News

COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2012 PRESEASON TOP 25

#43

NATIONAL FORECAST

#43

Independent PREDICTION

#2

HEAD COACH: Bronco Mendenhall, 74-29 (8 years) | OFF. COORDINATOR: Robert Anae | DEF. COORDINATOR: Nick Howell

OFFENSE

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall overhauled his entire offensive staff following a disappointing performance in 2012, rehiring former coordinator Robert Anae, who had been at Arizona the past two years, and adding four new assistants.

Quarterback Taysom Hill’s freshman season ended when he sustained a major knee injury in the late stages of a victory over Utah State in early October, when a miscommunication resulted in a standard running play, rather than a kneel-down. That episode fit into BYU’s season of quarterbacking controversy, as three players started at least two games each. Two of those players graduated. In his two starts in 2012, Hill proved to be a capable passer and runner who should thrive in the fast-paced scheme that Anae learned from coach Rich Rodriguez at Arizona.

Hill’s chances of success improved when Cody Hoffman chose to remain at BYU for his senior season. Hoffman, who’s 6'4" and adept at catching the ball in traffic, ranked 10th in the country with 100 catches for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns.

A midseason injury to starter Michael Alisa gave running back Jamaal Williams a greater opportunity as a freshman, and he took advantage of it. Williams rushed for 775 yards and 12 touchdowns while also showing good receiving skills.

Questions remain about the offensive line, with four junior college transfers joining the team in August. Left tackle Ryker Mathews will anchor the line after starting 13 games as a freshman. 



DEFENSE

At this time last year, nobody figured that replacing Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah would be the BYU defense’s biggest issue in 2013. Only when Eathyn Manumaleuna was injured in the middle of the season did Ansah become a starter and develop into one of the NFL’s most intriguing prospects. Ansah helped BYU’s defense rank No. 3 in the country, allowing 266.1 yards per game.

Like Hoffman on offense, Kyle Van Noy improved BYU’s defensive outlook tremendously by returning for his senior season. He recorded 13 sacks and 22 tackles for a loss as a junior.

BYU expected junior college transfer Trenton Trammell to solidify its secondary, but he was lost for the season to a knee injury on the first day of spring drills. Jordan Johnson, who broke up 15 passes in 2012, is entrenched at the other corner. BYU’s safeties are outstanding. Daniel Sorensen ranked second on the team in tackles, while intercepting three passes and forcing two fumbles. Craig Bills, known for his aggressiveness, emerged in the second half of the season. 

SPECIALISTS

BYU’s longest successful field goal was only 35 yards in 2012. Justin Sorensen was bothered by injuries and made only 6-of-12 field goals. He expects to be healthy and have a much better senior season. The Cougars must replace star punter Riley Stephenson. Scott Arellano, who averaged 40.6 yards in junior college, won the job in the spring. JD Falslev is an outstanding return man. He averaged 26.0 yards on kickoff returns and 9.5 yards on punt returns. 

FINAL ANALYSIS

Staging a slideshow to illustrate his points, Mendenhall outlined BYU’s success on and off the field in his first eight seasons with a Signing Day news conference that served as an impassioned defense of his program. Of course, BYU’s most pressing issue is upgrading the offense. Its ineffectiveness kept the Cougars from capitalizing on the best defensive performance in school history.

Matching last season’s 8–5 record will be a challenge in 2013, even if Anae’s fast-tempo offense is more productive. The Cougars are facing what Mendenhall labels their toughest schedule ever, with home games against Boise State and Texas and visits to Wisconsin and Notre Dame. 




Unpublished

Unpublished

10 Greatest Clemson Tigers (since 1967)

5 Greatest Moments in Clemson Tigers Football History

Unpublished

Unpublished

Unpublished

Unpublished

COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2013 PRESEASON TOP 25

#10

NATIONAL FORECAST

#10

Independent PREDICTION

#1

HEAD COACH: Brian Kelly, 28-11 (3 years) | OFF. COORDINATOR: Chuck Martin | DEF. COORDINATOR: Bob Diaco, Kerry Cooks

OFFENSE

The Fighting Irish offense was dealt a huge setback in late May, as quarterback Everett Golson was suspended from the team for the 2013 season due to academic issues. Veteran Tommy Rees will assume the top spot on the depth chart, but Andrew Hendrix and true freshman Malik Zaire should have an opportunity to push for playing time in the fall.

