Scary, scary stats: Each top 25 team's most daunting metric

With Mark Schlabach's most recent Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings as our guide, we have ranked underrated players and video gamers. We have given you each team's weakest position group and even team DJs. The recruiting experts took over last week to point out the instant-impact freshmen.

This week, we asked ESPN Stats & Info to take a deep dive into the numbers to find each top 25 team's scariest statistic.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Red-zone and third-down conversions: We're nit-picking when it comes to the defending national champions, but two areas in which Alabama was inconsistent in 2015 were on third down and in the red zone. The Crimson Tide ranked 87th in the FBS in third-down conversion percentage last season (37 percent) and 99th in red-zone touchdown percentage (55 percent). In both cases, the Crimson Tide were second-worst among the 25 teams ranked in the final AP Poll. -- Jason Starrett

2. Clemson Tigers

Special-teams efficiency: Clemson's losing seven defensive starters stands out as an immediate issue, but after coordinator Brent Venables transformed the defense with even fewer starters returning in 2015, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. A bigger concern might be on special teams. The Tigers had the third-worst special-teams efficiency last season, and a case could be made they lost the national championship in that phase of the game after allowing a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown and onside kick recovery in the fourth quarter against Alabama. -- Sharon Katz

3. Michigan Wolverines

Takeaways: Michigan won 10 games in its first season under coach Jim Harbaugh, thanks in large part to a defense that allowed the fourth-fewest yards per game in the FBS (280.7) and ranked 20th nationally in defensive efficiency. However, the Wolverines did it while forcing 12 turnovers (tied for 117th in the FBS) including just two fumbles, the second fewest in the nation. Among the 11 FBS schools with 12 or fewer takeaways last season, Michigan was the only one to finish with a winning record. -- J.S.

4. Florida State Seminoles

Manageable third downs: Florida State won 10 games and reached a New Year's Six bowl for the fourth straight season in 2015, but the Noles did so despite struggling mightily on third down. Florida State ranked 81st in the FBS in third-down conversion percentage (37.7 percent) thanks to an average conversion distance of 7.8 yards to go, which was nearly a yard longer than the FBS average and ranked 115th nationally. -- J.S.

5. Oklahoma Sooners

Defensive playmakers lost: Oklahoma finished in the top two in the Big 12 in defensive efficiency, opponent Total QBR, sacks and interceptions last season. On paper, the Sooners lost five defensive starters and should again be one of the top units in the conference. But those aren't just any old starters. Oklahoma lost its leaders in tackles (Dominique Alexander), interceptions (Zack Sanchez) and sacks (Eric Striker) from a season ago. Including those players, about half of the tackles and sacks are gone from last year's playoff defense. -- S.K.

6. LSU Tigers

One-dimensional offense: Everybody knows Leonard Fournette. The junior ran for 1,953 yards last season, second most in SEC history behind only Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry's 2,219-yard performance in the same season. Fournette might be good enough to carry LSU, but a more balanced offense would certainly lessen the load on his legs. The Tigers passed the ball 37 percent of the time last season, which ranked 13th in the SEC. The only national champion in the past 10 seasons with a pass rate that low was Auburn in 2010 at 34 percent, and that offense was led by one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in college football history, Cam Newton. -- Bryan Ives

7. Stanford Cardinal

McCaffrey overload: Christian McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders' single-season FBS record for all-purpose yards in 2015 and finished runner-up to Derrick Henry for the Heisman Trophy, but did Stanford rely too much on the then-sophomore running back? Ignoring return yards, McCaffrey still accounted for an FBS-high 43.7 percent of the Cardinal's yards from scrimmage and led the FBS in total scrimmage yards. No player has led the nation in scrimmage yards and won a national championship in the same season since Colorado's Eric Bieniemy in 1990. -- J.S.

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Departed pass-catchers: Notre Dame returns a pair of talented quarterbacks in Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer in 2016, but whom will they be throwing to? The Fighting Irish lost four of their top five pass-catchers to graduation and the 2016 NFL draft, including leading receiver Will Fuller, who was taken 21st overall by the Houston Texans. Notre Dame does return talented upperclassmen such as Torii Hunter Jr. and Corey Robinson, but 96 of the 130 receptions the Irish made when the score was within seven points last season (74 percent) were from players no longer on the roster. -- J.S.

