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The Alabama Gazette - Best of 2015

Picking the top college football teams for the 2015 season was more difficult than in most years. The top four teams will of course qualify for the 2015 National Championship Play-Offs.

The obvious choice for number one is the national champion Ohio State Buckeyes from last year. They don’t lose any key missing parts. Coach Urban Meyer is a proven commodity. He now has three national championship rings, two from Florida. He has built successful programs at every stop-Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State. His Ohio State team this year plays a very weak schedule ranked at number 45, which should easily translate to an undefeated season and another berth in the championship play-offs. It is my belief that the Buckeyes will make the play-offs, but there has been just too much celebrating last year in the state of Ohio. Virginia Tech, Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan State or the “Harbough High” at Ann Arbor could catch the “Bucks” celebrating too long. Beware of the “Big House” in November.

Coach Gary Patterson played it real cool when his once beaten “Frogs” were conveniently “slud” out of the play-offs to make way for the popular Ohio State Buckeyes. The horns on Patterson’s Frogs have grown a little bigger and sharper. TCU should run through a not so demanding schedule without a loss this year. Then they will be sure to be counted in December. The schedule ranks as the 49th toughest, with only Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor in the way. They also have the best play making quarterback and Heisman favorite in senior Trevon Boykin.

Jim Mora has been rebuilding UCLA for three years. This fourth season with the Bruins looks like his best. The schedule is tough, ranked 20th, but the Bruins should be tough enough to survive, win the PAC 12 South and beat Stanford or Oregon from the North to win the PAC 12 Title. All they have to do is win the “Desert Storm” with Arizona and Arizona State, and then win on the road against Stanford and the favorite USC. They can get in with one loss, maybe two. They are my third pick because of eighteen returning starters and more team speed than anybody west of the Mississippi. Will they start a freshman at quarterback? Yes, its 6-4, 205 lb. , Josh Rosen…It won’t matter!,

The most complicated and fourth play-off spot will come from the SEC. Nobody should win a game in the SEC West. It is the toughest league – not just the toughest division. However, the East Division will provide stiff competition. Georgia will play the winner of the “Iron Bowl” for the conference title in December. Georgia has great players including the best running back in America, Nick Chubb. They just don’t have enough overall depth to run the table. Just like Alabama, Georgia can start any of their quarterbacks. Mark Richt is an excellent QB coach. Really…it doesn’t take a lot of talent to hand the ball to Chubb and get out of the way.

Alabama has the most dominant front seven in football. Their linebackers are good, their secondary will be better. The offense is good enough no matter who starts at quarterback. Nick Saban will make that choice this year. The schedule too tough. It is ranked number 1 in the nation. It will be difficult to go undefeated.

Auburn has the fewest question marks than anyone in the conference regarding who will start at all positions. Last year a 10 - 2 team went 8 - 5. Malzahn is a year wiser. Don’t look for the same mistakes this year. Auburn plays the 6th toughest schedule in 2015. The reason my top four includes Auburn is because Georgia and Alabama come to Jordan-Hare Stadium this year. Malzahn has a 14 -1 record there. He gave the one away last year versus Texas A&M. Maybe a young dog can learn old tricks, especially on the goal line. The SEC champion will get in the top four even with two losses.

So, go ahead and buy your tickets!


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