50 College Football Teams Guaranteed to Be .500 or Worse

Alex Callos@@alexcallosCorrespondent IApril 26, 2012

50 College Football Teams Guaranteed to Be .500 or Worse

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    With over half of the teams in college football qualifying for a bowl game, some teams choose to schedule four cupcakes out of conference so they only have to win two league games to qualify for a bowl.

    Other teams load up on the non-conference portion of their schedule in an attempt to prepare for the rigors of conference play.

    In 2012, there are teams with both of those schedules and upon further review, there are plenty that are likely to finish .500 or worse. 

    While some are much better than others, the conferences they play in can make it tough to get to .500.

    Here are 50 teams that are guaranteed to finish .500 or below.

50. Connecticut Huskies

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    Starting off the list is the least likely of these teams to finish .500 or worse, the Connecticut Huskies.

    Last season they finished the year 5-7 and it is hard to see them getting much better, considering what they have to replace on defense, particularly along the line.

    Running back Lyle McCombs will be even better, entering his sophomore season.

    But, with a non-conference game against NC State and a trip to Maryland, as well as some tough conference road games, it will be hard to imagine Connecticut going more than 6-6.

49. Florida Gators

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    Florida did go 7-6 last year and win the Gator Bowl, but have a lot of questions coming into 2012.

    They will have to replace both of their talented running backs, along with quarterback John Brantley on offense.

    A lot will be expected out of new quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

    A non-conference road game against Florida State, along with the SEC schedule, has Florida heading for what appears to be six wins at most.

    If they were in any other conference, they would not be on this list.

48. Temple Owls

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    Temple won nine games last year, including the New Mexico Bowl and was one of the better teams in the MAC.

    Next season, they will be entering the Big East and the competition will get a little tougher.

    The departure of running back Bernard Pierce early for the NFL draft will put a heavy burden on running back Matt Brown.

    Temple will be a decent team, but with a road game at Penn State out of conference, they are likely to finish 6-6 at best.

47. Navy Midshipmen

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    Navy is not a bad team and plays an easier schedule than last season.

    They went 5-7 in 2011 and if everything falls right for them, 6-6 would be a nice season in 2012.

    The Midshipmen open the season against Notre Dame and then have to travel to Penn State. Two losses that are almost inevitable will make it hard for them to rebound and finish the year 7-3 in order to have a winning record.

46. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

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    Wake Forest did surprise some people by going to a bowl game in 2011 after finishing the regular season 6-6.

    Don't expect a repeat performance in 2012. The Demon Deacons open the season with Liberty before taking on North Carolina and Florida State.

    They have Vanderbilt and Notre Dame out of conference, along with a few tough ACC games. 

    Expect a 5-7 finish or 6-6 if everything falls into place.

45. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Like many other teams in the Big 12, Texas Tech plays three weak out of conference opponents which will give them a shot to finish 6-6. They will likely handle Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico.

    Then, things will get a little tougher. The Red Raiders finished 5-7 last season but were plagued with injuries, including a season-ending one to running back Eric Stephens.

    Kansas and Baylor at home seem like to two most winnable games for the Red Raiders. They will have to get two more after that to finish above .500.

44. Pittsburgh Panthers

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    The status of star running back Ray Graham will be a huge factor in how the season plays out for Pittsburgh.

    If he can come back from injury, they have a shot to be .500. If not, it will be a long season in Pittsburgh.

    A tough out of conference schedule, which features Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, will not help.

    Unless they win one of those two games, they will need to go 4-3 in the Big East to finish above .500. Not likely next season.

43. Miami Hurricanes

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    With everything surrounding the University of Miami right now, it is hard to imagine them improving on the 6-6 year they had in 2011.

    A brutal out-of-conference schedule pits them at Kansas State along with home games against South Florida and Notre Dame.

    They also take on Virginia Tech and Florida State in conference. Things will certainly not be easy next season in South Beach.

42. Iowa State Cyclones

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    Iowa State had a few big wins last season, but unless they can repeat that in 2012, they are likely to finish with a 5-7 record.

    They play at Iowa out of conference in a game that will be tough to win.

    The Cyclones also make road trips to TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas. They have home conference games against Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kansas State.

    These six games will be difficult to win for anybody, much less Iowa State.

41. Central Florida Knights

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    Central Florida was 5-7 last season, and much of the same can be expected in 2012.

    They have two difficult out-of-conference games against Ohio State and Missouri. Don't expect them to win either of those contests.

    The start of the Conference USA schedule is difficult, and another 5-7 season could be in the works for the Knights.

40. Fresno State Bulldogs

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    Fresno State had a very disappointing 2011 campaign, finishing 4-9 and while 2012 will likely be better, do not expect too much from the Bulldogs.

    A non-conference trip to Oregon will be a struggle and some difficult games in the Mountain West could have Fresno State headed for more losses than wins.

    With Derek Carr continuing to develop, a 6-6 year is not out of the question. The defense, though, must show some improvements.

39. East Carolina Pirates

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    East Carolina is another mediocre Conference USA squad that is likely headed toward another five-win season.

    The Pirates have a difficult non-conference schedule, and a three-week road stretch against the likes of South Carolina, Southern Mississippi and North Carolina will be brutal.

    They also take on Navy and Houston in back-to-back games that could go either way.

38. San Jose State Spartans

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    The WAC has quickly turned into possibly the weakest conference in the entire FBS and San Jose State will benefit from that, but it is not likely they will have a winning season.

    They finished 5-7 in 2011 and road games in 2012 against Stanford, San Diego State and Navy early on will spell disaster.

    Expect another similar season in 2012 for the Spartans.

37. North Texas Mean Green

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    North Texas has had some decent teams over the years and finished 5-7 a season ago.

    In 2012, LSU, Kansas State and Houston will likely manhandle them out of conference. In the Sun Belt, they should be able to hold their own, but will have to go 6-2 to have a winning record.

    They are likely a little closer to .500 in the Sun Belt and possibly 5-7 again overall.

36. Bowling Green Falcons

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    Bowling Green was another 5-7 team from a season ago, and a difficult non-conference schedule will prevent them from having a winning season in 2012.

    The Falcons take on Florida and Virginia Tech on the road. The MAC has been getting more competitive over the years, meaning winning enough games to get to seven wins will be difficult, but not impossible for the Falcons.

    Still, 5-7 is likely once again.

35. Syracuse Orange

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    Syracuse has a little bit of talent, but expecting them to win more than the five games they did last year is asking a lot considering they take on USC, Northwestern and Missouri out of conference along with a road trip to Minnesota.

    The Orange could lose all of those games. Three wins in conference seems likely, meaning Syracuse would have to win four of their five games out of conference to have a winning season. 

    That simply will not happen.

34. Kent State Golden Flashes

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    Kent State does not play a difficult out of conference schedule, but for an offense that struggled as much as they did in 2011, putting points on the board will not be much easier in 2012.

    The Golden Flashes ranked 114th in points per game last season and while their defense wasn't bad, the offense just couldn't hold their own.

    Somehow, they managed to win five games a year ago and could do about the same next season.

33. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Kentucky has been a bottom feeder in the SEC for some time now and while they have shown a few glimpses of moving up, they just do not have the talent to do so.

    The Wildcats finished 5-7 last season and only plays Louisville out of conference. If they can somehow win that game on the road, a 6-6 season is very possible.

    Odds are they will lose to the Cardinals and finish the year 5-7 or 4-8.

32. Miami (Ohio) Redhawks

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    Miami has a talented quarterback in Zac Dysert, but once again the schedule will be too much to overcome for them to finish above .500.

    They begin the season at Ohio State and also make a trip to Boise to take on the Broncos.

    The Redhawks only won four games last year, but could improve a little in 2012 with a stronger offensive attack.

    Five or six wins are possible.

31. Arizona Wildcats

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    Arizona not only takes on Oklahoma State out of conference, but they also have Stanford and Oregon within the first six weeks of the season.

    New head coach Rich Rodriguez will have his hands full with this bunch as they also have to take on USC.

    Improving on the 4-8 season they had a year ago does not really seem likely with such a tough schedule.

30. Troy Trojans

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    The Troy Trojans finished last season 3-9 and only 2-6 in the Sun Belt Conference.

    More than doubling their win total to produce a winning season does not seem possible in 2012.

    They ranked near the bottom of the country in points scored and points allowed. While they do have some talent coming back, winning more than five games would be a huge stretch in 2012.

29. Oregon State Beavers

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    Not many coaches are on the hot seat more than Mike Riley at Oregon State, and another subpar season could spell the end of the road for him.

    Last season, the Beavers finished 3-9 and while they did have a freshman as their starting quarterback and they will likely improve on that side of the ball, seven wins is out of the question.

    Four or five seems more likely in the very talented PAC-12.

28. South Alabama Jaguars

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    South Alabama is the first of four teams on the list that are moving to the FBS level.

    They will be joining the Sun Belt Conference and as always, the first season at a higher level will be a challenge.

    Last season as an FCS school, the Jaguars finished 6-4 and are possibly the most prepared of the four new schools. They lost to NC State by 22 and Kent State by eight a year ago. 

    Next season in the Sun Belt, they will likely win four or five games at most.

27. Rice Owls

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    The Rice Owls were only 4-8 last season and are a step below the rest of the teams in Conference USA.

    Their non-conference schedule is not that tough, even though they have games against UCLA and Kansas, but there is just not enough talent to see them winning more than five games.

    They struggled on both sides of the ball last season and may be slightly improved in 2012.

26. Buffalo Bulls

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    Buffalo only won three games last season, but that was an improvement from 2010.

    They play a brutal non-conference schedule, including games against Georgia, Connecticut and Pittsburgh.

    The Bulls have a young offense and will likely be a little better next season, but anything more than four or five wins would be a surprise.

25. New Mexico State Aggies

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    New Mexico State won four games a season ago and with another 13-game schedule, they will have to find a way to nearly double their win total.

    It will be tough sledding for the Aggies as they take on Auburn and BYU outside of conference.

    They had one of the worst defenses in the country last season and will need to find a way to improve that in 2012.

24. Texas State Bobcats

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    Texas State is another of the teams moving into FBS. They will be joining the WAC and even though it is an extremely weak conference, posting a seven-win season is highly unlikely.

    The Bobcats finished 6-6 last year against inferior competition in the Southland Conference.

    They will have to take on Houston, Navy, Nevada and Texas Tech out of conference next season.

23. Washington State Cougars

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    Washington State and new head coach Mike Leach will have their hands full next season in the PAC-12, but they do have one of the best receivers in the country in Marquess Wilson to help them out on offense.

    Defense is another story, as the Cougars allowed over 31 points a game last season.

    They only won four games a season ago and in the ultra-competitive PAC-12, they will likely find similar results in 2012.

22. Colorado State Rams

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    Colorado State plays a weak out-of-conference schedule and if they can win all four of those games, a six-win season is not out of the question.

    Last year the Rams only won three games, and they may be much improved next season.

    A win over in-state rival Colorado to kick off the season could be a huge jump start in 2012.

21. Central Michigan Chippewas

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    Central Michigan ranked in the bottom 30 in the country last season in both offense and defense. They only won six games and went 2-6 in the MAC.

    Expect some improvement, particularly in the passing game with Ryan Radcliff and a few key receivers coming back next season.

    Still, winning more than four or five games doesn't really seem possible.

20. UTSA Roadrunners

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    The UTSA Roadrunners are another of the teams who are new to the FBS level this year.

    They went 4-6 last year and if they were unable to have a winning season at the FCS level, winning in the WAC will prove even more difficult.

    The Roadrunners take on a few cupcakes and could equal the four wins they totaled last season.

    Look for another four-win season for the Roadrunners, which would be a good start in 2012.

19. Boston College Eagles

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    Boston College struggled mightily last season and head coach Frank Spaziani is on the hot seat as much as anybody in college football.

    They went 4-8 a year ago and lost some talent on defense.

    There is a lot coming back on offense, including the possible return of running back Montel Harris.

    The Eagles take on Notre Dame and Northwestern out of conference, and four wins in 2012 seems likely.

18. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Charlie Weis is taking over a 2-10 Kansas team that should be much improved in 2012.

    More than tripling their win total to put together a winning season, however, seems relatively unlikely.

    A weak non-conference schedule could help and an upset of TCU in Week 3 could have Kansas 4-0 heading into the bye week.

    They will be better in 2012, but any more than five wins would be a shock. A record of 4-8 or 5-7 seems likely.

17. Maryland Terrapins

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    Randy Edsall was very successful at Connecticut but struggled mightily last season, leading the Terrapins to a 2-10 finish.

    A difficult non-conference schedule, which includes trips to Temple and West Virginia along with a home game against Connecticut, will make a winning season almost impossible.

    If everything goes as planned, Maryland could win five games. More than likely, three or four seems like what they are headed for.

16. Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Minnesota only won three games last year but has a relatively easy non-conference schedule in 2012 and could improve slightly on that next season

    They have a talented quarterback in Marqueis Gray and will be better on offense.

    With victories against UNLV, New Hampshire and Western Michigan to start the season, winning four or five games is very possible for the Golden Gophers in 2012.

    A winning season, however, seems out of the question.

15. UAB Blazers

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    UAB is not afraid to go on the road and take on a difficult non-conference schedule, and 2012 will be no different.

    They have road trips to South Carolina and Ohio State out of conference, as well as road trips to Houston and Southern Mississippi in Conference USA.

    UAB only won three games last season, and three or four seems like what they are headed for in 2012.

14. Colorado Buffaloes

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    Colorado was welcomed to the PAC-12 last season by only winning three games.

    With a few easy games to start the 2012 season, Colorado could be headed for a few more wins in 2012.

    If they plan on winning more games, though, they will have to improve on both sides of the ball as they ranked 109th in both offense and defense last season, making them one of the worst overall in the country.

    Playing in the PAC-12 will not make things any easier.

13. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

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    After only winning two games last season, Middle Tennessee has a tough schedule this season with games against Georgia Tech and Mississippi State on the road in 2012.

    They also travel to Memphis out of conference. They will have to improve one of the worst defenses in the country last season and also an offense that only scored 22 points a game.

    Three wins is all the Blue Raiders should expect in 2012.

12. Idaho Vandals

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    Even though Idaho plays in the relatively weak WAC, they only managed to win two games last season and have trips to LSU and North Carolina at the beginning of the 2012 season.

    The Vandals had one of the worst offenses in the country, averaging only 20 points a game in 2012. Their defense also ranked in the bottom 25 giving up over 33 points a contest.

    Look for much of the same in 2012 from the Vandals with another two- or three-win season.

11. UNLV Rebels

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    The Mountain West is not a bad conference, and the Rebels are getting a heavy dose of that.

    If they plan on winning any more than two games next season, they will have to get much better on the defensive side of the ball.

    The Rebels gave up over 40 points a game in 2011, ranking 118th out of 120 teams in the country.

    With the inability to stop anybody, the Rebels will have similar results in 2012.

10. Memphis Tigers

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    The Memphis Tigers have a few winnable games at the beginning of the season, but that is what they probably thought in 2011.

    They only won two games last year and will need to find some offensive weapons to do much better in 2012.

    The Tigers only scored 16 points a game last season and ranked 115th in the country.

    Three wins in 2012 appears what the Tigers are headed for.

9. Army Black Knights

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    Army did lead the nation in rushing last season at over 375 yards a game. They balanced that out with the worst passing game in the country averaging just over 50 yards a game.

    There are enough challenges on the 2012 schedule to make three wins seem like a good year next season.

    Look for much of the same in 2012 from the Black Knights.

8. Tulane Green Wave

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    Tulane only won two games last season and finished the year on a nine-game losing streak.

    They struggled to stop people, allowing nearly 38 points a game. They will need to do improve drastically on that to have a chance to improve on their two wins from a season ago.

    There are a few winnable out-of-conference games, but any more than three wins would be a surprise for the Green Wave.

7. Mississippi Rebels

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    Ole Miss was by far the worst team in the SEC a season ago, going 0-8 in conference. They were 2-2 outside of the league, but will need to win a few games in the SEC to have a winning season.

    They play Texas out of conference but could win the other three. Picking up four victories in the SEC, however, seems nearly impossible for a team that struggled so much last season.

    The Rebels could possibly finish with three wins in 2012.

6. Massachusetts Minutemen

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    Massachusetts is the final team that will be entering the FBS level and while they won five games last year in the Colonial Athletic Association Conference, they will be joining the MAC which is a little bit more difficult of a conference than the other new FBS teams are joining.

    They have road games against Michigan, Connecticut and Vanderbilt outside of conference as well as plenty of difficult challenges in the MAC.

    Two wins at most are in store for the Minutemen.

5. Duke Blue Devils

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    Duke has been the worst team in the ACC for what seems like an eternity.

    Last season they won three games but only had one victory in the ACC.

    Next year they have two winnable games out of conference, but should have trouble winning any of the others.

    Look for another three-win season from the Blue Devils.

4. Florida Atlantic Owls

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    Road trips to Alabama and Georgia at the beginning of the season do not bode well for the Owls. They also make a trip to Navy later in the season.

    They were only able to win one game a year ago and could double their win total from 2011.

    With a few winnable games at the beginning of the season, look for the Owls, who averaged less than 13 points a game a year ago, to be able to come up with two wins in 2012.

3. New Mexico Lobos

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    New Mexico is another team that only won one game a season ago and statistically speaking was the worst team in the country a year ago.

    They ranked dead last in the country in points per game, averaging 12 a night. The defense was second last in the nation, allowing nearly 42 points a game.

    Their lone win of the year came against UNLV, and one win again this year should be expected.

2. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Indiana has three winnable games at the beginning of the season and should be able to grab at least two victories outside of conference.

    That would double their win total from a season ago.

    The Hoosiers ranked in the bottom 20 in the country on both sides of the ball, and while they may improve slightly in 2012, more than two wins would be surprising.

1. Akron Zips

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    Along with New Mexico, Akron was probably the worst team in the country last season. They finished the year 1-11 and averaged only 14 points a game.

    Their lone win of the season came against Virginia Military Institute

    The defense was not much better, and Akron has a long way to go, even with new head coach Terry Bowden now in town.

    One or two wins seems like a best-case scenario.