The final month of waiting is here and to make things better, college teams are beginning to kick off fall camps. Before you know it, the end of August will arrive and the college football season will be underway.
As the 2012 season draws closer, teams begin to focus in and make sure that they are prepared for the upcoming season.
When we take a look around the nation, there is talent all over the place. While some teams have top-end talent up and down their roster, other teams are led by one star. Either way, here is a look at the most valuable player on every FBS team.
For a team that will have to rely heavily on the running game in 2012, Wes Cobb will be key to how successful Air Force can be in 2012. Cobb is entering his senior season and with Air Force only having three returning starters on offense, his leadership will be paramount early in the season.
No surprise that the one time that Akron scored more then 23 points was the game they won over VMI. Akron has a lot of issues but running back Jawon Chisholm is a bright spot on the offense. If Chisholm stays healthy, the Zips may not be much better, but without him, their offense would be awful.
While the defense is usually the calling card for Nick Saban and Alabama, the Tide are reloading on that side of the ball due to the number of losses they had to the NFL. This year, AJ McCarron is back for another year under center and if the Tide hope to repeat as champs, they will need him to play a bigger role as the defense gels early on.
With a new offense in place, Rich Rodriguez is putting a lot of stock in Matt Scott and his ability to understand and grasp the offense. Scott is already in his senior season and if he struggles to pick up the new offense, Rodriguez will be getting off to a rough start with the Wildcats.
At Arizona State, Todd Graham has come on board to become the new head coach of the Sun Devils. With the departure of Brock Osweiler to the NFL, the Sun Devils are going to look to the running game early on.
Cameron Marshall will be getting the majority of the touches in the backfield and needs to have a standout senior season. Without a strong start from him, the Sun Devils will quickly fall to the bottom of the standings.
Tyler Wilson is a quarterback that passed up on going pro to return for his senior season. Last year, Wilson was great but the Razorbacks still came up short against Alabama and LSU.
If Arkansas wants a legitimate shot at winning the SEC this year, Wilson must remain upright and healthy.
Last year's starting quarterback Ryan Aplin is back for his senior season and looking for another conference title. With the amount of talent that was lost from the defense, Aplin needs to make sure that he has an even better season than last year if the Red Wolves are going to repeat.
Army is getting their starting quarterback back this year as Trent Steelman remains the starter. Last year Steelman had a good year but is hoping to add to it in 2012. The depth chart behind Steelman is light so the Black Knights need to make sure they keep their starter healthy this season.
The biggest help that Auburn can get is for Clint Moseley to step up and leave little doubt about him being the starter at Auburn. If Moseley can step up and take charge, the offense can overcome the loss of Michael Dyer and lean on Moseley throughout the season.
Starting for the third straight season is Keith Wenning. Wenning has been a good leader for Ball State and has invaluable experience under center. With as much time as the Cardinals have invested in Wenning, losing his leadership on and off the field would be devastating.
With the loss of Robert Griffin III to the NFL, the Baylor Bears are going to be in transition on the offensive side of the ball. In order to not have a severe setback this year, Terrance Williams is going to have to find a way to lead this team and help them still be as effective without Griffin III.
Boise State took a lot of hits to their depth this year and both sides of the ball look to be rebuilding. In 2012, the defense will be led by returning starter J.C. Percy at linebacker. Percy is one of only two returning starters and the Broncos will need him to lead this defense or they could see a huge falloff.
Boston College is a team that is floating near the bottom of the ACC. This year, the defense is going to be leaned on heavily and Kevin Pierre-Louis will be called on to answer the bell.
With the loss of Luke Kuechly, the team will need someone to pick up the slack on tackles.
Matt Schilz helped keep Bowling Green's bowl hopes alive last year. In 2011, he threw for over 3,000 yards and 28 scores but it still was not enough for the Falcons.
This year, Schilz must perform at an even higher level and help push this team into the bowl season.
