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2012 CFN Preview - Unit Rankings, O Lines
Alabama OG Chance Warmack
Alabama OG Chance Warmack
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 24, 2012


2012 CFN Preview - Unit Rankings - Offensive Lines


Preview 2012 - Unit Rankings

Offensive Lines


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2012 CFN Preseason Rankings 
1 to 5 | 6 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50
51 to 60 | 61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 124 

CFN 2012 Unit Rankings
- Offenses | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defenses | Defensive Lines | Linebackers | Secondaries | Special Teams  
- 2011 Unit Rankings | 2010 Unit Rankings


Note: This is based on talent, returning starters and skill. It’s not necessarily based on what the final order will be.

1. Alabama

As good as the defense might be in several places, the line should be the team’s biggest strength if everyone can stay healthy. Alabama has become a factory for great offensive linemen, and this group can become the best year if Cyrus Kouandijo’s knee is healthy and if Outland-winning tackle Barrett Jones plays as expected at center. Kouandijo, D.J. Fluker and Jones are almost certain future NFL first round draft picks, Chance Warmack will go in the top 50 and certainly won’t slip out of the second round and Anthony Steen is stronger than all of them.

2. LSU

After a few years of disappointment and inconsistency it all came together last year. Now, all five starters are healthy this could be the best line in America. Almost no one will be stronger at pounding away for the running game and few have as much skill as this group with top-shelf blocking talent at all five spots. Throw in the good depth across the board and the Tigers are loaded. This group wears down defensive lines as games go on. No, it wasn’t able to plow away on Alabama, but time and again the line took over games and put them away. Outside of Wisconsin’s front five, there isn’t a more physical group in the country.

3. Texas A&M

LSU’s offensive line is special and Alabama’s will be terrific, but Texas A&M will have a front five as good as any in the SEC. The starting five is tight, consistent, and tough when it has to be, but the depth has to be developed a bit and making a big move in offensive schemes could be the X factor. On talent and experience, though, this is the team’s biggest strength. Last year’s line was experienced and skilled, and now just about everyone is back guard Brian Thomas the only missing piece – but Cedric Ogbuehi is far better. Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews and Jarvis Harrison will be earning pro paychecks very, very soon.

4. Wisconsin

Every team knows what’s coming and there’s nothing to do to stop it. OT Ricky Wagner and C Travis Frederick are two of the best blockers in America, and it’s Wisconsin – the fill-ins will be fantastic. Depth might be a bit of a concern if a rash of injuries hit, but there are plenty of large bodies ready to step in and pound away if needed. As always, Wisconsin will field five gigantic human beings who can all destroy the men in front of them. Good defensive lines can hold up for a little while against UW, but they wear down after getting beaten on for four quarters.

5. Michigan State

Considering how mediocre the line was a few years ago, and with a few concerns going into last year, there’s a night-and-day difference this season with excellent veterans and depth at all five spots. There might not be the star power of Wisconsin’s line, and Ohio State and Nebraska will have a good blocking unit, but there might not be a more effective group in the Big Ten and it could be the very good team’s biggest strength.

6. Texas

The line didn’t get a whole lot of credit for doing a nice job for a mediocre offense. It got a decent push throughout the year for the ground game and it did a nice job in pass protection considering the quarterbacks were inexperienced and mobile. If the starting five can stay healthy this will be a plus as the season goes on, but it’s not going to be a major strength until 2013. It’s a near-perfect situation. Not only is the Texas line experienced, but it’s also very young without any seniors among the projected starting five. It should be a good line as is, but the best might be yet to come.

7. Oregon

When it comes to the offensive line in Eugene, the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts. Although the Ducks aren’t going to roll out any sure-fire next-level blockers, they’ll continue to do a fantastic job of providing support for one of the country’s most potent rushing attacks. The Oregon linemen will maintain their anonymity, helping bolster the profile of the stars at running back and quarterback. If there’s one thing that the Ducks know how to do well, it’s opening holes for the program’s speedy backs. All of the blockers are well-schooled in the nuances of the spread-option, getting out of the gates—and into the second level—extremely quickly. They were the selfless, blue-collar cogs of a ground game that averaged just under 300 yards a game in 2011.

8. Missouri

The line patched things together with injuries and newcomers causing concerns early on, but the running game finished ninth in the nation and the pass protection wasn’t all that bad considering the problems. The return of OT Elvis Fisher gives the line a good veteran to work around, and if Mitch Morse can handle the work in the middle, everything else should fall into place. Depth might be a problem, but the starting five should be terrific as long as Fisher holds up.

