1. Alabama- They’ve won the last two National Championship’s and I could easily see this team completing a three peat, something we don’t see when it comes to college sports. They’ve lost a few pieces to this year’s NFL draft in Eddie Lacy at running back, three key offensive linemen in Warmack, Jones and Fluker and Dee Milliner on defense. Despite the fact they’ve lost those players, coach always knows how to recruit and fill those holes that were empty. I can see Alabama playing in the SEC Title Game yet again for the third straight year when it’s all said and done.
2. Stanford- No Andrew Luck, no Jim Harbaugh, no problem. Stanford was one of the more physical, smash mouth teams in the country a season ago and I see them doing just that in 2013 as well. They’ve lost running back Stepfan Taylor and tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo but they will return four starting offensive linemen and ten starters on defense who shut down a prolific offense in Oregon last season. If it’s one team that can bring that smash mouth mentality each and every week, it’s the Stanford Cardinal. I wouldn’t be surprised if this team was in conversation for the National Title game.
3. Texas A&M- They lose Luke Joeckel on that offensive line but the return of Jake Matthews is huge. Johnny football is the most dynamic player in the country as we speak. He can extend the play, throw from the pocket and make magic happen with his legs as well. He did all of this with a very solid offensive line. As a defense, I like what this Aggies team has. The next man must step up to replace their dynamic pass rusher in Damontre Moore. To open the season, Johnny football and crew open up against the team they upset in the defending champion Crimson Tide from Alabama. If they can shock the world again and win this one, people may view Texas A&M a whole lot differently. What will Johnny do as an encore as this year’s defending Heisman trophy winner?
4. Oregon- Chip Kelly is now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Ducks are somewhat similar to the Stanford Cardinal of some sorts. Both programs have lost their head coaches to the professional rankings but when I look at it though, Mark Helfrich can do exactly what Shaw did with the Cardinal. This offense will still be the most prolific, electric and high flying offense in the country. They return QB Marcus Mariota after an impressive freshman year and they also bring back De’Anthony Thomas who could emerge as an elite back in the country. With Oregon losing Barner, I look forward to seeing a more mature Mariota taking the reigns of this offense and they will still put points on the board. As a defense they’ve lost two very vital pieces in Kiko Alonso and Dion Jordan to the draft so this is when others must step up and make plays.
5. Ohio State- Urban Meyer came in to Columbus last season and turned this program around. He’s one of the best coaches in the country as we speak. With the past incidents behind them, I see Ohio State back as an elite team in the country. Braxton Miller will be at the top of everyone’s list as the number one candidate for the Heisman trophy. One thing that concerns me is their inexperienced defensive line that could give them problems when they face Wisconsin and Michigan who both have stellar offensive lines. Urban will have his men ready to play.