There is a deep field of talent in the 2013 season spanning eight conferences, and independent Notre Dame. There are seven SEC teams in the Top 25, and six in the top 11, which shows the strength of that conference alone.
This is TSD's first preseason ranking of the summer, and another might be released later in the coming months as we find out more about each team.
Check in below these rankings for HD video discussing the Top 25 and a link to TSD's free board, where you can sound off on our preseason poll.
1. Alabama – The Crimson Tide have won the last two national championships with no sign of slowing down. They lost nine players to the NFL draft last year, but every player on the team has belonged to a top-10 recruiting class, so there is still plenty of talent left in Tuscaloosa.
2. Ohio St. – Urban Meyer knows how to win. He has a 116-23 record, and a 7-1 record in bowl games. He led his team to an undefeated season last year, and he returns one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in college football, Braxton Miller. The Buckeyes only lost three players to the 2013 NFL Draft and have the top freshman class coming in this fall.
3. Oregon – The Ducks lost their head coach but hired their former offensive coordinator, so they shouldn't miss a step on offense. That is a plus for them since the Quack Attack had the nation's top scoring offense a year ago.
4. Texas A&M – Coming into year two in the SEC, the Aggies have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and probably the most dangerous player in college football, Johnny Manziel. They will look to continue to build off of their 11-2 record in 2012, but they will have to go through the tough SEC West to do so.
5. Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish have lost key components of their team this offseason, including their defensive captain and starting quarterback. They do, however, have an experienced quarterback in Tommy Rees ready to step up and take the reigns. Notre Dame's only loss last year came in the national championship game, and Brian Kelly's program has been on the right track the past two years.
6. Georgia – Aaron Murray averaged more passing yards per attempt than any other quarterback in the NCAA and passed for more yards than any other in the SEC. The Bulldogs have improved their record every year since the 2010 season, so they will be looking to build on their 12-2 mark last year.
7. Stanford – Last year defense led the way for the Cardinal, which allowed only 17.2 points per game, and 2013 should not be any different. They return a well-experienced group after only losing just three players from the 2012 squad.
8. South Carolina – With the return of Jadeveon Clowney at defensive end, South Carolina is already in great position to have one of the best pass rushes in the nation. The Gamecocks also return key players on offense, such as quarterback Connor Shaw, but they do, however, lose running back Marcus Lattimore. Though Lattimore had a lot of talent, expect Carolina to regroup with Mike Davis in the backfield.
9. Clemson – With the resurgence of several ACC teams, Clemson appears to be the frontrunner. In 2012 the Tigers' offense ranked in the top ten of the nation in third down conversion percentage, passing efficiency, scoring offense and total offense. With quarterback Tajh Boyd returning for one more year, the offense should continue to produce.
10. Florida - The Gators offensive line experienced many injuries this offseason so far, but if they are able to get healthy in time they could have a formidable team this year. They have a decent running game (which would be much improved with a healthy line) and a strong defense. The one question at this point is how well the passing game will be behind quarterback Jeff Driskel.
11. LSU – The Tigers took a big hit losing nine players to the NFL draft, but they still have a plethora of talent on the team as every player has been part of a top ten recruiting class. With a defense that is known for always being stout, the big question is can new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron get the offense rolling on the Bayou?
12. Florida St. – Florida State returns a lot of weapons on the offensive side of the ball, however, the ‘Noles did lose 11 players to the NFL, including starting quarterback E.J. Manuel. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is currently the frontrunner to take his place, and if he is able to play to the ability he is expect to play at, the Seminoles will have a dangerous offense. That only leaves to question if Jeremy Pruitt can successfully replace Mark Stoops as defensive coordinator.
13. Louisville – They return almost every starter from a year ago when they won the Big East title and dominated Florida in the Sugar Bowl. A key starter for them is quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who will look to improve on his 3,718 passing yards and 27 touchdowns from a year ago. One question mark for the Cardinals will be at the running back position, but Dominique Brown appears to be ready to carry the load after missing the entire 2012 season with a knee injury.
