Preseason College Football Rankings 2012: Bowl Winners That Will Free Fall
The 2012 college football season is nearly upon us, and that means it's time to start creating expectations by shaping up the Top 25 rankings.
Most of the names at the top remain the same this year, as the powerhouse programs that recruit better than anyone else are set to continue their domination.
Still though, there are those teams that wave goodbye to the supreme talent that put them on the map last season.
Here are three bowl winners from 2011 that will experience a free fall in 2012.
After winning 10 games in 2011, and thrashing Washington in the Alamo Bowl last December, the Baylor Bears will attempt to survive the Big 12 again in 2012, only this time without their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Robert Griffin III. In addition to the loss of RG3, Baylor took a significant hit offense with the departures of running back Terrance Ganaway and wide receiver Kendall Wright.
Senior Nick Florence, who played a few snaps under center last year in relief for Griffin, will be the man to lead the Bears, who finished No. 13 in the polls last year, this upcoming season. Florence has eight career touchdowns to nine interceptions however, leading many including myself to believe that Baylor will struggle to win six games and become bowl eligible in 2012
Boise State Broncos
Will Boise State finish in the AP Top 25 in 2012?
Much like Baylor, Boise State is facing tough questions at quarterback this upcoming season. Record-breaking passer Kellen Moore has graduated and the Broncos can no longer depend on the poised signal caller to bail them out of trouble. Moore threw for 3,800 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2011, leading the Broncos to an impressive win over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
In 2012, the starting quarterback job will likely come down to a battle between freshman Nick Patti and returning backup Joe Southwick. Patti played well in the spring game, but Southwick has a little bit more experience, having seen some action last season behind Moore, throwing for nearly 200 yards and a touchdown on 23 completions.
Given that Boise State is in the Mountain West Conference, they will certainly be bowl bound this season, but they won't be in the Top 25 discussion at the end of the year. The Broncos finished eighth in the polls last season.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State lost a ton of firepower this offseason when the quarterback-wide receiver duo of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon was drafted to the NFL. Weeden threw for more than 4,700 yards in 2011, while Blackmon caught 18 touchdown passes. In 2012, the offensive focus will shift to talented running back Joseph Randle, who rushed for 1,216 yards and 24 touchdowns last season.
Still, the Cowboys have lost two critical weapons that added a unique dimension to their team a year ago. After finishing No. 3 in the polls last season after shocking Stanford in overtime of the Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma State will now have to rely far too often on Randle's athleticism in the back field to get them out of trouble and to score points. Mike Gundy has his work cut out for him in 2012, if he is to follow up on the brilliant season his program had in 2011.
My Latest 2012 College Football Preseason Top 25:
|No. 8||South Carolina|
|No. 9||Florida State|
|No. 11||Michigan State|
|No. 15||Ohio State|
|No. 17||Kansas State|
|No. 20||Virginia Tech|
|No. 21||West Virginia|
|No. 23||Notre Dame|
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