BCS Rankings 2012: Projecting Where the Top 25 Starts in the 2013 Preseason Poll

Alex Callos@@alexcallosCorrespondent INovember 26, 2012

BCS Rankings 2012: Projecting Where the Top 25 Starts in the 2013 Preseason Poll

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    With the latest BCS rankings hot off the presses, there is certainly not much drama left for the remainder of this season.

    The national championship game will be Notre Dame against the winner of the SEC championship. All of the other BCS spots are pretty much locked up if everything goes according to plan during the final weekend of the season.

    So why not spend some time looking ahead to next season. While it is still a long way away, let's talk about where these teams are going to rank at the beginning of the 2013 campaign.

    Here is a projection of where the current BCS Top 25 will be ranked to begin the 2013 season.

No. 1 Notre Dame

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    Preseason 2013: No. 5

    The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have clearly been one of the surprise teams of the college football season and are a win away from bringing the national title back to South Bend.

    While they are not the youngest team in the country, there is a lot of youth on both sides of the ball. The Fighting Irish will welcome back quarterback Everett Golson along with plenty of talent on the offensive side of the ball.

    On defense, Manti Te'o will be hard to replace, but the Fighting Irish will still be strong, particularly along the defensive line.

No. 2 Alabama

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    Preseason 2013: No. 1

    The Alabama Crimson Tide were supposed to be in a bit of a transition this season, having lost a lot to the 2012 NFL draft.

    That is not the case as the Crimson Tide are two wins away from becoming the BCS national champions once again.

    Next season, while some spots along the offensive line will need to be replaced, the skill players will mostly be back.

    Names like A.J. McCarron, Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon and the entire receiving corps will return unless they leave early for the NFL draft.

    The defense is also relatively young with only a few starters to replace.

No. 3 Georgia

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    Preseason 2013: No. 7

    Georgia is very young and extremely talented on the offensive side of the ball. Defense, however, is a different story.

    On offense, virtually everybody will be coming back, and if quarterback Aaron Murray returns for his senior campaign, this can very easily be a Top 10 team.

    The running back combination of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall will be around for quite some time as the two are only freshmen.

    Defense will be where the issues lie, as the Bulldogs will have to replace the entire secondary along with part of the defensive line.

    This team will likely be nearly as good next season as they are right now.

No. 4 Florida

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    Preseason 2013: No. 4

    The 2013 season for the Florida Gators will hinge on the play of quarterback Jeff Driskel. He will be entering his junior season and be relied on a little bit more.

    Florida has talent everywhere on the field, and is a quarterback away from being the best team in the country.

    The Gators will also have to replace running back Mike Gillislee.

    On defense, most of the starters will be returning, but early departures into the NFL draft could also play a factor.

    Either way, expect this team to be in the Top Five at the beginning of next season.

No. 5 Oregon

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    Preseason 2013: No. 2

    Oregon seems to reload every season, and the 2013 campaign will be no different.

    The Ducks will lose Kenjon Barner to graduation, along with a few offensive linemen. On the defensive side of the ball, Oregon will have to replace nearly half of the starters.

    With quarterback Marcus Mariota getting another year to develop, the Oregon offense will be as good or better as they are right now.

    This is a perennial Top Five team nearly every season.

No. 6 Kansas State

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    Preseason 2013: Unranked

    Kansas State is a senior-laden squad that relies heavily on quarterback Collin Klein.

    He will not be in the picture next season and neither will nearly all of the defense.

    The defense of the Wildcats features virtually all senior starters. Replacing them is not going to be an easy task. 

    While there is a chance Kansas State will be ranked at the beginning of the 2013 season just because of what they did in 2012, it is hard to imagine they have Top 25 talent in 2013.

No. 7 LSU

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    Preseason 2013: No. 9

    The continued development of quarterback Zach Mettenberger will be a big key for LSU next season. 

    While they will lose plenty of talent, particularly on defense, with Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo almost certainly going to leave early for the NFL, the offense will be much better.

    All four running backs will be back, unless Michael Ford or Spencer Ware decides to leave early.

    It will be hard to replace Mingo and Montgomery, but there is so much talent for LSU on that side of the ball that they will be quickly forgotten.

