FIVE STORY LINES
1. So long, Honey Badger: LSU dismissed Heisman Trophy candidate Tyrann Mathieu, reportedly for a failed drug test. That's a huge blow, even for a team loaded with talent. It certainly makes the Tigers' road to a national championship more difficult.
2. Back on top: Whether you like USC coach Lane Kiffin (right), it's hard to ignore his ability to keep that program among the elite after getting hit with heavy NCAA sanctions a few years ago. Quarterback Matt Barkley's return made the Trojans instant national title contenders after their 10-2 finish in 2011.
3. Welcome back: Urban Meyer achieved historic success at Florida before taking a sabbatical. He returned to coaching and brought his spread offense and aggressive recruiting to Ohio State. It seems only a matter of time before the Buckeyes are back on top of the college football world.
4. Hog Heaven? Bobby Petrino's ill-fated motorcycle ride cost him his career, but he left behind a talented team at Arkansas. The Razorbacks are good enough -- especially on offense -- to contend in the SEC, but it's anyone's guess how they will respond under interim coach John L. Smith.
5. A new beginning:
A new era of Penn State football begins this fall as the program attempts to move forward from the child molestation scandal that rocked that school and region to its core. Football takes a backseat as Happy Valley tries to heal emotionally. Crippling NCAA sanctions guarantee a long, slow recovery on the field.