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15 for '15: Countdowns of college football's best

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CFB 24/7 counts down the 15 college football players to watch -- and some other college football topics -- in varying categories in 2015.

Best individual matchups

» USC's Tuerk vs. UCLA's Clark: Big battle in trenches
» Texas Tech's Clark vs. Baylor's Oakman: Grown-man matchup
» Michigan State's Conklin vs. Ohio State's Bosa: Big Ten brutes
» Pittsburgh's Boyd vs. Virginia Tech's Fuller: Could be epic duel
Complete list

Worst non-conference matchups

» The Citadel at South Carolina: USC's prep for Clemson
» Charleston Southern at Alabama: Mid-November tilt
» Lamar at Baylor: Lamar goes from Bacone to Baylor
» Incarnate Word at UTEP: Ever hear of Incarnate Word?
Complete list

Best games

» Alabama at Auburn: Iron Bowl has risen in significance
» Baylor at TCU: Could have major impact on playoff race
» Michigan State at Ohio State: Appointment television
» Arizona at USC: Could decide Pac-12 South winner
Complete list

Surprise teams

» Cal: QB gives Golden Bears hope
» Northwestern: Aiming to end bowl absence
» Oklahoma State: Had 2014 season derailed by TCU
» Tennessee: Popular pick to make strides in SEC
Complete list

Best teams

» Ohio State: QB decision awaits defending champs
» Alabama: Tide's front seven loaded with talent
» USC: Kessler leads high-powered offense
» Notre Dame: Special-teams questions facing Irish
Complete list

Most explosive athletes

» Leonte Caroo, Rutgers: Clocked in the high 4.3s in the 40
» Scooby Wright III, Arizona: Led the nation in TFLs
» Joey Bosa, Ohio State: Recorded 13.5 sacks last season
» Nick Chubb, Georgia: Averaged 7.1 yards per carry as freshman
Complete list

Best on social media

» Peter Mortell, Minnesota: Among most humorous Twitter feeds
» Cardale Jones, Ohio State: Got into Twitter spat with NBA star
» Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee: Already has a big following
» Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina: Has must-watch Instagram video
Complete list

Best intangibles

» Jordan Lomax, Iowa: Sets example on field, in classroom
» Braxton Miller, Ohio State: Opted to remain a Buckeye
» Scooby Wright III, Arizona: Has unrelenting work ethic
» Vince Biegel, Wisconsin: Might play with too much of an edge
Complete list

Best players on bad teams

» Addison Gillam, Colorado: Active, physical linebacker for Buffs
» Quin Blanding, Virginia: Best safety in the ACC
» Leonte Carroo, Rutgers: QB play has hurt overall numbers
» Jason Spriggs, Indiana: One of two Hoosiers linemen on list
Complete list

Best outside Power 5

» Devon Johnson, Marshall: Running back nicknamed "Rockhead"
» Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati: Starting to live up to the hype
» Keenan Reynolds, Navy: Could break FBS career rush TD record
» Taysom Hill, BYU: If healthy, will put up huge numbers
Complete list

Best celebrity fans

» Eric Stonestreet: Gets to at least one K-State game a season
» Ty Burrell: Ducks now exceeding his expectations
» J.K. Simmons: Grew up wanting to be Buckeyes LB
» Zach Galifianakis: "A wolf park of one"
Complete list

Best traditions

» Auburn: 'Bama fan put Toomer's Corner on hiatus
» Ohio State: Puts sousaphone player in spotlight
» Clemson: Touch the rock for good luck
» Purdue: Massive drum is band's lasting symbol
Complete list

Best game-day atmosphere

» Clemson: Run down "The Hill" gets fans fired up
» Wisconsin: Pregame tailgates among the best
» Notre Dame: History at place is unparalleled
» LSU: Night games allows fans to really shine
Complete list

