Rivals Rundown 2013 College Football Preseason Top 30 Teams

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Welcome to our inaugural Rivals Rundown Preseason Top 30 Teams!!!  We are excited to present this the morning of the 2013 College Football Season.  We have published our Top 5 teams for all of the BCS Conferences and this is the culmination of all that research.  This is not our prediction of how the season will end, this is where we rank the teams as of today.  Throughout the season we will visit our Top 30 and adjust as we see fit.  Sometimes the whole thing might get flipped upside down but that’s College Football.  Here is our Rivals Rundown 2013 College Football Preseason Top 30!!!

1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Oregon Ducks
3. Ohio State Buckeyes
4. Georgia Bulldogs
5. Clemson Tigers
6. Louisville Cardinals
7. Texas Longhorns
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers
9. Florida State Seminoles
10. Oklahoma State Cowboys
11. South Carolina Gamecocks
12. LSU Tigers
13. USC Trojans
14. Stanford Cardinal
15. Florida Gators
16. Texas A&M Aggies
17. Oregon State Beavers
18. TCU Horned Frogs
19. Boise State Broncos
20. Oklahoma Sooners
21. Michigan Wolverines
22. Northwestern Wildcats
23. Arizona State Sun Devils
24. Fresno State Bulldogs
25. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
26. Baylor Bears
27. Washington Huskies
28. Northern Illinois Huskies
29 Miami Hurricanes
30. Ohio Bobcats

2013 @B1GFootball Conference Preseason Top 5* Predictions

 

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When the Big Ten realigned and added Nebraska, it appeared that they would be the most complete conference behind the SEC.  However, in a flash Penn State imploded as a football powerhouse, Ohio State was faced with violations, Michigan appeared to be in a longer rebuilding process and Michigan State couldn’t overcome the larger hurdles.  This left Wisconsin to go for 3 consecutive B1G Titles, a feat that seemed unbelievable, then they lose their coach to the SEC.  So where does this leave the conference now…  The B1G has huge upside this year but the depth of the conference is questionable and could haunt a potential BCS contender.  Without further discussion, let’s get too it… Here is the Rundown for the Top 5* Teams in the B1G Conference for 2013!

 

1. The Ohio State Buckeyes 11-1 (Leaders Division Champion)
Last season the Buckeyes escaped two overtime games against Purdue and Wisconsin with victories, they beat Michigan by 5 and slipped by Michigan St. by one point and found themselves with a perfect season, normally that would be one heck of a season but without the chance to prove themselves against Alabama, they enter the 2013 season with unfinished business. Ohio State has reasons to believe that this year will be no different, they get help with an offense that returns 9 starters and a schedule that features the football powerhouses of Buffalo, San Diego St, and Florida A&M.  They also get Wisconsin and Penn State at home before getting to a November that has 3 of 4 games on the road, with a (don’t laugh) much improved Indiana program as the only home game.  We like the chances of Ohio State playing for a National Title, but feel like they will slip up and lose one game before playing for a B1G championship and don’t see them making the BCS Championship Game.

 

2. University of Nebraska Cornhuskers 11-1 (Legends Division Champion)
The Cornhuskers have finished with only four losses for the last 5 seasons, yet if you are a Nebraska fan, you can’t be satisfied with anything, especially with an ending last year that featured one of the most embarrassing losses, on one of the biggest stages in school history.  If there was a year for a program looking to prove that they have officially returned to the main stage this is it for the Huskers.  They have an offense that is going to score and score often to keep them in every game and will blowout it’s lesser opponents.  The questions remain on defense where they have to replace 8 positions with a collection of new faces and juco transfers but with a schedule that is lined up for them to be 8-0 with a match-up with Michigan, we like the Huskers to return to the B1G title game and this time, they will show-up.  Look for the Huskers to be in a BCS game and maybe a trip to Pasadena.

