining the conference and going to the Fiesta Bowl.

    They had a good amount of youth last season and should be better in 2012.

40. EJ Manuel

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    By no means did EJ Manuel have a bad season in 2012. He finished the year with 2,666 yards passing and 18 touchdowns.

    He was banged up for part of the season, and struggled during a stretch where the Seminoles lost three straight, missing the Clemson game entirely.

    If he can stay healthy and produce, Florida State has a chance to win the ACC and contend for a national championship.

39. Oregon State Beavers

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    Oregon State has been very disappointing the past few seasons and only finished 3-9 a season ago.

    The Beavers have youth at the quarterback position in Sean Mannion. He threw more interceptions than touchdowns last season, but entering his sophomore campaign he should improve.

    If the Beavers win total does not get better, head coach Mike Riley could find himself on the hot seat.

38. Matt Barkley

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    For Matt Barkley it is not as much a shot at redemption as it is him finally getting a chance.

    The Trojans have a shot to qualify for a bowl game this season and Barkley stuck around to play not only in a bowl game, but in a national championship.

    Barkley and the Trojans have as good a shot as anybody in 2012.

37. Georgia Bulldogs

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    Georgia had a great year in 2011, but lost their first two games of the season, which virtually ended any shot they had at playing for a national championship.

    This year they are the favorites to win the SEC East and will likely get another shot at either LSU or Alabama with a lot more on the line in 2012. 

    Their best chance for a championship could be this season.

36. Charlie Weis

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    Things for Charlie Weis did not end the way he had planned at Notre Dame and now he has found his next coaching job at Kansas.

    This will be a shot for him to try and turn the Kansas program around.

    There is no question how difficult of a task this will be.

35. Utah Utes

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    Utah struggled with injuries last season, but still managed to win eight games and rack up a bowl victory.

    This season they can redeem themselves, especially if they are completely healthy all season long.

    Quarterback Jordan Wynn will be back and he is a key component to the success of the Utes in 2012.

34. Montee Ball

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    Montee Ball had a great season in 2012 and he is one of the frontrunners for a Heisman in 2012.

    He will also be trying to break the single-season touchdown mark that he tied last season.

    Ball came back for one more year and has a lot on his plate this season.

33. Tennessee Volunteers

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    Tennessee had a slew of injuries last season and struggled to a 5-7 year.

    In 2012, they have plenty of talent to win seven or eight games, but will they be able to do so is the big question?

    The Vols and head coach Derek Dooley will have to win the opener against North Carolina State to help propel the season.

32. Tommy Tuberville

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    Texas Tech struggled last season toward the end of the year, mostly because of injuries and the fact that they were not as talented as a lot of teams in the Big 12.

    This year if they can stay healthy they should be okay.

    Head coach Tommy Tuberville has a lot of pressure on him to succeed and make up for a disappointing 2011 campaign.

31. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Similar to a lot of other teams, the Oklahoma Sooners struggled at times last year because of injuries.

    Heading into the 2011 season, many people had them as the team to beat in college football.

    This year they will have a chance to redeem themselves as they are still one of the most talented teams in the country.

30. B.J. Daniels

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    B.J. Daniels is a guy who has an immense amount of talent and shows glimpses of being great, but seemingly always does something to screw it up.

    Well, 2012 will be his last chance and the Bulls have enough talent around him to contend for a Big East title.

    Will he finally live up to expectations and redeem himself for the past few seasons?

29. Miami Hurricanes

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    The Miami Hurricanes program has been through a lot over the past few years and a great 2012 campaign could help them forget about all of that.

    Whether or not they will receive more punishment remains to be seen, but after only going 6-6 last year, they are looking for a shot at redemption in 2012.

    That is not going to be easy to come by however.

28. Kevin Wilson

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    Simply put, Kevin Wilson was bad in his first season at Indiana last year, leading the team to a 1-11 campaign.

    In 2012, he will need to be much better in order to keep his job.

    There is no way they can be as bad as last year right?

27. USC Trojans

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    For USC it is not as much a shot at redemption as it is just a shot.

    They have not been bowl eligible the past few seasons and this year they might just have the best team in the nation.

    There is no doubt that they will be in contention for a national championship in 2012.

26. Marcus Lattimore

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    Marcus Lattimore may have been the best running back in the country last season when he went down with a season-ending knee injury.

    He was a work horse for the Gamecocks and whether or not he will return to full form remains to be seen.

    If he does, this team could be dangerous. This may be his final shot as he will likely turn pro after 2012.

25. Texas A&M Aggies

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    Texas A&M lost six games last season and that resulted in the departure of head coach Mike Sherman.

    There is no question that new head coach Kevin Sumlin will bring a winning attitude to the program, but joining the SEC will not be an easy task.

    Either way more than six wins would be a little bit of redemption for the Aggies.

24. Frank Beamer

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    Many people might ask why would Frank Beamer need redemption. Well, the fact that many people considered the Hokies to be a farce last season should be reason enough.

    Virginia Tech may not have belonged in a BCS bowl game, but they got into one and that angered some people.

    This year, they can try to prove critics wrong.

23. Penn State Nittany Lions

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    The Penn State football program is in the middle of a crisis and what better way to help deflect some of that negative attention than to win football games.

    The 2012 season will give them plenty of opportunity to do just that.

    They have the talent to surprise some people in the B1G and across the nation.

22. Justin Hunter

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    Justin Hunter is a very dynamic receiver and he certainly proved that last season in the two games he played before being injured.

    In 2012, he along with the rest of the Tennessee Vols will have a shot to forget about last year.

    If they are going to do that, Hunter will need to stay healthy and on the field.

