Projecting Final Records for Every BCS Team

Alex Callos@@alexcallosCorrespondent IMay 21, 2013

Projecting Final Records for Every BCS Team

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    Even though the start of the college football season is still over three months away, it is never too early to project the records in 2013 for the BCS teams.

    While the usual suspects and powerhouse programs are certain to have excellent seasons once again, what teams are set to surprise some folks in 2013. Also, what teams might be disappointments and not live up to expectations. 

    Here is a final record projection of all the BCS schools for the 2013 college football season.

    *Notre Dame and BYU are included with the BCS schools

    *Final records are regular season only and not indicative of conference championships or bowl games

Boston College Eagles

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    Boston College is one of many teams that will be welcoming a new head coach.

    Former Temple head coach Steve Addazio will be taking over and he inherits a team that only won two games last season.

    Quarterback Chase Rettig has continued to develop and made improvements last season as a junior.

    Look for that to continue and the Eagles to improve slightly from last season.

    Projection: 4-8 (1-7 ACC)

Clemson Tigers

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    Clemson had an excellent 2012 season and will be looking to carry it over into 2013. 

    The Tigers lost a lot of talent, particularly on offense, but do return quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

    Boyd is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and could even find himself in the Heisman conversation.

    Either way this team is going to put some points on the board and contend with Florida State for the ACC title.

    Projection: 9-3 (7-1 ACC)

Duke Blue Devils

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    Duke surprised a few folks last season with a 6-6 regular season and an appearance in the Belk Bowl.

    This year the success might be a little harder to come by.

    There are some significant losses from last seasons team and the Blue Devils will not be able to surprise people like they did a year ago.

    Still, with a weak non-conference schedule, there is a solid chance for this team to qualify for a bowl game once again.

    Projection: 6-6 (3-5 ACC)

Florida State Seminoles

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    Florida State will have to replace quarterback E.J. Manuel, but the talent might be there to do so, and this team should be in the national title picture once again.

    The schedule has its fair share of challenges with road games against Clemson and Florida.

    With that being said, this team will be near the top of the ACC once again and near the top 10 in the country.

    Not many teams have more talent than the Seminoles.

    Projection: 10-2 (7-1 ACC)

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    Georgia Tech is another team that will have to replace its quarterback as Tevin Washington is gone.

    Head coach Paul Johnson does return some key players, including Vad Lee who will take over at quarterback.

    Lee showed signs of just how good he can be during his freshman season in 2012 and should be even better in 2013.

    Look for this team to have a similar season to the 7-7 record it posted last year.

    Projection: 6-6 (3-5 ACC)

Maryland Terrapins

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    Maryland went through more quarterbacks last year than it could have ever imagined heading into the 2012 season, and that was part of the reason why the team struggled, only winning four games.

    It was still an improvement over the 2011 season and the emergence of star freshman wide receiver Stefon Diggs is a sign of good things to come in 2013.

    Head coach Randy Edsall is no stranger to rebuilding a program and he has this team headed in the right direction.

    Look for some improvements, but this team is still a year or two away from reaching the top half of the ACC.

    Projection: 6-6 (3-5 ACC)

Miami Hurricanes

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    Miami is a team that appears ready to explode and 2013 could be the year the Hurricanes do just that.

    Running back Duke Johnson is one of the most explosive players in the country. There is plenty of youth on this team and most of it is high-level talent.

    While there are going to be some question marks, particularly on defense, this team has enough talent to finish near the top of the ACC as early as this season.

    Look out for the Hurricanes in 2013.

    Projection: 9-3 (6-2 ACC)

North Carolina Tar Heels

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    North Carolina will have to deal with the loss of do it all running back Giovani Bernard, but the Tar Heels do get quarterback Bryn Renner back for his senior campaign. 

    Last season the Tar Heels had an excellent year, going 8-4 overall and 5-3 in league play.

    Losing Bernard will likely prevent that same success from happening again, but this should still easily be a bowl team.

    Expect a middle of the pack finish in the ACC.

    Projection: 7-5 (4-4 ACC)

North Carolina State Wolfpack

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    North Carolina State is welcoming a new head coach in Dave Doeren, and he will be trying to improve on a team that only won seven games last season.

    Quarterback Mike Glennon is gone and this could be a transition year for the Wolfpack with a new head coach and some new starters at key positions.