9. Oklahoma

This might turn out to be a positive even with center Ben Habern gone, needing to quit football with injury problems, and Tyler Evans gone after tearing an ACL. Last year the line did a great job of keeping Landry Jones upright, but who's going to hold up in the interior? With two potential NFL tackles in Lane Johnson and Daryl Williams and Gabe Ikard moving to center, the line should be fine, but after staying relatively healthy last year the front five can't afford to take any more bumps and bruises.

10. BYU

As long as the starting five stays healthy, but line will be terrific. Braden Hansen and Braden Brown will be among the best in the nation at their respective positions, while Marcus Mathews is an up-and-coming star. Houston Reynolds will be more than solid in the middle. The pass protection will be rock solid for Riley Nelson, while the ground game will be pounding. Brown and Hansen are legitimate All-America candidates to build around. Everything else will work around them with several good, mature blockers.
 
10 is high in the unit ranking number.

Boise State M-West 8
Notre Dame Ind 8
West Virginia Big 12 8
Baylor Big 12 7.5
Florida SEC 7.5
Georgia Tech ACC 7.5
Michigan Big Ten 7.5
North Carolina ACC   7.5
Oklahoma State Big 12 7.5
Stanford Pac-12  7.5
USC Pac-12  7.5
Arkansas SEC 7
Auburn SEC 7
Boston College ACC 7
California Pac-12  7
Georgia SEC 7
Houston C-USA  7
Iowa Big Ten 7
Miami   ACC   7
Minnesota Big Ten 7
Nebraska Big Ten  7
Nevada M-West 7
Ohio State Big Ten 7
Purdue Big Ten 7
South Carolina SEC 7
South Florida Big East 7
Vanderbilt SEC 7
Virginia   ACC 7
Virginia Tech ACC 7
Arizona Pac-12  6.5
Arizona State Pac-12  6.5
Cincinnati Big East 6.5
Clemson ACC 6.5
Colorado   Pac-12  6.5
Florida State ACC   6.5
Illinois Big Ten 6.5
Iowa State Big 12 6.5
Kansas Big 12 6.5
Kansas State Big 12 6.5
Louisiana Tech WAC 6.5
Louisville  Big East 6.5
Mississippi State SEC 6.5
NC State ACC 6.5
Ole Miss SEC 6.5
Penn State Big Ten 6.5
Southern Miss C-USA  6.5
TCU Big 12 6.5
Tennessee SEC 6.5
Texas Tech Big 12 6.5
UCLA  Pac-12  6.5
Utah   Pac-12  6.5
Air Force M-West 6
Ball State MAC 6
Bowling Green MAC 6
Central Michigan MAC 6
FIU Sun Belt 6
Fresno State M-West 6
Indiana  Big Ten 6
Kentucky SEC 6
Maryland  ACC 6
Navy Ind 6
Northwestern Big Ten 6
Oregon State Pac-12  6
Pitt Big East 6
Rutgers  Big East 6
Syracuse Big East 6
Toledo MAC 6
Tulsa C-USA  6
Wake Forest ACC 6
Washington   Pac-12  6
WKU Sun Belt 6
Connecticut Big East 5.5
Duke ACC   5.5
Hawaii M-West 5.5
North Texas Sun Belt 5.5
Northern Illinois MAC 5.5
Ohio   MAC 5.5
San Diego State M-West 5.5
Troy Sun Belt 5.5
UCF C-USA  5.5
Washington State Pac-12  5.5
Wyoming M-West 5.5
Arkansas State Sun Belt 5
Army Ind 5
Buffalo MAC 5
Colorado State M-West 5
East Carolina C-USA  5
Eastern Michigan MAC 5
Kent State MAC 5
Marshall C-USA  5
Middle Tennessee Sun Belt 5
New Mexico   M-West 5
Temple Big East 5
UL Lafayette Sun Belt 5
UNLV M-West 5
Utah State WAC 5
UTEP C-USA  5
Western Michigan MAC 5
Florida Atlantic Sun Belt 4.5
Massachusetts MAC 4.5
Miami Univ. MAC 4.5
New Mexico State WAC 4.5
Rice C-USA  4.5
San Jose State WAC 4.5
SMU C-USA  4.5
South Alabama Sun Belt 4.5
Tulane C-USA  4.5
UAB C-USA  4.5
UL Monroe Sun Belt 4.5
UTSA WAC 4.5
Akron MAC 4
Idaho WAC 4
Memphis C-USA  4
Texas State WAC 4