By Steve Deace
Predicting the top 25 things that will or won’t happen this season…
1. There will be no undefeated teams in college football this season.
2. Not only will reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel not repeat, but he won’t even be one of the finalists, nor will he be the All-SEC quarterback at the end of the season.
3. South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier (68) will announce his retirement at the end of the season. He will be succeeded by Western Kentucky Coach Bobby Petrino.
4. Unless the Trojans win the Pac-12, this will be Lane Kiffin’s final season at USC. If Kiffin is fired he will be replaced by Boise State Coach Chris Petersen, who will finally bolt with the new college football playoff essentially shutting out mid-major teams like the Broncos from national consideration.
5. Virginia Tech will announce the 2013 season will be Frank Beamer’s last, and then he will turn the reigns over to his celebrated defensive coordinator Bud Foster in 2014.
6. Texas Coach Mack Brown will not be fired this year, but will be allowed to retire on his own following the 2014 season.
7. The SEC will send a record 11 teams to bowl games this season.
8. ESPN will say goodbye to long-time College Gameday co-host Lee Corso and replace him with Mark May.
9. The SEC will win its 8thconsecutive BCS national championship.
10. Ohio State will be riding a nation-best 23-game winning streak when it travels to arch-rival Michigan on November 30th.
11. Notre Dame will not qualify for a BCS bowl.
12. Last season the Big Ten champion finished with six losses, but this season three Big Ten teams will post double-digit wins.
13. The Big 12 will finish in a 3-way tie for first place, and none of those teams will be Oklahoma.
14. The feel good story of the season will be TCU quarterback Casey Pachall, who will return from a substance-abuse suspension to be the All-Big 12 quarterback.
15. The Heisman Trophy finalists will be: A.J. McCarron (Alabama), Braxton Miller (Ohio State), Devin Gardner (Michigan), Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina), and Casey Pachall (TCU).
16. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron will win the Heisman Trophy.
17. Jadeveon Clowney will be the first defensive lineman to be the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy since Pittsburgh’s Hugh Green in 1980.
18. Mike Leach will be fired at Washington State after just two seasons.
19. For the first time under Bo Pelini, Nebraska won’t lose four games in a season.
20. The results of the top five September non-conference games will be:
Clemson over Georgia…A young Dawg defense meets its match in a road-opener versus an explosive Clemson offense.
TCU over LSU…The defenses are a wash, but the Horned Frogs have a huge advantage at quarterback and stun the Bayou Bengals in the opener for both.
Michigan over Notre Dame…Since the series renewal in 1978, Notre Dame has averaged five losses per season in years it loses to Michigan, and only once has posted double-digit wins in a season that included a loss to the Wolverines.
Miami over Florida…This may be the final time these instate rivals play for a while, and it could be a coming out party for the Hurricanes.
Nebraska over UCLA…The Bruins announced their return to relevance by winning this game last year at home. Expect Nebraska to return the favor this year in Lincoln.
21. Boise State, UCLA, and Baylor will be ranked in the preseason top 25 but won’t finish there.
22. Virginia Tech, Miami, and Arizona State won’t be ranked in the preseason top 25 but will finish there.
23. The following first year coaches will lead their teams to bowl games this season: Bret Bielema (Arkansas), Rod Carey (Northern Illinois), Mark Helfrich (Oregon), Ron Caragher (San Jose State), Butch Jones (Tennessee), Matt Wells (Utah State), Bobby Petrino (Western Kentucky), and Gary Andersen (Wisconsin).
24. Liquidate on these teams that will win at least two fewer games than they did last season: Arizona, Boise State, Duke, Kansas State, Kent State, Louisiana Tech, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Purdue, Syracuse, West Virginia, and Vanderbilt.
25. Buy low and sell high on these teams that will win at least two more games than they won last season: Arkansas, Auburn, Buffalo, Kansas Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, TCU, USC, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.