College Football 2013: 31 Bold Predictions for 31 Days of August
The month of August means a lot of things; warm weather, back to school and the dog days of summer, just to name a few. But, more importantly, August means the start of the college football season.
With 31 days in the month of August, why not make one prediction for each day concerning something about the upcoming season.
The year officially gets underway on Thursday, August 29. That is a day marked on the calendar of a lot of college football fans.
Here are some bold predictions for the season ahead. While they are not all going to come true, by the end of the year, some may be dead on.
This Will Be Lane Kiffin's Last Year at USC
Lane Kiffin has seemingly been on the hot seat every place he has been.
His USC Trojans were a complete disappointment last season. Even though they had as much talent as almost anybody in the country, the Trojans struggled to a 7-6 year.
There are a lot of questions surrounding this USC team, despite another excellent recruiting class. Quarterback might be the biggest issue for this team.
If the Trojans struggle again, Kiffin might be on his way out by the end of the year, particularly if he loses control like last season.
Texas A&M Will Beat Alabama Again
Texas A&M shocked the college football world in 2012 by knocking off the Alabama Crimson Tide.
This year the Crimson Tide will be looking for revenge, but the Aggies are not going to let it happen.
Alabama will be excellent once again this year, but not quite as good as it was last season. Texas A&M on the other hand will be better than it was a year ago.
Johnny Manziel and his Aggies will once again have the upper hand in this early-season matchup.
The SEC Will Not Win the BCS National Championship
This prediction may be the boldest of them all.
The SEC has won seven straight national championships. The league has completely dominated the college football landscape over the past few years.
The 2013 season will finally be the end of the SEC reign.
There are a number of teams who could derail the juggernaut that is the SEC. Names like Oregon, Stanford, Ohio State and Clemson are a few of the possibilities.
No doubt that the SEC will have a participant in the title game, but this will be the year they finally go down.
Tajh Boyd Will Be a Heisman Finalist
Tajh Boyd was one of the best statistical quarterbacks in the country last season. The Clemson signal caller passed for 3,896 yards with 36 touchdowns and only 13 picks.
He has already thrown for over 8,000 yards during his tenure at Clemson.
The Tigers are a sleeper to contend for the national title if they can take down Georgia the first game of the season.
Clemson also has the best team in the ACC. If they win the league, and Boyd puts up numbers like last season, he will certainly be in the Heisman conversation.
Derek Carr Will Lead the Nation in Passing Yards and Touchdowns
Derek Carr passed for over 4,100 yards last season with 37 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
That was good for eighth in the nation in yards and third in touchdowns. With a lot of his weapons coming back at the wide receiver position, expect those numbers to be even better during his senior campaign.
Carr has one of the best arms in the country. The Bulldogs are going to be a very dangerous squad in 2013.
Penn State Will Lose Seven or More Games
Penn State had a lot of support from its fans and won eight games during an emotional 2012 season.
That is not going to be the case this year. The Nittany Lions have a trio of challenging non-conference games against the likes of Syracuse, Central Florida and Kent State.
There are going to be some losses before conference play even begins, and do not expect this team to win eight league games like it did a season ago.
It could be a long year in Happy Valley.
Jameis Winston Will Struggle at Florida State
Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston redshirted last season, and with the departure of former quarterback E.J. Manuel, coupled with the transfer of Clint Trickett, he is the new starter for the Seminoles.
Winston has a wealth of talent, but the expectations might be too high coming into his freshman season.
While he is certainly going to be good, expect some struggles throughout the season for this guy.
UCLA Will Lose at Least Five Regular Season Games
UCLA was a huge surprise in 2012 under first-year head coach Jim Mora. The Bruins won nine regular season games and played in the PAC-12 title game.
This year the Bruins will regress in Mora's second year as a head coach.
Losing star running back Johnathan Franklin will not help.
A lot will be riding on the shoulders of sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley. If he does not play as good or better than last season, it is going to be a struggle for UCLA.
Oklahoma State Will Lead the Country in Scoring
Oklahoma State averaged nearly 46 points a game last season, ranking third in the country.
This year the offense will be even better no matter who the starting quarterback is.
Head coach Mike Gundy has built a juggernaut at Oklahoma State over the past few years. This year, the Cowboys will not only be a contender in the Big 12, but will have the best offense in the country.
Look for wide receiver Josh Stewart to catch close to 120 passes for 1,500 yards, leading the way for the best offense in the nation.
