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Texas A&M Football

TexAgs' Top 25: Familiar names line top 10's lower half

July 24, 2014

This week TexAgs is revealing its countdown of our projected top 25 college football teams for the 2014 season. We’ll take a look at five teams each day this week. Today, we look at teams ranked 10th to sixth.

10. Baylor Bears

Overview: If Coach Art Briles can move his offense into a new stadium as easily as the Bears have moved down the field the past three seasons, he will sleep well this fall. But don’t sleep on Baylor. QB Bryce Petty is back and could make a strong run at the Heisman Trophy. He no longer has RB Lache Seastrunk and WR Tevin Reese to help and the offensive line must replace some starters, but Baylor’s offense still figures to run rampant in the Big 12.

The defense, which last year improved by nearly 80 places in the national rankings, has three new starters in the secondary. That could be a problem. However, the lack of experience isn’t paired with a lack of ability. Youth must be served if 2014 is a year of continued success in Waco.

Coach: Art Briles
2013 record: 11-2
Bowl result: Lost to UCF, 52-42, in the Fiesta Bowl
Returning starters:
  • Offense (6): QB Bryce Petty, WR Corey Coleman, WR Antwan Goodley, WR Levi Norwood, T Spencer Drango, G Desmine Hilliard

  • Defense (4): NT Beau Blackshear, DT Byron Bonds, LB Bryce Hager, S Terrell Burt

  • Special teams (2): P Spencer Roth, PR Levi Norwood
2014 schedule:
  • Aug. 31 vs. SMU
  • Sept. 6 vs. Northwestern State
  • Sept. 12 at Buffalo
  • Sept. 27 at Iowa State
  • Oct. 4 at Texas
  • Oct. 11 vs. TCU
  • Oct. 18 at West Virginia
  • Nov. 1 vs. Kansas
  • Nov. 8 at Oklahoma
  • Nov. 22 vs. Oklahoma State
  • Nov. 29 vs. Texas Tech in Arlington
  • Dec. 6 vs. Kansas State

9. Stanford Cardinal

Overview: The backfield looks different without Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson. Yet, QB Kevin Hogan is still there and he has five returning receivers to which to throw. The Cardinal averaged fewer than 200 passing yards last season, so improvement is needed there to take some pressure off new RBs Barry Sanders, Jr. and Remound Wright. The offensive line will has four new starters to go along with All-American candidate Andrus Peat, but Coach David Shaw always seems to have high-level linemen ready to step in.

New defensive coordinator Lance Anderson has a strong returning front four led by preseason all-conference selections in DE Henry Anderson and S Jordan Richards. They head a list of seven returning starters, which should ensure another year of stingy defense in Palo Alto. There may be another championship, too.

Coach: David Shaw
2013 record: 11-3
Bowl result: Lost to Michigan State, 24-20, in the Rose Bowl
Returning starters:
  • Offense (5): QB Kevin Hogan, WR Ty Montgomery, WR Devon Cajuste, TE Luke Kaumatule, T Andrus Peat

  • Defense (7): NT David Parry, DE Henry Anderson, LB A.J. Tarpley, LB James Vaughters, CB Alex Carter, CB Wayne Lyons, S Jordan Richards

  • Special teams (4): K Jordan Williamson, P Ben Ryhne, KR Ty Montgomery, PR Barry Sanders Jr
2014 schedule:
  • Aug. 30 vs. UC Davis
  • Sept. 6 vs. USC
  • Sept. 13 vs. Army
  • Sept. 27 at Washington
  • Oct. 4 at Notre Dame
  • Oct. 10 vs. Washington State
  • Oct. 18 at Arizona State
  • Oct. 25 at Oregon State
  • Nov. 1 at Oregon
  • Nov. 15 vs. Utah
  • Nov. 22 at Cal
  • Nov. 28 at UCLA

8. UCLA Bruins

Overview: Returning nine starters is, in itself, a formula for a potent offense. When one of them is QB Brett Hundley, the Bruins’ leading rusher and passer, that offense becomes a weapon capable of winning titles. The Bruins have talent returning on defense, too. All four members of last year’s secondary are back, though there are some questions in the front seven. Standout LB Anthony Barr has departed for the NFL and there are two new starters on the defensive line. However, dynamic Myles Jack is a major threat at LB and RB. He could upstage Hundley is the Heisman Trophy discussion.

Momentum has been building under third-year Coach Jim Mora; expectations are high in Westwood. The Bruins' final ranking should be, too.

