Tom’s Top 25, 2012 Edition

Get ready:  It’s almost time for the resumption of college football’s historic rivalries.  Well, some of them, anyway; because of conference realignments, we also now get unfamiliar matchups like Texas vs. West Virginia (not Texas A&M).  If you’re yearning to see the old traditional battles — classics like Nebraska against Oklahoma — you can hope that both teams have mediocre seasons and fill their respective leagues’ slots in the Insight Bowl.

In the past it was customary at this time of year to pick a team from the Southeastern Conference and make it the preseason favorite to win the national championship.  Since demolishing tradition is now the vogue in college football, I’m picking a team from a different conference this season — pretty wild, huh?

However, I am sticking to the tradition of posting my preseason predictions publicly, despite of a lot of encouragement to knock it off.  So here they are, along with a few random observations.  I’m confident that by the time the championship game is played a few months from now, these picks won’t all be wrong…

1.  USC          Stars like Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and T.J. McDonald feel they have unfinished business.

2.  LSU          Key games against So. Carolina and Alabama are in Tiger Stadium.

3.  Oklahoma         Averaged almost 40 points/game last year; 19 starters return

4.  Alabama          Two national championships in past 3 seasons

5.  Oregon          These Ducks don’t walk, they sprint.

6.  South Carolina          Eleven wins last year, could be even better in 2012

7.  Michigan          Season opener vs. Alabama could set tone for entire season

8.  Florida State          One of these years, high expectations for Seminoles will come true.

9.  Texas          After two sub-par seasons, Texas climbs back toward elite status.

10. Boise State          Coach Chris Peterson’s six-season record:  73-6

11. Arkansas          The big question mark is how Razorbacks respond to the coaching change following Bobby Petrino’s dismissal.

12. West Virginia           Move to Big 12 conference will provide stiffer competition

13. Wisconsin          Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball is back for his senior year.

14. Louisville          Cardinals are the best team in mediocre Big East.

15. Georgia          Easy schedule should help:  Bulldogs avoid Alabama, Arkansas and LSU.

16. Ohio State          Sanctions keep Buckeyes out of bowl game, but at least 9 wins seem possible.

17. Florida          The defense is strong; can the offense score enough points to win games?

18. Michigan State          Same as Florida (above)

19. Stanford          If you’re good enough, you don’t need Luck.

20. Oklahoma State          Finished 3rd in final polls last season, but are missing some important players from that outstanding team.

21. Nebraska          Huskers have a tough mid-season stretch with Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan in four weeks.

22. Virginia Tech          Hokies have 8 consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins.

23. Southern Methodist          Mustangs have a chance to be this year’s dark horse.

24. Georgia Tech          Opponents find it difficult to defend against Yellow Jackets’ bizarre offense.

25. TCU          Four consecutive top-15 finishes, but stepping up to Big 12 in 2012

5 responses to “Tom’s Top 25, 2012 Edition

  1. Remind me again…what was your alma mater?

    • Yes, I’m a USC grad, but I like to think that doesn’t influence my picks. This is the first time in three years that I have the Trojans in my preseason Top 25, and if memory serves, this is the first time I’ve ever had them ranked #1.

      Because of the lingering effects of NCAA sanctions, USC has some depth issues. If they sustain injuries at key positions, they are in big trouble. If not, though, they should be playing football long after UCLA fans have moved on to basketball.

  2. I heard that! U — rah, rah, rah. C — rah, rah, rah. L — rah, rah, rah. A — rah, rah. rah.

  3. Props for putting SMU in your top 25. I didn’t think they’d ever reach that level again. Kansas State should be in there, too, but I’ll forgive you this time! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

    • Kansas State had a big bounce-back season a year ago, and the Wildcats definitely have some talent returning. They are highly regarded by publications like Sports Illustrated. Here’s my hesitation about K-State: they play at Oklahoma, at West Virginia, at TCU. Miami, Oklahoma State and Texas are also on the schedule. It’s possible they could win 10 games again; I just don’t think it’s likely.

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