Bovada released its college football win total over/unders for 2012. Here are five teams we like to go over their projection.
Tennessee Volunteers [7.5] Despite the Dooley factor, the Vols should be ripe for improvement with 10 returning starters on offense and better fortune with injuries. They could very well crap out at the Georgia Dome, but let’s say Tennessee sweeps their non-conference slate of N.C. State (neutral), Georgia State (H), Akron (H) and Troy (H). If they can beat Missouri and Kentucky at home and win at Vanderbilt, that gets them to seven. They would have to win one of five against Florida (H), Georgia (A), Mississippi State (A), Alabama (H) and South Carolina (A) to get to eight.
Texas Longhorns  Everything is trending up for Texas. Like Tennessee, the Longhorns have 10 returning starters on offense. They also have seven coming back from a Top 10 yards per play defense from 2011. They will be in the second year in systems under both Bryan Harsin and Manny Diaz. There are also several potential regression candidates in the Big 12 (Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kansas State). Texas’ non-conference schedule – Wyoming, New Mexico and at Ole Miss – should be no sweat. Their road games at Oklahoma State, at Kansas, at Texas Tech and at Kansas State are winnable. To get to 10 they must win 1/3 against Oklahoma, TCU (home) and West Virginia (home). That is doable.
Washington State Cougars [5.5] Mike Leach is riding a wave of optimism, with a team trending upward before he arrived. He has the pieces in place to score immediately. With nine returning starters, the defense could make the jump from atrocious to just bad. Leach has missed a bowl game once as a D-I head coach or assistant, in his first year with Kentucky in 1997. Eastern Washington, at UNLV and Colorado should be wins. Leach, playing “chess instead of checkers,” should be able to squeeze out three more wins from BYU (A), Oregon State (A), Cal (H), UCLA (H) and Arizona State (A). Giving Stanford or Utah a game on the road is not inconceivable.
South Florida Bulls [7.5] South Florida is coming off a disappointing 5-7 season, though that is a bit deceptive, as the Bulls went 0-5 after the Notre Dame win in games decided by one score. Their luck should not be as terrible. USF also has the most returning starters in the Big East, with eight back on both sides of the ball. B.J. Daniels is as enigmatic as ever, but he is a senior returning with all of his position players. South Florida has four conference home games this season. If Skip Holtz can pull off a 5-2 record in a Big East that swapped Temple for West Virginia, that gets them to eight.
Wisconsin Badgers [9.5] Wisconsin has a lot of turnover from last season, but those concerns should be mollified by an easy schedule. Their toughest non-conference opponent is Oregon State. Within the Big Ten, three of their road games are against Purdue, Indiana and Penn State. This team will be heavy favorites in 9/12 games. If they win those and go 1/3 against Nebraska (A), Michigan State (H) and Ohio State (H) that is ten.
[Photo via Getty]