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Campus Union

The 100 things we're most excited for in the 2014 college football season (Nos. 100-81)

Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Quarterback Jared Goff will look to help Cal bounce back from a 1-11 campaign.

This week marked the 100-day countdown to the start of the 2014 college football season. Abilene Christian visits Georgia State to kick things off on Aug. 27, when the road to the inaugural College Football Playoff begins in earnest. Catch up on TV shows now. Try new restaurants, or pick up new hobbies, or spend time with the in-laws. In a little over three months, college football -- in all of its glory -- will return.
 
Over the course of this week, Campus Union is unveiling the 100 things it is most excited for in the 2014 season. Here are 100-81. Click the following links for 80-61, 60-4140-21 and 20-1.

100. Arguing over rankings. If anything in America is more popular than football, it’s rankings. We rank crackers and breakfast cereals and almost come to blows over it. With something as serious as college football, the struggle is real. Just remember to pace yourself and stretch before taking part in this exhausting, contentious and unquestionably worthwhile endeavor. -- Martin Rickman

RICKMAN: Florida State, Alabama headline post-spring practice Power Rankings

99. Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Old Dominion making their FBS debuts. The FBS welcomes three new programs this fall, including the one that upset Michigan in 2007, the one that stunned Florida in the Swamp last November and the one that lost to North Carolina 80-20 last fall. Worth noting? Appalachian State opens at the Big House on Aug. 30. -- Ben Glicksman

98. Charlie Weis and the third year of a five-year plan. What’s that old Mao quote about the masses digging up mountains? Well, Jayhawks coach Charlie Weis has been digging away at his “pile of crap” (his words, not mine) for a while now, and the end isn’t quite in sight. Still, behind all-purpose threat Tony Pierson and All-Big 12 linebacker Ben Heeney, progress can -- and needs to -- be made in year three. -- MR

97. Miami (Ohio) and Georgia State’s quest to win a game. The RedHawks and Panthers combined to go 0-24 in 2014. The expectation for both programs entering this fall is simple: Win. But first-year Miami (Ohio) coach Chuck Martin will have to navigate a wild MAC schedule, and Georgia State headman Trent Miles must play road games at Washington (Sept. 20) and Clemson (Nov. 22). One thing is certain: For both schools, the end result couldn’t get any worse. -- Zac Ellis

96. Fifth coach in five years: The plight of Arkansas State. It’s almost like something out of Greek mythology: The Red Wolves coach will be successful, but he will promptly leave for another school. Whether it’s a gift, curse or a byproduct of every coach being downright terrified of Arkansas State’s logo, someone has to stick around sooner or later. Will that guy be former North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson? -- MR

95. Mike MacIntyre’s continued reclamation project at Colorado. No one doubted that MacIntyre would require a grace period when he took over the Buffaloes before the 2013 season. And he turned a 1-11 team into a 4-8 squad, earning a contract extension through '18 in the process. But MacIntyre’s second step could prove more challenging than his first. That’s especially true in the thick of a loaded Pac-12, and without departed wideout Paul Richardson. -- ZE

94. Two five-stars recruits seeking to save Mike London’s job. Since coming to Virginia before the 2010 campaign, London has gone a meager 18-31 (8-24 ACC). However, he landed a highly touted ’14 recruiting class, led by blue-chip defensive tackle Andrew Brown and safety Quin Blanding. The two will be tasked with helping turn things around, and fast: The Cavaliers play UCLA (Aug. 30), Louisville (Sept. 13) and BYU (Sept. 20) in the first month of the season. -- BG

93. Terrance Broadway and the class of the Sun Belt. Leave your Goo Goo Dolls puns at home -- Broadway is far from dark any night entering this fall. Louisiana-Lafayette is quietly building a consistent dynamo under coach Mark Hudspeth, who brought the team its third straight nine-win season and New Orleans Bowl victory last year. Broadway amassed 2,861 total yards (2,419 passing, 442 rushing) and 27 touchdowns in 2013. What does he have in store for an encore? -- MR

92. Quarterback Wes Lunt's return at Illinois. Remember Lunt? In April 2012, the then-early enrollee was named Oklahoma State’s starter. Not much has gone right since. He injured his knee against Louisiana-Lafayette. He lost his job to J.W. Walsh. His transfer options were initially limited, and he landed at Illinois in July ’13. Now, he has a chance to resurrect his career, and the Fighting Illini need help: They went 1-7 to close out last season. – BG

