Who has shot at a clean slate?
Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma may have the best shots to run the table
Five teams earned first-place votes in the Associated Press preseason Top 25. The Southeastern Conference claimed five of the top 10 spots. There's no guarantee that the 2012 college football season will be a wilder ride than usual, but it isn't very likely that the eventual BCS championship game participants will have a linear path to the title game, either.
In fact, our preseason projections at Football Outsiders indicate we may be in for a season similar to 2007, when shakeups at the top of the poll occurred on a weekly basis. Twelve teams are projected to win between 9.3 and 10.3 games on average, according to our drive-based FEI ratings. There's a 41 percent chance that no one will finish the regular season without at least one blemish.
Upsets are a part of college football. Imbalanced schedules are part of the game as well, which means that even though a number of teams may arrive at a similar record at the end of the year, the projections indicate many paths to that conclusion. We broke down the regular season into three five-week segments and ran our FEI projections of average total wins earned at each point in the year. What follows is how the season might ebb and flow over the next 15 weeks.
Best projected records through Week 5
To see the top projected records for the full regular season, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- Lunt: Gundy lifted restrictions, but too late
- Ex-PSU players support Paternos' lawsuit
- Navy to charge football players in rape case
- Sources: Southern Miss won't renew AD's pact
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CFB content
Expert Takes• Insider: Can Clemson win it all? | Louisville
• Kiper: Top prospects for 2014, by position
• Haney: CFB's top 10 teams based on talent
• Kiper: Top QB prospects for 2014 | RBs | WRs
• Haney: Make-or-break QB prospect scenarios
Post-spring projections• Pac-12: Oregon, Stanford, USC on top
• ACC: Can Clemson win the league title?
• SEC: Bama, South Carolina early favorites
• Big Ten: Surprise winner in Legends
• Big 12: Two-team race for first place
RecruitingNation• Michigan No. 1 in 2014 class rankings
• Luginbill: Answering mailbag questions
• Crabtree: Urban recruits popular draft picks
• Notre Dame, Boise State trending up
• Recruiting updates for Pac-12 teams
• Recruiting updates for Big Ten teams
• Recruiting updates for SEC teams
• Recruiting updates for ACC teams
• Recruiting updates for Big East teams
• Recruiting updates for Big 12 teams
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Travis Haney's blog
Analysis and buzz from around the nation