An Early 2013 Football Top 10

Alabama College Football Quarterback A.J. McCarron

An Early 2013 Football Top 10

Just days after the 2012 BCS National Championship game, the College Sports Madness staff gathered around to argue about 2013. It is never too early to start looking ahead to next season even if we do not yet know who is staying and who is going. But we do know most of the players staying in the college game and most of these teams have more than enough depth to overcome some unexpected losses.



1. Alabama

Nobody deserves to be here more than Alabama. But history has nothing to do with the 2013 campaign. Yet, the Crimson Tide are on top anyway. Coach Nick Saban will be eyeing another national title with steady quarterback A.J. McCarron leading the way. The offensive line has some reloading to do with a handful of players heading to the NFL, but that will not be a problem. The return of C.J. Mosley gives the Tide a star to work around in the middle of the field, but Coach Saban’s defense will have ten other stars on that side of the ball soon enough.


2. Ohio State

The Buckeyes offense may be among the best in the nation. With Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith running the ball and, in Miller’s case, occasionally throwing, Ohio State should have a great ground game. But do not overlook Coach Urban Meyer’s eagerness to throw the ball around. Miller can do it and OSU has Devin Smith, Corey Brown and Chris Fields who are developing into experienced receivers. The defense does lose a lot off of their front line, but there are plenty of younger players itching to make a big impact.


3. Oregon

Even by the Ducks standards, the 2013 campaign could produce one of most potent Oregon offenses ever. That is saying a lot. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has a year of experience under his belt now and he also has a slew of experienced receivers coming back. But, as usual, to get beyond a BCS Bowl and into the national championship, the Oregon defense has to step up. And that may be a problem this season as there is some rebuilding to be done. Coach Chip Kelly will find some defensive stars, but he may not have the depth needed to reach the big game.


4. South Carolina

South Carolina is going to need to find a running back if they want to win the SEC East and get a shot at a national title. Mike Davis is the man for now, but that may change by the fall. The defense, led by Jadeveon Clowney, will be among the best in the nation yet again. But for the Gamecocks to reach elite levels, even in the SEC, they must be able to move the chains. If quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson struggle, it will be up to Davis and the rest of the young backs.


5. Texas A&M

The expectations are very high for Texas A&M following the amazing season by Johnny Manziel. They could be the biggest threat to Alabama in the SEC West, but we will find out how big of a threat they really are very early in the season. Alabama will come to College Station during the third week of the season. With an Aggie win there, this is a team that has the potential to play for an SEC title.


6. Georgia

Georgia has quarterback Aaron Murray returning for his senior season and that has made the Bulldogs a top ten team. And Murray will have a lot on his shoulders this year. The defense is decimated by graduation and early departures for the NFL. The offense should be in great shape with a couple of quality backs returning and enough weapons for Murray to work with, but if they struggle, the defense will not be able to keep the Bulldogs in the running for an SEC title.


7. Stanford

The Cardinal have a winning formula in Palo Alto and that will not change now. Finding a replacement for running back Stepfan Taylor will not be easy, but quarterback Kevin Hogan should be ready to carry more of the offense this time around. Stanford will have good talent on both lines, as usual, and that is enough to keep this group looking for a national title. Even better, Coach David Shaw gets Oregon at home.


8. Florida

The Gators ended last season on a sour note, but this is a team that beat Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State. The schedule appears to be a bit easier this time around and that is good news for the Gators. Quarterback Jeff Driskel could be in for a big season, but the rest of the skill players need to step up or the offense could struggle against top defenses in the SEC. And the defense has a few holes to fill too. Matt Elam, Sharrif Floyd and Jelani Jenkins are splitting early for the NFL.


9. Clemson

The Tigers will have to replace receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but as long as Sammy Watkins gets back into the swing of things, the Clemson offense will be as dynamic as ever. Tajh Boyd is back for his senior season to lead the offense and the offense will be very good. The biggest losses are in the secondary where three starters are gone. The Tigers defense has not been great for a while, but it could be worse than usual if the secondary cannot find some new playmakers.


10. Nebraska

The Nebraska offense will be extremely tough to stop. Taylor Martinez will be a steady senior and receivers Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa and Jamal Turner are all experienced receivers. Not long ago it seemed like the backfield would take a step back heading into 2013. Rex Burkhead is gone, but he was gone for most of the 2012 campaign due to injury anyway. That paved the way for a great campaign for Ameer Abdullah. Braylon Heard and Imani Cross will be great backups. The questions are on defense where a slew of players, like Eric Martin, Baker Steinkuhler, Cameron Meredith and Will Compton, need to be replaced. Depth and experience will be an issue and that could keep this Nebraska team from competing with the likes of Ohio State.