It’s never too early to prognosticate in the world of sports, so it should surprise nobody that CBS Sports has released its first set of preseason power rankings for the 2013 college football season just over a week after the 2012 campaign’s conclusion.
What may surprise some, however, is the team that sits atop these rankings.
The Aggies of Texas A&M, fresh off a Heisman-winning season by redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and a 41-13 beatdown of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, is ranked No. 1 in the very early poll compiled by CBS college football analyst Dennis Dodd. Three-time defending national champion Alabama sits one spot behind at No. 2, while Stanford, Georgia and recently Chip Kelly-less Oregon round out the top five.
At 11-2, A&M finished its first season in the Southeastern Conference ranked No. 5 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls and knocked off five ranked teams, including a 29-24 win over the top-ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. The Aggies’ only two losses came by a combined eight points to a pair of teams that finished in the AP top 15 (No. 9 Florida and No. 14 LSU).
This momentum coupled with the return of Manziel and a host of offensive weapons should make A&M a team to fear come September. Ben Malena, whose 826 rushing yards ranked second on the team behind Manziel, will return to College Station for his senior season. And while the Aggies receiving corps loses three-year starter Ryan Swope to graduation, two of their top three pass-catching targets will be back, including freshman Mike Evans, who led the squad with 82 catches for 1,105 yards.
Next season’s first big test will come early, as A&M opens its SEC slate when Alabama comes to town on Sept. 14.