Terry Johnson - I Believe ...

Posted Aug 26, 2013

The beliefs and thoughts before the start of the 2013 season.

By Terry Johnson
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I believe ...

... Arkansas State will win the Sun Belt and earn a Top 25 ranking. Sure, the Red Wolves will have their hands full against Auburn and Missouri, but the three-headed monster of Adam Kennedy, David Oku, and JD McKissic will have the team in position to win every game this season.

... Ohio State will win the BCS Championship. The Buckeyes return nine starters from a unit that averaged 37.2 points per game last year. Considering that OSU is 275-0-1 all-time when it scores 35 points or more, it's tough to see them losing this fall.

... The history books will remember Urban Meyer - not Nick Saban - as the greatest coach of this era. After all, Meyer inherited a 6-7 squad and guided it to an undefeated season. Saban's initial year in Tuscaloosa was quite different.

... The SEC will not play for the national championship because it's the toughest conference in the land. With so many talented teams in the league, it's difficult to envision anyone escaping the regular season without a loss. That's not the case in the Big Ten or the AAC.

... An undefeated Louisville team would play in the National Championship Game over a one-loss SEC team. As Saban said at the conclusion of practice, strength of schedule isn't really a component in the current system or the College Football Playoff. Instead, "it's taking how many games you lose into consideration."

... The Cardinals are a virtual lock to play in a BCS game. Even if Charlie Strong's team stubs its toe against Rutgers or Cincinnati, the rest of the league is so even that no one else will finish with fewer than two conference losses.

... Despite losing Ohio State and/or the Stanford - Oregon winner to the National Championship Game, the Rose Bowl will still feature a Pac 12 - Big Ten matchup in this year's game because ...

... Wisconsin will finish in the Top 10. Although many expect the Badgers to end up behind Ohio State and Penn State, it's worth noting that Gary Andersen's Utah State teams had no trouble running the ball against anyone - including SEC defenses. With James White and Melvin Gordon running behind a massive offensive line, UW will make it to the Rose Bowl for the fourth straight season.

... Bret Bielema will have more success at Arkansas than Bobby Petrino did, because he's a better recruiter. Despite playing second fiddle to Ohio State and Michigan in the Big Ten, Bielema had no trouble bringing NFL-level talent to Madison every fall, including JJ Watt, Russell Wilson, and Kevin Zeitler.

... Commissioner Slive will not implement a nine-game conference schedule. Sure, it seems like a good idea on paper, but the teams at the middle of the pack need the extra non-conference game in order to qualify for the postseason. There's no way Slive is going to jeopardize potential bowl revenue just because Nick Saban is having trouble filling his slate with quality opponents.

... While its defense returns virtually intact, Notre Dame won't finish the season in the Top 25. There's simply too many question marks on offense to expect the Irish to navigate a brutal six-game stretch that includes Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Arizona State, and USC without suffering a couple of losses. Closing the season against BYU and Stanford certainly doesn't help.

...Regardless of what Brian Kelly says publicly, there will be a QB controversy this fall. Unless the Irish average 40 points per game, the topic of making a change under center will come up at every single press conference.

... Clemson will win the ACC Championship. Sure, Florida State has better athletes, but the Tigers have won the last five meetings in Death Valley. That's not an ideal situation for first-year starter Jameis Winston to walk into.

... Larry Fedora will lead North Carolina to the Coastal Division title. Yes, Miami and Virginia Tech are trendy picks to win the division, but the ‘Heels rolled up an average of 509.5 yards against these two squads last year. With Bryn Renner returning, it will be more of the same this fall.

... Jim Grobe is not on the hot seat. Sure, the Deacons haven't won eight games since 2008, but let's not forget that Wake Forest was a perennial doormat until Grobe arrived in 2001. By comparison, Jim Caldwell - who won a Super Bowl with the Colts - only mustered one winning season during his eight-year tenure in Winston-Salem.

... Boise State will earn a berth in a BCS bowl game. Despite fielding one of the least experienced teams in college football a year ago, the Broncos finished with an 11-2 record. With a veteran offensive line (7 players with 4 or more career starts) and an improved Joe Southwick, there's nothing to stop Chris Petersen's squad from posting another undefeated season.

... The SBC will record two victories against the SEC again this season. Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, and Western Kentucky are that good.

... The Big 12 will win one or more of its contests against the SEC in convincing fashion, extending the debate about which league is the toughest from top to bottom for another year.

... Whoever takes over as the starting QB at Oklahoma State will be a candidate to win the Heisman Trophy. Whether it's Clint Chelf or JW Walsh taking the snaps, the eventual starter will post some eye-popping numbers as the leader of the nation's top offense. A stellar showing against Oklahoma on December 7 will help vault the OSU triggerman to the top of the list. Just ask Robert Griffin III, who won college football's highest honor thanks to a dramatic fourth quarter comeback against the Sooners.

... Jim Mora is the most underrated coach in college football. He will lead UCLA to its third straight appearance in the Pac 12 title game.