Preseason College Football Rankings: 7 Teams Screwed by the AP Poll
The AP preseason poll has landed, and there are seven teams that were screwed in the new rankings.
A number of teams are not ranked that should be, while others are heading into the 2012 season with much lower expectations than they deserve—Louisville comes to mind instantly.
The preseason polls are never the most accurate predictors from top to bottom, but the top fives tend to be made up of teams that will battle for titles. The lower half of the pack, however, is one that consistently undergoes rearrangement by season's end.
Looking at the AP preseason poll, here are the seven teams that were screwed.
Kansas State Wildcats—No. 22
The Wildcats quickly fell from grace in the offseason, despite their strong 2011 season and wealth of returning talent heading into the new year.
Kansas State did win a few games with some good bounces last year, but in the end the play of star quarterback Collin Klein was the difference-maker in every game last season—he returns under center this fall.
The Wildcats should improve slightly from the middle of the pack on defense, and the offense shouldn’t skip a beat.
Why they aren’t higher than No. 22 is unexplainable. They got screwed.
Washington is one of the most disrespected teams in the preseason rankings heading into the 2012 season.
The Huskies are returning one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the college game in Keith Price and a host of skill players that surround him for the Huskies offense.
The Huskies defense has been the consistent irritant for Washington since the arrival of Steve Sarkisian as head coach, but this season there is a lot of talent at key positions that could lift up the unit’s performance.
With tough contests against LSU and Stanford falling in September, the Huskies will have ample opportunity to prove they got screwed in this set of preseason rankings.
The Auburn Tigers did not land a spot in the AP preseason poll heading into the 2012 season—instead they fall to the "others receiving votes" category.
The Tigers will have a hill to climb offensively without a returning starter at quarterback, but the skill positions are loaded with talent on offense, and the defensive front seven will all be returning starters.
Also, the Auburn secondary will return three of four starters from a year ago, with a host of talent returning for reserve roles this fall, as well.
Not scraping the bottom of the poll was a bit of a surprise for the Tigers.
Ohio State Buckeyes—No. 18
Ohio State screwed by landing at No. 18? Yep, you read that right. Before you get nuts and begin the hate mail, read on intently.
Braxton Miller is a returning stud at quarterback, and there is some talent in the backfield around him, but questions at receiver and on the offensive line lead to some concern heading into the new year.
Last season the Buckeyes fielded one of their worst defenses in recent memory, leaving a huge hill to climb for that squad.
Add to the question marks the inability to play for a championship and the new coaching staff—even if it is led by Urban Meyer—and Ohio State fans should temper their expectations slightly heading into the new year.
The Buckeyes got screwed with too much love in the AP preseason poll.
Louisville Cardinals—No. 25
Louisville got screwed again—enough said.
Why the Cardinals are not getting the love they deserve is beyond me, but Louisville is the best team in a BCS automatic-qualifying conference.
Granted, the Big East is far from the cream of the crop, but the Cardinals will be better than some of the other teams in automatic-qualifying conferences not named the Big East.
Returning Teddy Bridgewater to a solid offense is key, as is the Cardinals' tough defense. Having Louisville land as low is No. 25 is inexcusable.
The Cardinals will prove this theory correct in short order.
South Florida Bulls—UNR
If it weren’t for Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville, B.J. Daniels would be the best quarterback in the Big East heading into the 2012 season.
The Bulls have been consistent producers since making the jump to FBS-level competition just over a decade ago, and that shouldn’t change this fall.
The Bulls finished 2011 with a 5-7 record, but four losses came by three points or fewer. The Bulls were also in the middle of a nasty regime change last year, with new coach Skip Holtz stepping into a hot mess after the forced departure of Jim Leavitt—a player's type of coach.
Add to that a very talented defense, and the Bulls will surprise the country in 2012.
Nebraska Cornhuskers—No. 17
Nebraska has taken a bit of a backseat since arriving in the Big Ten to the other major players in the conference, but the Bo Pelini-led Big Red will surprise this season.
Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead return to the powerful offensive lineup for the Cornhuskers, as does Kenny Bell—a rising star at receiver. The offensive line faces some attrition, but there is talent left to fill the void.
The defense will be strong this season and should help solidify one of the more talented squads in the Big Ten.
Look for big things from the Cornhuskers this fall—much bigger than a No. 17 ranking indicates.