BCS Chances for Top 50 Teams in 2013

Carl Stine@@CFBAllDayCorrespondent IMay 15, 2013

BCS Chances for Top 50 Teams in 2013

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    This list is all about the BCS, as this will be the last season of college football in which we will have to deal with the current championship system.

    Here you will find listed the top 50 college football teams heading into 2013, along with their chances of making a BCS game.

    It is a simple ranking system, where a high percentage means a better chance of reaching a BCS bowl and a lower percentage means less of a chance. It's not rocket science.

    Love or hate the BCS, it's what we have to entertain during college football season for one more year.

    Read on for some early analysis of the race for a BCS berth.

50. Mississippi State Bulldogs

1 of 50

    2012 Record: 8-5

    Dan Mullen's squad finished at a respectable 8-5 record last year.

    On the surface, that appears to be pretty solid, but in reality, the Bulldogs only beat one team with a winning record, which was Middle Tennessee.

    Playing in the SEC West is a scary proposition, especially with Auburn and Ole Miss on the way up, and the Bulldogs will also be without some key pieces from their 2012 team.

    Johnthan Banks, Nickoe Whitley and Darius Slay are all gone from the defensive secondary, and they will be sorely missed.

    The receivers on this team are inexperienced and just don't have the talent needed to compete.

    Mullen has a huge job cut out for him just to get this team to a bowl game in 2013.


    BCS Chances: 3 %

    Everybody has a chance, but with State, the departure of three excellent defenders in the secondary makes their chances extremely slim.

49. West Virginia Mountaineers

2 of 50

    2012 Record: 7-6

    When talking about an imbalance, one needs to look no further than the West Virginia defense versus the team's offense.

    The defense allowed 30 or more points in nine games last season. The offense averaged over 500 yards per game.

    That dichotomy is what led the Mountaineers to a 7-6 record last season—that and Dana Holgorsen's addiction to energy drinks:

    Wild/wonderful RT @patricksouthern: A fantastic picture of Dana Holgorsen in a blissful moment, shot by @mattsunday. twitter.com/mattsunday/sta…

    — edsbs (@edsbs) April 5, 2013

    In 2013, it will be more of the same. The defense returns only five starters, and they will struggle to stop the explosive offenses in the Big 12. The offense will be solid, but they will not be as productive without Tavon Austin, Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey this season.


    BCS Chances: 2%

    It takes both offense and defense playing at an elite level to make a BCS game. WVU will not have the defense to win the Big 12.

48. Auburn Tigers

3 of 50

    2012 Record: 3-9

    Some will laugh that Auburn has made the top 50, and others will be annoyed that they are ranked so low.

    Wherever you stand, remember that this team is still young and plays in the toughest division in America.

    Yes, Gus Malzahn will have Auburn competing for conference titles again in a few years, but he will need some time.

    For the Tigers, they will need to start improving their defense in 2013. The Tigers return eight starters on that side of the ball, which could be a good thing (they will have experience) or a bad thing (they were last in the SEC in rushing defense last season).

    Either way, if the defense does not step up, an offense loaded with young talent does not have the skill to carry this team.

    Neither quarterback Kiehl Frazier nor Jonathan Wallace, is going to light up the SEC, but if one of them establishes some sort of consistency, a bowl game is a possibility.


    BCS Chances: 3%

    The talent is there for this team to make a run at a BCS game...in 2015.

47. Penn State Nittany Lions

4 of 50

    2012 Record: 8-4

    And the transfers continue at Penn State, with quarterback Steven Bench being the most recent to decide that he was done in Happy Valley:

    Steven Bench considering USF, NC State, Mississippi State on.si.com/15IJCt2

    — SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) May 8, 2013

    That is not to say that the Nittany Lions can't win games without him, especially with uber-recruit Christian Hackenberg arriving this summer and with Tyler Ferguson leading the charge in spring ball.

    However, it's going to be a tough road.

    Wisconsin and Ohio State are both going to be tough to beat this season, and the Nittany Lions don't have Matt McGloin at quarterback again to "wow" everyone with his surprisingly solid play.

    Whoever starts at quarterback will have no experience at this level of football, and he is going to have some growing pains.

    Also, the offensive line lost three starters, Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti are gone from the defense and Jordan Hill is no longer plugging things up at defensive tackle.


    BCS Chances: 0%

    NCAA sanctions mean no postseason for the Nittany Lions, but they wouldn't have made it to a BCS bowl anyway this season.

46. Texas Tech Red Raiders

5 of 50

    2012 Record: 8-4

    Kliff Kingsbury is back, but this time as head coach. Buckle up, it's going to get interesting season in Lubbock.

    The Big 12 is as wide open as any conference in 2013, and Kingsbury inherits an offense that ranked No. 2 in the nation in passing last season.

    Michael Brewer will be taking over the reins of the offense as quarterback, and with Kingsbury guiding him, Brewer is going to put up huge numbers—that is, if the offensive line issues can be solved.