 

3. University of Michigan Wolverines 9-3
We like the look of Michigan, they have the right schedule featuring home games against Notre Dame, Indiana, Nebraska, and Ohio State.  We like what their coach Brady Hoke is putting together in Ann Arbor, with solid recruiting and playmakers on both sides of the ball, but we don’t like them on the toughness meeter…meaning they have to replace too many starters within the trenches and we see them getting better and improving from the 8-5 season they had last year, but talks about them playing for a B1G championship or a BCS game will have to wait another year.

 

4. Northwestern Wildcats 9-3
Ok, this just feels weird.  We’ve now picked Northwestern before Wisconsin, Michigan St and Penn State… what the #*$% is going on here!  So, last year Northwestern proved that they could play with everyone!  They had no bad losses and came within a couple of touchdowns of having a 10 win regular season, this year Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats might hit the double digits again with a bowl win and easily could prove to be the number four team in the conference overall.  They return a solid and exciting group on offense and have enough talent and returns on defense to hold off it’s competitors.  We like the idea of back to back 10 wins for this Northwestern team and maybe their best season yet under coach Fitzgerald.

 

5.  Indiana University Hoosiers 9-3
This is a hard pick, this might be a surprise and this might be overreaching but in making preseason predictions, sometimes you have to take a bold step out and look for a program to turn a corner.  This might be our best pick and it could be our worst but we are picking Indiana as the fifth, that’s right fifth best team in all of the B1G conference this year.  Looking backwards first, Indiana finished 4-8, which if you factor close games that could’ve swung in their direction with a little more experience, they could’ve ended easily at 7-5, if that would’ve happened, we think everyone would be talking about them turning the corner this year, like they are with Northwester, as a football program and coach Kevin Wilson as the real deal, so we are.  If they make it past a couple of tough home games early against Bowling Green (yes, an early game against a good MAC team looking to prove something will be tough) and Missouri, look for a 4-0 record going into a home game against Penn St, where a win could put them on the map.  Make no mistakes, we are not picking them to win the conference but we think that Wilson has the pieces he needs at the right time to make a surprise run and put together a great season for the Hoosiers.

 

6. Michigan State Spartans 8-4
So this is just crazy…We have completed our top half of the B1G conference and no Wisconsin and no Penn State but Michigan State deserves this spot!  Last year they lost 4 of their last 7 but they played well in all of those games, suffering only a bad loss in OT against a down Iowa team.  This year they return leadership on both sides of the ball with 14 starters coming back for the Spartans, they have a schedule which has no Wisconsin, no Ohio State, and no Penn State and they will be in every game till the end.      Don’t be surprised if Michigan State finds themselves in the race for the legends division, we wont.

2013 Top 5* @TheACCFootball Conference Predictions!

ACC LogoAtlantic Coast Conference Preseason Top 5* Rundown

The ACC this year is a tale of two stories, the Atlantic Division where we find a battle between two (outside) National Championship contenders and the Coastal Division where we find a battle between two storied programs trying to return to a National Championship mold.  The ACC welcomes two additional programs in Pittsburgh and Syracuse in it’s expansion to a 14 team field.  The season kicks-off like a Fast and the Furious opening scene, with Clemson playing host to the Georgia Bulldogs, in a game that will have BCS implications.  Meanwhile down in Atlanta, Alabama’s Pro-Football Team known as the Crimson Tide roll into town to face-off with Frank Beamer’s Hokies who will be looking to see if they can keep up with the best for four full quarters of football.  Is it August 31st yet?  Here’s the ACC Rivals Rundown:

1.  Clemson University Tigers 11-1 (Atlantic Division Champions)

We have a hard time here at the RR believing in the Clemson Tigers, but with 13 returning starters between defense and offense led by one of our Heisman Trophy contenders in QB Tajh Boyd, this year we are going all in on the Tigers.  Standing in the way of Clemson is a schedule that starts right out of the gate with Georgia coming into Memorial Staduim, a game that will determine if we are talking about a National Title run or just an ACC Title run.  We like the Tigers in that game and see them coasting until they match-up with Florida State on Oct. 19th, in the game that will determine the Atlantic division.  After that If they can survive a trap game against Georgia Tech at home, Clemson could find themselves playing South Carolina in the final game of the season with the national media talking BCS, BCS, BCS.

