Can you over-hype a back-to-back champion? Of course you can!
The hype machine is being fueled as we speak, and it should be cleared for takeoff in the near future. As with many combustion engines, the hype machine tends to run extra vigorously when it has been freshly topped off.
The following is an alphabetical list of players, coaches and teams (in that order) that will be so over-hyped that some fans will be secretly wishing they lose a game or two just so they can stop hearing about them outside game day.
*Disclaimer: Over-hyped does not mean that the hype is incorrect. Some of these players, coaches or teams may turn out to be every bit as good as they are projecting, but it doesn't mean that everyone wants to hear about them nonstop for three months before kickoff.
Teddy Bridgewater is a stellar quarterback, but the amount of hype he'll have to live up to is going to be gargantuan.
He took down a highly ranked Florida team from the nation's conference of champions, and he'll be expected to play at that elite level week-in and week-out.
He's good enough to do that, but his first game will have been built up so much that it might just be a letdown anyway. Unless he literally sprouts wings and flies into the end zone at one point, he will fall short of the high praise that he'll receive before kickoff.
Things will settle down later in the season, and he'll be allowed to impress on his own merit. Waiting for that moment will be painful for many, especially Louisville fans that rightly believe they shouldn't have to defend a college player because he got sacked once in a game.
Ka'Deem Carey is a great running back, but the pressure of being an All-American may not serve him well this coming season. He's already gotten a taste of the publicity associated with his status, and hype may not be the best thing for him in 2013.
Carey is one of the best running backs in the country, but it's far from easy to repeat a nearly 2,000-yard season, especially in a power conference like the Pac-12.
Jadeveon Clowney is the nation's best defensive end, but that doesn't mean that people want to hear about him (or see "The Hit" from the Outback Bowl) 24/7.
Clowney is a special talent that college football doesn't see on a regular basis, but his name is going to be worn out by the time the 2013 season kicks off.
If he can end up backing up the hype and making it as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, at least that would justify the coverage a bit, though.
Amari Cooper is one of the best receivers in the country, but he is going to get a lot more press than some people care for in 2013.
He was an integral part of Alabama's 2012 national title, and he has earned his fame. However, the media doesn't tend to know the meaning of "enough is enough." Cooper's actions will speak for him when the Tide take on Virginia Tech in August, but everyone else will put in their two cents first.
Duke Johnson is an elite running back, and he's the marquee player on Miami's offense. On the other hand, the way the media will go on about him, you might think that he's Miami's quarterback, star receiver, running back and offensive line.
It's fine to have a player that's the face of your team, but when he becomes the only recognizable name, there's an issue. Johnson's name should come up on many award watch lists, but he can't win the ACC by himself.
It takes a whole team.
USC's star receiver, Marqise Lee, is set to outdo his 2012 performance in 2013, but he'll have to rely on a new quarterback to deliver him the football.
While Lee is likely be drafted in the top 10 of the 2014 class, his stats may not be equal to his press presence. It's difficult enough to produce like he does, and it will be even harder to do so without Matt Barkley.
Yes, Lee will be a Heisman candidate and a potential award winner at his position, but don't expect him to statistically live up to his 2012 stat line.
Johnny Manziel is the reigning Heisman winner, and whether he lives up to the hype or not, he'll be considered newsworthy until he leaves college.
Manziel will be the subject of praise not seen in college football in many years. Such is life for the first freshman Heisman winner in history. However, if you're not already tired of the offseason reports, you will be by August.
Heaven help you if the Aggies beat Alabama in Week 3. ESPN's GameDay might show up at every A&M game, and there might be a bye-week special on Manziel as well.
Taylor Martinez showed his impressive mobility in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game, even if it wasn't enough to overcome the Wisconsin Badgers that day.
He will appear on preseason Heisman watch lists, and he may or may not live up to that kind of expectation. The reality is that he needs to step it up as a passer, and his offensive line needs to improve a bit to help that happen.