Duke Will Regress and Lose Eight Games
Duke was 6-2 midway through the 2012 season. The Blue Devils finished the year with five straight losses, but still qualified for their first bowl game in quite some time.
This season expect Duke to regress a little bit back to old form. There are a few cupcakes on the schedule, but for the most part, Duke will be challenged.
Eight or more losses is not out of the question for this squad in 2013.
Boise State Will Lose at Least Three Games
Boise State has grown accustomed to winning 11 or more games seemingly every season.
That might not be the case this year. The Broncos will likely be a favorite in almost every game they play, but do not be surprised if this team loses three or more regular season games.
The Broncos begin the season against Washington. There are also tough road games against Utah State, BYU and San Diego State. Throw in Air Force and Nevada at home, making the schedule that much more challenging.
Ohio State and Michigan Will Play Two Games in a Row
Ohio State and Michigan will once again play in the final game of the season, but this year the two teams will meet a week later in the Big Ten Championship game.
That is not unprecedented in college football, but with these two teams it is.
While there are certainly other squads that will pose threats in the Big Ten, namely Wisconsin and Nebraska, these are the two best teams in the league heading into the season.
What an eight day stretch that would be for these two universities if it happened.
The MAC Will Have Four Teams Reach the Top 25 at Some Point in the Season
The MAC had a lot of talented teams last season, and that will once again be the case in 2013.
While it is likely that no team in the league will start the year in the Top 25, by the time the end of the season comes around, this league will have put four teams in the rankings.
Northern Illinois seems to be the most likely of the bunch, as the BCS team from a year ago returns quarterback Jordan Lynch.
Other teams to look out for include Kent State, Toledo and Ohio. These four teams will reach the Top 25 at some point in the season.
Jadeveon Clowney Will Have a Down Year
A down year for Jadeveon Clowney still means he will be an All-American and the top selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
With that being said, there is going to be so much attention paid to this guy that he is not going to be able to put up the numbers he did a season ago.
That will likely open the door for other players on the defense of South Carolina.
Kansas Will Once Again Lose Every Big 12 Game
Charlie Weis and Kansas did not win a Big 12 game in 2012. That is likely to be the case once again in 2013 if major improvements are not shown.
This team was one of the worst in the country last year, and it is not likely it is going to be much better this year.
If that is the case, Weis could be on his way out by the end of the season.
The American Athletic Conference Will Have Four Top 25 Teams by Seasons End
The newly formed American Athletic Conference will be competitive at least this season with Louisville and Rutgers still in the fold. Throw in Cincinnati and newly acquired Central Florida, and this league will be just fine in 2013.
While Louisville is likely to be the only team ranked when the season begins, the schedules are very favorable for most of the squads in the league.
Expect four from this conference to be ranked by the end of the season.
Todd Gurley Will Be a Heisman Finalist
Todd Gurley is one of the most talented players in all of college football. Next season he will find himself in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
Last season as a freshman, Gurley rushed for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns on 222 attempts.
If Georgia has the season most are expecting, either Murray or Gurley will be in Heisman contention.
While neither are likely to win, expect Gurley to be there in the end.
The Hurricanes Will Be the Best Team in the State of Florida
Miami is a team that is quickly on the rise. The Hurricanes play Florida at home the second game of the season. They also take on South Florida and Florida State on the road later in the year.
The Hurricanes will prove they are once again the best team in the state of Florida during the 2013 season.
Expect big things from this team in 2013 and for years to come.
No BCS Team Will Go Undefeated
There are a few teams who have the possibility of going undefeated. Every season there seems to be a team or two that runs the table.
The 2013 season will be a little different as everybody in the major six conferences will lose at least one game.
If that is the case there will obviously be one SEC team playing in the national championship. The other could come from the Pac-12 or Big Ten.
It is too early to tell, but don't be shocked if every team has at least one loss by the end of the year.
Notre Dame Will Win Less Than 10 Games
Notre Dame had a magical 12-win 2012 season. That magic is likely to run out in 2013.
While the Fighting Irish will likely begin the season around the top 10, they are not going to put up the undefeated regular season like they did last year.
There are once again some very challenging games on the schedule including Michigan, Oklahoma, BYU and Stanford.
Expect eight or nine wins out of Notre Dame this year.
