The 2012 Dubsism Pre-Season College Football Rankings

29 08 2012

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. There is a rule in the blogosphere that says if you tag more than three posts with “college football,” you are required to do a pre-season ranking. Failure to do so will get your nose flayed and your genitals set on fire.

With that…teams are rated within their conference, and the conferences are ranked in order of overall strength.

Plus, since here at Dubsism we are believers in the yin and yang of things, we felt it necessary not only to do the obligatory Top 25 list, but a comprehensive list as well. Why? Because for every team that should be admired for its prowess, there is one that should be pitied for its ineptitude.

* – denotes bowl ineligible teams (as of this writing)

Independents:

Frankly, nobody in this group will likely matter in terms of a Top 25, Navy and Notre Dame are the best shots to make bowl games, and even Army has a contactually-obligated shot if they make eligibility. Notre Dame has a brtual schedule, and what talent they do have is being suspended at an alarming pace.

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Navy
  3. Army
  4. Brigham Young
  5. Georgia State

11) WAC

This year, this conference might as well be the “Leftovers Conference.”  By this time next year, the WAC will officially no longer exist. Two years ago, the WAC had a marquee program in Boise State which bolted for the Mountain West Conference, and after last year year,  consistent bowl programs Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii, made the same move.  The bottom line is this conference is really irrelevant. This conference will put a couple of teams into a couple low-end bowl games; unless you are a hard-core college football junkie, there’s no real reason to pay attention to this league.

  1. San Jose State
  2. Louisiana Tech
  3. Utah State
  4. Idaho
  5. New Mexico State
  6. Texas-San Antonio
  7. Texas State-San Marcos

10) Sun Belt Conference

The second trimester is denoted by a road win over a BCS conference team.

In the world that is conference realignment, the Sun Belt had remained untouched until Conference USA began raiding its ranks for members to replace the teams it will be losing to the Big East in 2013.

The Sun Belt adds South Alabama from the FCS this season, and next year will add Georgia State and first-year WAC member Texas State.  This is to offset the losses  FIU and North Texas to Conference USA to help that league with its losses of Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF to the Big East. In other words, this is still an FBS conference in its fetal stages.

  1. Louisiana-Lafayette
  2. Florida International
  3. Arkansas State
  4. Louisiana-Monroe
  5. North Texas
  6. Western Kentucky
  7. Troy
  8. Middle Tennessee
  9. South Alabama
  10. Florida Atlantic

9) Conference USA

This conference reminds me of an NBA All-Star game. Everybody can score and nobody plays defense.  Naturally, it can be said that a conference with such offensive output would have some seriously weak defenses…and it would be correct to say that. Most of the defenses in this league “couldn’t stop a nosebleed” and are perfectly represented by East Carolina. The Pirates were at the bottom in nearly every defensive statistic and were joined by three other C-USA members in the bottom 20.

In other words, expect a lot of 50-45, four-and-a-half hour conference games, and don’t expect anybody below Southern Methodist to be on your radar in November.

  1. Houston
  2. UCF*
  3. Southern Mississippi
  4. Tulsa
  5. East Carolina
  6. Southern Methodist
  7. Marshall
  8. Texas-El Paso
  9. UAB
  10. Memphis
  11. Tulane
  12. Rice

8 ) MAC

How many other College Football Previews will give you a Charles Nelson Reilly reference?

This season, the MAC might as well be renamed “meh.” Their will be its usual creative play-calling, but don’t expect any teams from this league to make a miracle run to the top 25.

  1. Western Michigan
  2. Northern Illinois
  3. Toledo
  4. Ohio
  5. Bowling Green
  6. Miami (Ohio)
  7. Eastern Michigan
  8. Central Michigan
  9. Kent State
  10. Buffalo
  11. Akron
  12. Ball State
  13. Massachusetts

7) Mountain West

The Mountain West Conference is another league which had been hurt by the rash of realignment. Not long ago, the MWC was on the verge of gaining acceptance as the “7th BCS conference,” now it is essentially becoming what the dying WAC was three years ago.

The MWC is now much more akin to other small conferences like the MAC rather than even the weakest BCS auto qualifying conference like the Big East.  Just look at how this conference did in bowl games last season.  TCU (now gone) downed Louisiana Tech 31-24 in the Poinsettia Bowl and Boise State (now gone) trashed Arizona State 56-24 in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.  The three losses are far more telling; Wyoming lost to Temple (then in the MAC), Air Force lost  to Toledo (MAC) and San Diego State lost to Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt).

