Projecting the season in stages

Here's what the standings could look like as the 2013 campaign unfolds

Updated: August 20, 2013, 1:15 PM ET
By Brian Fremeau | ESPN Insider

McCarron and MariotaGetty Images, AP PhotoAlabama and Oregon have the best odds of remaining undefeated this season.
The race for a national championship is not a linear one. In 2011, LSU ranked atop the BCS standings from their initial release all the way through the end of the regular season, but that level of stability has been rare. In all other seasons since 2007, the No. 1 spot in the BCS standings has changed hands at least once during the final weeks.

Surprises certainly play a part in those shifts. Alabama and Kansas State both held the top spot at one point last season (and Oregon was in the hunt as well) before upsets shook up the standings. But in addition to unexpected results, the ebb and flow of each team's strength of schedule plays a role.

Teams that may be expected to have strong end-of-year rankings won't necessarily get off to a blazing start, and some teams that have an easy road early on may fall off in the final month of the season. We broke down the 2013 season into five-week segments and ran our drive-based FEI projections to see which teams may boast the nation's best records at various stages.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com