2014 CFN Preseason Rankings - No. 11 to 20
Stanford WR Ty Montgomery
Stanford WR Ty Montgomery
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 21, 2014


2014 CFN Preseason Rankings - No. 11 to 20 - CFP Contenders


Preview 2014 - Rankings

No. 11-20

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2014 CFN Preseason Rankings
Top 4 | 5 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50 | 51 to 60
61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 128 
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There's one very important distinction in the CFN preseason rankings: these are based on how good the teams are going into the season and NOT how they're going to finish. Some teams have easier schedules than others, some get tougher road games and some will need a little bit of time to jell, meaning they might be better than their final record indicates. Going into the year, these are how good the teams appear to be from No. 1 through 128.

20. Florida
Prediction: 8-4
3 Best Players: 1) CB Vernon Hargreaves, Soph., 2) DE Dante Fowler, Jr., 3) LB Antonio Morrison, Jr.
Relative Strengths: 1) D Line, 2) Linebacker, 3) Secondary
Spotlight Units: 1) Receiver, 2) Running Back, 3) Quarterback
The season will be a success if … the Gators win the SEC East. If Missouri could get the job done, then Florida should certainly be able to come up with a surprise year, even with a brutal schedule that doesn’t provide any breaks. As long as the defense can continue to be among the ten best in the country, and if the offense can do anything to not be so pitiful, it really should be possible to survive the East unscathed – at least that has to be the goal. Split with Alabama and LSU, and hope for the best.

19. North Carolina
Prediction: 8-4
3 Best Players: 1) WR Quinshad Davis, Jr., 2) BAN Norkeithus Otis, Sr., 3) WR/PR Ryan Switzer, Soph.
Relative Strengths: 1) Receiver, 2) Quarterback, 3) Linebacker
Spotlight Units: 1) D Line, 2) O Line, 3) Secondary
The season will be a success if … the Tar Heels win the Coastal Division. Carolina wants to raise the bar a little higher in 2014, which requires a spot in the ACC title game. And why not? The Coastal is wide-open, with Duke beginning the year as an improbable reigning champ. The Heels have as much talent, and as good a quarterback situation, as anyone in the weaker half of the ACC. It’s Year 3 under Larry Fedora and it’s time to reach new heights in Chapel Hill.

18. Ole Miss
Prediction: 7-5
3 Best Players: 1) DT Robert Nkemdiche, Soph., 2) OT Laremy Tunsil, Soph., 3) WR Laquon Treadwell, Soph.
Relative Strengths: 1) D Line, 2) Linebacker, 3) Secondary
Spotlight Units: 1) Running Back, 2) O Line, 3) Receiver
The season will be a success if … the Rebels win ten games. There’s no reason not to with Alabama and Auburn coming to Oxford and the road slate relatively manageable – there are just four true away games. The team is too good to not go 4-0 in non-conference play against Boise State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis and Presbyterian, and it needs to take care of Tennessee and Mississippi State at home – that’s six wins. Beat Vanderbilt and Arkansas on the road – that’s eight – and come up with two wins against Alabama, at Texas A&M, at LSU and Auburn.

17. Texas A&M
Prediction: 8-4
3 Best Players: 1) OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Sr., 2) OG Jarvis Harrison, Sr., 3) WR Ricky Seals-Jones, RFr.
Relative Strengths: 1) Receiver, 2) Running Back, 3) O Line
Spotlight Units: 1) Quarterback, 2) Linebacker, 3) Secondary
The season will be a success if … the Aggies win nine games again. The offense might be a little worse, but the defense should be far better, and the overall result needs to hit the nine-win mark with or without a bowl victory. The big key will be to not lose any ground to the Mississippi States and Ole Misses of the West, and there can’t be a mistake against Arkansas in Arlington. If A&M can be one of the three best teams in the division, and if it can come up with one win among the road games at South Carolina, Auburn and Alabama, and if it can do no worse than split between Missouri and LSU – yeah, that’s a lot of ifs – it’ll be a great year.

16. Texas
Prediction: 9-3
3 Best Players: 1) RB Malcolm Brown, Sr., 2) DE Cedric Reed, Sr., 3) CB Quandre Diggs, Sr.
Relative Strengths: 1) Running Back, 2) Linebacker, 3) D Line
Spotlight Units: 1) Secondary, 2) Quarterback, 3) Receiver
The season will be a success if … Texas wins ten games and beats Oklahoma. Of course Texas goes into every year thinking Big 12 title and bigger, but in Strong’s first year, just turning the ship back around and making this an it program again – Texas A&M is currently the coolest program in Texas – will be enough after four years of mediocrity. And yes, there is the meatball fan factor to take into account, and beating Oklahoma will make things much, much easier for Strong. Like last year, beating the Sooners isn’t enough, but doing that and getting to double-digit wins would be fantastic.