While he does have a high ceiling, he will have more attention than he has earned as a complete quarterback. Of course, he could turn around and be the Big Ten's version of Johnny Manziel and prove that it isn't just hype.
Alabama may or may not win a third national title in a row, but AJ McCarron will definitely bear the brunt of the offensive responsibility for the attempt.
Sure, his receivers and running backs will get attention, but no single Alabama player will be the subject of more debates than McCarron. Everything from "Is he a game-manager or a quarterback" to "Is he or his girlfriend settling in the relationship" are likely headlines for 2013.
If you're not a Tide fan, that's already two too many articles.
LSU is always going to contend for the SEC title, but Zach Mettenberger is going to have a ton of attention on him for the 2013 season. He's had his year of development at LSU, and it's time for him to deliver.
Mettenberger didn't consistently perform at the necessary level for an SEC title in 2012, but he showed flashes of greatness throughout the season. Most notably, he almost handed Alabama its first loss of the season, which could have put the Tigers in the SEC title game against Georgia.
Mettenberger's Alabama performance will be discussed extensively in the preseason as an example of what he could be in 2013. While it will be a fun discussion at first, the desperation to see him actually play football will be fully developed before August is over.
To say Braxton Miller had a great season in 2012 would be an understatement. However, the eyes of the nation will be on him for the 2013 run. After finishing as the only undefeated team in the country last season, Buckeyes fans will be expecting no less than an appearance in the national championship game.
That could happen, but the pressure on Miller from the media will be more than is fair for a kid his age. At least Urban Meyer and the defense (more on both later) will share some of the burden.
Casey Pachall's second chance at TCU is going to be a hot (and touchy) story in 2013, and it should be. Unfortunately, it's also going to be such a big story that it will be impossible to avoid.
Pachall could lead the Horned Frogs to a conference title in 2013, but Trevone Boykin could do so as well. If the world were a fair place, the media will leave the second-chance aspect of the story alone and let him move on.
Faith in the traditional media is a little short these days, though.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is currently serving out the punishment for his offseason issues, but the details of his debt to the university have yet to be revealed.
Jenkins is another player who has learned the meaning of being a star. It means a level of scrutiny that cannot be fully understood by anyone that isn't that well-known.
Jenkins has the opportunity, however strict his rules, to turn those indiscretions into parts of his past that he need not relive. Hopefully, the people around him can protect him from having to face more than his share of reporters if he continues on the right path.
Logan Thomas won't be as hyped as he was before the 2012 season played out, but he will definitely be discussed at length at least through the end of the Alabama match in late August.
The bad part for him is that, even if he loses that game, his underachievement may become a topic of conversation for the year. It's bad enough to fall short of expectations, and it's even worse to have those shortcomings blaring on every television you pass by.
The simplest, but not easiest, thing for him to do would be to beat Alabama. Maybe he should get on the phone with Texas A&M and LSU. They seemed to have the answers for the Tide.
Clint Trickett has transferred to West Virginia, and he will be eligible to take over at quarterback in 2013 due to the graduate transfer rule. For a team that is looking to replace Geno Smith, Trickett is a pretty decent option.
However, with the loss of offensive power at West Virginia, he may find that he's the center of attention there much more quickly than he anticipated. Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin and Geno Smith all left for the NFL draft this past April, and that leaves Trickett as the go-to guy when offensive questions are asked.
Hopefully, he can perform well enough to keep the media monkey off his back.
Part of the reason for Clint Trickett's departure from Florida State was that Jameis Winston looked great in the Florida State spring game. Winston will carry some of that aura into the 2013 season.
The more wins FSU racks up, the more hype Winston will get. This is all great for the Seminoles until he drops a game. As a first-year starter, the growing pains should be expected and almost immediately forgiven.
If the loss is to a team that he has no business losing to, though, expect a lot of bad publicity for a week. That will be covered more in the Jimbo Fisher slide later on.
