8 Teams in the BCS Top 25 Who Will Not Be Contenders Next Season
While there is still plenty of college football left to play, we are quickly approaching the point to where we can begin looking ahead to next season. College football comes and goes in a flash and it becomes the offseason before you know it.
Once the 2012 season is all over with, every team in the country loses key players, has to replace leadership, deals with position battles and faces a new and likely tougher schedule. There are simply more question marks after a season than there are answers.
Although nobody has all of the answers quite yet, here is an extremely early look at some of the Top 25 teams that will struggle in 2013.
Current BCS Ranking: No. 25
Key Players Who Won't Be Around in 2013: Colby Cameron, Quinton Patton and Ray Holley
Louisiana Tech will enter the first season in the C-USA with a completely different team. A squad that has been surprisingly good because of its high-powered offense will now lose its starting quarterback, top wide receiver and four of the five starting offensive linemen. The defense also won't be able to save this club, as the current starting unit is allowing 35 points per contest on average.
Head coach Sonny Dykes has done a good job of getting this program back in the AP Poll for the first time since 1999, but a rebuilding year is likely in place once this magical run comes to an end in 2012.
Current BCS Ranking: No. 21
Key Players Who Won't Be Around in 2013: Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Pat Miller
It certainly hasn't been the defense that has quickly turned this West Virginia program into a Big 12 contender. And while head coach Dana Holgorsen has the offensive brainpower to help things run smoothly, many of the players that make this spread offense work, including the quarterback, will no longer be around next year.
The defense is still young, particularly in the defensive backfield, but while the Big 12 continues to gradually improve, West Virginia will need to answer a lot of questions during the offseason.
Current BCS Ranking: No. 18
Key Players Who Won't Be Around in 2013: Seth Doege, Eric Stephens Jr. and Cody Davis
Texas Tech is one of the few Big 12 teams that plays defense, but will undergo many changes as all four starters in the secondary are seniors this year. That can't be good for a team that is currently ranked 15th in the country in pass defense. The offense will lose its starting quarterback, three offensive linemen and wide receiver Darrin Moore.
When you add all of the pieces that will no longer be around with a schedule that includes road games against Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia, 2013 will be a tough season for Texas Tech.
Current BCS Ranking: No. 17
Key Players Who Won't Be Around in 2013: Matt Barkley, Khaled Holmes and T.J. McDonald
This could have happened last season, but Barkley decided to return for his senior year and put the NFL on hold. Now, USC will have to find an inexperienced quarterback to lead this club in a conference that is driven by offensive performance. The defense will also lose its leader in safety McDonald, as well as Jawanza Starling, who has three interceptions this season.
I know USC recruits with the best of them, but not having a reliable quarterback leaves huge question marks heading into the offseason. It also makes you wonder, if the Trojans couldn't get the job done with its current team, what makes you think USC will be a contender next year with pieces gone?
Current BCS Ranking: No. 15
Key Players Who Won't Be Around in 2013: Chad Bumphis, Darius Slay and Johnthan Banks
Oklahoma State, LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Auburn and Arkansas are just some of the teams this Mississippi State squad will have on its schedule next year. What makes things even worse is that four of those games take place on the road, while one of them is at a neutral site.
If you need another reason why the Bulldogs will come back down to reality next year, they are losing arguably the top cornerback tandem at the same time. Linebacker Cameron Lawrence is also on his way out of Starkville, MS.
Sorry, but this program doesn't recruit like an Alabama or LSU to where it can just plug and play when key weapons move on.
Current BCS Ranking: No. 10
Key Players Who Won't Be Around in 2013: Mario Benavides and Adrian Bushell
Despite losing its starting center and a productive cornerback, Louisville is in good hands as far as its roster is concerned. The problem is that this team really hasn't been that impressive this season, despite its undefeated record, and will receive an increase in competition next year.
With programs like Boise State, UCF and Houston joining the party, the Cardinals may be the ones taking a backseat in this conference. I know Teddy Bridgewater is a great quarterback, but the programs that are hoping on board have solid track records in their own right.
And besides, does anybody even consider Louisville a contender this year even with its undefeated record?
Current BCS Ranking: No. 8
Key Players Who Won't Be Around in 2013: Marcus Lattimore (possibly), Shaq Wilson and Reginald Bowens
Remember how everybody was picking Alabama to fall off this year because of the loss of its linebackers?
Well, South Carolina is losing two of them after this season, including the top two tacklers on this roster. Safety D.J. Swearinger is also leaving the school next year, and that doesn't include having to find a replacement for Lattimore, as he could spend the 2013 season rehabbing.
South Carolina has another terrific recruiting class coming in, but there is a lot of leadership this team has to replace in just one season.
Current BCS Ranking: No. 2
Key Players Who Won't Be Around in 2013: Collin Klein, Chris Harper and Arthur Brown
If there is ever a time for Kansas State to make a run towards a national championship, it is this season. Once this year is over with, you can simply forget about the Wildcats being this high in the rankings at any point during 2013.
The guy who makes this whole offensive machine work (Klein) is finishing up his last season at Kansas State. To make matters worse, seven of the top nine tacklers on the defensive side of the ball are also seniors, creating massive holes in leadership and production.
Kansas State hit the jackpot with this year’s team, but that luck will run out once this season comes to a close.