2012 Preseason College Football Rankings:
1. USC (7): The Trojans have more returning skill players than almost anybody in the country and are likely the team to beat in the preseason. Quarterback Matt Barkley is one of the leading contenders for the Heisman Trophy. Couple that with a recruiting class that has three 5-star recruits and 10 4-stars and the Trojans are the team to beat next season.
2. LSU (16): LSU may have more talent than anybody in the country and is a quarterback away from possibly being No. 1.
3. Alabama (1): The Crimson Tide have certainly jumped up a spot or two in the rankings due in part to the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Alabama is the defending national champion and has a great shot to repeat next season. The Tide have three 5-star players who have a chance to make an immediate impact next season and also 14 4-stars who will certainly get a look.
4. Oregon (15): The loss of LaMichael James will hurt, but the Ducks have a lot of talent coming back and a solid recruiting class.
5. Georgia (19): Georgia made a climb up the rankings with a solid recruiting class led by the stud offensive tackle, John Theus. Theus is a 5-star recruit who is a top 25 recruit overall. The Bulldogs have a chance to contend for the SEC title and are the favorite along with South Carolina in the SEC East heading into 2012.
6. Oklahoma (10): The Sooners also return a lot of talent and have a top recruiting class joining them.
7. Florida St. (8 ): Once again, the Seminoles have a Top 10 class and will be ranked in the preseason top 10 in all major polls. They have signed the top two defensive tackles in the country, both of whom rank in the top seven overall. Florida St. also has 10 4-star recruits to go along with them. One thing is certain, Florida St. will be loaded on the defensive side of the ball.
8. South Carolina (18 ): Another solid recruiting class for Steve Spurrier to go along with some excellent returning talent.
9. Arkansas (32): While the class is not great, the talent coming back is for Bobby Petrino.
10. Michigan St. (41): The Spartans will contend for a Big 10 title in 2012.
11. Nebraska (25): A Top 25 recruiting class for Nebraska will possibly give them a top 10 team in 2012.
12. Michigan (6): The Michigan Wolverines had a dynamite recruiting class, headlined by 5-star recruits Kyle Kalis and Ondre Pipkins. They also have 10 4-star recruits to go along with the 5-stars. A few of these players have a chance to make an immediate impact for Michigan. Quarterback Denard Robinson will be back for his senior season and with Brady Hoke in his second year, the Wolverines may contend or a Big 10 title.
13. West Virginia (47): The offensive talent coming back at the skill positions puts West Virginia in the top 15.
14. Kansas St. (NR): Quarterback Collin Klein will be coming back and gives Kansas St. a shot at a Big 12 title.
15. Wisconsin (NR): Montee Ball and James White give Wisconsin a top 15 team.
16. Stanford (5): The Cardinal make a jump up the rankings due to their excellent recruiting class. That class is headlined by three 5-star recruits including two of the top tackles in the country. Even without Andrew Luck, Stanford should still be able to contend in the Pac 12, even though they are still a step behind USC and Oregon.
17. TCU (36): The Horned Frogs are joining the Big 12 and have the talent to contend.
18. Clemson (13): Solid recruiting class and a chance to contend with Florida St. for the ACC title.
19. Ohio State (4): Urban Meyer came away with one of the best recruiting classes in history for Ohio St., and he did it in only a few months. The Buckeyes are very young and have a bowl ban, but have two of the best defensive linemen in the country coming in along with a lot of other talent. It won't be long until Ohio State is contending for the National Championship.
20. Virginia Tech (21): Another solid recruiting class for Frank Beamer with some talent coming back.
21. Notre Dame (22): Signing Gunner Kiel gives Notre Dame a top 25 ranking and a Top 25 class.
22. Texas (2): The Longhorns may have the most talent who will see immediate playing time next season. That class is led by the best running back in the country in Johnathan Gray who ranks No. 5 overall along with fellow 5-star defensive tackle Malcolm Brown. Throw in 15 4-star recruits and a lot of talent coming back, which allows Texas to jump into the top 25.
23. Boise St. (NR): Don't ever count out Boise St.; they enter their final season in the Mountain West.
24. Louisville (39): The Cardinals have a lot of young talent to build on.
25. Oklahoma St. (31): The Cowboys lost a lot but still have some talent remaining and a solid recruiting class.