2013 BCS National Title Odds – Favorites, Sleepers and Teams to Avoid - With the recent announcement that college football will implement a playoff system in 2014, there are officially only two seasons left of the current BCS system. The playoff format that so many fans and coaches have begged for is finally coming, but as far as the upcoming season is concerned, every team is still in the same boat. One loss at any point in the season could mean an end to a team’s national title hopes. Heck, running the table doesn’t always guarantee a shot at a championship either. Winning a national title in college football is a year-long effort, and getting hot late after a slow start doesn’t do any good. It takes a truly great team to reach the BCS Championship Game and an even better team to win it. Here is a look at some of the teams that could have what it takes to become national champs and a few talented teams that could struggle.

2013 BCS National Championship Odds – Favorites, Sleepers and Teams to Avoid

The Favorites – 2013 BCS National Championship Odds

After running the table in the toughest conference in the country and winning the SEC title game last season, the LSU Tigers ultimately came up one win short of winning their third national title since 2004. This year’s team features an excellent offensive line that is built to punish opponents, and a backfield that features four quality running backs will allow the Tigers to pound defenses into submission. After ranking second in points allowed last year, the LSU defense is as vicious as ever. The defensive front is probably the best in the country, and the secondary features Heisman finalist Tyrann Mathieu. The X-factor could be new quarterback Zach Mettenberger. His polished passing skills are something the Tigers have lacked in recent years, and he will keep defenses from stacking the line. A home game against Alabama and a road game against Arkansas won’t be easy, but the Tigers have the talent and experience to seal the deal this season.

Quarterback Matt Barkley decided to return on offense and safety T.J. McDonald decided to do the same on defense, making the USC Trojans a frontrunner for the national title in the program’s first year off postseason probation. Barkley has the best receiver combo in the nation at his disposal in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, and the defense has playmakers at all levels. A decreased amount of scholarships could become an issue if injuries start to mount, but as long as their Heisman frontrunner stays under center, the Trojans should be able to outscore any team they face. USC’s toughest test figures to be Oregon, but after beating the Ducks on the road last year, the Trojans have to like their chances against Chip Kelly’s bunch in the Coliseum. An undefeated season and a trip to the BCS Championship Game are well within this team’s reach.

Other Contenders – 2013 BCS National Championship Odds

The defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide lost a lot of key players to the NFL last season. That being said, they still have Nick Saban as head coach and a ton a former five-star recruits waiting to step into the starting lineup, including linebacker C.J. Mosely. Alabama also has the best offensive line in the country led by defending Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones, and young quarterback A.J. McCarron looked like a future star during the national title game last season. Alabama’s defense probably won’t put up the type of numbers last year’s record-setting unit did, but the Crimson Tide will still have one the stingiest groups in the country. Add it all up, and Alabama will once again pound opponents with the ground game and make life difficult for opposing offenses. Aside from a trip to Baton Rouge to face LSU and possibly the opener against Michigan, it’s tough to find any hurdles for Saban’s bunch.

Chip Kelly has been coaching the Oregon Ducks for three seasons, and the program has three Pac12 titles and three Rose Bowl appearances to show for it. The Ducks have also averaged more than 43 points per game since Kelly’s spread-option system was installed, and this team once again has the speed at the skill positions to be an explosive offense. Running back Kenjon Barner had almost 1,000 yards last year as a backup, and do-everything weapon De’Anthony Thomas had 18 scores as a freshman last season. The only real danger game on the schedule is a trip to the Coliseum to face USC. If the Ducks get by the Trojans, they should be heading back to the national title game for the second time in the last three years.

The Sleepers – 2013 BCS National Championship Odds

Dismissing running back Isaiah Crowell so close to the start of the year is far from ideal, but the Georgia Bulldogs aren’t dead yet. Quarterback Aaron Murray could go down as the best in school history, and true freshman running back Keith Marshall is a highly-touted recruit that will step in for Crowell. Defensively, the Bulldogs should as good as any team in the country. They have a the biggest three-man front around, and all four linebackers return from last year’s team, including SEC sack leader Jarvis Jenkins. The secondary is led by All-American safety Bacarri Rambo, and Georgia intercepted a conference-leading 20 passes last season. The Bulldogs dodge LSU, Alabama and Arkansas in the regular season, and if they can make it back to the SEC title game without a loss, they at least have a puncher’s chance to pull an upset and earn a trip to play for the national title.

When defensive end Brandon Jenkins decided to return for his senior season, the Florida State Seminoles became a serious contender to win at ACC and maybe even more. Jenkins leads one of the best defensive lines in the country, and the Seminoles can rush the passer as well as any team in the country. Florida State also had a pair of experienced cornerbacks returning to a defense that held its final eight opponents last season to less than 20 points. The question marks come on the offensive side of the ball where talented quarterback E.J. Manuel needs to put it all together. The Seminoles lost four games last season, including three by five points or less. The defense is going to keep this team in every game, and if Manuel can make the one or two plays a game that he didn’t make last year, FSU could run the table in a weak ACC.

Teams to Avoid – 2013 BCS National Championship Odds

Brady Hoke had a heck of a first year as coach for the Michigan Wolverines, but even a BCS bowl victory last year doesn’t mean this team is ready to win a national title. After all, the Wolverines’ hopes could be dashed in the opener against Alabama, and a suspect defense is a constant concern throughout the year. Even last season, Michigan was lit up by an Ohio State offense that was led by a true freshman quarterback. Granted, quarterback Denard Robinson’s explosive playmaking can make up for a lot of issues, but the Wolverines are still too dependent on their star. Not to mention the fact that Robinson can’t solve the issues on defense.

It is easy to fall in love with the West Virginia Mountaineers. They looked like an offensive juggernaut in their Orange Bowl win last season, and star quarterback Geno Smith and his top two targets Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are back. On the other hand, West Virginia moves to the Big 12 season, and an undersized defense that had issues slowing down teams last year will now face some of the highest-scoring offenses in the country. The Mountaineers have more than enough firepower to put points on the board, but they are going to have a tough time outscoring the likes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas over the course of the season.

Preseason 2013 BCS National Championship Odds
1601 Alabama +500
1602 Arkansas +1800
1603 Auburn +5000
1604 Arizona +12500
1605 Boise State +6600
1606 Boston College +20000
1607 BYU +17500
1608 California +8000
1609 Cincinnati +8000
1610 Clemson +3000
1611 Florida +5000
1612 Florida State +1500
1613 Georgia +1800
1614 Georgia Tech +15000
1615 Iowa +10000
1616 Kansas State +5000
1617 LSU +400
1618 Miami +12500
1619 Michigan +3000
1620 Michigan State +7500
1621 Missouri +10000
1622 Mississippi State +8000
1623 Nebraska +3500
1624 North Carolina
1625 Notre Dame +2500
1627 Oklahoma +1000
1628 Oklahoma State +8000
1629 Oregon +1200
1630 Oregon State +25000
1631 Penn State +12500
1632 Pittsburgh +12500
1633 South Carolina +3500
1634 South Florida +12500
1635 Stanford +10000
1636 TCU +5000
1637 Tennessee +10000
1638 Texas +2800
1639 Texas A&M +12000
1640 UCLA +17500
1641 USC +400
1642 Virginia Tech +2500
1643 Washington +10000
1644 West Virginia +3000
1645 Wisconsin +6000
1646 Field +1500

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