Preseason AP Poll Football 2013: Toughest Opponent for Every Team in Top 25

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Preseason AP Poll Football 2013: Toughest Opponent for Every Team in Top 25

The college football regular season gets underway in less than two weeks. With Saturday's release of the Associated Press preseason poll and previously the USA Today poll, teams from around the country with championship aspirations now have a good idea of where they stand.

While coaching staffs will insist their teams are going to take it one game at a time, it's hard not to look ahead to see the biggest hurdles on the horizon. Every Top 25 team has at least a few tricky opponents on the schedule.

With that in mind, let's take a glance at the complete AP poll, along with the toughest opponent each ranked team will face in the coming months. That's followed by an examination of the top college football games of the 2013 regular season.

2013 Associated Press Preseason Poll
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points Toughest Opponent
1 Alabama (58) 1,498 Texas A&M (Sept. 14)
2 Ohio State (1) 1,365 Michigan (Nov. 30)
3 Oregon 1,335 Stanford (Nov. 7)
4 Stanford 1,294 Oregon (Nov. 7)
5 Georgia (1) 1,249 Florida (Nov. 2)
6 South Carolina 1,154 Georgia (Sept. 7)
7 Texas A&M 1,104 Alabama (Sept. 14)
8 Clemson 1,083 South Carolina (Nov. 30)
9 Louisville 1,042 Cincinnati (Dec. 5)
10 Florida 894 Georgia (Nov. 2)
11 Florida State 845 Florida (Nov. 30)
12 LSU 802 Alabama (Nov. 9)
13 Oklahoma State 755 Texas (Nov. 16)
14 Notre Dame 748 Stanford (Nov. 30)
15 Texas 677 Oklahoma (Oct. 12)
16 Oklahoma 579 Notre Dame (Sept. 28)
17 Michigan 531 Ohio State (Nov. 30)
18 Nebraska 382 Michigan (Nov. 9)
19 Boise State 328 Utah State (Oct. 12)
20 TCU 323 LSU (Aug. 31)
21 UCLA 286 Oregon (Oct. 26)
22 Northwestern 199 Ohio State (Oct. 5)
23 Wisconsin 185 Ohio State (Sept. 28)
24 USC 134 Stanford (Nov. 16)
25 Oregon State 129 Oregon (Nov. 29)

Associated Press

 

 

Top Games of 2013

Alabama vs. Texas A&M (Week 3)

The complexity of this matchup could change completely depending on the status of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The defending Heisman Trophy winner is going through some high-profile off-field issues, which have dominated headlines in recent weeks.

Last season, the Manziel-led Aggies stunned undefeated Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Regardless of who's under center for Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide will arrive in College Station for this marquee early-season clash with revenge on their mind.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Of course, Alabama rebounded after that loss to claim its second straight national championship. The Aggies are once again one of the biggest tests on the Tide's schedule as they look to bolster their case for being a college football dynasty under Nick Saban.

 

Georgia vs. Florida (Week 10)

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

One of the great rivalries in college football will reach a fever pitch if both teams enter this year's meeting undefeated. Under that scenario, both teams would likely be firmly inside the Top Five and have a national title on their mind.

Georgia is on a modest two-year winning streak against the Gators, but both games were decided by one score.

The biggest advantage the Bulldogs have is Aaron Murray, who threw for nearly 3,900 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. His outlook in 2013 is promising as he looks to build on last year's success.

Florida's chances rest on further improvement from Murray's counterpart, Jeff Driskel, and continued dominance from the defense, which ranked fifth in points allowed last season. The unit flustered Murray into three interceptions in the last meeting and will look to replicate that in 2013.

 

Oregon vs. Stanford (Week 11)

Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

It seems like every time these two Pac-12 powers have met in recent seasons there's been some type of national title implications. Last year, Stanford upset Oregon in overtime to diminish the Ducks' title hopes. Two years ago, the reverse happened at Stanford Stadium.

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With both sides entering the season ranked inside the Top Five, it seems like they are on another collision course.

At least one of the teams, if not both, will probably have championship hopes on the line yet again, adding intrigue to the budding rivalry on the West Coast.

Mark Helfrich takes over for Chip Kelly, but numerous playmakers remain, including the always dynamic De'Anthony Thomas. Stanford will counter with a more conservative approach that will rely on a huge defensive effort and timely plays on offense.

 

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