Preseason College Football Rankings 2012: Teams Set to Surge into Top 25

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IAugust 27, 2012

The preseason college football rankings are never perfect, and 2012 is a prime example of that. 

Every season a handful of teams showcase why they were overrated heading into the fall, while others make the experts look foolish for leaving them out of the Top 25. 

Before the college football season begins this August, let's take a look at a trio of teams poised to surge into the Top 25 rankings this fall. 

Check it out. 


Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets went 8-5 a season ago and will again have one of the nation's highest-ranked rushing attacks to lean on in 2012. Georgia Tech ranked second in the country last season in rushing yards per game, averaging more than 316 yards per week. Head coach Paul Johnson loves to run the unstoppable option offense, which wears down opponents and takes tons of pressure off his defense.

Senior quarterback Tevin Washington, who led the team in rushing and passing last season, will lead the Yellow Jackets into a favorable 2012 schedule that features a challenging opener and finale against two BCS hopefuls in Virginia Tech and Georgia.

Clemson is the only other currently-ranked team that Georgia Tech will face this season. The Yellow Jackets will play seven of their 12 games at home as well as winnable road games at Maryland and North Carolina. 



The Washington Huskies certainly surprised in the Pac-12 last season, finishing 7-6 after a thrilling performance against Robert Griffin III and Baylor in the Alamo Bowl. Junior quarterback Keith Price will return to lead the Huskies' talented offense in 2012, one that scored more than 33 points per game a season ago. 

Of course, the Huskies will have plenty of opportunities to prove themselves this season, as they take on LSU and Oregon on the road and host USC. If Washington can win just one of those games, they would have to be considered for the Top 25 this fall. 

Although the defense has to improve this season for head coach Steve Sarkisian, Price will keep Washington in games, as a Heisman Trophy candidate playing with immense confidence after a sensational season in 2011. Price threw for 33 touchdowns last year and rushed for another three. 



With the departure of West Virginia to the Big 12 Conference, things have opened up a bit for Louisville in 2012. The Cardinals boasted one of the nation's most feared defensive units in 2011, ranking 17th in college football in scoring D, allowing no more than 20 points per game.

On the offensive side of the ball, sophomore signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater will be the player to watch for Louisville and the one who leads the Cardinals into the Top 25 this fall. Bridgewater demonstrated great poise at times as a freshman, throwing for more than 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns.

With the Mountaineers out of the Big East picture, Louisville should be able to overcome Connecticut in the conference to land a BCS bowl invite. The passing attack will be boosted in Bridgewater's second season and Charlie Strong's defense should be even more sound with the addition of some young talent. 


2012 USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll Top 25

Rank Team (first-place votes) Record Points
1 LSU (18) 13-1 1,403
2 Alabama (20)
12-1 1,399
3 Southern California (19)
10-2 1,388
Oklahoma (1)
10-3 1,276
5 Oregon 12-2 1,258
6 Georgia 10-4 1,061
7 Florida State (1)
9-4 1,055
8 Michigan 11-2 1,023
9 South Carolina 11-2 981
10 Arkansas 11-2 948
11 West Virginia 10-3 833
12 Wisconsin 11-3 743
13 Michigan State 11-3 717
14 Clemson 10-4 598
15 Texas 8-5 549
16 Nebraska 9-4 501
17 TCU 11-2 499
18 Stanford 11-2 497
19 Oklahoma State 12-1 476
20 Virginia Tech 11-3 461
21 Kansas State 10-3 398
22 Boise State 12-1 271
23 Florida 7-6 250
24 Notre Dame 8-5 166
25 Auburn 8-5 66

 Click here to see the original USA Today Preseason Poll.


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