- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 26, 2008

1. Oklahoma

Fear: Nation’s top O-line, efficient QB Sam Bradford and typical Bob Stoops’ defense

Jeer: The Sooners have been humiliated in three consecutive BCS bowl appearances

2. Florida

Fear: Tim Tebow and a spread option attack capable of scoring 30 a quarter

Jeer: Defense still a work in progress, and Gators are a Tebow injury from pedestrian

3. Ohio State

Fear: Bullish RB Chris “Beanie” Wells and stout defense anchored by LB James Laurinaitis

Jeer: Big Ten is weak again, setting up Buckeyes’ BCS Bust, Part III

4. USC

Fear: Absurd defensive front seven defined by LBs Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing

Jeer: Offense breaks in seven new starters, including oft-injured QB Mark Sanchez

5. Clemson

Fear: ACC‘s most potent backfield of QB Cullen Harper and RBs James Davis, C.J. Spiller

Jeer: Patchwork offensive line will rely on four first-year starters

6. Georgia

Fear: Sublime tailback trio of Knowshon Moreno, Caleb King and Richard Samuels

Jeer: Nation’s most difficult schedule features games against nine 2007 bowl teams

7. West Virginia

Fear: Spread-option stylings of QB Pat White and RB Noel Devine

Jeer: Departed Rich Rodriguez replaced by inexperienced Bill Stewart

8. LSU

Fear: A front four again guaranteed to terrorize SEC offenses

Jeer: There’s nothing resembling a quarterback on the roster in Baton Rouge

9. Missouri

Fear: Dual-threat dynamo Chase Daniel and all-purpose burner Jeremy Maclin

Jeer: Tigers have lost 10 straight to Big 12 South powers Oklahoma and Texas

10. Texas Tech

Fear: Nation’s most prolific pass-catch pairing: Graham Harrell-Michael Crabtree

Jeer: Red Raiders should start 10-0, but they lack balance to win at Oklahoma (Nov. 22)

11. Tennessee

Fear: SEC’s best O-line and secondary; Vols only team in nation’s top league with no holes

Jeer: No dismissing the Phil Factor: Fulmer 0-3 vs. Florida’s Urban Meyer

12. South Florida

Fear: Tampa’s Team Sandlot has the talent to take out any team in the nation

Jeer: Dubious discipline also means they can lose to anyone

13. Arizona State

Fear: The Pac-10‘s premier QB (Rudy Carpenter) and wily coach Dennis Erickson

Jeer: Nasty four-week schedule stretch: Georgia (Sept. 20), at Cal (Oct. 4), at USC (Oct. 11)

14. Wisconsin

Fear: Badgers return 17 starters, including RB P.J. Hill and entire offensive line

Jeer: Will be the first Big Ten opponent to visit Big House during Rich Rodriguez’s tenure

15. Virginia Tech

Fear: The top squad in a comically flawed ACC Coastal Division

Jeer: The Hokies wouldn’t crack the top three in the league’s vastly superior Atlantic Division

16. Texas

Fear: Junior QB Colt McCoy has his top two targets returning in Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley

Jeer: What happens when less-with-more coach Mack Brown has only average talent?

17. Penn State

Fear: Nittany Lions return 18 starters from last season’s 9-4 squad

Jeer: That won’t matter much with road dates in Madison, Wis., and Columbus, Ohio

18. Auburn

Fear: Painfully anemic offense should improve under new coordinator Tony Franklin

Jeer: Defense should take a step back after losing four starters to the NFL

19. BYU

Fear: Offense that led Mountain West in scoring (31.0) and yards (449.1) returns virtually intact

Jeer: Two toughest games this season away from Provo: at TCU (Oct. 16) and at Utah (Nov. 22)

20. Oregon

Fear: The Ducks could have the nation’s best group of seven defensive backs

Jeer: There’s no replacing the All-American backfield duo of Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart

21. Kansas

Fear: Returns nine starters from defense that finished second in the Big 12 last season …

Jeer: … But losses on that side of the ball include cornerback Aqib Talib and coordinator Bill Young (Miami)

22. Alabama

Fear: Second season under Nick Saban features arrival of nation’s top recruiting class

Jeer: Tide face much tougher schedule in 2008 (vs. Clemson, at Georgia, at Tennessee, at LSU)

23. Florida State

Fear: A favorable schedule should help future head coach Jimbo Fisher lead a revival

