2013 @SECSportsUpdate Football Preseason Top 5* Rundown!

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2013 SEC Football Top 5* Teams Preview

So the saying goes that you save the best for last, so here we are on our last preview of the 2013 college football preseason and we find ourselves in the SouthEastern Conference where the BCS Trophy has now reigned for the past seven seasons.  It’s a streak that has been over-talked about but not and can’t be overstated.  In the modern era of college athletics it’s difficult to believe that one conference could completely dominate the landscape and it seems that 2013 will continue the streak and even more impressive, Alabama is on the verge of four titles in six years…yeah, let that soak in…Alabama with Nick Saban is setting the standard for modern day college football champions.  Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when we are living during the greatest era of something and right now, if Alabama wins it’s forth title in six season and if Saban gets to 100 wins before he gets to 20 losses, that is domination and that is something that others will have a hard time to replicate.  Now to clarify that last point, Saban is currently 68-13, over the last five years he is 66-6!  On that current pace he could hit 100 before 20 but that is still a couple of years away.  So here is our 2013 SEC Top5(maybe6 or7) Rundown:

 

1.  Alabama Crimson Tide 11-1 (West Champions) (Conference Champions)

So after that whole rant about how dominant the SEC has has been and how impressive Alabama’s streak has been, here’s the problem: last year Alabama schedule was less then impressive.  If you take out the three toughest games of the regular season, Michigan, LSU and Texas A&M, the combine record of the Crimson Tide’s opponents was 43-67, that’s nine teams…let that sink in for a moment.  This year the schedule doesn’t change much, they have an opening day game against Virginia Tech, then like last year they have A&M and LSU, if Bama survives those three games they will play in the SEC title game again with an appearance in the final BCS game on the line.  We like LSU to upset Alabama or a trap game on the road to Mississippi State as the only chances for a loss on the schedule.  If LSU had Alabama’s schedule we would be picking them to play for the National Championship but they don’t and so we are taking the Tide to appear once again an in the SEC TItle game but we aren’t ready yet to say they’ll play for a National Title, that prediction is still to come…

 

2.  Georgia Bulldogs 11-1 (East Champions)

Georgia will return with what we believe will be the best offense in the SEC, the question of if they can run the table or overcome Alabama in the title game will be if a young but talented defense can overcome an early and very tough schedule to help Georgia go into the Worlds Largest Cocktail party with only one loss.  If that happens, which we think it will, Georgia will return to the SEC Title game and this time they will be ready to dethrone Alabama.  Disclaimer: We will say this, we picked Alabama to win the conference again, but if this part of the prediction comes true and it’s Georgia vs Alabama we will take Georgia this time.  Which should mean that we should have Georgia as the number one team…but we can’t unseat Alabama, Georgia will have to do it.

 

3. South Carolina Gamecocks 10-2

This is going to be a repeat of last year for the Gamecocks, meaning if South Carolina can get past two teams that could also find themselves in this position in Georgia and Florida they could be undefeated going into a season finally against Clemson.  Last year, they fell pretty hard against Florida after coming off of a loss to LSU this year we like them against Florida but think Georgia will take a win away from the Gamecocks, also if Clemson can be in a position to play for a National Championship when they meet, we like Clemson.  The schedule is easy enough and with a little luck South Carolina could be playing in the SEC Title game but this year we think it’s Georgia’s game to play in.

 

4.  LSU Tigers 9-3

This is why the SEC is still the best conference is the nation, no other number four team in our conference Rundowns compare to the talent of LSU.  LSU was seconds and a couple of scores away from playing in the SEC title game and maybe a National Championship.  This year LSU has the toughest schedule of our top 4 teams in the SEC, they have a tough opening day road game against TCU, they also face Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Texas A&M.  This is the only reason we don’t have LSU higher, we like everything about the team and think that they have what it takes to win a SEC title but the offense and defense will have to improve with losing some key pieces thus leading us to think that LSU will be in the National Championship talk next year after these players have another year of experience under their belt.

 

5.  Texas A&M Aggies 9-3

Before all of the distractions that came in the offseason and before the half-game suspension imposed on Manziel we would’ve taken Texas A&M at 10-2 but now with all of that behind us we are looking at A&M not only to lose to Alabama and LSU but we think they might have a mental “loss” in there too and drop them to this position.  On the field with Manziel leading the offense, the Aggies will have a chance to win any game, other the Alabama (they want blood).  On the other side of the ball, the Aggies have some big holes to fill and that is not a good thing in the SEC.  Look for the Aggies to take a step back in their second year of SEC play but it will be a small step and if Manziel returns next year look for A&M to be in the hunt for a National Championship

 

6.  Florida Gators 9-3

We can’t say enough about the depth of the top 6 teams in the SEC, having Florida ranked as the sixth team in a conference is unreal.  This team at one point last year was thought as the number one team in the country.  For the 2013 campaign, like Texas A&M, (without the off field distractions) Florida will take a small step back as they gain some experience on both sides of the ball.  The defense in Florida was one of the best, top 10 in both points allowed and rushing yards allowed, that’s impressive when playing in the SEC.  This season the defense will need to catch up and while that’s occurring they will need to rely on the offense that ranked last year as on of the more average in the country.  All the top teams in the SEC can beat each other on any given Saturday, Florida in 2013 will be in it but we don’t see them playing for a conference title.

Our @PAC12 2013 Preseason Top5* Rundown

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2013 Pac 12 Conference Preseason Top 5* Rundown

The PAC 12 has quickly risen to the second toughest conference in all of BCS Football.  The diehards of every conference, well at least the major ones, will make an argument for their conference supremacy, so we here at the Rivals Rundown, will make the argument that the PAC 12 is the toughest conference top to bottom…ok not really, but the PAC is clearly the number 2 conference behind the SEC and here is why, welcome to our PAC 12 Conference Top5* Rundown:

1.  Oregon Ducks11-1 (PAC 12 Champions) (North Champions)

No real surprise here to us although it might be to some, considering 7 out of 16 major preseason publications have Stanford winning the PAC 12.  We here at the R&R see it a little different, with the fact that Oregon or Stanford both would’ve been a better show in the National Championship game last year, the only real difference this year, revenge.  Oregon will be like an unstoppable rocket heading directly for Stanford with only a trap game on the road to Washington standing in their way.  That’s right, we’re ignoring road games against UCLA and Virginia, seeing Washington as the only team that could trip Oregon before the Stanford showdown.  Oregon is loaded with 9 returners on offense and 7 returners on defense, with tons of top recruits ready to be plugged into the Ducks system.  We don’t think that Oregon can survive a complete year undefeated but we will be cheering for them if it comes down the stretch and they are the PAC’s best chance to represent in the National Title Game.

2.  USC Trojans  10-3 (South Champions)

If you look around, everyone loves Stanford at this spot, we don’t but we also don’t love USC.  We just think that they are too talented and have too easy of a schedule not to finish 10-3.  Anything less then 10-3, with the roster they have, with a schedule bypassing Oregon and Washington from the north, and home games of Stanford and UCLA, Coach Kiffin better do the right thing and just quit if they can’t reach double digits.  Look for a September match-up with Arizona St. to let everyone know who is in the driver seat for the South Title.  (Secretly we will be cheering for this pick to be wrong and for the Sun Devils to win the South, the PAC 12 and the National Championship…but we do that every year!!!)

3. Oregon State Beavers 9-3 

Sometimes preseason rankings make no sense to us, this is the case with the national media’s treatment of Oregon St.  So, last year the Beavers weren’t on anyone’s preseason radar to have the type of season they produced.  They had solid wins against Wisconsin, UCLA, BYU, Arizona St, and suffered two of their four losses (including the bowl game to Texas) to Stanford and Oregon…this year the Beavers have a non-conference schedule featuring Eastern Washington, Hawaii, and SDSU, they get Stanford, USC and Washington all at home…yet everyone has them on the outside looking in.  Well, not us here at the Rundown, we like the Beavers to have a chance to ruin Oregon’s BCS title game hopes on the last game of the regular season thus giving Oregon St. a shot at the PAC 12 Title.  Now, let’s clarify one thing, we are picking Oregon but we’re taking Oregon St over Stanford.

