College Football Predictions 2012: 10 Teams That Are About to Collapse
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We've officially passed the halfway point of the 2012 college football season, and now it's time to start separating the true contenders from the pretenders.
Week 9 of the season is typically the time that many teams either make a big late-season push or start to fall apart.
Here's a look at 10 teams that could be on the verge of a collapse in the coming weeks.
USC entered the 2012 season as the favorite to win the Pac-12. However, the Trojans haven't looked as good as advertised so far this year, and they haven't looked like they belong in the same conversation as Oregon.
Still, Lane Kiffin's team is 6-1 and is currently ranked in the Top 10. However, it may not stay that way for much longer.
The Trojans face a tough road test this weekend at Arizona, and then, of course, comes the mega-matchup with Oregon on Nov. 3.
USC could certainly drop one or both of those games; plus, the team also has to go to UCLA and square off with No. 5 Notre Dame in the final two weeks of the season.
This could end up being a very disappointing campaign for the formerly top-ranked Trojans.
TCU Horned Frogs
After starting off 4-0, TCU is 1-2 since the suspension of star quarterback Casey Pachall, and things might get a whole lot worse in the final few weeks of the season.
Pachall's replacement, Trevone Boykin, has done a decent job so far, but the young freshman will have to grow up in a hurry if the Horned Frogs want to win any more games.
TCU has one of the hardest schedules of the final few weeks. Gary Patterson's squad has to go to Oklahoma State this weekend, and then the Horned Frogs finish up with matchups against four ranked teams: West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma.
A six-win season seems like a reasonable goal at this point.
Miami started the season 4-1, but it has since lost its last three games against superior opponents: Notre Dame, North Carolina and Florida State.
The season seems like it's only going to continue to spiral out of control in the coming weeks.
On paper, the last four games against Virginia Tech, Virginia, South Florida and Duke may not seem too daunting, but given the way the Hurricanes have been playing recently, winning more than one of those games seems like it's going to be a tough challenge.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Dan Mullen has done a great job in making Mississippi State relevant this season. The Bulldogs are undefeated and currently ranked No. 11 in the BCS standings.
You have to wonder, however, just how inflated that record really is, since the team's early schedule included less-than-stellar non-conference opponents such as Jackson State, South Alabama, Troy and Middle Tennessee State.
The team's only two notable wins of the season came against Auburn and Tennessee, which have been two of the most disappointing teams in the SEC in 2012.
We'll find out a lot about the Bulldogs in the next three games, all of which are against ranked teams—Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU—before finishing up with Arkansas and Ole Miss.
This dream season has the potential to turn into a nightmare rather quickly.
Arizona State Sun Devils
First-year head coach Todd Graham has led Arizona State to a 5-2 start to the season. However, Graham likely won't add many more victories to his resume this year.
The Sun Devils still have four tough Pac-12 matchups with UCLA, USC, Oregon State and in-state rival Arizona remaining on their schedule.
Luckily, they should be able to get a win against Washington State. But asking for more than that may just be asking too much.
Kent State Golden Flashes
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Kent State is currently 6-1 overall, 4-0 in conference play and sitting atop the MAC East division. However, it's doubtful that the Golden Flashes' good fortunes will continue for much longer.
The team has to go on the road to face No. 15 Rutgers this weekend. Plus, it still has three tough MAC games against Miami (Ohio) and Bowling Green on the road and a home finale against No. 24 Ohio.
It's been nice to see Kent State rise up in the MAC this year and reach six wins for the first time since 2006, but it doesn't appear that the Golden Flashes are going to finish the season nearly as well as they started it.
South Carolina Gamecocks
It remains to be seen just how big of a toll South Carolina's recent brutal three-game stretch against Georgia, LSU and Florida will ultimately have on the team for the remainder of the season. But judging by that poor performance against the Gators, there definitely could be trouble brewing.
You have to wonder if the Gamecocks will be able to stay motivated now that they no longer control their destiny in the SEC East.
If they lack motivation, there's a great chance that Steve Spurrier's squad could lose at least two of their final four games, which includes matchups with Tennessee, Arkansas and Clemson.
Texas has one of the most talented defenses in the country, but you definitely wouldn't be able to tell that based on the way the unit has played in the last three weeks.
The Longhorns have given up an average of 53 points and 581 yards in their last three games.
If they don't get their glaring defensive flaws corrected in a hurry, this could mark the third straight year that Texas finishes the season unranked.
The Longhorns may be able to handle Kansas this weekend, but they're going to have their hands full with Texas Tech, Iowa State, TCU and especially Kansas State in the final four weeks of the season.
Doug Marrone knows that he needs to make it to the postseason this year in order to ensure his job security for the future.
Syracuse is currently 3-4, and a bowl berth is certainly still within reach. However, the schedule looks like it's going to be awfully tough for the Orange.
Marrone's squad has to head to South Florida this weekend, and then it finishes up the season with Cincinnati, Louisville, Missouri and Temple.
Even if Syracuse can pick up a win at Temple, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Orange finish 4-8 this season.
Baylor hasn't imploded without Robert Griffin III this season. The Bears are currently 3-3, and they have one of the most productive offensive attacks in the country, led by QB Nick Florence and WR Terrance Williams.
The team needs three more wins to become bowl eligible. However, they certainly won't be easy to get, considering the latter part of the schedule is pretty grueling.
The Bears could easily slip up at Iowa State this weekend. While they will likely pick up a win against Kansas the next week, it's hard to see them piling up many victories in their final four games against Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
If Art Briles can find a way to get Baylor to a bowl game in 2012, he'll deserve some serious credit.