Coach: Jim Mora
2013 record: 10-3
Bowl result: Defeated Virginia Tech, 42-12, in the Sun Bowl
Returning starters:
  • Offense (7): QB Brett Hundley, WR Jordan Payton, WR Devin Fuller, G Alex Redmond, C Jake Brendel, T Caleb Benenoch, G Scott Quessenberry

  • Defense (8): DL Ellis McCarthy, DL Eddie Vanderdoes, LB Myles Jack, LB Eric Kendricks, CB Ishmael Adams, CB Fabian Moreau, S Anthony Jefferson, S Randall Goforth

  • Special teams (3): K Ka’imi Fairbairn, P Sean Covington, KR Steven Manfro
2014 schedule:
  • Aug. 30 at Virginia
  • Sept. 6 vs. Memphis
  • Sept. 13 vs. Texas at Arlington
  • Sept. 25 at Arizona State
  • Oct. 4 vs. Utah
  • Oct. 11 vs. Oregon
  • Oct. 18 at Cal
  • Oct. 25 at Colorado
  • Nov. 1 vs. Arizona
  • Nov. 8 at Washington
  • Nov. 22 vs. USC
  • Nov. 28 vs. Stanford

7. Ohio State Buckeyes

Overview: The Buckeyes had a 24-game winning streak until losing their final two games last season. Yet, they appear set to start another streak behind QB Braxton Miller, a Heisman Trophy contender. Ohio State figures to rely heavily on Miller and sophomore RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Dontre Wilson to relicate the explosive offense that scored at least 40 points 10 times last season. Elliott and Wilson must replace the production of departed Carlos Hyde, who rushed for 1,521 yards.

But even with Miller in charge, the need for a stable defense cannot be overstated. Coach Urban Meyer is well aware of this and brought in two new coaches to boost a defense that returns nearly its entire front seven, but was 110th in the nation against the pass.

Coach: Urban Meyer
2013 record: 12-2
Bowl result: Lost to Clemson, 40-35, in the Orange Bowl
Returning starters:
  • Offense (5): QB Braxton Miller, TE Jeff Heuerman, WR Devin Smith, WR Evan Spencer, T Taylor Decker

  • Defense (7): DL Michael Bennett, DL Noah Spence, DL Adolphus Washington, DL Joey Bosa, LB Curtis Grant, LB Joshua Perry, CB Doran Grant

  • Special teams (2): P Cameron Johnston, KR Dontre Wilson
2014 schedule:
  • Aug. 30 at Navy
  • Sept. 6 vs. Virginia Tech
  • Sept. 13 vs. Kent State
  • Sept. 27 vs. Cincinnati
  • Oct. 4 at Maryland
  • Oct. 18 vs. Rutgers
  • Oct. 25 at Penn State
  • Nov. 1 vs. Illinois
  • Nov. 8 at Michigan State
  • Nov. 15 at Minnesota
  • Nov. 22 vs. Indiana
  • Nov. 29 vs. Michigan


6. Oklahoma Sooners

Overview: Trevor Knight, who led the Sooners to be stunning victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, seems to have answered all of Oklahoma’s quarterback questions. Furthermore, there are lines of talented players returning from the victorious Sugar Bowl team, which means this could be a special year in Norman. The offensive line is proven and experienced. The defensive line, which returns intact, is, too.

Coach Bob Stoops has created a culture of success that has produced seven seasons with double-digit victory totals in the past eight years. He seems sure to make it eight in nine.

But there is uncertainty at running back. The top three rushing-yard producers at that position are gone. Therefore, the Sooners may immediately turn to little-used Alex Ross and Keith Ford. Defensively, All-Big 12 DE Charles Tapper and LB Eric Striker lead what projects to be a solid unit. A solid defense and further improvement from Knight may be all Stoops needs to notch another Big 12 title.

Coach: Bob Stoops
2013 record: 11-2
Bowl result: Defeated Alabama, 45-31, in the Sugar Bowl
Returning starters:
  • Offense (7): QB Trevor Knight, FB Aaron Ripkowski, WR Sterling Shepard, OT Tyrus Thompson, OG Adam Shead, OG Nila Kasitati, OT Daryl Williams

  • Defense (9): DE Chuka Ndulue, DT Jordan Wade, DE Charles Tapper, LB Dominique Alexander, LB Frank Shannon, LB Eric Striker, CB Zack Sanchez, S Quentin Hayes, NB Julian Wilson

  • Special teams (2): K Michael Hunnicutt, P Jed Barnett
2014 schedule:
  • Aug. 30 vs. Louisiana Tech
  • Sept. 6 at Tulsa
  • Sept. 13 vs. Tennessee
  • Sept. 20 at West Virginia
  • Oct. 4 at TCU
  • Oct. 11 vs. Texas in Dallas
  • Oct. 18 vs. Kansas State
  • Nov. 1 at Iowa State
  • Nov. 8 vs. Baylor
  • Nov. 15 at Texas Tech
  • Nov. 22 vs. Kansas
  • Dec. 6 vs. Oklahoma State
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