Predicting College Football's 20 Biggest Storylines for 2013
From Johnny Manziel to conference realignment, college football had its fair share of excellent storylines all offseason long. But, what will be the biggest storylines during the 2013 season?
With how much of a factor the media are this day and age, there are going to be juicy stories all season long.
But, what will dominate the headlines in 2013? The Manziel saga is likely to continue and conference realignment also does not appear to be over. What about the SEC's attempt at winning its eighth-straight national championship?
All of those are likely to be talked about all season long, but what else makes the list?
Here is a prediction of the top 20 storylines for the 2013 college football season.
No. 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat
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A college football season is not complete without dozens of coaches worrying that this might be their last with their respective teams.
The 2013 season will be no different, as there are plenty of coaches on the hot seat.
Either way, by the middle of the season there are likely to be more than a handful of coaches who are in the running to lose their jobs.
Stay tuned, as this topic always gets interesting.
No. 19 What Sleepers Will Emerge?
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Every season, a team seemingly comes out of nowhere to make a splash on the national scene.
Last year, it was Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish began the season outside of the Top 25, but by the end of the year they were playing for the national championship.
What team will emerge this season? There are plenty of viable candidates, including Fresno State. The Bulldogs have a talented senior quarterback in Derek Carr and are coming off a 9-4 season in 2012.
Other names that could emerge include Central Florida, Miami, Arizona State and North Carolina.
No. 18 Quarterback Battles Across the Country
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Quarterback battles are more of a preseason storyline, but some of that controversy could stretch well into the 2013 season.
Among the biggest battles is the one at TCU, where Casey Pachall will try to win back his job over Trevone Boykin.
Other battles to keep an eye on are between Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh at Oklahoma State and a three-horse race between Max Browne, Max Wittek and Cody Kessler at USC.
There are going to be plenty of intense battles all season long across the college football landscape.
No. 17 Can Anybody Run the Table and Go Undefeated?
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Last season Ohio State and Notre Dame were the only teams that managed to run the table and go undefeated during the regular season. Will anybody be able to do it this season?
While the SEC might have the most talented teams in the country, there are a few in other leagues who might be more likely to go undefeated.
There are plenty of other teams who could go undefeated. Louisville is near the top of the list, along with Oregon.
No. 16 The Battle for the Pac-12
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With all due respect to the rest of the Pac-12, this league is likely going to come down to Stanford and Oregon.
These two teams are both ranked in the top four nationally. They will do battle on Nov. 7 in a Thursday night game.
This will be one of the most anticipated games of the entire season. It will likely decide the champion of the Pac-12 and will also have national title implications.
No. 15 How Will Penn State Fair?
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Penn State did an excellent job last season, winning eight games despite the turmoil that surrounded the program.
Many are interested in seeing just how the team fairs another year removed. Will the fan support still be there like it was last season, despite the fact that the team can't go to a bowl game once again?
Can the Nittany Lions somehow manage to put together another season like they did in 2012 or will the scrutiny finally get to them?
No. 14 Can Oregon Transition from Chip Kelly to Mark Helfrich?
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Not many teams undergo a head coaching change and still end up in national title contention. But, that might just be the case this season for the Oregon Ducks.
Former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich takes over the head coaching job for the departed Chip Kelly.
It does not appear the Ducks are going to miss a beat with the amount of talent returning on both sides of the ball.
Either way, it will be interesting to see how Oregon fairs under new leadership this season.
No. 13 Who Will Emerge as the BCS Buster?
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Boise State and TCU made a name for themselves as BCS busters. The 2013 season will be the final one foe the BCS, but which team will emerge and threaten the big boys with a possible undefeated season?
There are plenty of candidates, including Utah State. The Aggies return star quarterback Chuckie Keeton after winning 11 games a year ago. Fellow 11-game winner San Jose State also returns some talent, including quarterback David Fales.
As mentioned earlier, Fresno State is also a team to look out for. But it is never safe to sleep on Boise State.
No. 12 Will Mack Brown and Texas Live Up to Expectations?
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Mack Brown is always under scrutiny, no matter what Texas is doing on the field. This season his Longhorns are nationally ranked and one of the favorites to contend for the Big 12 title.
If Texas goes through another disappointing season, Mack Brown might find himself on the hot seat.
Texas is always one of the most talked about teams in the country and the 2013 season should not be any different.
No. 11 Who Will Control the State of Florida?
