Tony DeMeo

2014 College Football Preview

2014 College Football Preview
By: Tony DeMeo
The 2014 college football season will be the first season with a DI playoff in place. This makes the season memorable and even more exciting. The teams I selected to watch are the ones that I find the most interesting which may not be the best but just ones I find interesting. As a coach I always enjoy watching a great offensive or defensive scheme in action. Let’s take a look at my thoughts and maybe send me your thoughts.

1. Oregon – though Chip Kelly is gone, his system is still in place. The key to the system is Marcos the Magnificent Mariota. Mariota may be the best QB in CFB & a certain 1st round pick. The Ducks maybe one of the 4 playoff teams.

2. Auburn – It will be interesting what Gus Malzahn comes up with this season after doing a superb job in 2013. Nick Marshall is back & will direct Gus’ multiple option offense. This is a fun team to watch.

3. Notre Dame – very large expectations are waiting for the return of Everett Colson – too large. ND won with Colson in 2012 but it was because of great defense not Colson. If ND’s “D” is tough – ND will win again. Colson will provide enough “O” to win.

4. Oklahoma – Bob Stoops has his best squad coming back in years. With Mike Stoops at DC & returning QB Trevor Knight running the “O” – it will be a big year for the Sooners. They should march through an anemic Big 12 & may be one of the 4 playoff teams.

5. Univ. of North Carolina- a surprise contender in the ACC. could knock off powerhouse FSU. Young and talented with their top offensive threats back. The return of Super Frosh Ryan Switzer means the ‘Heels need to get him the rock – simple.

6. Penn St. – a surprise in the Big 10. The Franklin Formula could take over the Big 10. The PSU “O” is led by Soph sensation Christian Hackenberg who is a potential NFL star. James Franklin won at Vandy & will bring back the Lion’s roar.

7. Marshall – Doc Holiday’s guns are loaded at Marshall. His main weapon is QB Rakeem Cato. Holiday’s talent pool has grown stronger every year & the Herd should be the Conference USA Champs.

8. UCLA – a possible challenger on the west coast. Noel Mazzone’s Offense is always fun to watch. A nice mix of screens, snags and option. Brett Hundley will make it very effective.

9. Alabama – is always a threat in the SEC. Watching a Nick Saban Defense is like going to a clinic. The Tide will have to break in a new QB which might be tough.

10. Navy – Coach Ken is one of my favorite coaches to watch. He knows how to get the most from his personnel. Keenan Reynolds is the best option QB in years & will nail down the Commander & Chief Trophy for the Middies again.

11. Air Force & Army – defense is the key for the Falcons. Coach Troy Calhoun must slow the tempo to protect his “D” with his multiple option offense. Army hired an outstanding option football coach Jeff Monken & he will make Army a threat but maybe not this year.

12. Baylor – the threat to OU in the Big 12. Art Briles has done a GREAT job for the Bears. Their vertical pass game is always a treat to watch. They can score so the key is their “D” if they want to win the Big 12.

Some other notes of teams to watch:
1. Ohio St – the favorite in the Big 10 but Urban must find another threat besides QB Braxton Miller. The Bucks ran Miller too often in 2013. The Bucks could be in the final 4 if the can hold off PSU.

2. Indiana & Rutgers – two OCs of interest. Kevin Johns at Indy will be leading Kevin Wilson’s high powered offense. While Ralph Friedgen comes out of retirement to put some punch in Kyle flood’s Rutgers “O”.

3. Georgia Tech – after a disappointing season, it will be interesting to see what option guru Paul Johnson comes up with in 2014.

4. Arizona – Rich Rod’s Wildcats will surprise people this season but it will be Jeff Casteel’s “D” that may be the difference in an offensive minded conference.

5. Florida St. – repeating is tough and with the new playoff system will be tougher but Jimbo has the people in place to get it done. The unsung hero is O. Line coach Rick Trickett. If the Noles play physical football, they will be tough to beat and have a Final 4 spot.

Final Four will probably come from these outcomes/conferences
1. Bama/Auburn winner
2. Okla./Baylor winner
3. Oregon/UCLA winner
4. PSU/Ohio St. winner
5. Fla. St./UNC winner
There you have it, those are some teams I’ll be watching during the season. I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts.