Biggest storylines of college football offseason
2:51 | College Football
Biggest storylines of college football offseason Staff
Tuesday May 26th, 2015

Our long national nightmare is nearly over. Tuesday marks 100 days until the 2015 college football season begins. In just 100 more revolutions of the Earth, 16 games will kick off the FBS season, beginning a glorious stretch through January of nearly constant football.

To celebrate the impending season,’s college football staff has assembled 100 reasons to get excited. Click on the following links for reasons 75-51, 50-26 and 25-1, and read below for reasons 100-76.

100. High school coach Tony Sanchez’s jump to UNLV

UNLV’s new coach won 85 games and six state championships as the head coach at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas. Now he’ll see if the same formula can work in college. Sanchez takes over a program that returns five total starters, and he does so with only one season of college coaching experience under his belt (he was a graduate assistant at New Mexico State in 1996). The experiment in Sin City will be fascinating to watch. — Zac Ellis

99. Gary Andersen’s winning track record heads to Oregon State

So much for Corvallis not being able to attract top talent. No one expected the Beavers, one of the Pac-12’s least popular teams, to nab a top replacement when longtime coach Mike Riley packed his bags for Nebraska. But Andersen arrived from Wisconsin talking conference championships and raising expectations, and his 30-9 record the last three years points to him making good on his word. If he can get the Beavers to a bowl game in 2015, expect another victory because he’s 8-2 in the postseason. — Lindsay Schnell

98. #collegekickers

NFL kickers are so accurate that the league decided to move back extra-point attempts to the 15-yard line for the upcoming season. In college, kickers range from catastrophic to clutch and everywhere in between. No attempt is too simple for a misfire. Get too confident you’ve got a victory secured when your kicker lines up for a game-winning chip shot, and you may wind up crushed. In the world of #collegekickers, you should expect the unexpected. — Chris Johnson

97. #MACtion

With your directional Michigans, high-scoring Tuesday nights and prolific offenses, the MAC should be a joy to watch again in 2015. The date to schedule on your calendar? Tuesday, Nov. 3. Northern Illinois and Toledo, both of which should compete for the conference title along with Western Michigan, square off in what should be a pivotal conference battle. — Gabriel Baumgaertner

College Football
Who is most overrated, underrated team in preseason hype? #DearAndy

96. Rush the field-worthy upsets

Remember West Virginia 41, No. 4 Baylor 27? Or Mississippi 23, No. 3 Alabama 17? Or even Boston College 37, USC 31? The best part about eye-dilating results on fall Saturdays is the frenzy—good and bad—they create…as well as the fact that they may not mean anything by the end of the next weekend, or by the end of the season. That one loss hung heavy on Baylor, for example, but things turned out mostly O.K. for Alabama. The fun is in the heedless, intoxicating (and often intoxicated) overreaction, anyway. — Brian Hamilton

95. Awesome and terrible alternate uniforms

The best advice when designing alternate uniforms is to proceed with caution. On the one hand, bright colors and unique helmet patterns may grab the attention of five-star recruits. Oregon is well aware of this. But a school runs the risk of offending loyal fans by casting aside traditional colors in favor of a bland design. In a worst-case scenario, the new threads are so abominable that they wind up in a South Park-themed meme. — CJ

94. Emmanuel Ogbah’s quiet domination of the Big 12

Do you know who won the 2014 Big 12 defensive lineman of the year award? Not Texas’s Malcom Brown, who went 32nd overall in the 2015 NFL draft. Not Oklahoma’s Jordan Phillips, who went in the second round. And not Baylor’s Shawn Oakman, who’s widely projected as a top-five pick in next year’s draft. Ogbah posted 17 tackles for loss and 11 sacks last season. If Oklahoma State can stay in the Big 12 hunt this year, don’t expect him to pass so undetected. — Colin Becht

93. West Virginia’s continued quest to contend in the Big 12

After going a combined 6-12 in conference play during their first two seasons in the Big 12, the Mountaineers appeared set to charge toward the top when they hosted TCU with College GameDay in attendance on Nov. 1. Yet while a then-6­–2 West Virginia squad came out firing—it raced to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter—the Mountaineers lost on a last-second field goal and went on to drop four of their final five. Quarterback Clint Trickett and receiver Kevin White are gone, but there’s real cause for optimism in Morgantown. Coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense is consistently dangerous, and the defense returns several key pieces, including senior safety KJ Dillon. — Ben Glicksman

92. Josh Rosen potentially starting at UCLA

College Football
Spring standouts: Which players are primed for breakout 2015 seasons?