As alluded to, the conference loses TCU to the Big 12 ,  adding to the defections of BYU and Utah a season ago.  Worse yet, it is scheduled to lose Boise State and San Diego State to the Big East next year.  Cementing the transition to being the new WAC is the fact that former WAC members Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada joined the league  for 2012, and next year, the Mountain West is scheduled to add two more WAC teams in San Jose State and Utah State.

  1. Boise State
  2. Nevada
  3. Wyoming
  4. Fresno State
  5. San Diego State
  6. Colorado State
  7. Air Force
  8. Hawaii
  9. UNLV
  10. New Mexico

6) Big East

Here’s another conference in transition.  This year, West Virginia left and Temple re-joined.  Next year, Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and UCF will join. 2014 will see the departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and 2015 will see the addition of Navy.  But for 2012, you can expect one bit of consistency…This conference hasn’t produced a team with fewer than 3 losses in three of the last four seasons.  Even when Cincinnati emerged with a 12-1 record in 2009, the Bearcats were routed by Florida in the Sugar Bowl after head coach Brian Kelly had already left for Notre Dame. In other words, nobody in this conference will legitimately be in the Top 20 in December.

  1. Louisville
  2. South Florida
  3. Rutgers
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Temple
  7. Connecticut
  8. Syracuse

5) Pac-12

Ironically, it is the weakness of this conference which will make it appear to be so strong. USC, Oregon, Utah, and Stanford could all finish the regular season 11-1, thanks to the lack of depth in this league. This is also the reason why USC will be under-rated, despite that if healthy, they likely will be the best team in the country, and certainly the team not in the SEC.

  1. USC
  2. Oregon
  3. Utah
  4. Stanford
  5. Washington
  6. UCLA
  7. California
  8. Arizona
  9. Washington State
  10. Oregon State
  11. Arizona State
  12. Colorado

4) ACC

In what proves to be a tradition, the ACC is incredibly over-rated. There are a lot of people out there who think Florida State, Clemson, and/or Virginia Tech are BCS Championship quality teams. They aren’t.  While all three of these teams are legitimate big-bowl contenders, they are not championship teams. The ACC is one of the big reasons why there is a perception of “East Coast Bias” in the sports media; every year we get told one of these teams will win it all, and they never do.

  1. Florida State
  2. Clemson
  3. Virginia Tech
  4. North Carolina*
  5. Georgia Tech
  6. Virginia
  7. North Carolina State
  8. Miami (Fla.)
  9. Wake Forest
  10. Boston College
  11. Maryland
  12. Duke

3) Big 12

The Big 12 has six legitimate football teams, a wildcard in Texas, and three schools who pad everybody else’s schedules.  The Big 12 will once again operate as 10-team league as it continues to explore options to expand back to 12 teams.  This means the league will play a round-robin regular season schedule, which will make this league interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is its own strength.

The strength of this conference is a far cry from where it appeared the Big 12 would be just two years ago.   It wasn’t that long ago that this league looked ready for extinction in the uncertainty after the defections of Nebraska and Colorado in 2010.   Now, even after losing Texas A&M and Missouri, the Big 12 traded up by getting TCU and West Virginia; both of those schools are among the six that figure to compete for the conference title.

  1. Oklahoma
  2. West Virginia
  3. Kansas State
  4. Oklahoma State
  5. TCU
  6. Baylor
  7. Texas
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Iowa State
  10. Kansas

2) Big Ten

For the real story in the Big Ten, just look toward Columbus. The dawn of the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State may just do the same for the leviathan known at the  Big Ten as it did for the SEC. In other words, perhaps Meyer’ball will turn Big Ten offenses into something watchable rather than the plodding leviathans of the Paterno era.

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Michigan
  3. Michigan State
  4. Nebraska
  5. Ohio State*
  6. Iowa
  7. Purdue
  8. Penn State*
  9. Northwestern
  10. Illinois
  11. Indiana
  12. Minnesota

1) SEC

Pope Urban I has moved the Vatican of College Football from Gainesville to Columbus.

The Post-Urban Meyer SEC is the best conference in college football. From the day Pope Urban I landed in Gainsville, the SEC transformed into a juggernaut which has won the last six BCS titles. Everything changed when Urban Meyer took his coaching talents to Gainesville.

It’s almost heresy now in college football to point out the days when nobody, and I mean NOBODY thought the spread offense would thrive in the SEC.  But it didn’t take long for Pope Urban I to win a host of apostles. Within a couple of years, the SEC was no longer a league of jurassic, knuckle-walker offenses and defenses which came with their own coroner.

In 2006, only one team in the league averaged more than 30 points per game. Four years later, that number had increased to seven, and ten averaged 29 or better.  It happened because those teams all used some sort of spread offense. Even the cro-magnon leather helmets in Tuscaloosa dabbled in something other than a tailback-based attack.

This is the bottom line. The SEC has more talent and more good coaches.  It’s that combination that makes this league a serious contender to win a seventh BCS title.

  1. LSU
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. South Carolina
  5. Vanderbilt
  6. Arkansas
  7. Auburn
  8. Florida
  9. Mississippi State
  10. Texas A&M
  11. Missouri
  12. Tennessee
  13. Mississippi
  14. Kentucky

Overall Rankings

  1. USC
  2. LSU
  3. Alabama
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Oregon
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Georgia
  8. Florida State
  9. South Carolina
  10. Michigan
  11. Vanderbilt
  12. Arkansas
  13. West Virginia
  14. Michigan State
  15. Clemson
  16. Kansas State
  17. Nebraska
  18. Ohio State*
  19. Oklahoma State
  20. TCU
  21. Auburn
  22. Virginia Tech
  23. Florida
  24. Utah
  25. Boise State
  26. Stanford
  27. Baylor
  28. Texas
  29. North Carolina*
  30. Georgia Tech
  31. Mississippi State
  32. Washington
  33. Notre Dame
  34. Louisville
  35. Houston
  36. Navy
  37. UCF*
  38. South Florida
  39. Iowa
  40. Southern Mississippi
  41. Louisiana-Lafayette
  42. Western Michigan
  43. Northern Illinois
  44. Florida International
  45. Purdue
  46. Nevada
  47. Toledo
  48. Penn State*
  49. Rutgers
  50. Wyoming
  51. Arkansas State
  52. Virginia
  53. Ohio
  54. Bowling Green
  55. Tulsa
  56. Pittsburgh
  57. Fresno State
  58. Cincinnati
  59. UCLA
  60. San Diego State
  61. Texas A&M
  62. Northwestern
  63. California
  64. Illinois
  65. Missouri
  66. North Carolina State
  67. Miami (Fla.)
  68. Tennessee
  69. Arizona
  70. Wake Forest
  71. Miami (Ohio)
  72. Washington State
  73. Texas Tech
  74. San Jose State
  75. Louisiana Tech
  76. East Carolina
  77. Louisiana-Monroe
  78. Iowa State
  79. Oregon State
  80. Colorado State
  81. Utah State
  82. North Texas
  83. Arizona State
  84. Western Kentucky
  85. Air Force
  86. Southern Methodist
  87. Mississippi
  88. Temple
  89. Kentucky
  90. Indiana
  91. Boston College
  92. Connecticut
  93. Marshall
  94. Army
  95. Eastern Michigan
  96. Syracuse
  97. Hawaii
  98. Brigham Young
  99. Troy
  100. Central Michigan
  101. Texas-El Paso
  102. Minnesota
  103. Colorado
  104. Maryland
  105. Kent State
  106. Middle Tennessee
  107. Duke
  108. Kansas
  109. UAB
  110. Idaho
  111. New Mexico State
  112. Buffalo
  113. South Alabama
  114. Akron
  115. Memphis
  116. Ball State
  117. Florida Atlantic
  118. Tulane
  119. UNLV
  120. New Mexico
  121. Georgia State
  122. Rice
  123. Texas-San Antonio
  124. Massachusetts
  125. Texas State-San Marcos
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7 responses

29 08 2012
J-Dub

Reblogged this on Sports Blog Movement.

29 08 2012
Matt Lawton, Hero to the AAC

So – on this overall list – you have Minnesota at #102.

I stopped reading the list after that, but need some further clarification – did you mean the Vikings or the Gophers at #102 in the NCAA power rankings?

29 08 2012
J-Dub

This referred to the Gophers. I’m fairly certain the Vikings could beat Indiana.

29 08 2012
Jsportsfan

I was hoping for a Artie Johnson cameo. Gong show and all. I would personally gong the Big East and ACC. Stick to basketball boys.

17 09 2012
ChrisHumpherys (@SportsChump)

You had me at Charles Nelson Riley, then lost me at Urban Meyer.

Gators 8th in conference? I think not, sir.

17 09 2012
J-Dub

Yeah, but you’ve got to realize that 8th in the SEC is like 14th nation-wide.

3 12 2012
The Dubsism 2012-2013 College Football Bowl Predictions – The How Wrong We Were Edition « Dubsism

[...] we made the original prediction (August 30th, 2012). Bowl matchup predictions were made based on our conference finish predictions and traditional bowl contractual [...]

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