Nightmare Scenarios for Every BCS Team

Alex CallosCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2013

Nightmare Scenarios for Every BCS Team

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    There are scenarios for every college football team where the 2013 season could go perfectly, and then there are scenarios where the complete opposite could occur.

    Some teams are so talented that it is hard to imagine a season even as bad as the best case scenarios for other teams.

    Simply put, some teams' nightmares are going to be much worse than others'.

    Either way, there are conceivable scenarios that could play out and ruin the season of any college football team. Whether it be an injury, bad play or the graduation of a player from last season, there are nightmare scenarios everywhere.

    Here are those nightmare scenarios every BCS team should be watching out for.

    *Notre Dame and BYU are included with the BCS teams

Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Nightmare Scenario: Johnny Manziel strikes again

    The man who ruined Alabama's perfect season will once again be in the way this year as Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel await Alabama in Week 2.

    Head coach Nick Saban has undoubtedly been putting together a game plan all offseason to try and stop Manziel.

    That is the most challenging game on the schedule, and Texas A&M is likely one of only two ranked teams Alabama will play all season long.

    No doubt Saban has lost some sleep thinking about the possible nightmare that is Johnny Manziel.

    It is hard to imagine Alabama slipping up in many games, but this certainly could be one of them.

Arizona Wildcats

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    Nightmare Scenario: More trouble for running back Ka'Deem Carey

    Arizona has a lot of talent, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, but one problem that might have head coach Rich Rodriguez very worried is the off-the-field issues of running back Ka'Deem Carey.

    Carey has had multiple run-ins with the law this offseason and is set to appear in court July 12.

    If he gets in any more trouble, he might be off the team, and that would put a huge damper on the Arizona season.

    Plus, there are other issues to worry about, including finding a way to win without star wide receiver Austin Hill, who was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Nightmare Scenario: Struggling during the beginning of the season

    Even though Arizona State begins the season against Sacramento State, the Sun Devils have a four-game stretch after that featuring Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame.

    The non-conference schedule is one of the toughest in the nation, and head coach Todd Graham needs to find a way to get his team through this tough stretch without too many losses early on.

    A 1-4 start would put a huge damper on the season.

    No question, that would be an absolute nightmare for Graham.

Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Nightmare Scenario: Not being able to find new offensive playmakers

    New head coach Bret Bielema loves to run the football, but he is going to have to find some running backs to replace the departed Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson.

    Quarterback Tyler Wilson has also moved on, and top wide receiver Cobi Hamilton is also gone.

    No returning skill player had more than 45 carries or 21 receptions.

    It might be a bit of a rebuilding process in Fayetteville this year.

Auburn Tigers

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    Nightmare Scenario: No quarterback emerges

    Auburn struggled all over the field last season, but one position that could use a lot of work is quarterback.

    It was an absolute struggle there last season, and right now it appears that Kiehl Frazier or Jonathan Wallace will win the starting job.

    Neither did much to separate themselves in the spring game, but the success of the team will certainly hinge on the play from this position.

    If Frazier and Wallace struggle, it could be another long season at Auburn in 2013.

Baylor Bears

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    Nightmare Scenario: Nick Florence and Terrance Williams prove to be irreplaceable

    Baylor returns the bulk of its running game, but head coach Art Briles will have to not only find a replacement for quarterback Nick Florence, but also find a wide receiver to fill the shoes of Terrance Williams.

    That is easier said than done, as those two players dominated the Big 12 last season.

    It looks like Bryce Petty will be the one who fills in for Florence. It will be hard to live up to the season he had in 2012.

    It might take an army of guys to replace Williams, however.

Boston College Eagles

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    Nightmare Scenario: Struggling once again to run the football

    Boston College was one of the worst FBS teams in the country last season, and part of the reason it finished 2-10 was the complete lack of a running game.

    The Eagles only averaged 90.5 rushing yards, ranking 119th in the country.

    New head coach Steve Addazio will need to get some help in the running game for quarterback Chase Rettig if this team wants to win any more than the two games it did last season.

    Rettig is a very talented quarterback, but he cannot do it all for an offense that struggled mightily last year.

BYU Cougars

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    Nightmare Scenario: Not being able to overcome a challenging schedule

    BYU returns some very talented players on both sides of the ball, and it will need that experience to make it through a very difficult schedule.

    After facing Virginia to kick off the season, the Cougars take on Texas.

    There are also road games against Utah State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Nevada. At home, BYU will take on Middle Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Boise State. 

