2013 Pre-Preseason College Football Rankings

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Preseason Top 25

Prelude
Robert Mayer USA-TODAY Sports

National signing day has passed, meaning that nearly every college football team has all but finalized its 2013 roster.

So why not start pitting these teams against one another?

It’s never too soon to start ranking NCAA football programs for the upcoming season. With a class of seniors gone and new batch of freshman coming in, 120 teams begin their quest for a BCS National Championship.

A new season means not only a fresh start for every team, but also a fresh start for pundits to speculate. One year closer to a four-team playoff, fans won’t be able to see four teams play for a title this year, but 2013 will be the last season without a four-team playoff.

At least for now.

One thing is certain: the landscape of college football is changing. Parity is at an all-time high, and not even the seemingly-indestructible Alabama Crimson Tide completed the elusive undefeated season.

In fact, no team except for the Ohio State Buckeyes went undefeated in 2012, and the Buckeyes didn’t play in a bowl game.

I can guarantee one thing: the Buckeyes will play in a bowl this year. Will it be for a national title?

Only time will tell.

For now, I’ll do my best BCS computer and try to pick the best 25 teams in the land for the 2013 season.

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#25 Kent State Golden Flashes

RB Julian Durden
Crystal LoGiudice- USA Today Sports

The Golden Flashes return four All-MAC players and will be solid despite losing Head Coach Darrell Hazell.

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#24 Ole Miss Rebels

RB Randall Mackey
Crystal LoGiudice- USA Today Sports

A monster recruiting class (#5 ESPN) may launch the Rebs even higher than this.

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#23 Vanderbilt Commodores

RB Zac Stacy and QB Jordon Rodgers
Jim Brown- USA Today Sports

Vandy won its last seven games in 2012, including a 27-26 victory at Ole Miss. Replacing QB Jordan Rodgers will be the key.

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#22 Boise State Broncos

QB Joe Southwick
Kirby Lee Image of Sport- USA Today Sports

The Broncos always find a way into the top 25, and should do so again in 2013 with senior QB Joe Southwick and a stout defense that ranked 6th in scoring in 2012.

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#21 Michigan Wolverines

QB Devin Gardner
Kim Klement- USA Today Sports

They lose Denard Robinson, but is that a good thing? Devin Gardner showed that he was a better passer than Robinson last year.

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#20 Nebraska Cornhuskers

QB Taylor Martinez
Douglas Jones USA TODAY Sports

Any team with Taylor Martinez on it has a chance to win every week. If he improves his decision making in the offseason, the Huskers will be dangerous.

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#19 Oklahoma Sooners

RB Damien Williams
Matthew Emmons USA TODAY Sports

Without Landry Jones, the Sooners won’t be as good as they were in 2012. That said, this team knows how to reload and always plays solid defense.

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#18 Kansas State Wildcats

Head Coach Bill Snyder
Mark J Rebilas USA TODAY Sports

Dealing with the loss of Collin Klein will be tough, but Head Coach Bill Snyder will find a way to keep his team competitive.

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#17 Oklahoma State Cowboys

QB Clint Chelf
Jerome Miron USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys can light up the scoreboard; they trailed only Louisiana Tech and Oregon in PPG last year. If QB Clint Chelf continues to progress, look out for OSU in 2013.

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#16 Northwestern Wildcats

QB Kain Colter
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

An already lethal offense will be even more experienced in 2013, with quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian both returning. Speedy playmaker Venric Mark also returns for his senior season.

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#15 Texas Longhorns

Head Coach Mack Brown
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

After underachieving in 2012, these longhorns have a chip on their shoulder. I think Head Coach Mack Brown turns that chip into some serious motivation.

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#14 Florida State Seminoles

FSU
Ron-Chenoy-USA-TODAY-Sports

Losing E.J. Manuel will be made easier by a defense that gave up only 15.1 points per game in 2012.

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#13 LSU Tigers

QB Zach Mettenberger
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

After struggling at parts of 2012, senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger now has a season of experience under his belt for the Tigers. The defense will reload as always, and the Mad Hatter will pull rabbits on more than one occasion. Keep an eye on senior RB Alfred Blue as he returns from a knee injury that sidelined him for most of 2012.

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#12 Louisville Cardinals

Head Coach Charlie Strong
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Teddy Bridgewater proved that he can really chuck it this year, and will air in out again in 2013. This is a very well coached team; Charlie Strong just got an eight-year deal for a reason.

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#11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

QB Everett Golson
Steve-Mitchell-USA-TODAY-Sports

Manti Te’o will go down as one of the best to ever play for the Irish, albeit one of the most controversial. He leaves a big hole in the Irish defense, but he wasn’t the only reason that ND ranked atop all of college football in scoring defense.

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#10 Oregon State Beavers

Or. St.
Scott-Olmos-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Beavers scratched and clawed their way to 9-3 before being upended by Texas in the Alamo Bowl last year. Their defense gave up less than 20 points per game (19.8) and will be just as good this year as they return a large part of that defense.

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#9 Florida Gators

QB Jeff Driskel
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Florida is a solid all-around ball club, but I have concerns about QB Jeff Driskel. If Driskel can step up, Florida can contend for a National Championship.

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#8 South Carolina Gamecocks

DE Jadeveon Clowney
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After watching South Carolina beat Michigan in the Outback Bowl, one thing became very clear to me: Jadeveon Clowney is the best defensive player in college football. If he can beat a star tackle like Taylor Lewan, he can beat anyone.

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#7 Clemson Tigers

QB Tajh Boyd
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

Even without QB Tajh Boyd, this team has a lethal offense. When Boyd said he'd return to Clemson for his senior year, they became a contender.

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#6 Stanford Cardinal

QB Kevin Hogan
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Kevin Hogan not only has a Tebow-like skill set, but now has experience as well. David Shaw is a fantastic coach and will have his team contending once again.

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#5 Georgia Bulldogs

QB Aaron Murray
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Losing stars on defense like Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree will hurt the ‘Dogs, but having a leader like Aaron Murray will put Georgia in contention once again. We’ll see if this is the year Head Coach Mark Richt finally wins the big game.

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#4 Texas A&M Aggies

QB Johnny Manziel
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel is enough to put this team in the title conversation, but I don’t think they have quite enough to win it all. Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore will now be playing on Sundays, which really hurts this Aggie team.

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#3 Oregon Ducks

RB De'Anthony Thomas
Scott Olmos- USA TODAY Sports

Oregon won’t get Chip Kelly back, but keeps star speedster De’Anthony Thomas and quarterback Marcus Mariota. Those two might be able to win a title by themselves, as long as new Head Coach Mark Helfrich doesn’t change a thing. Talent-wise, the Ducks are #3, but we’ll see exactly how much Kelly meant to this team in 2013.

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#2 Ohio State Buckeyes

QB Braxton Miller
Andrew Weber- USA TODAY Sports

Urban Meyer is the best coach in college football. To take a program over and run the table in the same year is truly an amazing feat. With Braxton Miller and a weak Big 10 conference, he may just do it again in 2013.

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#1 Alabama Crimson Tide

Head Coach Nick Saban
John David Mercer- USA TODAY Sports

Until somebody beats the Crimson Tide, the #1 spot belongs to them, plain and simple. I know a few guys just got arrested, but this team is so deep that they can afford to lose guys at just about any position. For just about every team, losing soon-to-be first round draft picks Dee Milliner, Eddie Lacy and Chance Warmack would mean trouble, but Alabama loses three first-rounders every year! A.J. McCarron and Nick Saban may very well make it four championships in five years for this storied school. Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny

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