The college football season is only a week old, but two teams have already dropped out of the preseason top-25 rankings (USA Today Coaches' Poll). Two early casualties (Oregon State and Boise State) of the polls should come as no surprise though, because an average of seven teams that start out ranked each season will find themselves outside the top-25 rankings by season's end.
Seven teams out means seven different teams in, which means a swing of 14 teams in the rankings over a three-month stretch. The trick is determining which teams will be the ones to fall by the wayside and which teams have a chance to make their way back in.
Here is a look at the Preseason USA Today Coaches' Top-25 (we'll use it since it is one of the polls used in the BCS formula) and a look at each five-team tier and the chances that each team might fall out of the rankings by the end of the 2013 season.
Top-5: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Oregon 4. Stanford 5. Georgia
Alabama: The Crimson Tide has won three of the last four national championships and has two key ingredients - head coach Nick Saban and quarterback A.J. McCarron - to ensure it will at the very least remain ranked throughout the season. The Tide started with a 35-10 trouncing of Virginia Tech and has a week off before traveling to College Station to play Johnny Football and Texas A&M. They play one of the weaker slates in the SEC this year, with their next big test not until Nov. 9 at home against LSU.
Ohio State: Urban Meyer's Buckeyes have won 13 consecutive regular season games after beating Buffalo 40-20 last week. The schedule is very kind to OSU this year. Their biggest tests are against No. 21 Wisconsin, No. 19 Northwestern and No. 17 Michigan. Even if they lose all three games, which they won't, they will remain ranked.
Oregon: The Ducks showed no signs of letting off the gas with Chip Kelly gone to the NFL in last week's 66-3 beat down of Nicholls St. (a real challenge for a top-tier program). They will be 5-0 before facing now No. 20 Washington on Oct. 12. No. 18 UCLA and No. 5 Stanford are the other biggest tests. Oregon is in good shape to remain in the polls.
Stanford: The Cardinal has played in back-to-back BCS bowls and has a good shot to be there again they open this weekend against San Jose State and then face Army before an interesting Sept. 21 game against Arizona State. Stanford has become the most physical kid on the block in the Pac-12 and has virtually everyone back (with the exception of their running back and tight ends) and will roll to another big year.
Georgia: This is the first tricky one. Mark Richt's Bulldogs have already fallen from No. 5 to No. 12 after an opening week loss to then No. 8 Clemson. Georgia is already in a must-win situation against No. 6 South Carolina this week and faces No. 9 LSU before the month of September is even over. No. 12 Florida is down the road in November as well (by the way, Google "Georgia fan crying" for a good laugh).
Teams 6-10 6. Texas A&M 7. South Carolina 8. Clemson 9. Louisville 10. Florida
Texas A&M: How much you believe in Texas A&M depends on how much you believe in Johnny Manziel's staying power. The reigning Heisman winner was suspended for the first half, but came in to throw three touchdown passes before being tossed from Saturday's 52-31 win over Rice. A&M will score points, but a defense that was so-so last year gave-up 31 points to the Owls. Their toughest games are Alabama and LSU, so at least another Cotton Bowl seems within reach.
South Carolina: The Gamecock's only losses last year came in back-to-back weeks to LSU and Florida. They have won six straight since then after last week's 27-10 win over North Carolina. Georgia, Florida and Clemson are the biggest threats this year, but they are in no threat of a major tumble.
Clemson: The win over Georgia already has the Tigers up to No. 5 in this week's rankings. Their only losses last year were to Florida State and South Carolina. Head coach Dabo Swinney and defensive coordinator have brought toughness back to Clemson and having a quarterback like Tajh Boyd doesn't hurt either. The Seminoles and Gamecocks will again be Clemson's biggest threats, but they will be fine with the rest of their ACC and non-conference (South Carolina State and The Citadel) schedules.
Louisville: Is Louisville really deserving of so lofty a ranking? Their losses were to Syracuse and UConn last year, but they proved doubters wrong with a Sugar Bowl win over Florida. Having quarterback Teddy Bridgewater against a soft slate that began with 49-7 win over Ohio guarantees that Louisville will remain ranked all year. Watch out for the regular season finale against Cincinnati though.
Florida: No real shockers so far, but now that we're at No. 10 things start to get more interesting. Florida lost just once in the regular season last year (in the game formerly known as the cocktail party to Georgia) and then fell to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. Games against Miami, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State will be too hard for Will Muschamp's squad to navigate this year. Look for at least three losses among that gamut and a spot outside the top-25 to end the season.
