A Quick 2012 College Football Preview

Holy crap!!  The season is starting tonight?  Well, obviously I am excited, albeit a bit distracted.  Georgia Tech stands to be pretty good as usual, although what pretty good means can vary fairly widely.  Indeed, their interior running game was poor, and most of the problems seemed to emanate from there.  Of course, we have had recruiting, graduations, stuff like that – so putting a preseason Top XX is hard to do.  That said, let’s start with the post-bowl rankings, and see if this gives us anything to mine:

Rank Team W L RPI Margin PairWins
1 Oklahoma State 12 1 0.695 (1) 27.18 (4) 120
2 LSU 13 1 0.694 (2) 31.132 (2) 119
3 Alabama 12 1 0.66 (3) 31.499 (1) 118
4 Boise State 12 1 0.617 (10) 27.41 (3) 116
5 Oklahoma 10 3 0.646 (5) 22.333 (8) 116
6 Michigan 11 2 0.648 (4) 21.133 (10) 114
7 Arkansas 11 2 0.636 (6) 16.286 (15) 112
8 Houston 13 1 0.602 (14) 22.281 (9) 112
9 Oregon 11 2 0.611 (11) 24.877 (5) 112
10 USC 10 2 0.609 (12) 15.86 (16) 111
11 South Carolina 11 2 0.628 (8) 14.64 (20) 110
12 Stanford 11 2 0.606 (13) 23.828 (7) 110
13 Southern Miss 12 2 0.594 (20) 17.168 (12) 107
14 Baylor 10 3 0.632 (7) 11.597 (27) 106
15 Wisconsin 11 3 0.599 (17) 24.233 (6) 105
16 TCU 11 2 0.594 (19) 18.301 (11) 104
17 Virginia Tech 11 3 0.602 (15) 12.317 (26) 102
18 Kansas State 10 3 0.619 (9) 8.839 (41) 101
19 Michigan State 11 3 0.59 (23) 15.156 (18) 101
20 West Virginia 10 3 0.585 (25) 13.292 (23) 100
21 Georgia 10 4 0.595 (18) 14.147 (21) 99
22 Nebraska 9 4 0.592 (22) 10.877 (30) 98
23 Texas 8 5 0.59 (24) 11.006 (29) 96
24 Clemson 10 4 0.599 (16) 9.019 (39) 95
25 Missouri 8 5 0.569 (29) 11.113 (28) 94
26 Northern Illinois 11 3 0.568 (30) 9.965 (34) 92
27 Cincinnati 10 3 0.553 (33) 12.825 (24) 91
28 Texas A&M 7 6 0.562 (32) 15.43 (17) 90
29 Florida State 9 4 0.537 (40) 17.021 (13) 88
30 Notre Dame 8 5 0.571 (28) 16.615 (14) 88
31 Auburn 8 5 0.592 (21) 3.225 (66) 87
32 Penn State 9 4 0.583 (26) 10.499 (33) 87
33 Rutgers 9 4 0.551 (35) 10.639 (31) 87
34 Tulsa 8 5 0.581 (27) 12.545 (25) 87
35 Toledo 9 4 0.553 (34) 14.687 (19) 85
36 Arkansas State 10 3 0.544 (37) 9.758 (36) 80
37 Temple 9 4 0.499 (64) 14.022 (22) 79
38 Florida 7 6 0.531 (43) 8.525 (42) 78
39 BYU 10 3 0.534 (41) 9.829 (35) 77
40 Mississippi State 7 6 0.547 (36) 8.515 (43) 76
41 NC State 8 5 0.509 (56) 4.303 (64) 75
42 Georgia Tech 8 5 0.513 (52) 7.582 (47) 74
43 Miami-FL 6 6 0.486 (70) 9.011 (40) 74
44 North Carolina 7 6 0.526 (44) 6.1 (54) 73
45 Louisiana Tech 8 5 0.525 (45) 10.563 (32) 71
46 SMU 8 5 0.533 (42) 6.647 (50) 71
47 Utah 8 5 0.509 (54) 5.533 (59) 71
48 Iowa State 6 7 0.538 (38) -1.305 (84) 68
49 Louisville 7 6 0.523 (46) 5.561 (58) 67
50 Marshall 7 6 0.567 (31) -0.113 (78) 67
51 Arizona State 6 7 0.486 (71) 8.134 (45) 65
52 Ohio State 6 7 0.508 (57) 7.986 (46) 65
53 Washington 7 6 0.523 (47) 2.448 (69) 65
54 Illinois 7 6 0.498 (65) 4.941 (62) 62
