No. 1 OHIO STATE

Conference: Big Ten

2014 Record: 14-1

More from FoxSports

2014 Poll Finish: No. 1

Games to Watch: (at) Virginia Tech, Sept. 7; Penn State, Oct. 17; Michigan State, Nov. 21; (at) Michigan, Nov. 28.

Repeating is difficult, but few teams in recent memory have been better positioned to win back-to-back national titles than Urban Meyer's Buckeyes. No matter who plays quarterback, J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones, Ohio State's offense has plenty of playmakers and one of the best lines in the country. All-American DE Joey Bosa leads a defense that returns seven starters, though Bosa will miss the opener at Virginia Tech because of a suspension. The Buckeyes haven't lost a game since their 35-21 upset loss to the Hokies at home in the second week of last season. They're looking extend to their 13-game winning streak by exacting revenge in the Labor Day night game in Blacksburg, Va.

No. 2 TCU

Conference: Big 12

2014 Record: 12-1

2014 Poll Finish: No. 3

Games to Watch: (at) Minnesota, Sept. 3; West Virginia, Oct. 29; (at) Oklahoma, Nov. 21; Baylor, Nov. 27

While everyone else wants to talk about the regular-season finale against Baylor, coach Gary Patterson is solely focused on the Sept. 3 night season opener at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers recovered from a 30-7 loss at TCU last September to finish 8-5 with wins at Michigan and Nebraska. The result of the opener can't keep the Horned Frogs from winning another Big 12 title, but a loss could immediately damage their playoff hopes after coming oh so close last season. TCU has another Thursday night game, at home against West Virginia after needing a last-play field goal to win at Morgantown last season. Their only loss last season was 61-58 at Baylor after blowing a 21-point lead the final 11 minutes, but the Frogs host the rematch the day after Thanksgiving.

No. 3 ALABAMA

Conference: SEC

2014 Record: 12-2

2014 Poll Finish: 4

Games to Watch: Mississippi, Sept. 19; Arkansas, Oct. 10; (at) LSU, Nov. 7; (at) Auburn, Nov. 28

Alabama is trying to do more than dominate much of the regular season after struggling to the finish line the past two seasons. The Tide has averaged 12 wins over the past seven seasons and is chasing a fourth national title under Nick Saban, but has dropped two straight bowl games. The iconic coach must replace nine offensive starters, including tailback T.J. Yeldon, WR Amari Cooper and QB Blake Sims. A crowded quarterback race might carry over into the season like it did last season. However, Derrick Henry figures to be the latest star runner and ArDarius Stewart and Robert Foster are among a group of highly touted young receivers. The defense is loaded on a front seven led by linebacker Reggie Ragland and tackle A'Shawn Robinson but has to replace safeties Landon Collins and Nick Perry. Kirby Smart's defense struggled against both Ohio State and Auburn late last season though it still ranked among the nation's best.

No. 4 BAYLOR

Conference: Big 12

2014 Record: 11-2

2014 Poll Finish: No. 7

Games to Watch: Texas Tech at Arlington, Texas, Oct. 3; West Virginia, Oct. 17; Oklahoma, Nov. 14; (at)TCU, Nov. 27.

Left out of the first playoff last season, the Bears have another soft September slate before their Big 12 opener. They've went 9-0 in non-conference games the past three seasons while winning by an average margin of 45 points. The conference schedule opens with Texas Tech and Baylor last season had to hold on for a 48-46 victory over the Red Raiders at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium, then later lost the Cotton Bowl there to Michigan State after blowing a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter. Texas Tech and TCU have basically traded slots on Baylor's schedule. But before the day-after-Thanksgiving rematch against TCU, the Bears have a mid-October game against West Virginia, the team responsible for their only regular-season loss last season, and are home against an Oklahoma team looking to avenge a 34-point loss.

