By Steve Deace
The Great Debate
Settling the annual argument about conference supremacy.
1. SEC…Favored to make it 8 consecutive national championships.
2. Big 12…Nabs the runner-up spot because its second division is stronger.
3. Big Ten…Look for a bounce-back year for a league that desperately needs one.
4. Pac-12…Its second division is weaker so it slips to 4thdespite excellence at the top.
5. ACC…Really needs Virginia Tech and Miami to re-emerge this season.
6. Mountain West…First division of this conference can play with the ACC.
7. American Athletic…New name probably doesn’t mean new results.
8. MAC…League lacks a marquee team, but has best depth in years.
9. Conference USA…Perhaps the league hardest hit by recent round of expansion.
10. Sun Belt…Bottom half is full of bottom feeders.
The top schools at each position group.
Offensive backfield — Georgia…The most prolific passer in school-history is flanked by two super sophomores at tailback.
Wide receivers — San Jose State…They don’t have the big names, but the Spartans’ foursome does have big production with over 6,000 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Offensive line — Stanford…The Cardinal have remained among the nation’s elite by playing smash-mouth, Midwestern football on the West Coast.
Defensive line — Stanford…Every player on the two-deep returns from a unit that was one of the best in the country down the stretch last season.
Linebackers — Stanford…If both their All-American candidates stay healthy Cardinal deserves this spot.
Secondary — Oregon…All four starters return from what was the best secondary in the Pac-12 last season.
Look for these prep newcomers to be instant impact players this fall.
Mackenzie Alexander (CB-Clemson)
Antonio Allen (DB-Indiana)
Kenny Bigelow (DL-USC)
Cameron Burrows (DB-Ohio State)
Max Browne (QB-USC)
Greg Bryant (RB-Notre Dame)
Dannon Cavil (WR-Oklahoma)
Taco Charlton (DE-Michigan)
Alex Collins (RB-Arkansas)
Su’a Cravens (S-USC)
Ezekiel Elliott (RB-Ohio State)
Steve Elmer (OT-Notre Dame)
Danny Etling (QB-Purdue)
Alex Figueroa (LB-Miami, Fla.)
Keith Ford (RB-Oklahoma)
Khris Francis (RB-North Carolina)
Derrick Green (RB-Michigan)
Christian Hackenberg (QB-Penn State)
O.J. Howard (TE-Alabama)
William Likely (DB-Maryland)
Christian LaCouture (DL-LSU)
Shaq Lawson (DE-Clemson)
Jordan Leggett (TE-Clemson)
Courtney Love (LB-Nebraska)
Mike Mitchell (LB-Ohio State)
Tray Matthews (S-Georgia)
Jonathan McLaughlin (OT-Virginia Tech)
Taquan Mizzell (RB-Virginia)
Darius Mosely (DB-Illinois)
Robert Nkemdiche (DE-Mississippi)
Marquez North (WR-Tennessee)
Ethan Pocic (OL-LSU)
Demarcus Robinson (WR-Florida)
Robbie Rhodes (WR-Baylor)
Sojourn Shelton (DB-Wisconsin)
Kelvin Taylor (RB-Florida)
Dymonte Thomas (DB-Michigan)
Laquon Treadwell (WR-Mississippi)
Aregeros Turner (RB-Northern Illinois)
Thomas Tyner (RB-Oregon)
Davis Webb (QB-Texas Tech)
JaQuay Williams (WR-Texas A&M)
Priest Willis (CB-UCLA)
These junior college transfers will see immediate playing time.
Cameron Artis-Payne (RB-Auburn)
Ronald Butler (WR-Utah State)
Jeremy Chappelle (WR-Mississippi State)
Tiquention Coleman (S-Arkansas)
Marquel Combs (DT-Kansas)
Justin Cox (CB-Mississippi State)
Ronnie Daniels (RB-San Diego State)
Marcus Hardison (DL-Arizona State)
Desmond Harrison (OT-Texas)
Tyler Ferguson (QB-Penn State)
Terry Jackson (DL-Colorado State)
Josh Kirkland (LB-Syracuse)
Tanner McEvoy (QB-Wisconsin)
Ivan McClennan (LB-Washington State)
Steven Nelson (CB-Oregon State)
Quincy Russell (DT-Oklahoma)
Tommy Sanders (LB-Texas A&M)
Beau Sandland (TE-Miami, Fla.)
