Power Ranking the Top 30 College Football Teams Going Into 2013
Power Ranking the Top 30 College Football Teams Heading into 2013
As the 2012 season winds down and bowl season approaches, we decided to take a look at the Top 30 teams in the country according to the final Associated Press polls, and, by combining their final rankings with the average rankings from the three major recruiting sites-- Rivals, Scout, and ESPN-- determine who on paper could be the top 30 teams of 2013.
Some of these teams may be a surprise to the average college football fan, while others are mainstays who have either lived up to their potential over the course of the past few seasons, greatly exceeded it, or failed to be competitive but have all the promise in the world to be.
A few of the top five teams in the country as the AP wrapped up should be right back in the mix again in 2013, while some of the teams on the outskirts of the Top 25 as the regular season ended should be right back there again next season. Obviously, plenty could change during the spring and summer. We all know what free time can bring to top teams-- and it a'int positive.
Enjoy our power rankings of the top 30 teams in college football as we head into the 2013 season!
No. 30- Kent State Golden Flashes
The Kent State Golden Flashes come in at No. 30 on our power rankings. After a strong season in 2012, led by Darrell Hazell who just accepted the job at Purdue, the Flashes should come back down to earth in 2013 in terms of the nation's best, but will still be competitive in the MAC race.
No. 29- Utah State Aggies
The No. 29 Utah State Aggies have had their moments over the course of the past few seasons, making plenty of BCS teams uncomfortable in non-conference play and taking care of business when they need to in-conference. The Aggies should remain on the fringes of the Top 25 in 2013.
No. 28- San Jose State Spartans
The No. 28 San Jose Spartans have a very talented QB in junior David Fales, and should he decide to return, they could again be fighting to spend more than just a few weeks in the Top 25 when we get into the meat of the 2013 season next fall. Should Fales decide to make the jump to the NFL and forgo his senior season, the opposite could easily be true.
No. 27- Northern Illinois Huskies
The No. 27 Northern Illinois Huskies have been one of the most controversial teams in college football in 2012, sliding into a BCS bowl on the heels of their MAC Championship win over Toledo. Led by Jordan Liles, the Huskies have captured lightning in a bottle, but may not be so lucky again in 2013 if Liles heads to the NFL, just like the situation San Jose State is facing.
No. 26- Louisville Cardinals
The No. 26 Louisville Cardinals succeeded in keeping highly sought-after head coach Charlie Strong on campus, and have another solid, if unspectacular, recruiting class headed to campus in 2013. The Cardinals should once again be the team to beat in the Big East next season and could easily again be in line for a potential BCS bid when the time comes.
No. 25- Kansas State Wildcats
Led by Collin Klein, the No. 25 Kansas State Wildcats had one of their best seasons in years. With Klein's inevitable departure to the NFL, plenty will be up in the air for Bill Synder's squad in 2013. Things won't be as sunny in Manhattan next fall.
No. 24- Stanford Cardinal
The No. 24 Stanford Cardinal won the PAC-12 Championship this year, but if recruiting classes play to their potential, they could be again on the back-burner sooner than later. Don't count out head coach David Shaw, though. If there's anyone in the country that gets everything out of their talent, it's Shaw.
No. 23- Oregon State Beavers
The No. 23 Oregon State Beavers are a hard team to read. It's obvious that Mike Riley is a solid head coach, but this team struggled with consistency throughout the course of 2012. It's difficult to know for sure what to expect from the Beavers in 2013, but we imagine they'll float around the lower end of the Top 25.
No. 22- Boise State Broncos
At No. 22, is the ever-present Boise State Broncos. They're a Top 25 mainstay now, and recruiting classes are improving from year-to-year. Assuming Chris Petersen stays in Idaho, and doesn't move on to greener pastures in the off-season, the Broncos could again be the BCS darkhorse in 2013.
No. 21- Penn State Nittany Lions
To say Bill O'Brien did a phenomenal job with the No. 21 Penn State Nittany Lions would be an understatement. Regardless of whether O'Brien moves on, a new culture is in place in State College which should help recruiting get back on its feet over time and ensure the tradition the team built prior to the Sandusky fiasco starts to trickle back to the surface.
No. 20- Northwestern Wildcats
The No. 20 Northwestern Wildcats continue to float around the fringes of the Big 10, as we all wait for them to have a breakout season. Northwestern always has some talent, and the 2013 squad will certainly not be an exception to the rule, they just need to land a signature win next season and avoid losing to teams they shouldn't to truly turn the corner.
No. 19- Wisconsin Badgers
Now in search of a new head coach with Bret Bielema's departure to Arkansas, the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers have another solid recruiting class coming to campus next fall in Madison and should be right in the mix of things in the Big 10 again next fall.
No. 18- Oregon Ducks
The No. 18 Oregon Ducks may slide back just a bit from what we're accustomed to in 2013. With the loss of some of their highest-octane offensive weapons, and a non-existent recruiting class, the Ducks won't be competing for a PAC-12 Championship next season-- at least on paper.
