College football's underclassmen have now declared whether or not they will make themselves available for the NFL draft. In effect, it is time to take a still-way-too-early look at the top 25 in 2012.
Firstly, there are still plenty of seismic shifts on the horizon, as the first kickoff of the 2012 season is still seven months away. In effect, I expect plenty of shakeups that will, in turn, shake up my premature version of this list.
Secondly, I acknowledge that due to the premature nature of this list, my own research into various teams was limited. Outside of the Big Ten, which I went into detail about here, I didn't do a game-by-game survey into what I felt each team's ultimate record would be.
That said, I will clarify a few things.
This is my obscenely early predictions regarding what the top 25 will look like in December of 2012, and not how I feel the top 25 preseason poll will look like. Obviously, it assumes that nobody will get injured—or that injuries will affect all teams equally—suspended, or otherwise kicked off their respective team.
+ means the player left the team or was kicked off the team, but didn't enter the NFL Draft.
# means he entered the NFL Draft with eligibility remaining.
* means the player was voted All-Conference, either first or second team.
*** means the player was voted consensus All-American.
Lastly, a "returning starter," for my purposes, started at least four games in a previous season. Needless to say, there are plenty of non-starters with plenty of experience, but one has to draw the line somewhere.