3.  Stanford Cardinal 9-3 

The Cardinal have posted double digit season for the past three years, since then, the Coach who got them there is now coaching in Super Bowls, the QB who got them there had one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history and yet the Cardinal is now being talked about as a “reload” type of program and 2013 is the year they can prove it… we don’t think so.  The 2013 campaign to us looks a lot like a season that will be successful for Shaw and the Cardinal but not up to the level of the last three.  We like the chances for USC and Oregon St to take back wins against the Cardinal as well as Oregon, that leads us to drop the Cardinal to this position, although we think they are a better overall team than Oregon St, we like the Beavers in the head to head game.

4.  Arizona State Sun Devils 9-3

(Homer Alert)  So yes, ASU is our home team here at the Rundown but being fair we think some of the preseason hype surrounding the Devils right now needs to calm down just a little bit.  The Devils need to get through one of the toughest stretches in all of college football, in-fact, we challenge you to find one tougher then Wisconsin, Stanford, USC, and Notre Dame.  If the Sun Devils get through that 2-2 it’s a win and with Oregon St and Washington at home, we like the Devils to make it to December with a chance to play for the PAC 12 Title.  (Now, our hearts say the Devils are going undefeated and I better get tickets and book a trip to the National Championship game…but that’s what I want every year)

5.  Washington Huskies 8-4 & UCLA Bruins 8-4

Before we get ahead of ourselves and cover every team in the PAC 12 that could have a winning season, we are going to lump these two programs together, maybe we should’ve done that with the Ducks and Cardinal.  Anyways, Washington and UCLA both are on the verge of bringing their programs back to national relevance, if that happens, then the PAC 12 will have an argument that they are the second best conference in college football.  We will call these two teams, our sleepers for the 2013 season, now we know that a lot of people are talking about UCLA winning the South but we need more proof, this year would be it.  UCLA is facing a revenge schedule, meaning, last year UCLA got wins against Nebraska, USC and ASU, we don’t see that happening two years in a row.  For the Huskies, they will break in a brand new stadium on opening day against, Boise St, if they can take that game, which might be a blow out for the Huskies (not kidding here) then look out for them to go 4-0 riding a ton of confidence into Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona St.  Those three games will determine if the Huskies are back.  And that’s why UCLA and Washington are our sleepers.

Our @MountainWest 2013 Preseason Top 5 Teams

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2013 Mountain West Conference Top 5 Rundown

If there was ever a conference that  couldn’t wait for the off-season to end and football begin, it’s the Mountain West.  For a conference at times looked like it could fold, the Mountain West gathered it’s pieces, hit the delete button on some network called the “Mountain” and instead signed a huge (ok, nice or big) deal with ESPN, where it’s Cinderella, Boise State will be featured for all of their games.  The deal will also allow the rest of the league to shine in multiple other games that will be shown throughout the season but enough talk about football, let’s talk TV, wait strike that, reverse it.  Ok, so the storyline in the Mountain West for 2013 is can Boise State maintain it’s dominance and win the inaugural Championship Game or can Fresno State, finally, after years of preseason love, win the big games and take it’s talents to the BCS?  Man, we really want to bet on Fresno but oh, #@&%* here’s the Rundown!!!

 

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1.  Fresno State 11-1

We hate this pick!  There we said it, we hate this pick!  Why? Fresno State has broken our hearts too many years when we thought they were going to return to being a Top 25 team every year and trade wins against Boise State like a good rival, instead they never did.  Now, here we sit, with another Carr going into his senior season for the Bulldogs, we might have a different coach but we have a team, stacked of seniors, starters, playmakers.  We have a team that lost to Tulsa by one point, they’re only other losses, to Oregon and Boise State, this year Fresno has no Oregon, now they have Colorado and they get Boise State at home.  This might seem dramatic but their whole season is going to ride on a home game against Rutgers, if they win that opener, and they go into their game against Boise at 3-0, Fresno could have a special season, maybe undefeated.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, as we said early we hate the pick but all of our research says it’s the year.  Urggh, we already want to take it back.  PS, don’t be surprised if this season turns magical that Carr ends up in the Heisman talk…

 

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2.  Boise State 11-1

Ok, we really don’t want to say anything here other then, if Boise had the kind of returners that Fresno State had, we would be calling for a BCS return, instead we see Boise having a Boise year, winning all of their games but 1 and being shut out of a major bowl.  They either lose one in the regular season or the Championship game but they will lose a game.  Now, why is Fresno State ahead, because, we think that Boise might get the best of them during the regular season, but we see Fresno coming back and winning the Championship Game, giving them the outright title.  Now, the team, has leadership all over the field on offense but the defense needs to learn and we don’t know if they will be together early enough.  We like everything about Boise, they have built a program that plugs pieces into it’s system and then they go this Boise team will have to wait another year or two until they return to BCS not because they don’t belong because only one team from the Mountain West can make a major bowl and to do that they have to go undefeated.  If we respected this conference, at the end of the year, if Boise sits with one loss and Fresno sits with one loss, they would both deserve a shot at any other one loss team in the country and we always like our money on the team with a chip on it’s shoulder.

 

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3.  Utah State Aggies 8-4

The Mountain West has a big drop off for the 2013 season after the first two teams, after Boise and Fresno, we have a couple of teams that overachieved in 2012 that are going to have a tough run if they want to match the win totals of the previous season.  That group begins with Utah State.  The Aggies last year came within 5 points of a perfect 13-0 season, one that led to it’s coach leaving for an opportunity at Wisconsin (one of the teams they lost to, pretty impressive statement).  Now, in 2013 Utah State finds themselves in a new conference that features games against Boise State and Air Force rather then UTSA and Texas St.  One thing we really like a bout Utah State is the offensive line, the line returns all of it’s starters and the QB, this fact could lead Utah St to a major upset against Boise St or USC but for now we like the Aggies to have a solid year, and maybe with some luck 9 regular season wins and 10 with a bowl victory.

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4.  San Diego State Aztecs 8-4

If you were to ask most college football fans how many wins the Aztecs had each of the last three season, we doubt that any of them would know that they have gone, 9,8,9 and that they had a share of the conference title for 2012.  Moving towards the 2013 season, coach Rocky Long, has his players ready to compete with enough starters on both sides of the ball returning, San Deigo State might not win the conference but they should be able to keep the trend of having at least 8 wins a year.  The Aztecs return a total of 16 starters but will have to solidify the right side of the offensive line to make sure that QB Dingwell has the time needed to run Bob Toledo’s offense.  With tough game against Ohio State and Oregon State in weeks two and three, SDSU will have to stay healthy and learn from those teams so they can be ready for league play.  If we had to pick a team other then Fresno to play in the title game and then to win in a huge upset against Boise, we like the idea of SDSU crashing the Bronco’s party in back to back years but that’s just crazy talk.

 

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5.  San Jose State Spartans 7-5

San Jose State, like SDSU and Utah St, overachieved last year, sometimes if happens when a perfect storm of experience, coaching, schedule and luck all come together for a program.  The Spartens, had a schedule that featured only tough games against Stanford and Utah St with good games against BYU and LaTech.  This year those same games are Stanford, Minnesota and Utah State, then we will add SDSU, Navy, and then Fresno State.  San Jose State will have a winning season, just not a double digit one like last year.

The @MACSports 2013 Preseason Top 5 Rundown!!!

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2013 MId-American Conference Top 5 Teams Rundown!