14. Oklahoma – Last year the Sooners' defense was atrocious at times as they refused to play with linebacker, sometimes taking the field with only one or sometimes even zero. Their defensive coordinator has come out already saying that he sees the errors in his way and they will play with more linebackers this year. On offense they lost longtime starting quarterback Landry Jones, but return enough people in skill positions where they should still be dangerous.
15. Michigan – Michigan will have a completely new look on the offensive side of the ball after the departure of Denard Robinson. Quarterback Devin Gardner has shown that he is able to successfully fun the pro style offense last year when he replaced an injured Robinson, but one problem for the Wolverines is that there are still questions in the offensive backfield with Fitzgerald Toussaint still recovering from a broken leg and no one else seeming to step up.
16. Kansas St. – The Wildcats have lost a lot since last year, including quarterback and Heisman finalist Collin Klein and eight defensive starters. On the bright-side, though, they bring in a lot of JuCo help that can step up and contribute immediately.
17. TCU – They did not fare well in their first year of the Big 12, going 7-6, but the Horned Frogs did discover that their defense is still good. Their defense was the best in their conference allowing only 323.9 YPG. The defense returns 21 of their top 23 defenders to help make sure their defense stays strong. They also return quarterback Casey Pachall, who missed most of the season last year because of off the field issues, for the 2013 season.
18. Northwestern – Head coach Pat Fitzgerald believes he has the most athletic defense he has had since he took over in 2006. To go along with that, Northwestern also returns a lot of firepower on offense including two quarterbacks, which will both get plenty of playing time, and a running back that rushed for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. Last year the Wildcats won their first bowl game since 1949 and do not look to stop their winning ways now.
19. Boise St. – Boise State has become a BCS buster in recent years, and they will look to continue that habit one more year before college football moves to a playoff system. The Broncos will need to replace some key components on their team, much like they had to last year, but this year they have something they didn't have to help them last year, plenty of veteran leadership.
20. Texas – The Longhorns return more players this year than any other team in the nation. This experience should be helpful as the team is looking to implement an up-tempo, shotgun offense this offseason. Head coach Mack Brown believes this style of offense will help them keep up with the pace of the Big 12, and is also the offense junior quarterback David Ash seems most comfortable running. Brown also hopes practicing against this offense will help the defense, who ranked 73rd in scoring defense last year.
21. Nebraska – Defense will be the big question for Nebraska this year, as they will have to rely on a lot of underclassmen. They only return four starters, but after allowing 115 points in two bowl game losses the past two seasons, getting a change of personnel might not be all that bad. Their offense should continue to be productive as Taylor Martinez will be going into his senior season with weapons all around him.
22. Vanderbilt – The Commodores are currently on a seven game winning streak, which is good enough for the longest in the SEC. They only lost two players to the NFL Draft, and are able to get back key offensive people such as wide receiversJordan Matthews and Chris Boyd, and also running back Wesley Tate. They also bring in one of their best recruiting classes in recent history (No.19), which will help provide talent and depth.
23. UCLA – The Bruins will be looking to improve on their offensive play as well as fill holes in their offensive and defensive backfields this spring. A dominating pass rush led by linebacker Anthony Barr should help their secondary, and added depth should help sure up an offensive line that gave up 52 sacks last year. UCLA will look to improve on their 9-3 regular season in Jim Mora's second season as head coach.
24. Northern Illinois – Last season did not end the way Northern Illinois thought it would, with a 31-10 blow out loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl. They still believe they had multiple chances to win that game, but never capitalized on those opportunities. This year they will look to improve on last year's 12-2 record, and NIU returns many of the pieces required to do so, such as a fully intact offensive line (that only allowed 17 sacks) and quarterback Jordan Lynch, who had just under 5,000 all purpose yards.
25. Baylor – Over the past few years Baylor has been able to produce great quarterbacks, most notably Robert Griffin III, and that trend should continue with Bryce Petty. The Bears' offense is more than likely going to put up obscene numbers with all of their offensive weapons, so the pressure of winning will then lie on the defense. They will not have to be smothering or dominant, but they will have to have to make sure opposing offenses will not put up the same kind of numbers.
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