​Rosen arrived at UCLA with even more hype than his predecessor, Brett Hundley. rated the St. John Bosco (Calif.) High product the No. 1 quarterback and No. 2 overall player in the class of 2015 after he completed more than 63 percent of his passes for just under 3,200 yards with 29 touchdowns his senior season. Rosen enrolled early to participate in spring workouts and could win the starting job as a true freshman. — CJ

91. Bill Snyder’s wizardry

He built Kansas State into a winner in the 1990s, engineered an incredible turnaround when he came back from a second stint in 2009 (the Wildcats have won 51 games over the last six seasons) and and has a habit of turning walk-ons into All-Americas. Bonus: Who doesn’t love a good windbreaker? Kansas State may have big holes to fill—quarterback Jake Waters, wide receiver Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton, center B.J. Finney and defensive end Ryan Mueller are all gone—but don’t underestimate what Snyder can do with a seemingly less-talented team. — LS

90. Mason Rudolph with a full season to work with

Rudolph didn’t have many opportunities in his true freshman season in 2014, but he certainly made the most of the ones he had. He took over at quarterback for Oklahoma State before its late November showdown at Baylor, and he proceeded to impress: He passed for 853 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions over three games, including leading the Cowboys to an upset of Oklahoma in the Bedlam game and a Cactus Bowl win over Washington. Rudolph’s success under center prompted Daxx Garman to transfer. Now that he’s the top option, Rudolph could help Oklahoma State make a run in the Big 12. — BG

89. Kirk Ferentz’s perpetually hot seat

Iowa hasn’t won more than eight games since 2009. In the five seasons since then, many college football fans—and Iowa supporters in particular—have wondered aloud why the Hawkeyes’ head coach still has his job. But athletic director Gary Barta probably won’t pull the plug unless the team completely bottoms out. (A contract that would require Iowa to pay Ferentz $13.3 million to go away right now likely helps, too.) This offseason Ferentz shook up his coaching staff, but don’t expect those moves to ward off speculation about his future if Iowa turns in another mediocre season. — CJ

88. The return of Scooby Wright at Arizona

Three years ago the 6’1”, 246-pound linebacker had one FBS offer coming out of high school. In 2014 he turned in one of the most prolific defensive seasons in college football history, ranking in the top five for total tackles (163), TFLs (29), sacks (14) and forced fumbles (6). It’s easy to root for a guy with his background. His unique, awesome name—and clever twitter handle, @TwoStarScoob—make it easier. — LS


87. Mike London’s fight to keep his job

For Virginia fans, this is either a reason to be excited for the season or a reason to dread the season, depending on their perspective. Apart from an 8-5 2011 campaign, when London was named ACC coach of the year, his tenure at the helm of the Cavaliers has been largely unremarkable. Still last year’s 5-7 record marked a three-win improvement, earning London another season. He has also produced results on the recruiting trail, including the 28th-ranked class in 2013. — CB

86. The return of BYU’s Taysom Hill

In case fans forgot what Hill is capable of, here’s a reminder: Prior to suffering a season-ending leg fracture last October, the Cougars quarterback accounted for 1,438 yards of total offense to enter the Heisman Trophy race. BYU boasted victories over Connecticut, Texas, Houston and Virginia, and some pundits mentioned the program as having an outside shot at a playoff berth. This fall Hill will return alongside receivers Mitch Mathews and Mitchell Juergens. Could that be the recipe for big things against a schedule that features Nebraska, Boise State, Michigan and Missouri? — BG

85. Steve Addazio’s dudes grinding out wins on the ground

The grandmaster of college coaches on Vine, the Boston College leader has established a simple mantra: “Be a dude.” While Addazio hasn’t Vined since October 2014, he may have plenty of six-second highlight clips to offer if his team can eclipse its 3,300 yards rushing from last season. Running back Jon Hilliman returns to anchor the rushing attack while sophomore quarterback Darius Wade looks set to fill in for Tyler Murphy, who rushed for 1,184 yards in his senior season. — GB

