BCS Poll 2012: Teams That Will Crack the Top 10 Next Season

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IDecember 9, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Devin Gardner #12 of the Michigan Wolverines controls the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

After 15 weeks of the college football season, the BCS rankings are just about set. Upon looking at the rankings, there are some teams who are destined to crack the Top 10 next season.

Let's take a look at some squads who were on the outside of the Top 10 looking in this season but will change that in 2013.


BCS Standings (per ESPN.com)

1 Notre Dame 12-0
2 Alabama 12-1
3 Florida 11-1
4 Oregon 11-1
5 Kansas State 11-1
6 Stanford 11-2
7 Georgia 11-2
8 LSU 10-2
9 Texas A&M 10-2
10 South Carolina 10-2
11 Oklahoma 10-2
12 Florida State 11-2
13 Oregon State 9-3
14 Clemson 10-2
15 Northern Illinois 12-1
16 Nebraska 10-3
17 UCLA 9-4
18 Michigan 8-4
19 Boise State 10-2
20 Northwestern 9-3
21 Louisville 10-2
22 Utah State 10-2
23 Texas 8-4
24 San Jose State 10-2
25 Kent State 11-2



No. 14 Clemson Tigers

The Tigers barely missed a Top-10 finish in 2012, but that will likely change in 2013.

Clemson has one of the most explosive offenses in the nation as evidenced by its No. 6 ranking. The Tigers averaged 42 points per game and were ranked No. 13 and No. 32 in the pass and run, respectively.

Quarterback Tajh Boyd flashed some incredible skills this season after passing for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns with only 13 picks. Adding to his arsenal, Boyd also ran for 492 yards and nine scores.

Running back Andre Ellington will be moving on after this season, but backup running back Roderick McDowell has shown he can step up to take the reins of this rushing attack when combined with Boyd.

Not to mention, Boyd has two of the best young receivers in the nation to throw to in DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, who both figure to be back for yet another season. If you thought these guys were good this year, just wait until they have a bit more experience under their belt.

Defense is where Clemson will have to improve in 2013. The Tigers ranked No. 47 in points against in the nation, but they wouldn't be the first Top-10 team to play lackluster defense and still be successful. Besides, with all the weapons they have, the Tigers don't need low-scoring games to win.



No. 18 Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines had a disappointing finish to the 2012 season, and while they fell short of expectations this season, they should have no problem fulfilling them in 2013.

Michigan's biggest problems this year were on the offensive end. For starters, the Wolverines sported the No. 98 passing attack in the nation and that won't cut it for a Top-10 team. That was mostly a result of the ineptitude of Denard Robinson, who proved he wasn't a top-tier pocket passer.

The emergence of Devin Gardner as the team's starter next season should help all of that. Gardner doesn't have the same athleticism as Robinson, but that athleticism never really got Michigan where they wanted to be.

Gardner is a far better pocket passer with the ability to evade opposing pass rushes. Furthermore, Gardner has the arm to make all the throws, whether it involves a deep ball or a touch pass.

Where Robinson's departure will hurt Michigan is in the rushing attack as he accounted for the majority of the team's rushing yards this season (1,166). However, Fitzgerald Toussaint showed he can be a solid back for this team and with more carries, the junior should produce enough to make up for Robinson's absence.

Defensively, the Wolverines were rock solid, ranking No. 16 in the nation. If they can bring that defensive effort and become a more all-around offense, Michigan will easily slip into the Top 10 next season.



No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers

If not for an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers in the final game of the season, Nebraska might have finished this year as a Top-10 team.

The future for this team's offense is extremely bright, led by Taylor Martinez who is one of the more athletic quarterbacks in the nation. Martinez threw for 2,667 yards with 21 touchdowns, but also finished second on the team in rushing yards with 973.

Martinez will no doubt be a top candidate to break the 1,000-yard mark in both rushing and passing next season.

At the top of the Cornhuskers rushing attack, sophomore Ameer Abdullah could potentially emerge as one of the best backs in the country in 2013. Abdullah compiled 1,089 yards and eight scores this season, which could have been significantly higher if not for Martinez's incredible running skills.

The only aspect of Nebraska's team that needed a fix was the defense, and the Badgers helped show that. This team doesn't get to the quarterback all that well, and forcing turnovers isn't exactly its specialty. Still, this defense was good enough to lead Nebraska to a No. 16 ranking but failed the Cornhuskers in their bid to finish in the Top 10 and in a major BCS bowl.

With the offense Nebraska will have next season, its defense doesn't need to improve all that much to be successful, so it isn't out of the question that the Cornhuskers rebound to a Top-10 finish in 2013.


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