So this is our third year doing this and I've realized I need to shake things up a bit. So instead of doing my typical pre-season write up, I'm taking a more sarcastic approach to this list. Similar to how Deadspin writes about why teams suck (a fantastic series done early, by the way), I'll be laying out why I loathe all the teams in the top ten. The order is actually how I see things shaping up to start the season, however.
1) Ohio State Buckeyes
2014 Season: 14-1 (Beat Oregon Ducks 42-20 in the National Championship Game)
Returning Starters: 9 Offensive, 7 Defensive
Nothing. Go Bucks, fuck Michigan.
2) TCU Horned Frogs
2014 Season: 12-1 (Beat Ole Miss Rebels 42-3 in the Peach Bowl)
Returning Starters: 10 Offensive, 6 Defensive
Honestly, what I hate the most about this team is producing Andy Dalton. Living in Ohio now, the Bengals are always on one of the main channels out here during the season and I don't have RedZone. It's awful having to watch such a mediocre quarterback week in and week out struggle the moment he faces a top tier defense. He's just such an unexciting quarterback that I'm stuck with for however many years because of his insane contract. I know Eli can be pretty unexciting, but at least he plays for my team.
Oh, and their fans are pissed off because the playoff selection committee wasn't as impressed by their 55-3 beat down of Iowa State as they were by Ohio State's annihilation of No. 13 Wisconsin. Yeesh.
3) Oregon Ducks
2014: 13-2 (lost to Ohio State Buckeyes 20-42 in the National Championship Game)
Returning Starters: 6 Offensive, 7 Defensive
As you can see from the previous two, these are just jokingly done, but Oregon is a team I genuinely dislike. It really brought me a lot of joy to watch them get beat by Ohio State in the championship this year, especially after practically every media outlet picked Oregon to route OSU. I hate their obnoxious uniform schemes. I hate their gimmicky offense that gets shut down any time the opposing defense has any sense of physicality. I hate that their entire turn of fortune is completely funded by Phil Knight. It just makes everything feel like it has been bought for by the owner of Nike and Uncle Phil. And finally, I hate how every idiot announcer says that they are using "tempo" when they start snapping the ball every 10 seconds. Tempo can be slow too, dumbass.
4) Alabama Crimson Tide
2014: 12-2 (lost to Ohio State Buckeyes 35-42 in the Sugar Bowl)
Returning Starters: 2 Offensive, 7 Defensive
While I really don't have anything against Alabama, I honestly cannot stand Nick Saban. And I know that this is pretty much the same for anyone who isn't a Tide alum. Don't get me wrong, I respect what he has accomplished. But my god, once this man loses a game he becomes so damn insufferable. He tried to blame this year's Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State on his draft-eligible players knowing their draft grades and not wanting to get hurt. After getting blown out by Oklahoma a couple of years ago, he tried to say that his players just couldn't get excited to play in the Sugar Bowl and not the championship game. He has frequently criticized the hurry up-no huddle offense that has become his obvious bane. Any time he loses, it is never his fault. Fortunately, Saban is getting up there in age and could be retiring in the next four or five years. Once he retires we can all look forward to them hiring Lane Kiffin who will promptly return them to those mediocre years that persisted before Saban arrived.
5) Michigan State Spartans
2014: 11-2 (beat Baylor Bears 42-41 in the Cotton Bowl
Returning Starters: 5 Offensive, 7 Defensive
In all honesty, I really don't have a whole bunch against Michigan State. I've always respected Dantonio and their shared burning hatred for Michigan. But if there is anything I can hate on, it is for the 2013 Big Ten Championship game. That game was so torturous for so many different reasons. Shout out to my friend David for breaking his remote that night. I wish I had one too.
6) USC Trojans
2014: 9-4 (beat Nebraska Cornhuskers 45-42 in the Holiday)
Returning Starters: 8 Offensive, 7 Defensive
Don't you just hate how USC always seems to be in the top ten despite the fact that you know they will underachieve that year? They always have a good amount of talent and get tons of preseason hype, but you know that they will lose at least two games that they should have easily won. Last year were the great losses to Utah and Boston College, both on the the road. Oh, and then there was losing to Arizona State on a Hail Mary. I wonder who it will be this year!
7) Florida State Seminoles
2014: 13-1 (lost to Oregon Ducks in the 20-49 in the Rose Bowl)
Returning Starters: 3 Offensive, 7 Defensive
Has there been a more unlikable team in college football over the last two years? The Seminoles are giving the late 80s and early 90s Miami Hurricanes a real run for their money with all of the off the field issues they've had and the fact that their dipshit fan base defends these actions to the bitter end. In the last two years alone, they've had players accused of the following: rape, stealing crab legs, punching a pregnant girlfriend, punching a girl at a bar (twice!), and animal cruelty. This sounds like the arrest record of someone from Sons of Anarchy, but instead it is just the surface of a cultural problem at FSU. And worst of all, their coach likes to play the victim card and say people are out to harm his players whenever they try and get answers about why these issues are so prevalent. I can't wait to see that smug dick Jimbo Fisher get fired when one of his players tries to smuggle plutonium into Iran.
8) Baylor Bears
2014: 11-2 (lost to Michigan State Spartans 41-42 in the Cotton Bowl)
Returning Starters: 8 Offensive, 9 Defensive
Art Briles. The answer begins and ends with Art Briles. No one outside of Baylor fans can stand this guy, and I think even some of them are getting tired of hearing his bullshit. All off season, he has done nothing but complain about the fact that his team was left out of the playoff. He's done everything from blaming the brand name recognition of Ohio State to spouting insane conspiracy theories about the playoff selection committee. Even despite the fact that his team blew a 21 point lead against the same team that Ohio State dominated on the road, he has stuck to his guns and continued to say that Baylor deserved to be in the playoffs. I can see TCU's reasoning considering they obliterated Ole Miss in their bowl game, but Briles has almost nothing to stand on. Not to mention the fact that Baylor is basically Oregon Lite: a team that has risen to prominence in a weak division/conference because of a gimmicky offense, a brash coach, and a million uniform combinations each year. I hope Baylor goes back to being the basement dweller of the Big 12.
9) Auburn Tigers
2014: 8-5 (lost to Wisconsin Badgers 31-34 in the Outback Bowl
Returning Starters: 5 Offensive, 7 Defensive
2004. Mention the year 2004 to any Auburn fan and they will go into a three hour long dissertation about why they should be national champions, complete with pie charts, journal publications, and expert testimony. No rational conversation can ever come from this topic. It is unbelievable how much they think they were robbed by the BCS that year. Never mind the fact that both USC and Oklahoma started the year 1 and 2 and went wire to wire. Welcome to the BCS, Auburn. Almost every team got screwed over in one way or another. Auburn fans act like their one chance for glory in their team's history was completely robbed from them in 2004. This completely ignores the fact that they have won a title since then and played in another. Nope, none of that matters in the light of the 2004 season. Why are teams from Alabama so awful? Thank god they don't have any pro teams.
10) Clemson Tigers
2014: 10-3 (beat Oklahoma Sooners 40-6 in the Russell Athletic Bowl)
Returning Starters: 7 Offensive, 3 Defensive
No team is more eager to bring up their meager achievements and act like they are a college blue blood like Alabama or USC. If Clemson has beaten your team in the past, they will remember the exact date and outcome. I ragged on USC for always being over ranked at the beginning of every season, but Clemson is the true serial offender. I mean, there is a reason the term "Clemsoning" actually exists. Whether it is getting annihilated by Florida State in their own stadium or finding ways to implode against Georgia Tech, you know that Clemson is going to find some way to lose a game they have no business losing. With all of their toughest games at home this year, I can't wait to see who embarrasses them this year.