With the season only a few weeks away, we’re all waist-deep in predictions about 2013. This week’s Top 10 list: the teams with the best shot to run the table in the regular season.
1. Louisville: Charlie Strong’s team is coming off a great performance in the Sugar Bowl win over Florida and has star QB Teddy Bridgewater back with a gifted receiving corps, and almost the entire starting D returning from 2012. The schedule, as has been pointed out about 1,000 times already, is cushy. Louisville will be a double-digit favorite in its first 11 games before visiting Tommy Tuberville’s Cincinnati team in its finale on Dec. 5. If anyone will trip up Louisville before the bowl game, it’s probably up to Tub, who does have a rep for upsetting top teams.
2. Alabama: The two-time defending champs play in what’s been considered the toughest division in football, but the Tide may only have to get past two top 20 programs in the regular season, LSU at home and Texas A&M, which wouldn’t seem anywhere near as tough if the NCAA investigation into Johnny Manziel keeps the Aggies star out of action. Beyond those two, the next toughest tests appear to be the opener against Va. Tech or road trips to Mississippi State and arch-rival Auburn. Given the talent Nick Saban has on defense, his proven winner at QB (AJ McCarron) and a great WR-RB combo in Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon, things are looking very promising in Tuscaloosa.
3. Ohio State: No one has beaten Urban Meyer since he got to Columbus and there’s a decent chance it won’t happen this fall. Braxton Miller is the most dynamic QB in the Big Ten, and he plays behind a seasoned O-line. OSU’s front seven is young, but talented. The Buckeyes also have gotten faster since Meyer arrived (Hello, Dontre Wilson!) The nonconference slate is light, although a road trip to Cal shouldn’t be overlooked. The Bears almost knocked off OSU last season and they should be better this fall. The two biggest tests will be road games at Northwestern and in Ann Arbor against a Michigan team should have star LB Jake Ryan back from injury by then.
4. Fresno State: Even though Boise State’s the Mountain West program most folks know, keep an eye on Tim DeRuyter’s club. They have a standout QB in Derek Carr, who merely won league player of the year honors despite playing the ENTIRE season with a torn abdominal muscle. He’s terrific, as is NT Tyeler Davison, the league’s best lineman. The Bulldogs open with a visit from Rutgers and visit Colorado before Boise comes to…
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