As the clock ticks passing the minutes and seconds by, moving us closer to kick-off of the 2013 College Football season, we find ourselves at the preview of one of our favorite conferences in all of College Football, The MAC!  The MAC conference has been underrated for far too long and the level of football they play is on par with every other non-major and as we found out last year, they might be from top to bottom the best.  This season the conference is looking at building off of the momentum of NIU’s appearance in a BCS game last year and while their performance is nothing to write home about, it was a sign of where the conference is heading.  We are a little disappointed with the preseason love the MAC is getting from most of the preseason magazines and websites but don’t worry MAC fans, we are here to bring the MAC some love!  In ranking this conference we see five, that’s right five teams that could be competitive to win the MAC title for 2013 and that means that this conference has depth!  Not only do those six teams have a shot at the title, look for an upset against a major conference team by each of the six and while Vegas might not have it as a big upset the national media will pick it up that way.  So without further delay let’s get to the Top 5 teams that our crack team have come up with…Here’s the MAC 2013 Preseason Rundown!!!

 

1. Ohio Bobcats 10-2

The 2012 season for the Bobcats was set up to be a special one until a series of injuries  took the wind out of their perfect season sails.  It was a season that had everyone looking at them to be the BCS busters after an opening day victory at Penn State and an 8-0 starting record, this year we don’t see the upset in week one as they face Louisville but from there, we see them running off 8 wins and putting them in familiar territory as we approach November and games with the two other teams who will be battling for the East title in, Bowling Green and Kent State.  This year we expect a different result and see them winning at least one of those two, providing them the opportunity to play for a MAC title.  Ohio brings back 11 starters from last year and while the majority of those returners are on offense, we like the way the schedule will provide enough time for the defense to come together before their toughest conference games.  On offense, they are led by QB Tettleton, RB Blankenship and an offensive line featuring three seniors, while on defense the don’t have the same in-game experience, they do have talent in every section.  Coach Solich and his coordinators have built a program that is ready to prove that they are the best in the MAC East after a disappointment last year.

 

2.  Northern Illinois 9-3

Northern Illinois and their QB Jordan Lynch took advantage of a very strong MAC Conference last year, closed the season out, got lucky a couple of times and turned that into an appearance in the Orange Bowl.  This was the conference’s first appearance in a BCS game and rightfully it was Northern Illinois, the Huskies had just come off two straight 11 win seasons and put together the whole package taking it down to the last play of the MAC Title game to make it to Florida.  The problem with all of this, was once they made it to the Orange Bowl, they met a very hungry Florida St team, that if things would’ve fallen in FSU’s direction could’ve easily met up with Alabama in the Championship game.  This years campaign, as last years, will come down to the leadership of Lynch and some playmakers on defense.  Their major weakness is the left side of the offensive line but if they come together, the season will rest on back to back games with Toledo and Ball St.  We are going to take the Huskies to the MAC Title, were they will lose to Ohio.  Take note, we here at the Rundown, aren’t saying they are a lock.  Watch out for Toledo and Ball State and read below!

 

3. Ball State Cardinals 9-3

Every now and then, you have to look for a team that was so close all year the year before and are finally ready to make a special run.  We feel that this is the year for Ball State!  Last year Ball State had a ton of question marks and most thought that a schedule would get the best of them, after a 3-3 start, which featured losses to Clemson, Northern Illinois and Kent State, it also featured wins against South Florida and Indiana.  From there the Cardinals went on a six game win streak before stubbing their toe in the bowl game against UCF.  This year, Ball State features an amazing 14 returning starters but are going to have to replace 4 of their offensive linemen and all of their linebackers on defense.  The plus side, double digit senior starters throughout the team and with the leadership intact on offense, Ball State is set up for a schedule where their toughest out of conference game is Virginia on the road and in conference Toledo and Kent St at home with NIU on the road.  If the pieces that are new this season can get comfortable by week five look for Ball State to have a chance on November 13th at Northern Illinois to play for a MAC West Championship.

