It happens every year:
July gives way to August. The summer heat begins to fade. Coaches are told their rankings are due. Coaches tell their SIDs to prepare their rankings. Those SIDs do what they’re told. The rankings are submitted and USA Today publishes them. You get excited because your team is included.
You are stupid.
You are stupid because you think your team has a shot at winning the National Championship this year, as if Nick Saban isn’t out there with a wood chipper just waiting for your hopes and dreams. Don’t feel bad about it -- you can’t help yourself. We’re here to guide you through this.
Every team -- whether it’s obvious or not -- has that one thing that’ll keep them from winning it all. Find out what will hold your team back after the jump.
25. Auburn -- Despite excellent back-to-back recruiting classes, Auburn doesn’t have the depth oh who are we kidding Cam Newton is gone forever and never coming back.
24. Notre Dame -- When you’re panicking over the suspension of Tommy Rees instead of celebrating it... well I think you have your answer, Notre Dame.
23. Florida -- It’s hard for Will Muschamp to make any progress when the ghost of Urban Meyer keeps destroying the program with his awfulness, amirite Sporting News bros?
22. Boise State -- If Kellen Moore couldn’t get the Broncos to the title game, no one is going to. Also, society hates Boise State, so there’s that.
21. Kansas State -- Road games at Oklahoma, West Virginia and TCU, so yeah... no.
20. Virginia Tech -- The Hokies play two Thursday night games this year, which will confuse pollsters into thinking they’re in the Big East. They will be excluded by unlawful association.
19. Oklahoma State -- I’m sure they’ve reloaded just fine, but they can’t replace their soul that Iowa State stole last year. The Cyclones won’t return it until 2015 at the earliest because soul-stealing is a greedy and unforgiving business.
18. Stanford -- Losing one of the best coaches in the country a year before losing the best quarterback in maybe 20 years has a way of decreasing the chances of you being any good.
17. TCU -- It’s their first year in a new conference. They’d be smart to ask Nebraska for transition advice, but the swelling in Nebraska’s head hasn’t gone down enough for them to wake up from the coma. Speaking of Nebraska...
16. Nebraska -- Taylor Martinez treats every pass he throws as if he hates any quarterback who ever threw a decent looking spiral or did other normal quarterback things. Also, Bo Pelini’s rage is without a doubt the fiercest source of energy in college football, and no this is not good.
15. Texas -- I have a working theory that Texas football was broken the night Colt McCoy thought he would survive a rush up the middle against Alabama three years ago by running square into it. And when Saban breaks something, you better believe it stays broken.
14. Clemson -- Giving up 70 points in a bowl game has a way of lingering in a voters mind, kind of like seeing this image.
13. Michigan State -- Sparty gonna Spart, y’all. Simple as that.
12. Wisconsin -- Unfortunately for Bert, some of Wisconsin’s games are played outside the confines of Camp Randall. Bielema has as much success on the road as he does being a decent human being, so there you go.
11. West Virginia -- The Mountaineers are joining a conference where defense is lacking, which should feel familiar. Unfortunately offense exists in every pocket of the Big 12 -- even the team Tommy Tuberville coaches -- and the worlds best gun slinger can’t survive eight straight shootouts.
10. Arkansas -- John L. Smith will accidentally set Arkansas’ football field on fire before leading the team to a National Championship. #HOTPISSCOMINGTHROUGH
9. South Carolina -- 2012 is the year everyone finds out how pivotal Stephen Garcia was to that team. You can replace talent, but you can’t replace Andiambro.
8. Michigan -- Defending Denard Robinson’s horrendously underthrown balls was impossible last year, but the magic that prevented teams from doing so in 2011 has eroded. Also, Brady Hoke is portly, which is relevant somehow we promise.
7. Florida State -- // Goes back to check why they were overrated last year... and the year before... and the year before... and the year before... Seriously when will we learn? Never because Florida State is shiny, and we like shiny things.
6. Georgia -- We’re just gonna go ahead and pretend like Mark Richt is gonna put this all together? Okay good. Had me worried there for a second.
5. Oregon -- They’re gonna lose to a team that has a defensive line that’s too big and too fast just like they do every year.
4. Oklahoma -- On November 17, the Sooners travel north to engage in the drunkest of bar fights with West Virginia. There will only be two winners here -- one of them will be West Virginia and the other is obviously America.
3. USC -- They’re basically one torn ACL away from total and utter hopelessness.
2. Alabama -- Replacing that many starters on defense is always good for a loss or four -- just ask the 2010 Alabama team. Please don’t hurt me black magic voodoo devil Saban.
1. LSU -- It’s true that defense wins championships, but fielding an offense that hates production will result in something like the 2011 season.
Obviously one of these teams has to win it, and if the college football gods have a sense of humor, you know we’re bound for an Arkansas - Michigan State title game. And my word if making love to an idea was possible, we’d throw a Boyz ll Men cd on and show that title game the world.