I made mention of SB Nation's 2012 college football preseason ranking earlier this week, the one in which Bill Connelly didn't rank Nebraska, but went ahead with ranking Texas and Notre Dame despite their poor performances as of late. (Note that our Virginia Tech site, Gobbler Country, wasn't too thrilled with Connelly not bothering to rank them either.)
I am hopeful that by the time next season rolls around SB Nation will do a voting-based Top 25 in which the college sites on our network do something similar to the Blogpoll, and form our own Top 25. That's not certain, mind you, nor has it been mentioned (and maybe it's best that we stick with the Blogpoll instead since it incorporates a lot of fine sites that aren't part of the SB Nation network).
There will be a early 2012 Top 25 from the Blogpoll next week. It'll be interesting to see how that compares with some of the other pundits around the nation, as well as seeing who's going to be the looniest with their ballot (such as, oh, I don't know, ranking the entire SEC ahead of everyone else).
Andy Staples at SI.com has Nebraska at 16th, behind Michigan State (sixth), Michigan (11th), and Wisconsin (12th).
His counterpart at ESPN, Mark Schlabach, (which I'm not linking because of ESPN's irritating need to automatically play video with sound when you load the page because of a need to raise more ad revenue because ESPN is hurting for money, especially after Craig James left to run for office) ranks Nebraska at 13th, behind Michigan State (ninth), Michigan (11th) and ahead of Wisconsin at 19th.
Mike Heguenin at Yahoo Sports has Michigan at eighth, Michigan State at 13th, Wisconsin at 14th, Nebraska 17th, and Ohio State at 18th.
Steven Lassan at Athlon has Ohio State at sixth, Michigan at ninth, Michigan State at 13th, Nebraska 14th, and Wisconsin 19th.
Dave Miller at National Football Post has Michigan State at ninth, Michigan at 14th, Wisconsin at 16th, and Nebraska at 21st. He makes the curious statement that "The Cornhuskers defensive staff a bit after the Blackshirts didn't have the season that many expected." - which one can take to mean that Carl Pelini left because of poor performance, something I haven't heard and can't lend much credence to.
Last but not least is Brett McMurphy at CBSSports.com, who has Michigan 10th, Nebraska 14th, Michigan State 18th, and Wisconsin 22nd.
Throughout the rankings, there are common themes:
- No one expects the Big Ten to compete for a BCS National Title. The highest ranking of a Big Ten team comes from Athlon, with Ohio State at sixth, and Lassan makes it pretty clear that he expects big things from Urban Meyer immediately.
- Nebraska will not win their division. Key reasons - replacing three starters on the offensive line (center Mike Caputo, and tackles Jermarcus Hardrick and Marcel Jones), Taylor Martinez ability (or not) to develop into a consistent passer, and replacing Lavonte David and Alfonzo Dennard on a defense that wasn't so good in 2011. One can't blame the pundits for any of these - they're all very good points.
- I'm surprised by the expectations for Michigan State. They lose Kirk Cousins, Edwin Baker, and B.J. Cunningham, along with star defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. Ya still gotta score points to win games, right?
- LSU is the team most expect to win the 2012 national title as everyone by Miller had them ranked #1. They return nearly everyone with the exception of Jordan Jefferson, and after Jefferson's performance against Alabama, that can only be seen as a good thing by most. Oh, wait, that other quarterback who didn't get to play in the national title game, Jarrett Lee, will be gone too.