With the 2013 college football season closing in quickly, fans across the country can hardly contain their excitement. While it's already quite evident which teams are likely to be great and which are likely to struggle, each and every fan has hope. That hope is even stronger for fans of teams that publications are picking to thrive in 2013.
Preseason predictions don't tell the whole story, as there are always a few teams that come from out of nowhere to make some noise, but they're usually fairly accurate. With that said, it's nearly impossible to be right on with every ranking. For one reason or another, a handful of highly touted teams simply won't live up to expectations during the upcoming season.
Here are three hyped teams in particular that will prove to be overrated by the time the 2013 college football season comes to an end.
Sporting News Preseason Top 25 Poll
*Rankings courtesy of SportingNews.com
The Florida Gators surprised a lot of people last season as they lost just one regular-season game en route to an appearance in the Sugar Bowl. Florida was one of the best defensive teams in the country all season long, and if not for an eight-point loss to Georgia, the Gators might have played for the national championship.
The Sugar Bowl wasn't exactly the bowl that Florida had hoped for, and the Gators seemed disinterested as Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville shocked Florida by a 33-23 score.
That loss could be brushed off, but it showed a great deal of immaturity as Florida had trouble getting up for the game. Because of that, a preseason ranking of No. 4 is a bit lofty. Also, Florida is in the same division as teams like Georgia and South Carolina, so it will be difficult to escape unscathed.
The play of junior quarterback Jeff Driskel will be the key to Florida's success this season; however, he is currently out of action due to an appendectomy, according to Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel.
Driskel may only miss two weeks, which puts him on track to be ready for the season opener, but these next couple weeks are important in terms of preparation. Driskel had his moments last season, but it seemed as though head coach Will Muschamp was afraid to take the training wheels off as he passed for just 12 touchdowns.
Unless Driskel takes a big step forward this season and starts to win games instead of just managing them, Florida won't live up to the expectations.
Life after Brandon Weeden wasn't kind to the Oklahoma State Cowboys last season, as they went through three different starting quarterbacks and finished with a record of 8-5. Despite that, hopes are high in Stillwater this year. Sporting News has bestowed the No. 6 overall ranking upon Mike Gundy's team, but the longtime head coach knows that it doesn't mean anything.
One thing that he doesn't know, though, is who his starting quarterback will be in Week 1, according to Erin Hartigan of FOX Sports.
For a team that relies on lighting up the scoreboard and outscoring its opponents, uncertainty at the quarterback position is a major issue. Perhaps Clint Chelf has a slight edge over J.W. Walsh since he is a senior, but their numbers were quite comparable last season.
Because they are so close in terms of skill level, it wouldn't be shocking to see a controversy persist throughout the season. It's going to be very difficult for either passer to thrive when they'll be looking over their shoulders constantly.
It's also important to note that the Cowboys lost leading rusher Joseph Randle to the NFL, so the running game will be a work in progress as well.
The main argument in Oklahoma State's favor seems to be that the Big 12 is weak, but OSU will have its hands full against the likes of Oklahoma, Texas and Baylor. There will definitely be some laughers on the schedule in the Cowboys' favor, but there are too many offensive question marks for an offensivelyminded team.
The 2013 season was a magical one for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as they returned to national prominence by going undefeated during the regular season and reaching the BCS National Championship Game.
Once the Irish got there, though, they were clearly overmatched, as the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled them in one of the most one-sided title games of all time.
It is admittedly a new year, but it is very difficult to envision Notre Dame improving upon what it accomplished last season.
While there are a lot of issues to address, the season-long suspension of quarterback Everett Golson tops the list. Golson won't play this season due to "poor academic judgment," so Tommy Rees will take over the reins. Although Rees has shown some ability in the past, he has a penchant for making mistakes. Golson was always cognizant of protecting the ball, and that was a big reason for Notre Dame's success last year. The Irish won with great defense and an efficient offense last season, but that efficiency may be compromised.
With tight end Tyler Eifert entering the NFL, Rees will be without the team's most reliable weapon this season, and that will only make the transition even more difficult.
Perhaps most importantly, the loss of defensive stalwart Manti Te'o will change things in a major way for the Irish. Te'o became a punch line by the end of his Notre Dame tenure due to the fake-girlfriend situation, but he was a heart-and-soul player who made big plays.
Notre Dame's defense will still be good, but it won't be nearly as dynamic without Te'o.
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