Tag Archives: NCAA Football

The College Football Playoffs Are Finally Set

For the first time in the history of college football, there will be a four team college playoff to decide who hoists the National Championship Trophy will come January 10th, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The teams that made the final cut are The Ohio State Buckeyes, The Alabama Crimson Tide, The Ducks from the University of Oregon, and The Florida State Seminoles.

The request for a new playoff system has been requested for quite some time now. A lot of the sports world did not like the fact the BCS bowl selection took place.

Now more people than not are for the playoff system. The system is still flawed for some but better from where it was from previous years.

For the most part there was no movement between the first and second placed teams. The Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Ducks from the University of Oregon. They never strayed far from their positions.

The final two spots were a different story. The Seminoles from Florida State did the most movement. Even though, they did not lose one game during the season.

The top two teams have one loss each. The Buckeyes are also undefeated.

The reasoning for the placement is the toughness of the schedule and the conference each team is in respectively. The #1 team is Alabama, coming out of the powerhouse that is the SEC.

Oregon is coming out of another powerhouse from the west the PAC 12 conference, Florida State comes out of the ACC, and finally Ohio State coming out of the BIG 10 (but the conference has 13 teams, different conversation for a different day).

Other notable mentions were the Baylor Bears, and the TCU Horned Frogs. At one point TCU was ranked third a week prior to the final announcement, before Ohio State took the final spot in the last announcement.

With that said the teams are set, and there will be two games played on the first day of the New Year. The first is the Rose Bowl where the #2 Oregon Ducks will face the #3 Florida State Seminoles.

The Seminoles were always in the top four teams, but they struggled the whole season to beat some clearly easy wins against unranked teams. Despite this they were able to overcome this and still remain undefeated.

The Seminoles are the defending National Champions after defeating the Auburn Tigers. They are also led by reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston. This year the Seminoles have struggled to say the least.

Yet they are still undefeated and share an undefeated record with the Buckeyes. This year Winston was not even nominated for a finalist in this year Heisman Trophy.

The Oregon Ducks on the other hand now have this years Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. Mariota was the clear winner gaining more than 90% of the total votes, second highest in the history of the Heisman voting.

This year Mariota was having a standout season. Leading into the bowl games he has 3,783 yards, 38 touchdowns, and only two interceptions.

His competition included another player that is in the College Football Playoff, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Also included in the list was University of Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon was coming off a FBS record for single game rushing yards, only to have his record beaten the next week.

The matchups should be action packed, with four different types of high powered offenses.

The first matchup is the Rose Bowl between the #2 Oregon and #3 Florida State. One team has no losses while the other has one loss. Yet the team with the one loss is actually ranked higher than the undefeated team.

Jameis Winston and the Seminoles look to power through the quick play running Oregon. Even though, the Seminoles have struggled their past few games, they have found a way to win each one of those games.

This game will be like no other. It will show off the last two Heisman winners. Two amazing quarterbacks showing off their arm and capabilities on the field.

If the regular college football season is any indication of what will happen on January 1st, then the play of the quarterbacks is quite important.

The way Oregon runs their offense they will be scoring and scoring fast. The Seminoles will have to combat this with Jameis Winston and his arm.

Winston has thrown 17 interceptions this season. That against a high powered offense is definite trouble for the undefeated Seminoles.

The point is not to try to keep up with Oregon, but to combat them with smart offense, and even better defense.

The Florida State defense will probably not completely stop the Ducks, but they can at least slow it down enough for the Seminole offense to make the game competitive and try to come out victorious.

On the side of Oregon, they are already the favorite to win the game. They have their Heisman winner and a great overall offense as well as a defense.

Every game except the game they lost of course has been a dominant win for Oregon. That cannot be said for Florida State, who barely squeaked by in certain games, and in some cases needed overtime to carry them to a win.

In that case Oregon should probably prevail, but given the fight in the Seminoles it is easier said then done.

Next there is the Allstate Sugar Bowl between #1 Alabama and #4 Ohio State. The Crimson Tide has been in the first place spot for quite some time. They have not lost their ranking since they were ranked #1.

They are arguably the most difficult conference in the US next to the PAC 12. Alabama have been putting on clinics on their way to their wins.

They are led by head coach Nick Saban. Saban has four national championships under his belt, while at LSU he won one, at Alabama he has three (2009, 2011-12).

Along with a great coach at the helm they also have Amari Cooper who is having a stellar season and is leading all receivers in yards and points.

On the other side there is the Ohio State University. Leading them is a familiar name in Urban Meyer. Who left the Florida Gators, and tried his luck in his home state of Ohio.

Coach Meyer has led the Buckeyes to a 12 win season for the past three years, after they were not bowl eligible for the previous 2 years.

If the backs weren’t against the wall of the Buckeyes ranked 4th facing Alabama, they have to do it with their back up of the back up quarterback. That’s right they are facing the #1 team in the nation with their 3rd string quarterback Cardale Jones.

Yet with this same quarterback they were able to dismantle the Wisconsin Badgers in the BIG 10 championship. After the game they destroyed the Badgers 59-0.

In total Wisconsin only had 78 total yards on the ground, they held another Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon who was leading the nation in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns to no touchdowns for the first time this season.

So the likelihood of this game being a great game is more than likely. Both of the games that will be played on New Years Day should be great and the championship January 10th.

No matter what the outcome of the Rose and Sugar Bowl, we are in for a treat when the four best teams in the nation face off against one another, and the final two will battle and claim the first ever College Football National Championship Final.


SEC-ular Sacrament: The Week That Giants Will Fall?

By Ariel Bedford


“It’s… About… To go-DOWN!”—a rap phrase by one Jay-Z that has never resonated more than when used to describe this upcoming weekend’s slate of college football games within the Southeastern Conference.

       Photo via rockdalenews.com
                                     Photo via rockdalenews.com

Mississippi State travels to Tuscaloosa. Auburn heads to battle UGA “Between the Hedges” with a motivated monster of a running back in Todd Gurley returning as starter. SEC East defending champs Mizzou taking on a suddenly hot Texas A&M Aggies squad led by freshman QB Kyle Allen. Most of the six head-to-head SEC matchups have some meaning in one way or another.

The implications of these contests will be huge after the dust settles Saturday. Why, you ask? Because the cannibalization of the conference will truly become apparent for all to see. A best case scenario would probably be the Bulldogs squeaking by ‘Bama, and only LSU and Texas A&M falling out of the AP/Coaches Top 25 ranks after respective losses.

The worst case scenario could be the Bayou Bengals, Aggies, Bulldogs, and Auburn Tigers losing on the same day. This chain of events would cluster the entire conference and make for some potentially wild outcomes before two combatants are chosen to face off in the Georgia Dome come December.

Photo via athlonsports.com
                                      Photo via athlonsports.com

If you’re a fan of SEC football, be on alert for the next 60 hours. The results from this weekend’s games could jeopardize your beloved conference’s chance of getting ANY team into this year’s CFP format, let alone two…

Featured Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ariel Bedford writes for Scouts Alley. A freelancer from Florida, he also is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Check out his personal media profile page and follow him on Twitter @mpcmi.



Heisman Watch 2014: Who’s In at Week 11

By Ashley Gulick

Although there is still a lot of football left to play, the 2014 Heisman Watch is beginning to finally take shape and produce a notable list of legitimate frontrunners. At Week 11 of the 2014 season, here are my thoughts as to which players are rising to the “cream of the crop.”

1) Dak Prescott – QB Mississippi State

Although the Bulldogs scraped out a 17-10 victory over Arkansas on Saturday night, it certainly was not their prettiest win of the season by any means. But, enter quarterback Dak Prescott. Once again, Prescott proved his ability and efficiency as a leader under pressure, and that is why I have him at the top of my Heisman list.

After a 69-yard pass to Fred Ross for the go-ahead touchdown, Prescott was more than clutch in a game-winning moment. After going 18 of 27 for 331 yards and a TD, Prescott is now the first Mississippi State QB to throw for 300 yards since 2007. The Bulldogs are also on an 11-game win streak, which is the second longest in the country behind Florida State. If Prescott can continue to lead his team—and most importantly bring home a huge win in a couple of weeks against Alabama—then I think he will definitely be sitting in prime position to bring home the trophy.

For the season, Prescott is 132 of 216 for 2,025 yards, 16 TDs and 7 INTs. He also has 137 carries for 725 yards and 10 TDs.

2) Marcus Mariota – QB Oregon

In true Mariota fashion, Oregon finally earned an impressive 45-16 win over Stanford to snap a two-series losing streak to the Cardinals. Finally getting the “monkey off of his back,” Mariota not only earned the plaguing victory, but also boosted the rankings for the Ducks and himself in the Heisman race.

This win was a huge confidence booster for the junior who threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns. He also had nine rushes for 85 yards. Another interesting stat after Saturday’s win: Mariota now has a passing TD in 35 straight games, which is tied for the fourth longest streak in FBS history.

So far this season, Mariota is 169 of 248 for 2,541 yards, 26 TDs and 2 INTs. He has 71 carries for 410 yards and 7 TDs.

3) Amari Cooper – WR Alabama

Although the Tide had a bye this week, Cooper stays at No. 3 in my opinion, simply for his position as the true leader of this offense. With several key games coming up against LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn, his performance in those games will factor heavily into whether he stays in my top three.

Cooper’s stats for the year stand at 71 catches for 1,132 yards total and 9 TDs. In his last performance against Tennessee, Cooper had a career and school single-game best of 224 yards in the Tide’s 34-20 victory. Cooper only needs one more yard to match Alabama’s single-season record set by Julio Jones in 2010.

4) Melvin Gordon – RB Wisconsin

Even though the Heisman race is quarterback-heavy, do not count out Melvin Gordon, who is quickly making a name for himself behind his consistency week after week. Although their schedule may not carry the weight that most find important, his numbers are still just too good to keep him out of contention. After routing Rutgers 37-0, Gordon ended his night with 19 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Although he left the game with a knee injury, Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said he would be fine going forward. So far this season, the junior has 173 total carries for 1,296 yards and 18 TDs. Saturday also marked his sixth game in which he has rushed for at least 100 yards total. His performance against Nebraska in a couple of weeks will definitely be a determining factor in if he stays in this race or not.

5) Everett Golson – QB Notre Dame

Although their 49-39 win over Navy did not impress overall, it was not about the win as much as it was about what Golson did individually on the field. On Saturday, the senior QB became the first player in Notre Dame school history to throw for three touchdowns and also run for three scores. With the lack of defense for the Fighting Irish, they relied heavily on Golson’s performance to take home the win. Accounting for six TDs total, Golson was 18 of 25 for 315 yards. He also rushed nine times for 33 yards.

This season, Golson is currently 184 of 293 for 2,311 yards, 22 TDs and 7 INTs. He also has 78 carries for 275 yards and 7 TDs.

Ashley Gulick is a staff writer for Scouts Alley. You can follow her on Twitter.

I’m Here to Help You, the Florida Football Program

By Murphy Powell

Will Muschamp isn’t out yet. He probably will be soon, but not yet.

The University of Florida released a statement following the Gators’ 42-13 home loss to Missouri, which—and this won’t surprise you—fans didn’t really love. The statement essentially said the administration will wait until the end of the season before making a decision on Muschamp’s future, which doesn’t look promising.

If a team or university makes a statement like that, it often means someone is about to lose their job. So that’s not great. If last year’s 4-8 campaign didn’t signal the end of Muschamp’s reign, Saturday’s loss probably did.

Of course, if Florida wins out and finishes 8-3, which would include wins against Georgia and Florida State, Muschamp might stick around. But I’ve watched this Florida team play football, and while there are no guarantees in sports, I can nearly guarantee you that Florida won’t win out.

I can do that because—again—I’ve watched the Gators play.

So the question is starting to become about who Florida will hire next. And I’ve got two tips for the group that will pick the new head football coach.

  • Get an offensive-minded coach

Florida has won three national championships in school history—in 1996, 2006 and 2008. Steve Spurrier was the coach in ’96, and Urban Meyer was the head man in 2006 and 2008. Both of them are or were considered strong offensive minds, as far as coaching goes. And the Gators were ranked every year one of those two guys were coaching, with the exception of 2010—Meyer’s last year.

But the idea here is that Florida has had sustained success when an offensive-minded coach has been at the helm. Meyer brought the spread offense into the SEC, and Spurrier just had his team throw the ball all the time, and it worked. I’m not sure if there is a great offense-oriented coach out there willing to come to Florida right now, but athletic director Jeremy Foley should at least give it a look.

Florida also had some success from 1909-11 with George Pyle at the helm, and I can only assume he was a mastermind as well. Charley Pell was successful for a few years in the early ‘80s, and he was a defensive-minded guy—an outlier, in a sense.