2.  Florida State Seminoles  10-2        

The question surrounding FSU this year is:  Reload or Rebuild?  After a season that could’ve seen the Seminoles playing for a National Championship, Jimbo Fisher is looking to replace his playmakers on both sides of the football.  The schedule sets up nicely for a young team looking to develop before they match-up against the heavyweights of Clemson, Miami, and Florida.  FSU should be 6-0 before going into the game with Clemson but Clemson has too much experience and gets the Seminoles at home, which is the difference maker.  The answer is, they will be reloading this year and if leaders can emerge on offense watch out for the Seminoles to be in the national picture.

3.  Virginia Tech Hokies 10-2 (Coastal Division Champions)

Last season the Hokies found themselves struggling to become bowl eligible but after winning their final two regular season and beating Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl, the Hokies finished the 2012 campaign on a high note.  Since then, they have revamped the offensive coaching staff and are poised to return to the double digit win total that they have become accustom to in Blacksburg.  The Hokies find themselves with the most difficult opening game in all of college football, a neutral site game against the defending Champs, Alabama.  If they survive that test and take away the positives, Virginia Tech could go on an eight game winning streak setting the scene for a coastal division match-up against the Hurricanes, even if they lose that head to head, we still like Virginia Tech to meet Clemson for the ACC Championship and the chance for a BCS return.  In true Beamer fashion, it will rely on defense and special team, while hoping the offense isn’t too far behind.

4.  The University of Miami Hurricanes 9-3

It’s been too long since the “U” dominated college football with it’s on and off the field actions, as we look at our 2013 predictions it’s tempting to say that they have arrived and this is the year…however, it’s not.  On the bright side, the program is about to turn the corner and starting being in the conversation once again.  The ‘Canes return a what will be one of the most exciting offenses in college football but still have a lot of work to do on the defensive side of the ball.  The defense gave up a school record in points last year and have only 4 starters returning (which could be a good thing).  They have a tough schedule with Florida and Florida St, but could be playing for a Coastal Division Championship when they meet Virginia Tech.  We like Miami to be playing for a National Title in 2015 and a BCS shot in 2014 but this year they will be finishing behind the Hokies.

 5.  Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets  8-4

Last year Georgia Tech had a bad schedule, why?  They faced what turned out to be a bad Virginia Tech before they knew they were bad and lost in OT.  Then they lost, again in OT, a couple of weeks later to an slightly above average Miami team.  Those two losses deflated their sails and they couldn’t recover until they found themselves at 3-4 and yet somehow Georgia Tech still found themselves beating USC on New Year’s Eve in the Sun Bowl.  This year they bring back 16 starters, 11 which are seniors, they start with Elon and Duke then could easily find themselves at 2-3 before they finish the season at 8-4.  With the experience The Yellow Jackets are bringing back, they get our “Outsiders” chance to surprise everyone and win the division if they can get through a three game stretch of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Miami.

6.  University of North Carolina Tar Heels & N.C. State Wolfpack

Ok, here’s the deal and we’re not going into a long thing here, honestly, we don’t like either of these teams, N.C. State with it’s new coach and a North Carolina team that hasn’t been able to live up to it’s recruiting.  So here they sit, the problem is North Carolina was 9 points away (total) from going 10-1 in a year that they were not bowl eligible and N.C. State has a schedule that has 9 wins if they are on the same page by August 31st.  So, with both of them being dangerous, both having some nice upside, here they both sit tied for the final place in our Rivals Rundown of the ACC.