    The non-conference schedule features four easily winnable games, so that should be enough to help the Wolfpack get enough wins to qualify for another bowl game.

    Projection: 7-5 (3-5 ACC)

Pittsburgh Panthers

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    Pittsburgh is transitioning to the ACC in a year where the Panthers are almost certain to be down.

    Losing skill players like quarterback Tino Sunseri, running back Ray Graham and wide receiver Mike Shanahan will hurt, but the transfer of running back Rushel Shell to UCLA has to be the biggest loss of the offseason.

    With Notre Dame on the schedule outside of conference play, it will not be a good year for the Panthers in 2013.

    Projection: 5-7 (2-6 ACC)

Syracuse Orange

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    Syracuse is the second team moving from the Big East to the ACC and the Orange might be a little more prepared than Pittsburgh.

    With that being said, the non-conference schedule starts off with some tough challenges as Penn State at home kicks off the season, followed by a road game at Northwestern.

    Conference play is also going to be much more difficult in the ACC than it was in the Big East.

    Replacing quarterback Ryan Nassib will be a large order also.

    Projection 6-6 (4-4 ACC)

Virginia Cavaliers

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    Virginia was very disappointing last season and most of the struggles occurred on the offensive side of the ball.

    That group will have to improve if the Cavaliers are going to win more than the four games they did a season ago.

    The quarterback play will be the key to the season as the Cavaliers struggled mightily at that position last year.

    Look for similar results in 2013 as the team had in 2012, due in part to the fact that they start the year with BYU and Oregon.

    Projection: 4-8 (2-6 ACC)

Virginia Tech Hokies

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    The return of quarterback Logan Thomas will certainly help the Hokies, particularly if he can play the way he did during his sophomore season.

    Virginia Tech struggled big-time last season, but the Hokies came on strong at the end of the year, winning their final three games, including a bowl victory over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

    Starting the season with Alabama outside of conference is not going to be easy, but the rest of the non-conference slate should be a piece of cake.

    Look for this team to be much better than the 7-6 squad from a year ago, particularly with Clemson and Florida State not on the schedule. 

    Projection: 10-2 (7-1 ACC)

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

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    Wake Forest was a slight disappointment last season, only winning five games.

    The team should be a little better this year if it can get improved play from quarterback Tanner Price. He struggled last season and that was one of the main reasons why the offense averaged less than 19 points a night.

    The running game was also a struggle last year and that will need to improve for this team to get back to a bowl game in 2013.

    Projection: 6-6 (4-4 ACC)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Notre Dame might be as talented as it was a year ago, but it is hard to imagine it going undefeated again.

    The schedule looks to have some very challenging games and the Fighting Irish will need a running back to emerge in 2013.

    The most challenging games on the schedule appear to be road games against Michigan and Stanford.

    Other teams such as Oklahoma, USC and BYU at home could give the Fighting Irish problems.

    Still, if quarterback Everett Golson can continue to develop, this will be another excellent year for the Fighting Irish.

    Projection: 9-3

Baylor Bears

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    Baylor did lose some firepower on offense, but running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin return to form what should be one of the best backfield tandems in the country.

    The out-of-conference schedule should be easy enough and the Bears do get Oklahoma and Texas at home.

    Still, there are enough question marks surrounding the quarterback position as well as the defensive side of the ball, that it is hard to imagine this team contending for the Big 12 title.

    Projection: 7-5 (4-5 Big 12)

Iowa State Cyclones

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    Iowa State has see some rare success the past two seasons, but the string of two-straight bowl appearances is likely to come to an end in 2013.

    The loss of a pair of talented linebackers in Jake Knott and A.J. Klein bring up some huge question marks on the defensive side of the ball.

    While head coach Paul Rhoads has done an excellent job in recent years, he will have his hands full with this team in 2013.

    Projection 4-8 (2-7 Big 12)

Kansas Jayhawks

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    Kansas was one of the worst teams in the country last season and even though head coach Charlie Weis brought in a wealth of junior-college talent to win a few more games in 2013 than his team did in 2012, the Jayhawks simply do not have the talent to contend in the Big 12.

    There should be a win or two outside of the conference, but it does not appear like the Jayhawks are going to be able to knock off anybody in Big 12 play.

    It will be another long year in Lawrence for the Jayhawks.

    Projection: 2-10 (0-9 Big 12)

Kansas State Wildcats

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    It is too early to tell whether or not head coach Bill Snyder will be able to work his magic once again, but the departure of quarterback Collin Klein is not going to make things easy.

    The Wildcats have a very easy non-conference schedule and play both TCU and Oklahoma at home.

    The loss of linebacker Arthur Brown will also hurt, but this team will still find itself back in a bowl game once again.

    With the entire offensive line as well as running back John Hubert coming back, it will be a run heavy offense in Manhattan in 2013.

    Projection 8-4 (5-4 Big 12)

Oklahoma Sooners

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    The Big 12 is looking like it's going to be a four-team race and Oklahoma should be one of the teams in contention for the conference crown.

    The big question mark surrounding the team is quarterback, where Blake Bell is likely to take over for the departed Landry Jones.

    Replacing lost talent on the defense is also not going to be easy, as three members of the secondary as well as most of the defensive front have departed.

    The schedule out of conference once again features Notre Dame, but this team should have no problem finishing in the top 20 this season.

    Projection: 9-3 (7-2 Big 12)

Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Oklahoma State is a hot pick to win the Big 12 and that could very well be the case, but as of right now, head coach Mike Gundy is still working on finding a starting quarterback.

    It appears Cint Chelf has the slight edge, but there is still a long way to go.

    Either way, the Cowboys are not going to have any trouble putting points on the board. The defense will be the biggest question mark this season.

    Maybe new defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer will be able to turn things around a little bit on that side of the ball.

    Projection: 10-2 (7-2 Big 12)

TCU Horned Frogs

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    TCU had a wealth of talent last season, but suffered through a 7-6 campaign due to injuries and youth.

    The biggest question mark surrounding the team is whether or not quarterback Casey Pachall can return to the form he held in 2011.

    If he does, this team will be right near the top of the Big 12 in 2013.

    The defense was the best in the coference last season and should be just as good this year.

    One thing going against the team is the fact that both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are on the road. Starting off the season against LSU is no easy task either.

    Projection: 8-4 (6-3 Big 12)

Texas Longhorns

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    Texas is probably the most talented team in the conference, but that has been the case before and the team has failed miserably.

    This appears to be the year that everything is going in favor of the Longhorns.

    Texas gets Oklahoma State at home, as well as Kansas State.

    The out-of-conference schedule features the likes of BYU and Ole Miss, but this team has more talent and experience than those groups.

    With some improvements on defense, this team should be Big 12 champs.

    Projection: 11-1 (8-1 Big 12)

Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    New head coach Kliff Kingsbury will have his hands full in a talented Big 12, but the Red Raiders do have enough talent to compete.

    Starting off the season against a solid SMU team out of conference and on the road is not going to be an easy task, but it will be nothing compared to the rigors of the Big 12, which will likely feature five top 25 teams at the start of the season.

    It seems like it is going to be a toss-up whether or not this team gets to six wins to qualify for a bowl game.

    Projection: 6-6 (3-6 Big 12)

West Virginia Mountaineers

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    Not many teams lost as much talent from a season ago on the offensive side of the ball as West Virginia, particularly when it comes to skill position players.

    The Mountaineers will have to replace quarterback Geno Smith as well as wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.

    With that being said, there is still enough talent, particularly at the running back position for this team to get enough wins to qualify for a bowl game.

    Projection 6-6 (3-6 Big 12)

BYU Cougars

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    BYU lost five games last season and even though it might be better in 2013, the schedule is not doing the Cougars any favors.

    Road games against Utah State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Nevada are going to be challenges. Throw in home dates with Texas, Georgia Tech and Boise State and this team has somewhat of a grueling schedule. 

    Still, with star linebacker Kyle Van Noy returning for his senior season, the defense will be one of the best in the country once again.

    Projection: 7-5

Central Florida Knights

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    Central Florida is one of four teams joining the Big East this season, but might have the best chance of anybody to compete immediately.

    There is a fair amount of talent on this team, and while there are some challenging games out-of-conference, including Penn State and South Carolina, this team will be able to compete.

    Look for the Knights to finish in the top half of the conference and reach a bowl game once again in 2013.