84. North Dakota State’s strive for five

A year ago, the Bison lost longtime coach Craig Bohl to Wyoming after he brought three straight FCS championships to Fargo. The program responded in 2014 by winning another title under Chris Klieman. North Dakota State could have the pieces in place for a five-peat, especially on offense. That’s where senior quarterback Carson Wentz and running back King Frazier headline a dangerous group of skill players. — ZE

83. David Cutcliffe: The mastermind

Cutcliffe’s ability to turn Duke into an ACC Coastal contender has been nothing short of outstanding. The Blue Devils’ 19 wins over the past two seasons are a program record. However, now Cutcliffe faces the perhaps equally difficult task of maintaining success without some of the key players who helped create it. 10 starters including quarterback Anthony Boone, wide receiver Jamison Crowder and guard Laken Tomlinson, a first-round NFL draft pick, have departed. Still, Cutcliffe built his reputation by consistently designing productive offenses, and he’ll be able to center this year’s attack on running back Shaquille Powell. Don’t count out Duke just yet. — CB

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

82. The next chapter of the Gunner Kiel saga

The former No. 1 quarterback recruit in the country was, as we know, an Indiana commit…then an LSU commit…and then a Notre Dame backup…and then a Cincinnati transfer, before becoming in 2014 what everyone expected: an honest-to-goodness starting college quarterback. Kiel’s long-awaited debut was by all measures a success: 3,254 yards passing, 32 total touchdowns and nine wins for the Bearcats. With seven other offensive starters returning, the next bar for Kiel to clear is pushing Cincinnati into contention for the Group of Five’s bid in a New Year’s Six bowl. — BH

81. Temple’s nasty defense

Temple has been raided for head coaches in the past (Al Golden, Steve Addazio) and now its new guy, Matt Rhule, might be next. After a 2-10 campaign in his inaugural season, Rhule’s Owls went 6-6 last season primarily because of a stifling defense that finished fourth in the FBS with 17.5 points allowed per game. Temple returns all 11 defensive starters in 2015. Could the Owls be the darkhorse for the AAC title? If their defensive progress continues, it’s another testament to Rhule’s acumen. — GB

80. Justin Fuente’s persistent rise at Memphis

It won’t be long before Fuente lands a Power Five job. Until then, he’ll continue his remarkable rebuilding job with the Tigers. Last season Fuente led Memphis to 10 wins for just the second time in school history and its first conference title since 1971. The Tigers might just build on that campaign in 2015 if they can answer some critical questions on defense, where they lose eight starters as well as coordinator Barry Odom. — ZE

79. Chad Morris gets his shot at SMU

The engineer of several dynamic offenses at Clemson, Morris has been talked about as a coveted head coaching candidate for years. In 2015, the former coordinator will finally take his shot. The Mustangs job doesn’t come without issues—they went 1-11 last season, after all—but an attack that ranked 127th nationally in yards per play (4.08) in ’14 should be vastly improved. Is quarterback Matt Davis or receiver Courtland Sutton primed to break out? — BG

78. Kansas’s new era under David Beaty

One of the nation’s historically downtrodden programs is rebuilding again, and the new head architect is David Beaty. A former assistant at Kansas under former coaches Mark Mangino and Turner Gill, Beaty assumes a team that was barely competitive in Big 12 play last year (excluding a surprising challenge against TCU). It’s undoubtedly a basketball school, but always remember that Kansas won the Sugar Bowl under Mangino. Success isn’t impossible, even if it may not arrive right away. — GB

77.  Group of Five teams jockeying for a New Year’s Six bid

College Football
Post-spring Power Rankings: Ohio State, Baylor lead too-early Top 25

Had Marshall not fallen to Western Kentucky or if Boise State had lost to Fresno State in the Mountain West championship game, things could have gotten really interesting in the Group of Five. As it was, the Broncos easily secured the New Year’s Six bowl bid guaranteed to the highest ranked conference champion from the mid-majors. Don’t expect it to be so cut and dry every year; there’s plenty of room for playoff rankings drama outside of the Power Five. — CB

76. Jeff Driskel at Louisiana Tech

Driskel’s college career didn’t pan out at Florida, where his injury-prone tenure coincided with a poor offense in Gainesville. That’s why the former top-ranked quarterback recruit opted to transfer to Louisiana Tech in search of a fresh start. This spring Driskel told reporters he believes “football is going to be fun again” with the Conference USA runner-ups. Perhaps he can finally tap into his potential on a team with 13 returning starters. — ZE

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.