Ohio State has an impossible quarterback question to answer entering the the 2015 season, but the good news for the Buckeyes is that hardly anyone has ever had comparable talent at the position. They can't go wrong. The only problem is that they can't get everyone on the field at once.
Obviously, nobody can match Ohio State's depth at quarterback. But many other teams have substantial depth at other positional units, with several deep receiving corps and loaded lines, among others. The Buckeyes, of course, have amassed talent at several positions beyond quarterback.
So, with individual player rankings completed, we turn our attention to which teams have the best groups at each position. Think of this exercise as trying to assemble the best possible team, by bringing the best position groups together. Both in terms of star power and depth, who would you pick?
Quarterbacks: Ohio State
The most obvious answer on this list, because Ohio State has one of the best quarterback groups ever. Braxton Miller has twice been the Big Ten player of the year and has twice finished in the top 10 of the Heisman race. An electrifying runner, he led Ohio State to an undefeated 2012 season (when the Buckeyes were banned from the postseason) and the Orange Bowl in 2013. J.T. Barrett replaced the injured Miller as a redshirt freshman and went on to finish second in the nation in passer rating. He would have passed for 3,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 had he not gotten hurt. Cardale Jones, a big, powerful runner with the strongest arm in the country, thrived in replacing the injured Barrett, leading the Buckeyes to wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon to take home the national championship. It's a perplexing quarterback battle, but there is also no wrong answer.
2. USC. Cody Kessler wasn't necessarily expected to hold onto the job entering last year, but he played brilliantly, finishing with 39 touchdowns and five interceptions in Steve Sarkisian's offense. Now a senior, he'll be a Heisman candidate this year before passing the job to current redshirt sophomore Max Browne, the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the class of 2013.
3. Clemson. Sophomore Deshaun Watson is the most talented quarterback in the country, giving the Tigers a pro-ready talent who is a dangerous runner but, more importantly, a polished passer with a strong arm and poise from the moment he stepped onto the field. Hopes are high for backup Nick Schuessler, a junior transfer from Mississippi State who got first-team reps with Watson sidelined during the spring.
4. TCU. Trevone Boykin became a star and finished fourth in the Heisman race under new co-coordinators Doug Meachem and Sonny Cumbie. There's no proven backup, but Boykin is a big-time talent who threw for 3,901 yards and ran for 707 last year. Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill is on the roster, but he won't be eligible until next year, when Boykin is gone.
5. Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are in a strange position, picked to finish last in the SEC West despite having easily the most proven quarterback in the conference in Dak Prescott, who was a Heisman frontrunner for much of last season. The backup job is up for grabs between junior Damian Williams and redshirt freshman Nick Fitzgerald.
Running Backs: Georgia
It's amazing that Georgia could lose Todd Gurley and still be here. Nick Chubb started for only half the season but still ran for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. He packs a punch at 228 pounds, with nimble feet and deceptive explosiveness. While sophomore Sony Michel and senior Keith Marshall have both had injury issues, both are big-time complements when healthy. Michel can be used as a movable chess piece in the offense, while Marshall formed a great one-two punch with Gurley in 2012 but has struggled to stay on the field, playing only eight games the last two years.
2. Oklahoma. Samaje Perine was an afterthought entering last season on a roster with Keith Ford, Joe Mixon and Alex Ross. But Ford got hurt and Mixon was suspended for the season, opening the door for Perine to take hold of the starting job and flourish. Despite a few down weeks, he ran for 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns, including an FBS-record 427 yards against Kansas, breaking Melvin Gordon's record set a week earlier. While Ford transferred, Mixon, a five-star recruit, is back from suspension, and Ross is also in the mix as a speedy option who ran for 595 yards and averaged 6.8 yards per carry in a change-up role (he's an ace kick returner too).
3. Ohio State. Ezekiel Elliott was good last year, but he didn't take off until the biggest stretch of the season: 220 yards vs. Wisconsin, 230 vs. Alabama and 246 vs. Oregon. He should thrive behind a veteran offensive line and be a top Heisman candidate, with hybrid players like Curtis Samuel, Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson also getting carries in addition to playing roles as receivers.