If you are looking for a bright spot on the Buffalo roster it may be hard to find, but Khalil Mack fits that role. At linebacker, Mack is the leader of the defense and losing him would make the Bulls even worse than last year's 3-9 team.
Riley Nelson is one tough player and he is BYU's starting quarterback. Nelson can be extremely hard to bring down and defend, which has made him an effective starter for the Cougars.
With a new starting running back, Nelson will be more important than ever as the Cougars are also breaking in new receivers.
Keenan Allen is the man that stirs the drink for the Cal offense. While the Golden Bears offense is rarely feared as of late, Allen is a player that must be accounted for on every play.
If Cal hopes to have any success in their division or the Pac-12, Allen must stay healthy and be a huge contributor for the Golden Bears.
Central Michigan has been in a downward spiral the past two years, but the hope is that senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff can pull them out of this. Last year Radcliff had almost 2,500 yards passing and 25 touchdowns, which was actually down from leading the conference in 2010.
If Radcliff can return to form in 2012, the Chippewas may start to get things turned around.
Last year, Anthony McClung stepped up and had 49 catches for 683 yards and six scores as a sophomore. As the Bearcats look to break in a new quarterback and running back this year, they will need more out of McClung and all of the other Bearcat receivers.
Last year Sammy Watkins exploded onto the national scene when Clemson got off to a hot start. Watkins has the ability to make big plays and is always a home run threat down the field.
As long as Watkins can stay out of trouble off the field and stay healthy on it, Clemson will once again be near the top of the ACC.
Things did not go so great for Colorado in their first year in the Pac-12, and things will continue to be a struggle in 2012. Returning to the defense is linebacker Douglas Rippy who before suffering a knee injury was leading the team in tackles.
If Rippy can spend all of the year on the field instead of in the trainer's office, the Buffaloes have a good chance of improving.
It may have taken a while but Chris Nwoke got into the starting lineup late last year and made the most of it. As he returns for his junior season, Nwoke is the main back now and has the size and strength to carry the load. Nwoke's presence allows the Rams to have good balance and they hope to improve on last year's three-win season.
When the 2011 season was all said and done, the Huskies finished 108th in the nation in total offense, something that simply will not cut it even in the Big East. This year the Huskies are starting a new quarterback and will put the load on running back Lyle McCombs to help make that transition work.
If McCombs can help turn this offense around, the Huskies will have a shot at going bowling in December.
As bad as Duke can be at times, the Blue Devils are hoping that they can get things turned around this year.
The one bright spot on the Duke offense is wide receiver Conner Vernon. Vernon has great playmaking abilities and if given the opportunity, he can keep Duke in a lot of games.
This year, East Carolina, like most Conference USA teams, is replacing their starting quarterback. Dominique Davis is gone and Rio Johnson is in for the Pirates. To make Johnson more effective, receiver Justin Hardy has to play even better than last year.
As a freshman, Hardy led the Pirates in both receptions and yards and this year cannot be any different if the Pirates hope to be successful in replacing Davis.
Ron English has rebuilt the Eastern Michigan program and part of the turnaround can be credited to quarterback Alex Gillett. Gillett has done a nice job over the past couple of seasons and as he enters his senior year, the Eagles are hoping that this is the year they can get to a bowl game.
Last year Jonathan Bostic was a tackling machine, leading the way for the Florida Gators defense. Back again at linebacker, the Gators are looking for another strong year out of Bostic and hope that he can take this defense to an elite level in the 2012 season.
Bright spots are few and far between for Florida Atlantic, but things could get even worse if they lose senior safety Randall Johnson. While the entire team needs help, the offense failed to keep this team in games, so if the Owls were to lose Johnson, their losses would only increase.
In the Sun Belt, Florida International has a good chance of rising through the standings and grabbing the top spot this year. With a stellar defense coming back, running back Kedrick Rhodes is the most valuable piece to this team as they look to ease in Jake Medlock as their new starting quarterback.