    Head coach Bronco Mendenhall will certainly be worried about this challenging schedule all summer long.

California Golden Bears

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    Nightmare Scenario: Not finding adequate replacements for the skill players

    California only won three games last season, but to improve on that, it will have to do it with completely new skill players.

    Similar to Arkansas, the Golden Bears will have to replace a lot of talent at the skill positions.

    Running backs Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson have departed, along with wide receiver Keenan Allen.

    Perhaps the toughest player to replace will be quarterback Zach Maynard. Even though he struggled last season, he was a three-year starter and will not be easy to replace.

    New head coach Sonny Dykes will have his hands full getting this program back on track.

Central Florida Knights

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    Nightmare Scenario: Struggling in its first season in a new league

    Central Florida rose to the top of Conference USA over the past few seasons, and now will have a new challenge in a new league.

    With Penn State and South Carolina posing huge threats outside of league play, the Knights also have the opportunity to take on the likes of Louisville and Rutgers in the new league.

    The competition might be a little more challenging this season than head coach George O'Leary and his squad are accustomed to.

    While it is not the SEC, the new American Athletic Conference is a step up from Conference USA.

Cincinnati Bearcats

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    Nightmare Scenario: Struggling to run the football

    Cincinnati has had the benefit of having an excellent running game for the past few years with Isaiah Pead and George Winn.

    Both those players are gone in 2013, and finding a replacement for them will be a challenge for new head coach Tommy Tuberville.

    Jameel Poteat was in line to see some snaps, but he transferred, leaving Ralph David Abernathy IV as the only back on the roster who has seen meaningful snaps.

    The Bearcats will need to have a player or two step up if they are planning on another 10-win season.

Clemson Tigers

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    Nightmare Scenario: Struggling against the big boys

    For the Clemson Tigers, the 2013 season will likely come down to three games.

    They begin the season against Georgia, and midway through the year Florida State comes calling. The Tigers then finish the season up against South Carolina on the road.

    No doubt the year will hinge on these three games, and head coach Dabo Swinney needs to find a way to win the big game for his Tigers to live up to expectations.

    No matter what happens in the other nine games, these three will make or break the season.

Colorado Buffaloes

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    Nightmare Scenario: Not showing up on defense once again in 2013

    Colorado was not only the worst defensive team in the nation last season, but it wasn't even close.

    The Buffaloes ranked last at the FBS level, allowing 46 points a game. New head coach Mike MacIntyre will have his hands full trying to find some players on that side of the ball.

    It could be another long season in Boulder for the Buffaloes if the defense struggles in 2013 like it did in 2012.

Connecticut Huskies

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    Nightmare Scenario: Failing in the run game again in 2013

    Connecticut struggled mightily last season, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, and averaged less than 88 yards a game on the ground.

    That ranked 121st in the country and was a big reason why the team was also 121st in points scored, averaging less than 18 points a game.

    Running back Lyle McCombs returns, and he will need to do a little better than the 3.5 yards a carry he averaged last year.

    A little assistance along the offensive line will also help.

Duke Blue Devils

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    Nightmare Scenario: Regressing after a bowl season

    Duke had an excellent season in 2012. The Blue Devils not only qualified for a bowl game, but also defeated rival North Carolina in the process.

    The 2013 season is going to be a little more challenging for head coach David Cutcliffe.

    There were a lot of experienced players who have departed, and it will be hard to maintain bowl status year in and year out.

    Having a down year in 2013 will not be good for a program that appears to be headed in the right direction.

Florida Gators

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    Nightmare Scenario: Jeff Driskel and the offense do not improve

    The Florida defense will be tough once again, but the season could hinge on the play of quarterback Jeff Driskel, much like it did last year.

    He had his moments during his sophomore season, but the Gators are going to need more if they have any hope of contending in the rugged SEC.

    Head coach Will Muschamp certainly has to be wondering if his quarterback can become the player he needs him to be.

    If he does not, the Gators could find themselves in worse shape than they were a season ago.

Florida State Seminoles

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    Nightmare Scenario: Jameis Winston does not live up to the hype

    With the graduation of E.J. Manuel and the transfer of Clint Trickett to West Virginia, Florida State will rely on redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston to run the show.

    The Seminoles have enough talent coming back, particularly at the running back position, to be able to put some points on the board, but they are going to need a solid season from this youngster to win the ACC and reach a BCS bowl game.

    Once again the defense will be very strong, but the success of the team will hinge on the play of this freshman quarterback.