    Projection: 7-5 (5-3 Big East)

Cincinnati Bearcats

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    Cincinnati has won 10 or more games four of the past five seasons and has won a share of the Big East crown each of those years.

    The Bearcats lose a lot of talent all over the field, but the return of quarterback Brendon Kay will be welcomed along with talent at the linebacker position. 

    With a schedule that is one of the easiest in the country, Cincinnati has a great shot to win double-digit games once again and contend for the Big East title. 

    Projection 10-2 (6-2 Big East)

Connecticut Huskies

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    Connecticut has seemingly had problems on the offensive side of the ball for a few years now, and the 2013 season might be a little bit of the same.

    With Michigan and Maryland on the non-conference slate, the Huskies are going to have problems from the start

    God news for Connecticut is the conference is nowhere close to what it was even a few years ago.

    Expect the Huskies to be near the middle of the Big East and hover around .500 this season.

    Projection: 5-7 (3-5 Big East)

Houston Cougars

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    Houston struggled mightily last season, and it is not going to get any easier with competition getting a little tougher in 2013.

    Head coach Tony Levine and his squad do have some relatively easy non-conference games against the likes of UTSA, Southern and Rice.

    A few wins in conference play is all that can be expected from a team that is a few years away from getting back to what it was just two seasons ago.

    Projection: 5-7 (2-6 Big East)

Louisville Cardinals

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    Louisville might have the best shot of any team in the country to go undefeated as the Cardinals will likely not face a ranked team in the preseason Top 25.

    Even with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, this team might be slightly over-hyped heading into the 2013 season.

    There is a lot of talent, but they struggled last season at times, and will likely slip up at least once along the way.

    But, do not rule out the possibility of an undefeated season.

    Either way, they are the heavy favorites to win the Big East.

    Projection: 11-1 (7-1 Big East)

Memphis Tigers

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    Memphis struggled at the beginning of 2012, but came on strong at the end of the year to finish with four wins and a 4-4 mark in its final season in Conference USA.

    Do not expect the Tigers to do any better this season.

    There are a few winnable games outside of the conference, but it is not looking like this team will do better than the four wins from a season ago.

    Projection: 3-9 (1-7 Big East)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    Rutgers will be at the top of the Big East during its final season in the league along with Cincinnati and Louisville.

    With that being said, the Scarlet Knights lost a lot of talent from a season ago, and the departure of running back Jawan Jamison early to the NFL will be felt, but junior Savon Huggins should be able to step right in.

    Look for this team to win with defense and ball control, similar to last season.

    The non-conference slate features Fresno State and Arkansas, two teams that could give the Scarlet Knights fits. 

    Projection: 8-4 (6-2 Big East)

SMU Mustangs

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    SMU is playing a very challenging non-conference schedule that features the likes of Texas Tech, Texas A&M and TCU.

    Those three games alone could keep the Mustangs out of a bowl game.

    Other challenging games include Cincinnati and Central Florida on the road with Rutgers at home. Good new for the Scarlet Knights is they do not play Louisville. 

    This should be a team right around the .500 mark this season, particularly if quarterback Garrett Gilbert can develop.

    Projection: 6-6 (5-3 Big East)

Temple Owls

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    Temple has a lot to replace from last season and will be doing it with a new head coach as Steve Addazio left for the Boston College job.

    New head coach Matt Rhule will need to find somebody for quarterback Chris Coyle to hand the ball to as Montel Harris and Matt Brown are gone.

    The Owls begin the season in South Bend against Notre Dame, but do have some very winnable games after that.

    Look for this team to be right around the four-win mark it posted a season ago and maybe a little better.

    Projection: 5-7 (2-6 Big East)

South Florida Bulls

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    South Florida will be welcoming a new head coach in Willie Taggart and will be trying to finish the season strong for the first time in what seems like forever.

    A road trip to Michigan State and a home game against Miami will not be easy, but this team should be improved in 2013.

    The three-win season in 2012 will certainly be improved on as the B.J. Daniels era is finally over for the Bulls.

    Projection 5-7 (3-5 Big East)

Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Illinois struggled mightily last season and the team has now lost 16 of the past 19 games it has played, including a 2-10 campaign in 2012, while going 0-8 in Big Ten play.

    The 2013 season will not be quite that bad, but there is still a lot of work to do for this team to get back to a bowl level.

    Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will return for his senior season and this team will win a conference game.

    Taking on Cincinnati and Washington out-of-conference will not be easy, even though both are home games.

    Projection: 4-8 (2-6 Big Ten)

Indiana Hoosiers

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    Indiana showed signs of improvement last season, but by the end of the year, the Hoosiers were back to their old way, finishing 4-8 overall. 

    Expect much of the same this season, but with the Big Ten starting to show signs of improvement, it is hard to imagine this team even reaching its win total from last year.

    The non-conference schedule is no pushover either with games against Navy, Bowling Green and Missouri. Good thing is all four non-conference games are at home. 

    Projection: 4-8 (2-6 Big Ten)

Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Iowa was a major disappointment last season as the Hawkeyes lost their final six games to finish the year 4-8.

    Do not expect a repeat this year, but it would still be somewhat of a surprise for this team to get back to a bowl game.

    The schedule is not easy, particularly out of conference with a game against Northern Illinois to kick off the season.The Hawkeyes also do not get the opportunity to play Indiana or Illinois.

    Either way, this team will be better in 2013, particularly with quarterback James Vandenberg gone.

    Projection 5-7 (2-6 Big Ten)

Michigan Wolverines

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    Michigan might be one of the top 10 teams in the country and should be right there with Ohio State at the top of the Big 10.

    One of the biggest games of the non-conference slate looms against Notre Dame in week two.

    The Wolverines also have the benefit of getting Ohio State and Nebraska at home, while missing out on Wisconsin.

    Look for this team to win double-digit games and possibly return to a BCS bowl game in 2013.

    Projection 10-2 (6-2 Big Ten)

Michigan State Spartans

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    Michigan State struggled last season, but came on strong at the end of the year to finish the season 7-6 after a victory in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

    The loss of star running Le'Veon Bell is going to hurt, and the Spartans will need improved play at the quarterback position to return to the top of the Big Ten.

    Notre Dame is the biggest challenge outside of the conference, but the Spartans do not have to face Ohio State or Wisconsin.

    The toughest stretch comes toward the end of the season with Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern making up a grueling three-game stretch.

    Projection: 7-5 (4-4 Big Ten)

Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Minnesota surprised a lot of people by going 6-6 n the regular season last year and qualifying for a bowl game. That will probably not be the case this year. 

    The Golden Gophers will be challenged by San Jose State out of conference, but should be able to win the other three non-league games.

    Last year they only won two games in the Big Ten and duplicating that might even be a challenge.

    Look for this team to fall off a bit in 2013.

    Projection: 4-8 (1-7 Big Ten)

Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Nebraska will be a serious contender this year in the Big Ten, led by the return of quarterback Taylor Martinez.

    He improved big-time in the passing game last season and running back Ameer Abdullah who burst onto the scene last year also returns.

    The defense does have seven starters to replace, so there are certainly some questions on that side of the ball.

    UCLA at home outside of conference will be a huge early challenge for this team.

    Projection: 10-2 (6-2 Big Ten)

Northwestern Wildcats

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    Northwestern surprised more than a few people by winning 10 games last season and it appears this years team might be just as good.

    Replacing three starters on the offensive line is not going to be easy, but the quarterback rotation of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian returns along with speedy running back Veneric Mark.

    A road game against California to kick off the season, followed by a home date with Syracuse will certainly pose challenges.

    Still, this team should be right in the mix in the Big Ten this season and beyond.

    Projection: 9-3 (5-3 Big Ten)

Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Not even die-hard Ohio State fans expected the team to be the only undefeated FBS school last season, but new head coach Urban Meyer led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 campaign.

    This year, there is going to be a huge bulls-eye on their back as they will be one of the top two or three teams in the country coming into the season.

    Quarterback Braxton Miller is one of the front-runners for the Heisman trophy and he has some serious weapons to work with.

    Throw in a top-notch recruiting class and this will be a top 10 team for years to come. 

    Projection: 11-1 (7-1 Big Ten)

Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Speaking of shocking, Penn State surprised everybody with the year it had in 2012. The Nittany Lions won eight games, including six in conference play.

    Do not expect them to duplicate that in 2013, but they might get awful close. Both Syracuse, Central Florida and Kent State could be challenges out of conference.

