With the start of the 2013 college football season just a few days away, let's take a look at some power rankings for non-BCS squads (including Notre Dame).
1. Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish could be even better defensively in 2013 with Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix III and Sheldon Day leading the way. Offensively, ND must adjust its offense a bit now that Everett Golson is no longer on campus and Tommy Rees is the starter. But Brian Kelly has won a lot with quarterback instability in the past.
US PRESSWIREJordan Lynch is back and after another Heisman Trophy run.
2. Northern Illinois: The Huskies continue to be led by Jordan Lynch, a dual-threat quarterback who should have received even more pub than he did in 2012. NIU will have a chance to show its staying power when it faces Big Ten foes Purdue and Iowa.
3. Boise State: The Broncos open the season against Washington, so we'll get an early indication of whether quarterback Joe Southwick will be able to improve on his game from 2012. Replacing Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins at cornerback will be difficult, though.
4. BYU: The Cougars have a real nice piece on offense with dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill, and he should excel in the new up-tempo scheme. Defensively, linebacker Kyle Van Noy leads what should once again be a strong unit.
5. Fresno State: The Bulldogs are led by Derek Carr, who threw for 4,104 yards and 37 touchdowns against seven interceptions last fall. The team opens with Rutgers at home, so the Bulldogs will have a chance to earn national attention right away.
6. Toledo: The Rockets visit Florida in the opener on Saturday, so hanging around into the second half would be considered a moral victory. Quarterback Terrance Owens and running back David Fluellen will lead an outstanding offense.
7. Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane lost a lot of defensive starters from last year's team, but they lost only three starters on offense. However, all-Conference USA tackles Jared Grigg and Brian DeShane are gone, so stabilizing the offensive line will be key.
8. San Jose State: The Spartans excelled last season under Mike MacIntyre, who is now at Colorado. New head coach Ron Caragher inherits quarterback David Fales, who has garnered plenty of attention in 2014 NFL mock drafts.
9. Western Kentucky: How long will new head coach Bobby Petrino last with the Hilltoppers before moving onto a more high-profile gig? Petrino inherits big, strong running back Antonio Andrews and a deep receiving corps.
10. San Diego State: Rocky Long brought in Bob Toledo as the new offensive coordinator, and the scheme is similar to what the Aztecs have run in the past. Look for the unit to be more creative under the former UCLA head coach.
Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.
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