15. Clemson
Prediction: 8-4
3 Best Players: 1) DE Vic Beasley, Sr., 2) LB Stephone Anthony, Sr., 3) DT Grady Jarrett, Sr.
Relative Strengths: 1) D Line, 2) Secondary, 3) Special Teams
Spotlight Units: 1) Quarterback, 2) O Line, 3) Linebacker
The season will be a success if … a fourth-straight 10-win season includes a victory over South Carolina. Can the Tigers win the ACC in 2014? Of course. Still, that’s a taller than usual quest this season. Clemson has a new quarterback. Florida State has the reigning Heisman winner. And this year’s matchup between the league’s two powerhouses on Sept. 20 will take place in Tallahassee. The Tigers need to remain on course, overcoming all challenges to once again be ranked among the nation’s top dozen or so teams. Oh, and they’ve got to snap the five-game losing streak when the Gamecocks visit on Nov. 29.

14. South Carolina
Prediction: 10-2
3 Best Players: 1) RB Mike Davis, Jr., 2) OT Corey Robinson, Sr., 3) OT Brandon Shell, Jr.
Relative Strengths: 1) Running Back, 2) O Line, 3) Secondary
Spotlight Units: 1) Special Teams, 2) D Line, 3) Quarterback
The season will be a success if … South Carolina wins the SEC championship. If you're good enough to win the SEC East, you're good enough to win the SEC championship, and you're good enough to get into College Football Playoff. The Gamecocks might have some work to do to fill in the parts on the defensive front and in the secondary, and it all goes to pot if the offense has to turn to a No. 2 quarterback, but it's time to come up with an 11-1 type of regular season with a trip to Atlanta to follow.

13. Baylor
Prediction: 10-2
3 Best Players: 1) QB Bryce Petty, Sr, 2) OT Spencer Drango, Jr., 3) WR Antwan Goodley, Sr.
Relative Strengths: 1) Receiver, 2) Quarterback, 3) D Line
Spotlight Units: 1) O Line, 2) Linebacker, 3) Secondary
The season will be a success if … the Bears get into College Football Playoff. Is that too greedy? Not for a team that went 11-1 last year and would’ve at least been in the discussion if there was a four team playoff. This season, with so much talent returning, a relatively favorable schedule, and so many realistic expectations, the goal is to win the Big 12 title first, and then hope is all works out from there to be among the big four.

12. USC
Prediction: 9-3
3 Best Players: 1) DE Leonard Williams, Jr., 2) LB Hayes Pullard, Sr., 3) WR Nelson Agholor, Jr.
Relative Strengths: 1) D Line, 2) Running Back, 3) Linebacker
Spotlight Units: 1) Quarterback, 2) O Line, 3) Coaching
The season will be a success if … the Trojans win nine regular season games in Sarkisian’s debut. Sure, USC is capable of capturing the Pac-12 this year, but the team is still a step behind the league’s powerhouses. And UCLA is only getting better out of the South Division. Sark wants to hit the ground running in 2014, while getting woven back into the fabric of Troy, where he last coached in 2008. If he can achieve the latter, while matching last year’s regular-season win total, he and his staff will be sailing into the 2015 campaign with ramped-up expectations.

11. Stanford
Prediction: 9-3
3 Best Players: 1) WR Ty Montgomery, Sr., 2) LT Andrus Peat, Jr., 3) DE Henry Anderson, Sr.
Relative Strengths: 1) D Line, 2) Special Teams, 3) Linebacker
Spotlight Units: 1) Running Back, 2) O Line, 3) Quarterback
The season will be a success if … Stanford three-peats. Go ahead and blame the lofty expectations on David Shaw, who’s making Pac-12 championships the norm on the Farm. Yeah, this third title in a row would be the toughest one, from the roster holes to a road schedule that includes trips to Seattle, Tempe, Eugene and Pasadena. But the Cardinal has the secret sauce for stopping the Ducks, and it’s unlikely another team will win the North Division. Stanford probably isn’t playoff timber, but it has enough remaining talent to remain atop the Pac-12.