The 2012 college football season begins next week, and there will be a number of AP Top 25 teams taking the field trying to prove that they were underrated in the initial preseason poll.
Let’s take a look at three teams that have a chance to move up from their spot in quick order and should be in the top 10 within a few weeks and positioning themselves for a national championship run.
No. 11: West Virginia
The Mountaineers open the season against Marshall, and then take two weeks off before a stretch that includes James Madison, Maryland and Baylor before facing their first ranked team in No. 15 Texas.
Expect WVU to be well within the top 10 and undefeated by the time that matchup takes place. They would vault up even higher if they win on the road against the Longhorns.
The remainder of the newest Big 12 member’s tough schedule includes K-State, OK State and Oklahoma. Somehow getting past these teams would almost assuredly see the Mountaineers in the national title game.
No. 12: Wisconsin
Camp Randall should be rocking this year when the Michigan State Spartans come to face the Badgers. In 2011, Wisconsin suffered a two-game losing streak to both the Spartans and the Ohio State Buckeyes, on the road, to derail their championship dreams.
Now they have a chance to redeem themselves at their home stadium, but first have to get past No. 17 Nebraska in Cornhusker territory on Sept. 29. The Badgers should easily be 4-0 leading into that game and in the top 10. If they leave Lincoln unscathed, this powerhouse will not have to face another preseason ranked team on the road for the rest of the season.
That could mean an undefeated campaign for Wisconsin.
No. 23: Boise State
While the Broncos will have to move on from the Kellen Moore era, they shouldn’t suffer any notable setbacks.
However, the Mountain West team will once again test themselves in the first game of the season by traveling to East Lansing to match up against No. 13 Michigan State.
A win would be absolutely huge and would vault Boise State right up the Top 25. Should they win out, they’d have to be in the discussion for a national championship game appearance.
Full AP Top 25 (via ESPN)