AP Preseason College Football Poll: 5 Who Should Be In, 5 Who Should Be Out
The AP poll was released during the weekend, and the results were the same as they usually are.
You have some that are crying that their team is ranked way too low and is not getting any respect. Some argue that many of the teams in the Top 10 are not worthy of their ranking and are being drastically overrated. And then some simply can't believe that a certain team did not manage to sneak into the Top 25 at all.
Everybody just needs to relax; it is only a preseason poll. Every team in college football will have the entire season to prove that it is one of the best.
But with all of that said, here are five teams that should have made the Top 25 and five teams that should give up their spot.
Probably the biggest surprise of the most recent poll is the fact that Louisville was able to crack a Top 25 spot.
Sure, it returns the majority of last year’s squad and has a potential Heisman candidate in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. But this is a Big East team that was 98th in the country in points scored and lost to teams such as FIU, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
How in the world does a team that has not been ranked in the AP poll in the last four years begin the year ranked? The Cardinals were a 7-6 team last year and their only impressive victory was against West Virginia.
We're not used to seeing many SEC teams get screwed in the polls, but that is exactly what happened to the Auburn Tigers. This is a team that won eight games last year, including victories over Mississippi State, South Carolina and an underrated Virginia team in its bowl game.
The Tigers also return 16 starters, including nine on the defensive side of the ball. They will have a chance to prove themselves in the season opener against Clemson, but this team should have been ranked to begin with to start the year.
Out: Boise State
Boise State finished the 2011 season ranked No. 8 in the country, and the Broncos have gone four consecutive seasons winning at least 12 games.
But maybe the voters did not get the memo that nearly the entire roster from those glory days has graduated. Quarterback Kellen Moore, running back Doug Martin, wide receiver Tyler Shoemaker and a total of seven starters on defense are all gone.
I get that many want the underdog to continue to put up a great fight, but this Broncos team is likely going to be a lot different in 2012. If Boise somehow finds a way to pull off of a victory in East Lansing, head coach Chris Petersen needs to be thrown into the conversation as one of the best coaches of this generation.
Remember Robert Griffin III from last season and how he basically came out of nowhere? Well, quarterback Keith Price of Washington has the chance to do the same thing this season. He should have some Heisman buzz, as he completed 67 percent of his passes for over 3,000 yards and scored 36 total touchdowns in 2011.
A total of 15 starters are returning for the Huskies, including seven from a defense that should be much better this time around. Of course USC and Oregon are the favorites for the Pac-12 title, but don't count Washington out as a dark horse just yet.
Florida returns 10 starters on the defensive side of the ball—a unit that was ranked eighth in the country. That's all fine and dandy, but you are not going to win many football games if you are not able to score touchdowns. The Gators were ranked 71st in the country last season in points scored and went five games where the offense couldn't even generate 250 total yards.
Questions at the quarterback position still remain, along with the skill positions as well. If this offense cannot improve in 2012, there is simply no chance that Will Muschamp's club has a shot of winning the SEC East.
In: Notre Dame
The college football world was happy to find out that Notre Dame was not given a pass for its mediocrity over the years. The Irish will have to earn their way into the rankings, as they were left out in the cold to begin the season.
But is an Irish team that returns seven starters on both sides of the ball really not a Top 25 team?
This is a squad that should have beaten Michigan (a touchdown drive in 30 seconds...seriously?), gave Michigan State its toughest loss of the season and lost to Florida State by only four points. While there are certainly reasons to keep the Irish out of the rankings, they are bringing back a lot of talent and experience and could surprise some this year.
Before quarterback Andrew Luck came along, 1997 was the last time the Stanford Cardinal began the season as a ranked team.
The defense is what is going to carry this team this year, as it returns seven starters from a top-30 unit. Running back Stepfan Taylor is also likely going to become the workhorse on the offensive side of the ball, with question marks at the quarterback position.
Now that Luck is no longer the quarterback, the Cardinal may need luck to remain in the rankings much longer—especially with teams such as USC, Washington and Notre Dame on the schedule in the first six weeks of the season.
In: Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech received the sixth-most votes out of the teams that did not make the rankings. You can officially call them an underrated team entering the season.
The Yellow Jackets return seven starters on offense, including quarterback Tevin Washington, one of the main guys responsible for Tech having the second-best rushing attack in the country. The offensive line will remain solid, returning four starters from a year ago, and the secondary is without question one of the best in the ACC.
The good news for Yellow Jacket fans is that they will have a chance to prove themselves in Week 1 when they travel to Blacksburg to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies.
If we are not giving Notre Dame a pass for their lack of success the last several years, what makes Texas so special? Of course, it has only struggled the last two seasons, but the question marks remain for this Longhorns team.
Who is going to play the quarterback position?
The Big 12 is a pass-happy conference, with great quarterbacks such as Seth Doege, Casey Pachall, Collin Klein, Landry Jones and Geno Smith leading their respective teams heading into 2012. If the Longhorns can't get better production from quarterback, it is likely going to be another long year, regardless of how great the defense is.
The defense has been the best in the Big 12 the last two seasons, and the Longhorns have finished with a combined 13-12 record. It seems like Texas received its No. 15 ranking because of the history of the program, which is why the team that should be in is...
Tennessee has struggled mightily over the years, not winning a bowl game since 2007 and missing the bowl season altogether in two of the past four years. But if we are picking our Top 25 teams based off of the talent returning, the Volunteers should be ranked in the poll.
Tennessee returns 18 starters from last year, including an offense that should put up off-the-charts numbers in 2012. Quarterback Tyler Bray is entering his third season and should quickly become a household name in the SEC, as he will be throwing to one of the best wide receiver corps in the country, led by Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter.
Defensively, eight starters return from a unit that was ranked 27th in the country last season.
The Volunteers only received 15 votes in the AP poll, but don't be surprised when they are back in the college football spotlight sooner than later this year.
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