The WDRB Sports staff makes its predictions for Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana and Western Kentucky this season.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It begins with the Head Ball Coach. Steve Spurrier is first, leading the South Carolina football team into a game against visiting North Carolina Thursday.
The Gamecocks and Tar Heels begin at 6 p.m. – and when they do the 2013 college football season will be underway with 17 games involving FBS teams on Thursday. Indiana joins the parade at 7 when the Hoosiers host Indiana State. Southern Cal and Hawaii will close the party with a game that begins at 11.
There's more on Friday. There's even more on Saturday, highlighted by Kentucky's trip to Nashville to play Western Kentucky. And, of course, Louisville begins its season Sunday by hosting Ohio University.
So if you're going to make season predictions, now is the time. You can send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, I collected the projections from the WDRB Sports team – Eric Crawford, Tom Lane, Steve Andress and John Lewis.
CRAWFORD: 12-0. I'll take the chance that the Cards will run the table. It's not a difficult table.
BOZICH: 11-1. A bad whistle. A funny bounce. A flat performance. Injuries. Too many pats on the back. Even Alabama loses regular-season games. Stuff happens. I don't know which week something will happen. But something will happen.
ANDRESS: 12-0. Somewhere on this schedule there may be a Nevada to Louisville's Boise State, and I'll still be surprised if it happens. But the Cards are left out of the BCS title game and play Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
LANE: 10-2. I waffled between one and two losses. I just think it's awfully difficult to run the table even with a favorable schedule.
LEWIS: 11-1. Complacency was an issue for last year's team and cost them a couple of games. I'm afraid the soft schedule will cause that to creep in again and lead to a loss.
CONSENSUS: 11.2 wins.
CRAWFORD: 4-8. Mark Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown will bring improvement on offense. But the schedule is daunting.
BOZICH: 4-8. Four wins aren't a reason to schedule a parade, but it's double the total from last season. The Wildcats move to a more successful and entertaining approach. Missouri and Vanderbilt will be good measuring stick games.
ANDRESS: 3-9. WKU beats UK, nothing more than a gut feeling and reacting to Stoops' frequent honesty about the level of practices. But UK beats Missouri at home in the SEC. It's not about this year, though.
LANE: 4-8. I see that as the best case as they try to build some hope for the next couple of years.
LEWIS: 3-9. The 2013 season is just a dress rehearsal for 2015 and 2016 when Stoops' vision becomes more viable on the field. I'm focusing more on seeing improvements than what the Wildcats' record will be this year.
CONSENSUS: 3.6 wins
CRAWFORD: 6-6. Look for one big upset. Also look for a bowl game at the end of the year.
BOZICH: 6-6. The Hoosiers have one of the best offenses in the Big Ten. They don't need the Baltimore Ravens' defense. They just need to squeeze in a few more stops and turnovers – every week.
ANDRESS: 5-7. The Hoosiers will look back at the Navy game in Week Two as the game that ultimately cost them a bowl game.
LANE: 6-6. Kevin Wilson continues the improvement in Bloomington.
LEWIS: 6-6. I'm optimistic about Kevin Wilson's approach to turn around the Hoosiers. I think Indiana jumps out to a 3-1/4-0 start but the Big Ten schedule, especially the road games, will bring IU back to earth.
CONSENSUS: 5.8 wins.
CRAWFORD: 7-5. Bobby Petrino has a successful return but needs a few wide receivers to develop as weapons.
BOZICH: 8-4. Bobby Petrino knows how to coach offense. He can develop quarterbacks and wide receivers. He will win games in Bowling Green. He might win enough to leave Bowling Green.
ANDRESS: 9-3. Call me a Petrino believer. But don't call me an avid Sun Belt follower. Bobby beats UK but loses at Tennessee and two other places along the way. After all, WKU lost three home games last year.
LANE: 8-4. Toppers hope to keep Petrino around for another year.
LEWIS: 10-2. WKU was picked to finish in the middle of the Sun Belt. But a relatively unknown commodity at QB coupled with Bobby Petrino's offensive mind and sprinkle in a dash of Antonio Andrews smells like a recipe for success in Bowling Green.