    Losing quarterback Matt McGloin will hurt, but incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg might be good enough to start from day one.

    Look for a promising season once again from Penn State.

    Projection: 7-5 (4-4 Big Ten)

Purdue Boilermakers

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    Purdue is a team with a grueling non-conference schedule.

    The Boilermakers open up the season on the road against Cincinnati and follow that up with Notre Dame and Northern Illinois at home in later weeks.

    It is not going to be easy for first-year head coach Darrell Hazell as he comes over from Kent State.

    It will certainly be a transition year for Purdue in 2013.

    Projection 4-8 (3-5 Big Ten)

Wisconsin Badgers

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    Wisconsin has the advantage of not having to play Michigan or Nebraska. With a very easy Big Ten schedule, this team could be in contention for the conference title.

    The quarterback battle between Joel Stave and Curt Phillips will heat up this summer, but the Badgers will be solid in the running game once again with James White and Melvin Gordon returning, along with three offensive linemen. 

    Arizona State will be a challenge outside of the conference, but the Badgers should have too much for the Sun Devils.

    Look for this team to battle Ohio State for the Leaders Division title.

    Projection 10-2 (6-2 Big Ten)

Arizona Wildcats

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    Arizona had some success under first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez last year and should be just as good or better in 2013.

    Running back Ka'Deem Carey returns after leading the country in rushing last season.

    Throw in the fact that the non-conference schedule is as easy as any team in the nation and this squad should have no problem equaling the eight wins from a season ago.

    Replacing quarterback Matt Scott will be the biggest challenge.

    Projection: 8-4 (5-4 Pac-12)

Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Arizona State was another team that had success in 2012 under first-year head coach Todd Graham.

    The Sun Devils put together an eight-win season and have the talent to do it again in 2013. The only problem is the schedule is very challenging.

    Arizona State has games against Notre Dame and Wisconsin outside of conference and also has Stanford and USC at the beginning of the year.

    Look for another bowl season from the Sun Devils in 2013.

    Projection 6-6 (5-4 Pac-12)

California Golden Bears

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    California struggled last season, due mostly to injuries as the Bears only won three games all year.

    This season they will be welcoming a new head coach in Sonny Dykes. He will bring a high-flying offensive attack and the Bears should be able to put some points on the board.

    Northwestern and Ohio State are two challenging out-of-conference games.

    The cofnerence slate is not forgiving either as the Golden Bears take on Oregon and Stanford both on the road.

    They will be better, but the loss of a lot of talent on offense makes this team a year or two away from returning to a bowl game. 

    Projection: 4-8 (3-6 Pac-12)

Colorado Buffaloes

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    Colorado has been awful for a few years, and it looks like it will be much of the same this season.

    The Buffaloes only won one game last season and might be able to at least improve on that in 2013.

    There is a huge lack of talent, but the first two games of the season are very winnable with Colorado State and Central Arkansas.

    After that it might be slim pickings for this team.

    Projection: 3-9 (1-8 Pac-12)

Oregon Ducks

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    Oregon will once again be one of the top five teams in the country next season as the Ducks return some serious offensive talent.

    That group is led by quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De'Anthony Thomas.

    Even with a new head coach, this team is not going to miss a beat and should be the cream of the crop along with Stanford as far as Pac-12 teams are concerned.

    It is hard to pick a team to go undefeated, but this squad has as good a chance as anybody.

    Projection 11-1 (8-1 Pac-12)

Oregon State Beavers

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    Oregon State was impressive last season, winning nine games, including a 6-3 mark in league play.

    The Beavers will likely not be quite as good this season, but should still be in the top half of the Pac-12.

    There are not any major threats in the non-conference schedule and the conference slate begins about as easy as it can with Utah, Colorado, Washington State and California the first four games.

    This team has a chance to be 7-0, but it will be very difficult after that.

    Projection 8-4 (5-4 Pac-12)

Stanford Cardinal

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    Stanford will be one of the top teams in the country once again this season and should be in a race with Oregon for the conference title.

    Those could be the only two Top 25 teams in the Pac-12 when the season begins.

    The development of quarterback Kevin Hogan will be a big deal as the Cardinal will have to replace star running back Stepfan Taylor.

    Either way this team will be loaded with a strong offensive line and solid defense coming back.

    Projection: 11-1 (8-1 Pac-12)

UCLA Bruins

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    UCLA will be solid once again with quarterback Brett Hundley returning for his sophomore season.

    He will not have stud running back Johnthan Franklin to hand the ball to, but the Bruins will still be a force in the Pac-12.

    A road trip to Lincoln to take on Nebraska out of conference will not be easy and back-to-back road games against Stanford and Oregon in the middle of the season will also be huge challenges.

    Head coach Jim Mora Jr. has this team headed in the right direction and they will be solid once again in 2013.

    Projection: 7-5 (5-4 Pac-12)

USC Trojans

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    USC might have the most talented player in the country in wide receiver Marqise Lee, but the Trojans will need somebody to get the ball to him.

    There is certainly not as much talent as there was last season, but this team still has enough to contend for the Pac-12 title and is likely the favorite to play for the Pac-12 title against either Oregon or Stanford. 

    Oregon is not on the schedule and Stanford is at home, so there is a lot going for the Trojans.

    This team will be near the top of the conference in 2013.

    Projection: 8-4 (6-3 Pac-12)

Utah Utes

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    Utah struggled last season with injuries, going 5-7. If the team can say healthy in 2013, it might be able to get back to a bowl game.

    Utah State and BYU in non-conference will not be easy games and the Utes also drew perhaps the five best teams in the conference as they take on Stanford, Oregon, USC, UCLA and Oregon State. 

    The combination of a difficult schedule and injury questions could make for another disappointing season in 2013. 

    Projection: 4-8 (3-6 Pac-12)

Washington Huskies

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    Washington was another team that struggled last season due to injuries and should be much better than the 7-6 team from a season ago.

    Quarterback Keith Price is back for his senior season and running back Bishop Sankey was a pleasant surprise last year.

    The schedule is not doing the Huskies any favors and Boise State at home will be an interesting game to open up the season.

    This team will be improved in 2013.

    Projection: 8-4 (5-4 Pac-12)

Washington State Cougars

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    Washington State starts off the season with a road game against Auburn in what should give a good gauge as to whether or not these two teams have improved.

    The Cougars only won three games last season and the 2013 squad could have some very similar results.

    With a few winnable games outside of conference, this team is going to have to scrap to win more than a single game in Pac-12 play.

    Projection: 2-10 (0-9 Pac-12)

Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Alabama is the odds-on favorite to win the national championship, but will have to get through some very tough games early on to get there.

    The Crimson Tide open up the season against Virginia Tech and follow that up with a road trip to College Station to take on Texas A&M.

    Other than that the schedule does not pose much of a threat with the exception of LSU. The Crimson Tide miss Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

    There are only a few games on the schedule this team could possibly lose, but odds are they will fall once during the regular season.

    Projection: 11-1 (7-1 SEC)

Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Arkansas is another team that was a complete disaster last season, but should also improve in 2013.

    The Razorbacks welcome a new head coach in Bret Bielema and should put an emphasis on the running game.

    The SEC schedule is very challenging with a four-game stretch featuring Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama.

    It will not be easy, but this team has a shot to return to bowl status.

    Projection: 6-6 (2-6 SEC)

Auburn Tigers

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    Auburn was downright awful last season, and will almost certainly improve on the three wins from a season ago in 2013.

    There are a few very winnable games outside of conference including Washington State, Arkansas State, Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic.

    While there are still questions surrounding the quarterback position, this team should be able to put up a few wins in the SEC and improve on last seasons 3-9 mark.

    Projection: 5-7 (1-7 SEC)

Florida Gators

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    Florida was a huge surprise last season reaching a BCS bowl game before a lot of people thought it would.

    This year the Gators are not going to be able to sneak up on too many people, but will still have one of the most talented defenses in the country.

    The key on offense will be whether or not quarterback Jeff Driskel can continue to develop and become one of the better quarterbacks in the SEC.

    Either way, this team is going to be very hard to score on.

    Projection: 9-3 (6-2 SEC)

Georgia Bulldogs

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    Georgia once again has a shot to contend for the national title, but will have some challenging teams to go through in order to do so.

    The Bulldogs get quarterback Aaron Murray back for his senior season, but start the year at Clemson followed by South Carolina.

    There are a few challenges on the SEC schedule, but Alabama and Texas A&M are not on it. That could be a huge difference with LSU coming at home.

