While Alabama hoisted the crystal football at the end of the season, the Texas A&M Aggies were one of the top talking points around college football in 2012.
After posting an 11-2 record, beating the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa and producing the first redshirt freshman Heisman Trophy winner in history; it shouldn't be too much of a surprise.
The upward momentum of the program has some fans in Aggieland thinking big in 2013—as in, the BCS National Championship.
In the SEC, preseason rankings don't matter all that much in this day and age. If you win your games, you're going to be in.
However, starting with the preseason No. 1 designation certainly wouldn't hurt. That's exactly where Kirk Bohls of the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman has the Aggies in his preseason top 25.
How realistic is it that the Aggies will claim the No. 1 spot in either the preseason Associated Press or USA Today Coaches' Poll?
The Aggies will garner significant attention, due in large part to the fact that some vote based on where they think teams are in August and others vote based on where they think each team will end up at the end of the season (as Bohls illustrates in his poll).
If you're voting based on where they'll end up, there's certainly an argument to be made for the Aggies.
They return quarterback Johnny Manziel, running back Ben Malena, wide receiver Mike Evans, a talented and underrated secondary and will sign about half of the skill players in the class of 2013.
Plus, they'll get Alabama at home after two cupcakes early in the season, have a bye week prior to the late-season road trip to LSU and miss Georgia, South Carolina and Florida out of the SEC East.
However, it won't be enough to get the No. 1 ranking.
Alabama, despite its roster turnover from last season, has earned the benefit of the doubt. The Crimson Tide is returning senior quarterback AJ McCarron, 1,000-yard rusher T.J. Yeldon, superstar wide receiver Amari Cooper, linebacker C.J. Mosley and a talented secondary highlighted by safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Plus, if you use the manageable schedule argument for Texas A&M, the same applies for Alabama—which has the clearest path in the SEC.
The matchup in College Station will be the biggest hurdle for head coach Nick Saban's crew to clear, and it will have two weeks to prepare for it. The Tide gets LSU at home, draws Tennessee and Kentucky out of the SEC East, and the three SEC teams it plays on the road other than Texas A&M (Kentucky, Mississippi State and Auburn) combined for four conference wins last season—all from Mississippi State.
Can Texas A&M take home the crystal football in 2013? Absolutely. But it doesn't have enough juice to be the preseason No. 1 team in the country.