Jeer: The FSU mystique is gone, and so is much of the golden-era talent

24. Utah

Fear: QB Brian Johnson and the Utes get TCU and BYU at home

Jeer: Defensive dropoff could be severe for unit that led the Mountain West last season

25. South Carolina

Fear: It’s hard to imagine, but Steve Spurrier’s squad could have SEC’s best defense

Jeer: Equally hard to imagine: The old ball coach doesn’t have a quarterback

26. Illinois — Illini will get a good measure of their worth Saturday against Missouri

27. Wake Forest — Stout defense should entrench Demon Deacons in ACC title chase

28. Cincinnati — Uber-bright Kelly will keep rising Bearcats in Big East contention

29. Fresno State — Book it: Bulldogs will beat at least one of Rutgers, Wisconsin and UCLA

30. Michigan — Only three starters back on offense for Rodriguez’s first season in Ann Arbor

31. Texas Christian — Horned Frogs’ typically stingy defense might be even better this fall

32. Rutgers — If Scarlet Knights can’t replace departed offensive line starters, trouble will arrive

33. Boise St. — Titans of the Smurf Turf still have Ian Johnson in the backfield; advantage: Broncos

34. Oregon State — Don’t bother underestimating the Beavers, who will churn out eight wins

35. Michigan State — Spartans not quite ready to crack Big Ten’s upper echelon yet

36. Colorado — It won’t be long before Hawkins has Buffaloes back in the Top 25

37. California — Quarterback conundrum faces the Golden Bears after last year’s freefall

38. Purdue — Joe Tiller’s farewell tour will end with the Boilermakers in a mid-level bowl — again

39. Nebraska — Pelini better enjoy his honeymoon; Huskers fans won’t tolerate mediocrity

40. Tulsa — Potent, no-huddle Golden Hurricane must replace 5,000-yard passer Paul Smith

41. Connecticut — Huskies look like a letdown candidate but at least should start 4-0

42. Miami — On talent, Hurricanes should be higher; still Shannon’s first season was not inspiring

43. Pittsburgh— Would you trust Dave Wannstedt to coach your kid’s Pop Warner team?

44. Boston College— How will Jagodzinski fare without Matt Ryan, loaded defense?

45. Maryland — Terrapins simply have to be better than last year’s injury fest • right?

46. C. Michigan— LeFevour is best QB no one has heard of, but defense must improve

47. Notre Dame— It can’t be any worse than last season, but this isn’t an elite team

48. Louisville— Kragthorpe will feel heat if he follows debut debacle with another so-so year

49. Arkansas— Might be a few years before Petrino does well enough to draw more job interest

50. UCLA— Rick Neuheisel + Norm Chow + perennial underachiever = entertainment aplenty

51. Miss. State— If Bulldogs are bowl-bound, their blueprint will be based on defense again

52. Arizona— Rob Gronkowski (brother of Maryland’s Dan) is Pac-10’s top tight end

53. E. Carolina— Pirates have opportunity for early statement against Hokies, Mountaineers

54. Kansas State— Infusion of JUCO talent hints at the need for Prince’s Wildcats to win now

55. Okla. State ——The book on Mike Gundy: He’s a man. He’s 41. He’s going 6-6 this season

56. North Carolina — The opportunity exists in the ACC Coastal for Tar Heels to make a push

57. Houston — Cougars’ offense should remain among the best in Conference USA

58. New Mexico — Count on the Lobos to win between six and eight games and a bowl invite

59. Bowling Green — One of Saturday’s most telling games will be Falcons’ visit to Pitt

60. Miami (Ohio) — Defending MAC East champion Red Hawks bring back 17 starters

61. Washington — Brutal nonconference schedule bodes ill for Willingham’s Huskies

62. Mississippi — Nutt inherits plenty of talent in Oxford from the woebegone Orgeron

63. Texas A&M — Sherman’s march to College Station will be bumpy in Big 12 South

64. Navy — Paul Johnson left, and only four offensive starters return, but Mids should get six wins

65. Hawaii — The Warriors are in for a decline with June Jones and Colt Brennan elsewhere

66. N.C. State — Wolfpack perennially facing QB questions in post-Philip Rivers era

67. Northwestern — Wildcats better thrive early; they finish with Ohio St., Michigan and Illinois

68. Indiana — With QB Kellen Lewis reinstated, Hoosiers again can entertain bowl hopes

69. Georgia Tech — Paul Johnson’s scheme will work in the ACC; it just won’t be this year

70. Ball State — Nate Davis threw 30 TDs and only six interceptions in 2007 for Cardinals

