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College Football

Florida State, Alabama headline post-spring Power Rankings

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Florida State and Auburn could both be in the national championship picture again in the 2014 season.

During the spring, every team's season remains a potential fairy tale. Possibilities are endless, and all it takes is a little magic to make college football dreams come true.

Of course, there's far from enough magic to go around, and most programs will be left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. But there's a common thread here. Spring brings hope, yet it offers no guarantees. The stories of the fall have yet to unfold.

To honor Andy Staples, who passed this column down to me, I've decided to bless the post-spring practice Power Rankings with a theme. The 25 schools listed below are paired with Disney villains (Pixar movies included). From Ursula to Jafar, they (sort of) provide a window into the state of each team.

The college football season is 16 weeks away. It's time to get weird. Let's make the villains heroes for once.

Spring postcards: Alabama l Auburn l Ohio State l Oregon l South Carolina l Vanderbilt

1
Florida State Seminoles
2013 record: 14-0

Key returnees: QB Jameis Winston, WR Rashad Greene, RB Karlos Williams, TE Nick O'Leary, OL Cameron Erving, OL Tre' Jackson, DE Mario Edwards Jr., LB Terrence Smith, CB P.J. Williams, S Jalen Ramsey

Key losses: DL Timmy Jernigan, LB Telvin Smith, LB Christian Jones, CB Lamarcus Joyner, RB Devonta Freeman, RB James Wilder Jr., S Terrence Brooks, WR Kelvin Benjamin, C Bryan Stork, WR Kenny Shaw

Disney villain: Ursula The Sea Witch, The Little Mermaid

Ursula pairs with the Seminoles quite nicely following last week's Jameis Winston crabpocalypse. Florida State stepped all over the poor, unfortunate souls in its path to last season's BCS title game. The 'Noles captured their trident in the form of a crystal football. Yet while Florida State is back, it has to make sure it harnesses its power and keeps the voices at bay. Otherwise, Jimbo Fisher, Winston and company could risk getting too comfortable.
 
2
Alabama Crimson Tide
2013 record: 11-2

Key returnees: RB T.J. Yeldon, WR Amari Cooper, OL Arie Kouandjio, RB Derrick Henry, WR DeAndrew White, TE O.J. Howard, DT A'Shawn Robinson, LB Trey DePriest, S Landon Collins

Key losses: QB AJ McCarron, OL Cyrus Kouandjio, LB C.J. Mosley, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, WR Kevin Norwood, OL Anthony Steen, DB Vinnie Sunseri, DE Ed Stinson, LB Adrian Hubbard, DE Jeoffrey Pagan

Disney villain: The Evil Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

It was incredibly tempting to go with Captain Hook here, given all the possible clock-management jokes. But the Evil Queen suits Alabama better. The Crimson Tide want to be the fairest of them all, but they can't get caught staring in the mirror and dwelling on season-ending losses to Auburn and Oklahoma. Nick Saban went out and got a new Huntsman in offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Plus, that apple looks pretty dang crimson to me.

 
3
Auburn Tigers
2013 record: 12-2

Key returnees: QB Nick Marshall, RB Cameron Artis-Payne, C Reese Dismukes, RB Corey Grant, WR Sammie Coates, DE Carl Lawson, DT Gabe Wright, DT Montravius Adams, DT Ben Bradley, LB Chris Frost, CB Jonathan Mincy, LB Robenson Therezie, LB Cassanova McKinzy

Key losses: RB Tre Mason, OL Greg Robinson, DE Dee Ford, CB Chris Davis, FB Jay Prosch, P Steven Clark, LB Jake Holland

Disney villain: Shere Khan, The Jungle Book

Well, yeah, he's a tiger. There's more to this comparison than that. What is Shere Khan afraid of? Fire. A team with a mascot wielding a flaming spear took down the Tigers in last season's BCS championship game. Auburn is intimidating, fast and features a hypnotic offense. Khan's most famous line was, "No matter how fast you run, no matter where you hide, I will catch you." As catchy as HUNH is, I'm thinking Gus Malzahn could repurpose that mantra pretty nicely.

