2012 CFN Post-Spring Rankings - No. 11 to 20

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 7, 2012


Based on where we think the teams are going to end up, here are the CFN post-spring rankings - No. 11 to 20


CFN 2012 Post-Spring Rankings

No. 11 to No. 20


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

- Follow us on Twitter ... ColFootballNews

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.

20. Oklahoma State
(2011 Record: 12-1, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 9-3)


Oklahoma State is a machine that’ll keep on rolling, but no one gets better after losing a first-round draft pick quarterback like Brandon Weeden and an all-timer of a receiver like Justin Blackmon. Welcome to the Wes Lunt era, and while the true freshman will get a few games to figure out what he’s doing against Savannah State and Louisiana-Lafayette, he’ll also have to go to Arizona. The Cowboys will be good, but they’ll take just enough of a step back to have problems at times against Texas, TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech at home and Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Baylor on the road. Fortunately, the team around Lunt will be solid – and Lunt won’t be bad, either.

The offensive line could be a bigger concern than quarterback by the time Texas comes to town in late September. Fortunately, there’s a nice running back in Joseph Randle to carry the attack for a while. The defense should be great at linebacker and good enough to get by in the secondary, but the big key will be to come up with the takeaways like last year’s D did. The Cowboys will win at least one game because punter and placekicker Quinn Sharp will be better than just about everyone else’s kickers.

19. West Virginia
(2011 Record: 10-3, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 9-3)


The drama is over and the Mountaineers are in the Big 12. The problem is that it they probably would’ve won the Big East going away and would’ve been in the national title chase. Instead they’ll have to go on the road to face Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State, and while they’ll win their share of home games against the big boys, facing Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma won’t be easy.

The offense is built for life in the Big 12 with QB Geno Smith and the Dana Holgorsen attack to be as explosive and as dangerous as any in the league. All the key skill players are back, and while the line has to replace a few starters, it’ll be fine. The defense is experienced, but its job will be to not be awful and let the offense do its thing. Fortunately for life in the Big 12, the secondary should be a strength.

18. Arkansas
(2011 Record: 11-2, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 8-4)


Yes, there really is a difference between Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith. The talent level might be in place to come up with a big year, but does Smith have the chops to get through a slew of dangerous dogfights? On the plus side, Alabama and LSU are home games, but Alabama and LSU are going to be Alabama and LSU again. Auburn and Mississippi State are both better and both games are on the road, as is a date with, possibly, the East’s best team, South Carolina. The Texas A&M game in Arlington will be a problem, as should a sneaky-tough home game against a Rutgers team that might win the Big East.

QB Tyler Wilson is poised and ready to become a first-round NFL draft pick, and even with some turnover he’ll have a good receiving corps to work with. The hope is for Knile Davis to be healthy and ready to go, but even if he’s not the running game should still work behind a solid line. The defense will be good enough to get by, but will it be at the same level as the other top SEC teams? No, and the offense will have to pick up the slack against the top teams.

17. Boise State
(2011 Record: 12-1, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 11-1)


Is this the year Boise State finally takes a big step back with SO much rebuilding to do? Yeah, a little bit, but it’ll still mean a double-digit win season. Ten starters are gone on defense, while the offense has to replace QB Kellen Moore, RB Doug Martin, and too many other key starters to expect a BCS appearance. There’s a chance the Broncos lose at Nevada to close out the regular season, and going to Southern Miss won’t be a layup, but San Diego State and Fresno State have to come to Boise, as does BYU in non-conference play. An Opening Day loss at Michigan State will end this year’s round of discussions about whether or not the team belongs in the national title chase, but that will be a minor slip.

16. Michigan State
(2011 Record: 11-3, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 9-3)


The Spartans should be deep in the mix for a return trip to the Big Ten championship even with a major overhaul to be done on offense. Almost the entire passing game is gone, but four starters return on the offensive front to pave the way for Le’Veon Bell and projected – but already banged up - starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell. The defense loses anchor Jerel Worthy in the middle but should be devastating on the outside with William Gholston leading the fearsome pass rush. The secondary should be the Big Ten’s best and the linebacking corps will be a rock.

