As the 2014 college football regular season swiftly approaches, the most highly debated topic surrounding the college football ranks is the list of Top 25 teams from the Amway Coaches Poll.
While some teams appear to be ranked in legitimate fashion, other Top 25 squads hold rather intriguing positions due to roster uncertainties stemming from the loss of several key players via the 2014 NFL draft.
Each year, the Top 25 rankings don't take long to undergo a severe transformation. After all, in the college ranks, one untimely early loss could have season-altering consequences. That's why these rankings are one of the most argued topics heading into every season.
Let's go ahead and fuel the fire by listing the Top 25 teams from the coaches poll and pose a few debatable questions regarding those rankings.
Alabama Worthy of No. 2 Ranking?
This may seem like a strange question—Alabama has been one of CFB's most dominant teams for years. However, due to the loss of quarterback A.J. McCarron, an unsettled quarterback controversy has plagued the team during the summer months.
Blake Sims and Florida State transfer Jacob Coker have been entrenched in a battle for the starting position that is showing no signs of ending anytime soon.
I think they both did a lot of good things. I think they both have some things that they wish they had back. And I think they both probably made some choices and decisions that we can improve on.
But I also think that both guys showed that they're capable of doing what we need to do with them on offense so that we can be effective with the other players that we have.
The ongoing battle appears to be a detriment to locker-room morale. Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the division among the team's players:
Heard #Bama QB battle is dividing team. Many players support Blake Sims, while Jacob Coker is superior talent— Michael Carvell (@Carvell_AJC) July 30, 2014
There's no doubting this team's talent, but after faltering at the end of last season, receiving zero first-place votes and struggling with a quarterback controversy, questioning the Crimson Tide's ranking begins a legitimate debate.
Michigan State a Snub at No. 8 Overall?
While Michigan State saw several of its outstanding players leave at the end of last season—notably cornerback Darqueze Dennard, a first-round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals—the team remains one of the most complete in the NCAA.
The Spartans maintained one of the most prolific defenses throughout the 2013 season, ranking third in points allowed, second in rushing defense, third in passing defense and second in total defense.
Due to some very experienced starting defenders this season, comprised mostly of juniors and seniors, there's no reason to believe this team will face any kind of significant decline.
The steady Connor Cook also returns as the team's starting quarterback this season. In 2014, Cook completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 2,755 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press relayed Cook's comments on the upcoming season:
Connor Cook's past year has been "kind of mind-blowing," and he and MSU believe the next one can be better. http://t.co/urw4JNTHct— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) August 3, 2014
He'll be joined in the backfield by running back Jeremy Langford, who rushed for 1,422 yards on 292 attempts—a 4.9 average—and 18 touchdowns one season ago.
The No. 8 ranking sure seems a little low for the reigning Rose Bowl champions.
South Carolina Deserving of Top-10 Ranking?
Here's another example of a team that certainly contains a great deal of talent—not to mention one of the best coaches in the business—but is also undergoing several changes which may not bode well for the upcoming season.
The big loss for this football team is freakish defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The first-overall selection of the 2014 NFL draft, Clowney will no longer be a threatening presence for the Gamecocks along the defensive front.
Even tough Clowney's production dropped off last season, he demanded constant attention from opposing offensive coordinators in each contest. South Carolina simply doesn't have that kind of presence going forward.
Another question mark is the departure of quarterback Connor Shaw. Last season, Shaw was extremely efficient, completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 2,447 yards, 24 touchdowns and just one interception—he also brought an increased level of mobility.
This season, Dylan Thompson is currently slated to start for the team, although he hasn't shown a high level of efficiency. In relief appearances last season, Thompson completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 783 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Gamecocks must be wary of taking a step backward.
Let the debate rage on.