The 2014 season is eight months away, but it is never to early to not talk about it! A lot of college football websites present you with their Early Bird Top 25, but here at Fifth Quarter since we are sooooo original we are going to present you with our Early “Worm” Top 25. So go ahead and look at our top 25 rendition at the bottom, and tell us what you think!
#1. Florida State: The defending national champions lost a lot but they return Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston. Jimbo Fisher not only signed another top five recruiting class, but in 2013 it seemed as if he changed his composure as a head coach. The incoming recruit to watch for Is Dalvin Cook as he may have a chance to start this season with the departures of Freeman and Wilder. The unsung hero of the team is Mario Edwards Jr. who dominated future NFL Offensive Tackle Greg Robinson in the national championship game.
#2. Oklahoma: After the unexpected blowout against Alabama in The Sugar Bowl, The Oklahoma Sooners may have the most momentum coming into 2014. Trevor Knight had an amazing game, and is set to dominate the Big 12 in 2014. The name “Big Game Bob” was well deserved after wins against Oklahoma State and Alabama. Many people do not realize that Oklahoma has been one of the most consistent programs the past 15 years.
#3. South Carolina: With Steve Spurrier aging it seems like his window of opportunity is closing. Even though The Gamecocks lose Connor Shaw they still have a seasoned quarterback under center in Dylan Thompson. 2011 was the first time The Gamecocks have ever had a 11 win season, and in 2013 they just had their third straight. This recruiting class focused on rebuilding the secondary and defensive lines. If they can rebuild those two units the sky is the limit. Did I also mention that they get Missouri and Georgia at home this year?
#4. Michigan State: The Spartans had one of the best defenses last year in all of college football. Even the offense started to come together as it showed in The Rose Bowl and Big Ten Championship Game. They are also coming off their best recruiting class in the Dantonio era.
#5. Oregon: Heisman trophy contender Marcus Mariota is coming back He will have one of the nations best supporting cast in skill players, and all five of his offensive lineman return for next season. The interesting thing about The Ducks will be how they face the adversity of life after Nick Aliotti the long time Oregon Defensive Coordinator.
#6. Auburn: The War Damn Eagles were a miracle short of winning their third national championship. The Tigers will have to replace Tre Mason, but The Malzahn system can make anyone a successful running back. The defense will have to improve as every team torched the Tigers secondary in 2013.
#7. UCLA: Two of the nations upcoming stars return next season for UCLA in Myles Jack and Brett Hundley. Linebacker Anthony Bar had a huge year in 2013, and will be that much better come this fall. The out of conference has unique games against Texas and Virginia which both should be decent test for The Bruins. The PAC-12 Conference is so deep this year that the Bruins will have to separate themselves from the pack.
#8. Missouri: TWO WORDS….Maty Mauk! Maty will provide an easy translation from the Franklin era, as he is already a “veteran” quarterback. In the regular season in 2013 The Tigers were undefeated in regulation time, and they won their first SEC East title in their second year. Gary Pinkel looks like he is in his prime as a coach, and will continue to roll with his Tigers.
#9. LSU: The Tigers had an amazing recruiting class this past year to compliment another batch of talented players leaving for the NFL. They did land the nation’s top recruit in five-star Leonard Fournette and another amazing five-star player wide receiver Malachi Dupre. The opening game in Houston, Texas against Wisconsin should be the measuring stick for LSU this season. The Alabama game is in Baton Rouge, and even Alabama fans know how hard it is to win there at night.
#10. Alabama : A.J. McCarron, C.J. Mosley, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Vinnie Sunseri, and Kenny Bell are all gone. One of the most successfully senior classes ever in Crimson Tide history are departing for The NFL. Nick Saban has proved before at Alabama he can reload talent, and develop the players he already has. It is just hard to put Alabama any higher than #10 when we do not know who their quarterback will officially be yet, and there is no defensive leader with Mosley departing. FSU Jacob Coker is a stud, but there is no way we can predict how good he will be this early with limited playing experience. We definitely cannot predict how well he will perform in a Lane Kiffin offense.
#11. Stanford: The Cardinal has been recently amazing at reloading each year, and the way they do it is impressive. Stanford has to pass up on many top recruits because of their academic standards but they have still been able to find great guys. Kevin Hogan and his veteran wide receivers
#12. Notre Dame: Everett Golson RETURNS! Brian Kelly claims that he is not guranteed the starting position but we can all call a BIG B.S. on that! Seven starters return on the defense and will have plenty of room to grow.
#13. Baylor: RGIII, Nick Florence, and now Bryce Petty is putting up huge numbers for The Baylor Bears. Him deciding to stay puts Baylor back up at such a high-ranking, and Baylor fans can count their blessing Art Briles is still there. Baylor won their first conference title since 1980, but they are looking for another one this season.
#14. Ohio State: It took 24 straight wins until The Buckeyes started a new streak. A streak that Urban Meyer despises, and so does Buckeye nation. They have lost their last two games, which were the biggest two games last year. Braxton Miller will have to be extra amazing this year as Carlos Hyde and four offensive lineman are gone.
#15. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have the biggest opening game of the season next year, as they will meet the defending national champions Florida State. The Cowboys lost 28 seniors but with a high explosive offensive system from Mike Gundy they should have a solid 2014 season.
#16. Southern Cal: Many thought The Trojans were crazy to rid themselves of Ed Orgeron, but Steve Sarkisian will have the chance to prove the athletic administration that they were right. This team is still loaded with talent, and they are bringing in the best recruiting class in the PAC-12.
#17. Clemson: Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins may have left but the top offensive play caller Chad Morris is still there. The defense has still been a weak spot, but it has definitely improved since the demolishment two years ago in the ORange Bowl.
#18. Wisconsin: Gary Anderson is a up and coming coach in the Big Ten. The Badgers will get an early test against SEC Power LSU, and we will truly see what they are made of.
#19. Duke: Coming off the best season in modern program history, The Blue Devils are gunning for another ACC Championship appearance. Offensive Coordinator Kurt Roper left for Florida, but we all know David Cutcliffe was the mastermind here. Quarterback Anthony Boone returns after a strong 2013 season.
#20. UCF: There will be no Blake Bortles or Storm Johnson next year but there is enough talent in Central Florida to repeat as American Champions. Kyle Gibson from Seffner, Florida will make an immediate impact and improve the secondary.
#21. Georgia: Four year starter Aaron Murray is gone and he was a warrior for Athens Georgia. Senior Hutson Mason will have one chance to leave a legacy at Georgia. He will have to rely on Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley to take pressure off of him. Hopefully The Bulldogs can stay healthy this year, unlike 2013.
#22. Washington: Chris Peterson leaves Boise, Idaho to become the head man of The Washington Huskies. The schedule is manageable especially since Illinois is the toughest out of conference opponent.
#23. Ole Miss: One of the most talked about teams in the 2012-2013 recruiting season definitely showed their young talent this past season. The 2014 season will rest on the development of Bo Wallace and whether he can take this team to the next level.
#24. East Carolina: Shane Carden is one of the best quarterbacks you have not heard about. The Pirates leave the American Conference to challenge old rivals UCF in the American.
#25. North Carolina: Last season the Tar Heels finished as one of the hottest teams in the country. The only problem is they started off 1-5. This year Larry Fedora will need to do a better job with consistency. UNC has as much talent as most teams in the nation.