No. 5 MICHIGAN STATE

Conference: Big Ten

2014 Record: 11-2

2014 Poll Finish: Tied No. 5

Games to Watch: Oregon, Sept. 12; (at) Michigan, Oct. 17; (at) Nebraska, Nov. 7; (at) Ohio State, Nov. 21.

The Spartans lost only twice last year - to the teams that played in the national title game, Ohio State and Oregon. Those figure to be the two biggest games on their schedule again this season, and Michigan State is certainly a contender to reach the four-team playoff after QB Connor Cook and DL Shilique Calhoun decided to pass on the NFL and return to school. The Spartans' biggest loss might be defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who left to take the head coaching job at Pittsburgh.

No. 6 AUBURN

Conference: SEC

2014 Record: 8-5

2014 Poll Finish: No. 22

Games to Watch: (at) LSU, Sept. 19; (at) Arkansas, Oct. 24; Mississippi, Oct. 31; Alabama, Nov. 28.

Auburn turns over the offensive reins to QB Jeremy Johnson and the defense to ex-Florida coach Will Muschamp. Defensive end Carl Lawson's return from a knee injury supplies a huge boost. Other than Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, no SEC passer has drawn more preseason buzz than the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Johnson.

No. 7 OREGON

Conference: Pac-12

2014 Record: 13-2

2014 Poll Finish: No. 2

Games to Watch: (at) Michigan State, Sept. 12; (at) Arizona State, Oct. 29; (at) Stanford, Nov. 14; USC, Nov. 21.

Summary: Eastern Washington star QB Vernon Adams has transferred to Oregon for his final year of eligibility in hopes of picking up where Heisman winner Marcus Mariota left off. Among the players to watch this season is running back Royce Freeman, who rushed for 1,365 yards and 18 touchdowns last season as a true freshman.

No. 8 SOUTHERN CAL

Conference: Pac-12

2014 Record: 9-4

2014 Poll Finish: No. 20

Games to watch: Stanford, Sept 19; (at) Arizona State, Sept. 26; (at) Oregon, Nov. 21; UCLA, Nov. 28.

In their first season after the conclusion of NCAA sanctions, the Trojan's season gets serious quickly with Stanford's usual September meeting. The trip to Notre Dame is Oct. 17. USC has seven home games, but back-to-back November games at Colorado and Oregon will keep the Trojans racking up air miles as they chase the Pac-12 title.

No. 9 GEORGIA

Conference: SEC

2014 Record: 10-3

2014 Poll Finish: 9

Games to Watch: Alabama, Oct. 3; (at) Tennessee, Oct. 10; (at)Auburn, Nov. 14; (at)Georgia Tech, Nov. 28.

The Bulldogs are expected to lean heavily on tailback Nick Chubb after leading the SEC with its school-record 41.3 points per game in 2014. Brian Schottenheimer takes over the leadership of the pro-style offense after replacing Mike Bobo as offensive coordinator. Alabama visits Athens for the first time since 2008.

No. 10 FLORDIA STATE

Conference: ACC

2014 Record: 13-1

2014 Poll Finish: Tied No. 5

Games to Watch: Miami, Oct. 10; Louisville, Oct. 17; (at) Georgia Tech, Oct. 24; (at) Clemson, Nov. 7.

Life after Jameis Winston begins for the Seminoles, who are reloading and still expect to challenge for just about every trophy there is to win in college football. Florida State is in the midst of a historic run - winners in 46 of its last 50 games, three consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference titles, and a ridiculous 31-2 record in its last 33 outings against league foes.

No. 11 NOTRE DAME

Conference: Independent

2014 Record: 8-5

2014 Poll Finish: Unranked

Games to Watch: Georgia Tech, Sept. 19; (at) Clemson, Oct. 3; USC, Oct. 17; (at) Stanford, Nov. 28.

Notre Dame returns 16 starters from a squad that started 6-0 last season before injuries and turnovers led to losses in five of their last six regular-season games. The Irish are counting on depth and a rushing game powered by a veteran line and QB Malik Zaire to make a run at their first national title since 1988.