71. Nevada — Much-needed defensive coordinator change should pay off for Wolf Pack

72. Iowa — Friendly schedule makes a return to the postseason possible for Hawkeyes

73. Central Florida — Tailback Kevin Smith’s (2,567 yards) departure leaves a serious void

74. Virginia — Offseason losses hint absurd good fortune from 2007 unlikely to continue

75. S. Mississippi — With a new staff and only 10 starters back, Eagles might be rebuilding

76. Kentucky — Andre Woodson’s gone, and so are the Wildcats’ grandiose SEC title dreams

77. Stanford — Cardinal should continue improving, and six wins are a possibility

78. Iowa State — The Big 12 is not a good neighborhood for the rebuilding Cyclones

79. Vanderbilt — Commodores will struggle after losing all five offensive line starters

80. Air Force — Uncertainty at quarterback, tailback follows Falcons into 2008

81. Wyoming — Offensive turnaround necessary for Cowboys, who were anemic last fall

82. Baylor — Art Briles has the tough task of making the Bears respectable

83. Fla. Atlantic — Schnellenberger’s Sun Belt champs return 18 starters, including QB Smith

84. Western Michigan — Broncos took a step back last fall, but the defense returns intact

85. Temple — This is not a misprint: Al Golden could have the Owls in their first bowl since 1979

86. Memphis — Posse of huge receivers make containing Tigers’ passing game a priority

87. Louisiana Tech — Ex-Georgia Tech QB Taylor Bennett could start for Bulldogs

88. Texas-El Paso — Miners (117th in total defense in 2007) switching to a 3-3-5 stack

89. Minnesota — After allowing 518.7 yards a game, Gophers’ defense only can get better

90. Duke — Ex-Ole Miss coach Cutcliffe takes over the mother of all rebuilding projects

91. Wash. State — Scholarship limitations make Cougars a good bet for bottom of the Pac-10

92. Colorado State — New coach Fairchild begins tall task of replacing legendary Lubick

93. Buffalo — A five-win season infused hope for the future for the longtime blundering Bulls

94. San Jose State — A WAC sleeper, Spartans get Fresno State and Boise State at home

95. San Diego State — Winless against teams that finished with a winning record last two years

96. Ohio — Brutal schedule sends the Bobcats on the road for six of their first eight

97. UNLV — A fourth straight two-win season surely would cost Sanford his job

98. Syracuse — Abysmal Orange a lock to occupy Big East cellar yet again

99. Toledo — Dreadful rush defense (214.9 yards a game) must improve dramatically

100. Troy — Trojans might seek protection after opening month visits to LSU, Ohio State

101. SMU — Mustangs lost six games by 10 points or less in 2007; June Jones will help

102. Marshall — Thundering Herd will be hard-pressed to avoid fourth straight losing season

103. Rice — Averaged 400+ yards and yielded 500+ yards last year but is fun to watch

104. Akron — Save the date: Zips’ last game at the Rubber Bowl is Nov. 13 vs. Buffalo

105. La.-Monroe — Warhawks coming off first .500 year since moving up from I-AA in 1994

106. Ark. State — Newly rechristened Red Wolves must replace six four-year starters on defense

107. New Mexico State — QB Holbrook will put up numbers in Mumme’s pinball-like scheme

108. Army — The option is back at West Point; a victory over Navy at season’s end won’t be

109. Tulane — Awful special teams a potential pitfall for rebuilding Green Wave

110. La.-Lafayette — Tyrell Fenroy seeking to become seventh RB with four 1,000-yard years

111. Middle Tennessee — Short on scholarships, Blue Raiders could fall hard this fall

112. Kent State — Talented tailback Eugene Jarvis needs some help from the passing game

113. Northern Illinois — New coach Jerry Kill will revitalize Huskies — just not this season

114. UAB — Struggling Blazers will rely heavily on underclassmen, JUCO transfers

115. W. Kentucky — Hilltoppers will play 10 major-college foes as divisional transition continue

116. E. Michigan — Bleak Eagles have endured 12 consecutive losing seasons; bank on a 13th

117. Fla. International — The 23-game losing streak is over, but mediocrity is a ways off

118. Utah State — Uncertainty at quarterback, tailback bodes poorly for Aggies

119. N. Texas — Nation’s worst scoring defense (45.1) returns six starters; is this a good thing?

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide