The final Saturday of August is a day like no other. The jerseys are pulled out from beneath the baseball and basketball ones. Voices are lost screaming fight songs. Expectations are set, and some are destroyed on Day 1. Today is game-day, and it is glorious.

Top 5

1) Alabama: They’ve won the title three of the past four years, and they’re loaded again. A.J McCarron is back under center, and T.J. Yeldon is back for more after his 1,108 yard freshman campaign. The Tide lost three starters on the offensive line this offseason, but Bama has not had a bad o-line since Nick Saban took over. The Tide are back for more and are as good as ever.

AJ McCarron and TJ Yeldon lead Bama's quest for a three-peat.
AJ McCarron and TJ Yeldon lead Bama’s quest for a three-peat.

2) Oregon: Chip Kelly is gone, but Marcus Mariota, De’Anthony Thomas, and Josh Huff are all back to lead Oregon’s explosive offense. Stanford is the only team that has been able to stop Oregon the past 5 years, and this Duck offense is the best since Chip Kelly took over. Don’t expect new head coach Mark Helfrich to change much for the Ducks, including their winning tradition.

QB Marcus Mariota and RB DeAnthony Thomas are key members of the most explosive offense in college football.
QB Marcus Mariota and RB DeAnthony Thomas are key members of the most explosive offense in college football.

3) Texas: Expect the Horns to return to dominance this season. 19 starters are returning along with the entire offensive line. David Ash is now the most experienced quarterback in the Big 12 and showed signs that he could be one of Texas’ greats during the Alamo Bowl last season. The running back core of Johnathan Grey, Malcom Brown, and Joe Bergeron is the best in the NCAA, and the receiving duo of Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis is unrivaled in the Big 12. Defensively, Jackson Jeffcoat and Jordan Hicks will both return after missing most of last year with injuries, and Quandre Diggs and Carrington Byndom will highlight the secondary. It’s taken too long, but 2013 is the year that Texas will put it all back together again.

The entire offensive line is back along with receiver Jaxon Shipley (8).
The entire offensive line is back along with receiver Jaxon Shipley (8).

4) Stanford: Kevin Hogan did everything short of donning the number twelve jersey to replace Andrew Luck. He passed for over 1000 yards and 9 touchdowns in his debut season last year and will only improve throughout this one. Led by safety Ed Reynolds and linebacker Shayne Skov, Stanford has the best defense west of Tuscaloosa. David Shaw has filled Jim Harbaugh’s shoes completely and will lead Stanford to a BCS bowl once again.

Shayne Skov and the Stanford defense gives them a shot at a title.
Shayne Skov and the Stanford defense gives them a shot at a title.

5) Ohio State: If Ohio State played in any other conference they wouldn’t be in the top 10, but they play in the Big 10, quite possibly the worst major conference in Division 1 so they’re a top 5 team. Ohio State has a pathetic defense, but they do have the explosive Braxton Miller under center, and in the Big 10 one star player and one star coach is enough to go undefeated. Ohio State has both, and don’t expect the results to be any different from last year.

Ohio State isn't a very good team, but they play in the worst major conference in college football.
Ohio State isn’t a very good team, but they play in the worst major conference in college football.

National Championship

Texas over Ohio State: As I just said, all signs point to Texas winning the national championship. UT opens the season wearing throwback uniforms, just like the 2009 season when they made it to the championship game, Texas quarterbacks typically make a huge jump in their junior season, and most importantly, the title game will be played at the Rose Bowl, and the past two times the championship has been in Pasadena, it has featured the Horns. Texas and Ohio State both have weak schedules and will run the table which Bama, Oregon, and Stanford will not.

You know the song that says: “Everything you can do I can do better”? That’s what the Ohio State-UT matchup would be like.The Buckeyes have an awful defense, the Horns have a good one. Ohio State has a good offense, the Horns have a great one. The Buckeyes have a great coach, the Horns’ coach is every bit as capable and also has more expierence.

Heisman

Jadeveon Clowney, DL, South Carolina: Yes, he didn’t play well in his season debut on Thursday, but we can’t forget what Jadeveon is capable of:

ClowneyHit_original-1

sJcNY

Pull out the jersey. Lose your voice. Dream of crystal footballs. Wear the shirt you’ve worn every Saturday since 2008 (I know I am). Get ready for some football. It’s game day. Finally.

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