Ohio State has best shot
Coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State have the best shot at ending Alabama coach Nick Saban's grip on the BCS title. And Meyer's Buckeyes also would give the Big Ten a much-needed boost, snapping the SEC's seven-year reign.
Meyer brings back a good squad that went undefeated in 2012 but was banned from the postseason by the NCAA because of previous rule violations. Quarterback Braxton Miller returns to lead the Buckeyes' dynamic offense. Meyer had a top-five recruiting class last year and is on pace to collect another one this year.
Oregon also returns top talent, LSU should reap the rewards of leaning on a lot of young players in 2012 and Georgia will be strong with quarterback Aaron Murray returning for his senior season.
Ducks break through
Los Angeles Times
The odds should be against the SEC winning yet another BCS title, right?
Sorry. Even if Alabama doesn't win a third consecutive championship, Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M or Aaron Murray and Georgia could take the Crimson Tide's place.
Urban Meyer, winner of two national titles at Florida, and QB Braxton Miller will have Ohio State right there as the Buckeyes come off an unbeaten season and emerge from a bowl ban.
But with Chip Kelly apparently staying put, quarterback Marcus Mariota a year older and multipurpose star De'Anthony Thomas back for a third season, Oregon finally will break through.
Unless, of course, the Ducks play Alabama.
Buckeyes have talent
Oregon's the obvious choice, but I'll take a flier on Ohio State. The Buckeyes should light up the scoreboard thanks to the return of tailback Carlos Hyde, receiver Devin Smith and Braxton Miller, who will try to make the leap from big-time talent to elite quarterback. And the Buckeyes will welcome a recruiting class with 14 four-star players, according to Rivals.com.
The schedule is friendly, with only one threatening nonconference game (at California) and Big Ten no-plays of Nebraska, Michigan State and Minnesota.
Two potential snags: The Buckeyes didn't get to develop their younger players in December because of their bowl ban, and Ohio State's defense was mediocre in 2012. But their coach, Urban Meyer, knows how to beat SEC teams.
Ohio State or Oregon
Bad news, rest of the country. Alabama's cupboard is stocked and top recruits are lined up to keep it that way for years. The bright side? The Tide will lose several key linemen from both sides of the ball. They went from preseason No. 1 to a three-loss team when that happened in 2010 after a title.
So it's up to you, Ohio State and Oregon. Both will have the offensive weapons and coaches who have reached or won BCS championship games. Georgia also could give it a go with their young running backs and another season of Aaron Murray at quarterback. They'll have that unfinished-businesses mentality that helped the Tide to titles in 2009 and '11, and they won't face Alabama or Texas A&M in the regular season.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun