Gillen's preseason Associated Press College Football poll - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Gillen's preseason Associated Press College Football poll

Les Miles/FILE (FOX 8 Photo) Les Miles/FILE (FOX 8 Photo)

FOX 8 Sports' Garland Gillen is one of 60 voters in the Associated Press College Football poll. Every week he'll break down his Top 25 during the season. This is his preseason poll.

1.Florida State

Undefeated in 2013, no other place to start in 2014 but at the top for the Seminoles. QB Jameis Winston broke a freshman FBS record with 40 touchdown passes in 2013. He'll try to repeat as Heisman trophy in what could be his final season in Tallahassee. One of FSU's toughest matchups is in week one when they take on Oklahoma St. in Arlington.

2. Alabama

The Crimson Tide coming off first back-to-back losses since 2008. In 2009 Alabama won it all. Whoever wins the quarterback battle, Jake Coker or Blake Sims, he'll know he can succeed by just handing the ball off. Running backs: Kenyan Drake, Derrick Henry, or T. J. Yeldon will do the dirty work for the Tide in 2014.

3. Oregon

Head Coach Mark Helfrich has big shoes to fill with Chip Kelly having so much success in Eugene. Going 11-2 is fine for the first year, but the Quack Nation expects more in 2014 with Marcus Mariota at quarterback. Mariota is the Heisman favorite after racking up over 3,600 yards passing, with 31 touchdown strikes.

4. Auburn

Can the Tigers repeat their 2013 success in 2014? They have quarterback Nick Marshall back, so that's a good start. Tough road trips to: Kansas State, Georgia, and Alabama could derail a return trip to the championship game.

5. Ohio State

In a week Big Ten the Buckeyes registered a 24-2 record over the last two years. They have the quarterback in Braxton Miller to contend for a national title. Miller threw for over 2,000 yards, and rushed for over 1,000 in 2013.

6. Oklahoma

The hype machine is in overdrive in Norman after the Sooners beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. QB Trevor Knight threw for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Tide, . Oklahoma fans expect much more from him in 2014.

7. South Carolina

Tough opener for Steve Spurrier's crew with Texas A&M coming to Columbia. New quarterback Dylan Thompson is the new starter, but he has experience being a fifth-year starter. He'll lean on 1,000 yard rusher Mike Davis for offensive help.

8. Michigan State

If The Spartans continue their winning ways they might not be considered "little brother" to Michigan much longer. Week two of the season could make or break their 2014 campaign. They win at Oregon, national talk could be heating up for Sparty.

9. Baylor

Quarterback Bryce Petty can put up massive numbers in this Bear offense. Last year he put up over 3,800 yards passing, with 30 touchdown passes. Is Art Briles squad a contender for the title? I might not know that answer until they face Oklahoma on the road November 8th.

10. UCLA

The Bruins are undefeated in their last two games against bitter rival USC. QB Brett Hundley is a main reason for UCLA's recent winning, and it'll continue in 2014. Jim Mora's crew is setup to make a run at the Pac-12 title.

11. Georgia

Quarterback Hutson Mason is no Aaron Murray, but honestly he doesn't have to. The 'Dawgs lethal 1-2 running back punch of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall should lessen the blow on losing one of their best QB's in school history.

12. LSU

Will it be Brandon Harris or Anthony Jennings at quarterback? Is Leonard Fournette going to take over the running back job by week one? Can John Chavis' defense recover from a dreadful 2013? Right now the Tigers are a big question mark, but have the potential to take down the SEC crown. I think the Tigers win against Wisconsin, and will be 5-0 when they visit Auburn.

13. Stanford

The country will find out early if Stanford is a contender in 2014. A win against USC at home in week 2 could get the Cardinal rolling in Pac-12 play. Tough road games follow though: Washington, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA. That's a brutal road schedule.

14. Wisconsin

If they do get by LSU, the Badgers have an easy run to the Big Ten title, and possible national title. Avoid Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State on their schedule!?

15. Mississippi

Ole Miss in the preseason top 20, can't say that too often. The Rebels will live and die by the arm of senior signal caller Bo Wallace. In Week 5 the Rebs host Alabama. Get by the Tide, SEC West crown talk will heat up.

16. Southern California

The quarterback situation is clear at Troy, Cody Kessler is their guy. Now new Head Coach Steve Sarkisian can focus on getting USC back to a national power. Trojans at the moment aren't even the best team in LA. That would be UCLA.

17. Clemson

We're going to find out real fast if Clemson is a player in the national title race. Facing Georgia out of the gates is a tough way to start the campaign.

18. Texas A&M

Johnny Football is done, it's now "Kenny Football"? Kenny Hill will have the impossible task of following Manziel in Aggieland. A road game at South Carolina isn't an ideal situation to start his new gig.

19. Arizona State

The Sun Devils I see as one of the great unknowns in 2014. A lot of promise, good quarterback, but ASU always stumbles in the big games. Finished out last year on a two-game losing streak after a quick start.

20. Kansas State

The Wildcats look in good position to make some early noise in 2014. Auburn comes to the "Little Apple" in week three on a Thursday night. This has upset written all over it.

21. Notre Dame

Everett Golson gets the nod as the starting quarterback after a one year hiatus due to academics. His last time under a center was against Alabama in BCS Title Game. That didn't turn out so well.

22. Florida

4-8 last season just isn't acceptable for the Gators and their fans. Another below par season and Head Coach Will Muschamp will be shown the door.

23. Nebraska

This isn't your Tom Osbourne Huskers, not will it ever get back there in many peoples minds. Bo Pelini is a survivor, but no Big Ten titles could be his downfall very soon.

24. Mississippi State

Say it with me: Quarterback Dak Prescott, Heisman dark horse. I love his game, and he'll be a big star in the SEC this year.

25. Missouri

Was 2013 a fluke, or the beginning of something great in Columbia? I say they go backwards in 2014. A nine win season is the best they can do this time around.

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