 
4
Stanford Cardinal
2013 record: 11-3

Key returnees: QB Kevin Hogan, WR Ty Montgomery, WR Devon Cajuste, RB Barry Sanders, S Kodi Whitfield, OL Kyle Murphy, OL Joshua Garnett, OL Andrus Peat, DE Henry Anderson, S Jordan Richards, LB James Vaughters, LB Joe Hemschoot, LB Kevin Anderson, CB Alex Carter, LB A.J. Harpley, DE Blake Leuders, CB Wayne Lyons

Key losses: LB Trent Murphy, OL David Yankey, OL Cameron Fleming, RB Tyler Gaffney, LB Shayne Skov, S Ed Reynolds, DE Josh Mauro, FB Ryan Hewitt, DE Ben Gardner, C Khalil Wilkes, CB Usua Amanam

Disney villain: Syndrome, The Incredibles

Before becoming Syndrome, the brilliant scientist Buddy designed weapons. His greatest one was a big, old robot that simply pummeled other superheroes. So, even though Syndrome did not possess any special powers, he used intelligence to become a supervillain. Stanford has gradually morphed into a West Coast powerhouse, and David Shaw's Cardinal demand respect. Coming off four BCS bowl berths, those nerds are dangerous.

 
5
Oklahoma Sooners
2013 record: 11-2

Key returnees: QB Trevor Knight, S Ahmad Thomas, LB Frank Shannon, DT Chuka Ndulue, DT Jordan Wade, LB Dominique Alexander, LB Eric Striker, CB Zach Sanchez, S Quentin Hayes, WR Sterling Shepard, TE Blake Bell, RB Keith Ford, WR Durron Neal, OL Tyrus Thompson, OL Adam Shead, OL Daryl Williams, DE Charles Tapper, K Michael Hunnicutt

Key losses: CB Aaron Colvin, WR Jalen Saunders, RB Damien Williams, FB Trey Millard, C Gabe Ikard, RB Brennan Clay, OL Bronson Irwin, LB Corey Nelson, S Gabe Lynn, WR Jaz Reynolds, CB Gabe Lynn

Disney villain: Scar, The Lion King

Scar toppled a king much like Oklahoma upended football royalty in the Sugar Bowl. The irony of Mufasa dropping to the bottom of a cliff probably wouldn't be lost on Bob Stoops, who would make a perfect Scar. Stoops has a dry sense of humor and isn't afraid to deliver a few quips. The Sooners are prone to lulling foes into a false sense of security, but don't be fooled. Led by quarterback Trevor Knight and fearsome linebacker Eric Striker, this team is dangerous on both sides of the ball.

 
 
6
Michigan State Spartans
2013 record: 13-1

Key returnees: QB Connor Cook, RB Jeremy Langford, WR Tony Lippett, WR Keith Mumphery, TE Josiah Price, C Jack Allen, DE Shilique Calhoun, DE Marcus Rush, LB Taiwan Jones, CB Trae Waynes, DT Damon Knox, S Kurtis Drummond, S R.J. Williamson, LB Ed Davis

Key losses: CB Darqueze Dennard, LB Max Bullough, S Isaiah Lewis, WR Bennie Fowler, LB Denicos Allen, OL Fou Fonoti, OL Blake Treadwell, QB Andrew Maxwell, DT Tyler Hoover, OL Dan France, DE Denzel Drone

Disney villain: Sid, Toy Story

Michigan State had a psychopathic defense in 2013, and the Spartans wreaked havoc against their opponents' shiny toy offenses. The departure of Darqueze Dennard, Max Bullough and Denicos Allen might temper Michigan State's ferocity, but most of Sparty's offensive standouts are back. Also, blowing stuff up makes Sid feel some type of way.

 
7
UCLA Bruins
2013 record: 10-3

Key returnees: QB Brett Hundley, LB Myles Jack, CB Ishmael Adams, CB Priest Willis, S Anthony Jefferson, RB Paul Perkins, RB Jordon James, WR Devin Fuller, WR Jordan Payton, WR Devin Lucien, OL Caleb Benenoch, DL Ellis McCarthy, LB Eric Kendricks, TE Thomas Duarte, OL Scott Quessenberry, C Jake Brendel, OL Alex Redmond, LB Isaako Savaiinaea, S Tahaan Goodman

Key losses: LB Anthony Barr, OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, WR Shaq Evans, DE Cassius Marsh, LB Jordan Zumwalt, LB Keenan Graham, DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DT Seali'i Epenesa, S Stan McKay

Disney villain: Jafar, Aladdin

Jafar is a trusted advisor who has a limited amount of power in the kingdom, but that's not enough. He searches for the magic lamp in the Cave of Wonders. The Bruins have found their genie -- whose color isn't far off from UCLA blue -- in redshirt junior quarterback Brett Hundley. Hundley is giving Jim Mora and staff a third season, so they better use it wisely or risk being buried beneath the strength of an extremely deep and talented Pac-12.

 
8
Ohio State Buckeyes
2013 record: 12-2

Key returnees: QB Braxton Miller, RB Ezekiel Elliott, RB Dontre Wilson, WR Evan Spencer, WR Devin Smith, OL Taylor Decker, DE Noah Spence, DT Michael Bennett, DE Joey Bosa, CB Armani Reeves, CB Doran Grant, S Tyvis Powell, LB Trey Johnson, LB Curtis Grant, DL Joel Hale

Key losses: QB Kenny Guiton, RB Carlos Hyde, RB Jordan Hall, RB Corey Brown, WR Chris Fields, OL Jack Mewhort, OL Andrew Norwell, C Corey Linsley, OL Marcus Hall, S Christian Bryant, S C.J. Barnett, CB Bradley Roby, LB Ryan Shazier

Disney villain: Cruella De Vil, One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Much like dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes' potent offense, Cruella operates at breakneck speed. Ohio State is ruthless and goal-oriented, although its defense can sometimes be as unpredictable as its offense is reliable. At the conclusion of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Cruella's plan is foiled. I'm sure she would've gladly eaten Papa John's pizza had some been made available to her.

 
9
Oregon Ducks
2013 record: 11-2

Key returnees: QB Marcus Mariota, RB Byron Marshall, WR Keanon Lowe, TE Johnny Mundt, C Hroniss Grasu, RB Thomas Tyner, OL Jake Fisher, OL Hamani Stevens, DE Arik Armstead, DE DeForest Buckner, DL Alex Balducci, LB Derrick Malone, LB Joe Walker, LB Tyson Coleman, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Troy Hill, S Erick Dargan, CB Dior Mathis

Key losses: RB De'Anthony Thomas, DE Taylor Hard, WR Josh Huff, CB Terrance Mitchell, TE Colt Lyeria, S Drew Howell, S Avery Patterson, LB Boseko Lokombo, DT Wade Keliikipi, S Brian Jackson, DT Ricky Heimuli, WR Daryle Hawkins

Disney villain: Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty

Beautiful, sleek and always exuding the color green, Maleficent seems all-powerful. There is little doubt she would look terrific in Oregon's uniforms, and much like the Ducks' high-powered offense, she can beat foes in a variety of ways. Between quarterback Marcus Mariota and running backs Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner, Oregon goes through stretches where it simply appears unbeatable. Still, as Stanford has recently proven, the Ducks have weaknesses. And Mark Helfrich's squad lost one of its key weapons this spring when leading returning receiver Bralon Addison went down with a torn ACL.

 
10
LSU Tigers
2013 record: 10-3

Key returnees: QB Anthony Jennings, OL Vadal Alexander, WR Travin Dural, DE Jermauria Rasco, DE Danielle Hunter, LB Kwon Alexander, CB TreDavious White, CB Jalen Collins, CB Jalen Mills

Key losses: QB Zach Mettenberger, RB Jeremy Hill, RB Alfred Blue, WR Jarvis Landry, WR Odell Beckham Jr., OL Trai Turner, DT Ego Ferguson, LB Lamin Barrow, DB Craig Loston

Disney villain: Queen of Hearts, Alice In Wonderland

The Queen loves croquet. Croquet is played on grass, and Les Miles eats grass. More fitting, though, the Queen has plenty of cards at her disposal, and the Tigers have an enviable supply of top-tier recruits, including quarterback Brandon Harris, running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Malachi Dupre. It always feels like things are a little left of center in Baton Rouge -- defensive linemen riding stolen bikes and all -- and rules and reality are often bent in Wonderland.

 
11
Wisconsin Badgers
2013 record: 9-4

Key returnees: RB Melvin Gordon, S Nate Hammon, CB Sojourn Shelton, QB Joel Stave, QB Tanner McEvoy, WR Jordan Fredrick, WR Kenzel Doe, TE Sam Arneson, OL Rob Havenstein

Key losses: LB Chris Borland, WR Jared Abbrederis, S Dez Southward, OG Ryan Groy, RB James White, DT Beau Allen, TE Jake Pedersen, LB Brendan Kelly, LB Ethan Armstrong, LB Conor O'Neill

Disney villain: Shan Yu, Mulan

The leader of a powerful army, Shan Yu marches over everything in his path. That's also the mindset for tailback Melvin Gordon and a Wisconsin offense that averaged 283.8 rushing yards per game in 2013. A guy who survived in an avalanche, Yu wouldn't mind the cold winters in Madison, either.

 
12
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2013 record: 9-4

Key returnees: QB Everett Golson, LB Jaylon Smith, WR DaVaris Daniels, TE Ben Koyack, RB Amir Carlisle, RB Cam McDaniel, DE Sheldon Day, S Austin Collinsworth, CB KeiVarae Russell, C Nick Martin

Key losses: OT Zach Martin, DE Stephon Tuitt, DT Louis Nix III, OG Chris Watt, LB Prince Shembo, RB George Atkinson III, QB Tommy Rees, TE Troy Niklas, CB Bennett Jackson, WR T.J. Jones

Disney villain: Claude Frollo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

How could it be anyone other than the villain from The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Frollo is deeply committed to his line of thinking, but he's not above wanting what others (namely, Florida State and Alabama) have. The Fighting Irish might be overlooked at the end of spring practice, but with a toothy defense and the return of quarterback Everett Golson, they're dangerous all the same.

 
13
Baylor Bears
2013 record: 11-2

Key returnees: QB Bryce Petty, WR Antwan Goodley, RB Shock Linwood, WR Levi Norwood, OT Troy Baker, DE Jamal Palmer, DL Beau Blackshear, LB Bryce Hager, WR Clay Fuller

Key losses: OG Cyril Richardson, RB Lache Seastrunk, S Ahmad Dixon, WR Tevin Reese, CB Demetri Goodson, TE Jordan Najvar, RB Glasco Martin, LB Eddie Lackey, DE Chris McAllister

Disney villain: Chernabog, Fantasia

If there's a Disney representation of the Bears' explosive offense, it's Chernabog. Perched at the top of a mountain, Art Briles can watch as his minions fly around, trusting they'll be in the right place at the proper time. There's an outright beauty to Baylor's offense when executed perfectly -- it appears more frightening than it actually is. Alas, the Bears must play better defense. In their two losses last season, they surrendered an average of 50.5 points.

 
14
USC Trojans
2013 record: 10-4

Key returnees: RB Tre Madden, WR Nelson Agholor, QB Cody Kessler, S Su'a Cravens, RB Javorius Allen, WR Darreus Rogers, DE Leonard Williams, LB Hayes Pullard, LB Lamar Dawson, CB Josh Shaw, CB Kevon Seymour

Key losses: WR Marqise Lee, C Marcus Martin, S Dion Bailey, DT George Uko, LB Morgan Breslin, RB Silas Redd, S Demetrius Wright, TE Xavier Grimble

Disney villain: Lady Tremaine, Cinderella

The Wicked Stepmother can't handle the thought of anyone being as beautiful as her progeny. The talent-rich Trojans are focused on rejoining college football's elite. The hope in Los Angeles is that first-year coach Steve Sarkisian can bring the Trojans back to glory after the program's recent downturn under Kiffin.

 
15
Georgia Bulldogs
2013 record: 8-5

Key returnees: QB Hutson Mason, RB Todd Gurley, CB Damian Swann, RB Keith Marshall, WR Chris Conley, WR Michael Bennett, WR Malcolm Mitchell

Key losses: QB Aaron Murray, TE Arthur Lynch, S Josh Harvey-Clemons, DE Garrison Smith, OT Kenarious Gates, OG Chris Burnette

Disney villain: Madame Medusa, The Rescuers

Clad in a red dress with red hair, Medusa can give off the impression that she has everything figured out. Yet, ultimately, she's prone to losing control. That's a common joke surrounding coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, but the Bulldogs need to keep things together to compete in the SEC East. After all, the Dawgs lost four-year starting quarterback Aaron Murray to graduation.

 
16
South Carolina Gamecocks
2013 record: 11-2

Key returnees: RB Mike Davis, QB Dylan Thompson, WR Shaq Roland, LB Skai Moore, OL Corey Robinson, OL Brandon Shell, S Kadetrix Marcus, S Brison Williams

Key losses: DE Jadeveon Clowney, QB Connor Shaw, WR Bruce Ellington, CB Vic Hampton, DT Kelcy Quarles, DE Chaz Sutton, OL Ronald Patrick, CB Jimmy Legree

Disney villain: Hades, Hercules

"He's gotta have a weakness, because everybody's got a weakness. I mean, for what? Pandora, it was the box thing. For the Trojans, hey, they bet on the wrong horse, okay?" -- Hades

Slap a visor on him and hand him a microphone, and Hades would be hatin' almost as much as Steve Spurrier does. Hades uses intellect to maximize his situation even though he's in the underworld. He may have things taken away, just as the Gamecocks lose Jadeveon Clowney and Connor Shaw. Still, South Carolina should be a thorn in foes' sides throughout 2014.

 
17
Clemson Tigers
2013 record: 11-2

Key returnees: QB Cole Stoudt, RB Zac Brooks, RB D.J. Howard, TE Stanton Seckinger, OL David Beasley, C Ryan Norton, OL Isaiah Battle, DE Vic Beasley, WR Adam Humphries, WR Mike Williams, DE Shaq Lawson, S Jayron Kearse, S Travis Blanks, S Robert Smith, DL DJ Reader, DL Grady Jarrett, WR Germone Hopper

Key losses: QB Tajh Boyd, WR Sammy Watkins, WR Martavis Bryant, OL Brandon Thomas, CB Bashaud Breeland, K Chandler Catanzaro, LB Spencer Shuey, OL Tyler Shatley, LB Quandon Christian, RB Roderick Mcdowell, QB Chad Kelly

Disney villain: Professor Ratigan, The Great Mouse Detective

One could say Professor Ratigan invented Clemsoning before Clemson did, although I've yet to hear anyone say that, and nobody likely ever will. Clemson has plenty of roster issues to address, as Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant are off to the NFL. It will take a dastardly plan for Dabo Swinney and the Tigers to keep pace in the ACC.

 
18
Texas Tech Red Raiders
2013 record: 8-5

Key returnees: QB Davis Webb, RB Kenny Williams, WR Jakeem Grant, WR Jordan Davis, WR Bradley Marquez, RB DeAndre Washington, OL Le'Raven Clark, QB Michael Brewer, LB Pete Robertson, OL Alfredo Morales, S J.J. Graines, S Keenon Ward, LB Micah Awe, S Austin Stewart, C Jared Kaster

Key losses: QB Baker Mayfield, TE Jace Amaro, S Tre Porter, CB Bruce Jones, LB Will Smith, WR Eric Ward, OL Rashad Fortenberry, DE Kerry Hyder, DL Dennell Wesley, DT Dartwan Bush, LB Terrance Bullitt, CB Olaoluwa Falemi

Disney villain: Gaston, Beauty and the Beast

It's unclear whether Kliff Kingsbury ate four dozen eggs when he was young, but the rest of this seems entirely relevant to #TooTurntUniversity.

 
19
Ole Miss Rebels
2013 record: 8-5

Key returnees: QB Bo Wallace, WR Laquon Treadwell, OL Laremy Tunsil, DE CJ Johnson, DT Robert Nkemdiche, LB Denzel Nkemdiche, S Cody Prewitt, DB Trae Elston, DL Lavon Hooks, CB Senquez Golson

Key losses: WR Donte Moncrief, LB Mike Marry, C Evan Swindall, LB DT Shackelford, OL Pierce Burton, RB Jeff Scott, WR Ja-Mes Logan

Disney villain: Edgar Balthazar, The Aristocats

While Balthazar is obsessed with getting the cats' inheritance, the Rebels are obsessed with landing five-star recruits. Hugh Freeze and his staff have landed a stable of blue-chip prospects over the last few years, and now it's time to make a run. Patience will be critical, but Ole Miss has the talent to contend in the SEC West. It's up to Bo Wallace, Robert Nkemdiche and company to capitalize.

 
20
Arizona State Sun Devils
2013 record: 10-4

Key returnees: QB Taylor Kelly, RB D.J. Foster, WR Jaelen Strong, CB Lloyd Carrington, S Damarious Randall, DL Jaxon Hood, OL Tyler Sulka, OL Vi Teofilo, OL Jamil Douglas, WR Richard Smith, LB Carlos Mendoza, LB Salamo Fiso, DL Marcus Hardison

Key losses: DT Will Sutton, RB Marion Grice, LB Carl Bradford, S Alden Darby, TE Chris Coyle, DE Greg Smith, DT Davon Coleman, CB Robert Nelson, LB Steffon Martin, WR Kevin Ozier, Ol Evan Finkenberg, CB Osahon Irabor

Disney villain: Madam Mim, The Sword In The Stone

Mim can take the shape of any animal, just as quarterback Taylor Kelly and Arizona State's offense have the ability to use multiple formations and score from all over the field. The Sun Devils run a lot of plays, but their defense must improve and stay healthy if Todd Graham's team is going to get over the hump.

 
21
Missouri Tigers
2013 record: 12-2

Key returnees: QB Maty Mauk, RB Russell Hansbrough, WR Bud Sasser, C Evan Boehm, DL Shane Ray, LB Markus Golden, DL Matt Hoch, S Braylon Webb

Key losses: DE Kony Ealy, CB E.J. Gaines, DE Michael Sam, WR L'Damian Washington, WR Dorial Green-Beckham, QB James Franklin, RB Henry Josey, OL Justin Britt, LB Andrew Wilson, WR Marcus Lucas, TE Eric Waters, LB Donovan Bonner, OL Max Copeland, S Matt White, CB Randy Ponder, DT Marvin Foster

Disney villain: Charles Muntz, Up

Once a great adventurer, Muntz explored new terrain and was all but forgotten. Missouri was initially overlooked after moving to the SEC before the 2012 campagin, but it reached last year's conference title game behind Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Henry Josey and James Franklin. Some of the the program's stars left this spring (either to the draft or, in the case of Dorial Green-Beckham, via dismissal). Still, the idea of Gary Pinkel traveling around in a zeppelin wearing a brown coat and tan pants remains captivating.

 
22
Texas A&M Aggies
2013 record: 9-4

Key returnees: C Mike Matthews, CB De'Vante Harris, DB Deshazor Everett, CB Floyd Raven, WR Malcome Kennedy, RB Trey Williams, RB Tra Carson, OL Cedric Ogbuehi, OL Jarvis Harrison, DL Gavin Stansbury, DE Julien Obioha, LB Darian Claiborne

Key losses: QB Johnny Manziel, WR Mike Evans, OL Jake Matthews, RB Ben Malena, WR Derel Walker, LB Steven Jenkins, DT Kirby Ennis, CB Tramain Jacobs, LB Nate Askew, DB Toney Hurd Jr.

Disney villain: Stromboli, Pinocchio

Stomboli tried to keep Pinocchio for as long as he could, but Pinocchio had to go out and have his own adventures. The fate of Stromboli after Pinocchio left was never known. What will Texas A&M's fate be now that Johnny Manziel is off to the NFL? Does the Swagcopter have enough fuel to keep the Aggies relevant without Manziel and Mike Evans?

 
23
North Carolina Tar Heels
2013 record: 7-6

Key returnees: QB Marquise Williams, WR Quinshad Davis, WR Bug Howard, WR Ryan Switzer, OL Caleb Peterson, OL Landon Turner, OL Jon Heck, WR TJ Thorpe, RB Romar Morris, RB TJ Logan, LB Teravis Hughes, DE Junior Gnonkonde, CB Tim Scott, S Dominque Green, S Brian Walker, LB Brandon Ellerbe, LB Malik Simmons, DT Ethan Farmer, LB Darius Lipford

Key losses: QB Bryn Renner, TE Eric Ebron, RB A.J. Blue, DE Kareem Martin, C Russell Bodine, S Tre Boston, OL James Hurst, CB Jabari Price, DT Tim Jackson

Disney villain: Governor Ratcliffe, Pocahontas

Although he'll puff out his chest, Ratcliffe has a bit of an inferiority complex. For North Carolina to be taken seriously as a contender, the Tar Heels need to prove they're capable of replicating last season's second-half success, when they won six of their final seven games. Losing Eric Ebron and offensive coordinator Blake Anderson (now the head coach at Arkansas State) hurts, but new coordinator Seth Littrell seems a capable replacement.

 
24
Oklahoma State Cowboys
2013 record: 10-3

Key returnees: RB Desmond Roland, QB J.W. Walsh, WR Marcell Ateman, OL Daniel Koenig, OL Devin Davis, C Jake Jenkins, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, WR Jhajuan Seales, LB Ryan Simmons, CB Kevin Peterson, S Lyndell Johnson, CB Ashton Lampkin, LB Kris Catlin, DE Sam Wren, DT James Castleman

Key losses: CB Justin Gilbert, WR Josh Stewart, S Daytawion Lowe, TE Blake Jackson, LB Shaun Lewis, QB Clint Chelf, DT Calvin Barnett, OT Parker Graham, OL Brandon Webb, WR Tracy Moore, S Shamiel Gary, RB Jeremy Smith

Disney villain: Stinky Pete, Toy Story 2

Watching others get the glory while The Prospector sits on the shelf drives him mad. Oklahoma State plays at a consistently high level, but the Cowboys don't get the buzz of several of their rivals. They'll have to find the answer at quarterback, but if the defense keeps playing well, Mike Gundy and company could be a Big 12 player once again.

 
25
Marshall Thundering Herd
2013 record: 10-4

Key returnees: QB Rakeem Cato, RB Kevin Grooms, WR Davonte Allen, WR Tommy Shuler, WR Craig Wilkins, TE Eric Frohnapfel, OL Clint Van Horn, DE Ra'Shawde Myers, DL Jarquez Samuel, DT James Rouse, LB Jermaine Holmes, LB Evan McKelvey, CB Monterius Lovett, CB Darryl Roberts, S DJ Hunter, OL Blake Brooks

Key losses: TE Gator Hoskins, WR Shawney Kersey, DT James Rouse, CB Derrick Thomas, WR Devon Smith, DT Brandon Sparrow, DE Jeremiah Taylor, OT Garrett Scott

Disney villain: Randall Boggs, Monsters Inc.

Randall doesn't look like a monster that would elicit big scares, but he packs plenty into his slinky disposition. On the surface, it's easy to ignore Marshall, but quarterback Rakeem Cato and crew pose a legitimate threat. Plus, the Thundering Herd's schedule is a few levels beyond manageable.

MORE:
ELLIS: 2014 POST-SPRING PRACTICE HEISMAN WATCH
STAPLES: HOW NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS RANKED AS RECRUITS
 
 

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