Preview 2013 - Race For The BCS, The Other 10
USC RB Silas Redd
USC RB Silas Redd
Posted Aug 7, 2013

Which teams have the best shot of getting to the big money games?

Preview 2013

Teams In The BCS Race

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By Richard Cirminiello 

- The 2013 Race For The BCS - The Top Ten
16. Oklahoma
They've got a shot because … Bob Stoops is always going to be surrounded an abundance of talent in Norman. No, this is not a vintage Sooners squad, ergo the low ranking, but you never want to completely turn your back on a program that's produced a top 15 recruiting class in each of the last five years.
They'll fall short because … this could be Stoops' most uncertain OU team of his 14-year tenure. He has a new quarterback, Blake Bell, and a bunch of new starters on a defense that languished late last year. The Sooners might need a rebuilding year before once again being considered a title contender.

15. USC
They've got a shot because … Clancy Pendergast's defense is going to catch everyone by surprise this year. The new coordinator will maximize the considerable talent he inherited, properly positioning his players to pounce in attack mode. Unlike a season ago, the Trojans will not have to contend with lofty and unrealistic expectations.
They'll fall short because … you don't get better by losing four-year starting QB Matt Barkley. Troy has yet to even decide between Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, a major concern for a depth-deprived program coming off a 7-6 debacle and led by a coach, Lane Kiffin, facing questions about his job security.

14. Texas
They've got a shot because … they're hungry and littered with returning starters on both sides of the ball. The ‘Horns spent the past couple of seasons building for this time, when the young stars up and down the roster mature into productive upperclassmen. The backfields—both offensive and defensive—are as deep as most in America.
They'll fall short because … Mack Brown has a nagging tendency for failing to fully maximize his roster. UT should be a perennial 10-win team, but it's missed the mark the last three years. Can QB David Ash finally achieve the level of consistency that the ‘Horns desperately need? While he's physically gifted, he can also be maddeningly erratic with his decisions.

13. Louisville
They've got a shot because … no other team from an AQ conference has an easier ride to a perfect season. The Cards are expected to run the table, and unlike other contenders, they won't have to navigate a league title game. Louisville is gaining nationwide respect, courtesy of January's Sugar Bowl upset of Florida and the presences of QB Teddy Bridgewater and head coach Charlie Strong.
They'll fall short because … the schedule is so baby-bottom-soft that it'll cap the Cards' ability to rise in the rankings. Not only does Louisville reside in the American for one more year, but its toughest non-conference game is the opener versus Ohio. It's going to need a ton of help to be taken seriously as a national championship threat.

12. Notre Dame
They've got a shot because … the defense is going to be every bit as nasty and stingy as it was in 2012. The D-line might be the best in the country, led by Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III, and the secondary ought to be air-tight. After sweeping its regular season games in 2012, the Irish now know what it takes to get up the mountaintop.
They'll fall short because … the offensive backfield is getting a makeover. ND lacked pop on offense a year ago, and now must replace leading rushers Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood, and QB Everett Golson, who's serving an academic suspension. While veteran Tommy Rees is a roster luxury, he's not a championship quarterback.

11. Florida State
They've got a shot because … head coach Jimbo Fisher has the ‘Noles pointing firmly north, following last year's 12-win, ACC-championship season. Fisher & Co. have stockpiled a level of talent that makes rebuilding someone else's problem. The schedule is manageable in the early going, affording new starters time to get comfortable in their roles.
They'll fall short because … they lost a lot of talent to the NFL. The D-line will have a totally new look, while first-round QB EJ Manuel is being supplanted by a rookie, Jameis Winston. Florida State's two toughest opponents of 2013, Clemson and Florida, will both be played outside Tallahassee. Lose one, and Pasadena in January can be stricken from the postseason travel itinerary.

- The 2013 Race For The BCS - The Top Ten