No. 17- Nebraska Cornhuskers
The No. 17 Nebraska Cornhuskers are as solid as ever, but still have the tendency to miss out on big wins when they need them the most. With a chance to make their way to the Rose Bowl this January, the Huskers laid an egg against Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship, leading some to call for Bo Pelini's head. Pelini's future is uncertain, but it won't stop the Huskers from recruiting and keeping a good tradition on solid footing.
No. 16- Oklahoma Sooners
The No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners will be younger than they have been in a few seasons, as Landry Jones departs and a new crop of QBs competes for his job. A top-ranked recruiting class, however, should keep the Sooners rolling strong into 2013, in preparation for another run at a Big XII Championship.
No. 15- Oklahoma State Cowboys
The No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys are among the class teams in the Big 12, and are becoming more and more attractive to potential recruits as the years go on given their high-octane, offense-first attack. Mike Gundy won't have any problem getting his guys going forward, and the 2013 team will have a nice mix of youth and established talent.
No. 14- Vanderbilt Commodores
James Franklin has the No. 14 Vanderbilt Commodores on track, and we think 2013 is the year they finally break through. With a Top 20 class, Franklin finally has all of his own guys on campus in Nashville and we'd be surprised if they don't make some serious noise in the SEC in 2013, with so many of their conference opponents in flux.
No. 13- Clemson Tigers
We have the Clemson Tigers as the No. 13 team on our 2013 power rankings due to the players that could return and the strength of a Top 10 recruiting class. Dabo Swinney's team is never short of talent and if they can finally ever string together a full 12 games, could compete for a National Championship at any given moment. This just hasn't happened yet.
No. 12- UCLA Bruins
The No. 12 UCLA Bruins are on the up-and-up as young QB Brett Hundley will only be a sophomore next fall and could be one of the best young signal-callers in the country. Westwood is a buzzy place again, and as the Southern California recruits are landed, Jim Mora will have a ton to work with. Good news for Bruins fans.
No. 11- Texas Longhorns
The No. 11 Texas Longhorns remain one of the biggest quandaries in college football. With another Top 10 recruiting class in tow for 2013, there's no reason the Horns shouldn't be among the nation's Top 10 teams. With a ton of uncertainty not only about the future of Mack Brown, but at the QB position, nothing will be a given next fall in Austin.
No. 10- South Carolina Gamecocks
The No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks have emerged as a legitimate annual SEC threat and should be right back in the mix in 2013. With a Top 15 recruiting class, and plenty of returning talent, SC will win some games that open eyes next fall.
No. 9- Florida State Seminoles
Jimbo Fisher has the No. 9 Florida State Seminoles back in the national spotlight and there's nothing to suggest they'll be going anywhere anytime soon. With a Top 15 recruiting class which is starting to consistently capitalize on some of the best talent in the talent-rich state of Florida, the Seminoles will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.
No. 8- Michigan Wolverines
With the emergence of Devin Gardner and a Top 5 recruiting class coming in next fall, the No. 8 Michigan Wolverines will be among the class of the Big 10 once again. Brady Hoke is building this program back up a little at a time toward national prominence and he is certainly on the right track.
No. 7- Texas A&M Aggies
The No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies took the SEC by storm in 2012, behind the exploits of Heisman Trophy finalist, redshirt freshman QB Johnny Manziel. While SEC defensive coordinators will have a full 9 months to gameplan for Johnny Football and his imprint shouldn't be quite so substantial next fall, Texas A&M's recruiting class suggests the SEC should best stay on watch. The Aggies won't be laying down for anyone.
No. 6- LSU Tigers
The No. 6 LSU Tigers, are, well, the LSU Tigers. As always the Bayou Bengals will be loaded on both sides of the ball in 2013, and a Top 10 recruiting class will certainly make them even more formidable.
No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs
After one of the most successful seasons in school history, the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs may be looking for a new quarterback if Aaron Murray decides to depart for the NFL, but a recruiting class which some consider Top 5 in the country should allow Mark Richt's team to stay on a positive beat as they make yet another run toward that elusive SEC Championship and a BCS game in its final year of existence.
No. 4- Ohio State Buckeyes
Coming off the probation that hampered them in spite of an undefeated regular season in 2012, the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes will be in early position among the nation's best in 2013. A Top 10 recruiting class and the emergence of Braxton Miller as one of the best QBs in the country suggests the Buckeyes could even compete for a National Championship if everything falls in place.
No. 3- Florida Gators
The No. 3 Florida Gators not only had their strongest season in 2012 since the departure of Tim Tebow, but they have one of the top recruiting classes in the country arriving in Gainesville in 2013. Don't count out the Gators-- Will Muschamp has these guys amped and playing top notch football.
No. 2- Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama is Alabama. We don't need to go into detail here. 2013 will be no different.
No. 1- Notre Dame Fighting Irish
With a Top Three recruiting class, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish could keep things rolling-- perhaps on the back of a National Championship-- in 2013, and be on track toward building a minor dynasty. Irish eyes are definitely a'smiling.