The 2013 college football season officially kicks off four weeks from today, when a handful of games (some good, mostly bad) are played on Thursday, Aug. 29. The following night, Arizona opens against Northern Arizona in a Friday night tilt that will introduce the populace (and whoever is watching on the Pac-12 Network) to a renovated Arizona Stadium.
From that point until Jan. 6, when the BCS national title game is played at the Rose Bowl, college games will occupy the TV screens of living rooms and bars across the country on pretty much every day/night but Sundays.
So, naturally, it's time to start predicting who will win it all.
USA Today released its preseason top 25 poll, which is a vote of 62 college
coaches sports information directors posing as coaches that, along with the Associated Press media poll (which hasn't come out yet, thankfully) are used to help determine which schools get to play in the biggest and most lucrative of postseason bowl games.
Not surprisingly, defending national champion Alabama is picked No. 1. The Crimson Tide got 58 of 62 first-place votes. Ohio State, picked second overall, got three such top votes, while someone who's either been living under a rock or thinks there's NOTHING WRONG with Johnny Manziel's offseason antics gave a first-place vote to Texas A&M.
Where's Arizona, you ask? The Wildcats were among 28 schools in the "others receiving votes" category, which is basically the leftovers who got thrown a 25th-place bone or two. In terms of actual rankings, Arizona could be considered No. 42 overall, getting five vote points.
Oregon (3rd, although they should be suspended and possibly kicked out of the NCAA), Stanford (4th), UCLA (21st), USC (24th) and Dan Gibson's beloved Oregon State (25th) were the other Pac-12 schools to make the Top 25, while Arizona State got 51 votes to clock in at No. 32.
Again, a reminder: games do not start for FOUR WEEKS, and considering how many players in the NFL have already been knocked out for the season during the first week of training camp, so much could still happen even before the first kickoffs. Arizona officially begins preparation for the 2013 season on Sunday, when players report for preseason training.