25 Storylines That Should Get College Football Fans Excited for 2013
As the final bowl games of the 2012-13 wind down, it is certainly not too early to look forward to what's coming in the 2013-14 season.
After all, we're college football fans and can never get enough of the world's greatest sport. After the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, we will count the hours before the leaves fall and football is here again.
So, what are the biggest storylines for 2013?
Will Auburn Come Back from the Abyss with Gene Chizik Gone?
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After winning the national championship just two seasons ago, Gene Chizik has already been run out of Auburn on a rail. That's what happens when you don't win a single SEC game.
Now, Gus Malzahn will get a chance at his former boss' job after spending a year at Arkansas State.
Malzahn should know how little patience Auburn Tigers fans will have with him after seeing what happened to Chizik, particularly as Nick Saban and Alabama continue to win SEC and national championships.
Can Anyone Shut Down the SEC?
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The SEC claims to be the premier college football conference in the FBS, and who can dispute that claim? The conference owns the last six national championships in a row, and Alabama has a chance to make it seven.
Until another conference can step in and put a stop to them, SEC fans will continue to have the bragging rights.
Amazing to think that for a while it looked like the SEC would be on the outside looking in this season before both Oregon and Kansas State lost on the same night.
Will the Big East Survive?
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Even though it's going to sadly be a while before we get more football after the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, conference realignment will provide plenty of drama over the offseason.
And it's certainly not over yet.
The latest move was Boise State's decision to stay in the MWC after all after planning to join the Big East. SDSU will probably follow suit, as they won't have a travel partner out West. What remains of the Big East just might get picked apart by the ACC, Big Ten and C-USA.
Could Texas A&M Be a National Championship Contender?
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Coming into 2012, everyone thought that Texas A&M would become the SEC's new bottom dweller as they stepped into perhaps the most difficult division in college football.
Instead, they went 6-2 in conference and 10-2 overall.
The past three national champions have come out of the SEC West, with Alabama trying to make it four in a row. Could Texas A&M with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel be the next team out of the SEC West to win it all?
Can Stanford Establish a Dynasty in the Pac-12?
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No doubt about it, Stanford is here to stay despite the fact that both Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck are gone to the NFL.
But can Stanford establish themselves as a power like USC and Oregon have before them?
Interesting to see, isn't it?
Can Florida Rise Back to the Top of the SEC?
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It took Will Muschamp just two seasons to take Florida back to a Sugar Bowl bid. That's particularly amazing given that he's already had two offensive coordinators.
Florida is certainly a strong enough program to produce national championships, as Urban Meyer proved.
Will year three be the charm for Muschamp and the Gators?
Can Nick Saban Continue to Dominate College Football?
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Nick Saban has a chance this season to win three national championships in the last four years against Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game.
Regardless of whether or not Saban and Alabama actually pull off the national championship win, Saban's dominance is almost unquestioned.
The fact that Alabama will be a national title contender year in and year out with Saban on the sideline is pretty much a given. However, what may not be a given is whether or not Nick Saban decides to take one more crack at the NFL.
Can Nebraska Finally Break Through?
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Nebraska under Bo Pelini seems to forever teeter on the edge of greatness but can never quite break through.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers have won either nine or 10 games each of Pelini's five seasons. They've lost two Capital One Bowls in a row and just haven't been able to capture a conference crown either in the Big 12 or in the Big Ten.
Will 2013 be the magical year for Pelini and the Huskers?
Can the ACC Be Relevant in 2013?
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It's been a while since an ACC team has been a legit national championship contender. The conference hasn't sent a team to play for the national championship since Florida State played in the 2001 Orange Bowl.
However, Clemson took a step forward this bowl season by beating LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Besides, you have teams like Florida State and Virginia Tech with enough prestige to potentially put together a championship team.
Will Chip Kelly Stay or Go?
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It's become almost an established fact of football that when Oregon has Chip Kelly on the sideline, the Oregon Ducks will go to a BCS bowl. Kelly is a perfect four out of four, as he's gone to two Rose Bowls, a BCS National Championship Game and now a Fiesta Bowl.
No wonder NFL teams covet Kelly.
I'm sure that plenty of NFL teams will try to woo Kelly. If he stays, I wouldn't bet against seeing the Ducks in another big-time bowl.
But if he goes, all bets are off.
Can the MAC Keep It Up?
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Northern Illinois made history by becoming the first team from the MAC to make it to a BCS bowl, as well as the first team from a non-AQ conference to bust the BCS without running the table.
Can the MAC keep this up for more than one year, or will the balance of power among the non-AQ conference move back west to the MWC?
How Will Bret Bielema Do in the SEC?
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Bret Bielema made quite an interesting move by jumping from Wisconsin to Arkansas. While you can get to the Rose Bowl by going 8-5, that won't get you to a big-time bowl in the SEC.
Besides, Bielema is now competing against the likes of Les Miles and Nick Saban in his division, not to mention up-and-coming coaches like Kevin Sumlin.
I hope Bielema is ready for the greater heat down south.
Can BYU Develop an Offense?
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Who would have thought that BYU of all teams would struggle to find an offense to match their fantastic defense and not the other way around?
Kyle Van Noy is coming back for the BYU Cougars, meaning that BYU's No. 4 scoring defense should be right up there again.
And BYU is going to need a tough all-around team looking at their schedule. They face Texas, Notre Dame, Utah, Boise State and Wisconsin next season.
Can Bill Snyder Keep Things Going at Kansas State?
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There aren't many coaches who can say they retired then came back and took their team to a Big 12 title and a BCS bowl bid, but Bill Snyder can.
With Collin Klein off for the NFL and Snyder turning 74 years old during the next college football season, how long can Snyder keep this going?
Only time will tell.
Can Virginia Tech Bounce Back?
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2012 was an uncharacteristically bad year for Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies. For the first time since Virginia Tech joined the ACC, the Hokies won less than 10 games (in fact, they won only six) and missed a bowl game.
You just don't expect things like that from Beamer.
Will Beamer and the Hokies get back on track in 2012?
Will Notre Dame Be a One-Hit Wonder?
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Notre Dame may or may not win the title this year, but it's nothing short of remarkable that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were able to even make it to the BCS National Championship Game this season.
Ah, but All-American linebacker and Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti Te'o will be gone to the NFL. Can the Irish maintain their high level of success without him?
We'll have to see.
How Far Will Vanderbilt Rise?
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Who would have thought that Vanderbilt would be one of the hottest teams in the SEC? James Franklin has his players believing, as he went 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.
Stanford in the Pac-12 has shown that teams with really high academic standards can indeed compete at the highest levels of college football. Can the Vanderbilt Commodores do the same?
Can Texas Finally Get Back to a BCS Bowl?
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It seems like an eternity since Mack Brown and Texas were playing for a national championship, but it was just 2009.
Still, three seasons without the Texas Longhorns in a BCS bowl seems just too long.
The Longhorns were able to get some momentum by beating a solid Oregon State squad in the Alamo Bowl, however Texas still needs to beat the likes of Oklahoma to achieve this goal.
Can the Big Ten Bounce Back?
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2012 wasn't a kind year to the Big Ten.
Both Ohio State and Penn State were held out of the postseason this year. The conference only got one team, unranked Wisconsin, into a BCS bowl.
Michigan State was one of the bigger disappointments of the year, but at least they've got some momentum for next year by beating TCU.
I just can't see the Big Ten being as bad as it was in 2012, two years in a row.
Can Lane Kiffin Save His Job?
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After getting beat by the likes of Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl, USC is officially the most disappointing team of 2012.
Can you believe that this was the No. 1 preseason team in the AP?
Lane Kiffin will face an uphill battle to remain at USC after this year's mess. I'm sure that won't break many hearts down in Tennessee.
More Johnny Football
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Johnny Manziel was just plain fun to watch. I mean, what else do you call this play other than fun?
Having a redshirt freshman win the Heisman for the first time in college football history means that we could potentially have three more seasons of Johnny Football to watch.
Other than Alabama fans, who could say no to that?
How Will Ohio State Do After Their Bowl Ban?
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Ohio State was banned from a bowl game this season thanks to "Tattoo-gate," and that turned out to be costly. The Ohio Buckeyes ran the table and would have at least gotten a trip to a BCS bowl this season.
But in 2013, nothing should stand in the way of the Buckeyes winning another Big Ten title. Just how far will Urban Meyer and Ohio State go after they are unleashed?
We shall see.
What Will Happen to Miami (FL)?
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While the NCAA was quick to bring the hammer down on Penn State, it has been anything but with the Miami Hurricanes.
In fact, the only penalties the Hurricanes have gotten are self-imposed, as they've kept themselves out of a bowl game for the second year in a row.
It seems like an age since the Nevin Shapiro scandal broke, but the NCAA always seems to be slower to act than cold molasses except for what happened at Penn State.
Can't they just get this over with?
The Final Year of the BCS
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With a four-team playoff coming in 2014, 2013 year will mark the end of the BCS.
There are so many questions surrounding this final round of the BCS.
Who will be the last BCS buster? What teams will make it to the final BCS National Championship Game? Will the SEC extend their national championship streak assuming that Alabama gets past Notre Dame?
Personally, I don't think a playoff could come soon enough.
It's College Football. Do You Need Any Other Reason?
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You know that no matter what the storylines are and how they change over the offseason, you are going to be checking in day after day just counting down until fall.
That's because college football is the greatest sport in the world. You know it to be true, and none of us can get enough.