College Football's 25 Most Overhyped Players, Coaches and Teams for 2015

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2015

College Football's 25 Most Overhyped Players, Coaches and Teams for 2015

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    The hype train takes on plenty of extra passengers during the offseason, to the point where New York City subways at rush hour are less cramped.

    The absence of real college football action leaves many longing for any semblance of connection to the game, however fleeting. The chance to associate with a player, coach or team that's expected to have a big upcoming year is the ultimate enticement for fans and followers.

    The hype always seems justified at the time, but when the season comes along the "hype" isn't always able to match the publicity. That doesn't mean they didn't achieve success, but it's often impossible to meet the expectations that come with such massive attention.

    This time last year, Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight was getting mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate, mostly because of the performance of one game. His strong performance over Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl had many convinced he would have a huge upcoming season, and then he struggled for much of the year.

    Who is receiving the most hype heading into 2015, justified or not? Check out our list of the 25 most ballyhooed players, coaches and teams, then give us your thoughts in the comments section.

Nick Chubb, Georgia

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    There were few better debut college seasons than what Nick Chubb put forth in 2014, especially when you consider he spent the first month-plus as a little-used backup running back. Once Chubb took over Georgia's starting job, though, he was nearly unstoppable.

    Chubb's impressive freshman year once again gives Bulldogs fans great hope for the immediate future, adding credence to the belief that the string of coming up short in the SEC and in the national title race will finally come to an end. But the same was being said before this past season, only it was junior Todd Gurley who was at the center of that hype.

    If not for injuries (and an autograph-induced NCAA suspension) to Gurley we might have heard very little about Chubb last year. But he was thrust into a starting role and performed as well, if not better, than a running back who entered that season with immense hype of his own.

    Chubb had 1,323 yards and 12 touchdowns in his eight games as a starter, topping things off with a 266-yard, three-TD performance in the Belk Bowl. That's the equivalent of Marcus Mariota going down midway through the year and Jeff Lockie putting up better numbers and leading Oregon to a national title.

    The difference, though, is that Chubb was expected to do this eventually, just not so soon. As a 5-star prospect, he entered college with plenty of hype, and the fact he was able to make Gurley almost an afterthought has managed to raise already lofty expectations even higher.

    And because of this, Chubb is expected to not only surpass what he did in 2014 but combine it with what Gurley had managed before him.

Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Arkansas spent much of the 2014 season as that team that was perpetually on the cusp of breaking through, of being able to end a long SEC losing streak and play at a level that justified Bret Bielema coming down from Wisconsin two years ago.

    The Razorbacks had several near-misses before finally hitting paydirt in November with back-to-back shutouts of Ole Miss and LSU, which they parlayed into a winning record and a bowl bid. The rise continued with an absolute domination of Texas in the Texas Bowl, holding the Longhorns to 59 total yards in a 31-7 victory.

    So, naturally, Arkansas is getting loads of hype for 2015, despite playing in the toughest division in the country.

    "The reason you can believe in Arkansas is because of the product on the field and the way it steadily has improved since Bielema took over the program late in 2012," ESPN.com's Alex Scarborough wrote.

    Arkansas brings back 15 starters, including a senior quarterback, a pair of 1,000-yard rushers and most of an NFL-sized offensive line. This is more than enough to warrant high expectations, but with a schedule that includes 10 bowl qualifiers from a year ago (including all eight conference games) that might not translate into more than a one- or two-win improvement.

Justin Fuente, Memphis

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    Congratulations, Justin Fuente. Your success at Memphis last season has made you the newest member of the Hot Young Coaches Club. Please enjoy your complimentary raise and contract extension, and get used to having your name mentioned anytime a vacancy at a larger program occurs.

    But also be prepared to at least match what you did in 2014, when you piloted the Tigers to 10 wins and an American Athletic Conference title after going 3-9 the year before. Exceeding that performance is preferred, however, in order to remain in high regard within this exclusive club.

    Fuente has worked wonders at Memphis, a program that hadn't had football success in more than a decade but now could find itself swooped up in the next wave of conference realignment if a certain league that's short on the requisite number of teams needed to hold a league title game decides to expand. He got a raise to $1.4 million, which is on the high side for a non-power conference school but won't keep a big-named school from swooping in and taking him away if he keeps producing.