And having a coach who can run an offense that scores touchdowns would be a nice change of pace. Sure, defense wins a lot of games, but it’s asking a lot out of the defense to pitch shutouts every week.

  • This next person needs head coaching experience

The idea of Will Muschamp as a head coach is a great one. He has a ton of energy, which is super exciting to watch. And he takes a defense-first mentality, which isn’t so much fun to watch, but it can lead to wins, which are fun.

The issue—I think—with Muschamp right now is that he takes a little too much control of all aspects of his team. I also think he does this because he’s never been a head coach before. By doing that, if the ship sinks, it’s because of him and he’s fine with that, probably. In short, he’s trying to control his destiny all by himself.

But he’s had Brent Pease from Boise State—where there was a ton of offense—and Kurt Roper—who helped Duke (Duke) set a bunch of ACC records—the last two years. With them, Florida should be able to score. If they had a little more control of things, the Gators probably would.

And it seems like coaches learn from their past mistakes and successes, so Muschamp might give up a little control on offense for his next team. I hope he does, because I like Will Muschamp an awful lot. Of course, he could just do that now and stick with Florida. But that probably won’t happen.

I think Will Muschamp will probably be a really good head coach somewhere down the line, and it will probably be because he relinquishes a little control on offense and lets his coordinators do what they’re supposed to do.

For that reason, Florida needs someone with head coaching experience. The Gators need someone who has learned from their prior mistakes and successes. Hopefully that leads to more than four wins.

Murphy Powell is a creator of Scouts Alley. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to.

How Did Kentucky Win?

By Murphy Powell

Kentucky beat South Carolina.

Just read it again. This might take some time to sink in.

It was a strange weekend in the SEC, with two teams from Mississippi beating top-six teams in the AP Poll, then becoming top-five teams themselves. Things were even strange outside the SEC, and 11 teams in the Top 25 lost.

But the weirdest of all events had to take place in Lexington on Saturday. Kentucky beat South Carolina.

So how did this happen? I’m not sure yet. We’re going to find out together.

Just looking at team stats, South Carolina should have edged Kentucky out. SC outgained Kentucky overall, 500 yards to 447, but Kentucky averaged more yards per play. The Wildcats averaged one more yard per pass, and about half-a-yard more per rush, than South Carolina. So that’s a difference, but it’s not a big one.

Kentucky had more penalties for more yards, so there seems to be another edge for SC there. And while it’s not necessarily a great stat to pick a winner, South Carolina held the ball for 10 more minutes than Kentucky, which is notable.

But now we hit turnovers. That’s where the problem—and the difference in the game—comes in. South Carolina’s Dylan Thompson threw three interceptions, plus SC had a fumble, and, boy oh boy, did those hurt.

South Carolina had a 17-7 lead and was cruising along with 4:45 left in the first half, like they should have since they’re South Carolina and Kentucky is Kentucky.

Then Braylon Heard broke off a 38-yard touchdown run, making the score 17-14 with SC still ahead. Once South Carolina got the ball back, they started to drive, and things were looking alright. Then Thompson threw an interception.

This interception hurt, but it didn’t hurt as much as the other two. This first one just led to a field goal, but it was a field goal that tied the game at 17. So now we go to the half. I’m imagining that Spurrier and his team were a little disappointed with the turnovers, but they probably had some confidence since they were playing Kentucky, who—don’t forget—is Kentucky.

Kentucky came out firing in the second half, scoring on a 75-yard drive to start the third quarter. But the third quarter was boring, because South Carolina scored all three times and didn’t do anything to lose the game, so we’re fast-forwarding to the fourth quarter.

So now it’s 38-31, with South Carolina still ahead. With six minutes left, Kentucky makes a stop, and Jojo Kemp runs in his third touchdown of the game, tying things up at 38.

Here is where the interceptions start, and things go downhill immediately for South Carolina.

Thompson has 2:45 to lead his team down the field and at least get a field goal to take the lead. Mike Davis has been running all over Kentucky, and while running the ball is a little questionable here, going with the hot hand wouldn’t have been a terrible idea.

But instead, Thompson threw it, and he threw it right to Alvin Dupree of Kentucky who ran it in for a touchdown. Now UK is ahead 45-38. It took 17 game seconds from the time South Carolina got the ball to the time South Carolina got the ball after an interception. Like I said, things went downhill immediately.

