Top 25 Power Rankings
Published on 6/28/13, at 3:02 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
1-Alabama: Things happen in football. Things like suspensions, injuries and turnovers. Alabama is deep and talented and will have the ability to overcome ‘things’ better than any school in America. I’m not going to pick ‘Bama to win the national title (that would register a ZERO on the fun scale), but it undoubtedly belongs at the top of the power rankings going into 2013.
2-South Carolina: There’s an old adage that goes something like this: If you have two quarterbacks, that really means you don’t have any quarterbacks. Well, that notion doesn’t ring true in this instance. Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson can both get it done. South Carolina has the best player in America in Jadeveon Clowney. The Gamecocks also have one of the nation’s best (ever!) head coaches in Steve Spurrier. No Marcus Lattimore? No problem. The ‘Cocks went 9-1 in the 10 games Lattimore missed the past two seasons.
3-Oregon: The Ducks lost Chip Kelly, Kenjon Barner, Michael Clay, Kiko Alonso and Dion Jordan, but they return 15 starters from a team that went 12-1 with their only loss coming to Stanford in overtime. QB Marcus Mariota completed 68.5 percent of his passes with a 32/6 touchdown-to-interception ratio as a freshman. He also rushed for five TDs and averaged 7.1 yards per carry.
4-Texas A&M: The media loves to create non-stories these days. There seems to be a lot of media-driven speculation that Johnny Manziel has had some sort of turbulent offseason. That’s nonsense. He got a parking ticket and vented about it in one tweet. Who cares?! He has a hot girlfriend and his parents have money, so he’s done some traveling and been to a few NBA games. My God, the kid is out of hand!! Please. Manziel is back and he’ll be just as nasty, if not better. Kevin Sumlin is one of the best head coaches in the country. Sophomore WR Mike Evans is going to have a monster year. The Aggies can beat anybody at any venue.
5-Florida: The defense is going to be great again. UF gave up only 14.5 points per game last season. Ronald Powell is the best player on the team and he’s foaming at the mouth to get back on the field after redshirting last year. But for the Gators to be an elite team, it’s all about the development of Jeff Driskel. The o-line will be solid and there’s excellent young talent at the running back position. But Driskel has to find some playmakers at WR. Trey Burton is the only consistent playmaker and he’s not a true WR. If Driskel can improve his production, the Gators will go to Columbia on Nov. 16 with a chance to win the SEC East.
6-Stanford: David Shaw has a 23-4 record going into his third season in Palo Alto. A four-point loss at Washington and an overtime defeat at Notre Dame were the only blemishes on last season’s record. Fourteen starters are back and Kevin Hogan has the looks of an excellent young QB.
7-Georgia: The offense is loaded but the defense lost a lot of NFL talent. Aaron Murray will become the school’s all-time leading passer in October if he stays healthy, but he doesn’t perform to his potential in the clutch moments of the biggest games. And Mark Richt will blow at least one game with his abysmal game-management decisions.
8-Wisconsin: Barry Alvarez made an excellent hire in getting Utah St.’s Gary Andersen to replace Bret Bielema. The Badgers lost six games in 2012, but they still won the Big Ten title by blasting Nebraska, 70-31. Wisconsin’s six losses came by 25 combined points. Three defeats came in overtime and each loss was by seven points or less. The Badgers return 14 starters, including RB James White, who will finally get the bulk of the carries.
9-Ohio State: The Buckeyes have to replace seven starters on a defense that gave up 22.8 PPG last season. Ohio St. won six games decided by one possession last year, including a pair of overtime victories. Can the Bucks win the close ones again in 2013?
10-Louisville: Teddy Bridgewater is one of nation’s best QBs. The Cardinals return 10 starters on defense. There’s a good vibe in Louisville these days.
Best of the Rest: Baylor, Kansas St., Miami, North Carolina, Fresno St., Michigan St., Boise St., UCLA, Oregon St. and Nebraska.