Louisville was crowned the NCAA champions in College Basketball in 2013. Who will be the next champion in College Football in 2013?
The back to back defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide should be among the major contenders again. But, before we get started with who is #1, let's take a look at conference realignment, which has certainly reshaped rivalries and conference races.
The Atlantic Coast Conference will welcome Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East to increase its membership to 14 programs in 2013. Pitt will join the ACC's Coastal Division, while Syracuse will join the ACC's Atlantic Division this season.
- So, does Florida State repeat from the Atlantic division in 2013, with Clemson right behind?
- Virginia Tech looks to be Top 25 candidate, as they seek to take back the Coastal division.
- Could North Carolina be ready to surprise, along with Miami-FL in '13?
- Only Syracuse will play Big Ten teams in the OOC in '13, with games vs. Penn State @ the Meadowlands and @ Northwestern in back to back weeks to open the season.
The Catholic 7 of the Big East have bolted, with the conference for a non-football conference that will add Butler, Creighton and Xavier to the mix with the seven remaining members, who don't play Major Conference Football. So, the remaining football members Cincinnati, UConn, Temple and South Florida will begin a new league, with Louisville (joining ACC in '14) and Rutgers (joining Big Ten in '14) remaining for only 2013, while welcoming Houston, Memphis, SMU and CFU to the new league, the Atlantic Athletic Conference (AAC).
- Louisville beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl last year and the Cardinals look to repeat in the conference race and nationally, just like the champion basketball program.
- Rutgers could be a Top 25 candidate in '13.
- Cincinnati finished '12 as one in the USA Today Coaches Poll, but must rebuild for '13 and will play two games vs. Big Ten in '13. Only three other teams will face Big Ten opponents in '13.
- Central Florida, South Florida will travel to face Big Ten opponents, while UConn hosts in '13.
The Big 12 and Big Ten remain the same in membership for 2013. The Big 12 will play a round-robin nine game schedule again.
- Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas all hope to remain in the Top 25 in '13.
- TCU and Oklahoma State hope to get back into the mix in '13.
- Baylor came up short in the Top 25 in '12.
- It will be a rebuilding year for fifth year coach Paul Rhoads and Iowa State, as the Cy-Hawk game comes to Ames in Week 3. The lone Big Ten-Big 12 game in '13.
As mentioned, Rutgers joins the Big Ten in '14, along with Maryland from the ACC. So, it will be interesting for Big Ten fans to see how future conference members Rutgers in the AAC and Maryland in the ACC Atlantic play in 2013? The Big Ten will break up into the Leaders and Legends divisions for one final season in 2013.
- Ohio State went 12-0 in '12, but was ineligible for the BCS, due to one year NCAA sanctions. ESPN is showing some love for the Big Ten in the post-Spring Top 25. We shall see.
- Northwestern, Nebraska and Michigan all seek to remain in the Top 25 in '13.
- Wisconsin will attempt to win its fourth straight Big Ten title and a possible fourth straight trip to the Rose Bowl, despite an 8-6 record in '12.
- Michigan State ended '12 on a high note with a 17-16 win over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and hope to rebound after a disappointing 7-6 season. Here's a look at the '13 schedule.
- Penn State is on NCAA probation for the 2013 season, ineligible again for title and bowls.
The Conference-USA will welcome five new members in 2013, as well. Florida Atlantic, Florida International and Middle Tennessee join the East division, after leaving the Sun Belt. The C-USA West gains North Texas from the Sun Belt and UTSA from the WAC to fill the voids from the four members leaving C-USA for the AAC.
- Tulsa was the top C-USA team last year and finished in the USA Today Coaches Poll in '12.
- East Carolina in the C-USA East may be the team to watch in '13, as East rival UCF leaves conference.
- Southern Miss is the only Big Ten opponent in the OOC in '13, traveling to Nebraska in Week 2.
The Mid-American Conference witnessed their best season in the BCS stakes in '12, as Northern Illinois rebound from a season opening loss to win 13 straight games and the conference's first birth in a BCS bowl game. The MAC will face the Big Ten in 13 non-conference games in 2013.
- The West's Northern Illinois seeks to win third straight MAC title and remain in the Top 25 again in '13.