Georgia Bulldogs

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    Nightmare Scenario: Getting off to a slow start

    Georgia will be one of the top teams in the country once again this season, but the schedule is not doing it any favors, particularly early on.

    The Bulldogs take on Clemson on the road in the season opener, and follow that game up with South Carolina at home.

    The Bulldogs are the only team in the country to play two such challenging games to start off the season.

    Good thing there is an experienced quarterback in Aaron Murray to lead the team. A couple losses could ruin the season just a week into the month of September.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    Nightmare Scenario: Tevin Washington proves to be hard to replace

    Tevin Washington is no longer at Georgia Tech, and sophomore Vad Lee will be taking over at the quarterback position.

    Many thought Lee was the better of the two by the end of last season, and now he will get a chance to prove himself.

    It is a whole different ball game when a player is the starter as opposed to when he is just filling in.

    If he does not live up to the expectations, it could be a long season for the Yellow Jackets.

Houston Cougars

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    Nightmare Scenario: Another down season in a new league

    Houston is one of four teams jumping from Conference USA to the new American Athletic Conference, and it might be a long year for the Cougars in 2013.

    Head coach Tony Levine and his team only managed to win five games last season, and with the announcement of running back Charles Sims leaving the team, it is not going to get easier.

    Do not expect this team to get anywhere close to the bowl conversation in 2013.

    The season might be a nightmare from start to finish for this squad.

Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Nightmare Scenario: Struggles once again from the quarterback position

    Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has regressed every season at Illinois and, now entering his senior season, it is time for him to turn it around.

    Last year, he did miss two games and was limited in a few others, but only managed to pass for 1,361 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions.

    If he has a season like that again in 2013, the Fighting Illini might only win two games like they did last year.

    Another nightmare season could be in store in 2013.

Indiana Hoosiers

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    Nightmare Scenario: Finishing at the bottom of the Big Ten

    Indiana made more noise last year than it had in quite some time, and with three games remaining the Hoosiers controlled their own destiny to win the Big Ten.

    Obviously, that came nowhere close to happening, and the Hoosiers finished the year 4-8. But the two wins in conference play were a step in the right direction.

    Regressing from the 4-8 campaign in 2012 would not be good for head coach Kevin Wilson and his staff.

    Another finish near the bottom of the league and Wilson may find himself on the hot seat in 2013.


Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Nightmare Scenario: A repeat of 2012

    Last year, Iowa started off by wining four of its first six games, including 2-0 in Big Ten play.

    The Hawkeyes then proceeded to lose their final six games of the season to finish the year 4-8.

    The worst nightmare for head coach Kirk Ferentz would be another season ending like the 2012 year did.

    No doubt, that is his worst nightmare as the 2013 campaign approaches.

Iowa State Cyclones

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    Nightmare Scenario: The loss of key linebackers proves costly

    Iowa State qualified for a bowl game each of the past two seasons, and a lot of that was due to the success the team had on defense, particularly the linebacker position.

    Both A.J. Klein and Jake Knott were excellent during their collegiate careers, and now head coach Paul Rhoads will need to find some viable replacements.

    While there are some candidates, it is going to be hard to replace what these two guys did over their careers.

Kansas Jayhawks

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    Nightmare Scenario: Finishing worse than 2012 and losing every game

    Kansas was one of the worst teams in the country last year, only managing to win one game.

    This year, head coach Charlie Weis could only do worse if his team does not win a single game, and while that is not likely, it certainly is not out of the question as the 2013 season approaches.

    The season opener against South Dakota should be the one the Jayhawks get. After that, the schedule features 11 games against bowl-eligible teams from last season.

    Otherwise, Weis may be out the door before the season is over.

Kansas State Wildcats

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    Nightmare Scenario: Wildcats miss bowl game

    Kansas State rode the shoulders of quarterback Collin Klein over the past few seasons, and now will have to find a way to move on without him.

    Head coach Bill Snyder certainly knows what he is doing, but replacing Klein is easier said than done.

    The Wildcats have had a lot of success in recent years, but with the strength of the schedule and the loss of Klein, it is not out of the question for this team to miss out on a bowl game.

    If Klein proves to be irreplaceable, it is not going to be a typical season in Manhattan.

Kentucky Wildcats

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    Nightmare Scenario: Not improving on last season

    Kentucky struggled mightily in 2012, only winning two games and going winless in SEC play.