9. Ohio State Buckeyes

Lack of returning experience: Ohio State returns an FBS-low six starters from the offensive and defensive sides of the ball thanks largely to an FBS-high nine players declaring early for the 2016 NFL draft. The nine early entrants were three times as many as the Buckeyes had in any other season in program history. The good news for Ohio State is that quarterback J.T. Barrett is returning. The former all-conference performer broke Drew Brees' Big Ten touchdown responsibility record in 2014 before suffering an ankle injury against Michigan. Barrett split time with Cardale Jones last season before taking over as starter in October and winning four of Ohio State's final five games. -- J.S.

10. Tennessee Volunteers

Fourth-quarter score differential: Tennessee was the only team in the FBS to blow multiple 13-point fourth-quarter leads last season. The Vols gave up a 17-3 lead against Oklahoma and a 27-14 lead against Florida. In Tennessee's other two losses, against Alabama and Arkansas, the Vols had every opportunity to win but lost by a combined nine points. Overall, the Vols ranked tied for 95th in fourth-quarter points per game and tied for 71st in fourth-quarter scoring margin. Tennessee has the talent and schedule to contend for the playoff, but if it continues to struggle late in games, it will be a long season for Butch Jones and the Vols. -- S.K.

11. USC Trojans

The schedule: Schedule makers didn't do Clay Helton any favors in his first full season as USC's coach. In addition to facing Alabama in Week 1, the Trojans travel to Stanford, Utah, Washington and UCLA in Pac-12 play. If they survive that brutal conference schedule, the Trojans still have Notre Dame in their final game of the regular season. Even the best teams would have trouble against USC's schedule, which ESPN's Football Power Index ranks as the toughest in the country. -- S.K.

12. Georgia Bulldogs

Quarterback play: Former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray left Athens in 2013 as the SEC's career leader in completions, passing touchdowns, passing yards and total offense. In the two seasons since, the Dawgs have struggled to find Murray's replacement. Georgia averaged 192.5 pass yards per game the past two seasons, which ranks 11th in the SEC and 79 YPG fewer than in the four seasons with Murray. Freshman Jacob Eason, the No. 13 overall player and No. 1 quarterback in the 2016 ESPN 300, might be leaned on early in his career to rejuvenate the Bulldogs' passing offense. Matthew Stafford is the only Georgia quarterback commit ranked higher than Eason in the ESPN 300 era (since 2006). -- B.I.

13. Ole Miss Rebels

The extra yard: Ole Miss' offense was one of the most explosive in country last year, averaging 7.1 yards per play, most in the SEC and fourth in the FBS. However, when things got physical and it came down to that extra yard on third and fourth downs, the Rebels struggled to convert. Ole Miss managed a first down on 56 percent of its third- or fourth-down plays with 1 yard or less to go last season. That ranked 115th in the FBS. No Rebels player even had an above-average (FBS average is 72 percent) first-down rate in such situations. -- B.I.

14. Oklahoma State Cowboys

No more pressure? Oklahoma State ranked tied for fifth in the FBS with 40 sacks last season and was incredibly consistent, recording multiple sacks in 12 of its 13 games. The bad news for the Cowboys is that their top two pass rushers from 2015 are gone, including Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year Emmanuel Ogbah. Including Ogbah's 13.0 sacks (fourth most in the FBS), Oklahoma State lost 55 percent (22 of 40) of its total sacks from last season. -- J.S.

15. Michigan State Spartans

Deep completions: When former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi left to become the head coach at Pittsburgh, he might have taken the Spartans' "no fly zone" with him. Among Power 5 schools, Michigan State allowed the third-highest completion percentage (44.6 percent) and second-most completions (33) on passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield last season. Cornerback Vayante Copeland should be back from injury to shore up the Spartans' secondary, but with the loss of quarterback Connor Cook and other key offensive players, Michigan State will need its secondary to return to form in 2016. -- S.K.

16. Washington Huskies

Lack of marquee wins: Washington knocked off USC on the road and secured its first bowl win under Chris Petersen last season, but the Huskies still went 0-3 against teams ranked in the final AP poll. It was the third straight season Washington went winless against teams that finished the year ranked, and it ran the Huskies' losing streak against such teams to 12. Washington hasn't beaten a team ranked in the final AP poll since 2012 when it defeated both Oregon State and Stanford. -- J.S.

