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2012 Preseason Magazine Consensus Top 25

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Denard Robinson (and Michigan) are popular amongst the 2012 College Football Preview periodicals (except Phil Steele).
Denard Robinson (and Michigan) are popular amongst the 2012 College Football Preview periodicals (except Phil Steele).

Each off-season we find ourselves twiddling our thumbs and waiting for new arbitrary lists for us to get artificially indignant about. Now that we're reaching that point in time where we have multiple of those from which to aggregate our collective mock outrage, it's time to take a look at how the preview magazines (and other notable forecasting entities) foresee the 2012 college football season playing out. Analysis after the jump:

Rank Consensus Lindy's Phil Steele Athlon USA Today CFB Live
1 USC LSU Florida State USC Alabama USC
2 LSU USC Oklahoma LSU USC LSU
3 Alabama Alabama LSU Alabama LSU Alabama
4 Oklahoma Oklahoma USC Oregon Oregon Oregon
5 Oregon Oregon Alabama Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma
6 Florida State Georgia Oregon Ohio State S. Carolina Georgia
7 Georgia Michigan Texas Michigan Florida State Florida State
8 Michigan Florida State Georgia Georgia Ohio State South Carolina
9 Arkansas Arkansas Wisconsin Florida State Michigan Arkansas
10 South Carolina West Virginia Florida S. Carolina Arkansas Michigan
11 Ohio State S. Carolina Ohio State Texas Texas West Virginia
12 Texas Michigan St. Oklahoma St. West Virginia Georgia Michigan State
13 West Virginia Clemson UNC Arkansas West Virginia Kansas State
14 Wisconsin Ohio State Clemson Nebraska Florida TCU
15 Michigan State TCU UCF Clemson TCU Stanford
16 Clemson Oklahoma St. Arkansas Virginia Tech Wisconsin Wisconsin
17 Oklahoma State Wisconsin Nebraska Wisconsin Oklahoma St. Nebraska
18 Nebraska Virginia Tech Stanford Michigan St. Nebraska Clemson
19 TCU Texas Michigan St. Oklahoma St. Notre Dame Virginia Tech
20 Florida Florida USF Notre Dame Michigan St. Ohio State
21 Stanford Stanford Notre Dame Stanford Stanford Oklahoma State
22 Virginia Tech Kansas State Michigan TCU Boise State Texas
23 Notre Dame Louisville S. Carolina Louisville Clemson Boise State
24 Kansas State Boise State Virginia Tech Boise State Virginia Tech Notre Dame
25 UNC Nebraska West Virginia Washington Kansas State Florida

Woah there. Slow your mindless ESECPINHURRRRR mongering for just a second. College Football Live's poll pretty likely has the most (in terms of sheer numbers) independent voices going into it, so while you may not like where they seed the Buckeyes, it's a collective of talking heads/writers/journos/etc that feel that way, not just some board room of cartoonish super villains who's entire purpose is to carry out Machiavellian complicated Rube Goldberg-editorial mechanisms to get under your skin.

And honestly? Seeing as how Ohio State was a hot mess of a 6-7 football team with a suboptimal secondary who now have to usurp a radically ideologically different way of playing the game offensively, I'm not sure cautious pessimism isn't a whole heartedly terrible approach at this point in time. 7-5/8-4 feels about right to me and that would put Ohio State squarely around the 20's range come season's end. Remember, say it with me now: year two, year two, year two, year two, year two, ...

As far as the rest of the chips go, Phil Steele clearly champions his positioning as a contrarian going in on North Carolina, Ohio State's second opponent of the year, UCF, and Skip Holtz' USF Bulls. I could equally see any or none of these teams mattering in 2012, so we'll have to see if he's on to something or merely grasping at straws.

USC, LSU, and Alabama are pretty unanimously 2012's teams to beat and while each is uniquely flawed, I don't think it's a stretch in the least to assume at least one of those three will find themselves in Miami in early January with pretty much everything on the line. I can't subscribe to the Oklahoma/Florida State madness (particularly given the Sooners' wide receiving corp entirely being suspended, hurt, or on a train to Tunisia), but will concede that the Seminoles' slate is some real Drake fodder (e.g. soft). It'll be extra hilarious when the 11-0 'Noles lose their regular season finale to a 7-4 Florida team at home.

Michigan and Michigan State both have rather large deltas. I'd be willing to wager as of this moment in time that the Wolverines are about what they were last year while Sparty is a bit worse (if you want one huge counter argument to College Football Live's poll, it would be their overrating of them). The consensus of the polls would seem to suggest a Michigan/Wisconsin Big Ten Championship date in Indianapolis.

Any thoughts on the rest? Who's overrated? Who's underrated? How will the Buckeyes and the rest of the B1G fare?