2013 CFN Preseason Rankings - No. 6 to 10
Stanford LB Shayne Skov
Stanford LB Shayne Skov
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 12, 2013


2013 CFN Preseason Rankings - No. 6 to 10 - BCS Title Contenders


Preview 2013 - Rankings

BCS Title Contenders - No. 6-10

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2013 CFN Preseason Rankings
1 to 5 | 6 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50 | 51 to 60
61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 125 
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There's one very important distinction in the CFN preseason rankings: these are based on how good the teams are going into the season and NOT how they're going to finish. Some teams have easier schedules than others, some get tougher road games and some will need a little bit of time to jell, meaning they might be better than their final record indicates. Going into the year, these are how good the teams appear to be from No. 1 through 125.

10. Florida
Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Receiver, Offensive Line

Offense: The offense was supposed to change things around under offensive coordinator Brent Pease, and it did to a point. The Gators were far more physical and far better at pounding away for the ground game, and now it’ll be up to Matt Jones to carry the workload in place of Mike Gillislee working behind a banged up line that needs to replace the left side and has to be far, far better in pass protection. There as next to nothing happening down the field, and while there are good receivers in place, can they produce? Can quarterback Jeff Driskel get them the ball? This will once again be a pounding, old school Big Ten attack that should be extremely effective, but not explosive.

Defense: The Florida defense came up with good stats two years ago, but didn’t play any offenses with a pulse. The Florida defense came up with great stats last year, and it played a slew of high-powered attacks – the D was just that good. As always, the Gators lose some NFL talents with tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebacker Jon Bostic and safety Matt Elam off to the next level, but there’s talent, athleticism and depth across the board to expect another special year. Ronald Powell is trying to come back from a knee injury and should be a factor at either one end or outside linebacker, while Dominique Easley appears ready to be the next great Florida lineman and Antonio Morrison should be another Bostic for the linebacking corps. If he doesn’t end up at receiver, Loucheiz Purifoy should be the nation’s best corner, and there are more than enough great athletes in the secondary to expect another great season from the pass defense.

9. Oklahoma
Relative Strengths: Special Teams, Running Back
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Secondary

Offense: The offense finished in the top 15 nationally in both total offense and scoring offense, and it was fifth in passing, but the consistency wasn’t there and there weren’t enough clutch plays in key moments. Blowing up Texas was nice, and ripping apart West Virginia and Oklahoma State was fun, but the O went bye-bye in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M and couldn’t convert yards into points in losses to Notre Dame and Kansas State. This year, expect more from a running game that welcomes back a terrific group of running backs and a whale of a line that lacks the overall star power, but is loaded with experience and skill. The receiving corps will have no problems making up for the loss of top targets Kenny Stills and Justin Brown, but the focus and spotlight will be on the quarterback situation with Blake Bell the best of an interesting lot of options who’ll had more mobility to the position.

Defense: It was a rocky year for defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, made worse by the meltdown in the Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M. There’s talent, upside and athleticism across the board, but after finishing ninth in the Big 12 against the run and dead last in tackles for loss, there’s work to do. The pass rush was inconsistent, there weren’t any plays in the backfield, and the run defense went bye-bye way too often. It could be an issue to change things up with no thumpers at linebacker and likely to rely again on defensive backs to make most of the big plays. Stoops will play around with more of a 4-3 than a 4-2-5, but the line has to do its job to get into the backfield with new options on the outside and some playing around with the interior.

8. Stanford
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Offensive Line
Relative Concerns: Receiver, Special Teams

Offense: After highly successful offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton left for a job with the Indianapolis Colts, head coach David Shaw quickly promoted Mike Bloomgren to the opening. The move made a ton of sense—not only does Bloomgren maintain continuity, but he was the coordinator of the run game, the backbone of the offense. The Cardinal will remain a power program that uses a fullback and a tight end or two out of pro-style formations. The attack is dealing with turnover, such as all-time leading rusher Stepfan Taylor, the tight end tandem of Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo and C Sam Schwartzstein. But at least the situation at quarterback is more settled than it was at this time last year. After making the improbable ascent from buried backup to Rose Bowl champion, Kevin Hogan is cemented as the starter behind center. His skills as a runner established, he’ll spend this fall improving as a passer. Replacing Taylor will require more than one player. Tyler Gaffney has returned to the Farm after doing a one-year stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates. And Anthony Wilkerson is out to prove he has feature back ability.

Defense: Ever so quietly, coordinator Derek Mason continues to do an outstanding job of attracting and coaching up the defensive talent at Stanford. His 3-4-based D was suffocating again last year, leading the Pac-12 in run defense, scoring defense and total defense. More of the same is expected in 2013. In fact, the Cardinal will boast one of this year’s nastiest defenses. All but three starters return, meaning there are all-league, if not All-American candidates, at each level of Mason’s attacking, disciplined group. The front seven is especially dominant, a looming handful for every opponent on the schedule. Stanford is loaded with big and physical playmakers, ranging from ends Ben Gardner, Henry Anderson and Josh Mauro to yin-yang linebackers Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov. Forget running the ball on this D, even as new NG David Parry gets broken in. Throwing on the Cardinal? Not a whole lot easier, particularly with safeties Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards roaming around and looking to capitalize on mistakes. The corners aren’t elite, but you’ll rarely know it with all of the support they receive.

7. Georgia
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Running Back
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Secondary

Offense: If everything goes according to plan, the offense should be close to unstoppable, even in the rough and tumble, defense-oriented SEC. It starts with the quarterback - if it feels to you like veteran Aaron Murray has been in the conference as long as Steve Spurrier, you’re hardly alone. Once again, the biggest concern is giving Murray more time to avoid making mistakes. Star sophomore tailback Todd Gurley and his running mate, Keith Marshall, should be even better at providing that time, as they make this potent offense multi-faceted. Add to that a mature offensive line, now with more than 100 career starts - vs. just 31 this time last year - along with a first unit receiving corps that’s SEC grade, and Murray should have ample time to make the right decisions. As if that were not already enough, there is experience to boot – ten of last year’s 11 starters return.

Defense: Well, that didn’t work. There were a lot of individual talents on the 2012 Georgia defense, but as a unit they struggled to play consistently at a high level. Thus, the season’s performance was hit or miss, especially during the first half. The defense seemed to come together a bit after the Florida win, but that likely had just as much to do with the easy competition up to the title game. Given the talent on the Bulldogs’ defensive roster last year, finishing twelfth in the conference in rushing defense was simply inexcusable. And yet, Georgia was still just a stone’s throw away from beating Alabama for the title. Consistency is just as important as run defense, and the Dawgs must achieve this with only “three” starters returning for 2013. Fortunately for Georgia and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the cupboards are stocked with all the talent a coach and fan base could want. Given that Georgia’s offense will be even more potent this season, its defense needs only moderate improvement – but they’ll have to do it with several players still wet behind the ears. But how green are they, really?

6. Texas A&M
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Running Back
Relative Concerns: Linebacker, Secondary

Offense: Kliff Kingsbury left his offensive coordinator job to take over the head coaching gig at Texas Tech, and now it’s Clarence McKinney’s job to keep the machine humming. Not only did Texas A&M take the SEC by storm, it blew the league away finishing first in total offense, scoring offense, rushing offense and passing offense helped by the unbelievable Heisman-winning season from Johnny Manziel. While he made all the highlights as a runner, he’ll likely turn into more of a passer with a loaded group of backs to hands off to. Ben Malena is a good returning starter, but Oklahoma transfer Brandon Williams is special and Oregon transfer Tra Carson is fantastic. The receiving corps needs some seasoning with replacements needed to help out leading target Mike Evans, but the 2013 recruiting class was special. Jake Matthews might be the best pro prospect in college football, and he’ll show it at left tackle as the anchor of a good line that will still be fantastic even if it takes a step back.

Defense: Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder changed things up last year to a more conventional scheme, and the results were good enough. The pass rush might not have been as dominant as it was in the Big 12, but the secondary stopped giving up so many big plays. The front seven is loaded with athletes and should be able to get into the backfield on a regular basis, and the results will show for a defensive backfield that might not be full of stars, but will be solid. The key will be versatility, with lots of room to play around with both the linebacking corps and the secondary, and if nothing else, everyone will get around the ball without a problem.

2013 CFN Preseason Rankings
1 to 5 | 6 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50 | 51 to 60
61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 125 
 - CFN Preseason Rankings 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007  
- Preview 2013 - All The Team & Conference Previews