Once again Florida State is starting with lofty expectations. If the Seminoles hope to turn those expectations into reality, they will need help from EJ Manuel.
Manuel is a dynamic talent on offense but will need to be more consistent during the 2012 season.
The door is open for Fresno State in the Mountain West. The question is, can Derek Carr lead them through that door? Boise State may be taking a step back in 2012 so if Carr can remain steady through the entire season and limit the turnovers, the Bulldogs could turn some heads and win the MWC.
Georgia was able to overcome an 0-2 start and advance to the SEC final last year, and with Aaron Murray back at quarterback, the Bulldogs are poised to do it again.
Murray is an outstanding quarterback who has excellent control over the offense and if Mark Richt and Georgia hope to contend again, Murray must be at the helm.
As college football fans know, the Georgia Tech offense can run the ball with the best of them. The one unknown is the solid play of Georgia Tech's linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu.
Attaochu does a great job of going sideline to sideline and for a defense that is used to protecting close leads or trying to get the ball back for their offense with enough time left, his leadership and presence is a must.
In Norm Chow's first season, the defense will need some work as only four starters are returning. One player to build around in 2012 is Paipai Falemalu. Falemalu has good speed and strength off the end and can be a disruptive force in the passing game. If he is not as effective as last year, the Warriors will be in trouble.
When you lose a talented quarterback like Case Keenum, you are bound to suffer a setback. While there is no avoiding that fate, the Cougars can limit their fall based on the success of running back Charles Sims. Sims has the potential to lead the conference in rushing but until that potential turns into reality, the Cougars could be in trouble this year.
This year the Idaho defense is in need of stepping up in a big way. Last year the Vandals were routinely outscored and it won't help that they are replacing six starters this year.
In the secondary, Gary Walker returns for his senior season and will be a key to the defense's success. If he is able to help with containing at the safety spot, then Idaho may see some improvement.
The reason that Illinois could be dangerous this year is because of the playmaking ability of Nathan Scheelhaase. Scheelhaase has both the ability to beat a defense with his arm and his legs. As long as he remains healthy, the Illini should have a fighting shot in the Big 10.
Stephen Houston may be the diamond in the very rough at Indiana. Indiana had an awful 1-11 record last year and don't appear to be much better heading into 2012. If Hoosier fans thought last year was tough, try going through 2012 with Houston in the backfield.
After losing Marcus Coker to a transfer, the entire weight of the Iowa offense has just fallen on the shoulders of James Vandenberg. If Vandenberg falters or is unable to finish the season, the Hawkeyes will have lost their starting running back and quarterback, which is not an enviable position.
Returning to the Iowa State defense is Jake Knott. Knott will provide Iowa State with some leadership this year and he is an outstanding defender in both the passing and running game. His presence on the field should help the Cyclones avoid losing focus.
Kansas was flat out awful on defense this past season. Coming into 2012, Bradley McDougald returns to the secondary and will be a key part to the Jayhawks' attempt at rebuilding. If McDougald is unable to help this defense, Kansas may be even worse in 2012.
Collin Klein had an outstanding 2011 season and is prepared to have another great year in 2012. Klein is a key part to the Kansas State running and passing game and losing him could drop them from competing for the Big 12 title to not making the bowl season.
Kent State looks to have one of the strongest defenses in the MAC this year. That defense is led by defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix. Nix has good size and is a force in the running game. With the lack of depth, Kent State needs Nix to stay healthy this year.
Joker Phillips and the Kentucky Wildcats had a decent year in 2011 going 5-7, but they still came up short on making it to a bowl game.
In the majority of the losses that the Wildcats had, the offense failed to show up and produce. This year, La'Rod King's role at receiver will be even bigger as he enters his final year and will have to help this team find some consistency.
Returning for his senior season is Colby Cameron. The Bulldogs are coming off a conference title and are looking to add another in 2012. With the skill and experience that Cameron has, the Bulldogs cannot afford to lose him if they hope to repeat as conference champions.
Louisiana Lafayette had a break through season in 2011 and are hoping to build on that in 2012. The offense looks strong, led by Blaine Gautier and could help them overcome the turnover on the defensive side of the ball.
If Gautier can protect the ball the way that he did last year, the Ragin' Cajuns will be in good hands.
Last year was a bit of a struggle for the Warhawks, but in 2012, all but two offensive starters return and this is their chance to make a push and get into a bowl game. Leading the offense will be Kolton Browning. The depth behind him is limited so he will be key in this team getting things turned around.
Last year Teddy Bridgewater was able to help Louisville earn a share of the Big East title. This year, West Virginia is no longer in the conference so the play of Brdigewater will be more important than ever.
If Bridgewater is able to grow and improve in his second year as the starter, Louisville will be a serious competitor for the Big East title.
During last year's season, Tyrann Mathieu was a key part of LSU's run to an appearance in the national title game. Mathieu was continually around the ball and was making plays all year long.
With the Heisman finalist returning in the 2012 season, look for Mathieu to try and continue to make just as big of an impact as he did this past year.
The Thundering Herd could be a surprising team in Conference USA as they return a lot of key talent to the offense this year. With Rakeem Cato back at quarterback, he will be looking for Aaron Dobson again this year. If Dobson can show that turning down the NFL for his senior season was a good idea, Marshall may be your conference surprise.
As Maryland prepares for another season, they have already lost quarterback Danny O'Brien to a transfer and will now lean heavily on the defense. Leading the way will be Joe Vellano for the defense and if he is unable to step up and take a leadership role, the Terps are heading for another disastrous season.
Massachusetts is another team taking the leap to the FBS division and they will rely on quarterback Kellen Pagel to help make this transition. In a pass-heavy conference, Pagel must find a way to keep pace or Massachusetts will have a long season.
Whenever the defense was able to hold an opponent to 17 points or less last year, Memphis came away with a win. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that was only twice in 2011.
This year, Akeem Davis is the leader of the Memphis defense and must help find a way to keep this team in games. Without his leadership on the field, Memphis could see an even worse result in 2012.
After the 2011 season, Stephen Morris is returning and will be under center for the Miami Hurricanes. While Miami appears to be floating in mediocrity, they hope that the second year starter can get things turned around.
With the time that has been invested into Morris, losing him would set the Hurricanes back another season.
Miami of Ohio struggled through the 2011 season, but it was not for lack of effort from their offense. This season, Zac Dysert is back at quarterback for his senior season and if the Redhawks want to remain competitive, they must keep him upright and healthy.
Denard Robinson is not your typical quarterback as he makes more plays with his legs than he does with his arm. Robinson has been making highlight reels around the nation and has turned the Wolverine offense into a dynamic group.
If Michigan hopes to continue to light up scoreboards, Robinson must avoid taking big hits when he does leave the pocket.
Michigan State is expected to have an outstanding defense this year and at the center of that will by William Gholston.
Gholston has excellent speed and strength and if he is able to continue to develop and be the force that people saw last year, he will make the Spartans' defense one of the best in the nation.
Senior running back Benny Cunningham is back and is hoping to help Middle Tennessee get things turned around in his final season. Cunningham had 501 yards last year but only played in eight games. If the back can stay on the field throughout the season, the Blue Raiders may show some signs of improvement.
After a rough 2011 season, MarQueis Gray is back for his final year at Minnesota. While Gray certainly has the athleticism to make teams around the conference pay, he struggles at reading the defense.
This year Gray is lacking weapons around him, so if the Gophers want any sort of weapon on offense, they must keep Gray healthy.
During the 2011 season, the Mississippi State defense kept them in a lot of games that should have been over early. Part of the reason for that success was the play of Johnathan Banks in the secondary. With Banks back for his final season at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs can shut down one side of the field and hang in games against the SEC's elite.
New to the SEC is Missouri for the 2012 season. With the move, the Tigers take a step up in competition and will need their offense to be just as effective in their new conference.
In the passing game James Franklin returns at quarterback, but if the Tigers want to have success, senior running back Kendial Lawrence will need to adapt and flourish in their new conference.
In the Navy offense, the running game is the main feature and it will go through the quarterback. This year's starter is Trey Miller who must make sure that he has a firm grasp of the offense and be able to run it effectively or the Midshipmen will be going nowhere fast.
When Russell Wilson left NC State, many thought they may take a step back at the quarterback position, but Mike Glennon proved that theory to be false.
Glennon had a good 2011 season and if the Wolfpack hope to compete in the ACC this year, they will need him to be as good if not better.
For Nebraska, Taylor Martinez is what makes the offense go. Both in the passing and running game, Martinez has a high value to the Huskers, so if they were to lose him during the 2012 season, it would be a rough second year for Nebraska in the Big 10.
Last year's WAC Freshman of the Year is back under center and Cody Fajardo is primed for a great 2012 season. With a new running back and only one returning receiver, Fajardo will have his hands full, but he needs to make sure the Wolf Pack offense remains strong.
Returning for his senior season is B.R. Holbrook. Holbrook and New Mexico only managed one win in 2011. If the Lobos hope to improve, the team must cut down on the turnovers and find a way to put more points on the board.
Last year Andrew Manley got off to a hot start but tore his ACL and saw his season come to an end. Manley is back for his sophomore season and could help the Aggies improve on their four wins from last year, but he will need to remain healthy.
With new coach Larry Fedora in town, the Tar Heels will be in a state of transition in 2012. One way to stabilize things is with returning starter Bryn Renner still under center.
Renner has done a good job for North Carolina and while Fedora starts to implement his system, the leadership of Renner will be crucial.
If North Texas hopes to improve, the entire team needs to take their experience and use it to their advantage. Leading the offense is quarterback Derek Thompson who is back as the team's starter. In 2012, Thompson must use his experience to get this team to a bowl game.
Dechane Durante turned a lot of heads last year as he started as a freshman for Northern Illinois. Despite the losses that the offense has suffered due to graduation, the defense only lost three starters and appears to be ready for another good run in 2012.
During the year, Northern Illinois needs for Durante to continue to develop like he did last year and hopefully lead this team to another MAC title.
Losing Dan Persa is something that will take time for Northwestern to move on from. Replacing Persa will be junior Kain Colter. Colter is going to have a lot to live up to during the 2012 season, but a simple way to make fans forget about Persa would be to lead the Wildcats to a bowl win.
On the defensive side of the ball, Manti Te'o is a game changer for Notre Dame. With the ability to go from sideline to sideline and be able to make plays in the passing and rushing game, Te'o is one of the best at his position.
Notre Dame has a challenging schedule this year and will need Te'o to lead the defense from the first play of the year through the final whistle of their bowl game.
Last year Ohio came up just short of winning the MAC but look to be ready to seize control of the conference this year. With returning starter Tyler Tettleton at the helm, Ohio is the favorite to win the conference, but losing him would erase all hope of getting that done.
Despite not being eligible for a bowl game in 2012, Urban Meyer and Ohio State need to see some growth out of Braxton Miller.
Miller will be leading the offense at quarterback and the good news of the bowl ban will be that Miller has a year to get into a new system and make sure he has complete control over it come 2013.
Landry Jones is another quarterback to pass on the NFL and return for his final year. Jones is an outstanding quarterback that showed his abilities throughout the 2011 season.
If Jones is able to gain chemistry with his new group of receivers, the Sooners' offense could be explosive once again, and the health of Jones will be paramount.
Oklahoma State lost their two main weapons from last year when Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden went to the NFL.
Still at Oklahoma State is Joseph Randle. During the 2012 season, Randle will be a key piece to the Cowboys' offense as they look to transform the offense.
Mike Marry was the go to man last year for Ole Miss during a very rough season. He led the team during his sophomore season with 81 tackles, and if the Rebels want to get things turned around in 2012, he is going to need to repeat that task as well as continue to develop into even more of a force.
De'Anthony Thomas is a player who solves a lot of issues for the Ducks. Thomas makes Oregon dangerous in the running game, passing game, and the kick return phase of the game.
With a healthy Thomas, a defense must always be aware of his position or he could make them pay like the way he torched Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Oregon State has continued to struggle over the past couple of years, but Mike Riley is hoping to get things turned around in 2012. What will be key for the Beavers in 2012 is for them to surround Sean Mannion with weapons and a main target will be Markus Wheaton.
Wheaton has outstanding speed and hands but if he can't elevate his game this year, the Beavers will find themselves at home during the bowl season once again.
With the departure of Silas Redd to USC, Penn State is going to have to rely on Derek Day more than ever. Penn State is going to be thin on their depth chart for a while now, but losing Redd a month before the start of the season will make Day's role so much bigger than expected.
Pittsburgh has sunk a lot of time and development into Tino Sunseri and they are hoping that it pays off in his senior season. Sunseri has been wildly inconsistent at Pitt and if he is unable to deliver this year, it will mean that Pitt has wasted all of the time and effort they put into him and the future of the team.
With the status of starting running back Ralph Bolden still up in the air, Purdue has a lot riding on Akeem Shavers. At the end of the 2011 season, Bolden tore his ACL which has led to the increased value of Shavers. Already thin at running back, the Boilermakers simply cannot afford to lose Shavers.
From sideline to sideline, Cameron Nwosu is one of the best linebackers in the conference. This year he returns for his junior season and will need to improve his game even more than last year due to the continued struggles of the Owls' offense.
Last season, Khaseem Greene earned the honor of being the Co-Defensive Player of the year and he is back for his senior season for Rutgers. Greene is an outstanding linebacker that can make life difficult in the passing and running game. If he were to falter this year, the Scarlet Knights would see their bowl hopes slip away.
At the end of last year, cornerback Leon McFadden could have gone pro but elected to come back for his final season at San Diego State. McFadden is a good corner that can match up with anyone in the Mountain West Conference. For a defense that only returns three starters, McFadden will be the key to any success.
As a junior, David Fales will be taking over at San Jose State. Fales has shown some good mobility through the spring and will need to do even more when the season gets underway. If the Spartans were to lose Fales during the season, the depth is just not there to keep going without suffering a huge setback.
While looking to replace their starting quarterback, SMU has the benefit of relying on Zach Line at running back. For the past two years, Line has led the conference in rushing, and if the Mustangs are hoping to make a run at a Conference USA title, they will need Line to lead the way.
Jake Johnson is the leader of the South Alabama defense and he will be the focus for the Jaguars as they enter the FBS division. Johnson is a senior who can provide leadership and help make this transition as smooth as possible, although the likely outcome of the 2012 season is not good.
Despite seeing his season end early last year due to injury, Marcus Lattimore is still the most valuable player on the South Carolina team.
Lattimore makes the Gamecock offense much more balanced and potent and if he can return and be ready to go, then South Carolina could be a force in the SEC.
Last year South Florida got off to a great start going 4-0, but ended up fading and not even making it to a bowl game. This year, the Big East is wide open with the departure of West Virginia and quarterback B.J. Daniels must take advantage of that.
If Daniels is unable to provide the offense with some stability and balance in 2012, the Bulls may end up going down the same road as last year and miss a bowl game once again.
Last year Southern Miss surprised everyone when they knocked off Houston for the conference title. After losing their coach and starting quarterback Austin Davis, the Golden Eagles could be in trouble, especially on offense.
In order to realize the pressure on both their new starting quarterback and running back, receiver Tracey Lampley must step up. If Lampley is unable to ease the burden, things will go south in a hurry.
When you lose a player like Andrew Luck, your role as the starting running back not only becomes bigger, but also more difficult.
