Everyone has their own predictions when it comes to college football, and I’ve jotted down who I think are the top five teams entering the 2014. It’s hard to place an SEC Team atop of the poll simply due to the toughness of the conference, and how hard it is to get through the entire season without a loss and then play in a title game that features another title-contending team. So here is my pre-season CFB Top 5!
1. Florida State Seminoles – The 'Noles are loaded. Heisman QB Jamies Winston is back along with a ton of speed and talented offensive weapons. But the FSU defense is what makes them tops in the nation. DE Mario Edwards is a big time pro prospect. The 'Noles schedule is not as tough as other top contenders, and that should be the difference in them making it back to the title game this season. Watch out for those rival Hurricanes late in the season.
2. Oklahoma Sooners – How much better can Sooners QB Trevor Knight look? After throwing for over 300 yards and four TD’s in the Sooners' Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, folks out in Oklahoma think these Sooners can make it to the four-team playoff. I’m here to tell you this team has a chance to be very good. WR Sterling Sheppard is a legit threat, and defensively, OU should be much better with the return of All Big XII DL Charles Tapper and the 2013 conference freshman of the year in DB Dominique Alexander. Many national experts claim the OU LB’s are arguably the best in the nation with Erick Striker leading the pack. The schedule is favorable and the Sooners should land in the four team playoff this January.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide – RTR! After looking near flawless in their first 11 games, the wheels came off of the bus against Auburn and Oklahoma. Still, the Tide are a machine, and the machine will roll again in 2014. Alabama does have tough road games against Ole Miss and LSU, but outside of those dates, they should be OK. RB’s TJ Yeldon and Kenyan Drake are the truth and is WR Amari Cooper. But who’s going to get them the ball? Whenever you have to replace a veteran leader like AJ McCarron, it’s a hard thing to do. Blake Sims is a talented player but has no experience. And incoming QB Jacob Coker has not taken a snap on campus. Regardless, the Tide’s Defense will be stout enough to allow the offense to gel. DL A’Shawn Robinson looked salty in the Crimson Tide’s A-Day Spring Game. And JC transfers Jarran Allen and D.J. Pettway are big time SEC players. I fully expect the Tide to be a title contender again this season. What else is new?
4. Auburn Tigers – From 3-9 to 12-2 you would have to say that 2013 was an incredible turn around for the Tigers that almost won it all. Now with a boat load of talent back, Auburn should make another run in the SEC and be among the nation’s elite teams this season. Auburn will have an unstoppable offense and their defense should be improved this year as well. QB Nick Marshall had a huge season in which he became arguably the best dual threat QB in CFB. WR Sammie Coats became a go to guy for Marshall, and D’haquille Williams will be an instant playmaker for the Tigers offense this season. The Auburn defense was bad last season from a stats standpoint. But their red zone play and ability to create turnovers was pretty good. Coordinator Ellis Johnson will have his defense much improved this season. Keep an eye on Montravius Adams, as he is the leader on the Tigers defensive front. The schedule is still tough with road dates at Georgia and Alabama and home dates against LSU and South Carolina. But with an electric offense, the Tigers should be in every game they play this season.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes – QB Braxton Miller is back and another undefeated regular season seems high possible for the Urban Meyer-led Buckeyes from Columbus. But replacing RB Carlos Hyde is no easy task for Meyer. Curtis Samuel and Johnnie Dixon are home run hitters with game breaking ability. The Buckeyes Offense does not have to be as good as a year ago when they averaged a massive 511 yards per game. Defensively the Buckeyes need to get better. OSU gave up 24 points per game in 2013 and the Buckeyes got gashed in their last two games against Michigan State and Clemson. Other than a road trip to Happy Valley to face the PSU Ninty Lions and a early November trip to East Lansing to face Michigan State, the Buckeyes should be in shape to be in line for a playoff berth this post season.