The USA Today Coaches Poll will be released in little under an hour which means we get a chance for some last minute speculation. Last year Alabama rose to the top with a dominant defense and stout offensive attack to win the National Championship. But his year the field remains wide open with at least four teams owning a serious shot at a title. That journey begins today with the release of the USA TOday Coaches Poll, which we will have right here for you on Fansided.
But as we wait in anticipation, we are faced with the question of the day: Who will be ranked No. 1?
Alabama: They’re the obvious choice since, ya know, they’re the National Champions. But the Crimson Tide got their hard lined defense gutted by this year’s NFL draft with guys like Dre Kirkpatrick and Dont’a Hightower going in the first round and offensive star Trent Richardson leaving as well. Only safety Robert Lester the only player returning in the secondary. So Nick Saban has his work cut out for him. But the Tide still have some weapons and the respect factor of being National Champions should carry some weight.
LSU: The other obvious choice. LSU lost to Alabama in the title game and took part in the “Game of the Century” earlier in the season. Les Miles and the Tigers, unlike the Tide, have more key players returning on defense and with Morris Claiborne gone to the Dallas Cowboys, Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu taking center stage on defense. He was a Heisman hopeful last year and this year will continue that campaign with Eric Reid joining him in the secondary. Ordell Beckham Jr. will be a presence in the receiving game and should give new quarterback Zach Mettenberger a lot of options.
Oklahoma: The Sooners fell off last year after starting No. 1 in the preseason. Landry Jones is going to try and make a name for himself leading up to next year’s NFL Draft and leading the Sooners to a title will skyrocket his value. Tony Jefferson and Aaron Colvin will anchor what Bob Stoops hopes will be a stout defensive unit which will feature Stacey McGee and Jamarkus McFarland holding down the front line. The Sooner lost a lot of respect last season after falling from the top and it’s not a feeling they’ll want to repeat.
USC: The Trojans are finally free from the shackles of their bowl bans and they now are geared to recapture the glory years they had under Pete Carroll. Head coach Layne Kiffin got a huge break when quarterback Matt Barkley skipped the NFL Draft and decided to return for his senior year. He also was able to lure former Penn St. running back Silas Redd to Southern California which means in addition to wideouts Marquis Lee and Robert Woods, the Trojans could have one of the most explosive offenses in all of college football. The USC defense, led by T.J. McDonald, could also be a force and the Trojans might finally be able to shake their sketchy past and come back into the public eye as champions of the NCAA.