12 College Football Teams That Have Disappointed Thus Far
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With the college football season two-thirds of the way completed, fan bases across the nation can begin to gauge how their respective teams have fared in 2012 in comparison to their preseason expectations.
Some teams have been able to surprise and make giant leaps towards the top of the polls.
But others have fumbled away golden opportunities, or are simply hoping to turn things around down the stretch in order to secure a bowl berth.
Which teams are already thinking about rewriting 2012’s wrongs in 2013?
Here are 12 teams that have disappointed thus far.
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The Spartans had high hopes of returning to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game, and earning their first trip to the Rose Bowl in a quarter century.
Instead, Mark Dantonio’s club is sitting at 4-4—with its last three losses coming by three points or fewer.
The defense has allowed only 17 points per game in its losses, which highlights how atrocious Sparty’s offense has been outside of star running back Le’Veon Bell
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After securing a preseason Top-10 ranking despite the fallout from the Bobby Petrino saga, things unraveled quickly after the Hogs’ stunning Sept. 8 loss to Louisiana-Monroe.
Blowout losses to Alabama and Texas A&M signaled how far the Razorbacks have fallen from last season’s 11-2 squad that finished in the Top 5.
Quarterback Tyler Wilson has started to look like his old self in wins in the last two weeks, but John L. Smith’s club still faces an uphill battle to become bowl eligible.
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Two years after capturing a national title, Gene Chizik has gone from toast of the town on the Plains to a seat that must feel like an inferno.
Only two offenses out of the 124 schools on the FBS level have performed worse than the Tigers thus far.
The defense has not fared much better, ranking 11th in the SEC in total defense.
Auburn sits inexplicably at 1-6 and the program is at a crossroads with a turnaround looking unlikely this season.
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Frank Beamer’s club has been a model of consistency, and despite losing a ton of talent from last season’s squad, the Hokies were heavy favorites to once again claim the ACC’s Coastal division.
The Hokies have come unglued after their upset loss at Pitt, and are now sitting at 4-4 (2-2 in the ACC)—with their streak of eight consecutive years of winning at least 10 games in serious jeopardy.
Logan Thomas and the offense have been inconsistent, and the defense has given up an un-Bud Foster-like 24 points per game this season.
Considering how time and again Virginia Tech has shaken off bad starts to end up wearing the ACC crown, this is a team that few expected to be struggling at this point in the season.
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After changing coordinators following the 2010 season and going 8-5 a year ago, Mack Brown’s club seemed to have everything in place to have a breakthrough season.
The defense—which finished 11th nationally in total defense in 2011—is 99 spots below that mark seven games into 2012.
A close home loss to West Virginia was semi-tolerable, but a second consecutive beatdown at the hands of rival Oklahoma was demoralizing for the program.
At 5-2, Texas can still rebound to have a decent season.
But the damage for Brown and the program’s long-term future may have already been done.
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Derek Dooley entered 2012 with a club that had visions of finally breaking through in the SEC East.
Instead, the Vols have staggered to a 3-4 mark, including losses in all four SEC contests.
The offense has failed to deliver in the clutch and Sal Sunseri is struggling in his first season trying to convert the Vols defense from a 4-3 scheme to the 3-4 he helped orchestrate as an assistant at Alabama.
A soft November slate may not be enough to help Dooley survive to see next season on Rocky Top.
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Missouri fans had to anticipate a tough season moving from the Big 12 into the SEC.
However, Gary Pinkel’s club has been downright abysmal thus far—with all four of its losses coming in conference play by an average of nearly 20 points per game.
Considering that fellow Big 12 import Texas A&M is faring much better in its transition into the toughest league in the country, Tigers fans have to be disappointed with the direction of its program to date.
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Despite terrible non-conference losses to in-state rival Iowa State and Central Michigan at home, Iowa had a chance to capitalize on the dismal state of the Big Ten and jump out to a 3-0 start in the Legends Division of the Big Ten.
Instead, it let Penn State come into Kinnick Stadium and take them behind the woodshed in a 38-14 thrashing that was worse than the score indicated.
The latest loss leaves them at 4-3 this season and has to bring into question whether or not the Hawkeyes program has plateaued under the leadership of head coach Kirk Ferentz.
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The Bulls were a trendy preseason pick to challenge Louisville for the Big East title .
With 15 returning starters—including senior and fourth-year starting quarterback BJ Daniels—this was supposed to be a bounce back year for a team that finished 5-7 in 2011.
With a 2-5 mark thus far (including 0-3 in league play), its safe to assume that this season has left those associated with the Bulls program in a state of confusion.
The program has clearly regressed under Holtz, and as a result, this offseason could bring significant changes in Tampa.
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Steve Sarkisian revamped his coaching staff in the offseason with hopes of putting together a capable defensive unit to go with his high-powered offense.
While the defense has improved, the offense has gone in the opposite direction.
The offense has scored more than 21 points just once this season (by comparison, they topped 21 points in six of the first seven games in 2011).
The end result is a disappointing 3-4 record with flickering hopes to salvage a bowl appearance at year’s end.
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Geno Smith and the West Virginia Mountaineers were arguably the biggest story of the season through the first weekend of October.
Smith was a lock for the Heisman Trophy and the Mountaineers were building a significant buzz as potential national title contenders after their 48-45 win at Texas.
The last two weeks have seen Dana Holgorsen’s club crash and burn in blowout losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State.
A porous defense has seemingly crushed any chances the Mountaineers had of claiming a Big 12 title in their inaugural run through their new league.
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The Seminoles are 7-1 and ranked 12th in the latest BCS standings.
While most programs would be thrilled with that record, one horrific half in Raleigh cost the Seminoles a chance to be in the thick of the national title race.
Jimbo Fisher’s club blew a 16-0 halftime lead at N.C. State on Oct. 6 and fell 17-16 in one of the more shocking upsets of the season.
After seemingly getting over the hump in a thrilling 49-37 comeback win over then-No. 10 Clemson, the Seminoles reverted to their old ways by finding a way to lose to an inferior opponent.
FSU may still go on to win the ACC, but the loss to Wolfpack will be a stinging reminder of what could have been this season.