Written by Brent Larsen from XL Sports Blog"
Fall camp is just around the corner in the college football world, and teams across the country will try to identify new starters throughout the month of August in preparation for their season openers. Some camp battles are more important than others, as they could play a huge factor in the race for College Football Playoff tickets.
Undoubtedly, the biggest opening that needs to be filled this summer is Alabama quarterback, as the Crimson Tide are a perennial threat to grab College Football Playoff tickets. Most assume the job has already gone to Florida State transfer Jacob Coker, who only arrived on campus this summer. However, despite the expectation that Coker will be immediately ready to step into McCarron’s shoes, Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will give senior Blake Sims a fair chance to upset the newcomer.
Across the state of Alabama, Auburn must find a replacement for promising DE Carl Lawson, who will miss most of the fall, if not the entire season, after injuring his knee during spring practice. Sophomore Elijah Daniel and junior college transfer DaVonte Lambert look like good pass rushing options, but the team could also use DTs Gabe Wright and Montravius Adams on the edge as well.
In Big Ten country, the Ohio State Buckeyes have to go about replacing All-American running back Carlos Hyde. With Braxton Miller’s health at a premium in 2014 as the Buckeyes hope to snag College Football Playoff tickets, it will be imperative for Urban Meyer and staff to identify at least one workhorse back to take the rushing load off their star quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott has the requisite size to handle a larger workload, and should be first in line to replace Hyde. Slotback Dontre Wilson is more of a multipurpose threat than true tailback, but should see his carries total climb as well.
The Oregon Ducks have many of the ingredients to contend for College Football Playoff tickets, but wide receiver could be the lone sore spot on the roster. Explosive junior Bralon Addison was lost for the year during spring ball, leaving the Ducks very inexperienced out wide. One player to keep an eye on is redshirt freshman Devon Allen, who just won the NCAA 110 meter hurdle title, as he clearly has speed to burn.