College Football 2012: 3 Preseason Top 25 Teams That'll Make an Early Exit
We're close. Really close. It's 48 hours until the kick-off of the 2012 season, and we are all biting at the bit.
It's time to find out who really deserves that oh so unfortunately meaningful preseason spot on the AP Poll.
I mean, how subjective can these voters be? I don't think these guys are sitting there cramming numbers and doing much of anything in terms of evaluation. These polls have more to do with what you have already accomplished than with what you will accomplish.
I've been looking at these preseason magazines for weeks, but I'm no closer to calling the number one team in the nation than my wife, and she thinks a preseason poll is something you put in the garden.
Let's look at three teams whose stint on the poll could be short-lived.
Talk about respect. This is what you get when you go 50-3 over the last four years. Charity.
The week 1 match-up could be an exciting game to watch because these are two coaches who are willing to try just about anything at any time.
The Broncos are replacing 15 starters. The losses include stud QB Kellen Moore and the newly named NFL starter, RB Doug Martin.
It will be an uphill battle Friday night in East Lansing. The Spartans will have a huge size advantage in the trenches. They were able to get RB LeVeon Bell going late in the game against Georgia, and they'll ride their 6'2 240 pound running back all night long. QB Andrew Maxwell will be able to ease into the passing game.
I like Boise's RB D.J. Harper, but he'll be running against one of the top 3 or 4 defensive front sevens in all the land. Michigan State DE William Gholston will create absolute havoc in the backfield, while their incredible LB corps will hold Harper at bay. Georgia couldn't run on these guys, so does anyone really believe that Boise can with a rebuilt offensive line and a new quarterback? I don't. MSU will have a top 5 overall defense in 2012.
There will be more three-and-outs than Boise has seen in over a decade. Their only hope will be a huge, positive turnover margin.
LeVeon Bell will go over the 200-yard mark and Boise will make an early exit from the top 25.
When: Week One
Michigan State 31
Boise State 10
I'm a huge Virginia Tech fan, so I don't feel good about putting them on this list, but I'm sensing a loss to Georgia Tech in the opener.
The Hokies return nine starters from the 11th overall defense in the country, but the problem won't be the defense.
They return just three on offense.
Virginia Tech hasn't been recruiting as well as they usually do the last couple of years. Finding adequate replacements won't be easy. There is no Ryan Williams or David Wilson-like running back on the roster anymore. I like Logan Thomas at quarterback, but the rest of the offense is definitely suspect.
The Hokies' first team offense struggled mightily in their last scrimmage against the first team defense. They failed to score any points, and it quickly became apparent that the offensive line is still in the early stages of reconstruction. This offense hasn't even poured the foundation for success.
The Hokies lost twice to Clemson during the regular season last year, and then lost to Michigan in the Bowl game. That was two of the three decent offensive teams they faced all year. They beat the Yellow Jackets 37-26, but I think Georgia Tech gets a little payback on Monday night. When Georgia Tech has the ball, we'll see pretty much the same two teams we saw last year, but that won't be the case when the Hokies are on offense. Then things really could get offensive.
The extra preparation time should help Bud Foster, but this being the first game for much of the inexperienced and depleted Hokies, offense will be the difference in the game.
When: Week One
Georgia Tech 24
Virginia Tech 23
Surprised? Me too.
I don't expect them to stay out of the top 25 for long, but after consecutive losses to Alabama and A&M, the Hogs will drop out of the top 25. Auburn, in week five, could determine how long it will take the Hogs to earn their way back in the poll. A win could put them back in immediately, but a loss could keep them on the sidelines for a couple of weeks. Expect the Hogs to start 3-2 and drop out of the poll for at least one week.
Tyler Wilson is a great quarterback, but it isn't going to be easy to replace last year's receiving corps. I also have some serious reservations about the Hogs' defensive backfield.
It will be another shootout against A&M, but the 12th man will prevail in a tight game. A&M ran buckshot for 381 rushing yards last year against the Hogs. This year, I think the interior defensive line is no more of a concern than the corner's, meaning they're both a BIG concern.
Throw in a shuffled coaching staff and what you have is a single-digit-win season: 9-4 or 8-5 pending the match-up in a bowl, but much like Boise State, I think the preseason ranking has more to do with previous success than future outlook.
Some people watched the spring game and came out of it talking about Tyler Wilson and all the weapons on offense. The 65-0 result had more to due with the ineptitude of the back seven on defense. I can see this team in the back third of the FBS in total defense at year's end.
When: Week Five
Texas A&M 45