The USA Today coaches poll is out with the 2012 preseason rankings. As usual my projections were nearly spot on. Let’s take a look, keeping in mind the AP poll has not yet been released but when it is there is a pretty good chance it is going to look about exactly the same any way.
I projected the top five teams to be LSU, USC, Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma. The actual rankings had those five teams but in a different order: LSU, Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Oregon.
My next predicted five teams were Georgia, Arkansas, Michigan, South Carolina, Florida State. The actual rankings had those same five teams yet again, only slightly different order yet again: Georgia, Florida State, Michigan, South Carolina, Arkansas. Arkansas and Florida State are the only teams in the top ten I didn’t get within 2 spots.
The next five teams I projected were West Virginia, Michigan State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Ohio State. Keep in mind these predictions were made when Jim Tressel was still the coach and none of that fiasco had gone down yet. The actual next five were West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Clemson and Texas. I was quite a bit off here, but again, this was a very tumultuous off season and these predictions were made before all that.
My next five were Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Texas, TCU. Actual five were Nebraska, TCU, Stanford, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech was not nearly as high as I projected, and Wisconsin was much higher than I predicted.
The final five teams I had were Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Boise State, Florida and Auburn. The final five teams in the actual rankings were Kansas State, Boise State, Florida, Notre Dame, Auburn.
All in all that was my worst season to date, but still not too bad considering the circumstances. I had Ohio State in there and they deservedly were left out. I didn’t have Stanford in there and they were unexpectedly included at No. 18 which I think is ridiculously high. Top 25 maybe, I did have them at 26, but not top 20. Almost everyone else I got within 2 spots. So getting 24 of the top 25 ain’t bad I would say. Wish I had gotten them a bit closer.
What jumps out from these rankings? I said it then and I’ll say it now, Florida State will disappoint. Georgia probably will too. Both teams have no business in the top 10. They didn’t do anything to close out the season that would merit those rankings and I don’t know why people think they belong there.
My predictions had Louisville and Washington just out of the top 25 and sure enough they were 26 and 27. I think that’s fantastic, love what Charlie Strong and Steve Sarkishian are doing with those programs.
Wisconsin at No. 12 is a big question mark for me. Without Russell Wilson, will they compete as well in the Big Ten? I’m also confused by Texas at No. 15. Haven’t seen anything out of that offense to suggest they are capable of much. And Oklahoma State lost their offense, are they really a top 25 team?
I have a strong hunch about Notre Dame this year. I think they have a great shot at a BCS bowl. Watch for them. USC might be their only loss at the end of the season.
I expect TCU to get no higher than No. 17. First year in the Big 12 might not go so well. Same with Boise State. Not as good a team as year’s past and first time in the Big East. Granted there’s no one in the Big East to be worried about so it might not matter.
There are a couple of teams I will really be watching this year that I think are dark horses to do really well. The first is Washington. They seem really close to turning the corner and this might be their year. Their biggest hurdle? The schedule. The usual games with Oregon and Stanford are on there, but they get USC, Utah and a non-conference game with LSU. Ouch.
I will really be watching Texas A&M and Missouri to see how the SEC treats them. Probably won’t go very well, but if either team does well (Missouri more likely) then that will be a huge accomplishment.
I think a lot of eyes will be on Penn State to see how they handle the adversity. Same goes for Ohio State, UCF, North Carolina and just about everyone else who got slapped with penalties from the NCAA.
But hey, it’s early August, at this point I would be happy to see two teams from the Sun Belt play each other. As long as there is some college football. Here’s to hoping for another good season!