4. Oregon. The Ducks had such a great young backfield tandem last year that they were able to move Byron Marshall, who ran for 1,000 yards in 2013, to slot receiver. As a true freshman, Royce Freeman became a star as a chain-mover between the tackles, rushing for 1,365 yards and 18 touchdowns as an excellent complement to Marcus Mariota. While he had some injury issues, junior Thomas Tyner is also an effective weapon. He ran for 573 yards last year as the backup, and he's most known for rushing for 643 yards and 10 touchdowns in a single game in high school. They'll be joined by star recruit Taj Griffin, an all-purpose back who participated in spring practice.
5. Alabama. The Crimson Tide may lose T.J. Yeldon, but now is finally the time for 6-foot-3, 242-pound junior Derrick Henry to emerge in the full-time role. He'll be joined by the elusive and explosive Kenyan Drake, who's returning from a broken leg.
Why wouldn't top receivers want to go to Baylor? No matter who the quarterback is, Art Briles' system continues to churn out productive, explosive passing offenses. Offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery left, but Briles promoted his son, Kendal, who has coached the receivers. Antwan Goodly and Levi Norwood are gone, but Baylor still has two 1,000-yard receivers returning in junior Corey Coleman and sophomore KD Cannon, in addition to 6-foot-3 senior Jay Lee and sophomore Davion Hall, who, like Cannon, was a top recruit last year.
2. Oregon. The Ducks' receivers were never on the field all at the same time because of injuries and suspensions, but there is a loaded group returning -- so loaded that explosive playmaker Charles Nelson may play cornerback. Bralon Addison re-joins the group after tearing his ACL last offseason. Former tailback Byron Marshall had 74 catches as a slot receiver. Darren Carrington broke out late in the season, although he faces a suspension. Speedster Devon Allen had 41 catches, although he's coming off a torn ACL. Dwayne Stanford caught 43 passes. This is stacked receiving corps that will make life a lot easier for whomever is playing quarterback.
3. Texas A&M. This passing game is bound to take off. Malcome Kennedy is gone, but Texas A&M returns leading receiver Josh Reynolds, plus Edward Pope and former five-star recruits Ricky-Seals Jones and Speedy Noil. They're now joined by five-star recruit Christian Kirk, who starred in spring practice after enrolling early.
4. TCU. Trevone Boykin didn't develop into a star without help. Josh Doctson is an NFL talent at receiver, and he's joined by Kolby Listenbee and Deante' Gray. They all averaged over 15 yards per catch in what turned into an explosive offense last season.
5. Clemson. The Tigers lost Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant last year, but they still ended up with standouts in the receiving corps. Mike Williams caught 57 passes for 1,030 yards as a sophomore, while Artavis Scott caught 76 passes for 965 yards as a freshman. Throw in Germone Hopper, Charone Peake and tight end Jordan Leggett, and Deshaun Watson has no shortage of weapons.
Offensive Line: Michigan State
Jeremy Langford ran for over 100 yards in 16 straight Big Ten games, and he had plenty of help from this stellar unit, one that also excelled in the passing game. They allowed only 11 sacks in 13 games, helping Connor Cook to thrive. Former walk-on Jack Conklin has become one of the nation's best left tackles, while Jack Allen has started 35 games at center. They're joined by returning starters Donavon Clark and Kodi Kieler, plus sophomore Brian Allen, who played plenty of snaps last year off the bench and is Jack Allen's brother.
2. Georgia. Four starters return to a group that paved the way for one of the nation's most effective running games. Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley are both phenomenal talents, but they had help in averaging over seven yards per carry. This O-line also allowed just 17 sacks in 13 games. Center David Andrews is gone, but senior tackles John Theus and Kolton Houston and junior guards Greg Pyke (one of the nation's best) and Brandon Kublanow return to form an excellent unit that will help make Chubb a Heisman frontrunner.
3. Arkansas. Bret Bielema has created a strong identity for the Hogs already, which is why the offensive line graces the cover of the team's 2015 media guide. Like Bielema's Wisconsin teams, Arkansas boasts a massive, powerful line in a run-oriented offense, with four starters returning: Denver Kirkland, Dan Skipper, Mitch Smothers and Sebastian Tretola, who memorably caught a touchdown pass last year.
