The upcoming 2013 NCAA football season is sure to be filled with plenty of excitement. From hot seat coaches to dynasties being formed there are great story lines all around. To help you get ready for Saturdays on the couch, here are the questions and storylines to help you get primed.
Who Will Dominate in Los Angeles?
Lane Kiffin is on the hot seat after underwhelming seasons. It doesn’t matter that he still has leftover issues from the Carroll-era. What truly matters is the bragging rights of Los Angeles. UCLA is on the rise and could erase all memory of a Trojan dominance in the minds of the valuable So Cal recruiting ranks. An easy first month will help the Trojans set the pace but the Bruins will have the final say during the final week of regular season on November 30.
Can Alabama Repeat as National Champs?
Alabama is once again putting a strong team on the field. With Nick Saban at the helm and Heisman candidate AJ McCarron under center, they could run the table. At the same time, the Crimson Tide have a surprisingly easy schedule this year. Out of conference games include Colorado State, Georgia State and Chattanooga. One little trip over anyone will take them out of contention. Trips to Texas A&M in week 2 and a visit from LSU in week 9 seem the most likely.
What the Heck is the American Athletic Conference (AAC)? They Get a BCS Bid?
The Big East is dead. Long live the AAC. Well, for football anyways. Someday, the new AAC will be stronger but this year is not the year. Right now, the only team that really has a chance of making waves is Louisville. They have a great chance at going undefeated in the AAC. A 12-0 record will start to look pretty strong.
Which Sleeper Teams Should We Be Watching?
The more things the more they stay the same in Wisconsin. New coach Gary Anderson will bring his power run & strong defense from Utah State to Wisconsin … which has been their bread and butter for decades. Expect them to be a sleeper to take the Big 10.
Arizona State will make major waves in the wide-open Pac-12 South. They return 14 starters and have a chance to win a statement game against an overrated Notre Dame.
Nebraska is returning key skill positions and has a lighter than average schedule.
Is There a Sleeper Conference?
That’s a leading question just so I can talk about the Mountain West. There is a good chance this year’s BCS-buster school will come out from out West.
Boise State is, of course, a leading candidate to force its way into the national conversation.
San Diego State did a little hookey pookey with the Big East joining and then coming back home. Rocky Long has improved the two years straight. The Fresno State Bulldogs are playing a high-flying style of football that could steal some wins against tougher opponents.
One of the three teams could escape the internal carnage and make a name for themselves and grab an invite to a big bowl.
Is This the Buckeyes Year?
Call it cynical but the Buckeyes have mastered the art of weak schedules. Their strength of schedule is 73rd in the nation. Their first has such might foes like Buffalo, Cal, and Florida A&M. The highest opponent they face is Big Blue Michigan at #17. They may fall asleep on the Aztecs or fall in a trap game to Northwestern… but, yeah this could be Ohio State’s year. It would seem appropriate the Buckeyes win the Championship in the final year of the BCS.
Will the Johnny Manziel Circus Distract Texas A&M’s Title chances?
Manziel and the Aggies fate will go hand-in-hand as expected. With a handslap (too strong a word) for his moneymaking schemes, he won’t miss any important games. But, the media circus and controversy will be brought up each week.
Who Will Win the Shoot Out in the Big 12?
“Shoot out” is the optimum phrase. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas will all compete for the Big 12 title. They are so equal only seven spots separates the four teams. It will come down to whomever can find a way to stop opponents.
Who Will Take the Biggest Step Backwards?
Let’s go with Notre Dame. Manti Te’o and his distractions (Heisman distractions, of course) have left. The team won’t be as lucky again (last second miracles and all). The fact is they have a QB vacancy to fill and a tougher schedule. Michigan, Oklahoma, USC and Stanford will all ensure the Fighting Irish won’t repeat a perfect season.
Who Will Be in the BCS Game?
There is a reason we haven’t mentioned the Ducks or Stanford. Whoever wins their showdown on November 7 will likely lock in their BCS invite. Stanford has more stability and gets the edge at this point.
The other side of the coin will be whomever survives the brutal SEC East. South Carolina is getting raves, but Georgia could fix their weakness from last year.
It’s just one man’s opinion but Cardinal vs. Gamecocks looks very likely.
Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch and at www.facebookcom/craveonlinesports.com.
Photo Credit (Connor Shaw, South Carolina) – Getty