Yesterday we looked at five teams that might bounce back after disappointing 2012 seasons. Here are five teams that might have a letdown in 2013 after strong years.
Kansas State: The Wildcats were a very good team in 2012. As Oregon showed, they were not a great one. The Wildcats were very fortunate with turnovers last year, recovering 21/32 fumbles. This turned at least one game for them against Oklahoma. They lose 14 starters, most notably quarterback Collin Klein. They return just one starter on defense. In a conference that features six of the Top 22 offenses vs. FBS last year, that’s a scary thought.
Texas A&M: We put nothing past Johnny Football. That said, this team may be ranked in the top five heading into the season. That’s a little strong. The Aggies had a loaded, veteran team last year. This one returns just 10 starters and four on defense. A&M loses not only numbers but talent. With Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore, they are losing two potential top five draft picks. There’s a new offensive coordinator. One might also expect Arkansas, Auburn and Missouri to put up more of a fight than last season. Kevin Sumlin has reinvigorated this program, though a second-year slump during a rebuilding year would not be unsurprising.
Louisville: A huge bowl win will cloud over doubts. The Cardinals did beat Florida, but they were very lucky to win 11 games. They recovered 69 percent of fumbles in 2012. That could have drastically affected a season where they went 6-1 in one-score games (many of them against putrid teams). Most measures not dictated by opinion placed Louisville outside the Top 35. Teddy Bridgewater is awesome. There are plenty of reasons to think a young Louisville team makes progress. The progress, though, will come from their true 2012 baseline, not from their final AP ranking. Expecting them to be a legit Top 10 team may be a little much.
Florida State: The Seminoles have a track record of underperforming, and they shed significant depth and quality of talent heading into 2013. FSU loses 12 starters from last year, and brings back one of their starting front seven on defense. They lose experience and playmaking ability at quarterback with E.J. Manuel’s departure. They also have coordinator changes on both sides of the ball. Florida State still may be the ACC’s most talented team, but that has been true most of the past decade when they have disappointed.
Florida: The Gators lose a ton of depth and talent with just 11 starters coming back. Departures include Matt Elam, Shariff Floyd and Jelani Jenkins and Mike GIllislee and Jordan Reed on offense. It still looks like the Gators could struggle in the passing game. Their defense might not shut teams down the way it did in 2012. Their last six FBS games (at LSU, at Missouri, Georgia, Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Florida State) could be very unforgiving.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]