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Banned no more: Trojans sit atop CFT’s preseason Top 25

Johnny Carson Carnac

My utter disdain and contempt for any preseason poll notwithstanding, last year I played the role of sight-impaired squirrel to Alabama’s proverbial nut.

Despite being named CFT’s preseason No. 1 around this time last year, the Tide somehow managed to navigate its way through the Curse of Nostradumbass — see Florida, 2010; OU, 2009 — and end the season as BcS champions for the second time in three seasons.

This year, the curse has landed squarely at the feet of the Men of Troy.

Loaded with talent — but not a lot of depth — at nearly every position, and coming off a two-year bowl ban, USC has its sights set on returning to the halcyon days of Pete Carroll — minus the NCAA sanctions of course. While the Trojans are No. 1 in the minds of CFT (and the Associated Press), a case could certainly be made for a handful of other teams as well.

In fact, you could make a solid, reasonable argument for the teams we have at Nos. 2-4 — Oklahoma, Alabama and LSU, respectively — to be the ones sitting atop the preseason rankings instead of USC.  Taking it deeper, a case could be made for a baker’s dozen or more teams to fill out the remainder of the Top 10 as well.

Simply put, there are a lot of really good football teams, at least on paper, at the FBS level in 2012, which makes the meaningless exercise that is any and all preseason polls that much tougher.

So, without further ado… well, one additional ado: for all of Ben Kercheval’s conference-by-conference predictions, please click HERE as the latter did a helluva job doing all of the heavy lifting on this part of our 2012 preview.  And there’s also a place where you can voice your opinion one vote at a time by casting your cyber ballot for who you feel should be the preseason No. 1.

Anyway, with the ado done, below is CFT’s complete Top 25 rankings, with links out to brief snapshots of the season that was and the season that will be.  Now, flame away in the comments section…

1.) USC
2.) Oklahoma
3.) Alabama
4.) LSU
5.) Michigan
6.) Georgia
7.) Oregon
8.) West Virginia
9.) Wisconsin
10.) Florida State
11.) South Carolina
12.) Clemson
13.) Texas
14.) Michigan State
15.) Arkansas
16.) Virginia Tech
17.) Ohio State
18.) North Carolina
19.) Florida
20.) TCU
21.) Boise State
22.) Nebraska
23.) Stanford
24.) Louisville
25.) Virginia

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40 Responses to “Banned no more: Trojans sit atop CFT’s preseason Top 25”
  1. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Aug 8, 2012 4:52 PM

    No flames from me. I can’t say that I 100% agree, but your picks are reasonably sound.

  2. surferone says: Aug 8, 2012 5:03 PM

    Actually that is one of the better lists. Any of the top 4 could be rotated. Both Oregon and Stanford are ranked lower than in most polls, which I believe is correct given the significant departures. No ND is accurate unlike other polls that always put them in their top 25 based on name alone. FSU is probably right, but man have they disappointed the last several years. Nice job.

  3. kozbee says: Aug 8, 2012 5:08 PM

    Out of the top 15 you might have 5 teams right,and in the top 25 maybe 10 right.Don`t quit your day job Taylor.

  4. magoopaintrock says: Aug 8, 2012 5:20 PM

    It’s not how ya start, but how ya finish. (Unfortunately, Oklahoma).

  5. kcrobert10 says: Aug 8, 2012 5:25 PM

    God I hate preseason polls. Just wait till Oct and get a feel for where these teams really are. Cause I can point out Texas and north Carolina took beatings by mizzou last yr and you have them in the top 20 and mizzou isn’t ranked. Plus besides there names what did Florida, Florida st, Michigan, and Texas do to be ranked so high. Also Louisville and Virginia ranked ahead of mizzou come on man where is the love for a team that has had atleast 8 wins a yr for the last 6 yrs. Finally how does anyone seriously place one team let alone two teams ahead of Alabama and Lsu. The sec has won 6 times in a row therefore the best team in the country is in that conference.

  6. stairwayto7 says: Aug 8, 2012 5:26 PM

    What, there aren’t 3 SEC schools in the top 4? Is this a football list or graduation rate list?

