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Way, way, way too early 2015 Top 25: seven Pac-12 teams in Top 25

2015 could be another great year for the Pac-12.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ohio State

The national champs return a ton of talent experience, including three quarterbacks that could be Heisman candidates. Some other names include Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa, Pat Elflein, Taylor Decker and more.

2. TCU

The Horned Frogs got snubbed from the Playoff in 2014, but have a great shot at getting in at the end of 2015 if they can fulfill their potential. Led by senior quarterback Trevone Boykin, TCU returns a ton of talent in 2015, especially on their explosive offense.

3. Baylor

The other Playoff snub loses star quarterback Bryce Petty and receiver Antwan Goodley, but get just about everyone else back, including guys who could end up being the nation's best offensive and defensive linemen in the nation in Spencer Drango and Shawn Oakman who turned down the NFL.

4. Oregon

The Ducks lose Mr. Everything in Marcus Mariota along with some incredible mainstays like Jake Fisher, Hroniss Grasu, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Erick Dargan and Arik Armstead, but no program in the nation is better at getting the next man up to fill shoes better than Oregon. The Ducks are still loaded at running back and receiver and got a huge score in getting underrated defensive end DeForest Buckner to return for his senior season.

5. Michigan State

It was another phenomenal season for the Spartans in 2014 as their only losses came against the nation's number one and two teams and expectations are high again coming into 2015 with elite NFL prospect Connor Cook and first round talent defensive end Shilique Calhoun returning for their senior seasons.

6. Alabama

The Crimson Tide lose a ton of talent and experience, but they have just about as much, if not more young talent returning than anyone else in the country and Nick Saban. Like Oregon, they have kind of earned their perpetual spot in the preseason Top 5/10 since they perpetually show the ability to reload and execute.

7. Mississippi

They lose Bo Wallace and Cody Prewitt, but the Rebels get just about everyone else back including guys who could legitimately go one and two in the 2016 draft in tackle Laremy Tunsil and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.


Forget about losing Brett Hundley, this UCLA team is still loaded, especially on defense. Running back Paul Perkins quietly might be the best in the Pac-12, the young offensive line is another year better and the defense is loaded with guys like Myles Jack, Kenny Clark and Ishmael Adams returning.

9. USC

I know, it is so hard to expect the Trojans to fulfill their potential in the past five years, but I think Steve Sarkisian can get them to do it to at least an extend. Senior quarterback Cody Kessler has a ton of tools around him and if the defense can come together around Su'a Cravens, they could be a Top 5 team.

10. Auburn

Hard to hold down a Gus Malzahn team with a lot of talent, especially now that Will Muchamp is in charge of a loaded defense.

11. Notre Dame

Notre Dame hit a rough patch in 2014, but they recovered well and return a lot of talent with Brian Kelly at the helm. Getting tackle Ronnie Stanley and defensive end Sheldon Day to come back for their senior seasons was a major score for the Irish.

12. Georgia

The Bulldogs seem to be perpetually hovering right here and with some good coaching moves and a lot of returning experience, I expect them to improve a little bit in 2015 fueled by returning stars in Nick Chubb, Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd.

13. Florida State

The Seminoles might lose more talent than anyone in the nation, including Jameis Winston, but they also have a lot of budding stars returning on offense like running back Dalvin Cook, Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane and safety Jalen Ramsey as a star on defense.

14. Georgia Tech

Led by emerging start at quarterback Justin Thomas, the Yellow Jackets were hot down the stretch in 2014 in Paul Johnson's scheme and I would not be shocked if they sneak up and win the ACC in 2015.

15. Arizona State

Taylor Kelly is gone, but the Sun Devils looked even better at times with Mike Bercovici at times at quarterback and he will get a lot of help at running back with D.J. Foster holding off the NFL for another year and some great talent and experience coming back on the offensive line. On top of that, Todd Graham's reloaded on the fly defense from 2014 will be another year older and wiser.

16. Arizona

The Wildcats should be lights out at their skill positions in 2015 with quarterback Anu Solomon and running back Nick Wilson a little bit wiser and a fleet of talented receivers returning. If the Wildcats can replace some mainstays on the offensive line and on defense to help out superstar linebacker Scooby Wright, they could be darkhorse Pac-12 champion pick.

17. LSU

A lot of talent, but they never seem to put it together... you know the drill by now.

18. Stanford

Can Kevin Hogan finally put it together as a senior? Will an offensive line loaded with big time high school recruits live up to their potential? Can Stanford replace their entire starting defensive line and secondary? Stanford will be Top 10 team if the answers to at least two of these questions is yes.

19. Utah

Utah quietly finished in the Top 25 in 2014 and return a lot of a defense that was amongst the nation's best along with first team All-Pac-12 running back Devontae Booker and senior quarterback Travis Wilson. The Utes could end up moving up towards the Top 10 if Wilson can turn into All-Pac-12-level QB.

20. Clemson

The Tigers lose a lot of the front of their stellar defense, but generally seem to do a good job of reloading and should be improved on offense.

21. Arkansas

A sleeper to compete for the SEC West title, the Razorbacks were hot down the stretch and also nearly upset Alabama, Mississippi State and Texas A&M in 2014. Bret Bielema has a ton of experience coming back in 2015 in what could be the start of something good for him in Fayetteville.

22. Missouri

The Tigers continue to sneak up on everyone in the SEC East and get Maty Mauk back as a third-year starter.

23. Texas A&M

I don't see Kevin Sumlin staying down for long at Texas A&M especially with the talent he has coming back.

24. Boise State

They aren't what they were in their 2000s heyday, but they also don't appear to be going anywhere even if they are losing star running back Jay Ajayi and quarterback Grant Hedrick.

25. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys appear to have their quarterback of the future in sophomore Mason Rudolph and finished the season strong with a win at Oklahoma and in their bowl game.

On the edge

Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Tennessee, NCState, Minnesota