4. Ohio State. The Buckeyes entered last year with only one returning starter up front, and the unit had struggles -- most notably against Virginia Tech and Penn State. But by the end of the season, it had become one of the nation's best, and now four starters return. That includes All-Big Ten tackle Taylor Decker and guard Pat Elflein -- both All-America candidates - along with center Jacoby Boren and guard Billy Price.
5. Baylor. The Bears are known for their high-powered offensive attack, but they now boast some of the best play along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. While he run game wasn't particularly explosive last year, there's a high ceiling here, with five starters all returning to the line, led by left tackle Spencer Drango and center Kyle Fuller.
Defensive Line: Alabama
Yes, the last time we saw Bama it was getting gashed by Ezekiel Elliott and Ohio State. But much of that damage was done on the edge. Anchoring the team's 3-4 is an exceptional line featuring Jonathan Allen and agile 300-pounders A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed. Robinson is a top NFL prospect, and Allen and Reed aren't far behind. Alabama doesn't lack depth either: top 2014 recruit Da'Shawn Hand could see an increased role, with seniors D.J. Pettway and Darren Lake and junior Dalvin Tomlinson in the mix too.
2. Virginia Tech. The offense may have a long way to catch up yet, but the Hokies' defense is again loaded under Bud Foster. It starts up front, where ends Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem combined for 33 ½ tackles for loss last year. Three impact players return to the middle with Luther Maddy coming back from an injury and Corey Marshall and Nigel Williams joining him in the rotation.
3. Baylor. The offense gets most of the credit for Baylor's surge, but the development of the defense the last few years has made the team a national contender. Everyone knows about freakish 6-foot-9 end Shawn Oakman. He's joined by three other returning starters, with Jamal Palmer, Beau Blackshear and potential All-American tackle Andrew Billings.
4. Michigan State. Losing coordinator Pat Narduzzi hurts, but the Spartans remain loaded up front. Shilique Calhoun is the star at end, and he's joined by a pair of stellar returning starters in Joel Heath and Lawrence Thomas. While Marcus Rush is gone, sophomore Malik McDowell is poised to break out as a star at tackle.
5. Ohio State. They lose two starters in Michael Bennett and Steve Miller, but the Buckeyes will be just fine up front. Joey Bosa might be the best player in the nation, and Adolphus Washington has developed into an impact player at tackle after starting his career at end. Plus, position coach Larry Johnson has a reputation for churning out line talent year after year, dating back to his Penn State days.
Linebackers: Ohio State
Darron Lee's emergence over the course of last season turned this into an elite group. While Curtis Grant is gone at middle linebacker, sophomore Raekwon McMillan, a five-star recruit, played a significant role last year anyway and has a higher ceiling. Lee is an explosive athlete on the edge, and he finished with 16 1/2 tackles for loss last year. They're joined by 254-pound senior Joshua Perry, who led the team with 124 tackles. This unit is the total package, with size, speed, pass rushing, run-stuffing ability and range in coverage.
2. Georgia. Neither Leonard Floyd nor Jordan Jenkins has been a consistent enough star to warrant an All-America spot, but both have the talent as versatile pass rushers who can line up anywhere. And now they're also being pushed by sophomore Lorenzo Carter, giving coordinator Jeremy Pruitt three dangerous pass rushers, making this a top unit despite the loss of inside linebackers Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson.
3. Oklahoma. Eric Striker is a unique asset for the Sooners, with defensive back-like size and athleticism as a pass rusher. He's surrounded by experienced players, including leading tackler Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans, plus former All-Big 12 player Frank Shannon, who returns from a suspension.
4. Louisville. Devonte Fields was a defensive end at TCU, but he's listed as a linebacker in Todd Grantham's 3-4, so that's what we'll go with. He had 10 sacks as a true freshman in 2012, and he joins a unit that features Keith Kelsey (87 tackles, six sacks), James Burgess (71 tackles, three interceptions) and Keith Brown. They'll be fine even after losing pass rusher Lorenzo Mauldin. Only Virginia Tech has a better defense in the ACC.
