Sleepers for conference crowns

The return of Will Sutton gives Arizona State a shot at challenging for the Pac-12 title. Jennifer Hilderbrand/US PRESSWIRE

Much of the attention of the college football world this time of year is paid to the impact that recent recruiting battles will have on the long-term conference championship prospects of many programs.

But while the spotlight is on those teams, are there any programs slightly below the radar that have set themselves up to make a jump this season?

Here are five sleeper conference championship candidates for the 2013 season:

LSU Tigers

It might seem odd to list LSU as a sleeper SEC championship contender. The Tigers finished only one game out of first in their division last year (the best division in college football, mind you), and just two seasons ago they went undefeated in conference play en route to a berth in the BCS National Championship.