1 . Alabama
With a near-pathological drive to win championships, Coach Nick Saban has assembled such a stockpile of usable talent that it would be foolish to say the Crimson Tide couldn't win back-to-back titles.
2 . S o u t hern Cal
On the one hand, Lane Kiffin is an immature brat. On the other hand, he might coach the most talented team in all of college football. He also has Matt Barkley as his quarterback.
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3 . LSU
Was all ready to place the pre-season crown atop Les Miles' head until Tyrann Mathieu was booted out of Baton Rouge. Replacing Mathieu will be tough, but the key will be the development of quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
4 . O k l a ho ma
The return of quarterback Landry Jones was huge, but the return of Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator might be the shot in the arm the Sooners need to get back in the BCS title game.
5 . Fl o ri d a State
The Seminoles' improved recruiting should start to pay dividends this year, especially if quarterback EJ Manuel can play well enough to help out Florida State's stellar defense.
6 . O r ego n
The Ducks will try to fly away from an off-season that included an NCAA investigation and the near-escape of head coach Chip Kelly, who almost departed for the NFL. Kelly must find a quarterback to replace Darron Thomas.
7 . Te x as
This ranking might be a bit high early on for the Longhorns, but Mack Brown has 16 starters returning. And if he can decide correctly between Case McCoy and David Ash at quarterback, Texas should return to prominence.
8 . M i ch ig an
Head coach Brady Hoke is zeroed in on winning the Big Ten title, but the truth is that with a break here or there, the Wolverines could be in the national title hunt. Quarterback Denard Robinson needs running back Fitz Toussaint to overcome his off-season suspension.
9 . G e o r gia
The Bulldogs lost top running back Isaiah Crowell, but quarterback Aaron Murray returns for his junior year. Jarvis Jones leads an improving Georgia defense. Georgia should win the SEC East.
1 0 . W e st Vi r g inia
It's the second year for high-flying coach Dana Holgorsen, who played for Hal Mumme. Better still, quarterback Geno Smith returns for his second year in the system, and the Mountaineers join the Big 12.
1 1 . Wi sc o n sin
Ultra-productive running back Montee Ball was attacked and beaten outside a bar in Madison over the summer. Provided he has recovered, the only thing that might hold the Badgers back is breaking in a new quarterback.
1 2 . Ar k a n sas
The Razorbacks were rocked by the sudden fall of head coach Bobby Petrino, but interim replacement John L. Smith knows the talent, led by quarterback Tyler Wilson. The return of running back Knile Davis from knee surgery is an important piece of the puzzle.
1 3 . O k l a ho ma S t a te
The Cowboys must replace the 1-2 punch of quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon. Coach Mike Gundy has an offensive system in place that is basically plug-and-play, however.
1 4 . S o uth Ca ro lina
As much as Steve Spurrier loves to throw the football, the key for the Gamecocks will be the health of running back Marcus Lattimore, who is coming off knee surgery.
1 5 . Cl e m s o n
The Tigers have top-10 talent, but Dabo Swinney has to improve a defense that allowed nearly 30 points a game last season. Former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables is the new man in charge of the defense.
1 6 . N e b r as k a
Running back Rex Burkhead rushed for 1,357 yards and 15 touchdowns last year as a junior. He is the son of former Clark County and Eastern Kentucky University star Rick Burkhead. He's also a key reason Nebraska could win the Big Ten.
1 7 . S tan fo rd
Hard to imagine that the Cardinal could lose a quarterback as talented and celebrated as Andrew Luck and still be a force, but Stanford has enough talent to contend in the Pac-12. Playing Southern Cal the third week of the season will be tough, however.
1 8 . M i ch i gan S t ate
Eight starters return for a Michigan State defense that is expected to carry the Spartans. Meanwhile, MSU must find a quarterback to replace Kirk Cousins.
1 9 . Vi r ginia T e ch
There's a lot riding on quarterback Logan Thomas, who threw for 25 touchdowns and completed 61.4 percent of his passes a year ago. VT should be strong again on defense and in special teams.
2 0 . Fl o rida
Will Muschamp struggled through a mediocre first season, but the addition of new offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who once held the same job at Kentucky, should work in Florida's favor. Pease's biggest task will be finding a quarterback.
2 1 . Auburn
The Tigers are two years removed from winning the national title, but Gene Chizik's most important move was hiring Brian VanGorder to run his defense. The Tigers are another team trying to decide on a quarterback.
2 2 . B o ise St a te
The Broncos return just two offensive starters, which is clearly a cause for concern. Chris Petersen's team will be young, but should still be the class of the Mountain West.
2 3 . K ansas State
Returning quarterback Collin Klein leads a Bill Snyder team that figures to be in the hunt of what could be a packed Big 12. The defense, middle-of-the-pack last year in the league, must improve for the Wildcats to make a leap.
2 4 . T CU
After years of probably being the best non-BCS team, the Horned Frogs will be playing their first year in the Big 12. Casey Pachall is back at quarterback, which should help. In a surprise, some are questioning TCU's defense, however.
2 5 . Notre D ame
The Irish's schedule is a nightmare, but Brian Kelly should have enough pieces in place by this time for his program to take a step forward. The team's best player is senior linebacker Manti Te'o.