2013 NCAA Football Season Preview

IT’S BACK! After a very lengthy lay-off, the wait is over and the 2013 NCAA College Football season is set to kick off this upcoming Thursday, August 29th, 2013.  After last season’s thumping of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the BCS Title Game, the Alabama Crimson Tide are hoping to three-peat as BCS National Champions.
The Associated Press has named their Top 25 FBS School for the upcoming season, you may agree or disagree but here is what their Top 25 rankings look like, as we go into week 1 of the season:
1) Alabama
2) Ohio State
3) Oregon
4) Stanford
5) Georgia
6) South Carolina
7) Texas A&M
8) Clemson
9) Louisville
10)  Florida
11)  Florida State
12)  LSU
13)  Oklahoma State
14)  Notre Dame
15)  Texas
16)  Oklahoma
17)  Michigan
18)  Nebraska
19)  Boise State
20)  TCU
21)  UCLA
22)  Northwestern
23)  Wisconsin
24)  Southern California
25)  Oregon State
We know for sure that the Top 25 will change several times over the course of the 2013 season, but what the entire nation and college football fan base will be watching are the teams that occupy a top 5 place in the standings, especially come bowl season. Let’s take a closer look at the Top 5 teams, going into the 2013 NCAA Football season.
1) Alabama Crimson Tide
The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off of yet another BCS National Championship and are looking to work their way through another season and into the National Championship game for the third straight year. 
The Tide are a prime example of what a team should look like.  They have depth at nearly every position on both sides of the ball and they are extremely well coached.  One would be foolish to presume that Alabama cannot make their way into the title game and claim victory. 
The Tide have lost a few of their great starters from last season, on both offense and defense to the NFL, but that won’t stop them from remaining ‘the team to beat’. They still have QB A.J. McCarron, RB T.J. Yeldon and WR Amari Cooper, all of which are offensive weapons for Alabama. 
The Tide still have none other than Mr. Kirby Smart as their Defensive Coordinator commanding that always dangerous Alabama Defense. We look forward to seeing what they can do in a very talented and competitive South Eastern Conference this season.
2) Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes are coming off of a perfect 12-0 season with first year State head coach Urban Meyer at the helm. Ohio States success last season came as no surprise to anyone because of Meyer’s accolades. 
Coach Meyer has won 2 National Titles as the Florida Gators Head Coach and is trying his very best to turn BIG 10 powerhouse, Ohio State, into SEC replica and prove to the country that his team can go head to head against any other team. 
The Buckeyes could not compete in a BCS Bowl Game last season because of a suspension, however, this year things are going to be different. If Ohio State can replicate its perfect season from a year ago and go undefeated it could possibly earn them a spot in the BCS National Championship game, or at the very least a guaranteed Rose Bowl appearance. 
QB Braxton Miller broke a school record last season by attaining a total of 3,310 overall yards; watch out for him to have just as good a season with Ohio State as he did last season.
3) Oregon Ducks
The high flying, high scoring, face paced Oregon Ducks earned themselves another Top 5 ranking after coming off of a great season in 2012 which included a victory in the Fiesta Bowl over a powerful Kansas State team. 
The Ducks have lost Football Guru and king of the no huddle offence, Coach Chip Kelly, to the NFL and have promoted Mark Helfrich from Offensive Coordinator to Head Coach. Helfrich shouldn’t have any problems adjusting to the standard Oregon style of play because he is already very familiar with their system and the philosophies of former head coach Chip Kelly. Sophomore QB Marcus Mariota had a tremendous freshman season and really showed the entire nation what he’s capable of. Look for him and RB De’Anthony Thomas to be the spark plugs of that Oregon offence. 
The defensive secondary of the Oregon Ducks can be seen as one of the best in the nation, anchored by Avery Patterson, Erick Dargan, and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.  The Ducks accounted for 22 interceptions last season and look to repeat that success this season. Look for the Ducks to come out with the same pace and tempo we’re used to seeing out of them, and challenge Stanford at the top of the PAC-12.
4) Stanford Cardinal
Stanford is coming off of a very remarkable 2012 season that included a Rose Bowl victory against the Wisconsin Badgers. 
Coach David Shaw has turned The Cardinal into a PAC-12 powerhouse, making them the team to beat in their conference. Stanford went on a real roll after they earned a hard fought win against the Oregon Ducks, on the road last fall, which proved that they were the only team that could hang with the Ducks. Stanford already has an established defensive identity, due to the fact that last season their numbers on that side of the ball spoke for themselves. 
Stanford lost their star RB Stepfan Taylor to the NFL, so they will try to change their heavy and powerful running game to more of a passing oriented offence with QB Kevin Hogan. Everyone in the nation is looking forward to their game on November 7th against the Oregon Ducks because that game will be the tell tale sign of who runs the PAC-12.
5) Georgia Bulldogs
How ‘Bout Them Dogs? The famous phrase coined in the late 1970’s was certainly used several times last year by people that had watched the Georgia Bulldogs play football in 2012. 
The Bulldogs had a very extraordinary season in 2012, which included a trip the SEC Championship game, where they were dealt a heartbreaking loss by the eventual National Champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Georgia did earn a spot in the Capital One Bowl where they handed Nebraska a 45-31 loss. It was hard to look at Georgia last season and say that they didn’t look good because they did, they had a very stern defensive presence and their offence scored a school high 529 points. 
This year the Bulldogs will probably have a tough time replicating the defensive presence they had last year because they lost nine starters from their 2012 team, however, their offence should pick up right where they left off last season because QB Aaron Murray will be returning for his senior season, as well as Sophomore RB Todd Gurley, which will help Georgia’s offence out. 
The Bulldogs open their season with two tough games against Clemson and South Carolina and if they want to remain a highly ranked team, they will have to win both of those games.
Here are some other teams to watch out for in the upcoming 2013 NCAA Football Season:
Louisville Cardinals
 QB Teddy Bridgewater had an unreal season in 2012 and is a legitimate Heisman Candidate in 2013
  They’re coming off a massive Sugar Bowl victory over the SEC powerhouse Florida Gators
Texas A&M Aggies
 Sophomore QB Johnny Manziel was the biggest story of last season, after putting up the numbers he did and then going in and beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa
 They’re coming off a big win against former BIG-12 Rivals, Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl           
Florida State Seminoles
 Had a great 2012 season and finished with a 12-2 record with QB E.J. Manuel at the helm.
 Lost some great starters to the NFL
 Look for true Freshman QB Jameis Winston to live up to the hype and deliver on his expectations
Ole Miss (Mississippi) Rebels
 Had a great recruiting year and brought in a lot of great talent from across the country
 Managed to sign the No. 1 recruit in the nation, DE Robert Nkemdiche.
Here are some notable games to look out for in Week 1 of the 2013 NCAA Football season:
 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Saturday, August 31st, 2013 3:30pm
 Georgia Bulldogs vs. Clemson Tigers
Saturday, August 31st, 2013 8:00pm
 LSU Tigers vs. TCU Horned Frogs
Saturday, August 31st, 2013 9:00pm
 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Saturday, August 31st, 2013 5:30pm
Matthew Kassabian
Twitter: @PassDaKassabian

Author: Matthew Kassabian

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