The first half of the season is rough, but all the big games are at home with Boise State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Iowa all coming to East Lansing and with the two road games both layups against Central Michigan and Indiana. And then comes the problem with back-to-back road games at Michigan and Wisconsin followed up by a date with Nebraska.

15. Virginia Tech
(2011 Record: 11-3, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 10-2)


It’s Virginia Tech, so the holes will be filled, but there’s a lot of work to do on offense. The line loses four starters and most of the top skill players are gone, but there’s a chance that QB Logan Thomas grows into this year’s superstar NFL prospect with the size, arm, and experience to make everyone around him better. Fortunately, the O won’t have to do too much thanks to a D that should be its typical dominant self with nine starters back from a young group that matured throughout last season. The line took its lumps and now should be ready to roll, while the linebacking corps should be terrific.

The schedule isn’t too bad with an entire offseason to prepare for the season opener against Georgia Tech and its quirky offense, and while going to Pitt will be dangerous and facing Cincinnati will be a fight, the Hokies are good enough to win both. Surviving through the second half, though, will be a problem with three road games in four dates and four in six, including back-to-back games at Clemson and Miami. However, Florida State has to come to Blacksburg on a Thursday night in early November and Virginia is a home game to close out the regular season.

14. Louisville
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 10-2)


The record will be better than the team, but the team will be really, really good, too. The defense that turned into such a powerhouse last year should be even better getting all four starters back in the secondary to go along with a loaded defensive front. Thanks to rising star QB Teddy Bridgewater, the offense should be fantastic with four starters returning to the line and a nice-looking receiving corps to work with. The schedule works out almost perfectly with Kentucky and North Carolina winnable non-conference home games and the one rough stretch of three straight road games against FIU, Southern Miss, and Pitt – with two weeks off before facing the Panthers – not that bad. Cincinnati and South Florida both have to come to Louisville, but going to Rutgers on a Thursday night to end the regular season just five days after playing UConn could be the make-or-break moment for a truly special year.

13. Utah
(2011 Record: 8-5, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 10-2)


You heard it here first; don’t be shocked if Utah, not USC, ends up representing the South in the Pac-12 title game. The offense will be terrific with QB Jordan Wynn returning and John White the best back in the league, but the season will revolve around a defense that starts with Star Lotolelei in the middle of the line. No one will run on the loaded Ute defensive front, but the veteran secondary has to be stronger after struggling a bit too much.

The schedule is as good as could be asked for. There’s no Oregon or Stanford from the North, and USC has to make the trip to Salt Lake City. The Pac-12 road games are against Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon, State, Washington, and Colorado – five teams without a bowl win between them last year – and the one big non-conference game against BYU is at home.

12. Michigan
(2011 Record: 11-2, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 10-2)


Rip up any preconceived notions about Michigan if it can beat Alabama in the season opener. If Brady Hoke’s club pulls that off, then it’s Game On for the national title chase even with road games at Notre Dame, Purdue, and Nebraska as part of a run of four away games in six weeks. Michigan State and Iowa have to come to Ann Arbor, but good luck in the regular season finale at Ohio State – it’ll be the Buckeyes’ bowl game.

The talent level is improving to a BCS championship level with a great recruiting class coming in, but will all the young players be ready to help improve the depth? Denard Robinson and the running game will roll the week after dealing with the Tide, while the defense should be fantastic in the secondary and terrific at linebacker. The line will have to retool in a hurry, but it’ll eventually be fine.

11. Ohio State
(2011 Record: 6-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 10-2)


Urban Meyer will have the team ready to rock and roll from Day One, but it’ll be a building season for 2013. The Buckeyes might not be eligible for the Big Ten championship or a bowl game, but there’s a ton of talent on both sides of the ball and QB Braxton Miller appears ready to blossom into a superstar in Meyer’s attack. At the same time the Buckeyes will play loose, since there’s no pressure with nothing to play for, and angry, because Urban is will make the team that way.

UCF is a dangerous non-conference game, as is Cal, but both are at home with Buckeyes getting five home games in the first six weeks. There are only four road games and one of them is Indiana. However, going to Michigan State and Wisconsin will be beartraps and Penn State isn’t a layup. Michigan and Illinois have to come to Columbus, and the Buckeyes should take care of home and win both.

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