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The 26-year-old junior hasn't faced any live action since suffering a herniated disk in his neck on Nov. 14. He is throwing without a helmet and pads but won't see any contact this spring.
Colorado averaged 31.0 points in its wins last season and 13.5 in its losses. Barnett's success may hinge on whether he can keep injury-prone senior quarterback Mike Moschetti healthy—or develop junior Adam Bledsoe into a capable backup.
Redshirt sophomore Dusty Bonner, who backed up Couch in 1997, is the front-runner, but he'll be challenged by redshirt freshmen Chase Harp and Mike Scipione. Whoever wins the spring battle will still have to contend with incoming freshman Jared Corenzen, who was Kentucky's Mr. Football last fall.
4. Can Kansas State sustain its recent success?
It's unlikely the Wildcats can match last year's 11-2 record. Their offense, which averaged 478.4 yards and 48.0 points per game, lost eight starters, including quarterback Michael Bishop and the rest of the starting backfield.
5. Will there be a quarterback controversy at Michigan?
Quite possibly. Even though Tom Brady threw for 2,636 yards and 15 touchdowns while starting all 13 games as a junior, sophomore Drew Hensen (left) is considered a better natural athlete. Hensen saw mop-up duty in eight games last fall and attempted only 47 passes, but he could win the job this spring, much as Brian Griese did in 1997, when he beat out incumbent Scott Dreisbach.