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West Virginia

Despite returning a powerhouse offense and starting the season off 5-0 SU, West Virginia fizzled down the stretch with a 2-6 SU and 3-5 ATS record, failing to reach the high expectations it had coming into the year. While the offense wasn’t always consistent, the defense was the main concern, finishing among the worst in the country in passing defense and scoring defense.  With the loss of eight starters on offense including quarterback Geno Smith and no reason to expect a complete 180 on defense, Dana Holgorsen’s squad looks to be in for a rebuilding year in 2013.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8650

Texas Tech

Texas Tech looked sharp in getting out to a 6-1 SU and ATS start last season, but finished up 2-4 SU and 0-6 ATS to end 2012 on a sour note. Offensive mastermind Kliff Kingsbury takes over as head coach, and should keep with the recent tradition of making the Red Raiders one of the nation’s best offensive teams even as they break in a new starting quarterback. There will be a learning curve though, especially on defense, where the unit surrendered 31.8 points per game last year and will be learning a new scheme this season. This team will play in plenty of shootouts.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8598

Maryland

Coach Edsall turned Connecticut into a winner, and you'd think if he could do it there, he could do it for Maryland. But fate, mainly in the form of injuries, has not been his friend the last two seasons. Perhaps this year will be different. If it is, and the Terps can get some decent play at quarterback, and improve the running game, and fill the holes on defense, while they might not contend with FSU and Clemson in the Atlantic Division, they should return to a bowl after a two-year absence.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8614

Baylor

Baylor proved that the program can go on without Robert Griffin III, putting together a 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS second half that included big upset wins over Kansas State and UCLA. The offense put up more yards than any other team in the country last year, and even with a new starting quarterback at the helm, that shouldn’t change much this year with an elite running back tandem and a great offensive scheme already in place.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8566

Kansas State

Kansas State put together one of the best seasons in all of college football last year, going 11-2 SU and 10-3 ATS en route to winning the Big 12 title. An encore presentation is unlikely for the Wildcats with so much personnel turnover this offseason. Not only did Kansas State lose its offensive leader in Collin Klein, but it lost its entire front seven on defense as well. The team is so well-coached that the drop-off may not be as extreme as it would be in other programs, but the Big 12 is just too deep this season to expect much noise out of this rebuilding squad.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8573

TCU

Just about everything that could go wrong for TCU did last season. The Horned Frogs lost their starting quarterback Casey Pachall due to off-field issues and starting running back Waymon James to injury, leading to a 4-5 SU and 3-6 ATS record in Big 12 play. Both Pachall and James return this year, which should give a big boost to the offense. And the defense was a bright spot for TCU in 2012, giving up less yards than any other team in the Big 12. TCU’s defense will keep the team in most games, making the Horned Frogs a likely candidate for improvement in 2013.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8661

Oklahoma

It was business as usual for Oklahoma in 2012 as the team finished with its sixth season of 10 or more wins in the last seven years with a 10-3 SU record and a share of the Big 12 title. With Landry Jones departed to the NFL after starting for four years at Oklahoma, mobile quarterbacks Blake Bell and Kendel Thompson will duke it out for the position and should be able to keep things rolling. The Sooners’ once stingy defensive unit was a weakness in 2012, and will need to be better if the team is going to win the Big 12 this year.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8540

Cincinnati

Cincinnati is the one team in this conference that has the best chance to push heavily-favored Louisville for the inaugural AAC title. It has a balanced offensive attack that can both pass and run the ball, complementing a defense that knows how to keep opponents out of the end zone. The Bearcats open conference play against South Florida on October 5 and they should not be really tested until going on the road against Rutgers on November 16. In what should serve as the AAC Championship Game, they will host Louisville on December 5.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8597

SMU

The Oddsmakers have the Mustangs as a middle-of-the-road team in the AAC this season, but this could be the sleeper team of the conference. Much of their success will hinge on the continued development of Gilbert and a rebuilt defensive line, but they do not have Louisville on the schedule and will face Rutgers and UCF at home. Circle November 9 as a make or break game in SMU’s title hopes when it travels to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8569

Ohio State

Ohio State went undefeated last year, but played under no pressure with the postseason ban. Would things have gone differently had OSU played knowing that a loss or two might cost them a shot at the conference title or national championship? Hard to say. But the Buckeyes are under no such ban this year, so we'll find out. And Ohio State now plays under extra pressure in that a conference championship might not be enough; it's national championship or bust. Offensively the Buckeyes will be fine, there's talent aplenty to fill the holes on defense and the schedule is accommodating.

League Abbreviation: 
NCAAF
Team ID: 
8633

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