What does the schedule poster of a defending national champion look like? Here is what Florida State, the current holders of the title belt, produced. The Seminoles are atop nearly every preseason poll and why not, with Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston back for more. Florida State opens Saturday against Oklahoma State at Dallas.
Nearly every team will have played two games by the time Cincinnati takes on Toledo in its opener. The The Bearcats play host to the Rockets on Sept. 12, a Friday night. Cincinnati plays only three games in September, including a Sept. 27 game at Ohio State. The Bearcats, who finished Dec. 6 against Houston, produced six posters.
Colorado, a once-proud program that reached new lows in recent seasons, appears to have made the right hire in Mike MacIntyre, who guided the team to four victories in 2013. OK, that's not a big number, but given how low the Buffaloes were at one point, it's a marked improvement. Colorado, which produced six posters, opens Friday night against rival Colorado State.
That's right, Alabama has lost two games in a row, and the Crimson Tide failed to reach last season's BCS title game, but there's no other way to put it: Alabama is the gold standard of the college game. The Crimson Tide open Saturday against West Virginia.
Any talk of national title contenders has to include Oregon, which returns 12 starters, including quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Ducks are coming off an 11-2 season, but lost two or their last four regular-season games after Mariota was hobbled because of a left knee injury. Mariota is good to go and tops many of the Heisman Trophy watch lists. Perhaps the best nonconference game is the Sept. 6 matchup between Oregon and Michigan State in Eugene.