The 2013 College Football season is finally upon us and so begins the BCS farewell tour. Here are some of the key stories, predictions and teams to watch out for.
Alabama will look to do something that has never been done in the BCS era, win three consecutive national titles. Some of the players are new but the one consistent part of this run has been Coach Nick Saban. Last season the Crimson Tide got into the title game thanks to some luck and loses by several other top ten teams. This season the champs will have a significant bulls-eye on them from day one. The defense will be the real question especially the secondary which was shaky last year on its best day. More pressure will be on veteran QB AJ McCarron to carry this team on offense thanks to the departure of RB Eddie Lacy. Schedule wise Alabama lucks out since several keys games are at home, the biggest exception being the second game of the season where the Tide look to avenge last years only loss against Texas A&M and Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
The Irish return to glory
The runner up in the BCS national championship game would like to forget how last season ended as well as many of the headlines from the offseason. Following an embarrassing performance against Alabama, the Irish continued to make headlines for the wrong reasons. First came the bomb shell that All-American LB Manti Te’o was the victim of a hoax involving an on-line girlfriend who never actually existed, and then several months later starting QB Everett Golsen was ruled academically ineligible for the 2013 season. So now the Irish turn to their closer from last season QB Tommy Reese, who came in late to win multiple games to help Notre Dame finish with a perfect regular season record. Several key players outside of Te’o have graduated and left big holes to fill espeically on offense where three impact players are gone (four if you include Golsen). Notre Dame won with defense in 2012 and that will probably have to continue if the Irish want a chance to redeem themselves for last years disappointing finish. Key games- Sept. 7 @ Michigan, Oct. 19 vs. USC, Nov. 30 at Stanford
Johnny Football Mania
Johnny Manziel made history last season by becoming the first freshman to win the Hiesman trophy. Since then it’s been all down hill. First Johnny left an off season passing camp early after he overslept. More recently Manziel has been the center of an NCAA investigation as to whether he was compensated for signing several hundred autographs. That investigation is now over and Manziel will sit for the first half of the Aggies season opener after he was found to have “inadvertently” broken an NCAA rule. Only time will tell if everything that happened this past off season will have a lasting impact on Manziel.
Clowney on the clock
It is all but guaranteed that if he stays healthy, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney will be the top pick in the 2014 NFL draft. But first Clowney looks to build on last year’s strong season towards a possible BCS title and a Heisman trophy win. The Gamecocks have talent on both sides of the ball and a high profile coach which should help Clowney accomplish one of the goals. As far as the Heisman goes, Clowney is among the favorites in a wide open field as the season begins.
AP Top Five
The two time champs are loaded and ready for another run a BCS title. The competition will be stiffer this year and QB AJ McCarron will need to be a bigger leader on offense. Having a marquee coach in Nick Saban will certainly help the Crimson Tide compete again.
2. Ohio State
The only FBS team to finish 2012 with a perfect record (thanks to a post season ban) is back and ready to challenge for a title. Heisman candidate QB Braxton Miller leads the Buckeyes who should be favored in every game until they clash with rival Michigan in November at the Big House. A loaded offense will propel Ohio State through the season as they push for a return to championship status.
Life in Eugene has been tough recently despite finishing ranked in the top for three consecutive seasons. They begin this season with a new coach and are hopeful they can finally reach the BCS title game for the first time. Key returning players include QB Marcus Mariota and RB/WR De’Anthony Thomas. As is usually the case it is BCS title or bust for Oregon in 2013.
Expectations are high for the Stanford University Cardinal, that’s what happens when you return a veteran team and start the season ranked in the top 5. QB Kevin Hogan brings a 5-0 record as a starter into the 2013 season and Stanford hopes he can continue to play well and the lead the team to a second consecutive PAC-12 title and perhaps a BCS title game birth. The biggest road block is the schedule which includes four straight rivalry games to close the season, including the last game of the season against BCS title runner up Notre Dame.
5. Texas A&M
Here’s some good news for the Aggies and their fans, it’s time to play football and not just talk about Johnny football. After an off season full of talk about non-football related issues Texas A&M will finally get back on the field. Now that Johnny Manziel’s eligibility status has been settled (for the moment), the focus shifts to can this team repeat or even improve upon last years success and win a national championship. You have to believe that defenses across the country will be better prepared for Manziel, so someone else will need to step up, perhaps lead WR Mike Evans can fill that role. If offense sputters the Aggies young defense will be in trouble.
- Jadeveon Clowney- The only thing that stops him is an injury.
- Braxton Miller
- De’Anthony Thomas
BCS Title Prediction
Oregon over Alabama