2013 College Football Preview: The Non-AQ's

Senior Running Back Chris Nwoke Leads A Potent Colorado State Ground Attack - Doug Pensinger

It's August, which means your days are consisting of overreacting to practice reports and reading more college football previews then any one human needs. Here's another for you.

Mountain West

West:

1. Fresno State

2. San Diego State

3. San Jose State

4. Nevada

5. UNLV

6. Hawaii

Mountain:

1. Colorado State

2. Boise State

3. Utah State

4. Air Force

5. Wyoming

6. New Mexico

Need to Know: Colorado State tops my teams to surprise list in 2013. The Rams return their starting quarterback and both tight ends in their power based offense, not to mention having one of the top running back corps in the nation. CSU misses the top two teams out of the West division, and get San Jose State, Boise State, and Nevada all in Fort Collins. The non-conference schedule is not kind, but once they get to MWC play, they should win the Mountain division going away. This is Colorado State's best team since 2003, and ten wins is a possibility.

Conference USA

East:

1. Marshall

2. Southern Miss

3. East Carolina

4. UAB

5. Florida Atlantic

6. Middle Tennessee

7. Florida International

West:

1. Tulane

2. Tulsa

3. Rice

4. Louisiana Tech

5. North Texas

6. UTEP

7. Texas-San Antonio

Need to Know: With nine offensive starters returning and former Mt. San Antonio/Washington quarterback Nick Montana under center, the Green Wave have enough offensive firepower to compete for a C-USA title. The schedule sets up nicely with East Carolina and Tulsa at home, and while they do have to travel to Syracuse and Louisiana Monroe, those games won't hurt the conference record. Expect the Wave to have one of the biggest one-year turnarounds in the country, going from two wins in 2012 to a possible nine in 2013.

Independents (Order based off projected record)

1. Notre Dame

2. Old Dominion

T3. BYU

T3. New Mexico State

T3. Navy

6. Idaho

7. Army

Need to Know: The quarterback position is the big question park for defending national runner-up Notre Dame, who saw the top QB in the Class of 2012 and projected starter Everett Golson both leave the team in the span of 50 days. Senior quarterback Tommy Rees will be a quality replacement, but the Irish won't come close to last season's 12 wins. After the Fighting Irish, the talent level of the independents this season really drops off. Old Dominion will likely have the second best record of the group because of seven games against FCS schools, while BYU, New Mexico State, and Navy will struggle to get seven or eight victories.

MAC

West:

1. Toledo

2. Northern Illinois

3. Western Michigan

4. Ball State

5. Central Michigan

6. Eastern Michigan

East:

1. Bowling Green

2. Ohio

3. Miami (Ohio)

4. Buffalo

5. Massachusetts

6. Akron

7. Kent State

Need to Know: In a conference known for its craziness on the field, the preseason predictions are quite boring. Toledo and BCS-crasher Northern Illinois will compete at the top of the West, and with the Rockets getting NIU at home on a made for #MACtion Wednesday night in late November, I like Toledo to win the tiebreaker and play in the conference championship game. In the East, it's Bowling Green and the little six. In what was supposed to be a rebuilding season in 2012, the Falcons won eight games with a lot of inexperience at key positions. Those players are back with confidence and momentum, and if BGSU can pull an upset at Indiana or Mississippi State, they will win ten regular season games.

Sun Belt

1. Western Kentucky

2. Louisiana-Lafayette

3. Louisiana-Monroe

4. Troy

5. Arkansas State

6. Texas State

7. Georgia State

8. South Alabama

Need to Know: I've grown to appreciate the Sun Belt more and more the last couple of seasons, and this year I really love the upper half of the league. They play an entertaining brand of football and the top four will be in a season-long dogfight to win the conference title. I like Western Kentucky in 2013 to win it, as they'll get Louisiana-Lafayette and Troy at home, and boast the best secondary and group of linebackers in the SBC.

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Below are the previous entries in my 2013 College Football preview

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