College football needs an offseason like Weird Al needs a weirdness coach, like cycling needs a doping scandal, like television needs feminine hygiene and E.D. ads, like this guy needs some free time. You get it right? If you don’t than I am certain that Black Shoe Diaries will welcome you with open arms. Recruiting news, Spring games, preseason polls (oops) and scandals just don’t quite do it for me.
Of course they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well I beg to differ when it comes to College Football. Absence simply makes me refill my xanax more often. College football needs games to keep its still loyal throngs foaming at the mouth, and this guy’s mouth seems like it hasn’t foamed in ages.
Perhaps it’s not that the offseason is so long but rather that the past couple of them have been so rocky. My favorite sport really needs a little less tumult and a little more double rainbows. Alas, have no fear sports fans for the season is now breathing down our necks, the BCS is dead, and Penn State has names on their jerseys so we’ve got that going for us. Let’s get this party started baby! Here are 25 teams that I expect to be better than 5-7.
#1 USC –If Lane Kiffin were an outsider he wouldn’t vote USC #1, but since he isn’t he did and so will I. Barkley, Woods, Lee and now Silas Redd. YIKES for scoreboard operators and PAC 12 defenders. The front seven and depth are a concern but that offense is enough to get the top spot.
#2 Alabama –The NFL’s 33rd franchise comes in to 2012 with crystal balls becoming a regular Alabama Wal-Mart tourist attraction. The offense will have to do it without Trent Richardson and A.J. McCarron will have to be more productive, but the defense will be solid as usual and the talent level is elite.
#3 Florida State –FSU will have the advantage of being 2-0 before playing a real football game and that should leave them healthy and rested for their other 11 or 12 games. It’s about time for FSU to once again treat the ACC like a rented mule.
#4 Oklahoma –OOOKla-homa where the wind comes sweepin’down the plains and Landry Jones better throw fewer INT’s. The Sooners will be solid on offense even without Ryan Broyles, but is the defense good enough to keep the schooner rolling? Mike Stoops is back in Norman to see if he can make the defense elite again.
#5 LSU - Coach Les Miles is certain that based on the elimination of 2 of the best outside defenders in the contiguous states of the USA that an unprecedented level of desperation has been cast upon the Bengals of Southern Louisiana from which they might never recover. He has ascertained that a reassessment of the teams goals will be necessary prior to proceeding with the 2012 pigskin campaign. If you don’t catch my drift go here.
#6 Oregon - Rumors are swirling that the Ducks are the next team with an NCAA target on their back, but that won’t keep them from challenging for the Pac 12 title. Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas will pile up insane yardage and the Ducks will outrun their opponents yet again this season. Can the defense stop USC in November? I don’t think so, but this team is likely BCS bowl bound.
#7 Georgia - The Bulldogs have as good a chance of running the table as anyone in the country this season. Largely because of a favorable schedule that again sees UGA missing Arkansas, LSU and Alabama. Aaron Murray is very good, but there is no RB experience due to offseason issues. The defense will be tough and UGA should have a 10 win season.
#8 Michigan - UM has seemingly moved back into the role of perennial contender that they are so familiar with. Denard Robinson is still a work in progress as a passer, but he can run like the wind. Fitz Toussaint is a good compliment in the backfield and Greg Mattison has the defense back in shape. No FSU-style warmups for the Wolverines though as they travel to Jerry World for a Week 1 tilt with Bama.
#9 Texas - I am bullish on Texas because of their defense and their running game, but QB play is a pretty huge unknown. A brutal 3 game stretch @ Okie State, West Virginia and vs. Oklahoma will determine if this team is a BCS bowl contender or just another decent Texas team. Freshman Johnathan Gray scored 205 TD’s in high school.......just sayin’
#10 Arkansas - If John L. Smith can keep his coaches from screwin' it up this Arkansas team can be special. Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis man the best offense in the SEC West, and momentum will be created by 2 scrimmages before the Week 3 Bama game.
#11 Wisconsin - Bret Bielema takes offense to the claim that UW doesn’t develop its own QB’s, but who needs to when you can exploit NCAA loopholes? Montee (pronounced Mon-tay this season) Ball is a straight up bad ass and the Badgers are a quality team. Jared Abbrederis will be an All American in some capacity.
