NCAA Football Preseason Rankings 2012: Underrated Teams Poised to Make BCS Runs

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 26, 2012

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly run on to the field for their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Summer is nearing its end, which brings with it sadness because students will be returning to school very soon. It is not all doom and gloom, however, as the college football season gets ready to kick off. 

In anticipation for this monumental occasion in sports, everyone is compiling their lists for the top 25 and potential BCS matchups. While we won't be tackling the former head on, we do have a look at some teams that should start in the lower half of the rankings, ready to take a big step forward and make a run at the BCS. 

Here are some of the underrated teams heading into the 2012 season that have a great chance to make the BCS if a few things fall into place. 

Boise State Broncos

For the first time in years, Boise State is not going to be a threat to break the BCS and sneak into the championship game. But that does not mean we should write them off as contenders for one of the remaining BCS games. 

Despite returning only six starters from last year's team, the Broncos should not be underestimated by fans or analysts. Head coach Chris Petersen has done a remarkable job of loading this roster with underrated talent and always gets the most out of the players he has. 

The Broncos only play one team that is a legitimate threat in a BCS conference (Michigan State), so it is going to be a difficult climb. But voters will be favorable towards them if they only have one loss, just because of their history. 

Florida Gators

We have been waiting for Florida to get back on track after two down seasons. Second-year head coach Will Muschamp brought in one of the country's best recruiting classes, so there is obvious talent there. 

Trying to rebuild the program after the departure of Tim Tebow has been harder than anyone anticipated, but things are starting to look a lot brighter in Gainesville. 

They will start at the bottom of the top 25 when the rankings are announced, and in my personal rankings, but I can see the young talent starting to come together to make a serious run at an SEC West title and a BCS berth. 

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Of the teams I have listed, I feel the most confident in Notre Dame actually making a run at the BCS this season. 

The biggest difference between this Notre Dame team and previous years is defense. They return six starters from last year's D that finished 24th in points allowed per game (20.7) and figure to be even better this year. 

Head coach Brian Kelly has implemented a great system and recruits are genuinely excited to attend South Bend. He is an offensive minded coach that does great work with quarterbacks, so look for big things from junior quarterback Tommy Rees. 

 1. USC Trojans
 2. Alabama Crimson Tide
 3. LSU Tigers
 4. Oregon Ducks
 5. Oklahoma Sooners
 6. Florida State Seminoles
 7. Arkansas Razorbacks
 8. Georgia Bulldogs
 9. Michigan Wolverines
 10. Wisconsin Badgers
 11. West Virginia Mountaineers
 12. Kansas State Wildcats
 13. South Carolina Gamecocks
 14. TCU Horned Frogs
 15. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
 16. Nebraska Cornhuskers
 17. Texas Longhorns
 18. Ohio State Buckeyes
 19. Clemson Tigers
 20. Virginia Tech Hokies
 21. Florida Gators
 22. Auburn Tigers
 23. Oklahoma State Cowboys
 24. Boise State Broncos
 25. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets


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