SI.com senior writer Stewart Mandel ranks the elite
teams for next fall
QB Matthew Stafford and RB Knowshon Moreno are among 17 starters expected back
on a team that closed with seven strong wins.
2. OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes lose only two senior starters, though LB James Laurinaitis and
others could declare for the NFL draft.
While the Sooners have almost their entire offense returning, their Fiesta Bowl
showing raises questions about the defense.
The Trojans are loaded with young talent, and Mark Sanchez and Mitch Mustain
will battle for the quarterback job.
Heisman finalist Chase Daniel and all-purpose burner Jeremy Maclin lead a
12-win team with 16 returning starters.
6. WEST VIRGINIA
QB Pat White and RB Noel Devine ensure another explosive attack, but new coach
Bill Stewart is a wild card.
USC transfer RB Emmanuel Moody joins Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin in the
backfield, but the defense must improve.
The 12--1 Orange Bowl champs are no flash in the pan—nearly the whole defense
returns, as does savvy QB Todd Reesing.
Eleven senior starters must be replaced, but the Tigers are set at quarterback
with Ryan Perrilloux running the attack.