While losing Golson is a huge setback, Notre Dame returns three-fifths of the starting offensive line from ’12, and some exciting young skill position players.

Notre Dame scored 22 points or less in regulation in eight of its 12 victories. Most of their problems stemmed from a 48.3 touchdown percentage in the red zone (which ranked 112th in the nation).

The Irish lost 304 carries, 1,659 yards rushing, and nine TDs with the graduation of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. But junior George Atkinson III leads a pack of talented young backs.

Senior TJ Jones, who caught 50 passes for 649 yards, headlines a young receiving corps that will have to increase its production to help offset the loss of tight end Tyler Eifert. Sophomore DaVaris Daniels will have a prominent role.

The offensive line will be a strength. Left tackle Zack Martin is back for a final year of eligibility after projecting as a second-round NFL pick.

Follow the top 25 on Twitter @AthlonSports and join the debate at #Athlon25.



DEFENSE

It’s rare that Notre Dame boasts NFL talent along the defensive line, which is a big reason why the Irish hadn’t competed for a national title in nearly two decades. But with juniors Louis Nix III at nose guard and Stephon Tuitt at left end, the Irish are capable of dominating at the point of attack.

Linebacker Manti Te’o will no doubt be missed, but his replacement, Jarrett Grace, is the type of downhill run-stopper with size that defensive coordinator Bob Diaco covets.

The Irish secondary is deep and talented. Matthias Farley, a former wide receiver, is the leader of a solid group of safeties that also includes sophomore Elijah Shumate and freshman 5-star prospect Max Redfield. Notre Dame struck gold last year with first-time cornerback starters Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell. Lo Wood is back after missing last season with an Achilles injury.

Key Player

Tommy Rees, QB – With Everett Golson suspended for 2013, Rees will assume the starting spot under center. Rees has 18 starts and 4,413 passing yards in his career.

Louis Nix III, NG – The proverbial immovable object in the middle of the line holds the point of attack as well as any nose guard in the country.

Stephon Tuitt, DE – Despite battling a sports hernia the second half of the season, he still led the Irish in sacks with 12.

Schedule

SPECIALISTS

Kyle Brindza started the 2012 campaign as the backup to Nick Tausch, who waited his turn as David Ruffer ran roughshod over the Irish kicking record book in ’11. But Tausch suffered an injury before the second game, and Brindza stepped in and set a school record with 23 field goals. Alex Wulfeck, a senior transfer from Wake Forest, is in line to take over the punting duties.

FINAL ANALYSIS

All the stars aligned last year for the Irish — at least, until they ran into Alabama. They were 5–0 in games decided by one score, and they went from a horrid minus-15 turnover ratio in 2011 to a more desirable plus-8. The Irish caught some breaks and created the ones they didn’t.

The 2012 defense was the best at Notre Dame since the 1966 national championship squad. Even with the loss of Te’o, the inside linebacker corps is solid, and in Nix and Tuitt up front, the Irish have a couple of future NFL performers.

It is conceivable that the Irish could be as good if not better in more facets of the game in 2013 but fail to duplicate last year’s magical, unscathed run to the national title game. The Irish face another challenging schedule that includes Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Arizona State, USC, Pittsburgh, BYU and Stanford.

The Irish are a deeper team with a year of success upon which to build. Anything shy of 10 wins will be a disappointment.

 

DOWNLOAD NOTRE DAME WALLPAPER (CLICK IMAGE BELOW)

 

 

Want to win a poster-sized Athlon magazine cover of your choice? ENTER NOW!
The Debate

Will Notre Dame play in a BCS bowl in 2013?

Click here to join the debate.




Pages