Georgia rule (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday January 8, 2008 12:21PM; Updated: Tuesday January 8, 2008 12:21PM
4) USC: Another year, another young squad loaded with talent, most notably RB Joe McKnight. LBs Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga and S Taylor Mays will ensure another strong defense. Whoever wins the QB job (Mark Sanchez or Mitch Mustain) will need some reliable receivers -- a sore spot for the Trojans this past season.
5) Missouri: Behind Daniel and explosive all-purpose guy Jeremy Maclin, the Tigers should score in bunches like they did throughout their 12-win season. The real surprise, however, could be an unheralded defense that brings back nine starters, most notably All-America safety William Moore.
6) West Virginia: With White, RB Noel Devine and possibly Steve Slaton all back following an electrifying Fiesta Bowl performance, the Mountaineers will once again enter the season with national-title buzz. However, the defense loses most of its key players, and it remains to be seen how the coaching transition will play out.
7) Florida: If USC transfer RB Emmanuel Moody lives up to the billing, Urban Meyer will be able to field a truly multi-faceted offense that doesn't depend so disproportionately on Tebow and WR Percy Harvin. The Gators need to show serious improvement on defense, though, after getting shredded by Michigan in the Capital One Bowl.
8) Kansas: Don't expect the Jayhawks to disappear following a 12-win season. QB Todd Reesing returns as do Kansas' entire receiving corps and most of the offensive line. While the defense will miss All-America CB Aqib Talib, it should still be solid. The biggest obstacle for Kansas will be its schedule: Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech.
9) LSU: The Tigers will be hit harder by graduation than any of the other top teams from 2007, as Les Miles' team featured 12 senior starters, chief among them star DT Glenn Dorsey. Ryan Perrilloux will take over at quarterback, and LSU returns no shortage of skill players, but the defense will face some serious rebuilding.
10) Wisconsin: Bret Bielema's team has quietly won 21 games the past two seasons. As many as 19 starters could return, including All-America TE Travis Beckum, RBs P.J. Hill and Zach Brown and star CB Jack Ikegwunonu. The Badgers' biggest question will be how well Allen Everidge steps in at quarterback.
Keep an eye on: Auburn, Clemson, Illinois, Texas Tech, Pittsburgh.
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