    That's the key, though. Because Fuente stayed at Memphis he's going to have to maintain the level of success he had this past season in order to remain a hot commodity.

Corey Clement, Wisconsin

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    The loss of a 2,500-yard rusher and most of the offensive line he ran behind should make for very tempered offensive expectations this season at Wisconsin. But a lot of hope rests on the shoulders of presumptive successor Corey Clement, whose numbers as a backup last year were better than many school's top running backs.

    As a sophomore Clement ran for 949 yards, which tied for 67th-best in FBS. He earned only 10.5 carries per game, however, because Melvin Gordon was ahead of him on the depth chart. Now that Gordon has turned pro, the carries are Clement's for the taking, and all indications are that he'll make Gordon's departure hurt as little as possible.

    Clement certainly doesn't lack for confidence, either.

    "The players behind me are just going to have to respect that the playing time is in my hands now," he told Sports Illustrated's Colin Becht.

    The last year Wisconsin didn't have a player rush for at least 1,600 yards was 2010, when instead the Badgers had two 1,000-yard gainers.

Georgia Southern

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    College football isn't set up to where it can realistically have Cinderella stories like we see in college basketball. But Georgia Southern was about as close to that as you can get in 2014, its first season of FBS play.

    The Eagles went 9-3 and won the Sun Belt Conference with a perfect record, yet because of NCAA rules related to transitioning programs they weren't eligible to play in a bowl game. That limitation goes away this season, and with the bulk of the players that paced the nation's No. 1 rushing offense set to return, there's no reason to expect any drop-off.

    GSU even gets a few more chances to make a major splash against an established power, opening at West Virginia and facing Georgia in November. But it again doesn't face the Sun Belt's two most established programs, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette, so its performance will be hard to truly gauge, much like this past season when its only win over a bowl qualifier was against 6-7 South Alabama.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

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    Michigan's hiring of former quarterback Jim Harbaugh as its next head coach was one of the worst-kept secrets in college football history. Identified as the Wolverines' top choice long before predecessor Brady Hoke's dismissal was assured, the hype surrounding Harbaugh's return to Ann Arbor was akin to projecting Best Picture Oscar nominees before the movies are finished being filmed.

    Harbaugh's success rebuilding both Stanford and the NFL's San Francisco 49ers warranted high expectations at Michigan, and his status as a "Michigan Man" unlike Hoke and Rich Rodriguez added to this scenario. Yet the reality is the Wolverines figure to be relatively thin on talent this season, and the 38th-best recruiting class (per 247Sports) had only 14 signees and only a handful of potential instant-impact players.

    Don't tell that to a Michigan fan, though. In their eyes, Harbaugh's arrival is as close to an assurance of a win over Ohio State, a Big Ten title and a spot in the playoffs as you can possibly get. It's why there's been no internal concern that Harbaugh is getting far more attention for his Twitter savvy and one-day tenure as a baseball coach than for what's developing in spring ball.

    What place will Michigan finish in the Big Ten's East Division this fall? We shall see, though for his sake and for the sanity of the fanbase let's hope it's better than Harbaugh's fourth-place finish in the school's student body presidential election.

Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

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    Following three straight masterful postseason performances, each more impressive than the previous, Ezekiel Elliott's stock was rising faster than the hottest tech IPO. Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod wasted little time following Ohio State's national championship to declare the junior-to-be as the Heisman front-runner for 2015, a sentiment that has been echoed numerous times since by other experts. 

    He's also continued to rise up draft big boards for 2016, when he's first eligible to go pro, sitting at No. 8 in WalterFootball.com's latest mock draft.

    Not bad for a player that was only an honorable mention choice in his own conference last year, though that didn't factor in his 200-yard games against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game or against Alabama and Oregon in the playoffs.

    Instead, though results have been like coal to a steam engine that is barreling toward this next season carrying a load of expectations so heavy that Elliott must at the very least break Eddie George's single-season school record but also might require him to top Barry Sanders' FBS record while also ensuring the Buckeyes win a second straight national title. 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    Being an old-school offensive approach that continues to baffle new-age defenses, Georgia Tech had its best season in five years, which included an impressive win over Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl. Ranking second nationally in rushing, the Yellow Jackets' triple-option attack was as close to unstoppable as you get nowadays in college football.