No. 12 CLEMSON

Conference: ACC

2014 Record: 10-3

2014 Poll Finish: No. 15

Games to Watch: (at) Louisville, Sept. 17; Notre Dame, Oct. 3; Georgia Tech, Oct. 10; Florida State, Nov. 7.

Clemson's offense looks sharp as long as QB Deshaun Watson stays on the field. Last year, he missed five starts and much of two more games because of injuries to his throwing hand and left knee. Watson had ACL surgery in December, yet has had a stress-free camp preparing for season-opening games against FCS opponent Wofford and second-year FBS program Appalachian State.

No. 13 UCLA

Conference: Pac-12

2014 Record: 10-3

2014 Poll Finish: No. 10

Games to watch: (at) Arizona, Sept. 26; Arizona State, Oct. 3; (at) Stanford, Oct. 15; (at) USC, Nov. 28.

The talent-laden Bruins open coach Jim Mora's fourth season with respectable, winnable non-conference games against Virginia, UNLV and BYU. A trip to defending Pac-12 champion Arizona in late September should tell them where they stand. A chance for revenge looms in mid-October at Stanford, which won at the Rose Bowl in last year's regular-season finale and took away the Pac-12 South title.

No. 14 LSU

Conference: SEC

2014 Record: 8-5

2014 Poll Finish: Unranked

Games to Watch: Auburn, Sept. 19; (at) Alabama, Nov. 7; Arkansas, Nov. 14; (at) Mississippi, Nov. 21.

LSU coach Les Miles sounds confident he'll get better quarterback play from either Brandon Harris or Anthony Jennings. That should open things up for running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette. Defensively, LSU hopes it won't miss a beat under new coordinator Kevin Steele, who uses a similar scheme to his predecessor, John Chavis.

No. 15 ARIZONA STATE

Conference: Pac-12

2014 Record: 10-3

2014 Poll Finish: No. 12

Games to Watch: Texas A&M in Houston, Sept. 5; USC, Sept. 26, (at)UCLA, Oct. 3, Oregon, Oct. 29; Arizona, Nov. 21

QB Mike Bercovici was superb filling in for an injured Taylor Kelly last season and the Sun Devils plan to use his big arm. D.J. Foster skipped a chance at the NFL for one more season and will move to slot receiver, but still get backfield touches. Defense could be the key as ASU has nearly everyone back, led by an impressive group of linebackers.

No. 16 GEORGIA TECH

Conference: ACC

2014 Record: 11-3

2014 Poll Finish: No. 8

Games to Watch: (at) Notre Dame, Sept. 19; (at) Clemson, Oct. 10; Florida State, Oct. 24; Georgia, Nov. 28;

Junior quarterback Justin Thomas is the perfect fit to execute triple-option plays in coach Paul Johnson's spread-option offense. Thomas ran for 1,086 yards - a school record for QBs - and should be even better in his second season. Improved defense could bring the Yellow Jackets back to the ACC championship game.

No. 17 MISSISSIPPI

Conference: SEC

2014 Record: 9-4

2014 Poll Finish: No. 17

Games to Watch: (at) Alabama, Sept. 19; (at) Auburn, Oct. 31; Arkansas, Nov. 7; LSU, Nov. 21

Mississippi is trying to build on last year's season with a nucleus of talented juniors that includes WR Laquon Treadwell, OT Laremy Tunsil, DL Robert Nkemdiche and DB Tony Conner. The Rebels return seven starters from a defense that gave up just 16 points per game, which ranked No. 1 in the country.

No. 18 ARKANSAS

Conference: SEC

2014 Record: 7-6

2014 Poll Finish: Unranked

Games to Watch: Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, Sept. 26; (at) Tennessee, Oct. 3; (at) Alabama, Oct. 10; Auburn, Oct. 24

Arkansas ended last season as one of the hottest teams in the country, led by a defense that finished 10th nationally. The Razorbacks are a trendy pick to join the SEC's elite this season, though they must now do so without injured running back Jonathan Williams.

No. 19 OKLAHOMA

Conference: Big 12

2014 Record: 8-5

2014 Poll Finish: Unranked

Games to Watch: (at) Tennessee, Sept. 12; (at) Baylor, Nov. 14; TCU, Nov. 21; (at)Oklahoma State, Nov. 28

After a disappointing 2014, coach Bob Stoops fired some members of his coaching staff, including the co-offensive coordinators. He brought in Lincoln Riley, who at age 31 is one of the nation's youngest offensive coordinators. Riley has brought back the Air Raid offense that helped Oklahoma return to college football's elite the previous decade.

No. 20 WISCONSIN

Conference: Big Ten

2014 Record: 11-3

2014 Poll Finish: No. 13

Games to Watch: Alabama in Arlington, Texas, Sept. 5; Iowa, Oct. 3; (at) Nebraska, Oct. 10; (at) Minnesota, Nov. 28

Former offensive coordinator Paul Chryst returns for his first year as head coach. Corey Clement takes over for Heisman runner-up Melvin Gordon as the lead tailback. But the offensive line, historically strong in Madison, faces questions because of injuries. Getting Dave Aranda back as defensive coordinator should be huge.

No. 21 STANFORD

Conference: Pac-12

2014 Record: 8-5

2014 Poll Finish: Unranked

Games to Watch: (at) USC, Sept. 19; UCLA, Oct. 15; Oregon, Nov. 14; Notre Dame, Nov. 28

Senior QB Kevin Hogan is back and looks to build on a last season's strong finish to get the Cardinal back into contention. Christian McCaffrey should provide a needed spark to the running game. Big questions linger on defense where Stanford will have to replace most of the line and secondary from the Pac-12's top unit last season.

No. 22 ARIZONA

Conference: Pac-12

2014 Record: 10-4

2014 Poll Finish: No. 19

Games to Watch: UCLA, Sept. 26; (at) Stanford, Oct. 3; (at) USC, Nov. 7; (at) Arizona State, Nov. 21

The Wildcats return a starting QB for the first time in four years under coach Rich Rodriguez, and Anu Solomon should be even better after putting up big numbers as a freshman. Dynamic RB Nick Wilson also returns while the receiving corps could be the nation's best. All-everything LB Scooby Wright is back after sweeping last season's national defensive player awards.

No. 23 BOISE STATE

Conference: Mountain West

2014 Record: 12-2

2014 Poll Finish: No. 16

Games to Watch: Washington, Sept. 4; (at) BYU, Sept. 12; (at) Colorado State, Oct. 10; (at) Utah State, Oct. 16

The Broncos ran through the end of last season with nine straight wins, including a 38-30 upset of No. 11 Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl. They claim a half-dozen players on the preseason all-Mountain West team and are favored to win the conference again.

No. 24 MISSOURI

Conference: SEC

2014 Record: 11-3

2014 Poll Finish: No. 14

Games to Watch: South Carolina, Oct. 3; (at) Georgia, Oct. 17; Tennessee, Nov. 21; (at) Arkansas, Nov. 2

Missouri's schedule is conducive to a 4-0 start which should give QB Maty Mauk time to get acquainted with a new crop of wide receivers before the conference race begins in earnest. The Tigers, picked to finish third in the SEC East after winning it the past two seasons, get time to test an unproven defensive line, too.

No. 25 TENNESSEE

Conference: SEC

2014 Record: 7-6

2014 Poll Finish: Unranked

Games to Watch: Oklahoma, Sept. 12; Arkansas, Oct. 3; (at) Georgia, Oct. 10; (at) Alabama, Oct. 24

The Volunteers ended a string of four straight losing seasons last year by winning four of its last five games, a surge that coincided with the emergence of QB Joshua Dobbs. Tennessee has a roster full of talented underclassmen but needs improvement from an offensive line that allowed 43 sacks last season.