    With new head coach Mark Stoops in town, there is some optimism surrounding the program. If the Wildcats have a season like they did in 2012, it will likely ruin a lot of the optimism coming from that fan base.

    A two or three-win season would certainly be a nightmare for Stoops and the Kentucky faithful.

Louisville Cardinals

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    Nightmare Scenario: Not winning the American Athletic Conference

    Even though Louisville is nowhere close to the most talented team in the country, the Cardinals might have the best chance of anybody in the country to run the table and go undefeated.

    They are playing in a relatively weak conference where it would be a huge disappointment if the Cardinals did not win the league.

    The only two legitimate challenges on the schedule are a home game against Rutgers and a road trip to Cincinnati to finish out the year.

    Finding a way to not crumble under the pressure will be harder than this team might think.

LSU Tigers

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    Nightmare Scenario: Zach Mettenberger regresses

    The LSU defense lost a lot of talent, but the group will be strong once again in 2013.

    There is no question that the running game will be the strength of the team, but the success of the season might hinge on the play of quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

    He showed signs of improvement last season, but still has a ways to go if this team is going to turn some heads and reach a bowl game.

    The key for the Tigers will be the play of their senior quarterback.

Maryland Terrapins

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    Nightmare Scenario: The quarterbacks suffer as many injuries as last season

    No team in the country suffered more devastating injuries at the quarterback position than Maryland in 2012.

    The Terrapins lost four starting quarterbacks, and by the end of the season had to resort to a freshman linebacker to line up under center.

    No doubt that head coach Randy Edsall has been thinking about that all spring long.

    Some healthy quarterbacks will almost certainly mean more wins in 2013 for the Terrapins.

Memphis Tigers

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    Nightmare Scenario: Falling victim to a challenging schedule

    Memphis is another team that struggled in Conference USA last year, and now will be moving into a much tougher league in 2013.

    The non-conference schedule is not very favorable either, with Duke, Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State to get things started.

    Do not expect this team to put together more than the four wins it did in 2012.

    It could be a long year in Memphis, mainly because of a tough schedule.

Miami Hurricanes

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    Nightmare Scenario: The NCAA investigation becomes a distraction

    The investigation into the University of Miami seems to be ongoing, and it might end up posing a distraction this season. 

    There is no doubt that Miami is one of the most talented young teams in the country, but young teams can get easily distracted.

    If something such as more sanctions comes down in the coming months with the NCAA snooping around, it might not be a good thing for the Hurricanes and head coach Al Golden.

Michigan Wolverines

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    Nightmare Scenario: Devin Gardner does not cut it at quarterback

    Devin Gardner filled in rather nicely last season in the absence of Denard Robinson, but now he will be the go-to guy on offense for the Wolverines.

    Whether or not he can sustain that success for the entire season remains to be seen.

    Gardner is certainly a threat with his legs, but whether or not his accuracy can hold up under pressure for the entire season is certainly the biggest concern for Michigan heading into the 2013 campaign.

Michigan State Spartans

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    Nightmare Scenario: Struggling to run the football

    Not many players in the nation carried a bigger workload than Le'Veon Bell did at Michigan State last season.

    The workhorse carried the ball 382 times for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was the offense for Michigan State, and now that he left early for the NFL, head coach Mark Dantonio will have to find a viable replacement.

    This offense might be in worse shape than it was a season ago, and that is not a good sign for 2013.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Nightmare Scenario: Losing close non-conference games

    Last season Minnesota had the advantage of winning some close games, particularly out of conference against much lesser opponents.

    That helped propel the Golden Gophers to a bowl game after a 6-6 regular season.

    If Minnesota plans on having a repeat season in 2013, it is going to have to start off the season strong, as it's facing three below average squads, including UNLV, New Mexico State and Western Illinois.

Ole Miss Rebels

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    Nightmare Scenario: The star-studded 2013 recruiting class plays like freshmen

    The 2013 Ole Miss recruiting class has been well documented in recent months, and a lot of expectations have been put on that group.

    Many of those are not fair, as it is going to be very difficult for most of these guys to contribute from day one.

    If that does not happen, people in Mississippi might get a little antsy as the season progresses.

    Not getting at least something out of this class this season would be a nightmare for head coach Hugh Freeze.

Missisippi State Bulldogs

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    Nightmare Scenario: Losing to an inferior opponent

    The main reason Mississippi State went 8-5 last season was because the Bulldogs beat all of the teams they were supposed to.

    That is not always going to be the case, and if the Bulldogs want to have the season they did in 2012, they are going to have to beat all of the teams they will be favored against.

