The 2015 college football season has arrived and this could be hands-down the most anticipated season of all time. The reigning national champions, the Ohio State Buckeyes, are looking to repeat. But with the target on their back, it will be a difficult road. Let’s review the Associated Press’ top five teams going into the opening week.
1. The Ohio State Buckeyes
The reigning national champions come into this season with the best offensive line, best quarterback group, best linebacker group, running back Ezekiel Elliott (who could be on track for the Heisman Trophy this year), and best head coach Urban Meyer. The team is loaded and has a great chance to repeat as national champions. Buckeyes has better make sure not to take West Virginia (their first game of the year) for granted.
2. Texas Christian University (TCU)
Head coach Gary Peterson’s team can no longer hide under the radar as they are a bona fide college football threat. Quarterback Trayvon Boykin is the best system quarterback fit in the country. With a great defense, the Horned Frogs will find a way to win. TCU has gone from the WAC to C-USA to MWC to the Big 12. Can they go from the Big 12 to the national champions? Eventually!
The Crimson Tide is off and running with a week one match up against the No. 20 Badgers of Wisconsin. According to ESPN, coach Nick Saban is considering using two quarterbacks against the Badgers (David Cornwell and Blake Barnett). Nevertheless, expect the Alabama to be dangerous as ever, even after losing offensive weapons T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper. Both the offensive and defensive line are stacked, and in the backfield, lookout for the one/two punch of bruising running back Derek Henry and change of pace running back Kenyan Blake. Expect Alabama to be in the national championship run.
Head coach Art Briles has developed a true contender winning the Big 12 title two consecutive years. Looking to replace quarterback Bryce Petty, the Bears have name junior Seth Russell as the starting quarterback. Russell does have a lot of weapons. Wide receivers Corey Coleman and K.D. Cannon are returning, along with running back Shock Kenwood to help Russell get settled. If the defense can hold and the fireworks on offense can execute, expect the Baylor Bears to win a third Big 12 title and earn a playoff spot.
5. Michigan State
Head coach Mark Dantonio had one of the best seasons last year. And there are three reasons why Spartans will make the College Football Playoffs this season. Number one is senior leadership. Shilique Calhoun and Jack Allen both show leadership on both sides of the ball. Games that come down to the wire, expect those gentlemen to step up and lead their team to victory. Number two, games are one on the line. The Spartans are returning eight of nine players with starting experience. The offensive line gave up .85 sacks per game (fourth in the country) as the defensive line sacked the opposing quarterback 3.23 times per game (eighth in the country); that spells trouble for opposing teams this season. Lastly, that shutdown secondary. Demetrious Cocks and Montae Nicholson are highly projected to be bona fide superstars. Last year’s safety R.J. Williamson has reportedly been making great strides this off-season as well.
Rounding out the top 10 at No.6 the Auburn Tigers, No. 7 the Oregon ducks, No.8 the USC Trojans, No. 9 the Georgia Bulldogs and No. 10 the Florida State Seminoles.