2013 college football rankings: ESPN ranks Boise State No. 19

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 college football season is just a few weeks old, but there are already predictions for the 2013 season.

Not sure that it mattered to what league Boise State would be in for the 2013 season -- Big East or Mountain West -- they nearly always get the respect of being ranked. Even though the 2012 college football season is still less than a month old, and naturally that means the 2013 rankings come out.

Over at ESPN, Mark Schlabach put out his 2013 preseason rankings back on Jan. 10, and he has the Broncos at No. 19:

It wasn't a typical Boise State season in 2012; the Broncos relied on their defense to finish 11-2 after losing record-setting quarterback Kellen Moore and much of their offense. The Broncos were never a factor in the BCS title race after losing at Michigan State 17-13 in their opener, but they still won 10 games or more for the seventh consecutive season.

After initially accepting an invitation to join the Big East, the Broncos decided to stay in the Mountain West. They'll be the team to beat once again in that league next season. Boise State will have to replace seven starters on offense, but quarterback Joe Southwick improved throughout his first season as a starter. Boise State coach Chris Petersen will also have to rebuild his linebacker corps and secondary. The Broncos will open the 2013 season at Washington and will play BYU on the road and Southern Miss at home.

The offense for Boise State should be better with Joe Southwick having one year under his belt, but there will likely be some Boise State fans who want Nick Patti to get a shot at the starting job. Plus, running back Jay Ajayi will be the starter by himself, and could have a big year, so look for the offense to be much better in 2013.

As for projected ranked opponents that Mountain West team will face are as follows:

Air Force vs. No. 12 Notre Dame
Colorado State at No. 1 Alabama
Hawaii vs. No. 25 USC
Nevada at No. 21 UCLA
Nevada vs. No. 2 Oregon
Nevada at No. 16 Florida State
San Diego State at No. 4 Ohio State
San Diego State vs. No. 15 Oregon State
Wyoming at No. 20 Nebraska
Utah State at No. 25 USC
San Jose State at No. 3 Stanford

There are plenty of chances in the non-conference season for Mountain West teams to land a major upset.

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