Michigan fans have the hope that the Wolverines will somehow run the table and make the national championship game in New Orleans. If that happens, Michigan would likely match-up with one of these teams in the Sugar Bowl.
The Sooners are the consensus No. 1 team in the nation going into the season. With a defense returning nine starters from a squad that gave up just 15.4 ppg last season and two new starters that are arguably better than the old ones, it is safe to assume that Oklahoma will be vying for the national championship. Their offense is seen as a weakness, but the Sooners were second in the Big 12 in scoring last season. If the Sooners can beat Texas during the regular season and can avoid a third straight upset loss to Oklahoma State, look for the Sooners to get to the Big 12 Championship game and be high in the Bowl Championship Series rankings.
ESPN the Magazine featured two Auburn linebackers on the cover of its college football preview. Maybe it should have featured its opening opponent, the Trojans. Not only did Southern Cal. win at Auburn, it held the Tigers scoreless at home for the first time since 1998. No Pac-10 team has gone to the national championship game since the Bowl Championship Series, but early indications show that Southern Cal. has it this year. Redshirt sophomore Matt Leinart beat out four candidates for the job as Carson Palmer’s replacement and threw for 192 yards against Auburn. But it will be Southern Cal.’s defense that will let its national title hopes sink or swim.
When the Wildcats travel to Austin to take on the Longhorns on Oct. 4, it will be the first time they have played a team from a BCS conference since their season opener against California. If Kansas State can get past that, it has a great chance of running the table. With nine retuning starters from the nation’s second-best scoring offense, the feeling in Manhattan is that this team has a shot.
There is no question that Coral Gables is a factory of first-round draft picks. But after losing four first-rounders from the most talented team in the nation, the question remains to be seen if the Hurricanes can reload. If the answer is yes, it means that tight end Kellen Winslow is going to have a big year. Florida transfer Brock Berlin will be throwing a lot to “The Chosen One,” who caught 11 balls for 122 yards in the Fiesta Bowl. If Berlin can also get the ball to running back Frank Gore for 50 yards receiving per game in addition to his rushing, Miami will almost be a lock to win the Big East.