NCAA Football Preseason Rankings 2012: Darkhorse Contenders for National Title
The opening edition of the USA Today Top 25 Poll came out this week in anticipation for the beginning of the college football season August 30. The SEC led the way with seven teams on the list, including five of the top 10.
|USA Today Poll|
The Hokies finished 2011 at 11-3, losing to Clemson twice before falling to Michigan in the Sugar Bowl. It was another strong in-conference season for Virginia Tech, winning seven straight games after their first loss to Clemson, including a win at Georgia Tech.
Quarterback Logan Thomas returns after a solid sophomore campaign, and the defense should be one of the best in the nation.
While the SEC teams are beating each other up, the Hokies could quietly run the table in the ACC. They get Florida State at home and play at Clemson in what will be the conference's most decisive games.
Being ranked No. 10 is usually a great honor and puts a team in the thick of the national title race.
However, when there are four teams above you in your own conference, a long road lies ahead. In the powerhouse SEC, any of these top five teams could beat each other out, meaning all of them have a shot at the national championship.
Quarterback Tyler Wilson returns for his senior year trying to avenge last season's defeats. The Razorbacks finished 11-2, with the losses coming at Alabama and at LSU. This year, Arkansas gets to host both.
The SEC is still wide open this year, so don't be surprised if the Razorbacks find themselves in the title game.
The Big Ten is a four-team race with Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Wisconsin all fighting for a conference title and a chance at the national championship.
The Badgers return one of the best players in the country as Monte Ball, fresh off a season where he went over 2,200 total yards and scored 39 touchdowns, returns for his senior year.
Wisconsin's favorable schedule includes home games against Michigan State and Ohio State, and the Badgers don't have to play the Wolverines in the regular season.
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