    It just gets better for the Red Raiders. Defensively, they have the potential to be the best in the Big 12. Eight starters are returning to the unit that ranked second in the conference in 2013.


    BCS Chances: 25%

    The issues along the offensive line and the loss of safeties D.J. Johnson and Cody Davis are going to be tough to overcome, but the Big 12 is up for grabs this season.

45. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

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    2012 Record: 8-5

    The good news for Tulsa is that Shawn Jackson and Demarco Nelson are back on defense.

    The bad news is that they are two of only three returning starters on that side of the ball.

    Kick returner Trey Watts is some kind of special, and he will provide plenty of highlights, while quarterback Cody Green and running backs Trey Watts and Ja’Terian Douglas will keep the ground game rolling.

    It is difficult to see the Golden Hurricane duplicating last season's 11 wins, though, and there are few teams that will challenge them within the conference in 2013.


    BCS Chances: 1%

    The Golden Hurricane are not going to have fewer than three losses.

44. Baylor Bears

7 of 50

    2012 Record: 8-5

    After the departure of RG3, some questioned how well Art Briles' offense would function last season.

    Finishing second in the nation in total offense, fourth in scoring offense and fourth in passing offense is what they did. This was all under the leadership of quarterback Nick Florence, who finished behind some guy named Manziel in terms of total offense in 2012.

    Florence is gone, but the rushing attack is going to be ridiculous in 2013, as Lache Seastrunk gets to operate behind a talented and experienced offensive line.

    Seastrunk has boasted that he will win the Heisman, and with that offensive line and his talent, he could.

    The Big 12 is going to be a mess with no clear-cut favorite going into the season, so why not Baylor?


    BCS Chances: 25%

    If Art Briles can get some production out of the quarterback position, and if the defense can figure out how to tackle, the Bears have a slim chance at competing for the conference crown—very slim.

43. BYU Cougars

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    2012 Record: 8-5

    BYU football is always going to deal with the unique challenges created from players leaving the team to complete missions for the church, but in 2013, there is enough talent returning to make some noise.

    This season, much like 2012, the Cougars are going to be an excellent defensive unit, but they will struggle on offense.

    At quarterback, Taysom Hill is healthy, and he will start for Bronco Mendenhall's team.

    The dual-threat quarterback adds another dimension to the offense, but it is a stretch to see this team winning more than nine games this season.

    Kyle Van Noy is back at linebacker to anchor the defense, and he will be one of the best defenders in the nation.

    Still, this BYU team is a long way from landing in a BCS game.


    BCS Chances: 10%

    Fewer than 11 wins will prevent the Cougars from reaching a BCS game, and that number is not going to happen in 2013.

42. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

9 of 50

    2012 Record: 9-4

    Rutgers has to survive one more season outside the Big Ten before the big transition.

    While the offense, led by quarterback Gary Nova, is going to be decent, the defense has a ton of holes to fill.

    Playing in the American Athletic Conference, Rutgers is going to finish the season bowl eligible, but a BCS game is a pipe dream.

    Even if running back Savon Huggins steps up and has a monster year, there is no way the Scarlet Knights can keep up with Louisville in the conference title race.


    BCS Chances: 5%

    The Scarlet Knights are not going to beat out Teddy Bridgewater and Charlie Strong; it's that simple.

41. NIU Huskies

10 of 50

    2012 Record: 12-2

    The Huskies reached the Orange Bowl last season, becoming the most recent team to do so in a line of "BCS busters," but they are going to struggle to duplicate that accomplishment in 2013.

    The defense is going to have some holes to fill, especially at defensive end, where Sean Proger and Alan Baxter have vacated.

    On offense, there are few teams that will be able to match the Huskies.

    Quarterback Jordan Lynch, running back Akeem Daniels and all five offensive linemen will return, making this offense a threat to put up a ton of points in every game.

    The problem is that the defense won't be able to keep their opponent from doing the same.


    BCS Chances: 10%

    Lightning doesn't strike the same place twice, but there is a first time for everything. It would take an incredible effort from the defense to make a BCS berth happen again, though.

40. Ohio Bobcats

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    2012 Record: 9-4

    The Bobcats' defense was deep in 2013, and that depth will help this season, as six starters are leaving.

    The defense only needs to be adequate, as the offense is going to be extremely good.

    Quarterback Tyler Tettleton returns, as does leading receiver Donte Foster and running back Beau Blankenship.

    The offensive line had to replace two starters, but they appeared solid in spring practice.

    This team has a shot at running the table after their initial contest against Louisville.

    It's a long-shot, but it is possible.


    BCS Chances: 12%

    This team will go as far as Tettleton can carry them. Last season, the offense collapsed late in the season. If they are going to finish the season ranked near the top of the BCS rankings, he will have to avoid such a collapse again this year.

39. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    2012 Record: 7-7

    Paul Johnson's squad has an excellent shot at returning to the ACC title game in 2013, this time on their own merit.

    17 starters are returning, including Vlad Lee, who emerged last season as an excellent option to run Johnson's triple option offense.

    Four starters on the offensive line are back, as are all the starting linebackers.

