One of the best parts of summer is the start of the college football preseason. And the release of the Amway Coaches Poll rankings, via USA Today, has the sports world buzzing about potential matchups and possible upsets.
With top powerhouses such as the Florida State Seminoles, Alabama Crimson Tide and Oklahoma Sooners looking for a national title, the 2014 college football season will be even more entertaining now that there is a playoff system in place.
Here is the first Top 25 of the season and a full breakdown with analysis.
|Preseason Amway Coaches Poll Rankings|
|1||Florida State Seminoles|
|2||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|6||Ohio State Buckeyes|
|8||Michigan State Spartans|
|9||South Carolina Gamecocks|
|17||Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
|18||Arizona State Sun Devils|
|20||Texas A&M Aggies|
|21||Kansas State Wildcats|
|23||North Carolina Tar Heels|
Breaking Down the Top Championship Contenders
The addition of a playoff system has shaken college football to its core, but it has created genuine excitement among fans. With the BCS drawing so much animosity, the hope is that a more classic postseason format will add intrigue to the already enthralling sport.
The road to the playoffs begins with the release of the Amway Coaches Poll.
After winning the BCS National Championship, Florida State is back again this season in the No. 1 spot. Led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, the Seminoles return 13 starters from last year and look to become first winners of the college football playoffs.
Winning a second-straight national championship won’t be that easy.
Florida State has serious competition in 2014. Not only are Nick Saban and the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide looking to bounce back and win another championship, but the No. 4 Oregon Ducks are packed with high-powered weapons who will keep the team at the top of the polls each week.
Two teams that Alabama has come to fear over the past year are the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners and the No. 5 Auburn Tigers. After each knocked off the Crimson Tide late last season, the programs are brimming with confidence and look to translate that to success on the field.
While all of the teams mentioned could be considered serious championship contenders, there are several programs with the talent and coaching staff to make a run in their respective conferences and push for a berth in the playoffs.
Elite schools such as No. 6 Ohio State, No. 7 UCLA, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 10 Baylor and No. 11 Stanford are all bringing teams with the senior leadership and raw talent to make a splash in the Top 25 rankings.
Add in the SEC teams undergoing major changes this offseason (namely No. 12 Georgia, No. 13 LSU and No. 20 Texas A&M), and there is a cloud of uncertainty around many of the programs ranked high in the preseason poll.
With a clean slate and every team starting from the same point, there are many universities across the country looking at the playoff system as their way to get into a NCAA National Championship game.
College football fans should be ready for a wild year.
*Stats via CFBStats.com.