College Football

NCAA Football Preseason Rankings 2014: Easy-to-View AP and Amway College Polls

Florida State's Jameis Winston answers a question during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football kickoff in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press
Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIAugust 17, 2014

Much to the surprise of no one, the Florida State Seminoles will open the season right where it finished in 2013—at the top.

Florida State received 57 of the 60 first-place votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released on Sunday, making them the team to beat during the upcoming 2014 season.

Take a look at the poll results:

2014 AP Coaches Poll
RankingTeamPoints
1Florida State1496
2Alabama1361
3Oregon1334
4Oklahoma1324
5Ohio State1207
6Auburn1198
7UCLA1106
8Michigan State1080
9South Carolina1015
10Baylor966
11Stanford885
12Georgia843
13LSU776
14Wisconsin637
15USC626
16Clemson536
17Notre Dame445
18Ole Miss424
19Arizona State357
20Kansas State242
21Texas A&M238
22Nebraska226
23North Carolina194
24Missouri134
25Washington130
collegefootball.ap.org

For comparison, also check out the Amway Coaches Poll, via USA Today:

2014 Amway Coaches Poll
RankTeamPoints
1Florida State1543
2Alabama1455
3Oklahoma1382
4Oregon1314
5Auburn1271
6Ohio State1267
7UCLA1085
8Michigan State1050
9South Carolina1009
10Baylor965
11Stanford955
12Georgia905
13LSU833
14Wisconsin654
15USC627
16Clemson535
17Notre Dame509
18Arizona State358
19Ole Miss346
20Texas A&M266
21Kansas State257
22Nebraska228
23North Carolina175
24Texas143
25Washington142
USA Today

It makes a lot of sense to see Florida State atop both polls. Heisman winner Jameis Winston is returning after a stellar first season in college football. He tossed 40 touchdowns and racked up 4,057 yards through the air during his freshman campaign, and he'll be looking for even more as a sophomore.

Kelvin Benjamin, one of his favorite targets last season, is now in the NFL, but he still has more weapons to play with. The Seminoles are returning a majority of their players on both offense and defense, meaning we could see a strikingly similar team.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher has the same goals this year as he did last year—win the national championship. Fisher told Tess Quinlan of USA Today that he appreciates the No. 1 ranking in the Amway Coaches Poll, but his team still has to work:

We're very excited about being No. 1 and happy to be No. 1, but we understand that we have to play like No. 1 and play great football. That's going to be our objective. We're proud to start there and now we just have to go play great football.

There is no added pressure. Our goal every year is to win the national championship. That's why we're at Florida State.

Another notable team in the AP poll is Oregon. The Ducks were one of the top teams in the nation last year before a pair of disappointing losses in November derailed their hopes for the national title. Marcus Mariota is back this season hungry for more, however.

Figured to be one of the top picks in the 2015 NFL draft, Mariota needs to improve his completion percentage this year to open more eyes in the NFL. He went from 68.5 percent completions as a freshman to 63.5 percent as a sophomore. Now a junior, it's time for the quarterback to shine.

ESPN College Football likes Mariota as a Heisman favorite:

He's already one of the most talented players in the nation, and other head coaches have recognized that:

A Heisman trophy would be just what Mariota needs to cap his stellar career and move on to the NFL.

A final team to note is Texas A&M. In the post-Johnny Manziel era, the Aggies will turn to sophomore Kenny Hill to lead the charge, as the team announced on its official Twitter account on Saturday.

The decision took months to happen, as head coach Kevin Sumlin waited for both Hill and Kyle Allen to showcase their skills:

We'll learn a lot about the Aggies when they open their season on August 28, as they'll face the South Carolina Gamecocks, No. 9 in both the Amway and AP polls.

With a bevy of quality teams this season, college football is set to usher in its new playoff system in grand form. It will be interesting to see if Florida State can maintain the top spot or if another team will rise up and take down the defending champs.

 

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR

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