We are well into the 2012 college football season with some teams having already reached the half-way mark. It is no surprise that Alabama is ranked No. 1, but there are a handful teams including West Virginia, South Carolina, Louisiana Tech and Rutgers that are performing better than expected.
There are also several teams that are disappointing fans, falling just short of expectations or missing the mark by a country mile. We examine five college football teams that have fizzled in 2012.
1. South Florida — Nearly every year, South Florida starts off the season with a bang. What follows is usually a disaster and this year is no exception. Typically, the Bulls lose a key contest and then their confidence is ruined for the remainder of the season. After a 2-0 start the Bulls are now 2-4 and have a week off to prepare for a road game against 5-0 Louisville. That could prove to be a trap game for the Cardinals, but there is good chance that when the trap is sprung, South Florida will be the one ensnared.
2. Boston College — It is a down year for the ACC, a conference that perennially lives in the SEC’s shadow when it comes to football. Boston College is 1-4, with its lone win against FBS Maine. Last week, the Eagles fell to Army 34-31 and face No. 12 Florida State on Saturday. With games against Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and N.C. State to finish out the season, the Eagles will be hard-pressed to improve upon last season’s 4-8 record.
3. Oklahoma State — The Cowboys are in a rebuilding year, but expectations of a good season still abound. Ranked No. 19 in the AP preseason poll, Oklahoma State is 2-2 and still has games left against three ranked Big 12 teams: Kansas State, West Virginia and Oklahoma. What’s more, two teams — Iowa State and Baylor — will not be push overs. The Cowboys need to get some sizzle fast or find themselves outgunned in a progressively stronger conference.
4. Auburn — Up to last week, Arkansas would have been on this list. The Razorbacks have certainly gotten off to a bad start this year, but they gained a measure of redemption by thumping Auburn 24-7 last week. Coach Gene Chizek has a national championship under this belt, but the Tigers are 1-4 and are facing the distinct possibility of missing a bowl this year. That doesn’t sit well in a conference where you’re expected to do well or risk your job as soon as you fizzle.
5. Michigan — The only thing that has fizzled for the Wolverines are the Top Ten expectations of its fans. Those expectations should have been managed better with Alabama scheduled for the first game and Notre Dame for its fourth game. Still, when your top team — Ohio State — is bowl eligible, you want another team to step into the void. At 3-2 and ranked No. 25, the Wolverines can still get to a high-profile bowl game. But, they’ll have to knock off two teams that are performing above expectations — Minnesota and Northwestern — as well as vanquishing Michigan State and Ohio State, two rivalry games that Michigan fans live for.
There are several teams that may make a second-half run and play the spoiler, perhaps even win a major bowl spot. After an 0-2 start, Penn State is 4-2 and looks unstoppable. Like Ohio State, the Nittany Lions are not eligible for a bowl this year. North Carolina State stunned Florida State at home last week and at 4-2 has the momentum to turn the ACC upside down. Ohio opened the season with a win against Penn State in Happy Valley and the 6-0 Bobcats could find themselves cracking the Top 25 as early as next week.