    This team will be right near the top of the conference and in the national title conversation throughout the season.

    Projection: 10-2 (7-1 SEC)

Kentucky Wildcats

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    Kentucky appears to be well on is way up from the bottom of the SEC, but it might take a few years under new head coach Mark Stoops.

    The Wildcats are only accustomed to winning a few games during the season, but have some winnable games early on against Western Kentucky, Miami (OH) and Alabama State.

    Look for this team to also pick up at least one win in SEC play.

    In most other conferences, this team might be in the bowl conversation, but will still need a season or two to get to that point.

    Projection: 4-8 (1-7 SEC)

LSU Tigers

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    LSU will be a very interesting team once again, particularly with new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

    If quarterback Zach Mettenberger can improve, this team will once again be in the mix in the SEC, despite losing most of the defense to the NFL draft.

    The Tigers are still very strong at the running back position and a game against TCU to begin the season will be very indicative of just how talented this team might be.

    It does not appear that LSU will have enough to finish at the top of the league, however.

    Projection: 9-3 (5-3 SEC)

Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    Mississippi State was one of the surprise teams in the SEC last season, but the Bulldogs feasted mostly on the bottom-feeders in the conference.

    A game against Oklahoma State to kick off the season will serve as a nice measuring stick for both of those teams. 

    Even though the Bulldogs have plenty of talent coming back, it does not appear they are going to put together the season they did a year ago.

    Still, this team should be able to reach a bowl game once again.

    Projection 6-6 (3-5 SEC)

Missouri Tigers

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    Missouri struggled in its first year in the SEC in 2012, but a lot of that was due to injuries, particularly at the quarterback position.

    If James Franklin can return healthy, this should be a bowl team in 2013.

    The out-of-conference schedule features two interesting games against Toledo and Arkansas State, but both are at home.

    SEC play starts off with some challenging games, but a stretch in the middle should allow the Tigers to pick up enough wins to qualify for a bowl game.

    Projection: 6-6 (2-6 SEC)

Ole Miss Rebels

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    We all know about the young talent Ole Miss has, but it might take a year or two before that group is ready to be a factor in the SEC.

    With that being said, there is still enough talent from last years team for this squad to be in bowl contention once again.

    The Rebels do take on Texas on the road and also have the SEC regulars.

    One benefit for Ole Miss is the Rebels do not play Florida, Georgia or South Carolina. That should be enough to help them qualify for a bowl game.

    Projection: 6-6 (3-5 SEC)

South Carolina Gamecocks

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    South Carolina should once again be one of the Top 10 teams in the nation to begin the season.

    The schedule is not doing it any favors with North Carolina, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Central Florida to start it off .

    The Gamecocks might have the best defensive player in the country in Jadeveon Clowney, but will need to put more points on the board this season to contend for the SEC title.

    Look for this team to be a factor all season long in SEC play.

    Projection: 10-2 (6-2 SEC)

Tennessee Volunteers

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    Tennessee will be going through a transition year with a new head coach and a bunch of new skill position players.

    It is not going to be an easy year, particularly with the schedule.

    A road trip to Oregon looms outside of conference play and there are some challenging games in SEC play as well.

    Look for this team to hover around the .500 mark for most of the season, but fall just short of reaching a bowl game.

    Projection: 5-7 (2-6 SEC)

Texas A&M Aggies

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    Texas A&M was the talk of college football last season and returns Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel along with some new weapons for him to throw the ball to.

    The non-conference schedule will be a piece of cake and Alabama, LSU and Vanderbilt are likely the three biggest challenges in conference play.

    It is hard to imagine Manziel putting up the numbers he did last season, but it is certainly not out of the question. Replacing seven starters on defense is also not going to be easy.

    Look for another top 10 season from this team.

    Projection: 11-1 (7-1 SEC)

Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Vanderbilt was one of the major surprise stories last season not only in the SEC, but in the entire country. The Commodores appear to be headed in the right direction, and head coach James Franklin is one of the main reasons for that.

    The non-conference slate appears to be a piece of cake with Wake Forest likely the biggest challenge.

    There are four very challenging games in SEC play, but the Commodores should have enough talent to finish at least .500 in league play.

    Projection: 8-4 (4-4 SEC)