    But now comes the real test: maintaining that level of success. And with the ACC's longstanding champion, Florida State, facing a potential backslide as it searches for a replacement to star Jameis Winston, the league is there for the taking.

    Tech has been in this position before until coach Paul Johnson. In his second season, in 2009, the Yellow Jackets went 11-3, beating Clemson for the ACC title but then losing to Iowa in the Orange Bowl. A year later, they went 6-7, then averaged seven wins over the next four seasons before this past year's resurgence.

    Quarterback Justin Thomas is back this fall, but every other significant skill position player either graduated or is returning from injury. Yet Tech finds itself on many way-too-early top-25 lists for 2015, despite the holes that must be filled and a schedule that includes games at Clemson, Duke and Notre Dame as well as visits from Florida State and Georgia.

Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette

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    Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

    The Hot Young Coaches Club usually has a lot of turnover, either because the members get plucked up by a bigger program and ascend to a different class or because they fail to maintain the success that got them invited in the first place. Mark Hudspeth is the exception in both cases, as he's managed to put together four straight 9-4 seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette.

    The 46-year-old Hudspeth may as well be the president of this club, though, because by now most other coaches with his track record would have gone elsewhere.

    A $1.075 million average salary to coach in the Sun Belt is a big reason that Hudspeth hasn't left the Ragin' Cajuns' program yet, but when this extension was announced last June athletic director Scott Farmer acknowledged the contract wasn't meant to keep him in Lafayette forever.

    "We're very sensitive that we don't want to hold him back should an incredible opportunity come forward," Farmer said, per Tim Buckley of The Advertiser.

    Hudspeth has been mentioned as a potential candidate for bigger jobs, and last winter was noted as a possible successor to Dan Mullen had he left Mississippi State for another opening. Yet for now he's locked in to ULL for another season, the ceiling of which continues to be getting to play in the New Orleans Bowl like it has the past four years.

Leonard Fournette, LSU

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    Before ever arriving at LSU, Leonard Fournette faced expectations normally reserved for college upperclassmen. As the No. 1 overall recruit in 2014, the hope was that he would put together such a masterful first season in college that it would serve as the opening chapter in the greatest collegiate career ever.

    Fournette didn't temper this hype, adding to it himself by saying he expected to be an All-American, a Heisman candidate and win a national title as a true freshman.

    While Fournette wasn't able to match all of this hyperbole, it's hard to say his debut season wasn't a success. He rushed for a freshman school-record 1,034 yards with nine touchdowns, and ended on a superbly high note with back-to-back 100-yard games that included a spectacular performance in the Music City Bowl.

    And because of that final outing, when he returned a kickoff for a touchdown and had two rushing scores en route to 264 all-purpose yards on just 13 carries, the hype machine has been cranking at full speed for Fournette this offseason once again.

LSU Tigers

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    When a power program has an off year, it's usually the expectation that this is a one-year swoon that will get corrected quickly. When it goes beyond a single season, though, real concern starts to set in.

    But somehow LSU manages to mostly avoid this outlook, and this year is no different. Despite a third straight season that didn't involve much of a realistic shot at a national title, the projections for the Tigers in 2015 are once again on the high side.

    LSU went 8-5 last season, tying for fourth place in the SEC West for its worst league finish in Les Miles' 10 seasons. That followed back-to-back 10-3 years, which isn't anything to cry about at most programs but far below expectations in Baton Rouge.

    Eleven losses in a three-year span happened previously under Miles, and because the Tigers bounced back from that and were in the title hunt for the next two seasons (and played for the championship in that second year) there's the expectation this will occur again.

Lane Kiffin, Alabama

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    Lane Kiffin made this list last year, mostly due to the assumption that his hiring as Alabama's offensive coordinator would serve as a lifeline to a program that was foolishly getting written off after ending the 2013 season with back-to-back losses.

    He proved his worth in spades, turning longtime backup Blake Sims into a star quarterback and putting up some of the best team offensive numbers in program history. Alabama ranked 18th overall at 484.5 yards per game last season, compared to 33rd the year before.

    Further offensive progress is expected for 2015, and because of how quickly Kiffin has made his mark he's now also getting plenty of hype as a strong head-coaching candidate when (not if) he decides to go that route. This seems to be ignoring that he struggled to maintain success at USC and was fired midway through 2013, or that his previous stints with Tennessee (for one season) or in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders didn't go so well either.

