1. Florida State Seminoles- It was expected that they’d be atop the rankings. They are the defending champions and I think they have a great shot to repeat as champions again. Jameis Winston will be coming back for another season and with his leadership and productive play, Florida State will win its share of football games. He will try to prove that he’s no one year wonder but I do believe that teams will prepare for him better now defensively because they all have tape on him from last season. Some key pieces won’t be there next year such as Timmy Jernigan and Kelvin Benjamin to name a few but I feel the Seminoles have great replacements and will have an impact right away. Their defense was one of the best in the country in 2013 and to get back to repeating as champions, they’ll have to do their jobs again.
2. Auburn Tigers- What a season they had under first-year head coach Gus Malzahn. In 2012, they were 3-9 and parted ways with Gene Chizik. Last season, they were two minutes away from winning their second National Championship in four seasons. Nick Marshall is coming back which is a plus for them and I think they’ll have enough to replace Tre Mason who was such an intricate part down the stretch last year for the Tigers. Auburn must improve on their defense which was ranked 86th in yards allowed in the country last season. If they can continue to run the ball effectively and get that defense right, they’ll be in consideration for another National Title game appearance.
3. Michigan State Spartans- This is the best team in the Big Ten by far. I would take these guys over Ohio State in a heartbeat. I see these guys doing well yet again in conference play this upcoming season especially with Ohio State, Michigan and Nebraska all having to come to East Lasing. Connor Cook is coming back for another season along with running back Jeremy Langford and the Spartans offense will really have to be the rock of this team especially with the defense having to fill so many holes. With Darqueze gone, the secondary will be attacked more by opposing teams. Michigan State will weather the storm and win games nonetheless.
4. Alabama Crimson Tide- They’re almost like the New England Patriots of College Football. You are always going to see Bama ranked in the top five every year and they’ll always be considered a title contender. The Tide had a lot to improve during the off-season after their defense was ripped to shreds in the Sugar Bowl. Nick Saban is one of the best football minds in the sport today. He will look at the team’s weakness and fix it with excellent recruiting. Without McCarron, we will see Bama run the football a lot more.
5. Oregon Ducks- The key for Oregon to go far this season will be the health of Marcus Mariota. With Marcus in the line up last year, Oregon’s offense averaged close to 56 points a game. Without him they struggled as they scored only 29 points a game so you see the huge drop in points per game. With a healthy Marcus and a much improved defense, Oregon can make some noise this year in the country.