Over at SB Nation I'm previewing the big Week 1 games in college football, starting with Auburn vs Arkansas.
The big takeaway from researching this article was that Auburn is every bit as dangerous in 2014 as they became in 2014. While they may not have the same kind of run game dominance with Jay Prosch and Greg Robinson moving on, they'll still be good there with their big TE's, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Nick Marshall.
The bigger issues are whether their passing game comes together and if the defense can find a new elite trait to replace the ability of last year's unit to launch an unrelenting assault on opponents' QBs with waves of pass-rushers.
If the passing game comes together, this team has a host of weapons that could be utilized, including Sammie Coates, who might be the most physically dominant receiver in the nation.
If it doesn't come together as much as could be hoped, Auburn will still have one of the nation's best running games. Meanwhile, the defense needs to take a step forward behind some athletic DL, a more experienced LB corp, and a solid secondary.
I'm not sure if any of the players on defense will get this unit into the top 15 defenses but it's possible they'll pair a very good offense with a top 20 or top 30 defense that's great at making opponents work for everything they get.
I'm considering Auburn for my projected 4 playoff teams, but their schedule may prove too difficult with an early trap game at Kansas State and then road tests against Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss as well as a home date against LSU and potentially the SEC title game.
Regardless of how their schedule shakes out, this is likely one of the 4 best teams in the nation next year.