Barring injury, T.J. Yeldon is going to be Alabama's star running back. As the go-to running back for the nation's reigning champion, Yeldon will be getting a sickening (for some) amount of hype this coming season.
Yeldon will earn a lot of coverage, but the recent success of both Alabama and the SEC will grant him more than a fair amount of discussion. Again, he may completely back it up and earn the Doak Walker Award, but that's over six months away.
Bret Bielema is taking over an Arkansas squad that had 11 wins as recently as 2011. While the Razorbacks should have had as many wins in 2012, the Bobby Petrino/John L. Smith combination of events led to, well, not 11 wins.
Bielema will be hyped as the savior of the Hogs, and there's some truth to that. However, Arkansas lost Tyler Wilson to the NFL this past draft. Bielema may be the future at Arkansas, but the on-field results won't likely meet expectations until 2014.
Mack Brown will be getting a lot of attention, as he always does at Texas. Brown and the Longhorns will be under the magnifying glass from a different angle this time around.
Instead of asking if Brown can make it to the national championship, the press will largely center on the comeback victory over Oregon State in the 2012 Alamo Bowl.
Was that the sign of things to come? Was it a fluke? Does Brown have a team that can go the distance? Should Brown be fired if he doesn't go 5-0 to start the season?
Brown coaches a storied program that many would love to trade histories with, but the Longhorns have routinely proven themselves to be overrated since the 2009 national championship appearance.
Sonny Dykes and his offensive coordinator from Louisiana Tech have moved to California to attempt to take the state back from the UCLA/USC/Stanford triumvirate.
California will immediately start moving up the Pac-12 ladder, but Dykes will certainly be the subject of so many "Can he turn Cal into Louisiana Tech?" pieces that the story itself will become at least mildly annoying to everyone, including Cal fans.
Jimbo Fisher has done (and will continue to do) great things at Florida State, but that doesn't mean that the Seminoles are ready to live up to the hype that the EJ Manuel era produced.
Florida State will enter the season as a dark-horse candidate to make the national title game, and that's not necessarily wrong. However, Fisher will be remembered for the NC State loss last season repeatedly before 2013 kicks off.
"Of course, Florida State must avoid another senseless loss to get to the BCS party" is going to be an all-too-familiar tag at the end of reports about the Seminoles.
Butch Jones is set to coach the Tennessee Volunteers' return to glory, and the coverage will start as soon as reasonably possible.
For Tennessee fans, this is not new territory. They just went through all this with Derek Dooley as he tried to clean up the mess Lane Kiffin left behind.
Jones will be over-hyped in light of Dooley's failure with the program. Luckily for Jones, 2013 is not going to be a make-or-break season for him. The Volunteers will give him a little time to succeed before considering a buyout.
Brian Kelly led Notre Dame to the national championship game last season, and he will be hyped accordingly heading into the 2013 season.
The Irish lost stars Manti Te'o and Tyler Eifert to the NFL draft, and those losses won't be easy to overcome. That won't stop Kelly from being one of the most talked-about coaches in the country from now until opening day.
Kelly is in zero danger of being fired, and most people should be aware that another perfect regular season is unlikely for Notre Dame. Naturally, that will be exactly the point that sportscasters bring up all summer: Notre Dame's perfect 2012 regular season was unlikely, too.
Lane Kiffin will enjoy some USC-style preseason hype in 2013, but his team may or may not be ready to back that up on the field just yet. It wasn't able to do it in 2012.
Kiffin's future may hinge on this coming season, and the storytellers will not leave that little nugget of information out of their tales.
Kiffin will be highly questioned, but his recent recruiting classes will be analyzed over and over in order to make him look like he's got some serious firepower up his sleeve.
The fall will prove whether he does have legitimate weapons on the field, but the hype will make it sound like USC is on the verge of another national title at any minute.
Gus Malzahn is the head coach of the Auburn Tigers now, and he'll be expected to make an immediate turnaround for the Tigers.