Traylon Shead (RB-SMU)
Dreamius Smith (RB-West Virginia)
Za’Darius Smith (DE-Kentucky)
Brandon Vandenburg (TE-Vanderbilt)
Carroll Washington (CB-Arkansas)
Jake Waters (QB-Kansas State)
Kevin White (WR-West Virginia)
Damien Wilson (LB-Minnesota)
Aaron Wimbery (RB-Iowa State)
Sam Wren (DE-Oklahoma State)
Robert Zimmerman (DT-Toledo)
Now Ready for Primetime
These redshirt freshmen will emerge after sitting out last season.
Adam Bisnowaty (OT-Pittsburgh)
Chris Black (WR-Alabama)
Ben Braden (OL-Michigan)
Riley Bullough (RB-Michigan State)
Demetrius Cox (S-Michigan State)
Sean Culkin (TE-Missouri)
Darius English (DE-South Carolina)
Kyle Kalis (OL-Michigan)
Steven Longa (LB-Rutgers)
Paxton Lynch (QB-Memphis)
Michael Malloy (RB-Iowa)
Jackson Matteo (OL-Virginia)
Avery Moss (DE-Nebraska)
C.J. Robbins (DE-Northwestern)
Jabari Ruffin (DE-USC)
Barry Sanders, Jr. (RB-Stanford)
Kwinton Smith (WR-South Carolina
Christian Tago (LB-San Jose State)
Justin Thomas (QB-Georgia Tech)
Justin Thomas (CB-Utah)
Jameis Winston (QB-Florida State)
The New Kids in Town
These transfers are being counted on by their new schools.
Demetris Anderson, DE-Central Florida (Western Michigan)
Jeremy Cash, S-Duke (Ohio State)
Robert Clark, WR-Louisville (Florida)
Max Garcia, OL-Florida (Maryland)
Jake Heaps, QB-Kansas (BYU)
Jeff Luc, LB-Cincinnati (Florida State)
Aaron Lynch, DE-South Florida (Notre Dame)
Tyler Moore, OL-Florida (Nebraska)
Shawn Oakman, DE-Baylor (Penn State)
Matt Patchan, OL-Boston College (Florida)
Trevon Randle, LB-Houston (LSU)
Tom Savage, QB-Pittsburgh (Rutgers)
Jesse Scroggins, QB-Arizona (USC)
Ja’Juan Story, WR-TCU (Florida)
Clint Trickett, QB-West Virginia (Florida State)
Pete Thomas, QB-N.C. State (Colorado State)
Brandon Williams, RB-Texas A&M (Oklahoma)
Big Shoes to Fill
These players are replacing some of the biggest names from last season.
Blake Bell (QB-Oklahoma/Landry Jones)
Chris Casher (DE-Florida State/Bjoern Werner)
John Fulton (CB-Alabama/Dee Milliner)
Melvin Gordon (RB-Wisconsin/Montee Ball)
Jarrett Grace (LB-Notre Dame/Manti Te’o)
Terrell Hunt (QB-Syracuse/Ryan Nassib)
Jordan James (RB-UCLA/Johnathan Franklin)
Luke Kaumatule (TE-Stanford/Zach Erntz)
Ryan Kelly (C-Alabama/Barrett Jones)
Paul Millard (QB-West Virginia/Geno Smith)
T.J. Stripling (LB-Georgia/Jarvis Jones)
Tyrell Taylor (DE-Texas A&M/Damontre Moore)
Mykkele Thompson (S-Texas/Kenny Vaccaro)
Max Wittek (QB-USC/Matt Barkley)
The Honor Roll
Predicting the winners of college football’s most prestigious awards.