    There are not a lot of games they won't have a chance to win, but a loss early on to an opponent they should beat could derail the season entirely.

Missouri Tigers

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    Nightmare Scenario: James Franklin does not return to old form

    Missouri struggled to a 5-7 season in 2012, and a lot of that was due to the health of quarterback James Franklin.

    When 100 percent, he is one of the most explosive quarterbacks in the conference, but he was not healthy for the better part of last season.

    If that is the case again, it will be another long season for the Tigers. If he can stay healthy, this could very easily be a bowl team.

    Staying healthy is one thing, but returning to old form is another. That is not going to be easy, particularly against the tough defenses in the SEC.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Nightmare Scenario: Taylor Martinez misses multiple games

    Even though Taylor Martinez is nowhere close to the best quarterback in the country, he is as valuable as just about anybody to his team, simply because the Cornhuskers do not have a viable replacement behind him.

    Martinez is a senior, and there is no other quarterback experience in the program, as he has been the starter for virtually his entire career.

    If something happened to him this season, head coach Bo Pelini might not know what to do, and his worst nightmare might have come true.

North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Nightmare Scenario: The running game is nowhere to be found

    North Carolina relied heavily on the running game last season, led by Giovani Bernard. He has now moved on early to the NFL, and quarterback Bryn Renner returns for his senior season without his best playmaker.

    Developing a solid running game will be the key to the season for North Carolina.

    If that does not happen, it could be a long year in Chapel Hill for the Tar Heels.

    It looks like A.J. Blue will be the go-to guy this season out of the backfield. He needs to step up big for the Tar Heels in 2013.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

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    Nightmare Scenario: Mike Glennon proves to be irreplaceable

    North Carolina State is a team that had to say goodbye to a very talented quarterback in Mike Glennon.

    He was very successful the past two seasons and will be sorely missed in Raleigh this year. This was similar to what happened two years ago when Russell Wilson transferred to Wisconsin. Only this time, the team might not have a viable replacement.

    One guy who might have a slight edge in the quarterback competition is Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell.

    Whether or not he can replace Glennon is a huge question and things could turn into a nightmare scenario for the Wolfpack if he cannot.

Northwestern Wildcats

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    Nightmare Scenario: A bad start to the season

    Northwestern does not play the cupcakes at the beginning of the season that some teams do, and with the amount the Wildcats have progressed in recent years, getting off to a good start in 2013 is essential to building momentum.

    With a road trip to California to start off the season followed by a home game against Syracuse, Northwestern needs to win these two games to continue to build on last season.

    A couple of losses and it could turn into a downward spiral.

    Needless to say, that would be somewhat of a nightmare.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Nightmare Scenario: Tommy Rees does not fill the shoes of Everett Golson

    Notre Dame fans and the college football world were shocked to hear that starting quarterback Everett Golson was no longer enrolled at the university.

    The worst nightmare for Brian Kelly has already come true, particularly with the transfer of quarterback Gunner Kiel to Cincinnati.

    If Tommy Rees cannot fill in, it could be a long season in South Bend for the Fighting Irish.

    Notre Dame was fortunate to win as many games as it did a season ago, and Rees will need to be counted on heavily in 2013 for Notre Dame to be in BCS contention.

Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Nightmare Scenario: Braxton Miller turns into a turnover machine

    Braxton Miller will likely be in the Heisman conversation if he can improve on the season he had in 2012.

    The junior quarterback is one of the best dual-threats in all of college football. He had an excellent sophomore season, but if he does not take care of the ball it could be a disappointing season for the Buckeyes.

    Miller is main contributor on offense for Ohio State, and he will need to take care of the ball for them to run the table again.

Oklahoma Sooners

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    Nightmare Scenario: Losing a non-conference game

    Oklahoma did not do itself any favors when it scheduled three very challenging out-of-conference games against three teams that finished a combined 31-9 last season.

    The Sooners start off the season against Louisiana-Monroe, and then after a conference game against West Virginia, Oklahoma takes on Tulsa, followed by a road game in South Bend against Notre Dame.

    There is no doubt that this is one of the toughest non-conference slates in the entire country.

    A loss would ruin any slim national title hopes for the Sooners.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Nightmare Scenario: The quarterback situation does not pan out

    The decision by Wes Lunt to transfer has left Oklahoma State with two quarterbacks battling for the starting job.

