Each 2014 college football conference's best team position group

If Florida State's not in your conference, just be glad about that.

We've set out to try and find the best team positional units in college football this season, but we've decided to split it up by conference to get an idea of which players might make a big impact this season (and to better facilitate your arguments on who we snubbed). We drew largely from Bill Connelly's 128-team preview countdown, Phil Steele's preseason all-conference teams and our own inferences.

Also, in order to keep the units somewhat equal quantity and to avoid ranking backup quarterbacks, we've included some quarterbacks with running backs (offensive backfields) and grouped tight ends with wide receivers into receiving corps.


Florida State offensive line

Melina Vestola, USA Today Sports

Four senior starters are back for the Seminoles -- left tackle Cameron Erving, left guard Josue Matias, right guard Tre' Jackson and right tackle Bobby Hart -- with senior Austin Barron sliding in at center in place of Bryan Stork. All five seniors are considered NFL prospects. They have quite the offensive firepower behind them in reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston and running back Karlos Williams.

Florida State also brought in some of the country's most talented offensive line recruits, including JUCO prospects Kareem Are and Chad Mavety, who could each push for playing time this year. There are some strong defensive lines in the ACC -- Clemson comes to mind -- but it's hard to imagine the Seminoles losing many battles in the trenches.

Also considered: Virginia Tech defensive backs, Clemson defensive line, Miami running backs, North Carolina special teams, Duke linebackers, literally the rest of Florida State's team

Big Ten

Ohio State defensive line

Defensive line was thought to be a potential weakness for the 2013 Buckeyes, who replaced all four starters from a unit that recorded 30 sacks in 2012. That turned out not to be the case -- Ohio State ranked third in the nation with 42 sacks last season, with a combined 22 between returning starters Noah Spence, Joey Bosa and Michael Bennett. There as well is former five-star prospect Adolphus Washington and former four-star recruits Michael Hill, Donovan Munger, Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes.

Also considered: Wisconsin offensive line, Ohio State receiving corps, Michigan linebackers, Maryland receiving corps, Michigan State defensive line, Wisconsin running backs

Big 12

Oklahoma linebackers

Two Sooners recorded at least 80 tackles last season -- outside linebacker Dominique Alexander and inside linebacker Frank Shannon -- and they'll both be back this season on a unit that may be poised to break out. Add in outside linebackers Eric Striker (team-high 10.5 tackles for a loss) and Geneo Grissom (8.5 tackles for a loss), and the Sooners have a whole lot of different options in their linebacking corps in a conference with plenty of dangerous backfields.

Also considered: TCU defensive backs, Texas defensive line, TCU defensive line, Baylor offensive backfield, Baylor defensive line, Kansas State receiving corps, Kansas State special teams


Oregon offensive backfield

Bob Donnan, USA Today Sports

Marcus Mariota is one of just a handful of serious Heisman candidates outside of reigning winner Winston, and he (as usual) has some weapons. Even without De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon has dynamic speed to surround Mariota, who totaled 40 touchdowns last season. Rising junior Byron Marshall ran for 1,038 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, rising sophomore Thomas Tyner ran for 711 and scored nine times, and Ayele Ford and Kenny Bassett give the Ducks two senior options off the bench.

Also considered: Oregon offensive line, USC defensive line, Washington defensive line, Stanford offensive line, Oregon secondary, USC secondary, Stanford special teams


Georgia linebackers

Georgia will have a new-look defense this season with new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt (fresh off a national title win with Florida State), and he'll have plenty to work with in this area -- all four starting linebackers return for the Bulldogs. Inside linebacker Ramik Wilson led the SEC with 133 tackles (20 more than the next-best player), while fellow inside 'backer Amarlo Herrera ranked third with 112. Add in Leonard Floyd (team-high 6.5 sacks) and Jordan Jenkins (team-high 12 tackles for a loss), and Pruitt has a deep unit with varied strengths.

Also considered: Almost all of Alabama, Auburn offensive line, Georgia running backs, Ole Miss secondary, Florida secondary, Texas A&M offensive line

Non big-six schools

Houston wide receivers

It all starts with Deontay Greenberry, the former blue-chip recruit who chose the Cougars over offers from USC, Notre Dame and UCLA and has more than lived up to the billing. With a true freshman quarterback last season, the sophomore caught 82 passes for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns and showcased himself as one of the most dangerous playmakers in the nation. That's not to mention rising seniors Daniel Spencer (52 receptions, 768 yards, six touchdowns) and Markeith Ambles (17 receptions, 252 yards and a score), both dangerous weapons in their own right.

Also considered: Memphis defensive line, Houston linebackers, UCF secondary, Boise State linebackers, Boise State secondary, UCF receiving corps, BYU offensive line, Utah State linebackers, Bowling Green offensive backfield, Louisiana-Lafayette offensive backfield

So, what do you think? Who'd we snub? Who are we too high on? Who's the best there is? Let us know in the comments.

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