Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM
College football starts Thursday…leading to an opening weekend of action that includes a few marquee matchups. Everyone’s talking about the National Championship race already. The Wednesday before the frenzy seemed like a good time to outline the first month of action for everyone in the Preseason Top 10. Will we see any upsets? Or, will October’s Top 10 look exactly like the current Top 10?
1…Alabama: Saturday vs. Virginia Tech in Atlanta…followed by a bye week, at #7 Texas A&M, vs. Colorado State, vs. Ole Miss.
That’s actually a pretty tough schedule for a power! Virginia Tech ain’t what they used to be though, so Alabama is favored there by almost three touchdowns. The best chance for a huge shocker in the rankings would be Alabama losing in College Station to Texas A&M. Projected pointspreads suggest that could be Alabama’s toughest test of the regular season.
2…Ohio State: Saturday vs. Buffalo…followed by San Diego State, at California, Florida A&M, and Wisconsin.
Should be an easy run until one of the biggest games of the year in the Big 10 against the Badgers of Wisconsin. Can the Buckeyes make it to October undefeated?
3…Oregon: Saturday vs. Nicholls State…followed by at Virginia, Tennessee, a bye, and at California.
Probably a piece of cake, though the fact that there’s a new head coach could be a monkey wrench. Given that schedule…even a monkey wrench or two would probably keep the Ducks undefeated early.
4…Stanford: bye this week (but the head coach gets to spend a couple of hours with Erin Andrews according to TV ads!), followed by San Jose State (a sweat game last year), at Army, Arizona State, and at Washington State.
Arizona State is one of four serious contenders in the Pac 12 South. So, the Sun Devils will supply an interesting September test for the Cardinal.
5…Georgia: Saturday at #8 Clemson in the game of the day…followed by #6 South Carolina (!!), a bye, North Texas, and LSU.
Wow! A brutal early schedule for the Bulldogs. They’ll know quickly where they stack up nationally. And, that LSU game may be a battle of Top 10 teams by kickoff.
6…South Carolina: Thursday vs. North Carolina…followed by at #5 Georgia, Vanderbilt, a bye, and at Central Florida.
The Gamecocks better not take their eyes off the ball vs. that schedule. No gifts, and one of their biggest league games of the year against Georgia.
7…Texas A&M: Saturday vs. Rice…followed by Sam Houston State, #1 Alabama, SMU at Arkansas.
Obviously Alabama is the game everyone’s thinking about. Well, it’s the game everyone would be thinking about if Johnny Football wasn’t in the headlines lately for other reasons.
8…Clemson: Saturday vs. #5 Georgia…followed by South Carolina State, a bye, at NC State, and Wake Forest.
The Tigers could really make a move in the rankings by beating Georgia and letting games matching other powers take care of themselves. Of course, a home loss to Georgia and Clemson will fall off the radar for a bit.
9…Louisville: Sunday vs. Ohio…followed by Eastern Kentucky, at Kentucky, Florida International, and a bye.
The polls have already put Louisville in the Top 10 because they have a weak schedule. We don’t know of many Power Ratings systems that consider the Cardinals as one of the 10 best in the nation. The media is anticipating the schedule to a degree. If Louisville’s really a contender, they shouldn’t have to sweat any of those.
10…Florida: Saturday vs. Toledo…followed by at Miami, a bye, Tennessee, at Kentucky.
Florida was overrated all of last year…and probably will be again this season. The state rivalry game will provide an interesting test. And, Tennessee is talking enough trash that the game with the Vols might be fun too.
Quick things to remember about teams ranked in the Preseason Top 10:
*The “composite” will be overrated, but a couple of teams will be even better than projected.
*Early blowouts will lead to even bigger line inflation the next time out.
*Last year’s Preseason Top 10 had USC at #1, Oklahoma at #4, Michigan at #8, and Arkansas at #10. Can you figure out who this year’s bad misses are going to be?!
JIM HURLEY has been hard at work on the colleges all summer. He’s ready for the season to begin! You can purchase his top game day releases right here at the website with your credit card beginning Thursday. We have great seasonal rates as well. If you’d like to talk to a live human, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
The rest of the week in the NOTEBOOK will feature big game TV previews...
Thursday: North Carolina at South Carolina on ESPN
Friday: Texas Tech at SMU on ESPN
Saturday: Georgia at Clemson on ABC
Sunday: Ohio at Louisville on ESPN
Monday: Florida State at Pittsburgh on ESPN
Some ranked teams in the mix there with South Carolina, Georgia, Clemson, and Ohio. Note that Florida State is #11 in the AP Poll…and would probably move past the loser of Georgia/Clemson if they beat Pitt handily.
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