I have reanalyzed all of the teams and watched every Spring Game and this is probably my last ranking before the first games. But, this stuff is fun and things can happen before the season gets started, so you just never know.
1. Florida State: Florida State has the tools to win it again, but Jameis Winston needs to get his act together. His leadership was so impressive last season, but he has had a rough off season. He may blow the Heisman before the season even gets going. Defense should be very solid this season even with the loss of Timmy Jernigan up front.
2. Alabama: If Jacob Coker comes through, look for the Crimson Tide to seriously challenge for the title. The running game will be as solid as always. Defense has incredible talent but when will they learn to defense the spread? If they can’t stop or slow down the wide open offenses they will never beat the Seminoles.
3. Auburn: People may chuckle at this pick, but Gus Malzahn is the man. Nick Marshall will be improved over last season and they picked up outstanding Duke Williams from the JC ranks. Defense may be better but they weren’t outstanding last season so they have room to improve.
4. Oklahoma: The Sooners are going to challenge. They should breeze through the Big 12 and that’s why I am picking them 4 now. QB still could be an issue, but the defense will be solid.
5. Michigan State: The Spartans should still have one of the nation’s great defenses. We will all find out pretty quickly because they have a trip to Eugene, Oregon pretty early in the year. If they survive Mariota, look for them to make a run.
6. Stanford: The Cardinal took some losses on defense but they have replacements coming up. Offense will be as good as last season other than the loss at Running Back. Look for the Nerd Nation to beat Oregon yet again and win the North. They may have a bigger challenge with the South champion this year if it’s UCLA.
7. Ohio State: Braxton Miller is one of the best around but the defense was iffy at times last season. If the Buckeyes have the defensive problems fixed, they could be contenders. The Buckeyes need to stay healthy which is mostly true about every team, but they don’t have the greatest of depth.
8. LSU: The Tigers may have QB problems, but they do have Leonard Fournette. They have a very solid Offensive Line returning, but also have problems with losses at Wide Receiver. Defense will always be good at LSU and it may need to be better than normal at least in the early part of 2014 until one of the QB’s come through.
9. Oregon: Marcus Mariota might surprise and win the Heisman this season. But, I don’t see the Ducks getting past Stanford once again. Winner of the Pac 12 could be in running for the title.
10. UCLA: The Bruins will be a force to be reckoned with this season. Brett Hundley is back and one of the top QB’s in the nation. The defense will be better and there’s Myles Jack. Jim Mora is one of the nation’s best coaches.
11. Georgia: It would be highly unlikely for the Bulldogs to be as unlucky as last season. They have
Todd Gurley and more talent coming in at RB and plenty of other talent, but the loss of Aaron Murray could be too much to get past. Defense has a new Defensive Coordinator from Florida State. It’s going to be tough for anyone in the SEC East to beat the Western Champion.
12. Ole Miss: Look for the Rebels to be highly improved this season, but it will be a huge step to get past the SEC Western powers.
13. Clemson: Stoudt looked better at QB in the Spring Game than expected. Defense will be stout across the board. They won’t beat Florida State, but maybe they can beat other rival, South Carolina.
14. South Carolina: The Gamecocks are on a roll and will probably finish much higher than this, but they lost a ton of talent. Still, they should be pretty good
15. USC: The Trojans will have one of the better defenses, plus their offense should be much better with a year’s of experience under Cody Kessler’s belt. Some people are underwhelmed with Sarkisian, but I guess they never saw Washington play before he arrived.
16. Baylor: Should be one of the best offenses in the country this season and some will rank them pretty highly. But, the defense will be as bad as always and will cost them in tough games.
17. Missouri: Green-Beckham actions will cost them a little bit of fire power this season, but they are well coached and will still be a force to be reckoned with.
18. Wisconsin: Well-coached team with one of the better Running Backs in the country. Plus, they will play the same old solid defense as before even with the loss of MLB Bourland.
19. Arizona State: Another well-coached team but with one of the better Quarterbacks in the country. Big losses on defense but Coach Todd Graham is a defensive coach and will come through.
20. Miami: Miami will need Duke Johnson to stay healthy if they are going to compete with the Florida State’s of the ACC. The defense should be good with Perryman at MLB.
21. Penn State: Franklin, Franklin, Franklin. Could be the best up and coming coach in the country and he has the Lions believing that they can. QB is in good hands with Hackenberg. Depth is still an issue.
22. Notre Dame: The Irish should be competitive but I would like them better with Zaire at QB. Offense still may struggle.
23. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys lost a lot and could struggle early on facing FSU. They should still be competitive.
24. Texas A&M: Hard to tell where to place the Aggies. Lots of big losses, obviously, and their defense should still be bad.
25. Florida: My surprise team of 2014 as long as Jeff Driskel stays healthy. Muschamp knows defense but the offense should be a major surprise.