While this will be fairly easy for him, considering the 3-9 debacle that was 2012, it still doesn't mean that Auburn is ready for the hype that will surround the program in 2013.
The good news for Auburn fans is that they shouldn't care. Gene Chizik is gone, and it's difficult to do worse than 3-9 in the SEC even if Malzahn doesn't bring a stellar defense to the table.
Urban Meyer already ran through a season surrounded by hype, but 2013's level of attention will be much higher and more justified.
His Buckeyes were the only undefeated FBS team at the end of the season last year, and the Buckeyes faithful will be expecting another undefeated regular season complete with a Big Ten title.
Meyer's gift for football is a blessing and a curse. Bringing the kind of success to Ohio State that he brought in 2012 is merely going to heighten expectations more quickly. Ohio State now has a coach to whom a 10-win season is a rebuilding year.
He proved that he's capable of doing worse during the 2010 season at Florida, but that was only during that one year. He had also just lost Tim Tebow to the draft, so it was definitely a rebuilding run.
Les Miles and the LSU Tigers will be hyped coming into the 2013 season. The major reason is that LSU has consistently overcome large losses to the NFL time and time again. He will be hyped because the Tigers should have defensive drop-off in 2013.
Of course, LSU was supposed to have drop-off in 2012 as well, and the Tigers finished the season ranked No. 12 nationally in scoring defense.
Jim Mora is in the midst of bringing UCLA to the top of the Pac-12. He almost got it done with a freshman quarterback in 2012, and he'll enter 2013 as one of the coaches to watch for the conference title at the end of the year.
Whether he can bring that success to UCLA for a second season in a row remains to be seen, but his quarterback situation is to be envied by many. Anyone would be lucky to contend for any conference title with a freshman quarterback, but the Pac-12 is one of the top-three conferences in the nation.
Mora faces a lot of rising Pac-12 teams, plus Nebraska, on his 2013 schedule. If he can make it back to the title game, then he can officially prove that UCLA is one of those rising squads.
Chris Petersen will be hyped simply because Boise State is due for some serious success. He had an extremely strong team whether he had stellar quarterbacks or not. In 2013, the story will be all about what he can or cannot do with a passable signal-caller.
Petersen is one of the best coaches in the country, but he needs to bring results on the field again. Preferably, he'll do it this year. Either way, Boise State is one quarterback away from living up to the hype.
How can the best coach in the country be over-hyped? Well, it's simple. He has earned recognition for the dynasty he has built at Alabama, but it doesn't mean that everyone across the country wants to hear about Saban's process every other day.
Saban will be heralded as the greatest coach in the country in 2013, but he will be so thoroughly examined that even he will get irritated at the type of questions being thrown his way.
Steve Spurrier is leading South Carolina to a 2013 season that could easily take him to Atlanta against Alabama, Texas A&M or LSU.
Spurrier has led the Gamecocks to new heights, and fans will see him plastered all over the airwaves all season long. If he continues to give us golden troll nuggets like this, then nobody will take much issue with the fact that he gets too much attention.
Kevin Sumlin coached the only team that beat the national champion in 2012. Heading into 2013, he will be so ridiculously puffed up by the media that he will barely be able to coach the team properly if he doesn't learn some time-management strategies.
Tommy Tuberville will bring his defense to Cincinnati in 2013, and that could be the difference between a conference title and almost a conference title for the Bearcats.
Tuberville's Texas Tech defense, though inconsistent, was the first one to shut the West Virginia Mountaineers down in 2012.
Those are the shining moments that his defensive reputation is built on. If he can add consistency to the mix for Cincinnati, then he'll be well on his way to fulfilling the Bearcats' hopes.
Tuberville will have a lot of eyes focused on him this fall, but he should remain relatively relaxed until the Rutgers game.
Alabama will likely be the preseason No. 1 team, because the last time the Tide didn't win the national championship was in 2010. Yet again, the predictions and historical comparisons will start before fall camp starts and the 2013 recruiting class shows up to practice.
Nick Saban will scream things at reporters, reminding them that this team hasn't even played a game yet. The sports media will respond with more questions about how good he feels the team's chances are.
Alabama will be one of the biggest slices of the daily media leading to every major game it plays. It will start with Virginia Tech and either end in Atlanta or whenever Alabama loses a second game.
Is it annoying, maddening or awesome? Well, if you're an Alabama fan, it's awesome. If you aren't, then it's both the other options, and you might want to invest in some insurance on your television.
Boise State hasn't been able to crack the BCS for a while, though the Broncos did earn it back in 2011 and were unjustly left out of the party. (Even if you believe that Boise shouldn't have been in the BCS picture, you can agree that the Las Vegas Bowl was just salt in the wound.)
Boise State will appear on the preseason AP Top 25, and the hype will carry the Broncos to a top-25 finish as long as they maintain two or fewer losses on the season. Whether you believe that's giving the Broncos too much credit or not, the Washington Huskies will deliver the answer on opening day.
The Cincinnati Bearcats plus Tommy Tuberville equals what? An American Athletic Conference title is a possibility, but the Bearcats defense will constantly be compared to Louisville's offense from July until Dec. 5, when the teams actually face each other.
Louisville, Rutgers and Cincinnati will approach the 2013 season as potential conference champions in the AAC, but Cincinnati will be the most over-hyped of the three. Rutgers has a stout defense to lean on, and Louisville has Teddy Bridgewater.
Cincinnati has a new head coach and some question marks at various positions on both sides of the ball. Though one of the favorites to win the conference, it would be wise to leave the Bearcats out of your top 25 until they prove that they are at least capable of winning the season opener against Purdue.
Whether the Florida Gators can repeat or improve upon their 2012 success, the headlines will start flowing from the middle of the summer. They won't stop coming until Florida proves that it's not going to do anything significant.
With the Toledo Rockets and Miami Hurricanes scheduled in Week 1 and Week 2, Florida could be out of the national-title picture as early as Sept. 7. While it's unlikely, so was Florida's loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl last year.
Florida State is an enigma. The Seminoles owned the NFL draft with 11 players selected, and that level of loss can't easily be overcome.
However, the Seminoles also have an up-and-coming quarterback, Jameis Winston, that can make up for the defensive losses if the chips fall correctly.
They will be projected national contenders in the preseason polls, but it would make a lot of sense to wait for the results of the Nevada game before getting one's hopes high.
Georgia may make it to the national championship game, but it's safe to say that the public will be sick of hearing about the Bulldogs if they get there. For non-SEC fans, the only plus will be that Alabama will have fallen off the news feeds if that happens.
Georgia's offense was one of the best in the country last season, and the Bulldogs lost only one starter on offense. That is absolutely a recipe for success, but a questionable defense can lose on any given Saturday no matter how good the offense is.
Georgia's hype will begin in the preseason, and it will instantly get louder if the Bulldogs lead the season off with a win over the Clemson Tigers.
Bill Snyder has worked a methodical miracle at Kansas State over the past two decades, but the Wildcats have to replace Heisman finalist Collin Klein this fall.
Kansas State has the head coach to get in the headlines, but the offense is still in question. It's not like Klein was mediocre. He was great.
Still, based on recent success and Snyder's name on the team, Kansas State will be overblown for at least the first few weeks of the 2013 season.
Louisville's success against the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl is a classic case of beating an overrated team. Sure, Louisville beat the No. 3 team in the BCS rankings at the time, but is Louisville really capable of being an elite squad?
As the probable AAC champion, Louisville will not be over-hyped. As a potential national champion, though, the Cardinals will be slightly exaggerated for about half the season.
Yes, Louisville is capable of beating anyone on any given day, but Louisville would have to finish the regular season undefeated with only one other undefeated team in the country.
Also, based on the last two seasons alone, it would help if the SEC champion and runner-up each had two losses.
