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5 Fearless Predictions for the 2013 College Football Season

Posted on August 31, 2013 by Dean Hybl
Will Nick Saban again be lifting the BCS crystal when the season is over?

Will Nick Saban again be lifting the BCS crystal when the season is over?

Though the fact that much of the country has been experiencing some of the warmest weather of the summer might suggest otherwise, the wait really is over and it is time for college football season.

The opening games on Thursday night just wet the whistle for what should be another great year across the country.

Rather than joining the thousands of others who have offered their preseason rankings and conference predictions, here are “5 Fearless Predictions” of things I expect to see happen in college football this season.

1. Someone other than Johnny Manziel wins the Heisman Trophy

This may have been considered an off the wall prediction after the freshman phenom won the Heisman Trophy and  then led Texas A&M to a Cotton Bowl victory last season. However, he has spent the last nine months getting more attention for the parties he has attended and for all the time he spent signing autographs for “free” than for his upcoming sophomore season.

I think Manziel is a talented college football player (though unlikely to be a good NFL player), but his rise to the Heisman last season was a bit of a fluke as it was really the result of one huge performance against Alabama and the lack of a clear offensive star among the elite teams in the game.

It would have been a challenge for him to repeat as winner of the Heisman even without all the off-the-field antics, but they have likely made it necessary for him to clearly separate from any potential competition if he wants to join Archie Griffin as a two-time Heisman winner.

Who Will Win the BCS College Football National Title?

  • Alabama Crimson Tide (28%, 14 Votes)
  • Someone Else (20%, 10 Votes)
  • South Carolina Gamecocks (12%, 6 Votes)
  • Clemson Tigers (10%, 5 Votes)
  • Georgia Bulldogs (8%, 4 Votes)
  • Oregon Ducks (8%, 4 Votes)
  • Ohio State Buckeyes (8%, 4 Votes)
  • Louisville Cardinals (4%, 2 Votes)
  • LSU Tigers (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Stanford Cardinal (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 50

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Teddy Bridgewater would have a great chance to win the Heisman Trophy if he leads Louisville to an undefeated season.

Teddy Bridgewater would have a great chance to win the Heisman Trophy if he leads Louisville to an undefeated season.

2. Louisville will look to wreck the BCS title game

In the last season before the start of a playoff system, it would seem perfectly appropriate if a “second level” team posted an undefeated season to ensure a high-caliber one loss team from the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 or Pac 12 missed out on the chance to play for the title.

Based on their schedule and preseason ranking, it would appear that Louisville is the team best positioned to wreck the party. They return a potential All-American quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater along with other key players from a team that defeated the University of Florida last season in the Sugar Bowl.

If Louisville goes through the American Athletic Conference undefeated, which is very possible given the weakness of the league, and defeats Kentucky in their only game against a school from a top level conference, there will certainly be some chatter for them to get a shot if there are not two undefeated teams from the top leagues.

For the most part, the current BCS system has been fortunate that when it has seemed that the planets were aligning to put a “second tier” team in the title game, something has happened to derail that plan at the end and ensure a meeting of programs from high level conferences.

That certainly could happen as Louisville faces a solid Cincinnati team late in the year, but don’t be shocked if the Cardinals are knocking on the BCS door in December.

 

Jim Mora and UCLA will look to replace USC as the glamor team in Los Angeles.

Jim Mora and UCLA will look to replace USC as the glamor team in Los Angeles.

3. Jim Mora will surpass Lane Kiffin as the glamor college coach in Los Angeles

When Lane Kiffin replaced Pete Carroll as the head coach of the University of Southern California, it seemed to some like it would take only a matter of time before Kiffin would push the Trojans back to the top of the BCS standings.

Whether it is a result of Kiffin’s coaching ability or the punitive sanctions levied against the program about the time of his arrival, Kiffin has not enjoyed quite the success that some thought he would have. The Trojans began the 2012 season as the preseason number one team in college football, but finished with a 7-6 record, including losses in five of their final six games.

Conversely, UCLA, under the direction of new head coach Jim Mora, had little expectations in 2012. As it turned out, the Bruins ended up having their best season in recent memory posting a 9-5 record, including a trip to the Pac 12 Championship Game.

While both coaches have endured ups-and-downs during their coaching careers, Mora led the Atlanta Falcons to the NFC Championship Game during his first season as head coach and was 32-34 in four seasons as an NFL head coach. Last season was his first season as a college head coach after spending his entire career in the NFL.