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When it comes to college football, the state of Florida might be back to what it was a few years ago.
Miami appears to be on the verge of becoming a national title contender. Florida and Florida State are already there.
All three teams play each other with one coming at home and one on the road. That should be very interesting as the season progresses.
Who will be the top team in the state of Florida by the end of the season?
No. 10 What Will Happen with Lane Kiffin and USC?
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USC was one of the most disappointing teams in the country last season. The Trojans began the year No. 1 in the country according to the AP Poll, but finished the season not even receiving votes in the final poll.
Expectations are not nearly as high this season. The Trojans are picked to be behind the big boys in the Pac-12, but should still have a solid squad.
If USC manages to struggle like it did last season, head coach Lane Kiffin could be on his way out the door.
No. 9 Can Notre Dame Remain in the National Spotlight?
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Notre Dame came out of nowhere to play for the national championship this past season. Will the Fighting Irish be able to remain relevant again this year?
Even with the loss of quarterback Everett Golson, Notre Dame will still be one of the top teams in the country, particularly on defense with names like Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt returning.
The media always flock around Notre Dame, but when the Fighting Irish are playing well, the case is even more so.
What will happen with one of the most hated and loved teams in 2013?
No. 8 Who Will Win the Alabama-Texas A&M Rematch?
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There is little question that the most anticipated game of the 2013 college football season is the battle between Alabama and Texas A&M.
The Aggies were the only team to beat the Crimson Tide last season. Nick Saban and his squad will be looking for a little revenge this year.
The status of Johnny Manziel is still up in the air. This game should not be much of a challenge for Alabama if Manziel isn't available. But, if he is not suspended, this will be the toughest game on the schedule for the Crimson Tide.
Every college football fan with a pulse is looking ahead to this game on Sept. 14.
No. 7 Will Jadeveon Clowney Remain in the Heisman Conversation?
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There is very little question who the most talked about defensive player in college football is.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is an absolute freak. If he puts together the same numbers as he did last year, he will likely be in the Heisman conversation all year long.
Whether or not he can win it still remains to be seen. Most people are well aware of how challenging it is for a defensive player to win the prestigious award.
But, if anybody can, this is the guy to do it.
No. 6 Conference Realignment
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A lot has happened over the past few years as far as conference realignment is concerned.
This year Syracuse and Pittsburgh will be playing their first seasons in the ACC. Next year Rutgers and Maryland will join the Big Ten. Louisville will also become a member of the ACC in 2014.
Does that mean conference realignment is completely over? Not quite. It appears conferences like the Big Ten and possibly SEC might add teams in coming years to get to that magical number of 16.
It might not happen during this season, but sooner or later more changes are going to come.
No. 5 The Final Year of the BCS
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College football will be going to a four-team playoff in 2014. That means that this is, thankfully, the final official season of the BCS.
For many college football fans, it couldn't come soon enough. While, there have been plenty of complaints as far as the BCS is concerned, it has had its fair share of positives during the 15 years it has been in existence.
With that being said, most people will be thankful the BCS will be gone after the 2013 season.
No. 4 Will It Be Eight Straight for the SEC?
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What the SEC is doing is unprecedented in this day and age in college football. The conference has won seven straight national championships.
Will the conference be able to win eight straight? That is certainly not an easy thing to do, but there are many viable candidates including Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Florida and LSU.
It will be one of the hot topics all season long on college football discussion boards.
No. 3 Will Johnny Manziel Repeat as Heisman Trophy Winner?
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Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy when he brought home the award last season.
Will he be able to do it again in 2013? If he can stay on the field, he is without question the favorite.
It will no doubt be a hot topic by the middle of the season, as former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin is the only player to win the award twice.
Manziel will be a topic of conversation all season long.
No. 2 Can Alabama Three-Peat?
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Alabama has a chance to win its third-straight national championship this season.
There only appears to be a few games that could get in the way of the Crimson Tide and a berth in the national championship.
Even a one-loss Alabama will still have a legitimate shot to play for the national championship.
The Crimson Tide could very well be the most talked about college football team this season.
No. 1 What Will Happen with Johnny Manziel?
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Word spread like wildfire last week about an NCAA investigation surrounding the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
Manziel could face serious penalties if he is found guilty of the accusations that he signed autographs for money.
If that is the case, it would certainly rock the college football landscape.
As it looks right now, Manziel's attorney believes he will be the starter in the season opener against Rice.
No question, this will be the most talked about story this college football season.