  7. whalerpilot says: Aug 8, 2012 5:59 PM

    What are you smoking? I want some. Oklahoma ahead of Alabama or LSU? Oklahoma should not even be ahead of Arkansas talent wise. You pick South Carolina over the Razorbacks based on what? Now if you are talking about girly schedules in the Big 12 then yes Oklahoma might be in the top 10. At least the Coaches Poll show a sense of reality. If this is your day job you are in trouble my friend. 5 SEC teams should easily be in the top 10.

    p.s. USC would not even be favored to win the SEC and Oklahoma would be a middle of the pack team in the SEC West.

  8. polegojim says: Aug 8, 2012 6:01 PM

    Well done JT – OK will crash and burn… but the rest are pretty close!

    Coming off last years dual success… beating Ohio and winning their bowl game… it’s Hokes time to show it wasn’t a fluke.

    GO BLUE!

  9. lovinthatsomanyhateonnd says: Aug 8, 2012 6:11 PM

    lol lovin the hate from surferone…you probably cant name two players on the team and you think they dont deserve to be in the top 25? hahahaha…

  10. 1trojanlove says: Aug 8, 2012 7:20 PM

    Let the Trojan bashing begin….

  11. reclinerqb says: Aug 8, 2012 7:26 PM

    In your SEC rankings you have Arkansas finishing behind Alabama but ahead of LSU, but in this ranking LSU is 10 spots ahead of Arkansas w/the Hogs being all the way down to #15?? I’m confused….

  12. giselleisasucubus says: Aug 8, 2012 8:02 PM

    Here is some news for the SEC jackasses- take a look back at your precious SEC conference record vs. USC…here is the deal. The SEC has good defenses, but USC has never had an issue with anyone from that conference, and they won’t this year when they win the title. They’re loaded. Woods and Lee are going to do damage, and Silas Redd joins Curtis McNeal in the backfield? Good lord, they are going to score A LOT.

  13. thepancreas says: Aug 8, 2012 8:20 PM

    Were you guys drunk, or just throwing darts when you made this list?

    Michigan #5? Really?

    Virginia?

    And Oklahoma #2? This is one of those picks that makes me think you guys don’t even read what you write. Oklahoma’s best WR right now is a transfer from PSU who was at best—-a middle tier Big 10 WR.

    And their OL? They went from having 100+ returning starts, to less than 40.

    And you project them out to be #2?

  14. John Taylor says: Aug 8, 2012 8:42 PM

    “Were you guys drunk, or just throwing darts when you made this list?”

    Why does that have to be an either/or proposition?

  15. dcroz says: Aug 8, 2012 9:35 PM

    giselleisasuccbus:

    “Here is some news for the SEC jackasses- take a look back at your precious SEC conference record vs. USC…here is the deal. The SEC has good defenses, but USC has never had an issue with anyone from that conference, and they won’t this year when they win the title.”

    Um….really? Then explain why Alabama is 5-2 all-time versus the Trojans.

  16. goodfieldnohit says: Aug 8, 2012 11:25 PM

    Texas at 13 is ludicrous.

    It’s a good thing they got that Penn State kicker, because they aren’t gonna sniff the endzone on offense.

    They’ll lose 5 games, but will win the early commitment national title again next year.

  17. Deb says: Aug 8, 2012 11:35 PM

    Preseason polls are a crap shoot, but I share brutusbuckeye2011’s opinion that your picks are sound … and reclinerqb’s confusion as to how Arkansas could trump LSU in your SEC west ranking but fall so far behind them in your national ranking. For what it’s worth, I think you got it right here. I doubt the Hogs sans Petrino will out-perform LSU.

    As to the top four, of course I favor reigning champ Alabama. But LSU is still our toughest competitor in the SEC. The only team that truly scared me last year was Oklahoma, until injuries derailed their season. And anyone watching at year’s end knew USC would start 2012 as the team most likely to stop the SEC’s title run. Any one of those teams or several other contenders could finish the year in the top spot. Can’t wait for kickoff!

  18. norcalirish says: Aug 9, 2012 6:33 AM

    Our schedule has us playing 5 of these teams, including 3 of the top 5. Yikes.

  19. northgateag says: Aug 9, 2012 10:32 AM

    I’m confused.

    CFT has preseason rankings for LSU at #4 and Arkansas at #15. Yet, in the CFT SEC rankings, Arkansas finishes at #2 and LSU at #3.

    Did I miss something in the math?
    These teams do play head to head.