Best fight songs

» Air Force: One of three service academies on list
» Notre Dame: "Victory March" dates back to 1908
» Michigan: Got high praise from John Philip Sousa
» USC: Composed in 1922 by a dental student
Complete list

Best stadiums

» Wisconsin's Camp Randall: "Jump Around" adds to atmosphere
» Boise State's Albertsons Stadium: Famous for signature blue turf
» Washington's Husky Stadium: "Sailgate" before the game
» Rose Bowl: Historic host of "The Granddaddy of Them All"
Complete list

Strongest arms

» Trevone Boykin, TCU: Effortlessly tosses deep bombs
» Cardale Jones, Ohio State: Had impressive throw in spring game
» Christian Hackenberg, Penn State: Another elite arm in Big Ten
» Maty Mauk, Missouri: Probably best arm in the SEC
Complete list

Strongest players

» Darien Harris, Michigan State: Bench presses double his weight
» Andrew Billings, Baylor: Staff has to limit him in weight room
» Conner McGovern, Missouri: Can be star on bench at combine
» Deon-Tay McManus, Marshall: WR bench presses 385 pounds
Complete list

Scariest players

» Shawn Oakman, Baylor: Very intimidating at 6-8, 260
» Joey Bosa, Ohio State: Daunting presence for opposing QBs
» Scooby Wright, Arizona: Is big-play machine for Wildcats
» Trevone Boykin, TCU: Dual-threat QB is tough to deal with
Complete list

Smallest players

» William Likely, Maryland: Arguably Terps' most valuable player
» Deion Sanders, Jr., SMU: Pint-sized "Prime Time"
» Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech: A Red Raiders fan favorite
» Sojourn Shelton, Wisconsin: More than a speedy special teamer
Complete list

Biggest players

» Sunny Odogwu, Miami (Fla.): Primed to notch first career start
» LaQuan McGowan, Baylor: 400-pound TE is a must-watch
» Zach Banner, USC: One of two Trojans on this list
» Denver Kirkland, Arkansas: Two Hogs also among CFB's biggest
Complete list

Smartest players

» Jordan Italiano, Kent State: Chemistry major on a medical track
» Corey Robinson, Notre Dame: Regular on ND's dean's list
» Mike Bercovici, Arizona State: Also a wiz with ASU's offense
» Ronnie Harris, Stanford: Medical school is next for this DB
Complete list

Fastest players

» Marlon Humphrey, Alabama: Speedster is son of ex-NFL RB
» Kolby Listenbee, TCU: Posted fastest 100 among football players
» Devon Allen, Oregon: Pulled off rare 110 hurdles double
» KD Cannon, Baylor: Has appropriate name for a speedster
Complete list

Most freakish athletes

» Joey Bosa, Ohio State: Displays athleticism with back flips
» Corey Coleman, Baylor: One of many freakish athletes in Waco
» Montese Overton, East Carolina: LB clocked in low 4.3s in 40
» Cameron Echols-Luper, TCU: Big 12 indoor long jump champ
Complete list

Most versatile athletes

» Adoree' Jackson, USC: Follow up to freshman year should be fun
» Myles Jack, UCLA: Proven worth on both sides of the ball
» Trevone Boykin, TCU: Just look at 2013 season for proof
» Charles Nelson, Oregon: Returner/WR could see time at DB
Complete list

Most physical players

» Karl Joseph, West Virginia: Sledgehammer masquerading as DB
» Su'a Cravens, USC: Played strong safety/linebacker hybrid role
» Michael Caputo, Wisconsin: Reminds some of Bears legend
» Anthony Zettel, Penn State: Had no issue "tackling" a tree
Complete list

Hot college coordinators

» Kirby Smart, Alabama: "Hot coordinator" for years now
» Scott Frost, Oregon: Guided Marcus Mariota's progress
» Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma: Understands spread offenses
» Mike Norvell, Arizona State: Directs Sun Devils' prolific offense
Complete list

College coaches ready for NFL

» Jim Mora: Former NFL coach rehabbing image at UCLA
» Nick Saban: Might carry more weight now with players
» David Shaw: Spent nearly a decade coaching in NFL
» Kevin Sumlin: Hefty A&M contract hinders move up
Complete list

NFL players who'd be good CFB coaches

» J.J. Watt: Few take the game as seriously
» Peyton Manning: Detail-oriented and fiery competitor
» Tim Tebow: Motivational techniques are second to none
» Jameis Winston: Sharp football mind who understands game
Complete list

Coaches on the hot seat

» Les Miles: Pressure mounting after disappointing 8-5 season
» Kirk Ferentz: Big buyout hinders coaching change
» Larry Fedora: His Tar Heels teams have underachieved
» Al Golden: Likely needs eight-win season to save job
Complete list

Best head coaches

» Nick Saban: So good he raises standards of other programs
» Urban Meyer: Just collected his third national title
» Art Briles: Has made Baylor football relevant again
» Jim Harbaugh: College football's most interesting man?
Complete list

Best rivalry trophies

» Floyd of Rosedale: Bronze pig is prize for Big Ten rivals
» Paul Bunyan's Axe: Keepsake in most-played FBS rivalry
» The Stanford Axe: Once decapitated straw figure in Cal's colors
» Territorial Cup: Was once "lost" for 80 years in basement of church
Complete list

Best rivalries

» Oklahoma-Texas: Bucket list-caliber rivalry game
» Notre Dame-USC: CFB's greatest intersectional rivalry
» Army-Navy: Fantastic pageantry caps off regular season
» Cal-Stanford: Produced greatest single play in CFB history
Complete list

Best mascots

» Oregon: Don't dare mess with The Duck
» Ohio State: Brutus is a regular at big-time events
» Georgia: Uga is one of the cutest mascots around
» Colorado: Few things cooler than Ralphie running on field
Complete list

Best alternate uniforms

» Oregon: Everything Ducks wear is "alternate"
» Michigan State: Prepare yourself for "Mach Speed"
» Notre Dame: Clean green jerseys for special occasions
» Navy: "Summer Whites" are appropriate nod to history
Complete list

Best historical uniforms

» Oklahoma's mesh jerseys: Made famous by "The Boz"
» Notre Dame: Literal gold standard in college football
» Michigan: Winged lids date back to leather-helmet days
» Alabama: Signature numbers on side of helmets
Complete list

Impact freshmen

» Byron Cowart, DE, Auburn: Considered to be No. 1 recruit
» Josh Rosen, UCLA: Could be Brett Hundley's successor
» Malik Jefferson, Texas: High expectations in Austin
» Calvin Ridley, Alabama: Can help ease loss of Amari Cooper
Complete list

Top offensive players

» Cody Kessler, USC: 39 TDs to just 5 INTs in 2014
» Trevone Boykin, TCU: Reigning Big 12 Offensive POY
» Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss: Might be CFB's best pass protector
» Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State: Coming off postseason for the ages
Complete list

Impact transfers

» Everett Golson, Florida State: 'Noles get plug-and-play QB
» Devonte Fields, Louisville: Big 12's Defensive POY in 2013
» Marquavius Lewis, South Carolina: Could be key starter on D
» Victor Salako, Oklahoma State: UAB cut program, OSU gets OT
Complete list

Top defensive players

» Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State: Anchors a top CFB defense
» Vernon Hargreaves, Florida: SEC's best corner
» Scooby Wright III, Arizona: Won lots of trophies in 2014
» Joey Bosa, Ohio State: Dominant presence for champs
Complete list

Top Heisman candidates

» Trevone Boykin, TCU: Top returning Heisman vote-getter
» Ohio State's QB: Whoever starts will be in award watch
» Nick Chubb, Georgia: Starred in Todd Gurley's absence
» Cody Kessler, USC: Only question is surrounding cast
Complete list

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