    While not extremely diverse, the offense is going to chew up yardage, especially with a ton of experience and talent returning.


    BCS Chances: 45%

    With a few breaks, Tech will be in the ACC title game, and one win puts them in a BCS game. It's still a long-shot, but don't be surprised to look up in December and see the Yellow Jackets heading to a BCS game.

38. Vanderbilt Commodores

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    2012 Record: 9-4

    If life playing in the SEC is rough, James Franklin and his Commodores are not showing it.

    The 'Dores finished last season with a bowl win over N.C. State, after a season in which Franklin's defense performed beyond expectations.

    The problem for Vandy is going to be replacing talent.

    Austyn Carta-Samuels is going to have to step up at quarterback to fill the gap left by Jordan Rodgers.

    On defense, three starting linemen are gone, leaving a huge gap.

    While the 'Dores will make a bowl game again, it won't be close to one of BCS-caliber.


    BCS Chances: 5%

    The Commodores play in the SEC—that's all you need to know. Alabama, Texas A&M and Georgia are all going to fight it out for the two BCS berths that the SEC can take.

37. Utah State Aggies

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    2012 Record: 11-2

    Matt Wells is taking over head coaching duties with Gary Andersen departed to Wisconsin.

    The Aggies' defense is going to be stout again, after finishing last season seventh in the nation in scoring defense and 14th in yards allowed, as the unit returns seven starters.

    Quarterback Chuckie Keeton and his dual-threat capabilities are back, and he will put up big numbers again, both on the ground and through the air.

    It will be interesting to see how the Aggies deal with the loss of Andersen and running back Kerwynn Williams, though.


    BCS Chances: 5%

    It's hard to be perfect, and that's what it will take for the Aggies to get to a BCS game.

36. Missouri Tigers

15 of 50

    2012 Record: 5-7

    Texas A&M stole the Tigers' thunder last season during their transition to the SEC, as the Aggies proved to be the better team during the transition.

    Missouri quarterback James Franklin and teammates will look to reverse that trend in 2013.

    The offense is going to be better, almost by default, as eight starters return. Plus, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham shouldl take the next step toward justifying all the hype surrounding him.

    Running back Henry Josey will return as wellhopefully to pre-injury formand he will help Franklin provide some explosiveness to the offense.

    These Tigers are going to surprise a few of their SEC mates this coming season.


    BCS Chances: 5%

    There is no way the Tigers beat out Georgia, Florida and the rest of the SEC for a BCS berthOK, almost no way. Stranger things have happened, though.

35. Oregon State Beavers

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    2012 Record: 9-4

    Don't overlook the Beavers.

    This team spent some time in the top-10 last season, and they have a load of returning starters to try and duplicate that success this season.

    Scott Crichton will be a force from his defensive end position, and if Mike Riley can figure out the quarterback position, the Beavers have double-digit win potential.

    The trouble with all these aspirations is the level of competition within the division.

    Stanford and Oregon are both top-10 schools, and they will battle it out until the end of the season for a shot at the Pac-12 title game.

    Don't write off Oregon State completely because they could surprise people again like last season. Still, the chances that they beat out their in-state rival and an up-and-coming Stanford team are slim.


    BCS Chances: 27.5%

    Oregon and Stanford. Those are the barriers to O-State making a BCS game.

34. Fresno State Bulldogs

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    2012 Record: 9-4

    Fresno State is going to be Boise State's primary threat in 2013.

    The Bulldogs get stud quarterback Derek Carr back this season, as well as three starters along a strong offensive line.

    Defensively, eight guys will return to a unit that finished second in the nation in passing defense last season.

    BCS aspirations are just that for non-automatic qualifying schoolsdreams that are not often realized.

    However, with the right breaks, Fresno State could be looking at a 10- or 11-win season.


    BCS Chances: 30%

    Better than most so far on the list, the Bulldogs are one of two teams with the potential of crashing the BCS party from the Mountain West.

33. Virginia Tech Hokies

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    2012 Record: 7-6

    The Hokies were unusually bad this past season, just barely finishing the season above .500.

    This season, while they will be better, the team is still going to struggle.

    Logan Thomas, though an athletic guy with all kinds of talent, struggles with his accuracy and keeping the offense moving.

    Unfortunately, Thomas lost his top three receivers and two offensive linemen from last year, and he will struggle to improve in 2013.

    On the bright side, the defense is returning enough talent that it will again be near the top of the nation in total defense.

    The struggles on the offensive side of the ball will continue into this season, and they will be the main barrier to reaching a BCS game for Frank Beamer's team.


    BCS Chances: 20%

    You can't win with no offense.

32. Arizona Wildcats

19 of 50

    2012 Record: 8-5

    Quarterback Matt Scott is gone, and B.J. Denker appears to have seized control of the offense.

    Ka'Deem Carey, the nation's leading rusher last season, will be back to anchor the offense and provide a spark.

    That side of the ball will be just fine.

    Defensively, the Wildcats will be better than they were in 2012, as all 11 starters are returning, along with much of the two-deep.

    However, there is a ton of work to do on that side of the ball, as Rich Rodriguez had one of the worst defenses in college football last season.

    Besides all the barriers on the team, the Pac-12 is loaded, with UCLA, Stanford and Oregon all primed for runs at the conference title game and a Rose Bowl berth.


    BCS Chances: 15%

    The loss of Austin Hill hurts, but the level of competition in the Pac-12 is the real challenge for the Wildcats.

31. UNC Tarheels

20 of 50

    2012 Record: 8-4

    Freed of postseason restrictions, expect Larry Fedora's team to compete for an ACC title this season.

    With Virginia Tech expected to struggle, the division is wide open, and the Tarheels will spend the season trying to beat out Georgia Tech and Miami for a shot at the conference title.

    Stud running back Gio Bernard is gone, meaning that quarterback Bryn Renner will need to step up in his final season and prove that he is an NFL-caliber talent.


    BCS Chances: 40%

    The pieces are there for a nice run at the ACC title game, and if UNC finds their way into that game, it's a one game playoff for a BCS berth.

30. Miami Hurricanes

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    2012 Record: 7-5

    This might be a little low for the 'Canes this season.

    Al Golden's team has a perfect opportunity to seize control of the ACC and reestablish the program as a contender for the conference title once again.

    Ten starters are returning to each side of the ball, including 10 starters on an offense that averaged 54 points a game in each of the Hurricanes' last three contests of 2012.

    Stephen Morris gets to operate at quarterback behind a deep and talented offensive line, and the experience on this side of the ball coupled with the explosive athletic ability possessed at the skill positions is a scary combination.

    Defensively, there is concern, as the 'Canes couldn't stop anybody last season. However, you have to believe that having all but three players return to the defensive two-deep can only lead to good things.


    BCS Chances: 50%

    The 'Canes are one of the most intriguing teams going into 2013. With a little improvement on defense, they will run to the ACC title game. Without it, another mediocre season is in the works.

29. Arizona State Sun Devils

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    2012 Record: 8-5

    Todd Graham has an excellent offense on his hands heading into 2013.

    Led by Taylor Kelly at quarterback, the Sun Devils will look to build upon a better than expected 2012.

    Kelly's offseason exploits leave little doubt about his competitive edge:

    Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly spends his offseason drag racing (Video) yhoo.it/10wK7n3

    — Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) May 9, 2013

    With a transition of that edge to the football field, he will make a big splash in the Pac-12 in 2013.

    The entire defensive line returns, including Will Sutton, the best defensive lineman in the nation not named Jadeveon Clowney.

    With eight starters returning on offense and a strong defensive line anchoring the defense, ASU will compete for the Pac-12 South title.


    BCS Chances: 35%

    While it would be nice to be able to say that the Sun Devils have an excellent shot at a BCS game, that would be a lie. Even if they make it to the Pac-12 title game, the chances that they will beat anyone in the North division are slim.

28. USC Trojans

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    2012 Record: 7-6

    The Trojans are coming off of a tremendously disappointing season.

    They started the season ranked No. 1 in the nation and wound up finishing with a 7-6 record.

    Moving into 2013, there are some major questions.

    Defensively, USC is going to be hard to beat, with eight starters returning and a defensive line that will be one of the best in the nation.

    On offense, Marqise Lee will again be the best wide receiver in the nation, as long as the Trojans have a quarterback that can toss him the ball.

    Cody Kessler, Max Browne and Max Wittek are all fighting it out for the starting quarterback job, with Kessler appearing to have the edge coming out of spring practice:

    Cody Kessler: "I don't ever want anything handed to me. I want to compete for it. I'm always going to compete." (Trojans QB comp into fall)

    — Joe Schad (@schadjoe) April 14, 2013

    The offensive line will be a strength, and Silas Redd has the potential to be a star at running back.


    BCS Chances: 45%

    The Pac-12 South is littered with contenders for the division title, and even if USC successfully navigates through all of them, Oregon or Stanford will be waiting.

27. Northwestern Wildcats

24 of 50

    2012 Record: 10-3

    The Wildcats earned a bowl berth last season for the third-straight season and finally capitalized, winning their first bowl game in way too long.

    And that's just the start for the Wildcats.

    With Trevor Siemian, Kain Colter and running back Venric Mark all returning, as well as the team's top wide receivers, Pat Fitzgerald has a legitimate contender for a conference title.

    Nebraska and Michigan present significant challenges to making the Big Ten title game, but this team has the talent to do just that.


    BCS Chances: 30%

    The chances of Northwestern making a bowl game are very good, but the chances that the team will win the conference are slim, leaving them out of the BCS limelight.

26. Michigan State Spartans

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    2012 Record: 7-6

    The Spartans are going to be the team that flies under the radar heading into the season and takes people by surprise with early successes.

    Eight starters return to the Big Ten's best defense, and although Johnny Adams and William Gholston are gone, this is still an extremely talented group.

    Mark Dantonion has done a tremendous job of developing this unit into a team that can compete for a conference title.

    If a quarterback can step up and be consistent, the Spartans are going to make a run at the conference title in 2013.


    BCS Chances: 45%

    While the road to the Big Ten title game is long and hard, the Spartan defense is such that it will keep them in every game. If there is one thing that we have learned from the SEC's run of national titles, it's that great teams are based off defense. Watch out for these Spartans.

25. Wisconsin Badgers

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    2012 Record: 8-6

    Can Wisconsin reach four Rose Bowls in a row?

    That's the big question entering 2013.

    While Ohio State is the favorite to win the Big Ten, there was no team that played the Buckeyes as tough as Wisconsin did in 2012, and the Badgers have loads of talent returning this season.

    Gary Andersen is taking over at head coach, and he will be implementing a new style of offense as well as a different defense.

    Those changes take time, and they will be hard to implement successfully on the fly.

    Yes, the Badgers have the experience to win another Big Ten title, but they need some stability at the quarterback position and more options at wide receiver for that to be better than a long-shot.


    BCS Chances: 50%

    If the Badgers can beat Ohio State, they should be in the Big Ten title game. But that's a big "if."

24. Ole Miss Rebels

27 of 50

    2012 Record: 7-6

    The SEC is so stacked.

    Ole Miss is a real option to finish third in the SEC West, after Alabama and Texas A&M.

    While this seems to be a bit of a low expectation, it's difficult to beat Alabama—just ask Notre Dame.

    The Rebels return nine starters on each side of the ball. This includes quarterback Bo Wallace, who struggled with injury and accuracy last season, but still has the talent to be an excellent quarterback.

    Hugh Freeze has the talent to make a surprise run in the SEC, but not enough to make a BCS game without a major act of God.


    BCS Chances: 35%

    The SEC is too loaded for Ole Miss to be one of two teams from the SEC that make a BCS game.

23. Washington Huskies

28 of 50

    2012 Record: 7-6

    Don't sleep on Washington.

    Steve Sarkisian has 19 starters returning, including quarterback Keith Price, who has the talent to be a dark horse Heisman candidate in 2013.

    Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a beast of a tight end, and he is the kind of player that dominates and exploits mismatches. He will provide Price with an excellent target.

    Running back Bishop Sankey lends some pop and stability to the running game.

    A run at the Pac-12 North title might sound crazy, but with a slip up by Stanford or Oregon, the Huskies have the talent to take advantage.


    BCS Chances: 55%

    The Huskies are not good enough to dominate the conference. They will need Oregon and Stanford to make mistakes in order to slip into the Pac-12 championship game.

22. Boise State Broncos

29 of 50

    2012 Record: 11-2

    There are few things that are certain in life: death, taxes and Boise State posting at least 10 wins, yet missing a BCS game.

    The Broncos are going to do the same thing in 2013.

    Chris Petersen has established himself as one of the best in the nation at developing and using talent effectively, and he will continue to do so this season.

    Quarterback Joe Southwick will be back, and he has a solid line protecting him. This will lead to increased production in his second season leading the offense.

    The Broncos seem to drop one game they shouldn't every season that keeps them out of the BCS, but will this be the season when that trend finally changes?


    BCS Chances: 70%

    That might seem high, but there is a wealth of talent returning to the Broncos, and they have a weak schedule. An undefeated season is a very real possibility.

21. Kansas State Wildcats

30 of 50

    2012 Record: 11-2

    The Wildcats aren't slipping quietly off into oblivion just because Collin Klein is gone.

    Running back John Hubert will anchor the offense, and Daniel Sams seems primed to take over right where Klein left off at quarterback.

    The entire offensive line returns, paving the way for an offense that will move the ball efficiently again in 2013.

    Concern can be found in the front seven on defense, though, where Bill Snyder needs to replace all seven starters.

    That's a monumental task, even for a man as good at coaching as Snyder.


    BCS Chances: 40%

    Why not K-State? If Texas falters and Oklahoma's defense is not up to par, the Wildcats will be right in the mix with six or seven other teams for the Big 12 title.

20. Nebraska Cornhuskers

31 of 50

    2012 Record: 10-4

    Things looked good for the Huskers heading into last season's Big Ten title game against Wisconsin.

    Then they got steamrolled, and followed that up with a loss to a very good Georgia squad in their bowl meeting.

    In Taylor Martinez' final season as a Husker, he is going to put up monster numbers, both with his legs and through the air.

    He's worked to improve his throwing motion every season, and he will be even better at throwing the ball in 2013 than he has been to date.

    Ameer Abdullah has the talent to be one of the top running backs in the Big Ten, while Kenny Bell is an incredible weapon at wide receiver.


    BCS Chances: 75%

    Here's the thing: the Huskers will make it to the Big Ten title game as long as they can patch up a defense that is missing loads of talent. They have tons of talent at the offensive skill positions, and they can beat every team in the Big Ten, with the possible exception of Wisconsin or Ohio State.