    The move to Alabama has been a great boost to Kiffin's reputation, but to say he's back to being head coach material seems far too premature.

Christian Hackenberg, Penn State

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    Before his freshman season, Christian Hackenberg was already getting projected as a high-round NFL draft pick in three years. After that initial campaign these projections became even more intense and he was considered a potential No. 1 overall selection, and the sky was the limit for Penn State's offense under his guidance.

    Then 2014 happened, and Hackenberg's numbers didn't improve. They regressed in some areas, from 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions to 12 TDs and 15 picks (while getting sacked 44 times). Last year's numbers look even worse if the Nittany Lions' opener—when he threw for a school-record 454 yards—and the bowl game—371 yards, four TDs—are taken out.

    But instead of this putting a major dent in Hackenberg's draft stock, that subpar year instead is getting couched as a character-building experience that could better him for a pro career.

    "This is uncharted territory for a kid who, until now, has been decorated and deified as America's next great quarterback," Bleacher Report's Brian Leigh wrote. "He might, for the first time ever, even come out with something to prove."

Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Ohio State was still getting asked about how it managed to rally from an early loss in 2014 to win the national title when the questions about repeating filtered in, and soon those forward-looking queries dominated the interview sessions.

    Coach Urban Meyer noted this during a press conference the day after the title game, saying, "We'll have that conversation, certainly not today," per Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod.

    This is pretty much a staple question of every champion in every type of sport, not just college football. But most of those teams don't have what the Buckeyes have coming back in 2015, and because of this they're almost assured to be No. 1 in all preseason polls and could very well be a unanimous pick.

    It's the same situation Florida State was in a year ago, as quarterback Jameis Winston was back and that was expected to outweigh any losses to graduation or the NFL draft. With OSU, the return of three top-tier quarterbacks, a Heisman-worthy running back and most of a potent defense make it completely understandable to think it will claim a second straight title.

    Yet as we saw with FSU, the pressure to repeat is impossible to prepare for, and because of that the hype should come with a disclaimer no matter how talented the defending champions are.

Jim McElwain, Florida

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    What Jim McElwain was able to do in his short time at Colorado State was nothing short of amazing, taking a downward-trending mid-major and turning it into an offensive juggernaut. It's why Florida quickly zoomed in on him as a top choice to run its program and locked him up before its 2014 season was finished.

    Will this translate into success in The Swamp, particularly this season? Gators fans sure hope so, and they're not willing to wait long, and as a result the hype associated with McElwain is more connected to how quickly he'll get things turned around instead of if he will, since the latter isn't an option.

    "Anything but tangible progress in 2015 will be a disappointment to Gator Nation, so the pressure will be on for McElwain," wrote Drew Laing of SaturdayDownSouth.com.

    Only Jim Harbaugh at Michigan might have higher expectations than what McElwain faces with Florida, though Harbaugh's lineage and connection to the school might give him a little more wiggle room at the outset.

Jeremy Johnson, Auburn

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    In the NFL, the most popular player on any team is often the backup quarterback, who in times of turmoil is looked at by fans as the answer to all of that club's problems. This is also the case in college football, to a lesser extent, but manifests itself more when the starter graduates or turns pro and a notable backup is there to step right in and keep things moving forward.

    This is why Auburn junior Jeremy Johnson is getting billed as a potential superstar, despite the fact he's thrown 78 passes in two seasons and is taking over for a wildly successful passer that was the perfect fit for the Tigers' run-first offense.

    Much of this is based on Johnson's brief audition last August, when because of a one-half suspension to Nick Marshall he started Auburn's opener against Arkansas and threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-16 passing. While Arkansas had several weeks to prepare for Johnson instead of Marshall, the desire to focus on Auburn's run game contributed to Johnson's performance.

    Johnson is a virtual lock to be Auburn's starter this year, which will mean tweaking the offense to adjust to his style while still relying on a strong rushing attack. Success seems likely, but the level of certainty that's been attached to Johnson is quite hype-driven.

Ole Miss Rebels

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    With 16 starters returning from one of the best teams in school history, Ole Miss has the framework in place to build off that breakout 2014 season and keep the Rebels among the top programs in the country.

