The Crimson Tide finished the 2013 season with consecutive losses, and their 45-31 loss to Oklahoma in the Allstate Sugar Bowl exposed concerns about their offensive line and secondary. But Alabama might bring back eight starters on both offense and defense, although offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio
and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
are deciding whether to enter the NFL draft. Undoubtedly, the biggest losses are quarterback AJ McCarron
, who had a 36-4 record as a starter and guided the Tide to two BCS national championships, and star linebacker C.J. Mosley
. Rising senior Blake Sims
, incoming freshman David Cornwell and others will battle for the starting quarterback job in 2014. Also, FSU backup quarterback Jacob Coker
might be eyeing a potential transfer to Alabama as well. The Tide might bring back four starting offensive linemen and their top three tailbacks, so they figure to have a high-powered offense, regardless of who starts under center. The Tide play only four true road games this coming season and open the season against West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. They'll face Florida, Texas A&M and Auburn at home in SEC play. For more on how the Tide will look in 2014, check out Alabama's recruiting profile and ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings.
Sure, the Ducks suffered disappointing losses to Stanford and Arizona that knocked them out of the national championship race. But Oregon still finished 11-2 under first-year coach Mark Helfrich, and the Ducks looked like one of the country's best teams when quarterback Marcus Mariota
was healthy. Oregon might bring back nine starters on offense in 2014, including Mariota, who figures to be one of the leading Heisman Trophy candidates. Tailback De'Anthony Thomas
, a big-play threat whenever he touches the ball, is leaving for the NFL draft, and the Ducks also will have to replace as many as six defensive starters (including all but one defensive back after junior cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
announced he was returning to school), as well as longtime defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, who announced his retirement before the Ducks defeated Texas 30-7 in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Oregon plays a nonconference game against Michigan State at home, but it will miss USC and Arizona State during Pac-12 play. For more on how the Ducks will look in 2014, check out Oregon's recruiting profile and ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings.