After a disappointing end to the 2013 season, losing to Michigan State 34-24 in the Big Ten championship game and Clemson 40-35 in the Discover Orange Bowl, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer made some not-so-subtle changes to his coaching staff. He poached Chris Ash from Arkansas' staff to serve as co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach and hired longtime Penn State assistant/recruiting coordinator Larry Johnson Sr. to coach the defensive line. OSU allowed 34 points or more in four of its last five games this past season. The Buckeyes will bring back seven starters on defense, but they lost junior cornerback Bradley Roby
and junior linebacker Ryan Shazier
to the NFL draft. Also, rising junior end Noah Spence
, the team's best pass rusher, will miss the first two games of the 2014 season while serving a Big Ten suspension for using a banned substance. Five starters are coming back on offense, including quarterback Braxton Miller
. But OSU will have to replace four starting offensive linemen and tailback Carlos Hyde
For more on how the Buckeyes will look in 2014, check out Ohio State's recruiting profile and ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings.
If Wisconsin can somehow defeat LSU in its 2014 opener in Houston, it might have a chance to go unbeaten. The Badgers don't play Michigan, Michigan State or Ohio State during the regular season and their most difficult tests are probably a home game against Nebraska and road trip at Iowa. Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen will have to rebuild his defense, with each of the starting down linemen and three of four linebackers departing. Tailback Melvin Gordon
, who ran for 1,609 yards with 12 touchdowns this past season, is coming back for his junior season, along with quarterback Joel Stave
. But the Badgers will miss receiver Jared Abbrederis
, who caught 78 passes for 1,081 yards with seven touchdowns in 2013.
For more on how the Badgers will look in 2014, check out Wisconsin's recruiting profile and ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings.
Sure, the Aggies are going to miss departing quarterback Johnny Manziel
, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, who is leaving after only two college seasons. Texas A&M also loses All-American left tackle Jake Matthews
and receiver Mike Evans
, another draft-eligible sophomore, but it's hard to imagine coach Kevin Sumlin's program falling off the map. Look at the last two unknown quarterbacks who ran Sumlin's offense: Houston's Case Keenum and Manziel. The QB job will be a competition between rising senior Matt Joeckel
, sophomore Kenny Hill
or incoming freshman Kyle Allen, and the Aggies are going to have plenty of weapons around them. Plus, Texas A&M's recruiting class is currently ranked No. 2 in the country by ESPN's RecruitingNation, and there's a lot of help coming for coordinator Mark Snyder's much-maligned defense, led by Myles Garrett, the No. 1 defensive end prospect in the country.
For more on how the Aggies will look in 2014, check out Texas A&M's recruiting profile and ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings.