The 2015 college football season will begin much like the last one ended, as Ohio State was named the No. 1 team in the country Thursday as part of the initial Amway Coaches Poll.
OSU, which won the inaugural College Football Playoff last season, was a near-unanimous selection at No. 1 with No. 2 TCU and No. 3 Alabama garnering one first-place vote apiece. Here is a look at the entire Top 25:
|2015 Preseason Amway Coaches Poll|
It comes as little surprise that the Buckeyes pace the field, as they return most of their key players from last year's championship squad. That includes running back Ezekiel Elliott, who ran for over 200 yards in each of the team's last three games on the way to the title.
Having so many great signal-callers could create an issue for head coach Urban Meyer, but Mike Greenberg of ESPN's Mike & Mike isn't concerned about the depth of talent:
Perhaps the most significant part of the poll is TCU's ascension to No. 2. Despite losing just one game last season, the Horned Frogs were left out of the four-team playoff, and they took it out on Ole Miss with a 42-3 thrashing in the Peach Bowl.
While TCU has a lot to like, including returning quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Trevone Boykin, Carlos A. Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is still taken aback by some of the perennial powers the Frogs are ahead of currently:
Big 12 rivals TCU and Baylor created a great deal of controversy with regard to the College Football Playoff last season, as they were both jumped by Ohio State in the last week of the season.
The lack of a Big 12 Championship Game and the fact that the Bears beat the Horned Frogs 61-58 certainly contributed to the situation. Andrew Perloff of Sports Illustrated couldn't help but crack a joke that likely opened up old wounds of both teams' fans:
Unlike TCU, Alabama is seemingly always in the mix, and the powerhouse program is once again expected to compete for a national title as the No. 3 team in the nation.
But that won't be easy this season. The Crimson Tide will have to overcome losing key players like quarterback Blake Sims, running back T.J. Yeldon, wide receiver Amari Cooper and safety Landon Collins to the pros.
Even more importantly, they have one of the most difficult schedules in the nation, according to Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News:
Baylor checks in at No. 4 without the services of quarterback Bryce Petty, while Oregon must undergo a change under center as well with Marcus Mariota now in the NFL.
Despite losing just one game over the past two seasons, Florida State checks in at No. 8, due largely to the fact that superstar quarterback Jameis Winston joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
Even though those teams are undergoing huge changes, they are all still considered among the best teams in the nation by the coaches, which speaks to the parity within the sport, as Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pointed out:
Storied programs like USC and Notre Dame are on the precipice of contention at No. 10 and No. 11, respectively, while Oklahoma is among the teams in unfamiliar territory, according to Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News:
Polls rarely tell the entire story of an upcoming football season since plenty of teams tend to surprise in both positive and negative ways. With that said, they are usually a strong indicator of who will be in the championship mix.
The 2015 campaign has all the makings of a wild one since so many different programs could potentially play their way into the College Football Playoff, but the coaches seemed to agree that Ohio State is the team to beat.
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