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Blog: Preseason Top 25

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The unofficial kickoff to the college football season began today at the SEC Media Days in Hoover. Here's how I see the preseason rankings.  

2014 Preseason Top 25

1. Florida State – “At Florida State, if we going to do it, we do it big then,” said the Heisman winning quarterback, Jameis Winston, all of last season. As long as Winston is leading the Noles, it’s hard to see them failing to make the playoffs. The biggest roadblock could be the difficult non-conference schedule. FSU opens the season in Dallas against Oklahoma State, hosts Notre Dame, and finishes the season at home versus Florida. That along with ACC games versus Clemson, at North Carolina State, at Louisville, and at Miami will be a tough road to navigate.

2. Auburn – It’s a rare day in age for Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn…he has a returning starting quarterback leading his offense this season. Not just any quarterback, but maybe the most electric playmaker in the country. I expect Marshall to improve his passing skills, and become a complete quarterback…that should scare every defensive coordinator on Auburn’s schedule. Two things could keep the Tigers out of the new College Football Playoffs. Defense and schedule. The Tigers have to replace half of their defense, including their main playmaker Dee Ford. Auburn didn’t get any breaks on the scheduling front this season either. The Tigers have to travel to Kansas State on a Thursday night, host LSU and South Carolina, and end the season with trips to Georgia and Alabama in the final three weeks of the season.

3. Alabama – The Tide will reload once again, and the only thing keeping them out of the top two in my preseason poll is the uncertainty at the quarterback position. If Jacob Coker lives up to the hype, then the Tide will roll to the playoffs. Nick Saban has built entire teams around controlling the clock and not turning the ball over. If Coker’s “Big Arm” makes big mistakes…it could mean big trouble. That’s all assuming Coker wins the job. The good news, Alabama doesn’t have to face a team with a team with a winning record last season until October 4th at Ole Miss.

4. Oklahoma – The Sooners became a contender after beating down Alabama in the Sugar Bowl earlier this year. Also, the schedule sets them up nicely in a mediocre Big 12.

5. Ohio State – Once again, the Buckeyes schedule sets up nicely…outside of a trip to Michigan State. That offense will once again be very dangerous under senior quarterback Braxton Miller.

6. UCLA – I think this is finally the year UCLA breaks out of the PAC-12. Quarterback Brett Hundley will be one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, and their defense will be much improved this season.

7. Oregon – The Ducks also have one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Marcus Mariota. But I’m not sold on Oregon being tough enough to face Michigan State, Stanford, UCLA, and Washington without a bruise or two.

8. Michigan State – Defense wins championships…but can the Spartans match last season’s defensive performance? If they don’t…the offense will have to step up. I think quarterback Connor Cook will continue to improve, but I’m not sold on this team having enough fire power to win at Oregon.

9. South Carolina – All that’s left for Steve Spurrier to do at South Carolina is win a championship. Will this be the year? They have to replace playmakers like Jadeveon Clowney and Connor Shaw…but I’m not seeing much of a drop-off in Columbia.

10. Stanford – It’s a three way battle for the PAC-12…one of the reasons I have them all missing the playoffs. Stanford’s SEC style of play will continue to be a force in the PAC-12, but they have a brutal road schedule: at Washington, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Oregon, Cal, and UCLA.

11. Baylor

12. Wisconsin

13. LSU

14. Georgia

15. Nebraska

16. Ole Miss

17. Clemson

18. Notre Dame

19. USC

20. Washington

21. Kansas State

22. Michigan

23. Iowa

24. Miami

25. Louisville

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