Gotta believe Stanford and Oregon are better tha OSU and CU. OSU potential is all schedule driven (they wont be as good as their record) and Clemson is, well, Clemson and will lose at least 3 this year.
This season, we are trying a new format. The Top 25 is no more. The SEC, with seven straight national championships, will be ranked 1-14. And we’ll have a top ten of non-SEC schools. So without any further conjecture, here we go.
1. Ohio State – With Urban Meyer at the helm, the rest of the Big Ten is playing for second place. Braxton Miller is back with his second year in the system and the Buckeyes schedule is cake. They are the best bet to take on an SEC champion for the big prize.
2. Clemson – The first of the year, when Georgia comes to town, will tell a lot about the Tigers dreams of being in the national title picture. Clemson has a lot of juice back on offense and should be the best in the ACC. But the defense must get better.
3. Stanford – David Shaw has done outstanding work at the Stanford helm, keeping things rolling after Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck. They are physical and talented. Stanford’s toughest games this season are at home on the farm.
4. Oregon – Yes Chip Kelly is gone, but the system is in place and the talent is still there. The NCAA is looming and that could be a distraction. As good as they were last year, the Ducks will be forever kicking themselves for that loss to Stanford.
5. Oklahoma State – The Cowboys rebuilt last season and are now poised to be the class of the Big XII. Two years ago, Oklahoma State nearly played for the national championship. A trip to the BCS could be in the cards to go along with a conference title.
6. Louisville – The Cardinals gained a lot of attention with their romp over Florida in a one-sided Sugar Bowl. Charlie Strong is a standout head coach and Teddy Bridgewater is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks.
7. Notre Dame – A year ago, the Fighting Irish beat Michigan, Oklahoma and Southern Cal. But they were bludgeoned by Alabama 42-14 in a game that wasn’t that close. It was a dream season until the nightmare end. They should be good enough to get nine of 10 in ’13.
8. Boise State – A year after losing Kellen Moore, Doug Martin and a total of 19 starters, the Broncos still managed an excellent year. They should really, really good this season. Chris Peterson has done a phenomenal job at the Bronco helm.
9. Florida State – Jimbo Fisher led the Seminoles to the ACC Championship and an Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois. But they suffered that upset loss at N.C. St. and lost to the Gators. FSU lost a lot, but still has the talent to hit double digit wins.
10. Texas – They had better be good this year, or even the most loyal of Mack Brown’s powerful millionaire buddies will be fed up with this should be juggernaut’s underachieving mediocrity. The Big XII will be down, and the ‘Horns return a slew of starters.
Without a doubt, this is the greatest run that any league has ever been on, chalking up seven consecutive national championships. Last season, there were six schools that were a play away from going to Atlanta to fight for a berth in the BCS Championship Game.
1. Alabama – The Crimson Tide is in the midst of an incredible run, with three of the last four national titles. Alabama has done a phenomenal job recruiting, and they get a break with the schedule this year. The O-Line is the biggest question mark.
2. Georgia – With Todd Gurley, a veteran offensive line and potent passing attack, the Bulldogs should be one of the SEC’s top scoring teams. There are questions on defense and at kicker. If Georgia can come out of September with just one loss, the Dogs are in business.
3. Texas A&M – The question is whether Johnny Manziel be eligible to play? It has been a wild off-season and the build-up for the Alabama game in Week Three is off the charts. Have there been too many distractions this off-season for this talented bunch?
4. South Carolina – Steve Spurrier has made his legacy even greater by leading the Gamecocks to back-to-back 11-2 seasons. JaDaveon Clowney is the likely No. 1 pick and South Carolina looks like a top ten team. They’ll miss the magnificent Marcus Lattimore, especially in Athens.
5. LSU – The Tigers, through stellar recruiting, reload year after year. But LSU lost a ton of talent and will be young on defense, plus tailback Jeremy Hill’s status is shaky at best. It may be nine or ten, not 11 or 12 for the Tigers this year.
6. Florida – A year ago, the Gators had one of the country’s best defenses. But they floundered against Louisville, and a lot of those standouts have moved on to the NFL. Matt Jones could be a breakout star at tailback, and the offense will have to be better for the Gators to contend.
7. Ole Miss – Bo Wallace is one of the best quarterbacks in the toughest league in the land, and he’s got some play-makers around him. The Rebels won’t sneak up on anyone this season. Can they get over the hump against one of the big boys?
8. Mississippi State – This is what expectations after winning more than a school is used to can do for you. Mississippi State won eight games last year and a lot of their fans were disappointed. Dan Mullen has done excellent work. The Egg Bowl will be huge.
9. Vanderbilt – What a job James Franklin has done at the Vanderbilt helm. Last season’s 94 campaign that included wins over Tennessee and Auburn, two of five league wins, was uber-impressive. Vandy has to replace a stellar tailback and play-making quarterback.
10. Auburn – It was All-In for 2010, and the Tigers got it. Now, just three years removed from the national title, Auburn is trying to bounce back from the worst campaign in school history. Gus Malzone has the Tigers reinvigorated.
11. Missouri – The other James Franklin, the Tigers quarterback, if he is healthy could give Mizzou a boost. Dorial Green-Beckham could flourish as a sophomore. Remember, Missouri nearly pulled off an upset at Florida and led Georgia late in the third quarter.
12. Arkansas – Brett Bilemma was an excellent hire for Arkansas, but it figures to take him a year or two to get things going in the right direction with what he wants to do offensively. Last year was an absolute disaster, but there is fresh air in Fayetteville.
13. Tennessee – Butch Jones has the Volunteer faithful juiced up. And that’s nice. But they haven’t played a game yet. Getting to five wins could be a high end mark. This is a team that has serious questions at the skill positions, defense and kicker. The O-line should be strong.
14. Kentucky – Mark Stoops has the Kentucky faithful excited. But the Wildcats have a brutal schedule and they don’t have the top to bottom talent of the top teams in the league. They sure scared the daylights out of the Dogs a year ago.