On the other hand, Kiffin’s tenure in the NFL was a disaster with a 5-15 record and being fired by Al Davis during the 2008 season. He was 6-6 in one season as head coach at the University of Tennessee and has posted a 25-13 record in three seasons at USC.

While USC has been the better program over the last decade, look for Mora and UCLA to give Kiffin and the Trojans a run for their money in 2013 and in upcoming years.

4.Winner of South Carolina/Georgia game will win the SEC title

One of the great things about college football is that games played in early September can be just as significant to a season as games played in late November. That is the case with the September 7th matchup between the South Carolina Gamecocks and Georgia Bulldogs.

Jadeveon Clowney and South Carolina will have a tough early test against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Jadeveon Clowney and South Carolina will have a tough early test against the Georgia Bulldogs.

With both teams ranked in the top 10 and neither having to face Alabama during  the regular season, it is very likely that the winner of this early season battle will be playing for the SEC crown.

That proved not to the be the case last year as South Carolina won the meeting between the two, but Georgia was able to win the division when South Carolina lost tough battles against LSU and Florida and the Bulldogs were the team without LSU or Alabama on their schedule.

This year it is the Gamecocks that could probably better withstand a loss and still win the division. The Gamecocks do not face LSU this year while the Bulldogs will host the Tigers on September 28th.

The Bulldogs are the toughest competition the Gamecocks face until hosting Florida on November 16th.

Of course, fans for both teams are also holding out hope that they could be in the mix for the national title. For that to happen, both teams will have to not only win their division, but also defeat ACC foe Clemson. The Bulldogs open the regular season at Clemson and the Gamecocks finish the season by hosting the Tigers.

5. Ohio State will not repeat 2012 Magic

Entering his second season leading the Ohio State Buckeyes, Urban Meyer has yet to lose a game coaching his home state team. You can never scoff at an undefeated season, but the 2012 season for Ohio State was not a typical college football season.

It will be a bit tougher for Urban Meyer and Ohio State to post another undefeated campaign in 2013.

It will be a bit tougher for Urban Meyer and Ohio State to post another undefeated campaign in 2013.

Because of probation resulting from the cover-up and lies that permeated the Jim Tressel era, the Buckeyes were ineligible for the Big Ten Championship or a bowl game, so they played every game without the inherent win-or-else pressure that comes with every typical college football season. The Buckeyes truly had nothing to lose and could focus only on winning that game, instead of worrying about any implications associated with winning or losing.

Another factor that assisted Ohio State was the fact that the Big Ten is not especially strong. However, even with the Big Ten’s inherent weakness, the Buckeyes needed late heroics in 2012 to defeat Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue (in OT), Wisconsin (also in OT) and Michigan.

Even though Ohio State has probably the easiest schedule (excluding Louisville) of the top ranked teams, you have to believe that they will be tripped up at least once by a conference foe.

The non-conference schedule has three expected cake-walks against Buffalo, San Diego State and Florida A&M, however, they do have a potential land mine at California in the third week of the season. The Buckeyes edged the Golden Bears 35-28 last season in Columbia and will have to be ready when they travel to Berkley.

Bonus Prediction:

Picking in August which teams will be playing for the BCS Championship in January could be a perfect definition of the term “wasted energy.” However, because I don’t want to be any different from others who make super-cool picks in August, here is my projection for the 2013-2014 BCS title game.

I am not totally sold on the Alabama Crimson Tide rolling to a third straight national title, but I am just not sure who will be able to dethrone them. I would not be surprised if they lose a game in the regular season, but as they proved two years ago, dropping one game and not playing in the SEC title game isn’t a guaranteed end to championship dreams.

Therefore, I expect one way or another that Alabama will find their way back to the title game.

Who they will play is also a tricky question.

Normally I am not a proponent of a first year coach, but new Oregon coach Mark Helfrich has been a big part of their recent success and therefore can step right in and build on their recent success.

I expect the Ducks to be undefeated entering their November 7th game at Stanford and if they can somehow come away with the victory I expect the Ducks to then cruise right into the title game.

If it does end up being the Ducks vs. Crimson Tide, I think Alabama would complete their “three-peat” with a 20-14 victory.

Seems like a plausible pick now, but as we all know, there is a lot of action to enjoy between now and January and in college football anything can happen.


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