2013 College Football Preview: The Rest

Sports

Below are the projected team ratings for the Independents, the Mountain West Conference, the MAC, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt Conference for the 2013 season. Keep in mind that projected wins and losses are made to reflect what would happen if every team played an average schedule. Most teams don’t play an average schedule, so actual wins and losses won’t look like this once the season plays out. Instead, these numbers are trying to tell us who the best teams are, regardless of the difficulty of their schedule. Therefore, instead of seeing this as a prediction that Notre Dame will go 9-3 this year, think of it as meaning this upcoming Irish team would be projected to go 9-3 in 12 games playing an average schedule.

For projections for all Division I football teams, click here.

The Independents

Overall

Ranking Independent 5 Yr. Improve Ret. Starters Proj. Off+ Proj. Def+ Proj. Total Proj. Total+ Proj. W Proj. L
1 Notre Dame 108 104 108 127 112 118 8.99 3.01
2 BYU 100 104 103 112 107 107 7.42 4.58
3 Army 100 127 103 84 96 93 5.30 6.70
4 Navy 99 82 90 93 95 92 5.05 6.95
5 New Mexico State 99 104 86 79 85 83 3.67 8.33
6 Idaho 98 82 78 78 76 78 2.97 9.03
7 Old Dominion N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Offense

Ranking Independent Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Blocking Proj. Off Proj. Off+
1 Notre Dame 105 96 97 115 111 102 108
2 BYU 90 113 103 104 108 103 103
3 Army 83 130 99 109 128 106 103
4 Navy 100 102 87 98 91 94 90
5 New Mexico State 100 88 87 82 91 89 86
6 Idaho 85 69 78 49 103 76 78
7 Old Dominion N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Defense

Ranking Independent Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Forced Pressure Proj. Def Proj. Def+
1 Notre Dame 116 125 132 108 108 121 127
2 BYU 111 114 122 90 101 111 112
3 Navy 99 91 101 94 85 96 93
4 Army 93 84 83 84 96 87 84
5 New Mexico State 95 78 78 71 80 81 79
6 Idaho 77 72 65 97 95 77 78
7 Old Dominion N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Confused? Check the glossary.

Notable Mentions:

1. Notre Dame– The Irish saw returns on their investment with Brian Kelly last season, making the BCS National Championship. It’s debatable whether or not they were the second best team in the nation in 2012 (my numbers had them at #7). Even so, they were a very talented team, and the project to be so again this year. The offensive questions hinge on the play of a new quarterback this season, but the defense should be one of the best in the nation even without Manti Te’o.

2. BYU– The numbers project BYU to be slightly worse this season, due to the fact that they only return 5 starters on defense. Because of their tendency to field above average defenses in recent memory, the projections like this year’s D to be pretty good, even losing over half of their starters. The numbers also like the offense to improve this season with 9 guys back. Expect this BYU team to be tough as usual.

Mountain West Conference

Overall

Ranking Mountain West 5 Yr. Improve Ret. Starters Proj. Off+ Proj. Def+ Proj. Total Proj. Total+ Proj. W Proj. L
1 Utah State 107 112 110 113 116 112 8.09 3.91
2 Boise State 101 97 96 114 110 105 7.09 4.91
3 San Diego State 102 119 98 111 108 104 6.97 5.03
4 San Jose State 104 97 101 106 107 104 6.86 5.14
5 Fresno State 102 97 101 105 107 103 6.79 5.21
6 UNLV 99 134 94 100 100 97 5.86 6.14
7 Colorado State 98 119 89 99 98 94 5.43 6.57
8 Wyoming 99 104 97 89 96 93 5.24 6.76
9 Nevada 100 82 104 78 96 91 4.99 7.01
10 Hawai’i 94 134 86 93 93 90 4.74 7.26
11 New Mexico 97 82 96 80 93 88 4.50 7.50
12 Air Force 95 89 91 85 92 88 4.45 7.55

Offense

Ranking Mountain West Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Blocking Proj. Off Proj. Off+
1 Utah State 114 113 117 106 114 114 110
2 Nevada 112 111 113 108 98 110 104
3 San Jose State 119 83 110 97 104 104 101
4 Fresno State 114 86 108 109 105 105 101
5 San Diego State 94 109 105 92 97 101 98
6 Wyoming 112 87 99 120 87 101 97
7 New Mexico 80 117 95 116 112 101 96
8 Boise State 109 89 98 109 95 100 96
9 UNLV 99 98 91 101 107 97 94
10 Air Force 94 95 94 83 110 94 91
11 Colorado State 97 108 89 80 99 94 89
12 Hawai’i 95 89 89 75 97 89 86