Thompson still has 2:29 left to tie things up. He has to pass here, which Kentucky knows. SC gets a first down, Thompson completes two passes, and then he throws a pick. Two interceptions in about one minute of game time. Two interceptions at the absolute worst times they could be thrown for South Carolina. Three interceptions if you could the one in the first half.

South Carolina is probably missing Connor Shaw a little more than expected.

So how did Kentucky win? They forced three interceptions at the absolute perfect times to get them.

Murphy Powell is a creator of Scouts Alley. You can follow him on Twitter if you really want to.

What to Watch For: 9/13/14

Here’s a quick look at some of the top storylines in college football this Saturday.

  • No. 6 Georgia at No. 24 South Carolina: Two of the best running backs in the country, Todd Gurley and Mike Davis, face off today. For some extra drama, South Carolina already has one loss on the year, and Georgia has started to look like a national title contender.
  • No. 12 UCLA vs. Texas: UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley takes his team to the JerryDome in Arlington to face a tougher-than-it-looks Texas team. The Longhorns were boatraced last week against BYU, and UCLA has kept its games a little too close (28-20 at Virginia, 42-35 vs. Memphis). Both teams need to prove something on a big stage.
  • Iowa State heads to Iowa for a rivalry that has led to the school police departments tweeting at each other. Will it be a good game? We have no idea. But any time campus police get involved with social media, we’re on board.

College Football: SEC West Predictions

By Murphy Powell

As promised yesterday, here are predictions for the SEC West. In case you missed yesterday’s post, FBS football starts Thursday, and it’s a fantastic thing.

1. Alabama

Alabama is great every year, and why would that be any different in 2014? It’s tough to pick between them and Auburn, really. Bama has a new quarterback – even though we aren’t sure who it is yet – but has a major defensive edge over its in-state rival. The Tide is strong in basically every single department on the field: T.J. Yeldon will run over or around everyone, three receivers and three offensive linemen return from last year’s squad, and while the defense may be a question, we’re still talking about Nick Saban’s team. Odds are, he’ll have them prepared. The Tide travels to LSU and hosts Auburn, which gives Bama the final edge.

2. Auburn

Everything went Auburn’s way last year. It’s a little like Missouri from last year, actually. There were a lot of close games, and everything went perfectly. Auburn was and still is a great team, certainly worthy of a spot in the top 10. Another trip to the National Title game may be a stretch, but not much of one. It’s a team with a returning quarterback, which isn’t common for the SEC this year, and an offense that runs like an extremely well-oiled machine with very few flaws. Gus Malzahn has the perfect quarterback, offensive line and other weapons for this system, but the defense is a question mark. Getting to the SEC Title Game would probably require going 2-0 against Alabama and LSU – which can definitely be done, but it will be tough.

3. LSU

The top three teams in the West are all capable of winning 10 games, with the only losses for each coming against another one of the top three. Things look good for LSU until it face Auburn on the road and hosts Alabama. Going 10-2 is the most likely outcome.

4. Ole Miss

Where you think Ole Miss and Mississippi State belong probably just depends on how you feel about Bo Wallace. He does what he needs to do for the Rebs, but that might not be enough, certainly not with LSU, Auburn and Alabama in the way. Ole Miss has a lot of good individual players, enough to get to eight or nine wins this year, maybe. They’re kind of unlucky that they have to deal with those three monsters all year, because this is a good team. There’s a good chance those are the only three losses on the schedule, and that’s guessing Ole Miss will lose those games, which they might not do.

5. Mississippi State

Dak Prescott is pretty interesting, but an interesting quarterback doesn’t mean a 10-win season. MSU is another unlucky team since it has to play Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss, but that’s how it goes. Prescott is the weapon, and the defense is pretty experienced. Against A&M and Arkansas, and probably half of the SEC East, that would be enough to win. But to win this division, you have to go through three juggernauts, and they are likely to find a way to stop Prescott.