Louisville Will Lose Three Games
Louisville is likely to begin the season near the top five in the country. That is a little too high for a team that is nowhere close to top 10 talent-wise.
While the Cardinals do have one of the best quarterbacks in the country, there are still plenty of holes on the roster.
This team will lose three games during the season, and be a slight disappointment in 2013.
Johnny Manziel Will Repeat as the Heisman Trophy Winner
Johnny Manziel was the most electrifying player in college football last season. That will likely be the case once again this year.
While it is nearly unprecedented for a player to win back-to-back Heisman's, Manziel has the talent to do it.
The second game of the season against Alabama will be very telling. A win against the Crimson Tide, and Manziel will be in the drivers seat once again.
The Big Ten Will Add Two More Teams
The Big Ten is likely to add two teams at some point to get to that magical number of 16. Why not this year?
It is likely that the league will pluck two teams from the ACC, it is not exactly certain which ones it will be, but Georgia Tech and Virginia seem like viable options.
Either way, the Big Ten is going to be taking from somewhere sometime soon, and the ACC seems to be the probable location.
Miami Will Lose to Clemson in the ACC Title Game
Miami will need to surprise a few people to reach the ACC title game, but that is not out of the question.
Clemson and Florida State will certainly battle it out for the Atlantic Division.
The two teams do not meet during the regular season, so this would be quite a matchup.
While Miami might be a year or two away from reaching a BCS title game, they will get very close in 2013, before falling to the Tigers in the ACC title game.
Texas Will Struggle Which Will Lead to Mack Brown's Departure
Mack Brown has never had any problems bringing in top notch talent, but at some point the team needs to live up to expectations.
The Longhorns will once again be ranked in the top 15 when the season begins, but there are high expectations in a wide open Big 12.
If 2013 brings another disappointing season for Texas, head coach Mack Brown might be looking for work at the end of the year.
Bobby Petrino Will Lead Western Kentucky to 10 Wins
Western Kentucky starts off the season with Kentucky at home followed by Tennessee on the road. If the Hilltoppers can win those two games, this team could be on its way to a double-digit win year.
The schedule is very favorable for the Hilltoppers, and the only other major challenges on the schedule are Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State.
This could be one of the truly surprising teams in the country this season.
Christian Hackenberg Will Be the Best Freshman in the Country
Christian Hackenberg is one of the top recruits in the entire country heading into the 2013 season. He will likely win the starting role by the beginning of the season, or even before it begins.
Penn State has some solid targets for Hackenberg, including wide receiver Allen Robinson.
While there are other freshmen who are a little more talented, with the opportunity Hackenberg will be given, he should put up some solid numbers in 2013.
Dare we say freshman All-American.
Ka'Deem Carey Will Repeat as the Nation's Leading Rusher
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey led the country last season with 1,929 yards and 23 touchdowns on 303 carries.
If he stays on the field, he will likely get just as many touches this year.
Arizona will rely heavily on the run once again, and it would not be out of the question for Carey to go over 2,000 yards with 25 touchdowns.
That would likely lead the nation once again.
James White Will Be in the Heisman Conversation
James White will finally get his chance to be the full-time starter for Wisconsin in 2013. He will certainly not disappoint.
Last year, while serving as a backup to Montee Ball, White rushed for 806 yards and 12 touchdowns on only 122 carries. That was good for an average of 6.4 yards a carry.
He will be a senior this year and will be right in the mix for the Heisman Trophy with 250 or so carries. His numbers will double and that will put him in elite company.
USC Will Have a Revolving Door at Quarterback
The USC Trojans have three options to replace the departed Matt Barkley, but neither of them appear to be a star in the making.
Perhaps the best of the bunch is incoming freshman Max Browne. Browne is one of the top recruits in the country, but he will only be a freshman.
Sophomore Max Wittek saw some action last season in the absence of Barkley.
Another player who will be in contention for playing time is redshirt sophomore Cody Kessler.
Head coach Lane Kiffin will have his hands full when it comes to the quarterback position in 2013.
Fresno State Will Reach a BCS Bowl Game
Fresno State will be a very dangerous team in 2013. Led by quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Davante Adams, this offense will be nothing short of explosive.
The Bulldogs have Rutgers and Boise State early on. Both games are at home. They also take on San Jose State on the road in the season finale.
Those three games might be the only obstacles from an undefeated season for the Bulldogs.
That would result in a BCS bowl game for the Bulldogs.