Most college football teams have just finished up the first half of their season. We figured this would be a good time to see which teams we banked heavily on in the pre-season that have come up a little short so far this year:
#1 Florida State Seminoles (2-3, 0-2 in ACC)
Phil Steel Pre-Season Ranking: #10
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Athlon Sports Pre-Season Ranking: #4
Most prognosticators felt that this was the year for Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles. FSU finished off 2010 by winning 4 of their last 5 including a route of rival Florida 31-7. With the Seminoles seemingly stocked with talent all around the football this was supposed to be the year they returned to National prominence. Unfortunately, things don't always go as scripted and this has not been the year that many fans of the Seminoles had dreamed of. FSU has certainly not been blown out by any teams as their three losses have come by a total of just 20 points but who would have thought that the Seminoles would be 0-2 in the ACC and giving up 35 points per game in conference play?
Key Losses: 9/17 Oklahoma 23-13; 9/24 @Clemson 35-30; 10/8 @Wake Forest 35-30
Biggest Remaining Games: 10/22 vs Maryland; 11/12 vs Miami; 11/26 @Florida
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#2 Texas A&M Aggies (3-2, 1-1 in Big 12)
Phil Steel Pre-Season Ranking: #8
Athlon Sports Pre-Season Ranking: #11
Much like Florida State, this was the year for the Aggies to finally break through. The Aggies finished the 2010 season just about as strong as anybody else in the country. Once Ryan Tannehill was plugged in as their starting QB, the Aggies ran off six straight wins to close out the regular season. The Aggies looked like they were well on their way as half-way through their game with the Oklahoma State Cowboys they were winning 20-3. Then it was time to play the second half and the Cowboys came out and made an improbable comeback to win 30-29. The very next week the Aggies once again took a big lead into half time, this time 35-17 against the fighting Petrino's of Arkansas. Arkansas won 42-38 after the Aggies mustered just 3 points in the second half. Instead of heading into the SEC in 2012 on a high note, the Aggies are poised to whimper in, unless they can turn around their season.
Key Losses: 9/24 Oklahoma State 30-29; 10/1 Arkansas 42-38
Biggest Remaining Games: 10/15 Baylor, 10/29 Missouri, 11/5 at Oklahoma, 11/12 at Kansas State, 11/24 Texas
#3 Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-3, 0-3 in SEC)
Phil Steel Pre-Season Ranking: #36
Athlon Sports Pre-Season Ranking: #27
Last year Dan Mullen and the bizarro Bulldogs were the surprise of the SEC as they went 9-4 overall and finished the season 8-2 over their last ten games. So far this year they've struggled mightily losing all three of their SEC games and struggling to beat Louisiana Tech and UAB. Dan Mullen lost DC Manny Diaz to Texas and another assistant, Mark Hudspeth, left to coach the Louisiana Ragin' Cajun. Maybe those defections have hurt more than we thought they would. One thing is clear and that's the offense just isn't clicking this year. Last year the Bulldogs averaged 215 yards on the ground and this year it's down to 188. But that number is misleading. Against Memphis and Auburn the Bulldogs averaged 321 yards. In four games since? Just 122 and that includes a 200+ yard outing against UAB. Is Tyler Russell the answer to save their season?
Key Losses: 9/10 @Auburn 41-34; 9/15 LSU 19-6; 10/1 @Georgia 24-10
Biggest Remaining Games: 10/15 South Carolina, 11/12 Alabama, 11/19 @Arkansas, 11/26 Ole Miss
#4 TCU Horned Frogs (4-2, 2-0 in the MWC)
Phil Steel Pre-Season Ranking: #11
Athlon Sports Pre-Season Ranking: #15
4-2 is not a bad record by any stretch of the imagination but when you've gone 37-3 over the last three seasons it is a considerable drop off. Before falling to Baylor in the season opener the last non-Top 25 loss TCU had was against BYU in 2007. This year they already have two as they fell to Baylor in the season opener 50-48 and then lost on October 1st to June Jones and the Mustangs of SMU 40-33. If you are looking to point your finger at one side of the football to blame that's easy. It's the defense. In 2010 the defense gave up 228 yards per game and this year they are giving up 391! Another key has been giving up third down conversions and letting opponents extend drives. In 2010, TCU gave up a Mountain West low 24.1%, this year they are giving up 44.6%.
Key Losses: 9/2 @Baylor 50-48, 10/1 SMU 40-33 OT
Biggest Remaining Games: 10/28 BYU, 11/12 @Boise State
#5 Ohio State Buckeyes (3-3, 0-2 in Big Ten)
Phil Steel Pre-Season Ranking: #15
Athlon Sports Pre-Season Ranking: #9
In fairness to the pre-season rankings, the situation with the Buckeyes was very fluid this summer and fall. They lost their Head Coach, their starting QB and have had multiple players suspended (some in addition to the original "Tattoo Five" and some of those five have had their suspensions increased). Ohio State is not known for their explosive offense but this year they've been downright awful at times. Last year the Buckeyes averaged 38 points per game (surprising, huh?) and this year they are down to 24. In the three losses the Buckeyes have had they have managed to score in single digits in two of those games. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes the schedule doesn't ease up as their next two games are against undefeated teams and then they have Penn State and Michigan on the back-end of their schedule.
Key Losses: 9/17 @Miami(Fl) 24-6; 10/1 Mich St 10-7; 10/8 Nebraska 34-27
Biggest Remaining Games: 10/15 @Illinois, 10/29 Wisconsin, 11/19 Penn State, 11/26 at Michigan