Most of the national media has given us the BCS title game contenders as well as Heisman candidates, preseason All-Americans, and other award nominees. But who is being overlooked? Not many had Collin Klein and Kansas State making serious runs at the Heisman and title game last year. Notre Dame wasn't on many lists either. I don't seem to recall Auburn and Cam Newton getting much preseason love in 2010.
Let's run down some candidates for the BCS title that the talking heads may be overlooking.
Oregon State - The Beavers started strong in '12 and bring back 15 starters, including both experienced QBs, Storm Woods, and Brandin Cooks on offense. The defense will really miss Jordan Poyer, but the other 3 returning starters in the secondary will help offset his loss. The schedule sets up nicely too with Stanford and USC at home. Maybe the Civil War in Eugene could have national championship implications on OSU's side this year.
Miami (FL) - Stop me if you've heard this before - the 'Canes have a ton of talent stockpiled in South Florida. With almost every starter back, Miami is still young, but there is some experience there. Miami also avoids Clemson on the schedule, but has to travel to Tallahassee on November 2nd.
Michigan - It's strange to see the Wolverines on a sleeper list, but that's what Michigan is this year. Ohio State is getting all the Big 10 hype, while Michigan just happens to have a really good team back as well. I'm a big fan of Devin Gardner and he has Fitzgerald Toussaint back to run the ball as well. The OL needs to be rebuilt but the skill position players are there and the defense will be solid. Don't rule out OSU-Michigan replicating their 2006 battle of the unbeatens.
Louisville - As we mentioned here, Louisville has the talent and the schedule to make an unbeaten run in 2013 as well. They also have a beat down of SEC power Florida in last year's Orange Bowl to point to for additional credibility. Charlie Strong turned down bigger jobs to stay at U of L and part of that reasoning was the opportunity the Cards have in 2013.
Texas - Another strange entry to a sleeper list, Texas has a ton of talent back on both sides of the ball. Coming off 5 and 4 loss seasons, the Horns have fallen a bit out of the spotlight but seem to have a strong mix of players for 2013. An experienced line coupled with returners at key positions in David Ash and Johnathan Gray gives Texas fans lots of hope for this season. Their toughest road game of the year is TCU, and the Horns have a bye week before heading to Fort Worth.
There you have it, 5 off the radar national title contenders for 2013. Coming up next, our sleeper Heisman candidates. Stay tuned...