Marcus Mariota will fly into the secondary this year in big games
The AP writers poll released their initial college football rankings on Sunday afternoon. Predictably, the Florida State Seminoles have captured the heart of the voters and garnered the No. 1 ranking. However, the defending national champions are not a unanimous pick to win it all in 2014. The Seminoles took 57 of the 60 first place votes. With quarterback Jameis Winston back in the fold, the Seminoles clearly are the target for every team in the country.
Three other teams received a first place vote apiece in the initial rankings. Alabama, Oregon, and Oklahoma also received first place consideration. The top four teams are the same as the Coaches poll which was released a couple weeks prior.
Alabama comes into the year as the second ranked team, but they don't even know who their quarterback will be. Interestingly enough, Florida State transfer Jacob Coker could wind up leading the Crimson Tide into the Final four playoffs.
Oregon is a favorite to win the PAC-12 and they start the year at No.3. The Ducks have one of the Heisman favorites returning with Marcus Mariota at quarterback.
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The Oklahoma Sooners come in at No. 4, and represent the Big 12 conference. The Sooners have the schedule to breeze into the college football playoff, but an untimely loss, could be detrimental to conference and national title hopes.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are No.5 and they are the highest ranked Big 10 team. This Buckeyes won 24 straight games to start the Urban Meyer tenure, but they lost their last two games entering the 2014 season.
Last year's BCS title runner up Auburn comes into the year at No. 6. They are the second SEC team to be ranked in the top 10.
The No. 7 UCLA Bruins also make the top 10 out of the PAC-12. They are a gigantic sleeper out of the PAC-12 South to make the college football playoffs. Brett Hundley is a stud at quarterback, and he may have the Bruins dancing in January.
Michigan State won the Big 10 and Rose Bowl last season, but find themselves at No. 8. The Spartans will be more offensive minded in 2014.
South Carolina has won 11 games three years in a row, and they are the trendy pick to win the SEC East. With a No. 9 ranking, they have as good a shot as any team to earn a trip to the college football playoff.
The most explosive offense in the country rounds out the top 10. The Baylor Bears are not one of the elite programs in the country and this preseason ranking validates the claims. They are the defending Big 12 champion.
The Stanford Cardinal start out the second 10 teams in the country. The Stanford Cardinal are back to back PAC-12 champions, so they are definitely not ready to relinquish the north crown to Oregon or any other team in the conference.
Notre Dame is going through another academic scandal as the season is set to begin, but they find themselves ranked at No. 17. It will be interesting to see where the Fighting Irish are ranked after the first week.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are ranked at No. 22 in the Big 10, while Missouri starts the year at No. 24. The Tigers rose in the rankings last season to earn a trip to the SEC Championship game. Both teams will be utilizing new quarterbacks that earned extensive playing time due to injury in 2013.