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Auburn QB Nick Marshall
The defending SEC champs enter the 2014 season with relatively minor personnel turnover from last year's squad. Quarterback Nick Marshall's return marks the first time in Gus Malzahn's college coaching career that he's had a signal-caller return for a second year in the system.
Replacing star running back Tre Mason won't be an issue, because Malzahn's system has produced 11 1,000-yard rushers in eight seasons.
Defensively, there are some questions. But the Tigers are deep along the defensive line, have both linebackers returning and have amassed some much-needed depth in a secondary that was sorely lacking in the depth department in 2013.
Optimistic: 12-0, SEC champs, No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff
Pessimistic: 6-6, which would be a wildly pessimistic view. But considering the schedule, it's possible. Kansas State, LSU, at Mississippi State, South Carolina, at Ole Miss, Texas A&M, at Georgia and at Alabama is a big-time gauntlet, and if Auburn suffers a few injuries, the season could head south.
Realistic: 11-1, with a loss to Alabama, Georgia or LSU. Auburn's going to move the football and its defense is going to be better, but running the table in the SEC is so tough.