55 Virginia 8 5 0.51 (53) 1.153 (73) 62
56 Iowa 7 6 0.514 (51) 6.424 (53) 61
57 South Florida 5 7 0.478 (78) 9.026 (38) 61
58 California 7 6 0.519 (49) 6.453 (52) 60
59 Western Michigan 7 6 0.504 (59) 6.634 (51) 59
60 Ohio 10 4 0.522 (48) 7.315 (48) 58
61 Tennessee 5 7 0.504 (60) 5.13 (61) 58
62 Vanderbilt 6 7 0.503 (62) 9.485 (37) 57
63 Wyoming 8 5 0.509 (55) -0.233 (81) 57
64 Purdue 7 6 0.491 (67) 0.919 (75) 54
65 LA-Lafayette 9 4 0.537 (39) 2.445 (70) 53
66 Nevada 7 6 0.496 (66) 8.221 (44) 52
67 Navy 5 7 0.489 (69) 4.847 (63) 49
68 Pittsburgh 6 7 0.482 (74) 5.689 (55) 49
69 San Diego State 8 5 0.501 (63) 5.599 (57) 48
70 Utah State 7 6 0.478 (76) 5.277 (60) 48
71 FIU 8 5 0.474 (83) 3.539 (65) 47
72 UCLA 6 8 0.516 (50) -0.571 (82) 47
73 Northwestern 6 7 0.479 (75) 2.839 (68) 46
74 Syracuse 5 7 0.474 (84) -0.106 (77) 46
75 UCF 5 7 0.451 (93) 6.88 (49) 46
76 Wake Forest 6 7 0.478 (77) 0.84 (76) 46
77 Ball State 6 6 0.504 (61) -1.838 (88) 45
78 Texas Tech 5 7 0.508 (58) -1.757 (87) 43
79 Connecticut 5 7 0.459 (92) 3.119 (67) 41
80 Air Force 7 6 0.47 (85) 5.6 (56) 39
81 Arizona 4 8 0.461 (90) -2.481 (92) 36
82 East Carolina 5 7 0.49 (68) -0.217 (80) 36
83 Boston College 4 8 0.446 (95) -1.635 (86) 34
84 Bowling Green 5 7 0.477 (80) 1.443 (72) 34
85 Eastern Michigan 6 6 0.469 (86) -4.599 (99) 33
86 Western Kentucky 7 5 0.483 (72) -1.876 (89) 33
87 Kentucky 5 7 0.475 (81) -4.54 (98) 32
88 Oregon State 4 9 0.468 (87) -0.148 (79) 31
89 San Jose State 5 7 0.46 (91) -0.819 (83) 27
90 Kent State 5 7 0.482 (73) -3.153 (95) 25
91 North Texas 5 7 0.475 (82) -2.769 (94) 25
92 Kansas 2 10 0.466 (89) -11.92 (112) 23
93 UTEP 5 7 0.449 (94) -2.132 (90) 23
94 LA-Monroe 4 8 0.441 (98) 0.989 (74) 22
95 Rice 4 8 0.478 (79) -5.156 (100) 22
96 Colorado 3 10 0.445 (97) -9.788 (108) 20
97 Hawaii 6 7 0.407 (109) -1.492 (85) 20
98 Minnesota 3 9 0.445 (96) -6.37 (102) 20
99 Washington State 4 8 0.434 (100) -2.514 (93) 20
100 Central Michigan 3 9 0.433 (101) -9.255 (105) 19
101 Miami-OH 4 8 0.43 (102) 1.647 (71) 19
102 Ole Miss 2 10 0.467 (88) -7.595 (104) 19
103 Buffalo 3 9 0.383 (114) -7.161 (103) 17
104 Fresno State 4 9 0.424 (103) -3.357 (96) 17
105 Duke 3 9 0.435 (99) -4.292 (97) 15
106 Maryland 2 10 0.419 (105) -5.967 (101) 14
107 Army 3 9 0.396 (111) -2.342 (91) 13
108 New Mexico State 4 9 0.422 (104) -9.298 (106) 13
109 UAB 3 9 0.411 (106) -13.172 (113) 11
110 Colorado State 3 9 0.403 (110) -9.692 (107) 10
111 Troy 3 9 0.409 (107) -10.149 (110) 10
112 Indiana 1 11 0.394 (112) -10.961 (111) 8
113 Idaho 2 10 0.378 (115) -9.815 (109) 7
114 UNLV 2 10 0.393 (113) -16.648 (115) 5
115 MTSU 2 10 0.374 (117) -13.955 (114) 4
116 Memphis 2 10 0.364 (119) -17.809 (117) 3
117 Non FBS 6 91 0.407 (108) -19.11 (118) 3
118 Akron 1 11 0.348 (120) -19.317 (119) 1
119 Florida Atlantic 1 11 0.371 (118) -19.996 (120) 1
120 Tulane 2 11 0.346 (121) -16.967 (116) 1
121 New Mexico 1 11 0.377 (116) -21.969 (121) 0