American Athletic Conference Preseason Top 5 Prediction


American Athletic Conference

This by far and away is the easiest conference in the country to pick the preseason favorite to win!  Alabama in the SEC is a solid pick but it’s not a pure runaway pick like this newly created conference.  Now that the Big East is no longer a college football conference we find ourselves with a mash-up cast of characters that spreads from New Jersey to Florida to Texas to Ohio.  The conference which will see another makeover next year will have some good football but no great Rivalry’s.  With that being said, here is my predicted order of finish of the Top 5 for the new American Athletic Conference!

1. Louisville Cardinals 12-0

Louisville is faced with a very interesting conundrum, is the season a failure if they don’t go undefeated?  The answer to this question is YES!  Look, after coming off of an 11 win season last year, one that ended in a smackdown of a national power in Florida at the Sugar Bowl, Coach Charlie Strong is ready to show us his best Urban Meyer at Utah impersonation, go undefeated, play in another major bowl (not the national title, even if they go undefeated) and see if he can pass up a major football power like USC knocking on your door.  Led by an experience QB, Teddy Bridgewater, the Cardinals have 7 home games and then only travel to Kentucky, Temple, South Florida, Connecticut, and finishing with their toughest road game, Cincinnati.  Like we’ve seen before, the last game could be the trap game that keeps them out of back to back BCS Bowl appearances.  With that being said, the Cardinals will finish undefeated, and end up an another BCS game.

 2. Cincinnati Bearcats 11-1

Normally, I hate picking first year coaches or first year QB led teams to go one game away from a perfect season but Cincinnati might be the perfect storm this year.  With Tommy Tuberville coming from a successful stint at Texas Tech to Nippert Stadium, this team could easily run the table setting up a clash of “surprise” to the national media unbeatens, when the meet up with Louisville on Dec. 5th.  Cincinnati has a couple of B1G hurddles early on with Purdue and Illinois (both programs are down) then they will have a tough road match up with USF and Rutgers, if they pass those tests look for QB Brendon Kay and the Bearcats to be ready to play in a better bowl then last year.  The Oddsmakers have them at over 9.5 wins for a +120, I’ll take it.

 3. University of Central Florida Knights 9-3

The Knights are ready to make the move after a successful end to their stay at Conference USA with the possibility of being the dark horse in the new AAC.  The have the coach, George O’Leary going into his 11th year at UCF, they return solid starters on offense led by QB Blake Bortles who threw for over 3,000 yards last season, and they return enough experience on defense to be dangerous.  The only problem, schedule.  The Knights have early games against Penn State and South Carolina, they then have to travel to Louisville before the schedule opens up with 4 of 6 home games.  I’m looking at a team that will sit 3-3 to go 6-0 at the end of the season with a chance for back to back double digit wins in a bowl ending appearance.

 4. Rutgers Scarlet Knights 8-4

For a brief moment in time last year, Rutgers where the talk of the town.  They had one loss, a new coach, and looked like maybe just maybe they could make a BCS game, then a loss to Pitt and Louisville ended it all.  This year it’s a tough call for the Scarlet Knights, my heart wants to say that they will compete for a title but with Central Florida coming in and with tough road games to Fresno State and Louisville I’m calling for a close but no cigar this year for Rutgers

 5. University of Houston Cougars  7-5

This might be the toughest pick of this top 5, oh wait, yes it is the toughest pick, the reason…no one knows which Houston team is going to show up this year.  Is it the explosive double digit win team or is it the pathetic team that showed up last year, I’m going with something in the middle.  Houston has enough talent returning on offense to score with most of their schedule, the question is how many points will it’s defense give up?  They will try to answer that question in bringing in a new D.C in Dave Gibbs, Gibbs is coming in from the NFL and will install a 3-4 defense.  The schedule plays into Houston’s favor setting up some early victories but then takes a nasty turn with BYU, Rutgers, South Florida, UCF, Louisville, and Cincinnati.  Let’s see which Houston shows up!