- The East's Kent State received votes in the final USA Today coaches Poll last season, as they replace new Purdue coach Darrell Hazell, with another former Ohio State assistant, as Paul Haynes takes over as Golden Flashes head coach.
- The East's Ohio U. got off to an outstanding start in '12 with a big win @ Penn State and finished with a nice Independence Bowl win, but struggled going .500 in league play.
- Boise State looks to repeat as conference champion and Top 25 program in '13.
- Fresno State looks to break into the Top 25 in '13 in coach Tim DeRuyter's second season.
- The WAC has disbanded in College Football as Utah State and San Jose State finished 2012 both ranked in the Top 25. Both programs will welcome new head coaches in '13, as well.
The Pac 12 Conference and the Southeast Conference remain the same in membership in 2013, after the SEC added two new members in 2012 to reach 14. The Pac 12 moved to 12 members in 2011.
The Pac 12 certainly can claim the #2 ranking in College Football right now. The Pac 12 and Big Ten will square off in five games, with California hosting both Northwestern and Ohio State in '13.
- Stanford claimed victory in the Rose Bowl in '12 and seeks fourth straight BCS bowl in '13.
- Oregon finished right behind Stanford and will seek a fifth straight BCS bowl in '13.
- Oregon State looks to remain again in the Top 25 for '13.
- USC stumpled in '12, but they hope to rebound and be a contender in the Top 25 in '13.
- Many project UCLA as a Top 25 contender for '13, after winning the Pac 12 South in '12.
- Arizona State and Washington both hope to find away into the Top 25 in '13.
- Arizona enters its second season under coach Rich Rodriquez and looks to move up, as well.
- Alabama has won back to back BCS titles and clearly is worthy of the #1 ranking heading into '13.
- Georgia, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Florida all seek to stay in the Top 10 heading into '13.
- LSU finished '12 in the Top 15, after finishing runner-up in the BCS title game in '11.
- Vanderbilt jumped into the Top 25 in '12 in coach James Franklin's second season and looks to repeat.
- Ole Miss is getting some consideration for '13, as coach Hugh Freeze enters year 2 at the helm.
- Tennessee has a new coach in Butch Jones, after a 5-7 record in Derek Dooley's third season in '12.'
- Excitement has hit an all-time high at Kentucky with the hiring of Mark Stoops as head coach for '13.
- Mississippi State went to a bowl game in '12, but lost to Northwestern, who won first bowl game, since 1949. Coach Dan Mullen enters his fifth season at the helm in a conference that is very good.
- Missouri found the SEC a tough road in year one, unlike fellow newcomer Texas A&M. It could be an interesting season in Columbia. The Tigers play @ Indiana in Week 4 in the OOC.
- Auburn dismissed coach Gene Chizik after four years, and two years after winning their first BCS title. Gus Malzahn is back, this time as head coach, after serving as OC during that BCS title season.
The Sun Belt welcomes two new members in '13, as Georgia State jumps up to FBS, after adding football recently, and Texas State moves over from the former WAC football conference, which has disbanded for football.
- Arkansas State has won back to back Sun Belt titles and will have third coach in three years.
- The Sun Belt will not play any Big Ten teams in the OOC in '13.
The Independents expand from four programs to six programs, as Idaho and New Mexico State join Army, BYU, Navy and Notre Dame, as FBS programs not affiliated with a conference for football. Though, Notre Dame has aligned with the ACC for all other sports and will begin playing five ACC games each season in '14.
- Notre Dame will face three Big Ten teams in '13, as the BCS runner-ups must regroup now, after the late May announcement that QB Everett Golson has departed school, due to academic related issues.
- BYU will travel to Wisconsin in Week 11.
- Navy will travel to Indiana in Week 2.
- New Mexico State will host Minnesota in Week 2 in Las Cruces.
Fifteen teams have played in the BCS Title Game. The 2013 College Football Season will be the last season, before the four-team BCS playoff begins in 2014.
- The 2014 National Championship game will be in Pasadena this season.
- 2013 Early Bird Preview that gives a good chart of current conferences in major college football.
- A look at the 2013-14 FBS Bowl Schedule.