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2012 CFN Post-Spring Rankings - No. 41 to 50
Texas Tech QB Seth Doege
Texas Tech QB Seth Doege
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 6, 2012


Based on where we think the teams are going to end up, here are the CFN post-spring rankings - No. 41 to 50


CFN 2012 Post-Spring Rankings

No. 41 to No. 50


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.

50. Northwestern
(2011 Record: 6-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)


The Wildcats will be likely be great early and shaky late with four home games in a row after starting out the year at Syracuse and with winnable dates in Evanston against Boston College, South Dakota, and Indiana. But then comes the payback with four road games in the final six before finishing up with Illinois. The running game needs help from the recruiting class and has to hope for Kain Colter to be a star right away at quarterback. The call has gone out from head coach Pat Fitzgerald for the defense to be more athletic, stronger, and effective up front, and it'll need to be with a new bunch of defensive backs in the mix.

49. SMU
(2011 Record: 8-5, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 8-4)


If this isn't the Conference USA favorite, it'll at least be in the running for the title all season long. The Mustangs only have to leave the state of Texas twice, but they have rough September non-conference games against Baylor, Texas A&M, and TCU before diving into league play against UTEP and Tulane on the road. With a road game at UCF and home games against Southern Miss and Tulsa, November will be the make-or-break month, but this team should be good enough to get through alive with RB Zach Line expected to be back to lead a decent offense. The O line needs patching and the defense is thin, but overall this should be the best team yet fielded by June Jones.

48. Washington
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)


Isn’t this supposed to be when the Huskies were going to start rolling under coach Steve Sarkisian? They still might, but the offense needs QB Keith Price to be phenomenal – and healthy – with so many other key players gone. On the plus side, the offensive line should be solid and the defense gets seven starters back. Whether or not this is a stepping-stone season depends on how the team holds up after a horrific start to the Pac-12 season against Stanford, at Oregon, and USC. Combine those three games with a road trip to LSU, and 2-4 could be a certainty before going to Arizona and with three of the final four games away from Seattle. As the season goes on this should be a good enough team to provide hope for next year, but it’s going to be a fight to go bowling.

47. South Florida
(2011 Record: 5-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)


Will the team erase the memories of the 2011 collapse quickly enough to be ready to go from the opening kickoff? The Bulls have to make a statement in the Big East opener against Rutgers at home, but in many ways beating a loaded Florida State would be more satisfying. With road games at Louisville and Cincinnati, USF has to hold serve in Tampa to have any shot of winning the conference title, and it could with a phenomenal front seven that gets most of the key parts back and with a linebacking corps that’ll be a brick wall. The offense will be able to run the ball, and it needs to control things against the terrific defense throughout the schedule. It should be able to come through.

46. North Carolina
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)

It’s a new era for North Carolina football and it’s not going to be a walk in the park for new head coach Larry Fedora. There’s a good base of players in the offensive backfield led by QB Bryn Renner and RB Giovani Bernard working behind a nice-looking line. Six starters are back on what should be a good defense, but it’ll be thin without a ton of developed depth. There’s just enough talent for a good season, but the schedule will be a bit tough to make it a great one even though the conference road slate isn’t all that bad going to Wake Forest, Miami, Duke, and Virginia and missing Florida State in interdivisional play. There isn’t a game on the slate the Tar Heels can’t win – especially considering Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech come to Chapel Hill – but it’ll still be an uneven season.

45. Louisiana Tech
(2011 Record: 8-4, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 8-4)


The defending WAC champion should have one more big season in what might be the league’s swan song before taking off to Conference USA. The Bulldogs won’t be as good as they were last season, but the schedule is light enough to have a great year with non-conference games against UNLV and Rice to help build up the base of wins. Utah State should be one of the WAC’s most dangerous teams, but the game is in Ruston and there’s no one else in the league that should be good enough to challenge the champion. The strong defense is loaded in the secondary and should be fine up front, but the O line should be the real star with four returning starters to help make the errific receiving corps and the passing game fly.

44. Penn State
(2011 Record: 9-4, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)


New coach Bill O’Brien has done a terrific job so far of taking the most distracted program in college football and making it his. Not only does the team have to deal with everything on the outside, but it has a ton of work to do to make any noise in the Big Ten race. The quarterback situation continues to be a concern after spring ball and the line has to replace four starters, and while the linebacking corps has the potential to be among the best in the country, the defense has to retool up front and has to replace all four starters in the secondary. Fortunately, there’s time in the schedule to sort things out with Ohio Navy, and Temple at home in the first four weeks, but going to Virginia in Week Two could expose the flaws. Ohio State and Wisconsin come to Happy Valley, and while going to Illinois, Iowa and Purdue might not seem like a big deal this season, it will be for these Nittany Lions. Throw in a road game against Nebraska, and it’s going to be a season-long fight.

43. Texas Tech
(2011 Record: 5-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)

Tommy Tuberville’s team should be more dangerous and very, very desperate after last year’s collapse. QB Seth Doege is a veteran now who should be extremely productive with a loaded receiving corps to play around with and a decent line to work behind. The defense that was so miserable last year will be full of experienced veterans with ten starters returning, but the production has to be far, far better. Starting off 4-0 against Northwestern State, at Texas State, New Mexico, and at Iowa State is a must or else the season will be awful with so many brutal Big 12 games left to deal with. A home game against Kansas will be a late-season oasis, but it’ll take a few upsets to come up with a winning season. The team should improve just enough to get there.

42. Kansas State
(2011 Record: 10-3, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)


It’s next to impossible for anyone to come up with so many close wins against so many great teams and get all the same great fortune twice. However, give Bill Snyder’s team credit for making its own good fortune game in and game out. QB Collin Klein will start getting the hype later this summer he deserved last year, while the defense has just enough talent to hope for a repeat performance. Watch out for a big start with four home games in the first five, but the road date is at Oklahoma and there’s a tough battle with Miami to deal with. Four road games in six weeks will make the second half rough before closing out against Texas, but two of the away dates are winnable against Iowa State and Baylor.

41. Iowa
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)


The team might not be that great but the record should be more than fine. The running back situation will be fine, but it won't be great, while the offensive line will be worse and the receiving corps needs some retooling. The defense that was so inconsistent needs even more work and has to come up with a few stunning performances from unlikely sources to come up with a good year. Fortunately, five of the first seven games are at home and one of the other games is a neutral site date with Northern Illinois in Chicago. Even the second half of the year isn't that bad with Northwestern and Indiana manageable road games and with Purdue coming to Iowa City. The team won't be good enough to win the Legends, but it'll be just decent enough to be in the mix.