19. TCU Horned Frogs

32 of 50

    2012 Record: 7-6

    Casey Pachall is back, and he is surrounded with buzz:

    Big12: if QB Casey Pachall truly has his life in order, watch out for TCU this year. A lot of YOUNG talent returning and they ALWAYS play D.

    — Todd Blackledge (@Todd_Blackledge) May 14, 2013

    The Horned Frogs are set at quarterback.

    Defensively, things look even better. TCU returns eight starters to the best defensive unit in the Big 12, making them one of the teams to watch in the conference.

    This conference is a wide open race heading into the season, with a few teams standing a little above the rest.

    TCU is one of those teams.


    BCS Chances: 70%

    That defense will be scary good, and defense wins games.

18. LSU Tigers

33 of 50

    2012 Record: 10-3

    Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Bennie Logan, Eric Reid, Kevin Minter, Tharold Simon, Brad Wing, Spencer Ware and Michael Ford; that's the short list of talented players that left LSU after the 2012 season.

    Les Miles has his work cut out for him.

    The Tigers' defense is going to be lacking in the experience department, and this will be the team's Achilles' Heel.

    While the offense is primed for a breakout season, the staple of this teamit's defenseis going to struggle, especially early in the year.

    On top of the issues on defense, playing in the SEC West and reaching a BCS game is a nightmare, as beating Texas A&M and Alabama will be a huge task.


    BCS Chances: 45%

    Unless something drastic happens during fall practice, the Tigers are going to feel the lack of experience on defense. This will be a concern for at least the first four to five games of the season.

17. Oklahoma State Cowboys

34 of 50

    2012 Record: 8-5

    Mike Gundy has his team in prime position to win their second Big 12 title in three years.

    2013 will be an exciting season for Cowboys' fans.

    The defense will not be a liability, and the offense returns a ton of talent to a unit that finished third to last year in scoring offense in the conference.

    Wes Lunt has transferred out, leaving J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf to battle it out for starting quarterback duties.

    Both of them are capable, and each has experience starting in Mike Gundy's offense.

    The Big 12 is pretty wide open, but Oklahoma State is the smart money pick to win the conference.


    BCS Chances: 75%

    On paper, it looks like the Cowboys should win the conference, and they will if they can avoid mistakes.

16. Michigan Wolverines

35 of 50

    2012 Record: 8-5

    The Wolverines are again just short of the talent it will take to win the conference.

    Devin Gardner will take over at quarterback, and in spite of opinions one way or the other, Gardner's body of work is not sufficient enough yet to judge him either a Heisman contender or a bust.

    Brady Hoke needs to find some replacements on defense, but the unit has the basis for an excellent season if linebacker Jake Ryan is completely healthy entering the season.

    The secondary is deep and talented, but the offensive line needs some playmakers to step up if the Wolverines are going to compete for a Big Ten title.


    BCS Chances: 60%

    The Wolverines are talented, and with a few breaks, they could easily make the Big Ten title game. Should they not get consistent production from Gardner nor find some playmakers to produce on defense, it's going to be tough to compete.

15. Florida State Seminoles

36 of 50

    2012 Record: 12-2

    There is no denying that Florida State had an excellent season in 2012, capped off with a BCS bowl win.

    It ends there.

    The Seminoles are going to have a tough time beating out Clemson in the ACC's Atlantic Division next season, as the Tigers are loaded and the 'Noles will be starting redshirt freshman Jameis Winston at quarterback along with a completely revamped defense.

    In 2013, FSU will regress, if only a little bit, before returning to the head of the ACC pack in 2014.


    BCS Chances: 50%

    Given the lack of competition for the BCS title outside of Clemson in the ACC, FSU does have a decent shot at finishing with a double-digit win season and an ACC crown in 2013.

14. UCLA Bruins

37 of 50

    2012 Record: 9-5

    UCLA was one win away from the Rose Bowl, thanks to the tremendous play of freshman quarterback Brett Hundley and recently departed running back Johnathan Franklin.

    Hundley will be even more effective this season, as the Bruins' offensive line will be improved and will not allow 52 sacks like they did last season.

    Jim Mora already has this team headed the right direction, and with another offseason to gel and get his system into place, the Bruins will again be at the top of the Pac-12 South looking down come season's end.


    BCS Chances: 45%

    Sure, if the Bruins can reach the Pac-12 title game, it's a one game playoff from there for a run at the Roses. But that playoff will come against either Oregon or Stanford, which is not an easy proposition.

13. Florida Gators

38 of 50

    2012 Record: 11-2

    The Gators are a hard team to get a read on going into 2013.

    The offensive line is decimated by injuries, and though most of the starters are expected back by the time the regular season begins, they aren't all that talented to begin with.

    This could lead to some problems for quarterback Jeff Driskel, who has struggled under pressure in the past.

    Defensively, the Gators lost some key pieces, and they will be hard-pressed to replace them immediately.

    With a tough battle in the division ahead of them, it will be interesting to see how this unit develops, or fails to develop, as the season unfolds.