    In some circles, though, this has been translated into meaning Ole Miss will be playing for a national title in Arizona in January.

    Hugh Freeze has made great strides in Oxford, the first coach in program history to go to a bowl in each of his first three seasons, per the school. The Rebels knocked off both Alabama and Mississippi State last year, had the top-ranked scoring defense and bring back seven starters from that unit that became known as the "Landsharks" for their ability to force turnovers and thwart attacks.

    It also had a three-year starter at quarterback in Bo Wallace, who while often mistake-prone was still relatively consistent and reliable. He's graduated, and the candidates to replace him are either inexperienced (sophomores Ryan Buchanan, DeVante Kincade) or a junior college transfer who was booted from Clemson and had legal trouble this winter.

    That kind of uncertainty at a position as critical as quarterback should factor into expectations, but that hasn't been the case with Ole Miss.

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

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    With his just-claimed national title at Ohio State, Urban Meyer joins Nick Saban as the only FBS coaches to win championships at multiple schools. And the circumstances that came with the last title has prompted some to say what Meyer did in 2014 was the best coaching job in history, regardless of sport or level.

    "Urban Meyer did the greatest coaching job of all time," ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Jon Gruden said, per Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. "Winning a national championship with his third-string quarterback, I've never seen that before."

    Does this also mean that Meyer, with three national titles and success at four different schools, is the greatest college football coach ever? The praise he's gotten for this past season, as well as the lack of concern for how he's going to handle the unique situation of having to decide between three top-flight quarterbacks as his starter, makes it seem that way.

    This hype isn't borne just of the past season, though that's where most of it is coming from. And it also is why there's little speculation that Ohio State will struggle to repeat as national champions, because Meyer's abilities will prevent that from happening.

Cardale Jones, Ohio State

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Cardale Jones may end up being the most-hyped backup quarterback in the country this fall, depending on how Ohio State's three-headed quarterback competition plays out. That would fit in perfectly with his distinction of having the greatest three-game career in college football history, one he nearly parlayed into a quick jump to the pros when his stock soared in January.

    But after leading Ohio State to the national title as its third-string quarterback he opted to stay in school, though he risks seeing even less playing time with the Buckeyes than he might have with an NFL team in 2015.

    Because OSU has three quarterbacks—along with senior Braxton Miller and sophomore J.T. Barrett—who have had massive success when starting, Jones has no guarantee to start as a junior despite how he performed in the clutch last winter.

    Jones threw two passes in three games as a redshirt freshman in 2013, and last year he was beat out by Barrett for the backup job to Miller before Miller injured his shoulder in August. Jones had to sit back and watch as Barrett became a superstar, only getting a handful of snaps over the first 11 games before Barrett was injured late against Michigan.

    He started all three postseason games for OSU, throwing for 742 yards and five touchdowns.

TCU Horned Frogs

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    Predictions are made each year about which teams will be the biggest surprises of the upcoming season, an inexact science that factors in things like returning starters and changes in scheme. And while TCU was among those poised to have a good year in 2014, what it did couldn't have been predicted by anybody.

    The Horned Frogs tied for the Big 12 title and were a strong candidate to make the playoffs a year after going 4-8. They didn't earn an invite, but capped off a 12-1 season with a blowout of Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl, using the semifinal snub as fuel.

    That brush-off remains TCU's main source of motivation for 2015, and combined with what it has coming back there are very few predictions for this season that don't include the Frogs among the nation's top teams.

    "No more underdog," wrote Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "No more little ol' us."

    Quarterback Trevone Boykin returns, one of 14 starters back from a team that was fifth in total offense and 18th in total defense. On paper, it makes sense to expect great things from TCU in 2015, but it shouldn't be considered a certainty.

    We had a few of these breakout teams last year, too, but not all of them were expected to maintain that success. Auburn was, yet Missouri and UCF were not, and in the end it was the ones that were not overhyped the following season that had more success than those who were.

Will Muschamp, Auburn

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Will Muschamp is this year's Lane Kiffin. And while Kiffin lived up to his hype last year, that doesn't ensure Muschamp will be able to do the same.

    Before his ill-fated venture as Florida's head coach, Muschamp had the reputation of being one of the best defensive gurus in college football. This didn't exactly go away when he was with the Gators, but because his teams' offenses were so listless his work on the defensive side of the ball got lost in the chaos.

