2012 CFN Post-Spring Rankings - No. 51 to 60
Pitt QB Tino Sunseri
Pitt QB Tino Sunseri
Posted May 6, 2012

Based on where we think the teams are going to end up, here are the CFN post-spring rankings - No. 51 to 60

CFN 2012 Post-Spring Rankings

No. 51 to No. 60

2012 CFN Post-Spring Rankings
(where the teams will end up)
- Top Ten | Rankings 11-20 | Rankings 21-30
- Rankings 31-40 | Rankings 41-50 | Rankings 51-60
- Rankings 61-70 | Rankings 71-80 | Rankings 81-90
- Rankings 91-100 | Rankings 101-112 | The Bottom 12

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Which teams looked great this spring? Which ones reloaded, rebuilt, and looked surprisingly sharp? Which ones struggled a bit and need more time and more practice time? These are the CFN Post-Spring Rankings based on where we think the teams are going to finish up when all is said and done. Part of the rankings are based on talent and potential, and part of them are based on schedules and what the teams might do. Coming later this summer are the CFN 2012 Rankings based on how good the teams are.

60. Baylor
(2011 Record: 10-3, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)

Don't expect the offense to fall off the map after losing Robert Griffin III, Kendall Wright, and Terrance Ganaway from the high-octane offense that was so amazing in the breakthrough season. The Art Briles offense is still the Art Briles offense, and it'll put up big numbers. The awful defense gets nine starters back, but that might not matter too much in a Big 12 that'll be better than ever. Road games at West Virginia, Texas, and Oklahoma mean there can't be any slips at home against Kansas or Kansas State, and beating Texas Tech in Arlington is a must before finishing up with Oklahoma State. If the Bears blow the opener against SMU there will be plenty of scrambling to do to get bowling.

59. Arizona State
(2011 Record: 6-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)

It's going to take a little while for the Todd Graham effect to kick in - if it does kick in. The Sun Devils were loaded last year and didn't do much of anything with all the talent and experience. This year is going to be about rebuilding the foundation to be steadier and more consistent, but there are just enough winnable games to still expect a bowl appearance. With a road game early at Missouri, they have to take care of home against Illinois in non-conference play, and they have to find a way to somehow split with an improved Utah and Oregon. Three of the final four games are on the road including a trip to USC, but overall, the road slate isn't awful.   

58. Western Michigan
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 9-3)

Is this when Western Michigan takes the big step forward to become the star of the MAC? It's possible with veteran quarterback Alex Carder back to lead the MAC's most dangerous passing attack. The running game should do more with all the top backs returning to work behind a terrific line full of experiences. One of the MAC's best defense returns just about everyone of note in the back seven. Getting Toledo and Northern Illinois at home will be a huge help for the MAC West title hopes, and the toughest conference road game will be either at Central Michigan or Kent State - that's not that bad. 

57. Syracuse
(2011 Record: 5-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)

The Orange have to be better in Big East play after collapsing last season and finishing 1-6 in the conference, but most of the top offensive playmakers are gone along with some key pieces up front. Pass rusher Chandler Jones is gone off the defensive front but the back seven is loaded with experience. More than anything else under coach Doug Marrone the team has to learn how to own home field. The USC game in New Jersey doesn't really count as a home date, but it's close enough to make it four friendly games in the first five. With four road games in the final five, SU has to get off to a hot start and will have to steal a game against a good team like South Florida or Cincinnati.

56. UCLA
(2011 Record: 6-8, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)

There's just enough talent returning to give new coach Jim Mora something to work with, but the Pac-12 South will be far tougher this season and USC is back in the mix again. The Bruins won't come close to repeating as division champs with Utah and USC both stronger, but both those showdowns will be at home. Missing Oregon from the North will help, and a road slate of Colorado, Cal, Arizona State and Washington State is as easy as can be reasonably asked for. Will the offense be up to the task? The running game will be fine with Johnathan Franklin carrying the attack, while the O line should be strong. After years of beefing up the defensive side, now the payoff should come with several young players ready to shine. The expectations won't be through the roof right away, but if the Bruins can pull off an upset against Nebraska early on, the national attention will come.

55. Vanderbilt
(2011 Record: 6-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 5-7)

The team might be better now that coach James Franklin has had a year to work, but can it win the tough home games? Back-to-back road games against Georgia and Missouri will be next to impossible after starting the season off against South Carolina and a week after a road trip to Northwestern. The Commodores have to win a few of the home games against teams like Florida, Auburn and Tennessee to be in the hunt for a bowl game, and while three of the final four games are on the road, they're winnable against Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Wake Forest. Four starters are back on the offensive front to potentially help the great group of skill players shine, while six starters are back on defense. Even though there's experience to rely on, losing LB Chris Marve and top defensive backs Casey Hayward and Sean Richardson will hurt. 

54. Miami
(2011 Record: 6-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 5-7)

Al Golden is doing his best to juggle the expectations of a second season and the fears of what could happen from the NCAA's investigation of the Nevin Shapiro case. The problem is that the schedule will be a bear. The Canes go on the road three times in the first four weeks including dates at Kansas State and Georgia Tech. If they can't beat Boston College to open the season a 1-3 start wouldn't be a shocker before hosting a tough NC State team. If that wasn't enough to work on in the first half of the season, going to Chicago to face Notre Dame could be a make-or-break moment for the season. If that wasn't bad enough, even though four of the next five games will be at home, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and South Florida could all come away with wins. But will the team be good enough to keep up? It'll be a young team with promise, but it's going to take some major lumps with so much turnover.

53. Air Force
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 8-4)

The Falcons should come up with a better season record-wise if they can get steady quarterback play early on from Connor Dietz. Eight starters are gone of the always-great rushing offense, while the defense also has to replace eight key players. Fortunately, the Mountain West is far easier this season with the nastiest league game against Nevada at home. The road trip to Michigan should be the only sure-thing loss on the slate, but the team won't be good enough to roll up double-digit wins with three road games in the final four including dates at San Diego State and Fresno State.

52. Purdue
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)

The Boilermakers have upside, experience, and enough talent to start making noise in Big Ten play, but they'll have to rock early on to make up for a possible second half slide. Having five home games in the first six it might seem like things are easy, but Michigan and Wisconsin come to West Lafayette in the first two weeks of October and then comes the payback with four road games in five weeks. The running game should be terrific and the quarterback situation will be a plus once it gets sorted out. With DT Kawann Short as the anchor up front the potential is there for a good year from a defense that should be the best in the Danny Hope era. Even so, eight wins might be the ceiling while six victories will be more realistic.

51. Pitt
(2011 Record: 6-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)

The offense wasn't explosive enough and the defense has to keep getting into the backfield. Getting RB Ray Graham back healthy and back to form is a must, while the O line has to keep QB Tino Sunseri upright. New coach Paul Cryst will be creative, but he'll want to bang away as much as possible and use Graham as much as he can handle. Can the line continue to produce with three starters gone? The secondary will be a plus early on, but the run defense will have to do the heavy lifting early on against Cincinnati and Virginia Tech in the first three games. Getting hot before November is a must with three of the final four games on the road including tough dates against Notre Dame and South Florida. On the plus side, two of the Big East favorites, Rutgers and Louisville, have to come to Pittsburgh.

2012 CFN Post-Spring Rankings
(where the teams will end up)
- Top Ten | Rankings 11-20 | Rankings 21-30
- Rankings 31-40 | Rankings 41-50 | Rankings 51-60
- Rankings 61-70 | Rankings 71-80 | Rankings 81-90
- Rankings 91-100 | Rankings 101-112 | The Bottom 12