5 Teams 1 Year Away from Challenging for a BCS Bowl Berth
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College football will be moving to a playoff system come 2014, but the current BCS bowl system will remain intact for the 2013 season, which gives us an important question to address. What teams are on the rise and will be legitimate contenders to play in a BCS game next season?
Five teams seem to stand out above the rest right now given their recruiting prowess, current success and returning starters.
Who are these five BCS contenders? Click next to find out!
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The Washington Huskies are on the rise in the Pac-12 Conference with Steve Sarkisian in his fourth season at the helm of the program, and it is about time for the nation to take notice.
The Stanford Cardinal found out the hard way earlier this season that the Huskies are one of the top young teams in the nation. Washington topped Stanford, 17-13, on Sept. 27th.
Although the Huskies are dealing with some issues along the offensive line, they will get better up front as their younger players gain more experience. With a host of playmakers returning next season there is no reason Washington cannot challenge for a BCS bowl berth.
Keith Price will likely be back for his senior season in Seattle; leading rusher Bishop Sankey is only a sophomore and so is Washington's top wide receiver, Kasen Williams.
Defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi has also made a big impact as a recruiter. Lupoi left the Cal Golden Bears and managed to steal 4-star defensive end Pio Vatuvei from the USC Trojans, 3-star defensive back Cleveland Wallace from Oregon State and the nation's No. 4 overall prospect Shaq Thompson from his former employer.
The Huskies finished last year's class with six prospects rated higher than 4-stars and its 2013 class already has 18 verbal commits, five of which are 4-star recruits.
Boise State Broncos
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The Boise State Broncos have been in the BCS bowl hunt almost every season since their unfathomable upset of the Oklahoma Sooners back in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, and Chris Petersen's squad should once again be in the hunt for an at-large bid in 2013.
The Broncos will likely return seven starters on a defense that has already forced 17 turnovers this season, in addition to starting quarterback Joe Southwick and its top two receivers, Matt Miller and Kirby Moore.
Furthermore, the Broncos will be competing in the Big East Conference next season, which only has three ranked teams at the moment and will be weak enough for Boise State to potentially run the table.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
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The Mississippi State Bulldogs have made great strides under head coach Dan Mullen and are off to a 5-0 start to the 2012 season. It likely will not amount to much more than a bid in a New Year's Day bowl game this year, but it could be the start of something great for the 2013 campaign.
Starting quarterback Tyler Russell will be a senior next season, and the Bulldogs will bring back their top two running backs, LaDarius Perkins and true freshman Derrick Milton.
Although the Bulldogs compete in the SEC West Conference, they are one of the emerging powers in that division and could compete for an at-large BCS Bowl bid next season.
Ohio State Buckeyes
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The only reason the Ohio State Buckeyes are on this list is because of the one-year postseason ban it is currently underway due to NCAA violations.
Head coach Urban Meyer is in his first season and already has Ohio State fans dreaming of national championships after leading the Buckeyes to a 6-0 start to its 2012 season, and things only look better for 2013.
Dual-threat signal-caller Braxton Miller will be in his third season as the Buckeyes' starter, running back Carlos Hyde will be back as well and Ohio State's top two wide receivers should be back in Columbus next year.
Meyer turned in an impressive haul of recruits last season and already has the nation's No. 7-ranked 2013 recruiting class in the nation, according to Rivals.com.
The Buckeyes have a lot of issues to address on the defensive side of the football, but once Meyer and Co. make adjustments, Ohio State will be contending for Big Ten Conference titles year in and year out.
TCU Horned Frogs
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The TCU Horned Frogs looked like legitimate BCS contenders in its inaugural season as a member of the Big 12 Conference. Things took a startling and drastic turn when the school announced on Tuesday afternoon that starting quarterback Casey Pachall will enter a rehab program as a result of a recent DWI arrest.
Pachall boasted the nation's fourth-best quarterback efficiency rating through TCU's first four games. The junior signal-caller had also thrown 10 touchdowns and just one interception in four Horned Frog victories.
Pachall's replacement, Trevone Boykin, struggled in his first career start last Saturday and threw three interceptions in TCU's 37-23 loss to the Iowa State Cyclones.
TCU's top two wide receivers will be back next season, and second-string running back Waymon James should move into the starting role in 2013.
The Horned Frogs should also be stout on defense once again next year and will be a factor in the Big 12 title race if Pachall returns.