    Both Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh bring something different to the table, but head coach Mike Gundy must pick the right starting quarterback for this team to continue the success it has had on offense in recent years.

    Whoever he picks must be ready to step up. The Cowboys quarterback is the key to running the high-flying offense.

    If somebody does not step up, it might be a tough season-opener against Mississippi State.

Oregon Ducks

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    Nightmare Scenario: Chip Kelly proves to be more important than everybody imagined

    Even though this is not likely to happen, it would certainly be the worst nightmare for Oregon fans.

    The high-powered offense has been what has made Oregon so successful in recent seasons. Even though the group will likely not miss a beat with Chip Kelly having moved on, if it slows down at all, it could be a very disappointing year in Eugene.

    Good thing for Oregon fans is this worst scenario might be a little far-fetched.

Oregon State Beavers

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    Nightmare Scenario: Can not overcome the tough stretch to end the regular season

    Looking at the Oregon State schedule, it is very easy to assume that this team could be 7-0 heading into a game against Stanford at the end of October.

    The bad news for the Beavers is the final five games of the season are the toughest on the schedule.

    In addition to Stanford, the Beavers follow that up with USC, Arizona State, Washington and Oregon.

    A fast start and a slow finish is certainly on the mind of head coach Mike Riley. That is exactly what the Beavers are trying to avoid.

Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Nightmare Scenario: The momentum of 2012 fades

    Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien did as good a job as just about anybody could, guiding the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record in a season filled with scrutiny.

    Now he has the unenviable job of trying to do it again.

    That is not going to be an easy task, as a letdown is almost certainly on the horizon.

    While there are some talented players on the roster, there is no way that this team has what it takes to win as many games as it did a season ago.

    But, stranger things have happened.

    Trying to keep the fan base around is the biggest task for Penn State this season.

Pittsburgh Panthers

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    Nightmare Scenario: The ACC proves to be too challenging in 2013

    This does not appear to be a good time for Pittsburgh to be upgrading conferences.  

    The Panthers not only lost most of their skill position players, but a lot of other talent on both sides of the ball.

    Throw in a game against Florida State to kick off the season, and it could be a losing campaign for head coach Paul Chryst and his squad.

Purdue Boilermakers

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    Nightmare Scenario: The defense struggles once again in 2013

    Purdue came on strong at the end of last season to reach a bowl game, but the Boilermakers still struggled on the defensive side of the ball last year.

    They finished the season 89th in the country, allowing over 31 points a game.

    That is going to have to change if this team plans on getting back to a bowl game, particularly with Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Northern Illinois looming outside of conference play.

    New head coach Darrell Hazell has his work cut out for him this coming season.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    Nightmare Scenario: The running game fades in 2013

    The departure of running back Jawan Jamison early to the NFL draft was certainly something that was not expected. Now the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will have to try to find a way to win without him.

    Junior Savon Huggins is the man in line to replace Jamison, and a lot is riding on his shoulders.

    The Rutgers offense struggled enough as it was last season, and if Huggins cannot carry the load, this team could regress big-time in 2013.

SMU Mustangs

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    Nightmare Scenario: The running game does not reach the 2012 form

    Even with Zach Line rushing for over 1,200 yards in 2012, the Mustangs still only finished 95th in the country at 132 yards a game.

    With Line now gone, it might even be a little more difficult for SMU to run the football.

    Head coach June Jones will need to find a more balanced attack to succeed in a new conference, particularly with Texas Tech, Texas A&M and TCU out of conference.

    If the Mustangs cannot run the football, they might be in the same situation as Rutgers.

South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Nightmare Scenario: Jadeveon Clowney misses action

    There is no question that the health of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be on the mind of head coach Steve Spurrier all summer and into the season.

    He is a lock to be one of the top picks in the draft if he stays healthy, and Spurrier will be very interested in keeping him healthy, not only for his future, but for the success of the team.

    An injury early in the season to Clowney would certainly be a nightmare for this team.

South Florida Bulls

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    Nightmare Scenario: A slow end to the season once again

    Even though South Florida welcomes a new head coach in Willie Taggart and a lot of new players on both sides of the ball, the Bulls certainly enter the season with that all too familiar feeling of just how the past few years ended.

    The Bulls have struggled down the stretch the past few years. In no season was that more evident than in 2012, where they finished the year 3-9.

    Things might be a little different with a new head coach and a new quarterback in 2013, but it certainly has to be on the mind of Taggart as the season approaches.

    Developing a new mindset in South Florida will be the first job for Taggart.

