Eight is Enough: SEC Dominates AP Preseason Poll

Eight is Enough: SEC Dominates AP Preseason Poll
  • Opening Intro -

    The Florida State Seminoles are starting off the 2014 season where they ended it last year: as the No. 1 pick in the AP poll. That shouldn’t be a surprise as the Seminoles return locked and loaded, ready to dominate the ACC and make a case for itself in the post season.

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Following Florida State we have Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and Ohio State rounding out the Top 5. These teams represent the SEC, Pac 12, Big 12 and Big Ten conferences respectively and along with the ACC the five compose the Power Five conferences that have been pushing for NCAA autonomy this summer.

SEC: Eight is Enough

The big news, however, is the SEC’s dominance in the poll. As it has done previously, the conference has eight teams in the top 25 with No. 6 Auburn, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 12 Georgia, No. 13 LSU, No. 18 Ole Miss, No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 24 Missouri following Alabama. Chances are strong that when the season does end that two or three SEC teams will not finish in the top 25 for the simple reason of an abundance of intraconference games.

Are there any surprises in the top 25? That depends on who you follow and your opinion of who are the best teams in the country. Kansas State of the Big 12 is ranked No. 25 and North Carolina of the ACC is holding down the No. 23 spot.

Kansas State finished the regular season last year at 7-5, adding an eighth win by stomping Michigan 31 to 14 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Dec. Michigan isn’t ranked to start the season, but it is expected to get another bowl invite this year. Likely, they will be glad if a rematch with the Wildcats is not in the offing.

North Carolina is best known for its men’s basketball prowess, but in recent years the Tarheels have made tremendous progress in shoring up their football program. The Tarheels finished the regular season at 6-6, but then ran roughshod over Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl by a score of 39 to 17. The Tarheels started off awful in 2013, but closed the season by winning six of its final seven games. UNC returns 17 starters as well.

Big Games on Tap

The very first week of college football gets started next Wed. with games through Monday, Labor Day. The season starts off with several important match ups including Texas A&M taking on South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia on Thursday night.

Another important match up has Boise State playing Ole Miss at the Georgia Dome. The Broncos are one of the top teams that are not part of a power conference and are coming off of an 8-5 season that ended with a 38 to 23 loss to Oregon State on Christmas Eve in Honolulu. The Broncos are favored to win their Mountain West division this year and may reclaim some of the glory that faded last year. A win over Ole Miss would go far in helping them in that endeavor.

Saturday’s line up has several important games including Clemson at Georgia, Florida State versus Oklahoma State at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, and Wisconsin versus LSU playing at NRG Stadium in Houston. The last two games feature inter-conference match ups between Power Five conference teams, a trend we should see more of in the coming years.

The Season Ahead

There are various lists published featuring the top games of the 2014 season. Quite easily, each weekend there will be three or four games that will prove pivotal, especially for the conference races.

Among the non conference tilts there will be a few that may have a profound impact, games scheduled beyond the first week of the season.

On Oct. 4, Stanford travels to Notre Dame to continue a long-standing rivalry. This year, the Stanford Cardinal are ranked No. 11 and Notre Dame is ranked No. 17. The winner of this game may make a strong case for itself in a quest for a top post season berth.

Florida at Florida State may not seem like a great match up at this point in the season, but the Gators are expected to improve upon their dreadful 4-8 season last year. Sure, there are eight SEC teams ranked ahead of it, but knocking off a few of those teams plus its weak non conference schedule could leave the Gators in good shape when they travel to Tallahassee on Nov. 29.

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