Predicting What the 2013 USA Today Coaches Poll Will Look Like After Week 1
The initial USA Today Coaches' Poll was released Thursday and now it is time to look ahead and predict what the poll will look like after week one of the college football season.
There are some interesting games during the first week of the year, some even pitting two top 25 teams against one another. The slate features No. 5 Georgia traveling to No. 8 Clemson and No. 13 LSU taking on No. 20 TCU. Those two matchups will certainly mean a shakeup in the poll after week one.
As always, there are plenty of cupcakes on the schedule, so many teams will not be challenged initially.
Here is a prediction of what the USA Today Coaches Poll will look like after week one is complete.
No. 25 Kansas State Wildcats
Week 1: vs. North Dakota State
Kansas State begins the season against what is likely to be an overmatched North Dakota State team.
The Wildcats are the first team receiving votes in the preseason poll, but a loss by Boise State will allow Kansas State to jump into the rankings.
This team might be in for a bit of a rebuilding year with Collin Klein no longer running the show. An easy nonconference schedule should allow the Wildcats to climb in the rankings for a few weeks before Big 12 play begins.
No. 24 Oregon State Beavers
Previous: No. 25
Week 1: vs. Eastern Washington
The two teams from the state of Oregon play some very easy competition in week one. The first of those teams is Oregon State. The Beavers will certainly have no problems with Eastern Washington of the FCS level.
No matter how much the Beavers win by, it is going to be hard to make a huge jump in the polls.
With that being said, a loss by Boise State to Washington in week one will likely allow Oregon State to move up a spot.
No. 23 TCU Horned Frogs
Previous: No. 20
Week 1: vs. LSU
TCU might be the most talented team in the Big 12. If quarterback Casey Pachall can return to old form, this could be the team to beat in that conference.
With a talented young defense and some excellent skill position players, TCU is very dangerous.
Starting off the season against LSU is no easy task, particularly with Pachall likely needing time to return to his old form.
The Horned Frogs will drop a few spots in the rankings with a close loss to LSU opening weekend.
No. 22 USC Trojans
Previous: No. 24
Week 1: at Hawaii
USC will get an early season vacation as the Trojans travel to the islands to take on Hawaii. The Warriors will not be a match for USC, no matter who is under center for the Trojans.
This could be a make or break year for head coach Lane Kiffin. No matter how many losses USC has this year, the Trojans are not going to fall victim to Hawaii.
A jump of two spots in the rankings seems likely with a few teams in front of USC going down.
No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers
Previous: No. 23
Week 1: vs. Massachusetts
Wisconsin is the first of five Big Ten teams in the rankings. Like most of the other teams in the Big Ten, the Badgers possess one of the best rushing attacks in the country.
They open up the season against Massachusetts. The Minutemen will likely be one of the worst teams at the FBS level and should have trouble slowing down the Badgers running game.
Look for the Badgers to spend most of the season in the Top 25 and be a serious contender in the Big Ten.
No. 20 Northwestern Wildcats
Previous: No. 22
Week 1: at California
Northwestern is never afraid to go out of conference and play teams from other BCS leagues. This season is no different as the Wildcats open the season on the road against California.
California struggled to a three-win campaign in 2012, but will almost certainly be better this year. The game is on the road, but Northwestern showed just how talented it was last year, winning 10 games.
The Wildcats will have one of the best rushing attacks in the nation, led by running back Venric Mark. The Golden Bears defense will be no match for the Northwestern offense.
Expect Northwestern to rise up a few spots in the rankings after week one.
No. 19 UCLA Bruins
Previous: No. 21
Week 1: vs. Nevada
UCLA jumps up two spots in the rankings with both TCU and Boise State possibly going down in week one.
The Bruins, however, have a tall task of their own. UCLA takes on a very talented Nevada team that is not going to be a pushover.
The game is at home, but UCLA plays Nebraska on the road in its second game of the season. Looking ahead might be an issue, but the Bruins have too much talent to go down in the season opener.
