Georgia is hoping that an influx of junior college transfers can plug up the gaps left by the loss of 11 starters, seven of them on defense.
The Orangemen should match last season's 10-2 record, which culminated in a 24-17 win over Ohio State in the Hall of Fame Bowl. In Qadry (the Missile) Ismail they have a player whose '91 stats in kick returns, pass receptions and rushing compare favorably with the numbers put up by his older brother, Notre Dame's Raghib (the Rocket) in 1990, when he finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting. Defenses won't be able to key on Ismail because of quarterback Marvin Graves's skill at running the option.
Syracuse gets to play both of its toughest foes, Miami and Ohio State, in the Carrierdome, where the Orangemen have gone 25-5-2 since the middle of the 1986 season. Kicker John Biskup and punter Pat O'Neill are a crack tandem.
Holes in the offensive line and defensive secondary.
Coach Bill McCartney has changed his offense for the third time since 1985. The I bone, which replaced the wishbone, has been scrapped in favor of a one-back spread attack because, says McCartney, Colorado had become too predictable. The Buffaloes' first major test is a Sept. 26 visit by Iowa.
Outside linebackers Chad Brown and Ron Woolfork might be even quicker than the departed Alfred Williams and Kanavis McGhee, both of whom are now second-year NFLers. A fine secondary features cornerbacks Deion Figures and Ronnie Bradford.
The quarterback situation—who will replace Darian Hagan?—is a dead heat between Vance Joseph and Kordell Stewart.
13. Ohio State
The Buckeyes' chances of reaching the Rose Bowl will depend largely on whether Kirk Herbstreit can become an effective quarterback. First-year offensive coordinator Joe Hollis says he wants the Buckeyes to pass more. But their fans may find themselves believing that the old Woody Hayes playbook has been dusted off, especially because tailback, with Raymont Harris, Robert Smith and Butler By'not'e, is one of the team's deepest and strongest positions.