6. Texas A&M

The scheduling folks haven’t been kind to A&M. The Aggies open at South Carolina, then it’s several weeks of probable wins. But week six is where it gets tricky, and it goes as follows: at Mississippi State, host Ole Miss, at Alabama, host Louisiana-Monroe, at Auburn, host Mizzou, and host Auburn. That stretch is unreal. Really, it’s probably unfair. But the SEC West is stacked this year, and A&M has to kind of rebuild after losing so much last year. Going into that last seven weeks, the team should be 4-1. After it, 6-6 is probably reasonable, and that’s with them beating Ole Miss at home, which is iffy. They’ve lost a great quarterback, and a quarterback’s best weapon, and a great offensive lineman. Pray for a bowl game bid.

7. Arkansas

Jonathan Williams is a very good running back, and so is Alex Collins. If there is some way to get those two on the field at all times, it might be a good idea. Those two are the Razorbacks’ only hopes. Please, please, please get those two out there. Five wins would be a good year and an improvement on 2013.

Murphy Powell is a creator of Scouts Alley. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to.

College Football: SEC East Predictions

By Murphy Powell

College football starts on Thursday at the FBS level, and I really like college football. I like it more than the NFL. Way more. Also, since I’m not a crazy person, I like SEC football most of all.

For those reasons, here are predictions for the SEC East. Predictions for the West will come tomorrow.

South Carolina


The Gamecocks lose a quarterback and two of the best defensive linemen in the country/world, but bring back perhaps the best running back in the SEC, two receivers, four offensive linemen and one of the three (probably) best SEC coaches in history. The schedule isn’t terribly difficult other than trips to Auburn and Clemson, and a few guys return on defense. Losing Jadeveon Clowney and Connor Shaw hurts, but bringing Mike Davis back to run the ball should make up for it.

2. Missouri


Missouri has such an easy schedule, it would be surprising to see them finish with more than two losses. They travel to the Swamp (which isn’t ever really easy, but nobody knows what kind of Florida team will show up this year) and go to South Carolina. Talent-wise, the other 10 games are probably easy wins. Of course, sports aren’t played on paper, but if they were, Missouri would be in great shape.

*Disclaimer: Where South Carolina and Missouri are placed is a near-coin flip. Missouri has the easier schedule – only by a little – but they have to travel to SC in week five. It really wouldn’t be surprising to see both teams finish 11-1, with South Carolina getting the loss at Auburn and beating Mizzou for the tiebreaker.*

3. Georgia


The Bulldogs bring back 17 starters, and even if one of them isn’t the quarterback, this new quarterback is familiar with the program. It’s almost unfair to have Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and Herschel Walker clone Nick Chubb running the ball, but it’s the hand Georgia has dealt, and the rest of the conference has to deal with it. The defense isn’t great, but the running game is good enough to make up for it.



In the same way Missouri “fluked” its way to 12 wins, Florida underperformed on what I’m willing to call a nearly historic level and “fluked” its way through a 4-win season. I would also say that Florida had a very fluky 2012, and won 11 games that year. Everything went right in 2012 and everything went wrong in 2013. It’s not crazy to think everything will end up neutral this year and Florida gets to eight wins. With Jeff Driskel back, and a new offensive coordinator in Kurt Roper, the offense can’t be worse.

5. Kentucky


There’s a big drop between the top four teams in the East and these final three, so it would almost be easier to just have a three-way tie at the bottom here. But I trust Mark Stoops in his third year a little more than I do Butch Jones in his second or Derek Mason in his first. What really gives Kentucky an edge is the couple of all-conference guys and eight returning starters it has on defense. The offense could be a train wreck again (especially with a giant question mark at quarterback), but the defense might actually be able to keep them in a few games. It won’t be a great season for UK, but the future could be bright.

Or maybe just bright-ish. Either way, this isn’t the year.

6. Tennessee


The Vols are going to go through a hard time, more than likely. Tennessee has lost a ton of starters, the division is… well it’s not great. But Tennessee really isn’t great, and they’ll have to face a pretty strong schedule. Butch Jones is back for a second season, and the recruiting class the program put together this offseason is top-notch. But even if a few of those guys get on the field in 2014, it probably won’t be enough to propel the Vols much higher than sixth in the East.

7. Vanderbilt


New head coach, new quarterback, no receivers and a weakened defense (although the defense was really good last year, but, you know, new coach = new scheme and all). James Franklin had the program going in a pretty good direction, but it’s tough to say what the new crew will be able to pull off. Four o-linemen return, which is great, but they don’t really have any players to block for.


Murphy Powell is a creator of Scouts Alley. You can follow him on Twitter if you’d like.