21. Ole Miss Rebels

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    Ole Miss was downright awful last season, going 2-10 overall and 0-8 in SEC play.

    The Rebels were far and away the worst team in the conference and will be looking for a little redemption this season.

    Don't expect them to be too much better, but 0-8 in conference play likely won't happen again.

20. Mike Leach

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    After what happened to Mike Leach at Texas Tech, starting fresh at Washington State should be nothing but helpful for the talented head coach.

    A fresh start will be good for the Cougars, as they have a lot of work to do to contend for the Pac-12 title.

    This opportunity is the first shot at redemption Leach has had since he was fired from the Red Raider program a few years ago.

19. Central Florida Knights

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    Central Florida has been one of the most consistent teams in Conference USA over the past few years, but struggled to a 5-7 campaign last year.

    This year they have a shot to make up for it as there is a lot of talent on the Knights roster. 

    Redemption may be coming for head coach George O'Leary and the Knights.

18. Frank Spaziani

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    Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani is on the hot seat as much as anybody in the country and if he does not lead the team to a winning season he may be on his way out.

    The Eagles only won four games last year and it looks like they are headed in the complete wrong direction.

    There is however a shot at redemption for Spaziani and the Eagles.

17. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Just ask Texas Tech fans and they will tell you how good they are going to be in 2012.

    The amount of injuries they suffered in 2011 and the talent they have coming back would make many people agree.

    This is a chance to show what they could have done in 2011.

16. Auburn Tigers

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    Auburn did not have a bad season in 2011 by any stretch of the imagination, but in 2012, they are hoping to be much improved.

    The Tigers won eight games last year and will need to win more to call this season successful.

    They certainly have a good shot at doing that.

15. Bob Stoops

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    Bob Stoops did what he could last year with the injuries and still went through disappointment as they were expected to win more than they did.

    As the preseason No. 1 in 2011, the Sooners were marred by injuries and could never recover.

    The 2012 season will be a chance for Stoops and the Sooners to redeem themselves.

14. Florida State Seminoles

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    Florida State has not lived up to expectations the past few seasons and could this be the year they finally redeem themselves?

    The Seminoles have talent all over the field, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Look for them to be better this year.

    If they can stay healthy, there is no reason they can't redeem themselves for what has happened over the past few seasons.

13. Brian Kelly

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    Brian Kelly has not done a bad job at all at Notre Dame, but losing four or five games is something that program does not want to see happen.

    This year with how difficult their schedule is, a 9-3 season would be redemption for Kelly and the Fighting Irish.

    If he can lead them to nine or 10 wins, all will be forgotten in South Bend.

12. Texas Longhorns

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    Texas was not impressive at all last season, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

    They have so much talent on defense, that they should be able to redeem themselves in 2012.

    Some even think they can contend for a national championship.

11. Tyrann Mathieu

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    Tyrann Mathieu was a Heisman finalist last season and the top defensive player in the country.

    But, some people seem to forget just how talented he was after what happened in the national championship game.

    He will get a shot to redeem himself in 2012 and prove he is one of the best cover guys in the country as many have started to doubt him.

10. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Ohio State only won six games last season and there are not too many teams in the country that are seeking redemption like the Buckeyes.

    With new head coach Urban Meyer, they are certain to get their fair share of it.

    It just may take a few years for this young group.

9. Tyler Bray

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    Tyler Bray missed five games last season and Tennessee was blown out in four of them.

    This year he along with the rest of the Volunteers will get a shot at redemption.

    Bray has flashed potential of being a top of the line quarterback, but still has a lot of work to do.

8. Clemson Tigers

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    Clemson had a great season, but it was all soured at the end of the year with the blowout loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

    This year they would love to do enough to get back to that level and reach the Orange Bowl once again.

    Maybe with better results this time around.

7. Rich Rodriguez

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    Rich Rodriguez is bad on the football field after what many would consider an epic fail at Michigan.

    He is taking over the Arizona Wildcats job and will get another shot to prove he was not a fluke while at West Virginia.

    It will however be hard to duplicate that success at Arizona.

6. Maryland Terrapins

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    The Maryland Terrapins were one of the most disappointing teams in the country last season and they are certain to rebound in 2012.

    How much will they improve after only winning two games last year remains to be seen.

    One thing is for sure, they do have a shot at redemption in 2012.

5. Knile Davis

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    Knile Davis was one of the best running backs in the country two seasons ago, but missed last year because of a knee injury.

    If he comes back healthy, Arkansas will be a serious contender for the SEC West.

    This may be the best Arkansas team in quite some time.

4. Florida Gators

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    Florida only won seven games last season and did not have much success against the top level SEC teams.

    This year they are going to be extremely young, but there is plenty of talent.

    Head coach Will Muschamp will need to improve on his win total to bring Florida back to the success they are used to.

3. Jimbo Fisher

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    Jimbo Fisher certainly knows how to recruit, but using that talent the right way has not always been the easiest task.

    Florida State has been a disappointment over the past few seasons and they will need to get double digit wins at a minimum to have a successful 2012.

    They have the talent to win it all and if they do so, Fisher will get the redemption he desires.

2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Notre Dame has not been bad in recent seasons, but they have not been the Notre Dame of old.

    Simply put, they have been seeking redemption for quite some time now.

    Winning more than 10 games and qualifying for a BCS Bowl game would be some sort of redemption for the Fighting Irish.

1. LSU Tigers

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    No team, player or coach in the country is seeking more redemption than the LSU Tigers.

    After going undefeated and winning the SEC last season, LSU was throttled in the national championship game and had no answer for the Alabama defense.

    They have no doubt been chomping at the bit to get back on the field.

     


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