Heisman Trophy — A.J. McCarron (Alabama)
Bear Bryant Award — Gary Patterson (TCU)
Doak Walker Award — Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona)
Davey O’Brien Award — A.J. McCarron (Alabama)
Fred Biletnikoff Award — Marquise Lee (USC)
John Mackey Award — Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington)
Outland Trophy — Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)
Bronco Nagurski Award — Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)
Dick Butkus Award — C.J. Mosely (Alabama)
Jim Thorpe Award — Bradley Roby (Ohio State)
The Ultimate College Football Road Trip
If you can only be at one stadium each week this fall these are the places to be.
August 31st — Georgia at Clemson…A renewing of one of the South’s best non-conference rivalries from back in the day features two record-setting senior quarterbacks.
September 7th — Notre Dame at Michigan…It was an instant classic the last time the two most historic programs in the sport met in primetime in Ann Arbor.
September 14th — Alabama at Texas A&M…It’s rare for the Crimson Tide to be out for revenge since they don’t lose all that often, but they are here.
September 21st — Boise State at Fresno State…With a light slate of games why not check out perhaps the biggest game in the Mountain West this season?
September 28th — LSU at Georgia…These two SEC titans don’t play that often. In fact, it’s just the second time they’ve met between the hedges since 2004.
October 5th — TCU at Oklahoma…If this isn’t the biggest game in the Big 12 this fall, next week’s road trip will be.
October 12th — Oklahoma vs. Texas…It’s probably not an understatement to say Mack Brown’s future could be riding on this game.
October 19th — Florida State at Clemson…The top two teams in the ACC square off at Death Valley in a de facto playoff game.
October 26th — Stanford at Oregon State…This is the beginning of a tough closing stretch of games for the Cardinal.
November 2nd — Michigan at Michigan State…A nasty in-state rivalry that could also have Big Ten championship implications.
November 7th — Oregon at Stanford…The combined talent and clash of styles might make this the game of the year.
November 16th — Florida at South Carolina…Steve Spurrier may need to beat his alma mater to win the SEC East.
November 23rd — Baylor at Oklahoma State…First one to 60 wins.
November 30th — Michigan at Ohio State…Could it be the first of back-to-back games between these two for the first and only time?
Previewing the 2014 NFL Draft.
1. Raiders — Teddy Bridgewater (QB-Louisville)*
2. Jaguars — A.J. McCarron (QB-Alabama)
3. Bills — Jadeveon Clowney (DE-South Carolina)*
4. Jets — Marquise Lee (WR-USC)*
5. Cardinals — David Fales (QB-San Jose State)
6. Browns — Johnny Manziel (QB-Texas A&M)*
7. Titans — Tahj Boyd (QB-Clemson)
8. Buccaneers — Aaron Murray (QB-Georgia)
9. Bears — Taylor Lewan (OT-Michigan)
10. Chargers — Jake Matthews (OT-Texas &M)
11. Cowboys — Anthony Barr (LB-UCLA)
12. Eagles — Bradley Roby (CB-Ohio State)*
13. Colts — Will Sutton (DT-Arizona State)
14. Panthers — Loucheiz Purifoy (CB-Florida)
15. Vikings — Sammy Watkins (WR-Clemson)*
16. Lions — James Hurst (OT-North Carolina)
17. Steelers — Cyrus Kouandijo (OT-Alabama)*
18. Ravens — C.J. Mosely (LB-Alabama)
19. Rams — Antonio Richardson (OT-Tennessee)
20. Dolphins — Louis Nix (DT-Notre Dame)
21. Chiefs — Derek Carr (QB-Fresno State)
22. Redskins — Shayne Skov (LB-Stanford)
23. Giants — Stephon Tuitt (DE-Notre Dame)*
24. Broncos — Aaron Colvin (CB-Oklahoma)
25. Falcons — Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE-Washington)*
26. Saints — Timmy Jernigan (DT-Florida State)*
27. Patriots — Kyle Van Noy (LB-BYU)
28. 49ers — Jason Verrett (CB-TCU)
29. Texans — HaHa Clinton-Dix (S-Alabama)*
30. Packers — Cyril Richardson (OL-Baylor)
31. Bengals — Jackson Jeffcoat (DE-Texas)
32. Seahawks — Jordan Matthews (WR-Vanderbilt)