    BCS Chances: 50%

    There are just too many variables. Driskel has to be consistent, the offensive line has to be at least mediocre, and the defense has to replace Sharrif Floyd, Matt Elam, Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins.

12. Texas Longhorns

39 of 50

    2012 Record: 9-4

    Texas is implementing some huge changes this offseason.

    David Ash will be starting at quarterback, and he will be running a spread offense that Texas has not used to this point with any regularity.

    The rushing game will be solid with Johnathan Gray, Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown all returning, and the defense can't be worse than last season.

    If the defensive unit lives up to the expectations that were placed upon it going into last season, this team has a conference championship in the bag.

    If not, the Longhorns will be just one of four or five teams fighting for position in the conference race.


    BCS Chances: 65%

    These system changes could be an excellent call, or they could spell disaster.

11. Oklahoma Sooners

40 of 50

    2012 Record: 10-3

    Oklahoma finished 10-3 last season in what was considered a "down" year for the program.

    Get ready for a bounce back.

    Blake Bell appears ready to take over at quarterback, and he has Trey Metoyer and Jalen Saunders at his disposal in the passing game.

    Defensively, the Sooners need to shore up a few things, mainly along the defensive line and at linebacker.

    However, the Big 12 is wide open, and with the offensive firepower the Sooners posses, they will be in the running late into the season.


    BCS Chances: 65%

    There is going to be a brawl in the Big 12 this season. Bob Stoops is battle-tested, though, and has enough talent to make his team a threat within the conference.

10. South Carolina Gamecocks

41 of 50

    2012 Record: 11-2

    South Carolina brings back defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. That is all that needs to be said.

    Clowney impacts that game like no defensive player in the college ranks today, and he will be a nightmare all season long to contain.

    But football is a team game, and the rest of the defense is very young. Steve Spurrier has to replace all three linebackers and most of his secondary.

    The SEC East has been one of the most interesting divisions to watch in recent years, as South Carolina, Florida and Georgia have duked it out for supremacy.

    This year will be much of the same, with the Bulldogs holding the slight edge.


    BCS Chances: 75%

    If it weren't for restrictions on the number of teams from one conference that can participate in BCS games, we could just pencil in the Gamecocks along with the rest of the top-six teams in the SEC. As it stands, they will have a hard time fending off Georgia, Alabama and Florida for a berth.

9. Clemson Tigers

42 of 50

    2012 Record: 11-2

    Clemson is an interesting team.

    Going into 2013, there are no teams in the ACC that should beat the Tigers, and Dabo Swinney has his squad poised on the verge of something special.

    The Tigers open the season against Georgia, in a game that will give us a good gauge of what Clemson will be in 2013.

    Quarterback Tajh Boyd is back, as is Sammy Watkins and a defense that will be much improved over last season's edition.

    Even if the Tigers lose to Georgia and South Carolina in non-conference play, it is difficult to see them not making the ACC title game.


    BCS Chances: 89%

    As long as the Tigers don't revert to pre-Dabo mode and lose against a lesser opponent, an ACC title and BCS berth are in the offing.

8. Texas A&M Aggies

43 of 50

    2012 Record: 11-2

    It's time to stop pretending that Texas A&M is going to be as good this season as they were last season.

    They are not, and they will be exposed against Alabama early in the season.

    Without Damontre Moore anchoring the defensive line and with several other key players gone from the defense, the Aggies are going to struggle to stop anybody with a decent offense.

    That said, outside of Alabama, there is nobody on the schedule who should beat them.

    Johnny Manziel will do what he does, the running back depth is enough to make Bret Bielema green with envy and Kevin Sumlin's offense will be better in his second season than it was in his first.

    So while the Aggies' defense is not going to be near as good as it was last season, the explosiveness of the offense will make up for it.

    The chances that this will work against Alabama are slim to none, but if the Aggies finish the season with only one loss, a BCS berth is a possibility.


    BCS Chances: 82.5%

    Johnny Manziel leads the offense, and that should be enough to convince anyone that the Aggies have a shot at a BCS game.

7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

44 of 50

    2012 Record: 12-1

    The Irish are not going away. Brian Kelly is an excellent coach, an apt recruiter and has the resources at hand to make this team a contender for the next decade.

    But to focus on this season for a little bit, take a look first at the needs the Irish already have.

    The middle of the offensive line is going to be a weakness, as Braxston Cave and Mike Golic, Jr. are gone.

    Manti Te'o is not around anymore to shore up the middle of the defense, though his replacement, Jarrett Grace, is talented.

    The Irish don't play any FCS teams this season (unless you count Pitt) and games against Michigan, Michigan State and Stanford are going to be tough.

    As an Independent, it's going to be difficult for the Irish to make it back to the national title game this season, especially after the way Alabama spanked them last year.

    That said, a BCS berth is a very real possibility, especially if quarterback Everett Golson continues to improve as a passer.


    BCS Chances: 80%

    Should the Irish find a way to win 10 games, they will be in a BCS bowl. Looking at their schedule, they should reach that number.

6. Georgia Bulldogs

45 of 50

    2012 Record: 12-2

    Georgia is going to be tough to beat in 2013.