The Miami Hurricanes have a history of success, and it includes one of the greatest teams of all time (the 2001 edition). Unfortunately, their 2012 success will lead them to the hype machine, where every failure will be magnified.
As soon as a team that has a history starts moving up, the media picks up the story like they've been starving for new material. This is a two-edged sword. On one hand, it's encouraging to the team that's been working hard at moving up.
On the other hand, it also draws unnecessary attention to a team that may not be ready for it. Miami has a shot at the ACC title in 2013, but the extra pressure from the play-by-play coverage isn't really going to help.
It will be especially difficult if the Hurricanes take a tough loss.
Notre Dame made it to the national championship last season, and the Irish earned it every step of the way. It turned out that they were not ready for the likes of Alabama, but you can't pin the blame on Notre Dame. (If you desperately want to blame someone, Oklahoma comes to mind rather quickly.)
Notre Dame will enjoy hype at the beginning of the season based on last year's results. The question isn't whether it deserves the extra hype, the question is whether the Irish will live up to it.
Ohio State ran the table last season, but it sat the postseason out due to sanctions. In 2013, fans are going to expect the Buckeyes to run the regular-season table again. Most will expect them to win the Big Ten title as well.
Ohio State is in an awful predicament. While the hope for a national title is real and almost tangible, the reality could be sitting outside the BCS picture at the end of the year.
Ohio State has a lot going for it, but the constant stream of praise from the media could cause the Buckeyes to get complacent.
Oklahoma is one of those teams that constantly shows up on the preseason radar. Generally speaking, they deliver. There are plenty of Big 12 titles, BCS bowls and national championship appearances in Oklahoma's recent past.
Oklahoma is replacing a starting quarterback who was one of the best in the country during his time at the school. That won't be easy to do, and the hype machine won't help the team focus on its goals.
Hugh Freeze brought in a monster recruiting class. It was so good that Freeze was accused of cheating before the closing bell rang on national signing day.
When that class gets to campus in the fall, expect to see a lot of Ole Miss on TV. Ole Miss has earned some attention, but the level of hype that's coming to campus with this group of completely unproven kids is a potential trap for every one of them.
Texas A&M got better and better as the 2012 season wore on, culminating in an absolute demolition of the Big 12 co-champion Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl.
That's definitely going to help recruiting, but the Aggies also set themselves up for national-title expectations (and media coverage) during the 2013 run.
While expectations can be a great motivator, they can also suck the wind completely out of your sails as soon as the second loss hits.
With Casey Pachall returning under center and many elite Big 12 programs replacing quarterbacks, TCU will be hyped as a candidate to take the conference title.
While that is not an incorrect assumption, the hype surrounding the program will likely be too high. The gurus did the same thing with West Virginia last season, and TCU still has some work to do before it can run the table in its new conference.
The Frogs need a few more defenders like Devonte Fields, and they'll be set for the title.
UCLA had a great 2012 season under freshman quarterback Brett Hundley, and the media will constantly remind everyone that UCLA made it to the Pac-12 title game against Stanford last year.
Hundley himself won't be overhyped, though his prowess may be slightly overinflated. The issue will be the inflation of the team's capabilities. Can UCLA contend for a Pac-12 title again? Probably, but don't expect some sort of miraculous improvement over 2012.
Last year was the miracle comeback; the rest of the improvements will be slow and steady.
Clint Trickett's arrival at West Virginia will be met with much ado. Geno Smith was the heartbeat of the Mountaineers' offense in 2012, and the Mountaineers made great headlines until their second loss.
Trickett could help lead the Mountaineers to a share of the Big 12 title, but the media's talking about it certainly won't help. West Virginia needs to focus on defense and its new offensive faces, not the media.
There are just as many teams in the Big 12 that are returning starting quarterbacks as are replacing them. Fortunately, the ones that are replacing them are replacing stars. If Trickett can simply come in and be consistent, WVU could live up to its expectations.
That still doesn't mean that the Mountaineers aren't going to be over-hyped for a month and a half.