No. 18 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Previous: No. 18
Week 1: vs. Wyoming
Nebraska opens the season against an undermanned Wyoming team. The Cornhuskers should have one of the top rushing attacks in the country this season.
With the return of quarterback Taylor Martinez and the emergence of running back Ameer Abdullah, this group could be very dangerous this season in the Big Ten.
The Cornhuskers will be in a battle all season long with Michigan for the Legends Division.
No. 17 Michigan Wolverines
Previous: No. 17
Week 1: vs. Central Michigan
Michigan starts off the season against in-state foe Central Michigan. That should not be a problem for the Wolverines, unless they are looking ahead to Notre Dame the following week.
There is little doubt that Michigan is one of the top teams in the Big Ten, but the opener against Central Michigan will not tell a lot about the Wolverines.
Michigan should come out victorious in week one by 20 or so points and remain No. 17 in the rankings.
No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners
Previous: No. 16
Week 1: vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Oklahoma still has a lot of questions surrounding its football team, beginning at the quarterback position.
The Sooners will likely be competing with TCU, Texas and Oklahoma State for the Big 12 crown, but the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe is not going to be a pushover.
The Warhawks may hang around for a little while, but the Sooners will have too much in the end.
Expect that No. 16 ranking to remain intact.
No. 15 Texas Longhorns
Previous: No. 15
Week 1: vs. New Mexico State
Texas starts off the season with what should be a cupcake. The Longhorns take on New Mexico State in what should be a blowout.
With the teams directly in front of Texas likely to win, it does not appear the Longhorns are going to move up after week one.
Mack Brown might be on the hot seat with a few early season losses. Odds are this is not going to be one of them.
Who knows, this could be the start of a Big 12 championship season for Texas.
No. 14 Oklahoma State Cowboys
Previous: No. 14
Week 1: vs. Mississippi State
Oklahoma State will take on Mississippi State in week one of the season. This is certainly one of the most anticipated games of the opening weekend.
The Cowboys are going to possess one of the best offenses in the country once again. If the defense can hold its end of the bargain, this might be the team to beat in the Big 12.
Mississippi State has the talent to pull off the upset, but the Cowboys will come out on top in a close one to keep their No. 14 ranking.
No. 13 Clemson Tigers
Previous: No. 8
Week 1: vs. Georgia
No question that Clemson plays the toughest game of any Top 25 team to kick off the season.
The Tigers welcome Georgia to town, in a game that will go a long way toward determining which of these two teams will be in the national title conversation.
Clemson is without question one of the top teams in the nation and has a shot to win the ACC. Georgia on the other hand is just a step above Clemson.
The Tigers will fall in a close one and drop a few spots in the rankings.
No. 12 LSU Tigers
Previous: No. 13
Week 1: vs. TCU
LSU has one of the more challenging games to start off the season as the Tigers battle TCU at Cowboy Stadium.
That is certainly a game that could go either way, but LSU should be able to come out on top. If that is the case, expect the Tigers to move up a spot or two in the national rankings after week one.
A loss could be the start of a long season for LSU. The schedule is not doing the Tigers any favors, as they play one of the toughest schedules in the SEC.
No. 11 Florida State Seminoles
Previous: No. 12
Week 1: at Pittsburgh
Florida State begins the game on the road in conference play against Pittsburgh. That is not going to be an easy task for a team with a freshman quarterback like Jameis Winston.
With that being said, Pittsburgh is in somewhat of a rebuilding year during its first in the ACC. The Panthers have nowhere near the talent of Florida State. The Seminoles should have no problem in this one.
Look for the Seminoles to rise up the rankings during the first six weeks of the season with a relatively easy schedule early on.
No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Previous: No. 11
Week 1: vs. Temple
Notre Dame has an easy game against Temple to kick off the season.
The Fighting Irish should have no trouble winning that one. If that is the case, Notre Dame will likely jump up a spot over Clemson if the Tigers fall to Georgia.
With a road game against Michigan looming in week two, this could be as high as Notre Dame gets all season long.