  20. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Aug 9, 2012 12:00 PM

    @ polegoi
    FYI! That team from up north didn’t play Ohio last year.

  21. raulf65 says: Aug 9, 2012 2:47 PM

    And USC vs SEC 17-10 all time. And 4-0 so far this century.

  22. deucez2 says: Aug 9, 2012 3:17 PM

    @goodfieldnohit

    I’m willing to bet whatever you consider an uncomfortable amount of money that Texas doesn’t lose 5 games.

  23. rsmeans says: Aug 9, 2012 4:17 PM

    This is overall one of the poorest list I have seen. Of course the SEC will repeat and the next NC will be either Alabama, LSU or South Carolina in that order. USC and Oklahoma would both be crushed by any of the three SEC teams. Flag football conferences without defenses will never win national championships pure and simple. Both USC and OU were at one time in history elite teams but now they must live on hype alone for many years to come.

  24. poison66 says: Aug 9, 2012 6:30 PM

    Texas at 13??? Lmao!!!!!!!! Then, Oklahoma State nowhere in the top 25??? They will trounce the whorns for the 3rd straight year. This list is a joke……..

  25. brecklbash says: Aug 9, 2012 8:06 PM

    @goodfieldnohit

    Learn what you’re talking about. Texas will have 2 of the top 10 RB’s in the league next year: Malcolm Brown and Jonathan Gray. The Texas offense is also supported by receivers Mike Davis, Jaxson Shipley, and maybe you’ve heard of the Olympic athlete Marquise Goodwin. The hole at the quarterback position will be compensated by aggressive running and short passes to the key receivers.
    As far as defense goes, Texas defense is consistently predicted at top 10 this season. 4 of 7 returning defensive starters are top 71 NFL draft picks this year.

  26. deucez2 says: Aug 9, 2012 8:16 PM

    @poison66

    You lost your two most crucial pieces of the offense last year that kept you in the lead of most games. We all know your 107th ranked defense wasn’t responsible for winning many games. Until your freshman QB settles in and your D proves they can stop someone, let’s tone down the world-beater rhetoric. Don’t take the aggies place as the team that lives with their head in the clouds.

  27. tjg25 says: Aug 10, 2012 12:22 AM

    Michigan at 5 and Wisconsin at 10 yet you have Wisconsin winning the Big 10. Interesting.

  28. beanengelby says: Aug 10, 2012 6:15 AM

    Kansas state ?!?!?!?

  29. londonlion81 says: Aug 10, 2012 10:44 AM

    Notre Dame really should be at least top 3.

  30. omniusprime says: Aug 11, 2012 8:48 AM

    About time for the Trojans to take out the SEC trash that has been foisted upon us the past few years. The worst national championship game ever last year because of too much SEC trash in the game. Good to see the SEC disrespected in this poll, about time pundits stop foaming at the mouth about the SEC trash. Still it’s not who’s on top in preseason but who’s on top at the end that really counts and USC will be there at the top in the end.

  31. pricecube says: Aug 12, 2012 12:14 PM

    @kozbee

    “Don`t quit your day job Taylor.”

    Making preseason top 25 lists like this IS his day job you idiot.

  32. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Aug 12, 2012 1:21 PM

    @pricecube
    It’s comments like your’s that often make me wonder why I read this blog. Kozbee made a tongue in cheek remark and you turn it into a personal attack. Why do you and others like you resort to name calling? Try being nice. It gets you further in life.

  33. florida727 says: Aug 13, 2012 9:42 AM

    kozbee says:
    Aug 8, 2012 5:08 PM
    Out of the top 15 you might have 5 teams right,and in the top 25 maybe 10 right.Don`t quit your day job Taylor.

    ————————————————

    Says the guy who hides behind a screen name and makes no counter-predictions.

    Hard to argue your list, JT. This could very well be the year the SEC streak ends. I’ve actually thought it could end any of the recent years just because league play is so brutal. I’m somewhat surprised anyone could survive it and qualify to even play for the national title. Most conferences have one, maybe two, teams that have a legitimate national title shot. The SEC has typically had several. This year alone three, if not four. Brutal conference. Great for us as fans. Ridiculous for the coaches and players. I’ll root for another title of course, but I’m guessing it stops at a six-pack.

