Just hours removed from the 2013/14 BCS Championship, Bovada has released their early futures list for next year.
Florida State tops the list at a price of +550, with Alabama, Stanford, Ohio State and Oregon close behind. You can find a rundown of the top contenders right here.
Who's Gone and Who Returns?
Jameis Winston will be back. Does anyone else matter?
Well yes, of course. But Winston's return is huge and the Heisman Trophy winner will try to be even more proficient than he was during Florida State's unbeaten and title-winning season.
Winston threw for 4057 yards (and ran for another 219) and ended up throwing four times as many touchdowns (40) as he did interceptions (10). It's scary to think how much more efficient he could possibly get.
Behind him Winston could have running backs Devonta Freeman, Karlos Williams and James Wilder Jr. all return for their senior years. Those three combined for over 2300 rushing yards and a whopping 33 touchdown runs in 2013/14.
Senior wideout Kenny Shaw won't be back, while there's a good chance Rashad Greene and the 6'5” Kelvin Benjamin, who scored the winning touchdown in the title game, will declare for the draft. Offensive linemen Cameron Erving and Bryan Stork will be big losses.
Defensively, Florida State loses a lot of key personnel, including Christian Jones, Telvin Smith, LaMarcus Joyner, Timmy Jernigan (likely) and Terrence Brooks, but top-notch kicker Roberto Aguayo will be back.
The ranking depends on the recruiting site you use, but most outlets we've checked have Florida State with the #4 overall recruiting class for 2014. Obviously they're number one in the ACC.
Dalvin Cook, a five-star running back recruit, snubbed Florida and has committed to the Seminoles. Ranked in the top 15 nationally, he could immediately contribute, though he'll have a lot of competition in an already crowded backfield. The rich only get richer.
There are a bunch of four-star recruits in the mix as well, so Florida State is going to be loaded once more, regardless of who they lose to the draft.
We get a nice early treat when Florida State opens against Oklahoma State in Arlington, Texas. We should get a great idea of what to expect from the 2014/15 Seminoles right at the start of the season.
From there, Florida State will have challenging games on the road at Louisville and at home versus Notre Dame and Clemson. Closing out the regular season we'll see the Seminoles do battle with Florida in Tallahassee.
As you can see, there are at least a couple tough matchups (at least on the surface) on the agenda, but overall it's not the most difficult of schedules for the champs.
Winston should be even better as a sophomore, but we're interested to see who he's surrounded by come September. Even if Florida State loses some playmakers, they have the depth to cover the holes.
The Seminoles are going to be force once again, we but see an SEC team returning to the top next season. Alabama, Auburn and even the likes of LSU and Georgia will be formidable foes, and let's not forget about Oregon and Stanford out west either.
Still, in a weak division and with an exploitable schedule, Florida State is going to be challenging for another undefeated year. Will they make it two national championships in a row? Sportsbooks are giving them an excellent chance of repeating.