Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban directs defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan (L) during his team's practice for their BCS National Championship NCAA football game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida January 4, 2013. The championship game will be played in Miami on January 7. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (Joe Skipper / January 4, 2013)
No 10 Stanford
The Buzz: First it was Andrew Luck and now it will be Stepfan Taylor. Somehow the Stanford program manages to replace crucial pieces on offense. Taylor was a workhorse in the backfield, rushing for close to 1,500 yards last season. If the quarterback situation is settled early, the Cardinal could be a force in the Pac-12 again.
No. 11 Notre Dame
The Buzz: Last season, Notre Dame was unranked going into the season wound up in the national championship game. That’s not going to happen this season. The Irish lose key pieces like LB Manti Te’o, RBs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood and TE Tyler Eifert. The schedule features 11 games against teams who qualified for bowl games in 2012.
No. 12 Oklahoma State
The Buzz: The Cowboys took a slight dip from 2011 to 2012, but expect this team to be loaded with talent especially on offense. Mike Gundy used four different quarterbacks last season thanks to injuries and picking a starter will be crucial especially with a new offensive coordinator.
No. 13 Louisville
The Buzz: Hot off their upset win in the Sugar Bowl, Louisville should be expected to do bigger and better things in 2013 especially with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. The receivers are young and talented while the backs share the work load. The schedule features several challenges, but is very manageable.
No. 14 Texas A&M
The Buzz: Texas A&M will not sneak up on anyone this season. Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel will lead the offense again, but will be without his coordinator Kliff Kingsbury who left to take the head coaching job at Texas Tech.
No. 15 Florida State
The Buzz: The coaching staff took some major loses, but none as big as losing defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, who left for the head coaching job at Kentucky. Former Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt will take over the defensive coaching duties. EJ Manuel departs leaving head coach Jimbo Fisher to find a suitable replacement from a bevy of talented players.
No. 16 TCU
The Buzz: The first season in the Big 12 wasn’t exactly a banner year, but when you consider that TCU essentially played the whole season with a freshman quarterback, it wasn’t too bad. The development of Trevone Boykin will be crucial for the Horned Frogs success in 2013. The offense struggled at times to score points which is a concern in a league that has become synonymous with offense.
No. 17 UCLA
The Buzz: When you look back at the Bruins in 2012, it was a season of contradiction. UCLA accomplished some major goals: defeating rival USC and winning the Pac-12 South division title. However, the team lost its final three games including an embarrassing loss to Baylor in the Holiday Bowl. The good news is Brett Hundley is back at quarterback and the team is loaded with talent.
No. 18 Nebraska
The Buzz: After giving up 115 points in its final two games, the Huskers have to be asking themselves what happened? The defense will need to find those answers quick if Nebraska expects to compete for another Big Ten championship. The offense returns seven starters including quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Ameer Abdullah.
No. 19 Oregon State
The Buzz: Things appear to be looking up for Oregon State. On the heels of a nine-win season, the Beavers have a lot to look forward to in 2013. The quarterback situation will be the key with Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz battling for the starting nod. Storm Woods will handle the rushing duties with an offensive line that remains almost intact. The defense loses at least five players and will need a boost.