NCAA Football Preseason Rankings 2013: Breaking Down Top Bubble Teams

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IAugust 9, 2013

Nov 26, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty (14) during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Cowboys Stadium. Baylor won 66-42. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We've seen countless teams on the bubble of the college football preseason rankings shock and awe throughout the years.

Heck, Notre Dame was ranked outside of the AP Top 25 last year to start the season, only to go on to the national championship game.

With that in mind, there are several intriguing teams on the bubble of the USA Today Coaches preseason poll this year. Interestingly enough, each one of my top bubble teams features an electric running back and/or quarterback.

Here's a look at my top three bubble teams in relation to the USA Today Coaches Poll this preseason.


3. Kansas State

Kansas State is the top bubble team in the USA Today Coaches Poll, but I'm going to put the Wildcats at No. 3.

First, the positives. 

Despite losing dual-threat quarterback Collin Klein, Kansas State still has bruising running back John Hubert, who rushed for 947 yards and 15 touchdowns on 5.0 yards per carry last season. That should help ease the blow on offense.

The Wildcats also return second-leading receiver Tyler Lockett and their entire starting offensive line from last season.

On the flip side, Kansas State did lose Klein, who was fantastic last season. The program also lost leading receiver Chris Harper and top linebacker Arthur Brown. Eight defensive starters must be replaced.

I like what Bill Snyder has done at Kansas State, but I do believe the Wildcats should be on the outside looking into the Top 25 to start the season this year.


2. Miami (FL)

Of course, the Miami Hurricanes are a different story.

The Hurricanes can't play much worse on defense than in 2012 as 10 defensive starters return. If the team can at least play decent D, it could make waves in 2013.

The firepower on Miami's offense can't be ignored. Quarterback Stephen Morris returns after throwing 21 touchdowns to seven interceptions last season, while sophomore running back Duke Johnson only figures to be better after exploding for 947 yards and 10 touchdowns on 6.8 yards per carry in 2012. Add in the fact that the Hurricanes' top three receivers from last season return and you have an offense ready to improve on the 31.4 points per game it put up in 2012.

Again, the defense will have to be better, but an added year of experience should help the unit.


1. Baylor

Yes, Baylor lost quarterback Nick Florence this offseason, but it's not the end of the world when you have a promising signal-caller like Bryce Petty waiting in the wings.

Petty has been called a "freak of nature" leading up to the 2013 campaign, his physicality and athleticism reminding his teammates of former Heisman winner Tim Tebow, per Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News.

And while Baylor did lose top receiver Terrance Williams, the Bears do bring back second-leading receiver Tevin Reese (957 yards, nine touchdowns in 2012), as well as star running back Lache Seastrunk.

Seastrunk rushed for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns on 7.7 yards per carry last season. That included racking up a ridiculous 637 rushing yards in the Bears' last four games against Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and UCLA.

The defense must improve, but the linebacking corps is at least solid and the fact that the Bears return seven starters on that side of the ball should help.


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