Preseason College Football Rankings 2012: Teams That Deserve More Love in Top 25

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IAugust 20, 2012

September 24, 2011; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker William Gholston (2) looks over the Central Michigan Chippewas offense  during the 2nd half at Spartan Stadium. Michigan State won 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

College football's preseason rankings are always looked at with great scrutiny because they can put teams in holes from the very start.

The Associated Press came out with its Top 25 preseason poll recently, and there are some big programs that appear to have been overlooked.

Here's a look at Top-25 teams who should have been ranked higher to start the season.



Michigan State 

Rank: 13

2011 Record: 11-3

Michigan State faces a tough schedule, and the program just lost Kirk Cousins to the NFL, but don't sleep on junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who has been waiting in the wings.

Maxwell was ranked highly by coming out of Midland High School in a loaded 2009 quarterback class, and he's well-regarded in the Spartans clubhouse.

Michigan State also returns a formidable defense, complete with defensive end William Gholston and cornerback Johnny Adams, that gave up just 18.4 points per game last season and was 10th in the nation. The Spartans also ranked sixth in yards allowed per game (277.4) and seventh in sacks (44). 

The big question is whether Maxwell is ready for the spotlight. I think he is.



Kansas State

Rank: 22

2011 Record: 10-3

Kansas State not only has its own version of Denard Robinson with quarterback Collin Klein, but it also returns 17 starters from last season's 10-win team that finished second in the Big 12.

Klein isn't the most accomplished passer (1,918 passing yards, 57 percent completion rate, 13 touchdowns, six interceptions), but he creates havoc with his legs. Klein rushed for 1,141 yards and 27 touchdowns in his first season as a starter in 2011-2012.

Now that the Wildcats have another season under their belt, I expect them to do more damage in 2012-2013.




Rank: 21

2011 Record: 9-4

Nebraska's season will be determined in many ways by starting quarterback Taylor Martinez, who has had an up-and-down career with the Cornhuskers.

But Martinez has a great deal of talent surrounding him, including running back Rex Burkhead, who rushed for over 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.

Nebraska also may have lost stars Lavonte David and Alfonzo Dennard on defense, but the program has the depth to still be strong on that side of the ball. 

This is also Nebraska's second season in the Big Ten and the team figures to be more comfortable now.


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