Discussion

2012's top turnaround candidates

Of this season's non-bowl teams, will Tennessee or Arizona rise highest next year?

Updated: December 9, 2011, 2:03 PM ET
By Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl | Scouts Inc.

Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc. break down all kinds of tape on the nation's top college players while evaluating prospects for the NFL draft. But they don't always agree. So we asked them to take sides in picking which players, position groups and teams they like better in a series of head-to-head debates.

Question: Which non-bowl team from 2011 is most likely to have a breakthrough campaign in 2012, Tennessee or Arizona?

WEIDL: Plenty of big-name programs are staying home this bowl season, and while many are likely to bounce back in 2012, it looks to me like the Tennessee Volunteers are in the best position of all. Yes, the Vols finished 5-7 overall and 1-7 in the SEC, but they had plenty of young players who showed toughness over the course of a brutal schedule and had their overall performance hurt by a number of significant injuries.


MUENCH: I like Tennessee's young talent too, but for me the answer to this question comes down to coaching. The Arizona Wildcats fired Mike Stoops late in the season and brought in Rich Rodriguez. Based on how the roster sets up and the overall weakness of the Pac-12 South, there is real potential for the Wildcats to make a strong run next season.

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