Teams 11-15: 11. Notre Dame 12. Florida State 13. LSU 14. Oklahoma State 15. Texas
Notre Dame: Yes, it would have been nice to see the Irish win more convincingly against Temple, but close wins were last year's hallmark - even if pollsters dropped ND two spots to No. 13. This week's game in Ann Arbor will be pivotal for both the Irish and Wolverines. The Irish will win this week and will fall just twice this season to find themselves ranked for a second straight year at the end of the season.
Florida State: The Seminoles are far from the national title contenders they were in the mid-90s, but as long as they are in the ACC they will remain at least top-25 worthy. Clemson, Miami and Florida are the biggest possible pitfalls in the regular season. Even two losses there keeps them ranked throughout 2013.
LSU: Say what you want about LSU head coach Les Miles, but he just finds ways to win big games (except for the 2011 national championship game). Since losing four games in 2009, Miles and LSU have lost just six times over the last three seasons. LSU has one of the tougher SEC slates this year with games against Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas A&M and then rival Arkansas to end the regular season. Currently sitting at No. 11, even three losses, which are not likely, will keep them ranked throughout.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are coming off an 8-5 season while three quarterbacks passed for more than 1,100 yards last season. Head coach Mike Gundy appears set on J.W. Walsh this year and started the season with a solid 21-3 win over Mississippi State. OSU will take advantage of a weak Big 12 to stay in the polls.
Texas: The Longhorns have lost 16 games over the last three seasons (four last year) since falling to Alabama in the 2009 BCS Championship Game. They have experience at quarterback, but don't be surprised if they fall to BYU this week and continue to stumble again and again Texas will be outside the polls looking in by the end of November.
Teams 16-20: 16. Oklahoma, 17. Michigan 18. Nebraska 19. Boise State 20. TCU
Oklahoma: The Sooners are an interesting case, but should be safe. Based on previous predictions, OU will lose to both Notre Dame and Oklahoma State, leaving toss-up games against TCU, Texas and Baylor. The Sooners have proven in the past that they can score enough points to make up for what will be a suspect defense in the suspect Big 12. They will hold in the polls throughout.
Michigan: The Wolverines, fresh off an 8-5 season, held at No. 17 despite their opening-week 59-9 trouncing of hapless Central Michigan. One of those losses last year was to Alabama, but look for this season to be pretty similar. Losing this week to the Irish will put Michigan in peril, and the schedule (Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan State and Northwestern) will be too tough to keep them in it at the end.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers will be challenged next week when they host No. 18 (previously 21) UCLA. The rest of their B1G schedule sets-up nicely though, with a November stretch against Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State being their biggest challenge. They don't play Ohio State, so look for the Huskers to stay in the polls.
Boise State: The problem for the Broncos is they just got pounded 38-6 by Washington and have already fallen from the polls. If the Huskies go on to have a big year it will help, but there is not enough oomph in the rest of the schedule to get Boise much late push. They will again have a nice record, but no ranking when it's all said and done.
TCU: Like Boise State, TCU has already lost - falling 37-27 to LSU. Unlike Boise, TCU's loss can at least be viewed as "quality" in the short term. The Horned Frogs were7-6 a year ago and brought experience into the season, but they are due for at least two more losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. They might be periodic guests to the top-25 during the season, but their stays will only be brief.
Teams 21-25: 21. UCLA 22. Northwestern 23. Wisconsin 24. USC 25. Oregon State
UCLA: The Bruins took a big step back toward national relevance last year by first beating USC and at least playing for the Pac-12 championship. Their biggest games are against Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon and USC. Splitting those four games and at least playing close in the two losses will keep Jim Mora's team on solid footing.
Northwestern: Back-to-back 10-win seasons may not be within reach, but even nine wins should be good enough for the Wildcats. They do have Ohio State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan, but they were in all of their games last year en-route to going 10-3, including a Gator Bowl win over Mississippi State. Northwestern will be on the bubble, but will stay in this season.
Wisconsin: The Badgers were far from great last year, but they won the Big Ten Championship Game to earn a Rose Bowl berth and finished with an 8-6 record after falling to Stanford. Wisconsin's biggest speed bumps will be Arizona State, Ohio State and Northwestern, but there is no Michigan, Michigan State or Nebraska, meaning with Michigan out of the polls Wisconsin is in at the end.
USC: The Trojans will continue their slide this year. If Matt Barkley couldn't prevent a 7-6 season Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, Lane Kiffin's two-headed quarterback, can't either. The ranks are thin and at least four losses await USC in 2013.
Oregon State: Like Boise State, Oregon State has already suffered an upset - falling 49-46 to Eastern Washington. Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State will not be any more kind to the Beavers, who will be outside looking in at the end of the season.
The Seven Out: Florida, Texas, Michigan, Boise State, TCU, USC and Oregon State
The Seven In: Baylor, Miami, Northern Illinois, Cincinnati, BYU, Ole Miss and Virginia Tech