Self-share! There was quite a bit going on yesterday, so I didn't pimp this enough, but Brian Fremeau and I have each updated our pieces of the 2013 FO projections, and I posted an update yesterday in Varsity Numbers. There weren't many major shifts, but in terms of the top teams, Florida State is now quite a bit higher (no pressure, Jameis Winston), and Oklahoma State is a couple of notches lower.
- Projected AAC champion: Louisville by a nose over Cincinnati. The season-ending Louisville at Cincinnati game could be a lot of fun and carry a lot of national heft.
- Projected ACC champion: Florida State over Virginia Tech in the title game, though FSU and Clemson are both projected at seven conference wins when rounded, and the FSU-Clemson game is in Clemson. I'm pretty bearish on Virginia Tech; I think the offense needs another year before it comes around, and I think the Hokies are going to struggle to hold off North Carolina, Miami, and Georgia Tech in this race. But the projections love a steady winner, and despite last year's tumble, Virginia Tech is as steady as they come in the ACC.
- Projected Big 12 champion: Texas, I guess? The Longhorns and Oklahoma State are both projected at 7.0 wins (with Oklahoma on their heels at 6.8), but with the UT-OSU game in Austin, we'll say Texas is more likely to win the tie-breaker.
- Projected Big Ten champion: Ohio State over Michigan State. We're obviously not as high on the Buckeyes as many, but they still hold a slight edge over both Wisconsin and whoever wins the Legends Division.
- Projected Conference USA champion: Tulsa over East Carolina. The three best teams in this conference are all potentially in the West Division, which is unfortunate for both Louisiana Tech and Rice, who are projected to fall a game short of Tulsa.
- Projected MAC champion: Northern Illinois over Bowling Green. These teams enjoy two of the nation's weakest schedules, but this game could be outstanding, with NIU's outstanding offense pitted against BGSU's defense, which could be one of the nation's better mid-major Ds.
- Projected Mountain West champion: Boise State over Fresno State. As is customary, the top half of this conference is far ahead of the bottom half, and while that means a lot of teams finishing with 2-4 wins overall, that also means a pair of fun division battles. Boise State should manage to hold off Utah State in the Mountain, but Fresno State has its hands full against SJSU, SDSU and Nevada in the West.
- Projected Pac-12 champion: Oregon over USC. The Oregon-Stanford game will almost certainly decide the North, while USC seems to have a pretty solid advantage over Arizona, Arizona State, and projected underachievers UCLA. Of course, they did last year, too.
- Projected SEC champion: Alabama over ... Florida, maybe? Florida and Georgia are projected to tie at 6.1 conference wins (with South Carolina close behind at 5.8), and since the two teams play on a neutral field each year, we'll say Florida, the more highly projected team, gets the nod and is sacrificed to a still-better-than-everybody-else Alabama squad.
- Projected Sun Belt champion: Arkansas State. In my Sun Belt previews, I placed the two Louisiana schools ahead of the two-time defending conference champions; but again, our numbers love proven quantities, and it's not like I think ASU is THAT far behind…