17. Houston Cougars

Secondary help: Houston allowed 45 completions that gained at least 25 yards last season, second most in the FBS behind Arizona State. Even after adjusting for the number of passes faced, the Cougars had one of only 12 defenses that allowed at least 9 percent of their opponents' pass attempts to gain 25-plus yards. Unfortunately for coach Tom Herman and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, fixing their issues in the secondary will not be easy after the departures of three All-Conference corners/safeties, including first-round NFL draft pick William Jackson III. -- S.K.

18. North Carolina Tar Heels

Rush defense: Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik certainly helped improve North Carolina's defense last season. The Tar Heels' scoring defense improved by 14.5 points per game, the largest jump among Power 5 teams. However, North Carolina's rush defense still has work to do. The Tar Heels allowed an ACC-high 247.4 rush yards per game in 2015. In the Russell Athletic Bowl against Baylor, they surrendered an FBS-bowl-record 645 rush yards to a team without its starting running back. The defense will face an early test against Georgia on Sept. 3 with the possible return of Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb. -- B.I.

19. Oregon Ducks

Defensive efficiency: Oregon allowed a school-record 37.5 points per game in 2015. As a result, the Ducks hired former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke as defensive coordinator. Hoke will have a major rebuilding job to do in Eugene. Oregon ranked 73rd in defensive efficiency last season, the first time it fell outside of the top 30 in that statistic -- which accounts for pace, turnovers, opponent strength and more -- since 2008. The Ducks simply could not get off the field, ranking 60th out of 65 Power 5 schools in percentage of opponents' drives resulting in a touchdown. -- S.K.

20. TCU Horned Frogs

Ball-hawking defense: The Big 12 is a pass-happy league. The conference averaged 272 pass yards per game last season, the most of any Power 5 conference. Despite the numerous opportunities, TCU nabbed only seven interceptions and had a 1.6 percent interception rate. Both numbers ranked among the bottom six of Power 5 teams. TCU score 52 points off turnovers last season, ahead of only Iowa State and winless Kansas in the Big 12. This came one year after the Horned Frogs grabbed 26 interceptions (tied for most in the FBS) and scored 160 points off turnovers (third in the FBS) on their way to a 12-1 season. -- B.I.

21. Texas A&M Aggies

Post-Manziel passing Quarterback Johnny Manziel set a high standard for Texas A&M. The Aggies led the SEC in offensive efficiency and Total QBR in each of Manziel's seasons under center. Since his departure, Texas A&M has struggled to find consistency at its most important position. The Aggies appear to have bottomed out last season when they went 8-5 with the fifth-worst offensive efficiency and sixth-worst QBR in the SEC. Last year's starting quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray transferred, leaving incoming Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight as the quarterback hoping to right the ship in College Station. -- B.I.

22. UCLA Bruins

Lack of skill position experience: UCLA is losing 65 percent of its yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving) from a season ago. The Bruins must replace 1,300-yard rusher Paul Perkins and four of their top five pass-catchers from an offense that ranked 29th in efficiency. With new offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu likely to run more of a pro-style offense, quarterback Josh Rosen will be forced to make a lot of adjustments in his sophomore season. The emergence of a workhorse running back and go-to receiver will be essential to his development and UCLA's success in 2016. -- S.K.

23. Iowa Hawkeyes

Offensive line turnover: Iowa had an FBS-high three players rush for at least 195 yards in a game this past season (Jordan Canzeri, LeShun Daniels Jr. and Akrum Wadley) thanks in part to an excellent offensive line. The bad news? The anchors of that group -- All-Big Ten performers Austin Blythe and Jordan Walsh -- are off to the NFL. Blythe played each of Iowa's past 50 games including 49 as a starter. Walsh started 37 games in his career and was the only Iowa offensive player named first-team All-Big Ten last season. -- J.S.

24. Miami Hurricanes

Field goal fixation: One thing new coach Mark Richt will need to shake in his first year at Miami is the Hurricanes' reliance on the field goal. Last season, Miami attempted field goals on 15.3 percent of its drives, the highest rate in the FBS. The Canes often ran out of gas deep in opponent territory, ranking 123rd in the FBS in yards per play in the red zone (2.5). Conversely, Miami ranked 36th nationally in yards per play outside the red zone (6.6). -- J.S.

25. Louisville Cardinals

Pass protection: Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson enters this season with high expectations, but in order for him to take the next step as a passer, Louisville must solidify its offensive line. The Cardinals allowed the second-most sacks (44) in the FBS, and among Power 5 schools, only Boston College allowed a higher pressure rate last season. Louisville returns 18 starters, but two of the holes it must fill are on the offensive line. -- S.K.