Well, obviously I did not end up with Alabama as my #1 – frankly we understated the Oklahoma State case, and while Alabama had the biggest win of the two, Oklahoma State’s general portfolio had a lot more meat in it.  But hey, these are the rules.  Anyway, the Cowboys lose a lot with Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon leaving, keeping them #1 seems foolhardly.

LSU had – well until their faceplant – one of the great regular seasons of all time.  Wins over one quality team after another, both in scoring margin and in sheer results.  They have a lot to replace at quarterback, but a ton of talent still.  Losing Tyronn Mathieu is bad from a big play perspective, but there is more than enough evidence to place LSU at #1.  Alabama at #3, similarly loses a lot on defense but replaces with a lot of proven talent.  Do they make sense as a preseason #2?  Maybe.  Boise State is clearly reloading so, there they go.  Anyway, you run down the final standings with a little bit of analysis behind it, and you might get an assessment like:

  1. LSU – Lot of last year’s great team back, the pre-bowl gap between their case and the others was vast
  2. Oklahoma – Played a tough schedule, had some injuries.  Experienced QB though and a potentially revamped D.
  3. Alabama – Crazy talent, but lost a lot of really crackerjack dudes on D.
  4. Michigan – I like them with my eyes less than the numerical case.  Would be surprised if they stayed with Alabama this weekend.  But still, worthy of this case for now.
  5. Arkansas – Basically not good enough to beat Bama-LSU, but anybody else?
  6. USC – The hype darlings.  Great to have a 4 year starter, but not sure they are clearly better than the Top 5.
  7. Oregon – That said the experience Barkley has vs new QB here in Eugene makes a difference.   That said, Oregon’s schedule could make a title spot easier.
  8. South Carolina – Latimore is healthy, QED
  9. Wisconsin – Almost no chance that they will miss the Big Ten title game.
  10. Virginia Tech – Logan Thomas is a closet elite QB prospect, and he could match his measurements with accomplishment.

Obviously none of this matters in the long run – the results will solve things.  I read there is reason to be bullish about Florida State, Michigan State, whomever.  But that will all reveal itself.

Overrated: West Virginia – #20 on my list, still fairly soft defensively.  They went 10-3 in the Big East and now moving into a very good Big 12.  The fireworks of their blowout of Clemson does not wipe away the losses.

Underrated: Returning QB, yes a new coach but at least some continuity.  It is easy to bag on them for not being LSU and Alabama.  However, few are – and Arkansas was better than just about everybody else on their schedule.  The coaching upheaval is a problem, but the parts are here for another great season.

Anyway, I expect full rankings around Week 3, once everybody has played a couple of times, but we’ll see.

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