    With quarterback Aaron Murray returning to lead the offense, and with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall back to pound the rock, this team is going to move the ball pretty much at will.

    The beginning of the season is going to be very rocky, as defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will have to replace nine starters from his unit. Plus, the first two games on the schedule are against Clemson and South Carolina.

    Even if the 'Dawgs lose both of those contests, don't be surprised if they run the table the rest of the way, all the way to a BCS title game.

    A third-straight loss in that game would be tough to handle, but it's difficult to see Georgia beating Alabama or Texas A&M this season.


    BCS Chances: 75%

    Before Georgia fans have a stroke, remember that Clemson is going to be very good, and playing South Carolina that early in the season is going to be a nightmare. If the 'Dawgs get at least a split of those two, expect a very real shot at a BCS berth. If not, it's going to be a tough road.

5. Louisville Cardinals

46 of 50

    2012 Record: 11-2

    Yes, that 11-2 record included a victory over Florida to close out the season, but it also included losses to Syracuse and UConn.

    The biggest challenge for Charlie Strong's team in 2013 will be to remain focused and consistent.

    As members for one final season of the conference formerly known as the Big East, the Cardinals have an opportunity to make a statement.

    The level of competition they face can best be described as weak, and with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater leading the way, they will need to rough up every opponent in order to get any respect on a national level.

    The Cards are going to have a very real shot at running the table and possibly slipping into the national title game.

    Even if they don't, they are going to win the American Athletic Conference, there is just nobody in the conference good enough to compete in 2013.


    BCS Chances: 98%

    Outside of Tuscaloosa, there is no team more likely to make a BCS game.

4. Stanford Cardinal

47 of 50

    2012 Record: 12-2

    Stanford finished 2012 as Pac-12 and Rose Bowl champions, and they were quite possibly the most overlooked team in college football.

    2013 is looking great for Stanford, as well. Kevin Hogan is back at quarterback and will be protected by one of the most talented offensive lines in football.

    Anthony Wilkerson and Tyler Gaffney will be able to produce enough at the running back position to ease the pain felt by the loss of Stepfan Taylor, while the defense returns enough depth to make this team a legitimate threat to run the table.

    If Hogan continues to progress as he did in 2012, the Cardinal will be a top-five team to close out the season, and they will earn a BCS berth with ease.


    BCS Chances: 90%

    The talent on this team is underrated. Hogan was a pleasant surprise last season, and he will continue to be a force at quarterback for David Shaw.

3. Oregon Ducks

48 of 50

    2012 Record: 12-1

    The Ducks were knocked off their perch atop the Pac-12 last season by the upstart Stanford Cardinal.

    Chip Kelly is gone, but the offense will continue to thrive with quarterback Marcus Mariota, running back De'Anthony Thomas and receivers Josh Huff and Bralon Addison returning.

    Mariota will be one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, and he should compete for the Heisman Trophy.

    The Ducks are going to be one of the two best teams in the Pac-12 North.

    If they do lose in 2013, it will be to Stanford again, but an at-large BCS berth again is nothing to sneeze at.

    With the right breaks, the Ducks could sneak back into the national title game.


    BCS Chances: 90%

    2013 will be very similar to 2012, with the Ducks earning a BCS berth. Whether they find their way into the national title game, the Rose Bowl or another BCS bowl remains to be seen.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

49 of 50

    2012 Record: 12-0

    Last season, Urban Meyer led the Buckeyes to a perfect record.

    Whine all you want about easy schedules and lack of competition, but the Buckeyes were the only team to finish without a loss in 2012.

    This season will be more of the same. The schedule is easier and the Buckeyes have more talent this season than they did last year.

    Braxton Miller is back to lead the offense, and his ability to make the difficult plays look routine will continue into the season. He has Heisman written all over him, especially if the Buckeyes run the table again.

    Defensive end Noah Spence had a tremendous spring practice, and he will be a star of the defense for his entire career.

    If the Buckeyes don't make at least the Rose Bowl, it would be a major upset.


    BCS Chances: 90%

    With the mixture of experience and fresh young talent, Urban Meyer has a recipe for a run at a national title on his hands.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

50 of 50

    2012 Record: 13-1

    There is no denying that Alabama is the best football team in the nation coming out of the 2012 season, and until further notice, they will remain the best team heading into 2013.

    The Tide are coming off consecutive national titles, and have an excellent chance of pulling off the three-peat and establishing Nick Saban as one of the greatest head coaches in college football history.

    The barriers to success for the Tide lie in the first two games of the season.

    Virginia Tech, although less than competent on offense, is no pushover, and Texas A&M will be the biggest game of the regular season.

    With A.J. McCarron, Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon and Christion Jones returning to skill positions on the offense, it's going to be very difficult to beat a Tide team that will again be excellent defensively.

    Another BCS berth for Alabama is as close to a sure thing as it gets in college football next season.


    BCS Chances: 98.8%

    It would be the biggest upset of the season if the Tide do not find their way into a BCS bowl game.