 

4. Bowling Green Falcons 8-4

Bowling Green was hot down the stretch in 2012, they were riding a six game winning streak when they met Kent State at home with a chance to play in the MAC Championship hanging above them.  As history shows us, the lost to Kent State was painful but the season for Bowling Green was still a huge move in the right direction for Dave Clawson, who is now entering his 5th year as coach for the Falcons.  Bowling Green fans hope that the momentum built last season will carry over to Bowling Greens opening game of 2013, when they face Tulsa at home.  This game could blow-up our other conference predictions and is a complete trap game for Tulsa.  We like Bowling Green but not in that upset, we do like them beating Kent State the next week on the road to establish an early position in the MAC.  THe schedule is not set up for a six game streak with games against an improved Indiana team, Mississippi State on the road, home against Toledo and Ohio before two easy finishers.  If they had Ball State’s schedule we would call for them to be looking at an undefeated season but with the tough games spread out and a hard enough out of conference line-up, unlike most of the publications out there, we don’t see Bowling Green playing for the MAC title but we do see them bowling in December.

 

5. Toledo Rockets 7-5

The Rockets are going to be explosive of offense in the 2013 season, ok that was an easy one.  In joking aside, Toledo is returning all conference playmakers led by a senior QB in Owens but will have to score and score often with a defense that is only returning two starters and have no time to adjust playing Florida and Missouri right out of the gates.  Last year, Toledo won eight in a row sandwiched between an opening day loss against Arizona in OT and losing to Ball State on Nov. 6th by a touchdown.  Things in Toledo are moving in the right direction on offense but a defense that was one of the worst in the MAC last year is going to hold Toledo back this year from making it to the title game in 2013.  The Rockets are going to be fun to watch and the offense will keep them in most of their games but we look for a step back in the win column albeit a small step.

AP PRESEASON TOP 25 RELEASED

AP Top 25 Released with No Surprises
August 17, 2013

Today the AP Top 25 College Football poll was released with no surprises and very little to spark up new conversation.

1. Alabama
2012 Record: 13-1
Coaches Poll: 1
First Game: vs. Virginia Tech

2. Ohio State
2012 Record: 12-0
Coaches Poll: 2
First Game: Buffalo

3. Oregon
2012 Record: 12-1
Coaches Poll: 3
First Game: Nicholls State

4. Stanford
2012 Record: 12-2
Coaches Poll: 4
First Game: San Jose State

5. Georgia
2012 Record: 12-2
Coaches Poll: 5
First Game: at Clemson

6. South Carolina
2012 Record: 11-2
Coaches Poll: 7
First Game: North Carolina

7. Texas A&M
2012 Record: 11-2
Coaches Poll: 6
First Game: Rice

8. Clemson
2012 Record: 11-2
Coaches Poll: 8
First Game: Georgia

9. Louisville
2012 Record: 11-2
Coaches Poll: 9
First Game: Ohio

10. Florida
2012 Record: 11-2
Coaches Poll: 10
First Game: Toledo

11. Florida State
2012 Record: 12-2
Coaches Poll: 12
First Game: at Pittsburgh

12. LSU
2012 Record: 10-3
Coaches Poll: 13
First Game: vs. TCU

13. Oklahoma State
2012 Record: 8-5
Coaches Poll: 14
First Game: vs. Mississippi State

14. Notre Dame
2012 Record: 12-1
Coaches Poll: 11
First Game: Temple

15. Texas
2012 Record: 9-4
Coaches Poll: 15
First Game: New Mexico State

16. Oklahoma
2012 Record: 10-3
Coaches Poll: 16
First Game: Louisiana-Monroe

17. Michigan
2012 Record: 8-5
Coaches Poll: 17
First Game: Central Michigan

18. Nebraska
2012 Record: 10-4
Coaches Poll: 18
First Game: Wyoming

19. Boise State
2012 Record: 11-2
Coaches Poll: 19
First Game: at Washington

20. TCU
2012 Record: 7-6
Coaches Poll: 20
First Game: vs. LSU

21. UCLA
2012 Record: 9-5
Coaches Poll: 21
First Game: Nevada

22. Northwestern
2012 Record: 10-3
Coaches Poll: 22
First Game: at Cal

23. Wisconsin
2012 Record: 8-6
Coaches Poll: 23
First Game: UMass

24. USC
2012 Record: 7-6
Coaches Poll: 24
First Game: at Hawaii

25. Oregon State
2012 Record: 9-4
Coaches Poll: 25
First Game: Eastern Washington

[via http://www.cbssports.com]