CFN Post-Spring Rankings - No. 31 to 40
Tennessee QB Tyler Bray
Tennessee QB Tyler Bray
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. 31 to 40


CFN 2012 Post-Spring Rankings

No. 31 to No. 40


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.

40. Illinois
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)


Will Tim Beckman be able to get the Illini to be more consistent? The defensive front should be among the best in the Big Ten even with Whitney Mercilus off to the Houston Texans, while Jonathan Brown should be among the league's best linebackers. Nathan Scheelhaase and the running game might not explode, but it should be effective to go along with an efficient passing game. Considering Penn State is questionable, if the Illini can win at Arizona State they should be 5-0 before dealing with back-to-back road games against Wisconsin and Michigan. Throw in a date at Ohio State and Beckman has one of the roughest stretches of three road games in four weeks that any coach has to deal with. Even so, a winning season should be a lock if everything goes according to plan.

39. BYU
(2011 Record: 10-3, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 8-4)


QB Riley Nelson has the gig all to himself now after taking over and leading the way to a strong 2011. However, the O line might be a little shaky early on and the passing game might take a little while to explode. Fortunately, the defense is loaded with veterans with just about everyone of note back and with a terrific front wall likely to be a brick wall against the run. As an independent, the schedule has enough soft games to ensure a good record, but there are two tough sets of back-to-back road games with Utah and Boise State in the first half and Notre Dame and Georgia Tech in the second half. Four of the final road games are on the road.

38. California
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)


The defense that was so great last year loses several key players and the offense needs QB Zach Maynard to grow into a more consistent playmaker, but the overall talent is there for a decent year. However, with no breaks in the tough schedule, forget about anything special for a team with so many concerns. Starting out against Nevada won't be easy, and it'll only be made worse with road games against Ohio State and USC in September. The Trojans will be the favorites to win the South, but Utah won't be far behind – the Bears have to go on the road to face the Utes, too. The Stanford and Oregon games are at home, and there's a great stretch of five home games in seven, but it'll be a stunner if the Bears are in the hunt for the North title.

37. Cincinnati
(2011 Record: 10-3, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 8-4)


Cincinnati somewhat quietly came up with a phenomenal season under Butch Jones, and while it'll be tempting to think that it was a jumping off point, it'll be a rebuilding season needing to replace several tremendous parts. Gone are the two best players in the Big East last year – RB Isaiah Pead and DT Derek Wolfe – and the run defense has to find new playmakers up front. Jones has stocked the talent level and he knows what he's doing, but it'll be a work in progress in a decent year for the Big East. Fortunately there are enough layups to expect a strong record with Delaware State, Miami University, and Fordham to tune up on. There are only three road games in Big East play, and while one of them is at Louisville, the other two are winnable against Temple and Connecticut.

36. Clemson
(2011 Record: 10-4, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)


There's a ton of talent returning from the defending ACC champion, but the horrendous end to 2011 could be a sign of things to come. Will WR Sammy Watkins' off-the-field issues be a concern? Will QB Tajh Boyd be more consistent? The defensive front loses three starters and the offensive line has to undergo an overhaul, but the team had better be ready from Day One with a huge date in Atlanta against Auburn to kick things off. Try this out for the start of the ACC schedule: at Florida State, at Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech. Follow that up with two more road games and with the South Carolina showdown still to deal with late, and it could end up being a rocky season with plenty of adversity.

35. Missouri
(2011 Record: 8-5, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)


There are a lot of question marks for a team trying to work its way into the SEC world. Can QB James Franklin be healthy and stay in one piece after suffering a shoulder injury? Will the running game be fine without Henry Josey? Can the passing game have more spark, and will the defense be more consistent? The defensive back seven is solid and the front line should be great at tackle. The offense will be hit-or-miss, but it should be ready to roll for the SEC opener in Columbia against Georgia. Going to South Carolina will be bad, and following it up with a tough road test at UCF – likely the best team in Conference USA – could be disappointing, but the big problem will be dealing with Alabama at home in mid-October with a brutal finishing kick on the horizon. The Tigers play three road games in November going to Florida, Tennessee, and Texas A&M meaning the bowl bid had better be locked up relatively early or else a home game against Syracuse could be needed to save the year from a disaster.

34. Stanford
(2011 Record: 11-2, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)


Will the Cardinal have staying power? The production won't fall off the map, and the latest recruiting classes should reload the talent level, but this season should be a step back after losing so many key NFL cogs. Yes, Andrew Luck was that good. Getting USC from the Pac-12 South isn't going to help the cause, while a finishing kick of five road games in the final seven, and six in the final nine, would've been hard for last year's team to get through with anything to show for it. Going to Notre Dame is bad enough, but that's followed up by the always-emotional Cal game. Throw in trips to Colorado, UCLA, and oh yeah, Oregon, and David Shaw will have a disappointing season. Don't expect a major drop, though.

33. Tennessee
(2011 Record: 5-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)


The Vols should get back on the bowl track, but it's going to take a fight to do it unless QB Tyler Bray turns into the star pro prospect many think he could be. The offensive line took its lumps last year, and now it's far more experienced and can't help but be better. The secondary gets all four starters back and should be one of the best in the SEC East, but will it be enough to overcome a mediocre pass rush? Getting Alabama from the West is a bad break made worse by being the lone home date in a four game stretch with road games against Georgia, Mississippi State, and South Carolina. Closing out with three home games in the final four should make for a nice November, but first the team has to be in range to go bowling. Having Georgia State and Akron on the slate should help.

32. UCF
(2011 Record: 5-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 9-3)


Even with off-the-field drama with the NCAA and with some big losses to the NFL, UCF should be loaded and ready to make a run for the Conference USA title. Last year the young team couldn't win close games, but the defense was phenomenal finishing ninth in the nation. Eight starters return on D while the offense should be terrific with Brynn Harvey the main man for a terrific ground game that gets four starters back up front. Jeff Godfrey will work as a wide receiver after starting last year at quarterback and then leaving the team for a stretch this offseason. No, the Knights aren't going to be good enough to beat Ohio State in Columbus, but they should be able to roll through a weakened Conference USA slate. The toughest conference road test will be at Tulsa, while East Carolina, Southern Miss, and SMU have to make the trip to Orlando.

31. Texas A&M
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)


Welcome to the SEC, Texas A&M. Now enjoy opening up conference play against Florida, and later enjoy the midseason run of five games away from College Station in six dates. That's not going to be just any old stretch; it kicks off against Arkansas and includes three straight road games to Auburn, Mississippi State, and just for a little bit more fun, Alabama. Oh, and that home game to rest up and recharge in the middle of all the road madness is against LSU. Throw in September road games against Louisiana Tech – who should be the favorite to win the WAC – and SMU – who should be the favorite to win Conference USA, and yes, dates against South Carolina State and Sam Houston State are more than forgivable for a team that's getting its feet wet with a new coaching staff. On the plus side, the O line should be fantastic with all five starters returning and the D that led the nation in sacks returns six starters.

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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