2013-2014 BCS National Championship Outlook
In the ever-growing movement of college football – whether you look at TV dollars, conference re-alignment or points on the scoreboard – 2013-14 promises to be another enthralling season in the race for BCS hardware. .
After Alabama’s thorough beat-down of storied Notre Dame in the title game last week, head coach Nick Saban has further cemented a legacy, and the Tide look like they’re not going anywhere.
Running back T.J. Yeldon should continue to be a force in Tuscaloosa, and though ’Bama will lose a lot from their formidable offensive line, Saban can re-load a roster like few can. Alabama is probably still in the driver’s seat in 2013.
You definitely cannot discount Ohio State for next season. In his first season patrolling the sideline, head coach Urban Meyer guided the Buckeyes to an unbeaten record. OSU wasn’t allowed to participate in the conference title or in bowl season due to NCAA sanctions, but they should be back with a charge next year. Dynamic pivot Braxton Miller should give defenders a collective aneurysm.
Ohio State should also bring the gnarly defense its program has become renowned for.
Oregon and its blazing speed will also be right in the mix. Starting QB Marcus Mariota will just be a sophomore next year, and RB/WR De’Anthony Thomas should be back to terrorize Pac-12 opponents. Speedy Heisman candidate Kenjon Barner will be gone, but the Ducks have carved out a major recruiting pipeline on the West Coast and you bet head coach Chip Kelly (who isn’t bolting to the NFL, after all) will grab the players he needs to stay prominent.
With the announced return of starting QB Tajh Boyd, don’t discount the Clemson Tigers, either. The Tigers showed they can pile up points with every prolific offense in the country in 2012, and Boyd was at the helm for all of it. Speedy wideouts and an athletic defense further bolsters the orange-clad Palmetto Staters.
Look out especially for WR Sammy Watkins, who will be a junior in 2013. He should be catching a plethora of deep bombs.
With the unprecedented awarding of the Heisman Trophy to freshman pivot Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M re-emerged on the national radar in a hurry (and with perfect timing to, with its migration to the SEC). Manziel should again lead the pack next season and will be a front-runner to win back-to-back Heismans.
Big WR Mike Evans was just a freshman this year, and he was arguably “Johnny Football’s” favorite target. He’ll be a key piece once again in ’13. Also, no one was talking much about the A&M defense, but they finished just out of the Top 25 nationally in points allowed; they return a lot of key pieces.
Time for some darkhorses, perhaps? At 33/1 odds, I like Michigan to take another step forward under Brady Hoke, even with the departure of all-world athlete Denard Robinson. Field general Devin Gardner showed he can fill the QB position admirably, and Hoke has been reeling in some deep recruiting classes for a couple of years now.
If pint-sized WR Jeremy Gallon returns for his senior season, he’ll be a primary target for Gardner. College football guru Phil Steele picked Michigan at the top of his list of teams to increase their win totals next season. I think he’s right on the money. It would be good for the Big Ten Conference if Michigan and Ohio State could duke it out for top dog once again.
Finally, I think Georgia is a good pick at 28/1. The Bulldogs narrowly missed out on an upset of Alabama in the SEC Championship, and with some of the dynamic young players the ‘Dawgs have, they should be very exciting. Georgia is set in the backfield with RBs Todd Gurley (maybe the best Georgia RB since Herschel Walker?
Dare I say it?) and Keith Marshall. Malcolm Mitchell is a great WR, and QB Christian LeMay will be ready to step in if Aaron Murray decides not to return for his senior season.
I like Georgia to win the SEC East, and after that who knows?
Odds to win the 2013-2014 BCS National Championship
Ohio State 17/2
Texas A&M 12/1
Florida State 14/1
Notre Dame 22/1
South Carolina 25/1
Oklahoma State 40/1
Mississippi State 50/1
Virginia Tech 66/1
Boise State 75/1
Michigan State 75/1
North Carolina 75/1
Oregon State 75/1
Kansas State 100/1
West Virginia 150/1
Georgia Tech 200/1
Boston College 300/1
South Florida 300/1