#12 West Virginia - West Virginia just extended Dana Holgorsen’s contract and it couldn’t have come at a better time for him. Welcome to round robin Big XII play ‘Eers. 6 week stretch includes @ Texas, @ Texas Tech (well it’s on the road), Kansas State, TCU, @ Okie State and hosting Oklahoma. Jeepers. Geno Smith will need to be at his best for WVU to make it through the Big XII without 3 losses.
#13 South Carolina - USCe has become a major thorn in the sides of Florida and Georgia in the SEC East. Connor Shaw provides stability at QB that has been lacking forever, and this team has some Cocks of the Walk. Lattimore and Clowney might be the most talented 2 player off-def combo in the country. Spurrier knows how to win CFB game pretty well.
#14 Ohio State - Yes I am a Buckeye fan, yes I have a tattoo, yes I paid for it, yes I do this anytime I hear mean things about Jim Tressel, and yes I recently had a nightmare that OSU lost an unprecedented opening day double-header to 2 MAC teams by a combined score of 53-13. That being said this team is improved LB play away from being dominant on defense, the coaching staff is a major upgrade and 10 wins is not complete crazy talk.
#15 Florida - See #14. Defense could be exceptional. Offense should be better with fresh ideas. Coach BOOM is intense and will have the Gators ready to play. Big games are spread out nicely with easier games between UT (rivalry), LSU and @ FSU. Tough 3 game stretch with South Carolina, vs UGA and Missouri will determine quality of this season.
#16 Stanford - Smart guys are good enough to keep the momentum rolling. Stepfan Taylor is very good and will carry the offense early. 3rd best team in the Pac 12 is not a bad spot. The defense is good enough to keep them in most games outside of USC and Oregon. Another nice year for the tree.
#17 TCU - The Horned Frogs can’t feel as if they have reached a destination by moving into the Big 12 or they will be in for a long season. Skill players will be very good on offense, but the OLine is inexperienced. If the defense returns to pre-2011 form the Frogs could finish in the top 15 for the 5th straight season.
#18 Nebraska - Can Taylor Martinez become a poor man’s Denard Robinson? If so, he and Rex Burkhead will be tough to slow down. Crick and David are tough losses on the defensive side of the ball, but this isn’t a Callahan coached team so the defense will be fine.
#19 Clemson - Dabo Swinney has created a buzz around the Tigers program and the Tajh Boyd/Sammy Watkins duo is legit. The defense obviously needs to improve after a tough season of giving up way too many points, but Clemson has contender-type of talent.
#20 I wanna put a mid major here but Virginia Tech - Logan Taylor is a solid QB, the defense is almost always solid for VT and the ACC Coastal is the ACC Coastal. Beamer ball is a household term (for college football nuts at least) for a reason and the Hokies will be good despite losing David Wilson and most of their starting OLine.
#21 Michigan State - Coach Dantonio has elevated the Spartans to a high level. The defense will be nasty and the running game should be good. Kirk Cousins was a special leader/player and he will be missed more than most anticipate in my humble opinion.
#22 Boise State - Big East huh? Well that’s.........something. Poor Boise State just can’t find a home that is worthy of their football excellence. The offense will be in rebuild mode, but the program is at a level to sustain quality, especially with that schedule. Sparty better be ready for the Broncos in Week 1.
#23 Kansas State - Collin Klein is media savvy, motivated, and perhaps a wizard. Coach Snyder will only show us what he wants us to see and EcoKat will save the world one aluminum can at a time. No way the Wildcats win as many close games this season, but a bowl trip is in order.
#24 Oklahoma State - True freshman quarterbacks take lumps, and the Big 12 is a tough place to learn your craft. Coach Gundy has loads of talent in Stillwater these days, but they just lost too much on offense to sustain 10-win levels of success. Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith might lead the country as a rushing tandem, but the defense isn’t good enough to overcome the growing pains on offense.
#25 Arkansas State/Ohio - Sure I could slide Washington, Missouri, Notre Dame or some other “big boy” in here, but where’s the fun in that? Go Bobcats and Red Wolves. Kudos to A-State for scheduling Oregon and Nebraska, and OU has a chance to start the year by beating Penn State. Here’s to the little guys in big time college football.