Post-Spring Way-Too-Early Top 25

18. Iowa Hawkeyes

Just when it seemed that coach Kirk Ferentz had lost his touch, the Hawkeyes rebounded from a disappointing 4-8 record in 2012 to finish 8-5 last season. With quarterback Jake Rudock and a talented receiver corps coming back, Iowa might be the team to beat in the Big Ten West in 2014. Rudock, a junior from Weston, Florida, passed for 2,383 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season. If he cuts down on his mistakes this season, Ferentz might be more willing to open up the offense, especially with top receivers Kevonte Martin-Manley and Tevaun Smith returning. Derrick Willies, a redshirt freshman from Rock Island, Illinois, also emerged as a potential big-play threat during the spring. Iowa's biggest concerns are in the secondary, where three of four starting spots still seem up for grabs. The Hawkeyes must replace three starting linebackers who combined to make more than 100 career starts and nearly 1,000 tackles, but Quinton Alston, Travis Perry and Reggie Spearman looked like more-than-capable replacements during the spring.

19. Florida Gators

After the Gators limped to a 4-8 finish last season, their worst campaign since going winless in 1979, Will Muschamp enters the 2014 season on perhaps the hottest coaching seat in the country. But Muschamp believes the hiring of former Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will resurrect the Gators' woebegone offense. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is healthy again after breaking his leg last season, and he looked much more comfortable in Roper's spread offense during the spring. He completed 18 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown in the spring game. Muschamp believes the Gators are deeper at tailback, with Mack Brown and Kelvin Taylor returning, and receiver, which has been a big disappointment the past few seasons. Sophomore Demarcus Robinson looked more mature, and Quinton Dunbar and Ahmad Fulwood also performed well in the spring. Florida's defense is inexperienced, but Muschamp said he doesn't expect it to slip much after losing a boatload of talented players to the NFL draft.

20. USC Trojans

New Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian didn't wait long to put his stamp on the program, installing a hurry-up, spread offense like many of USC's Pac-12 rivals are using. The Trojans averaged about 120 offensive plays during spring scrimmages, a vast increase compared to the program under former coach Lane Kiffin. Quarterback Cody Kessler, who threw for 345 yards with four touchdowns in USC's 45-20 victory over Fresno State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, held off Max Browne for the starting job. Kessler will be surrounded by plenty of talented playmakers on offense, including tailbacks Javorius "Buck" Allen, Tre Madden and Justin Davis. Star receiver Marqise Lee is gone, but Nelson Agholor led the Trojans with 918 receiving yards and six touchdown catches last season. USC must replace three starters on the offensive line, and depth up front remains a concern because of NCAA scholarship reductions. USC's defense is loaded up front, led by All-American end Leonard Williams.

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