No. 8 Stanford

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    Preseason 2013: No. 14

    Stanford has performed better than anticipated before the season began, and the play of quarterback Kevin Hogan has been a big boost for the Cardinal offense.

    He is only a freshman and might find himself the starter for the next three seasons.

    Replacing running back Stepfan Taylor will not be easy to do, but Stanford always finds a way.

    The classes for the Cardinal are pretty evenly divided, and expect them to field a team in 2013 that will contend for the Pac-12 title.

No. 9 Texas A&M

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    Preseason 2013: No. 6

    Texas A&M is one of the hottest teams in the country and is led by Heisman favorite Johnny Manziel.

    Manziel is only a freshman so he will certainly be back next season where he could be in line for his second Heisman trophy.

    Nearly half of the starters are seniors, meaning there is going to be a lot to replace.

    However, with Manziel running the show, this is always going to be a Top 10 team as long as he is around.

No. 10 South Carolina

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    Preseason 2013: No. 16

    South Carolina has battled through a season of injuries, and is still one of the Top 10 teams in the country heading into the final week of the season. 

    While star running back Marcus Lattimore will likely not be back next season, quarterback Connor Shaw should be healthy, and there are plenty of weapons around him.

    Over half of the defensive starters are seniors, but one man who will return is defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

    He is one of the best at his position in all of college football and will be a force in 2013.

No. 11 Oklahoma

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    Preseason 2013: No. 18

    Oklahoma has a lot to replace, particularly at the quarterback position in senior Landry Jones.

    It will be interesting to see what Oklahoma does at that position with sophomore Blake Bell the likely replacement. 

    How well he can pass the ball remains to be seen.

    There will still be a lot of talent around him, but nearly half of the defense will have to be replaced.

No. 12 Nebraska

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    Preseason 2013: No. 13

    With the improvement that Taylor Martinez showed at the quarterback position, the Nebraska offense can expect big things next season.

    They will have to replace Rex Burkhead, but Ameer Abdullah has proved to be a viable option.

    The defense will lose about seven starters, but there is enough depth to avoid a major drop-off.

    Look for Nebraska to continue to improve in the coming years and be a force in the Big Ten for years to come.

No. 13 Florida State

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    Preseason 2013: No. 15

    The Florida State Seminoles are going to have a hard time replacing quarterback E.J. Manuel, but there will be plenty of skill position players coming back.

    On defense, the talented defensive line will likely all be gone and will not be easy to replace.

    The key to the 2013 season will almost certainly be the quarterback play of Clint Trickett.

    Another positive for Florida State is the offensive line. The entire group should be back next season, and that should go a long way toward the development of Trickett.

No. 14 Clemson

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    Preseason 2013: No. 8

    The Clemson Tigers have a very talented offense, and most of that talent will be coming back next season.

    Quarterback Tajh Boyd is only a junior, and star wide receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins are also slated to return.

    The big question will be how to replace running back Andre Ellington.

    Figuring out a way to fill the secondary is also a question the Tigers are going to have to answer heading into the 2013 season.

    No matter what, the offense will be as good or better than this season.

No. 15 Oregon State

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    Preseason 2013: Unranked

    Oregon State has been one of the major surprise teams this season, and it is hard to imagine them having another season like this one in 2013.

    There is plenty of talent coming back, including quarterback Sean Mannion.

    There are going to be a lot of players to replace on both sides of the ball, and the classes are relatively balanced, so the depth is there.

    The development of some of the young skill players will be the biggest question for the Beavers heading into next season.

No. 16 UCLA

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    Preseason 2013: No. 24

    The UCLA Bruins have been another of the pleasant surprises this season. They are being led by a freshman in quarterback Brett Hundley.

    He will be back next season, but star running back Johnathan Franklin will not.

    There is plenty of youth along the offensive line with freshmen scattered throughout. The biggest question heading into 2013 will be how to replace the skill position players.

    If UCLA can do that, it could be headed toward a season similar to what is happening in 2012.

No. 17 Kent State

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    Preseason 2013: Unranked

    While the season Kent State has had can certainly not be overlooked, the team is led by a very experienced group, and it is hard to imagine it being ranked next season.