This year, Stepfan Taylor is going to be leaned on heavily and if he is unable to handle the load, Stanford will be in trouble all season long.
Returning senior quarterback Ryan Nassib is the question and answer for Syracuse. Nassib has shown some outstanding abilities at times but at others he has struggled. Depending on how Nassib plays and if he can be consistent will determine how the Orange do in 2012.
After a successful sophomore season, quarterback Casey Pachall is back under center for TCU. As TCU enters their new conference, they will be looking to prove they belong. If they hope to achieve their goals, Pachall will have to play a huge part.
New to the Big East this year is Temple and they will have their hands full. Entering this new conference, the Owls will need to rely on the running game to get their feet wet. If Matt Brown can get the Owls off to a good start, who knows what they could do in the conference.
Last year Tennessee got off to a good start but then Tyler Bray started to have some injury issues. Without Bray, Tennessee struggled throughout the SEC conference schedule.
This season Bray is back under center and if the Vols don't want to see a repeat of last year, they must help keep him upright and healthy.
While the Texas offense is still trying to get things figured out, the Texas defense is holding strong. This year the Longhorns will not only have Jackson Jeffcoat coming off the edge but also Alex Okafor.
If the Longhorns hope to overcome their less than potent offense, Okafor and the defense must have a huge season.
As Texas A&M makes the move to the SEC this year, they are going to have to count on their defense more than ever. On the end is Damontre Moore who played a big part during the 2011 season.
If the Aggies have hopes of not sinking in their new conference, it is going to start up front on defense and Moore will be relied on heavily.
Shaun Rutherford is leading the Texas State offense into their first year of being a part of the FBS division. Coming from the FCS, Texas State will struggle in the WAC and if Rutherford is unable to be effective, things could get even worse.
Last year was the perfect example of what can happen to a good team when they are riddled with injuries. This year, Seth Doege will once again be leading the offense and hoping to be even more effective than last year.
If Doege and the Red Raiders can stay healthy in 2012, they may turn some heads in the Big 12.
Austin Dantin is back under center for his senior season at Toledo and the offense should keep on rolling. Along with Dantin is quarterback Terrance Owens who makes up the second half of their co-starter system. This system has worked for Toledo but losing Dantin would be a big hit and would completely change the offense in 2012.
Brynden Trawick is returning for his senior season and will be providing coverage over the top from his safety position. His leadership this year will be crucial.
Despite almost rushing for 1,000 yards last year, Orleans Darkwa was doing it on a partially torn ligament in his toe. With the injury all healed up, Tulane is counting on a big year from him and hopes that a healthy Darkwa can improve on their two-win season from last year.
Tulsa is returning both backs in their two back system as well as two starting receivers. While they will not have G.J. Kinne at quarterback, Cody Green has the potential to fill that void.
If Green is unable to handle the starting role or gets injured, the hopes of a conference title will go down with him.
Marvin Burdette is the middle linebacker in the Blazers defense and is the player that the rest of the defense feeds off of. Heading into his final year, Burdette may break the school's record for tackles in a career, so losing him at any point would be a huge blow to the team.
Last year UCF came up just short of advancing to a bowl game and for the most part, the defense could not make big stops when they were needed.
This year, Victor Gray returns to the defense and will be one of the main pieces for success. With his speed and strength, Gray can be a force but like the rest of the defense, he needs to be more consistent.
Johnathan Franklin is a great running back but unfortunately for him, the supporting cast around him is not as great. For UCLA to have any success this year, they will need to continue to rely on Franklin to carry the load.
Tim Conett may be the one bright spot for UNLV as they head into 2012. The junior running back has a bruising style that can wear down a defense. Coming off a season with only two wins, it would be hard for the Rebels to be worse, but if they lost Cornett, the offense would take a big step backwards.
Matt Barkley is one of the most valuable players in all of the nation. The second that Barkley announced that he would be returning for his senior season, the Trojans became instant title contenders.
