Ranked 2013 College Football Teams Guaranteed to Lose in Week 1
The college football season begins Thursday, Aug. 29, and there are plenty of ranked programs that are on upset alert. In fact, there are even a few teams that are guaranteed to lose on opening weekend and suffer a drastic fall in the polls.
Starting the season with a loss isn't what any program would like, but it is an unfortunate reality for some. The beginning of the year is the best chance for an underdog to shock its opponent, as most teams are still ironing out the wrinkles from the offseason.
There are two Top 10 teams that will lose, as well as two teams that are sure to fall out of the polls with a loss.
Note: Rankings were provided by the latest AP poll.
Ranked Teams That Could Be in Trouble
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Temple at No. 14 Notre Dame (Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m. ET)
The Irish are never off the hook for a potential upset. Quarterback Tommy Rees is back in a starting role, and he has the tendency to be a turnover machine. Notre Dame had a ton of close games last season, and it isn't far-fetched to believe Temple could hang around and steal the game late.
No. 13 Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi State (Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m. ET, neutral location)
The Cowboys will remain one of the best offensive teams in the country, but Mississippi State has a few playmakers as well. Tyler Russell is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the SEC, and running back LaDarius Perkins can go the distance at any time. Don't count out the Bulldogs.
Wyoming at No. 18 Nebraska (Aug. 31, 8 p.m. ET)
Nebraska's defense allowed more than 500 yards the last time it took the field. With that type of performance, no game is ever safe. Wyoming doesn't have a lot going for it, but quarterback Brett Smith is a playmaker who can a hurt a defense with his arm and legs. If he gets going, this game will be closer than most expected.
No. 1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (Aug. 31, 5:30 p.m. ET, neutral location)
Why not? Virginia Tech is well-coached by Frank Beamer, has an NFL prospect in quarterback Logan Thomas and a defense that was second best in the ACC. The Hokies have won at least 10 games in eight of the last nine seasons. Sure, Alabama is labeled as an unbeatable team, but let's not throw Virginia Tech in the same category as an FCS opponent.
Toledo at No. 10 Florida (Aug. 31, 12:21 p.m. ET)
Be honest—you wouldn't be shocked if Florida lost to Toledo. Last year, the Gators had a hard time beating anybody, allowing Missouri and Louisiana-Lafayette to hang within one possession. That doesn't include getting upset by Louisville, 33-23, in the Sugar Bowl. Toledo returns all of its key offensive players, including quarterback Terrance Owens, running back David Fluellen and wide receiver Bernard Reedy.
Now, an offense that already ranked 12th in the SEC will be without starting running back Matt Jones and offensive guard Jon Halapio. Quarterback Jeff Driskel remains a giant question mark, the wide receiver depth is unproven, and now the running back duties will likely be given to Mack Brown, a senior who has only 40 carries in his three-year career.
No. 19 Boise State at Washington (Aug. 31, 10 p.m. ET)
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Boise State will once again open the season against a respectable opponent, and this time it's a trip to Husky Stadium to play Washington.
The Broncos will continue to be great defensively with seven starters returning, but there are lingering offensive concerns. They have yet to find quarterback Kellen Moore's replacement and have now lost their workhorse to graduation in running back D.J. Harper. Last year's offense had a hard time scoring with any consistency and failed to top 20 points in four games.
Washington should be much improved offensively with four offensive linemen returning. More time in the pocket will allow quarterback Keith Price to return to 2011 form and will give running back Bishop Sankey room to make plays. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is also listed on the Washington depth chart for this game.
Boise State beat Washington 28-26 in last year's MAACO Bowl, but Washington has too many elite skill-position players for Boise State to keep up.
No. 12 LSU vs. No. 20 TCU (Aug. 31, 9 p.m. ET, Neutral Location)
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SEC! SEC! SEC!
It's tough for a non-conference opponent to upset an elite SEC program. TCU is a respectable Big 12 team and shouldn't be taken lightly, but LSU is in a different zip code when it comes to talent level.
The Tigers have eight offensive starters returning and will continue to dominate with their running game led by Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard. A combination of massive offensive linemen and overwhelming running back depth has led to 10 or more victories in six of the last eight seasons under head coach Les Miles.
Even though TCU had the best defense in the Big 12 last season (323.9 yards), it didn't face a team as physically dominant as LSU. Remember, Notre Dame was great until it ran into a physically suffocating Alabama squad.
The Horned Frogs will also be without defensive end Devonte Fields, who was suspended for the first two games due to a violation of university and team policy. They will keep things close early on but, like most teams not used to the physicality and athleticism, will eventually cave in by the third quarter.
No. 5 Georgia at No. 8 Clemson (Aug. 31, 8 p.m. ET)
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A Top 10 program will go down once Georgia and Clemson settle their highly anticipated battle at Memorial Stadium. With both defenses not up to par, it should be a high-scoring affair with a ton of fireworks.
Now, it's a question of which offense is best fit to keep up in a shootout?
The Bulldogs are stacked with senior quarterback Aaron Murray and sophomore running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, as well as a few underrated receivers in Malcolm Mitchell and tight end Arthur Lynch. The offensive line also remains intact, with all five starters returning. Georgia averaged 37.8 points per game last season and will have no problem topping those numbers.
Clemson has also been an offensive powerhouse, averaging 41 points per game. However, the Tigers did lose 1,000-yard rusher Andre Ellington and leading wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Besides quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, there are a lot of inexperienced guys who will need to step up.
Defensively, Clemson hasn't been consistent over the years, and Georgia is stuck replacing eight starters. In an offensive shootout, the better offense usually has the upper hand. The Bulldogs have the best offense in the SEC and possibly the best in the country.