College Football 2014: Top 25 Preseason Power Rankings
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We’re about a week away from the 2014 college football season taking place. So, here are the top 25 teams entering the season.
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1. Florida State Seminoles - The Florida State Seminoles are not only college football’s defending national champs, but they have the best QB in the country in Jameis Winston and a Top 10 defense.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide - It’s hard to bet against the Alabama Crimson Tide any season with Nick Saban coaching the team. The Tide also have their most talented offense in years led by Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon.
3. Oregon Ducks - Marcus Mariota is one of the top quarterback’s in the country and the Oregon Ducks are always one of the best offensive teams in the land. As usual, the Ducks will be in the national championship conversation.
4. Oklahoma Sooners - Trevor Knight is a blossoming superstar at the quarterback position and the Oklahoma Sooners have the top defense in the Big 12. Bob Stoops just needs to figure out how to win the big games.
5. UCLA Bruins - The UCLA Bruins are a young, athletic and extremely talented team on both sides of the ball. Brett Hundley is a terrific quarterback and a defense led by Myles Jack makes the Bruins a real threat to the Oregon Ducks.
6. Michigan State Spartans - The Michigan State Spartans will once again have one of the top defenses in the country and a veteran offense led by Connor Cook should improve. Michigan State will be a more balanced football team.
7. Auburn Tigers - The Auburn Tigers return 14 starters from a team that was just seconds away from winning the national championship. While the loss of Tre Mason is massive, Nick Marshall will be better in his second season and an athletic Auburn defense should take another step in the right direction.
8. Baylor Bears - Bryce Petty is a potential Heisman winner at the quarterback position, giving the Baylor Bears one of the top offenses in college football. Baylor lost a lot of depth from a year ago but we’ve seen time and time again just how far an elite quarterback can carry a team.
9. Ohio State Buckeyes - The Ohio State Buckeyes fall down quite a bit with the injury to Braxton Miller, but are still a team to watch closely. Urban Meyer is a hell of a coach and will have his team ready. After all, the Buckeyes return seven defensive starters to fall back on.
10. Stanford Cardinal - The Stanford Cardinal have six defensive starters coming back from arguably the top defense in the Pac-12. Quarterback Kevin Hogan has the potential to be college football’s break through player this season as well.
11. Georgia Bulldogs - With the best running back tandem in Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, and a defense that returns 10 starters, the Georgia Bulldogs are primed to make a strong run for an SEC Championship.
12. South Carolina Gamecocks - The South Carolina Gamecocks lost a lot of firepower but running back Mike Davis is a workhorse and a young defense is eager to prove itself. Don’t don’t this team just because Jadeveon Clowney is now in the NFL.
13. USC Trojans - The USC Trojans return seven starters on both sides of the ball, giving them a solid chance for a Pac-12 title. The Trojans have a physical defense and experienced playmakers on offense who could surprise.
14. LSU Tigers - The LSU Tigers have questions at the offensive skill positions but with seven defensive starters and majority of the offensive line returning, Les Miles and his guys still have their identity intact.
15. Wisconsin Badgers - Some are quick to write off the Wisconsin Badgers due to only nine starters returning. However, five of those starters are running back Melvin Gordon and the offensive line. An unstoppable running game is all Wisconsin has needed in the past and it’s good to go once again.
16. Clemson Tigers - The Clemson Tigers won’t be as explosive offensively as they have been in the past, but a talented defense led by Vic Beasley keeps this program in the top 25.
17. Ole Miss Rebels - The Ole Miss Rebels are the trendy pick to make a run for the SEC. While I wouldn’t go that far just yet, the Rebels are a fun to watch and will continue to turn some heads under head coach Hugh Freeze.
18. Arizona State Sun Devils - The Arizona State Sun Devils have questions defensively with eight starters needing to be replaced, but quarterback Taylor Kelly may be the most underrated player in the game. Don’t sleep on ASU this season.
19. Notre Dame Fighting Irish - The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have an experienced defense, deep backfield and an X-factor at quarterback in Everett Golson. If the Irish can put everything together and overcome off the field issues, they have a shot to have a solid season.
20. Kansas State Wildcats - It’s about time everybody stops doubting the Kansas State Wildcats. Bill Snyder is a hell of a coach and he’ll have a team that returns 10 starters ready as usual.
21. North Carolina Tar Heels - The North Carolina Tar Heels lead the ACC with 15 starters returning and should only build on last year’s seven-win season. The Tar Heels are one of a few teams that can challenge FSU for the ACC title.
22. Nebraska Cornhuskers - The Nebraska Cornhuskers won’t have much trouble scoring points with running back Ameer Abdullah leading the way. The Cornhuskers may also finally have a respectable defense with five of their front seven returning.
23. Texas A&M Aggies - Even without Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans, the Texas A&M Aggies still return 15 starters, including nine on defense. It’s also important to note that quarterback Kenny Hill also isn’t too shabby in his own right.
24. Florida Gators - The Florida Gators will once again have one of the best defenses in all of college football. If the Gators offense can put anything together, this is a team that could make a strong run in the SEC East.
25. Miami Hurricanes - I expect the Miami Hurricanes to do big things this season with an offense led by Duke Johnson, Stacey Coley and Dallas Crawford. If Miami’s defense that returns seven starters can get anything going, this team can compete in a watered down ACC.