Defense

Ranking Mountain West Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Forced Pressure Proj. Def Proj. Def+
1 Boise State 110 112 125 136 112 120 114
2 Utah State 113 128 128 99 107 119 113
3 San Diego State 108 120 116 118 117 115 111
4 San Jose State 101 114 109 120 113 110 106
5 Fresno State 116 100 109 120 103 110 105
6 UNLV 98 103 104 97 107 102 100
7 Colorado State 107 98 100 111 88 101 99
8 Hawai’i 106 95 90 99 108 97 93
9 Wyoming 94 89 91 97 84 91 89
10 Air Force 91 89 92 80 89 89 85
11 New Mexico 80 83 81 100 88 85 80
12 Nevada 79 88 81 76 93 82 78

Notable Mentions:

1. Utah State– Before leaving to become the head coach at Wisconsin, Gary Andersen did a number for this Utah State program. Since 2007, he had improving by an average of 7% each season and was able to finish the 2012 campaign at #25 in the country (by my ratings) at 15% above average. And, while the team loses their head coach and their defensive coordinator to Wisconsin, they do return an above average number of starters on both sides of the ball, so expect them to be a tough out again this season.

2. Boise State Boise State doesn’t look quite like the juggernaut Cinderella team that they used to, but they did still end up 11% above average and at #38 last season. Unfortunately, they return a slightly less than average number of starters this season. The defense projects to be stout, but the offense may need a year of development.

The MAC

Overall

Ranking MAC 5 Yr. Improve Ret. Starters Proj. Off+ Proj. Def+ Proj. Total+ Proj. W% Proj. W Proj. L
1 Bowling Green 102 142 100 114 107 0.611 7.33 4.67
2 Northern Illinois 107 89 113 98 105 0.594 7.12 4.88
3 Kent State 105 82 100 100 100 0.526 6.31 5.69
4 Ball State 99 104 106 88 97 0.491 5.89 6.11
5 Buffalo 100 119 95 98 97 0.483 5.79 6.21
6 Toledo 102 97 104 88 96 0.473 5.67 6.33
7 Ohio 102 82 97 92 94 0.456 5.47 6.53
8 Central Michigan 98 104 98 89 94 0.446 5.36 6.64
9 Akron 99 104 92 86 89 0.381 4.57 7.43
10 Western Michigan 100 74 80 97 88 0.379 4.55 7.45
11 Miami (Ohio) 99 97 96 81 88 0.377 4.52 7.48
12 Eastern Michigan 98 97 95 80 87 0.364 4.37 7.63
13 Massachusetts 100 67 55 70 62 0.049 0.58 11.42

Offense

Ranking MAC Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Blocking Proj. Off Proj. Off+
1 Northern Illinois 111 125 124 116 121 120 113
2 Ball State 111 100 108 117 102 108 106
3 Toledo 108 107 104 113 110 107 104
4 Kent State 88 114 104 110 98 103 100
5 Bowling Green 104 104 97 117 109 104 100
6 Central Michigan 98 103 102 110 95 102 98
7 Ohio 108 98 101 127 93 105 97
8 Miami (Ohio) 96 87 95 107 102 96 96
9 Buffalo 104 95 92 103 98 97 95
10 Eastern Michigan 101 106 93 96 90 97 95
11 Akron 92 91 94 92 100 93 92
12 Western Michigan 82 83 86 66 97 83 80
13 Massachusetts 82 45 47 64 51 56 55

Defense

Ranking MAC Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Forced Pressure Proj. Def Proj. Def+
1 Bowling Green 118 116 126 109 121 119 114
2 Kent State 90 108 101 128 105 105 100
3 Buffalo 108 105 100 89 101 101 98
4 Northern Illinois 105 100 109 97 95 103 98
5 Western Michigan 110 101 100 92 97 101 97
6 Ohio 104 94 102 96 86 98 92
7 Central Michigan 98 95 92 95 91 94 89
8 Ball State 97 90 91 78 86 90 88
9 Toledo 88 87 91 100 90 91 88
10 Akron 92 92 84 78 93 87 86
11 Miami (Ohio) 92 74 81 78 86 82 81
12 Eastern Michigan 89 67 77 87 87 80 80
13 Massachusetts 82 68 61 87 77 72 70

Notable Mentions:

1. Bowling Green– This may be a little surprising to see. Bowling Green is a team that was 5% below average last season, but returns 19 of their starting 22 players from 2012. So, even if you don’t buy that this team is better than Northern Illinois, the Falcons could still be a team to watch in 2013.

2. Northern Illinois The offseason darlings of the MAC, Northern Illinois seems to lie just outside of the preseason Top 25 in the minds of many. Thanks to their talented quarterback, Jordan Lynch, the Huskies look primed to be explosive on the offensive side of the ball. It’s the defense, though, which only returns 4 starters from last season, that could hold this team back.

