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The Huskies did win nine games and bring back 17 starters, but they were a team that seemed to catch opponents at the right time a year ago. Pittsburgh, Rutgers and South Florida were all coming off losses when Connecticut knocked them off. This still should be a bowl team, but it probably isn’t a Big East contender.

Michigan

The saga of Rich Rodriguez dominated the Wolverines’ offseason, with player transfers and lawsuits and other turbulence coming to define a program known for its unerring (if often boring) stability under Lloyd Carr. If things go south, the Wolverines could flirt with missing a bowl for the first time since 1974.

Texas Tech

Think of how much fun it would be to see Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense contending for a national title. Now here’s the reality check: The Red Raiders’ defense is suspect until it proves otherwise. Think a nine-win season, with one inexplicable loss included.