If Barkley can stay away from injury issues, the Trojans should have no issue going into November undefeated and taking on a tough Oregon team at home.
With a new quarterback under center, Utah is going to be relying heavily on running back John White IV. This is nothing new to White as he led the Pac-12 in carries last year, but if the load becomes too much in 2012, the Utes could quickly fade in the Pac-12 South.
Matt Austin led the team in receptions and touchdowns last year and is back for his senior season. In 2011, Austin had 34 catches that resulted in six touchdowns.
Utah State was a team that was able to sneak up on people last year but if Austin cannot lead the way again, they will fall out of contention in the WAC.
Nick Lamaison has his hands full in his senior year at UTEP. The defense of the Miners is one of the worst in the nation so if they hope to head to a bowl game in 2012, Lamaison must finish more drives with points and also take care of the ball.
UTSA is another team that is new to FBS and the WAC. They are in for a rude awakening and may be the worst team in the nation. If they hope to avoid that tag, the Roadrunners need quarterback Eric Soza to not only stay healthy but also elevate his game throughout the 2012 season.
Last year Vanderbilt surprised a lot of people when they put together a good season and ended up in the Liberty Bowl. This year the offense will once again be led by Jordan Rodgers. Rodgers must continue to grow and develop at the position, but losing him would mark a major setback for the Commodores this year.
Virginia came out of nowhere last season and stunned a lot of people when they had a shot at going to the ACC title game in the last week of the season. Part of their success was due to Michael Rocco under center.
Rocco is a good leader for this team and now has the experience from last season. Losing him in 2012 would be a huge hit to the Cavaliers.
Virginia Tech is coming into the 2012 season with one goal in mind: return the favor of two losses to Clemson that the Tigers handed them in 2011.
If the Hokies want to get their revenge, Logan Thomas is going to have to be a huge part of that. The defense and special teams should be solid once again, but the difference between being good and great may rest on the shoulders of Thomas.
Wake Forest had its ups and downs throughout the 2011 season and as they head into 2012, they are hoping to get some stability from the defense. This year, nose tackle Nikita Whitlock will be a key part to the defense. A solid year out of Whitlock could help Wake Forest take a big step forward.
Washington understands that if they hope to compete in the Pac-12 this year, they must find a way to continually outscore their opponents because the defense is not where it needs to be.
On that note, Washington needs a good season out of Keith Price. Price will be leading the offense once again this year and were they to lose him, the Huskies would be in big trouble.
Last year Washington State got to see what life was like without Jeff Tuel and the results were not great. In 2012, the Cougars are now home to Mike Leach and have a healthy Tuel in the fold.
If Tuel can stay healthy, the sky may be the limit for him in the new offense that Leach will have in place.
At the center of the high powered West Virginia offense is Geno Smith. Smith took the Mountaineers' offense to a new level last year and exploded on the national scene when they took out Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
This year they head to the Big 12 and if they hope to have a shot at winning the conference, the Mountaineers will need even more from Smith in 2012.
Last year's second place finish was good for Western Kentucky as they won all but one of their conference games. Dual-threat quarterback Kawaun Jakes is back as the team's starter and if he is able to use both his arm and legs as effectively as last year, the Hilltoppers could challenge Arkansas State and Florida International this year.
Alex Carder had a great 2011 when he threw for 3,873 yards and 31 touchdowns. This year Carder enters his senior season and while the production will be there again, it is important that Carder takes care of the ball and doesn't put the defense in a bad spot.
Some people were surprised that Montee Ball turned down the NFL and came back to Wisconsin. Ball will again be the primary back in the Badgers' backfield and if he is able to continue to be their main touchdown machine, then the Badgers will be in good shape in 2012.
Brett Smith started as a freshman last year and is back as the starter in his sophomore season. Smith needs to continue to grow and develop because Wyoming has invested some time into him and they are hoping that they can build around him for the next three seasons.