Conference USA

Overall

Ranking C-USA 5 Yr. Improve Ret. Starters Proj. Off+ Proj. Def+ Proj. Total+ Proj. W% Proj. W Proj. L
1 Middle Tennessee 100 127 100 102 101 0.543 6.52 5.48
2 Rice 102 127 97 103 100 0.526 6.32 5.68
3 UTSA 100 142 103 96 99 0.519 6.22 5.78
4 North Texas 104 119 96 100 98 0.502 6.03 5.97
5 Tulsa 102 74 101 94 98 0.498 5.97 6.03
6 Marshall 101 112 108 86 97 0.485 5.82 6.18
7 East Carolina 96 112 96 95 96 0.469 5.63 6.37
8 Florida International 104 60 88 95 92 0.421 5.06 6.94
9 Louisiana Tech 104 45 106 77 92 0.419 5.03 6.97
10 Tulane 98 127 85 95 90 0.401 4.81 7.19
11 UTEP 100 82 87 91 89 0.384 4.61 7.39
12 UAB 101 89 86 87 86 0.354 4.24 7.76
13 Florida Atlantic 97 89 86 85 86 0.342 4.11 7.89
14 Southern Mississippi 95 97 78 88 83 0.309 3.71 8.29

Offense

Ranking C-USA Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Blocking Proj. Off Proj. Off+
1 Marshall 110 106 118 116 109 113 108
2 Louisiana Tech 95 108 120 114 107 110 106
3 UTSA 114 100 111 126 115 112 103
4 Tulsa 99 108 104 107 105 104 101
5 Middle Tennessee 106 105 100 108 115 105 100
6 Rice 101 103 101 106 102 102 97
7 North Texas 100 102 91 108 109 99 96
8 East Carolina 104 98 102 101 97 101 96
9 Florida International 92 93 88 93 86 90 88
10 UTEP 87 89 82 89 89 86 87
11 UAB 102 87 92 83 76 90 86
12 Florida Atlantic 98 86 82 98 93 90 86
13 Tulane 91 71 92 71 97 85 85
14 Southern Mississippi 91 78 77 70 77 79 78

Defense

Ranking C-USA Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Forced Pressure Proj. Def Proj. Def+
1 Rice 113 94 105 115 106 106 103
2 Middle Tennessee 105 101 104 127 91 106 102
3 North Texas 110 90 104 101 97 101 100
4 UTSA 95 109 90 146 92 104 96
5 Florida International 105 98 94 95 102 98 95
6 East Carolina 103 102 96 100 94 99 95
7 Tulane 101 92 89 114 98 96 95
8 Tulsa 98 102 100 88 101 98 94
9 UTEP 87 92 93 92 96 92 91
10 Southern Mississippi 92 93 82 84 109 89 88
11 UAB 86 91 81 92 112 89 87
12 Marshall 89 95 81 85 104 88 86
13 Florida Atlantic 92 89 87 86 83 88 85
14 Louisiana Tech 77 84 72 91 87 80 77

Sun Belt Conference

Overall

Ranking Sun Belt 5 Yr. Improve Ret. Starters Proj. Off+ Proj. Def+ Proj. Total+ Proj. W% Proj. W Proj. L
1 Louisiana-Monroe 101 127 105 102 104 0.575 6.90 5.10
2 Arkansas State 104 89 106 98 102 0.548 6.58 5.42
3 Louisiana-Lafayette 103 97 105 94 100 0.522 6.26 5.74
4 Western Kentucky 103 97 95 101 98 0.500 6.00 6.00
5 Texas State 100 97 97 87 92 0.426 5.11 6.89
6 South Alabama 100 127 77 92 85 0.333 4.00 8.00
7 Troy 98 52 86 82 84 0.323 3.88 8.12
8 Georgia State N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Offense

Ranking Sun Belt Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Blocking Proj. Off Proj. Off+
1 Arkansas State 96 116 110 119 112 110 106
2 Louisiana-Monroe 107 107 110 114 112 110 105
3 Louisiana-Lafayette 110 118 115 99 108 111 105
4 Texas State 90 107 100 109 97 100 97
5 Western Kentucky 92 117 99 90 104 100 95
6 Troy 101 84 89 83 96 90 86
7 South Alabama 97 75 79 70 89 82 77
8 Georgia State N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Defense

Ranking Sun Belt Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Forced Pressure Proj. Def Proj. Def+
1 Louisiana-Monroe 104 106 102 111 106 105 102
2 Western Kentucky 115 97 103 105 102 105 101
3 Arkansas State 100 101 105 98 95 101 98
4 Louisiana-Lafayette 91 108 97 98 108 99 94
5 South Alabama 97 106 92 97 113 99 92
6 Texas State 96 75 84 130 84 91 87
7 Troy 81 91 85 83 84 85 82
8 Georgia State N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
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