5. Alabama. The Crimson Tide linebackers didn't exactly have their finest moment last time we saw them against Ohio State, but this can still be a great group, even with Trey DePriest gone. Reggie Ragland is an All-America candidate, Reuben Foster could be ready to break out after starring on special teams and Ryan Anderson, Denzel Devall and Dillon Lee all have experience.
Defensive Backs: LSU
A young LSU defense got better over the course of the 2014 season, and despite a lackluster pass rush, the secondary shined. The Tigers ranked third in pass defense nationally, giving up 5.5 yards per attempt and a passer rating of just 101.6. They lose Jalen Collins at cornerback and Ronald Martin at safety, but there should be no drop-off. Sophomore Jamal Adams is ready to become a star at strong safety, alongside senior safety Jalen Mills, who can play anywhere in the secondary. Junior Tre' Davius White has started 24 games at cornerback in his first two years and is an All-SEC caliber player. There's an open spot at the other cornerback position, but Kevin Toliver comes in as one of the top recruits in the country, and sophomore Ed Paris was one of the top cornerback recruits in 2014. The loss of coordinator John Chavis won't change the fact that this secondary will continue to be among the best in the nation.
2. Florida. Vernon Hargreaves is the top pure cover corner in college football and a likely top-10 pick next spring. He's the star, but the rest of an experienced secondary is strong too, with Brian Poole, Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson at cornerback and Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye at safety. Amari Cooper aside, few passing games did much damage against the Gators last year.
3. Virginia Tech. Last season didn't quite go as planned with cornerback Brandon Facyson injured, but he returns to form an fantastic cornerback duo with All-American Kendall Fuller. While the Hokies lose leading tackler Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner at safety, Donovan Riley and Chuck Clark were both active at the position last year in what was a deep unit. It remains that way and will provide great support for one of the nation's top pass rushes.
4. West Virginia. Teams with Air Raid coaching staffs rarely end up on these sorts of lists on defense, but the Mountaineers have made substantial progress on defense the last couple years. Every Big 12 defense is going to give up passing yards, but the Mountaineers contained both TCU and Baylor last year. They return everyone, with safety Karl Joseph leading the way, surrounded by Daryl Worley, Dravon Henry, K.J. Dillon and Terrell Chestnut.
5. Ohio State. A weakness has turned into a strength. Urban Meyer hired Chris Ash to fix the Buckeyes' big-play problem, and he helped to do that. While cornerback Doran Grant is gone, the Buckeyes return star safety Vonn Bell and cornerback Eli Apple, along with Tyvis Powell. Sophomore Gareon Conley is expected to replace Grant.
Special Teams: Utah
The Utes are a throwback team that wins with a reliable run game led by Devontae Booker, a sturdy defensive front that makes plays in the backfield and winning the field position battle. Andy Phillips hit 23 of 28 field goals, while Tom Hackett averaged 46.7 yards per punt. Nobody has a better pair of kickers.
2. Duke. The Blue Devils' owned Football Outsiders' top special teams unit last year. While punt returner Jamison Crowder is gone, DeVon Edwards is a playmaker on kick returns, and both senior kicker Ross Martin (19 of 21 on field goals) and punter Will Monday (43 yards per punt) are back too.
3. Kansas State. Bill Snyder is all about paying attention to details and not making mistakes. That includes boasting stellar special teams play. Ace punt returner Tyler Lockett is gone, but Matthew McCrane hit 18 of 19 field goals as a freshman and Nick Walsh averaged 41.3 yards per punt as a freshman. Plus, cornerback Morgan Burns is proven on kick returns, and freshman Dominique Heath is expected to break out on punt returns.
4. Maryland. The Terrapins lose punter Nathan Renfro, but kicker Brad Craddock won the Groza Award after hitting 18 of 19 field goals, and cornerback William Likely is a star on both kick and punt returns.
5. LSU. Special teams are always a strong part of great LSU teams, and it has a chance to be that way again. Kicker Colby Delahoussaye (who is trying to bounce back from a late-season slump), punter Jamie Keehn, punt returner Tre'Davious White and kick returner Leornard Fournette give Les Miles plenty of talent.