91. Utah eyeing Pac-12 ascension after two down years. It wasn’t long ago -- 2008, in fact -- that coach Kyle Whittingham led the Utes to a stunning upset of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. But since joining the Pac-12 in ’11, Utah has been relatively quiet. Talented quarterback Travis Wilson returns. Can new offensive coordinator Dave Christensen help the Utes make a charge in the Pac-12? -- ZE

90. Indiana's promise, but familiar area of concern. Last year was supposed to be when the Hoosiers finally broke through and reached bowl eligibility. Offensively, they were right there. Indiana ranked ninth nationally in total offense, averaging 508.5 yards per game. Although head coach Kevin Wilson lost offensive coordinator Seth Littrell to North Carolina in the offseason, the pieces are in place for more scoring outbursts. Still, the team isn’t going anywhere if doesn’t allow fewer than 38.8 points per game. -- MR

89. Craig Bohl bringing his established coaching brand to Wyoming. Bohl made it big at North Dakota State, clinching the school’s third consecutive FCS national title in 2013. Then he jumped at the opportunity to take over a Wyoming program looking to escape mediocrity in the Mountain West. Quarterback Brett Smith is off to the NFL. Only time will tell of Bohl’s magic will translate to Laramie. -- ZE

88. Georgia Tech's push to emerge from its recent rut. Has coach Paul Johnson’s career plateaued in Atlanta? The Yellow Jackets haven’t won more than eight games in a season since 2009, and fans are growing restless: One diehard Tech fan even wished for Johnson’s ouster in his obituary. Though offensive standout Vad Lee has transferred, Justin Thomas and Zach Laskey return. Can they turn the Jackets into an ACC threat? -- ZE

ELLIS: Georgia Tech searching for a new quarterback entering the 2014 season

87. Steve Addazio and his rebuilding band of dudes. Last year, coach Addazio inherited a program that went 2-10 in 2012 and led it to a 7-6 record and a bowl berth. This year, his up-and-coming Eagles look to take the next step. Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams and quarterback Chase Rettig are gone, but plenty of raw talent remains. Among the headliners: wideout Spiffy Evans, running back Myles Willis and transfer quarterback Tyler Murphy. – BG

86. Beware of the return specialists: Ryan Switzer and Tyler Lockett. We beg you, college football: Keep kicking to these guys. North Carolina return man Switzer tied an NCAA record by taking five punts back for touchdowns in 2013, including an 86-yard scamper against Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl. Meanwhile, Lockett earned Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year honors after averaging 26.5 yards per kick return for Kansas State. -- ZE

85. Dave Clawson’s task: Make Wake Forest relevant. Jim Grobe left the Demon Deacons tied for the most wins in program history. But nothing (black and) gold can stay. The Deacs collapsed down the stretch in recent years, and the roster is a mess. Clawson has a knack for program-building and just won the MAC with Bowling Green. However, his work is cut out for him in Winston-Salem. -- MR

84. Dino Babers and MAC-favorite Bowling Green. Babers brings his high-octane attack to the FBS from Eastern Illinois, where the Panthers averaged 48.2 points per game in 2013. Babers is armed with a potent group of skill players and a potential star in quarterback Matt Johnson. Can the admitted movie buff deliver a promising MAC championship sequel this fall? -- MR

83. Sonny Dykes’ second chance to jumpstart Cal. Cal took a step back in Dykes’ debut in Berkeley. Cal’s 1-11 campaign was a far cry from the coach's history of success at Louisiana Tech. With prolific passer Jared Goff (3,508 yards in ‘13) back for his sophomore season, can the offensive-minded Dykes make the Bear Raid a winner? -- ZE

82. Pittsburgh’s attempt to enter ACC contention (From special guest and friend of the blog Spilly). There are certain college football teams that exude confidence, precision and ferocity. Oregon is a screaming attack fighter. Alabama is a fearsome, unyielding tank. Pitt, on the other hand? Pitt is an overweight mail clerk rolling backwards down a hill in an office chair. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd is pretty good, though. -- Spilly

81. Way-way-way-too-early 2015 NFL draft speculation. This year’s NFL draft is in the books, which means it’s time to blindly project where next season’s stars will land. Marcus Mariota! Jameis Winston! Cedric OgbuehiDraftniks, consider this a way-way-way-too-early reminder: Players’ performances during the ‘14 college football season are probably more indicative of their future success than their measurables at the annual underwear combine. -- BG

Click the following links for 80-61, 60-4140-21 and 20-1.

BURKE: 2015 NFL Mock Draft: Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi goes No. 1 overall

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