  34. pricecube says: Aug 13, 2012 11:14 AM

    @brutus

    1) Telling someone that they basically suck at their vocation is insulting. That was the gist of kozbee’s comment. That set the tone and I feel no remorse in being rude in response.

    2) Kozbee’s comment was idiotic. Telling an architect singing karaoke “don’t quit your day job” would make sense. That phrase makes no sense here however.

    3) If you are so thin skinned that you find my comment upsetting I would recommend avoiding the internet.

  35. jm583 says: Aug 13, 2012 1:21 PM

    Not having OK State anywhere in the T-25 is insanity. That’s OK give it 3-4 weeks, and they will be.

  36. gtizzo says: Aug 20, 2012 8:14 AM

    Yet another season and another useless preseason poll. Well lets see how badly the AP screwed up this year. USC is talented enough to be number 1 but started the season last year slow. Playing an awful Golden Gopher team to a close game. There toughest games are against Oregon and ND? Stanford could be tough, maybe Washington? USC is my pick to get screwed by the BCS this year. They play in a weak conference and LSU and Alabama benefit from being in the SEC.

    Speaking of the SEC LSU has a new QB, and could have problems in the secondary. Thankfully for LSU there is a serious lack of elite QB talent in the SEC so I’m sure they will be ok. Florida’s QB situation has been ongoing so putting them at 19 is a big reach. Georgia in the top 10, they lose early in the season. Steve Spurrier said it best you want to play Georgia early in the year because most of there good players are suspended. Who am I to argue with the Steve.

    Michigan is overrated at 5. There back 7 on defense should be ok, but there defensive line is young. Also Michigan has only beaten Ohio State 3 times going back to 2000. Ohio State has nothing to play for so that Michigan game is going to be there bowl game. Michigan State is underrated big time in this poll. This team should have a great defense. They have a new QB, but should be fine if they can run the ball well. They also have 4 straight wins over Michigan. Wisconsin should have a good team but can’t win in the postseason. Putting them at 9 is a gift. Ohio State at 17 is because they hired Urban Meyer, otherwise why rank them?

    I would pick on the ACC but it would just be to easy. Oklahoma at 2…REALLY! First they have a new defensive coordinator which takes time to get used too. They also tended to become one dimensional when the ground game wasn’t working. Jones was also prone to throwing pics when pressured. Hasn’t the AP learned that putting Oklahoma that high this early is always a problem? What was Oklahoma’s record last year when giving up 40 points or more?0-3. Oklahoma has a high octane offensive that can’t win a shoot out. Lets hope that defense gets a whole lot better real quick. Texas in the top 15 after an 8-5 season? Maybe they should just change there name to the University of Notre Dame at Texas.

  37. spankygreen says: Aug 22, 2012 11:07 AM

    USC….is there a such thing as strength of schedule in selecting preseason #1 rankings? Any Texas or Oklahoma 5A team would probably go undefeated with the Trojans Powerhouse schedule albeit they may have a little trouble with Oregon or ND. Kinda reminds me of the Boise State team that runs roughshod through less than mediocre teams every season, get lucky in Bowl games and claim to be the best in the country…lol…..USC and all other wanna B’s, run the gauntlet of the SEC each year and get back with me when you want to be a real champ. Anyone can get up for 1 (real) game a year.

  38. hatrhurter says: Aug 22, 2012 3:14 PM

    gtizzo, you do realize that that “new” defensive coordinator is actually their old defensive coordinator and just returning right? also, i would love to know what the average is for a record when giving up 40 points a game. not to say that it matters much. i’m a sooner fan and don’t see them at #2. hell, not even top 5.

  39. hatrhurter says: Aug 22, 2012 3:15 PM

    ps, can’t wait for next year when we get to play TN or even better 2017 when we start playing LSU.

  40. suhdidntstompanyone says: Aug 22, 2012 6:33 PM

    it’s such a joke how much the media loves michigan. remember last season when they played a few teams that no one has ever heard of in the preseason and it took them until the last drive of the game to beat a weak notre dame team and they were ranked 11th?
    denard robinson has never beat michigan state and he never will. he will never do anything in the nfl either. in fact i bet he sustains a bad injury this season. it’s only a matter of time. he’s a little guy and he’s about as reckless with his body as michael vick. tie your shoes punk.

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