Stanford Cardinal

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    Nightmare Scenario: Kevin Hogan is not as good as expected

    When freshman Kevin Hogan took over at quarterback for Stanford midway through the 2012 season, it proved to be the turning point for the Cardinal.

    While Hogan performed well, the jury might still be out on him.

    He will be relied on much more this season with running back Stepfan Taylor having moved on, as well as his top targets at tight end.

    We will see just what he is made of in 2013, when he is forced to throw the ball down the field.

    The running game might not be as strong as it was a season ago, so Hogan will be the man on offense for the Cardinal.

Syracuse Orange

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    Nightmare Scenario: Beginning the season with consecutive losses

    Syracuse not only has to find a way to move on without quarterback Ryan Nassib and head coach Doug Marrone, but the Orange are also entering the much more challenging ACC.

    The non-conference slate is not going to be easy either, and the Orange will be challenged from the outset of the season.

    A game against Penn State kicks off the season, followed by a road contest against Northwestern.

    No doubt the schedule will be very challenging for the Orange.

    Two straight losses to begin the season would make it very difficult to end up bowl-eligible by the end of the season.

TCU Horned Frogs

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    Nightmare Scenario: Casey Pachall does not return to old form

    For a team as talented as TCU, the season might hinge on the play of quarterback Casey Pachall.

    He missed the final nine games of the season in 2012, and the Horned Frogs only managed to win three of those games.

    Playing in the Big 12 certainly proved to be a challenge, and freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin was not quite playing at the level of Pachall.

    The Horned Frogs will need him to return to form to live up to their top-25 ranking.

Temple Owls

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    Nightmare Scenario: Struggling in the run game

    Temple excelled last year at running the football, but the Owls will have to do it this year without Montel Harris and Matt Brown.

    With how much the Owls struggled in the passing game, they are going to need continued help from the running back position.

    It could be a long season in Philadelphia for the Owls if the passing game does not improve, because it is hard to imagine the running game being anywhere close to what it was last season.

    This is a nightmare that almost certainly will come true.

Tennessee Volunteers

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    Nightmare Scenario: The new skill players can not fill the void

    Not many teams lost more, as far as skill players are concerned, than the Tennessee Volunteers.

    Not only did quarterback Tyler Bray leave early, but new head coach Butch Jones will also have to find new wide receivers for the departed Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson and Zach Rogers.

    Throw in the loss of tight end Mychal Rivera and this team has some holes to fill.

    Hopefully, for the sake of the Vols, those players develop.

    If not it will be Jones' worst nightmare.

Texas Longhorns

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    Nightmare Scenario: Not meeting expectations once again

    This scenario is more of a nightmare for head coach Mack Brown, as his Longhorns have had more than one season where they have not lived up to expectations.

    Texas will once again be picked to finish near the top of the Big 12, and with how favorable the schedule is, this team should be able to win the Big 12 if quarterback David Ash can live up to expectations.

    The Longhorns are fortunate enough to get Kansas State and Oklahoma State at home, but have two tough nonconference games at BYU and at home against Ole Miss.

    It seems like Mack Brown has enough talent to contend every season, but the team never puts it all together.

    This has to be the year where that happens.

Texas A&M Aggies

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    Nightmare Scenario: Johnny Manziel goes down with an injury

    We all know about the success Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel had last season, and with how much talent the Aggies have coming back, this could be a team contending for the national championship.

    The only thing that could possibly derail those expectations would be an injury to Manziel.

    He is irreplaceable, and head coach Kevin Sumlin certainly knows that. Keeping him healthy will be a top priority.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Nightmare Scenario: Michael Brewer cannot fill the shoes of Seth Doege

    For an offense like Texas Tech, the quarterback position is certainly the key.

    Seth Doege had quite a career for the Red Raiders, particularly over the past two years. He threw for over 4,000 yards in each of those seasons, with 67 touchdowns and 26 picks over that span. 

    That is not going to be easy to replace, and if the Red Raiders plan on returning to a bowl game, they are going to need to get production from the quarterback position.

    Their passing offense relies heavily on its quarterback, and that will likely even be the case under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

UCLA Bruins

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    Nightmare Scenario: Brett Hundley hits a sophomore slump

    UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley was excellent last season as a redshirt freshman, and he will be counted on even more heavily this season with running back Johnathan Franklin having moved on.

    Franklin was a big part of that offense, rushing for over 1,700 yards, and Hundley is going to face a huge challenge moving on without him.

    This could be a critical year in the development of Hundley and the continued progress of the Bruins.

    A step back would be a nightmare for head coach Jim Mora.

USC Trojans

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    Nightmare Scenario: Nobody gets Marqise Lee the ball

    USC wide receiver Marqise Lee is certainly the most skilled player in the country at his position, and might be the most talented player in the nation.

    He posted huge numbers last season, but this year might be different with the quarterback situation still up in the air.

    There is no question that Lee is one of the top players in the country, but he might not be able to show that off if none of the three potential quarterbacks pan out.

Utah Utes

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    Nightmare Scenario: The passing game continues to struggle

    The career-ending injury to quarterback Jordan Wynn really set the Utah program back last season. 

    That was part of the reason why the Utes finished 100th in the country, averaging just over 190 yards per game through the air.

    There are some serious challenges on the schedule, with Utah State and BYU out of conference.

    This team will certainly need more production from that position in 2013.

    If that does not happen it most likely will be another down season for the Utes.

Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Nightmare Scenario: A step back in 2013

    Vanderbilt is a team similar to Northwestern in that it has to continue to move in the right direction to hold onto the momentum it picked up last year.

    The Commodores won nine games a season ago, but in the SEC it is hard to sustain that high level of success.

    Head coach James Franklin needs to continue to build momentum in 2013 and beyond.

    Losing six or seven games would not be a sign of progression for Vanderbilt.

Virginia Cavaliers

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    Nightmare Scenario: A repeat of last season

    Virginia was downright awful last season, not living up to the hype from the previous year. 

    Where the Cavaliers struggled was on the offensive side of the ball. Virginia simply could not put up enough points.

    That is going to have to change this season, but it is still too early to tell whether the offense will be improved in 2013.

    The non-conference slate is not going to help either with BYU, Oregon and Ball State.

Virginia Tech Hokies

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    Nightmare Scenario: Logan Thomas has a repeat performance in 2013

    Most people know just how talented quarterback Logan Thomas is, but that was not on display during the 2012 season.

    The Hokies quarterback regressed during his junior campaign, and will need to return to the form he possessed as a sophomore in 2011.

    If he plays like he did two years ago, this could be a very dangerous team, but if he returns to last season's form it could be another long year for the Hokies.

    There's no question he is the key to the team this season.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

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    Nightmare Scenario: The offense is even worse than last season

    Wake Forest did not qualify for a bowl game last season, and the main reason was because the Demon Deacons struggled on the offensive side of the ball.

    The team ranked 116th in the country in both rushing yards and points scored. Averaging only 18.5 points a game is a number that is going to have to be improved upon drastically if the Demon Deacons plan on returning to a bowl game.

    The non-conference slate should offer a chance for that to happen. But, the offense will need to improve.

Washington Huskies

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    Nightmare Scenario: Keith Price struggles again in 2013

    Washington quarterback Keith Price struggled in 2012, much like Logan Thomas did.

    His touchdown passes dropped from 33 to 19 last season, and it showed with how much the Huskies struggled, particularly in the early going.

    If he can return to the form he held in 2011, this could be a very dangerous team. If not, it might be another disappointing season. 

Washington State Cougars

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    Nightmare Scenario: The running game fails to show up again this season

    No team at the FBS level rushed for fewer yards than Washington State in 2012.

    The Cougars only averaged 29.1 yards a game last season. While Mike Leach and his squad certainly love to throw the ball around, they are going to have to get a better performance from the running game in 2013.

    That is the only way this team is going to improve on the 3-9 record it posted a season ago.


West Virginia Mountaineers

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    Nightmare Scenario: The offense completely disappears

    We all know just how bad West Virginia was on the defensive side of the ball in 2012, but with how much talent the Mountaineers lost when it comes to offense, it is hard to imagine that group not taking a huge step back as well.

    The losses of quarterback Geno Smith, along with wide receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, could make this a very challenging season in Morgantown.

    If head coach Dana Holgorsen cannot find some playmakers quickly, it could be an awful year for his squad.

Wisconsin Badgers

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    Nightmare Scenario: The running game struggles without Bret Bielema

    Wisconsin has always been near the top of the country when it comes to running the football, but with former head coach Bret Bielema having moved on to Arkansas, it might not be a guarantee that the running success will continue.

    There are certainly plenty of talented backs for the Badgers, but will the scheme be the same in 2013 as it has been the past few seasons under new head coach Gary Andersen?

    Stay tuned, as this could be a very interesting development.