The point is, with 14 starters returning from the first undefeated national champion in three seasons, Florida State is an obvious favorite to win the first College Football Playoff -- as long as the Seminoles can stay out of their own way.
"We got a different team," Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. "But how can we learn from [last season] to be able to repeat performance? Because that's what you have to, to be a champion, you have to keep repeating performance."
Fisher had in mind his team's performance on the field, when the Seminoles won their first 13 games by at least two touchdowns and averaged 51.6 points per game. He had in mind the fight the Seminoles showed in clawing back from a 21-3 deficit to defeat Auburn 34-31 in the BCS National Championship.
But Fisher made that comment in March, before Winston was cited for shoplifting $32.72 worth of crab legs and crawfish last month, nearly five months after he escaped being prosecuted for sexual assault, and before O'Leary suffered his second motorcycle accident in 11 months.
The Seminoles also have one of the most experienced offensive lines in the nation (113 returning starts), a veteran threat in senior wideout Rashad Greene, the returning Lou Groza Award winner in redshirt sophomore Roberto Aguayo, and the list goes on and on. We will learn if Florida State can keep from beating itself.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Running backs have become about as popular in the NFL draft as the Kardashians are in the Hamptons.
A running back wasn't selected in draft until the Tennessee Titans chose former Washington star Bishop Sankey with the 54th pick, making 2014 the first year in the common draft era without a running back going in the top 50.
Georgia's Todd Gurley, who might be the best college running back in the country, spent spring practice trying to recover from an ankle injury that hobbled him for much of last season. If Gurley is healthy this coming season, he might prove to NFL teams that he's worthy of a much higher selection.
The Bulldogs are hoping Gurley can lead them back to the top of the SEC East and potentially into a spot in the College Football Playoff. Last season, Gurley was hampered by injuries and a torn ACL sidelined tailback Keith Marshall for the final eight games, causing UGA to limp to a disappointing 8-5 finish.
When Gurley is healthy, he's the kind of player who can carry the Bulldogs, according to UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. With Hutson Mason replacing the record-setting Aaron Murray at quarterback, UGA might need Gurley to remain upright more than ever.
"When Todd's healthy, he's the best back in the country -- hands down," Bobo said. "He can run with power, he can run with speed and he can catch the ball."
Gurley injured his groin in the 2013 opener and then sprained his left ankle in the fourth game. He missed the next three contests and wasn't the same player upon returning.
"You just hate the pain and having to practice with it," Gurley said. "Hopefully not, but I'm pretty sure something else will come up once the season starts up. That's just the sport. You'll have to play with something and you just have to fight through it."