    The Golden Flashes are 11-1 right now and still have an outside shot to qualify for a BCS bowl game with a win over Northern Illinois and a few losses by teams in front of them.

    Next season will almost certainly not be as magical as this one, and replacing the front seven will be much harder than some will anticipate.

No. 18 Texas

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    Preseason 2013: No. 11

    The Texas Longhorns are an inexperienced team with youth all over the field.

    If quarterback David Ash can continue to develop, this Texas team could be a sleeper in 2013.

    There is youth at the running back position in Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray.

    On defense, Alex Okafor will need to be replaced at defensive end, and safety Kenny Vaccaro will also be gone. If everybody stays, the rest of the defense will be back, and the group could be really scary.

No. 19 Michigan

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    Preseason 2013: No. 17

    The Michigan Wolverines will finally have to move on without Denard Robinson next season, and the big question is whether or not Devin Gardner will be the starting quarterback.

    If running back Fitzgerald Toussaint can stay healthy and out of trouble, he will be one of the best in the Big Ten.

    Nearly half of the starters on defense will be gone.

    Michigan could be ranked a lot higher by the time the season starts, but it is hard to tell right now considering what might happen at the quarterback position.

No. 20 Boise State

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    Preseason 2013: No. 21

    The Boise State Broncos are definitely not having a typical season, but they still stand at 9-2 and a win away from another double-digit win season.

    Quarterback Joe Southwick will return next season, and with a year of experience under his belt, the offense should be much improved in 2013.

    They will have to replace running back D.J. Harper along with six fifth-year seniors on defense.

    While the defense may not be quite as strong in 2013 as it is in 2012, the offense will be much better.

    Expect a similar season in 2013 from Boise State, just a slightly different way of getting to the 10 wins.

No. 21 Northern Illinois

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    Preseason 2013: Unranked

    Northern Illinois is having one of the best seasons of anybody in the country and is a few points away from being undefeated.

    Quarterback Jordan Lynch is quietly putting up Heisman numbers.

    He will return next season along with nearly everybody on the offensive side of the ball. With the entire offensive line coming back, the Huskies will be a threat once again in the MAC.

    On defense there is a lot more to replace. While it is hard to imagine a MAC team being ranked to begin the season, the Huskies are going to be close.

No. 22 Northwestern

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    Preseason 2013: Unranked

    Northwestern has put together a nine-win season and has done it in large part because of a relatively weak Big Ten.

    With that being said, this program is certainly headed in the right direction.

    The Wildcats will return most of their skill players, including the quarterback combination of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian.

    Replacing three starters along the offensive line will also be a huge question mark for the Wildcats.

    There is certainly a shot they could be ranked near the bottom of the rankings at the beginning of the season, but for now we will put them just outside of the Top 25.

No. 23 Oklahoma State

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    Preseason 2013: No. 12

    Oklahoma State is already an explosive offense, and next season might be one of the best in the country if everything falls into place correctly.

    Quarterbacks Clint Chelf and Wes Lunt will both return, along with running back Joseph Randle.

    Nine of the top 10 receivers listed on the depth chart are slated to come back, and while there are a few players to replace on defense, the group will be better than it is in 2012.

    In 2013, the Cowboys could be in contention for the Big 12 title.

No. 24 Utah State

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    Preseason 2013: Unranked

    Utah State is led by superstar quarterback Chuckie Keeton. The sophomore is one of the best kept secrets in the country and will be even better next season.

    At 10-2, Utah State lost two road games against Wisconsin and BYU by a combined five points.

    Needless to say, this group is very talented and might be even better on offense next season.

    Even with Keeton back, however, do not expect Utah State to to be ranked when the season begins.

No. 25 San Jose State

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    Preseason 2013: Unranked

    San Jose State is one of five ranked teams from a non-BCS conference and is having an outstanding season.

    The Spartans have only lost to Stanford and Utah State on the season. At 10-2, they are winners of six straight games.

    Next season there will be plenty to replace, but there is a strong junior class led by quarterback David Fales.

    About half of the starters on defense are seniors, and that might makes things a little difficult on that side of the ball in 2013.

    The Spartans will not quite be ranked at the beginning of the 2013 season.