NGSC Sports

College Football Top 25 Part 1 of 5

This will be the last year for the BCS as we know it. It all started with the Tennessee’s win in the inaugural BCS title game in 1998. Now it comes down to this year and one main story line. That story is the one that asks if Alabama can win three straight titles. If they do, it will be nine of the 15 BCS title games played. It will make eight in-a-row as well. In other words, it has been an SEC fest in general.

With that said, we will take a look at the upcoming season and see who is where. We will analyze the top teams with the best chance at winning this last Bowl Championship Series game. One thing for sure, if you do not play in the SEC you are looking to stop the streak.
First off, let’s take a look at NGN’s Top 25 teams in the country before the season even begins.

1. Alabama
2. Stanford
3. Oregon
4. Georgia
5. Texas A&M
6. Notre Dame
7. Ohio State
8. Louisville
9. South Carolina
10. Florida
11. Clemson
12. Louisiana State
13. Texas
14. Florida St.
15. Oklahoma
16. Oregon St.
17. Boise St.
18. Northwestern
19. Wisconsin
20. Nebraska
21. USC
22. TCU
23. Michigan St
24. Kansas St
25. Ole Miss

Alabama

It all starts with Heisman trophy candidate, QB A.J. McCarron. He is now a third-year starter and two-time national champion. He was the most efficient passer in the nation last year and is expected to do the same this year. He is very smart on the football field and threw only three picks last year. When he got to Alabama he was viewed as one of those quarterbacks that manage the game. Since that day he has become one of the better playmakers in college football.

He will have plenty of help with a team that returns 14 starters. The players that were lost like Dee Milner and Chance Warmack, will be replaced Nick Saban style. Remember that at Alabama they do not rebuild, they reload. They will have to make sure to take every game as serious as they can. The second game of the season will tell it all for the Tide. They must travel to Texas A&M to face last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Football. Of course there is the usual SEC slate that will include a tough one against LSU. Besides those two games, it should be a breeze for a team favored to win most of their games by double digits. If they can avoid the letdown syndrome, look for the Tide to be back in Atlanta playing for the SEC title.

Stanford
The Cardinal comes into this season with a great chance to win a national title. Lost are players like Stepfan Taylor, Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz. They will come to depend on WR Ty Montgomery much more this year. He is healthy now and will be expected to carry the receiving corps. He will be joined by flyers Michael Rector and Kelsey Young. TE Luke Kaumatule is looking to have a breakout season and the offensive line is one of the best in the nation. They will be protecting QB Kevin Hogan who returns a year better and a year wiser in the offense.
The defense will look to continue to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They led the nation with 57 sacks and tackles for loss with 124. LB Trent Murphy looks to improve on his numbers from last year when he had 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. The secondary has gone from a good unit to one of the best in the land too. If they can avoid the big upset and Alabama loses one of those tough ones, look for the Cardinal to play for the BCS title this year.

Oregon
The post- Chip Kelly era now gets underway in Oregon. That, along with some NCAA infractions, has put an early damper on this 2013 campaign. Still, that does not do anything to tell where this Dicks team sits this year. New head coach Mark Helfrich is going to have his hands full keeping this program on the pace it has been on these last few years.
They have 16 returning starters from last year’s team that went 12-1. They are led by their QB Marcus Mariota and his dual threat abilities. He passed for more than 2600 yards and rushed for another 752 with 37 total touchdowns. The offense will be just as explosive as they have been in recent years. The big game will be against Stanford November 7. This is a game they will have to win for a shot at the national title. The schedule will not be a hard one, so they are looking for a great year. Anything short of a PAC-12 title and a shot at the BCS game is a failure.

Georgia
How long can one team go expecting to win the SEC title and falling short? Last year looked like it might be the one until they had to play the Tide. Instead, they came up a few yards short and we left to ask why.

QB Aaron Murray comes back ready for his last shot at the BCS title. He has all the tools needed to lead his team and he will get help from RB’s Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. They both combined for over 2100 yards and 25 touchdowns. Each compliments the other and they will cause havoc for the rest of the nation. WR Malcolm Mitchell and TE Arthur Lynch are a few of the weapons at Murray’s disposal. The defensive weaknesses last year cannot repeat themselves this year. The unit is a year older, but still has lots of work to do if they are to get over the hump. Look for the Dawgz to have another great year, but more than likely come up short again.

Texas A&M
The Aggies came into the SEC last year intent on making an impression. What they did was unleash the phenom that became Johnny Football. Johnny Manziel was not even expected to be a starter, but head coach Kevin Sumlin had other ideas. What transpired was a game in Tuscaloosa for the ages. Manziel would torch the Tide with 253 yards passing, 92 yards on the ground and a show we will not soon forget. It was huge win for the Aggies but it made no difference in the Tide’s run to the BCS title. Thing is, I do not expect Manziel to sneak up on anybody anymore. Can he to last year’s Heisman winning season? If he can, well then look for him to become only the second college football player to repeat that feat.
Mike Evans, Ryan Swope and Ben Malena will have to help much more this year. The offense will have to cut down on turnovers too. It will be very important for the Aggies to be successful on passing downs. It is too easy for them when Manziel is moving around in the pocket. Losses on the line will have to be filled as well. The defense must be more opportunistic to help the offense some more. If the Aggies can beat Alabama at home this year, look for them to play for the SEC title and more than likely a national championship.

Next: 6-10
~Ralph Garcia

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