The 5 most intriguing teams to follow this off-season

PHOTO: USA Today Sports

The Florida State Seminoles knocked off the Auburn Tigers in a thriller on Monday night and now we have a long eight month wait ahead of us until the 2014 season. Recruiting season will kick off the off-season, then it's the NFL Draft and spring practice and then the long summer before fall practice starts. What should you do to occupy your time now that college football has left us? How about following these five teams as they all have very interesting off-seasons ahead of them…

#1 Texas Longhorns

Under Mack Brown, the Longhorns won double-digit games in nine straight seasons including winning the National Championship in 2005. Over the last four seasons, the Longhorns failed to win double-digits in any season and compiled an overall record of 30-21 and an 18-17 record in Big 12 play. Brown was relieved of his duties and the Horns have hired Charlie Strong. Strong went 37-15 in his tenure at Louisville and 23-3 over the last two years. 

What to watch:

How will Strong fill out his staff?

Who will he choose as his offensive coordinator and how will the offense start to look during the spring? 

How will David Ash bounce back from his concussions?

Will Strong find it difficult to navigate Texas's tricky political scene?


#2 Florida Gators

The Gators were hit with a rash of injuries in 2013 and the bottom fell out. They finished 4-8 and even lost to FCS opponent Georgia Southern. Muschamp is being given one more year but he did show offensive coordinator Brent Peace the door. It's pretty much accepted as fact that Muschamp has one year to turn this ship around.

What to watch:

Muschamp's relationship with the media

How quickly can Kurt Roper get the offense rolling and what will it look like this spring?

Will there be any more defections (six offensive starters announced they would transfer in December)?


#3 USC Trojans

Given his performance at Tennessee, Lane Kiffin always felt like a strange hire and it flamed out quickly for him at USC after a 3-2 start in 2013. The team played better in his absence and has given hope that the Trojans can quickly get back on top of a very competitive Pac-12. After five years at Washington, Steve Sarkisian returns to take over the reigns.

What to watch:

So far four non-seniors have declared for the NFL draft including stud receiver Marquis Lee. Will the Trojans lose anybody else off of an already depleted roster?

Who will step up this spring to fill the voids left?

Will the Trojans be able to land any big recruits who can contribute immediately for Sark?


#4 Alabama Crimson Tide

Nick Saban has a dynasty going with the Tide. With six straight double-digit win seasons including three National Championships there is not much left for Saban to accomplish. But, the pressure is still on because of the success of in-state rival Auburn and the fact that Alabama dropped their last two games at the end of the season. 

What to watch:

Who replaces AJ McCarron?

What will happen with Bama's talented backfield? Will Kenyan Drake stay in the doghouse, will Derrick Henry make a push for #1 back reps and who will get relegated to North Alabama?

Who steps into CJ Mosley's leadership role on defense?


#5 Clemson Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs

OK, so I lied. It's not five teams to watch, it's six. These two schools re-ignited their rivalry last year when Clemson won by three points in their own building to kick-off the 2013 season. Clemson would go on to play in (and win) a BCS bowl. Georgia would go on to limp to an 8-5 season that was riddled with injuries. These two teams will meet again in week one, this time in Athens, and it will go a long way to tell what type of season both of these two teams will have.

What to watch for Clemson:

Who steps into the QB role replacing Tajh Boyd?

Will Chad Morris land a head coaching gig and if so what happens with the Clemson offense?

How will Clemson replace Sammy Watkins and Martavious Bryant?

What to watch for Georgia:

Can Georgia get, and stay, healthy this off-season?

With Todd Grantham on the hot seat, will Georgia do anything differently on defense this off-season and which young players will take the next step?

Can all of Georgia's key players make it through the off-season without incident and ready for the Clemson game in August?

About Kevin Causey

Dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Comeback.