No. 9 Floirda Gators
Previous: No. 10
Week 1: vs. Toledo
Starting off the season against a team as talented as Toledo is no easy task for a Florida group that struggled to put points on the board.
The Gators will once again possess one of the best defenses in the country and will challenge an excellent Rockets offense.
This game might be much closer than a lot of people think.
Either way, Florida wins in the end and moves up a spot over Clemson.
No. 8 Louisville Cardinals
Previous: No. 9
Week 1: vs. Ohio
Louisville has an interesting Sunday night game to kick off the season against a very talented Ohio team.
The Bobcats will pose somewhat of a threat against the Cardinals, but Louisville will have too much at home.
There is a chance Louisville could run the table and go undefeated. The season opener against Ohio will just be the start of that.
This is a team that could rise up the rankings for a few weeks.
With the top-tier teams in the SEC battling it out early on, Louisville is a team that could vault up the rankings by the middle of the year.
No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks
Previous: No. 7
Week 1: vs. North Carolina
South Carolina plays the first game of the college football season against North Carolina.
The Gamecocks are without question one of the best teams in the country and should have no trouble picking up a home victory against the Tar Heels.
Whether or not it will be convincing enough to jump another team remains to be seen. Odds are, this team remains at No. 7 after the first week.
That would set up a huge showdown with Georgia in week two.
No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies
Previous: No. 6
Week 1: vs. Rice
Texas A&M begins the season against a Rice team that did reach a bowl game last year, but does not appear to be much of a threat.
The Aggies should have no trouble winning this game and picking up a victory over Sam Houston State the following week.
That will set up a potential top five showdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide in week three. No question that will be one of the most anticipated games of the entire season.
No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs
Previous: No. 5
Week 1: at Clemson
Georgia starts off the season at Clemson. This will be a huge challenge for a Georgia team that is one of the top squads in the nation.
The fact that the game is on the road makes it tough to call. Clemson is very talented and possesses one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Tajh Boyd.
This game is going to be very close throughout, but Georgia will pull out the victory in the end and maintain that No. 5 ranking after week one.
A blowout win could allow the Bulldogs to jump a spot or two, but that does not appear likely as this one is going to be very close.
No. 4 Stanford Cardinal
Previous: No. 4
Week 1: Idle
Once again Stanford begins the season against a very talented San Jose State team. But, that game is not until week two.
The Cardinal will almost certainly stand pat in the polls unless somebody in front of them goes down. That is not likely to happen during the first week of the season.
There will be little movement in the rankings for the Cardinal early on in the year.
San Jose State in week two is no gimme, however.
3. Oregon Ducks
Previous: No. 3
Week 1: vs Nicholls St.
Oregon might put on a performance that will have some voters talking about jumping them over Ohio State after week one.
The Ducks take on a Nicholls State team that is certainly coming prepared for a blowout loss.
It would not be out of the question to see Oregon put up seven or eight touchdowns, in the first half. That might move them up to No. 2, but as of right now it would appear the Ducks are slated to remain No. 3 until either Ohio State or Alabama goes down.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
Previous: No. 2
Week 1: vs. Buffalo
Ohio State is another one of the teams on the list that has an extremely easy game to begin the season. The Buckeyes take on Buffalo at home.
This contest will be no problem for an Ohio State team that might be the early favorite to face Alabama in the BCS National Championship game.
Even without Carlos Hyde for the first three weeks of the season, the Buckeyes will have no problem in this one.
Expect an easy victory for Ohio State and the No. 2 ranking to remain intact.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Previous: No. 1
Week 1: vs. Virginia Tech
No surprise here. The Crimson Tide do have an interesting game to start off the season against Virginia Tech. There is very little chance that Alabama slips up in this one as it will be double-digit favorites. This will be the first of many wins for the Crimson Tide.
Virginia Tech will be looking to improve on a disappointing 2012 campaign. While that might happen, it is certainly not going to start here.
Expect Alabama to have no problem holding onto the top spot after week one of the season.