    Now that he's back to being an assistant, though, Muschamp has returned to being looked at as a defensive genius, one who is considered the answer to all of Auburn's problems now that he is the Tigers' defensive coordinator.

    But truth be told, Muschamp doesn't really need to do that much to make Auburn better on defense. As Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee has noted, because of the talent in place and because the Tigers are so efficient on offense it won't require him having the No. 1 defense in the country to be considered a success.

    "It's not like Muschamp has to be a miracle worker and get the Auburn defense to a point where it's holding teams under 300 yards per game on a consistent basis," Sallee wrote. "With an offense like Auburn boasts, 375 yards and 22 points per game is more than adequate."

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

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    With transfers becoming more and more prevalent in college football, the hype that comes with some of the most high-profile ones makes them seem like they could single-handedly save their new teams. When they have to sit out a season, and their new team struggles in an area where that player could help, this notion becomes even stronger.

    Had Baker Mayfield been eligible last season, instead of being made to redshirt following his transfer from Texas Tech, Oklahoma wouldn't have struggled in the passing game as it did under quarterback Trevor Knight and the Sooners' 2014 season wouldn't have been considered a major disappointment.

    Or, so the narrative has read when it comes to Mayfield, who started eight games for Tech as a true freshman in 2013 and then was the star of Oklahoma's spring game last April.

    Adding to Mayfield's hype is the arrival of a new offensive coordinator, Lincoln Riley, who is implementing an Air Raid system similar to what Mayfield operated at Texas Tech and which is far different from what fellow Oklahoma quarterbacks Knight and Cody Thomas are experienced with.

Tennessee Volunteers

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    The way the offseason hype machine works, the better you look at the end of one year the more amazing you'll be the following season. This is why Tennessee, fresh off a 7-6 season that featured four wins in its last five games, is getting mentioned as a dark-horse playoff contender in 2015.

    Come again?

    Though this is as much fan-driven as it is from anywhere else, there's no denying that the expectations are much higher for the Volunteers after their first winning season since 2009. The team is young, but not as young as last year, and the experience gained from playing so many underclassmen has Tennessee poised to have a huge year this fall.

    Just how big will depend on how one judges this, but based on Tennessee's hype this won't be in the form of the little things getting better.

    "Tennessee's success will be defined more by results than development, so it's key this year that the Vols' improvement on the field can be quantified by more wins," Bleacher Report's Brad Shepard wrote.

Steve Sarkisian, USC

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    From a year-to-year standpoint, Steve Sarkisian's teams have gotten better each season that he has been a head coach. From 5-7 in his first year with Washington in 2009 to 8-4 in 2013, then 9-4 last season at USC, he's shown constant improvement.

    But for coaches that are as well-regarded as Sarkisian, such betterment usually isn't so incremental. There's often a significant bump along the way, going from one tier to the next, but we haven't seen that in his tenure.

    It could have happened when he moved from Washington to USC, where as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2005-08 he was at the helm of offenses that won 46 games and played in four Rose Bowls. Instead, the talent-laden Trojans finished tied for second in the Pac-12's South Division and had to settle for the Holiday Bowl.

    It's expected to occur this season, as the Trojans are a trendy choice to win the conference and make the playoffs. To do that, though, will require Sarkisian to buck his career trend of only minor improvements and make a major leap forward.

LaQuan McGowan, Baylor

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    We saved the biggest—in many ways—for last when it comes to chronicling college football's most overhyped entities heading into 2015. They don't get much bigger than 6'7", 410-pound LaQuan McGowan, a reserve offensive lineman for Baylor who was converted into a tight end and unleashed on Michigan State's unsuspecting defense last January in the Cotton Bowl.

    McGowan's large-man touchdown catch was one of the biggest highlights of the bowl season, even if it didn't end up resulting in a win for the Bears.

    Now that Baylor seems intent on making McGowan a regular part of its explosive offense, this has made it possible for McGowan's already rock star-level reputation to grow exponentially, making us long even more for the upcoming season just to see what he's able to do with the ball.

    We got some glimpses during Baylor's spring practice season, as he had another big reception in its spring game and then showed up the ability to make one-handed catches to the point that Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer has labeled McGowan as "pretty much an X-Men character at this point."

    Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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