The United States of College Football
25 San Jose St
24 Oregon St
21 Northern Illinois
19 Oklahoma St
The Horned Frogs are one of my favorite teams of the 2013-2014 season. Casey Paschall is one of my favorite collegiate players. He is extremely underrated and was raved about in Almost Varsity’s college football preview last year. After some off-field issues, Paschall was dismissed from the team and could not finish out the season. He is back this year and will turn some heads across the country. TCU is a sleeper national title team to be on the lookout for.
14 Florida St
Jameis Winston is a player to watch, not just in the ACC, but in the nation. The Noles will have another good defense, but the offense will only run as far as Winston takes them. Playing in a weak conference should allow the Seminoles to make an ACC, and maybe a national, title run this fall.
13 Boise St Boise State has become a top 25 team annually. The team plays in a weak conference and still manages to get respect from the big BCS boys. Each year they have to travel to play a non-conference game because the big named teams are too scared to play on the smurf turf. The offense is not anything special, but the defense will once again, be a top 15-20 defense.
Heisman hopeful, Teddy Bridgewater leads a very good, but not great, Louisville team. If the Cardinals played in a better conference I don’t think this team would have the chance to compete for a national title. With the incredibly weak schedule, if Louisville does not go undefeated, this will be a very disappointing season.
Every year the Bayou Bengals are loaded with talent and have the ability to compete with any team in the nation. However, Les Miles is going to be in for a difficult year. Losing almost half of team’s starters to the draft and having a less than stellar QB under center, Les Miles and the coaching staff, will have their work cutout for them.
10 Notre Dame
Losing the starting QB in the offseason dropped the Irish down in my rankings. Tommy Rees is not the QB Everett Golson would have been. The Irish had a very overrated defense last year that was boosted up by some padded numbers. ND has a tougher schedule this year than last year as I think USC and Michigan will be better.
A great defense and a good running game may not be enough to overcome a very difficult schedule. Jeff Driskel is a playmaker and I think this Gators team will go as far as he can lead them. With no proven RBs back, it all comes down to Driskel.
Stanford is one of the more overrated teams in the nation. A sophomore quarterback leads the way in a simple and methodical offense. Stanford grinds out games and plays good defense. If the defense can stay near the top ten this team will have a chance to make some waves this season. Stanford opens the season against the team that I absolutely love, the San Jose State Spartans, and I’m not ruling out a Spartan upset.
Equipped with arguably the most explosive offense in the country, the Clemson Tigers are looking to turn heads this year. Heisman hopefuls, Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins lead the Chad Morris uptempo offense and with another year under Brent Venables, the defense will continue to make strides.
6 South Carolina
South Carolina is a team that I go back and forth on. The offense isn’t flashy, but the defense is great and they have one of the best players in college football in Jadeveon Clowney. The OOC schedule is tough with Clemson and North Carolina on tap, but they avoid Alabama, LSU, and A&M in the crossover games.
The questions on this Bulldog team is not on the offensive side of the ball. Aaron Murray decided to return to Athens to pair up with the phenomenal running back tandem of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. Two big things concern me about these Bulldogs this year. Almost the entire starting defensive unit from last years team is gone and the beginning of the season is going to be tough. Georgia will be without their scholarship kicker and a starting safety in their first game against an extremely explosive Clemson offense when the season begins.
4 Texas A&M
The first freshman Heisman trophy winner in history is back. This team finished last season by destroying an underrated Oklahoma team in the Cotton Bowl. The Aggies get lucky with scheduling to avoid Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
The Ducks have an underrated defense and the most explosive offense in college football. Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas are two of the top playmakers in football. The loss of Kenjon Barner will hurt, but Thomas will be more than capable of picking up the slack. If Chip Kelly didn’t leave for the NFL, I’d have a tough time keeping them out of the top 2.
2 Ohio St
Another down year for the Big Ten and a relatively easy OOC schedule sets up nicely for the Buckeyes. Biggest test of the year will be when they go on the road to Ann Arbor to face the Wolverines. This could quite possibly be another undefeated season for Braxton Miller and the Buckeys, and without the NCAA sanctions, it could mean a national title.
After another Bama national title, the Crimson Tide are poised to win another this season. The best game manager in college football, AJ McCarron, returns with the stud WR/RB combo of TJ Yeldon and Amari Cooper. The defense led the nation in points against for a second straight year last year and will just reload. The Tide have two weeks to prepare for LSU and A&M this year. Nick Saban should be anticipating another great year.