As March Madness begins to wind down, college football is just getting revved up.
The college football regular season won't kick off for another five months, but programs across the country are gearing up for 2014 with annual spring games. These games allow coaches to evaluate their players and see some first-year or backup players in game action.
Not to mention they allow the marquee teams to showcase themselves to the rest of the country.
Here, we'll break down when and where to watch the top teams in action this spring.
|2014 College Football Spring Game Schedule (AP Top 25)|
|Final AP Rank||Team||Date||Time (ET)||TV/Live Stream|
|1||Florida State||Sat, April 12||3 p.m.||ESPN|
|2||Auburn||Sat, April 19||3 p.m.||ESPN|
|3||Michigan State||Sat, April 26||2 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|4||South Carolina||Sat, April 12||12 p.m.||ESPNU|
|5||Missouri||Sat, April 19||TBD||N/A|
|6||Oklahoma||Sat, April 12||3 p.m.||Fox Sports Southwest|
|7||Alabama||Sat, April 19||2 p.m.||ESPNU|
|8||Clemson||Sat, April 12||4 p.m.||ESPNU|
|9||Oregon||Sat, May 3||2 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|10||Central Florida||Sat, April 12||2 p.m.||N/A|
|11||Stanford||Sat, April 12||4 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|12||Ohio State||Sat, April 12||1:30 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|13||Baylor||Sat, April 5||TBD||N/A|
|14||LSU||Sat, April 5||TBD||N/A|
|15||Louisville||Fri, April 11||7:30 p.m.||N/A|
|16||UCLA||Sat, April 26||8 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|17||Oklahoma State||Sat, April 5||2:30 p.m.||N/A|
|19||USC||Sat, April 19||4 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|20||Notre Dame||Sat, April 12||12:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|21||Arizona State||Sat, April 19||2 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|22||Wisconsin||Sat, April 12||4 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|23||Duke||Sat, March 1||12 p.m.||WatchESPN|
|24||Vanderbilt||Sat, April 12||11 a.m.||N/A|
|25||Washington||Sat, April 19||4 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|NR||Nebraska||Sat, April 12||2 p.m.||BTN2Go|
|NR||Michigan||Sat, April 5||2 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|NR||Kansas State||Sat, April 26||2 p.m.||ULive|
|NR||Arizona||Sat, April 12||4 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|NR||Miami (Fla.)||Sat, April 12||6 p.m.||WatchESPN|
|NR||Florida||Sat, April 12||1:30 p.m.||GatorVision|
|NR||Georgia||Sat, April 12||1 p.m.||WatchESPN|
|NR||Tennessee||Sat, April 12||3 p.m.||N/A|
|NR||Boise State||Sat, April 12||TBD||N/A|
|NR||Penn State||Sat, April 12||1:30 p.m.||BTN2Go|
*Click here to view the complete spring game schedule via FBSchedules.com.
Do Jameis Winston and Defending Champs Have an Encore?
The Florida State Seminoles ran the table a year ago, winning every game on their schedule despite relying on a freshman quarterback week after week.
In time, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston would prove he was no average redshirt freshman. However, Winston and Florida State are set to face immense scrutiny and a brand-new challenge in 2014 as expectations soar through the roof.
Not to mention spring practices kick off while Winston is still busy leading the Seminoles baseball team, per ESPN College Football on Twitter:
With the Noles' spring game being made available nationwide on ESPN, the talk of a potential championship repeat is sure to begin soon, as college football fans across the map will get an early look at the defending national champions.
Is Auburn Here to Stay?
Exactly one week after Florida State takes to the gridiron for its spring game, BCS National Championship runner-up Auburn will take the stage on ESPN.
Gus Malzahn's squad was seconds away from securing a second national title in four years last January but couldn't overcome Winston and the Seminoles. But with dual-threat quarterback Nick Marshall set to return for his senior season, the Tigers have high hopes for 2014.
The loss of Tre Mason in the backfield certainly hurts, but with a top-10 recruiting class coming in, the Tigers project to be a force in the SEC next season.
Will Nick Saban, Alabama Return to the Throne?
A gut-wrenching loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl last November ended Alabama's stretch of dominance. But you can bet Nick Saban's Crimson Tide will be back atop the college football throne in no time.
After all, Alabama secured the top overall 2014 recruiting class, one that features six 5-star prospects, according to 247Sports. Losing quarterback A.J. McCarron certainly hurts Alabama from an experience and leadership standpoint, but there's plenty of talent at Saban's disposal.
Saban expressed optimism following Alabama's first spring practice last month, per RollTide.com:
We're certainly excited about the way the players responded in the offseason program. We had a really good offseason program. A lot of guys really made a lot of improvements, did a lot of work to get in better shape. I really like the attitude that our team had during the offseason program.
No program in America reloads quite like Alabama, and that's why the Crimson Tide are a threat to win it all each and every year.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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