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6 What happens in Auburn's backfield?
With quarterback Jason Campbell and tailbacks Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams NFL-bound, the team's former strength is now its Achilles' heel. In the March 19 A-Day game, sophomore QB Brandon Cox proved accurate but sack-prone, while the tailback trio of juniors Tre Smith and Kenny Irons and sophomore Carl Stewart combined for a ho-hum 148 yards. Says coach Tommy Tuberville, whose team went 13--0 last year, "We're still light years away from having the offense we'll need to compete for a championship."
No question the Broncos have the talent, with junior quarterback Jared Zabransky foremost among 17 returning starters from an 11--1 team. A difficult schedule could work for or against the Broncos. They face road trips to Georgia, Oregon State and Fresno State and a home date against dangerous Bowling Green. Wins in those games would boost Boise State's profile among poll voters, but losses would remove this Western Athletic Conference member from the BCS picture completely.
8 Who will be Nebraska's quarterback?
Don't count on returning starter Joe Dailey, who sank to No. 4 on the spring depth chart at quarterback after having difficulty grasping Bill Callahan's West Coast offense last season. Dailey's heir apparent is Zac Taylor, who dominated last Saturday's Red-White Game by completing 20 of 27 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns--all in the first half. A transfer from Butler County ( Kans.) C.C., which he led to the juco national championship game last year, Taylor "has all the throws in his arm," says Callahan.
9 Did someone break a mirror in Iowa City?
Iowa can't seem to dodge bad luck. After overcoming a freakish spate of tailback injuries last year (their top five runners all went down) to go 10--2, the Hawkeyes have been dogged by more injuries and illness all spring. Although most of the sidelined players should be back by August, the absences have hindered Iowa's progress. "We're not an elite team, I assure you," says coach Kirk Ferentz. "We have way too many holes."
10 Which backup might emerge as a star?
There is an upside for Cal to the graduation of All- Pac-10 running back J.J. Arrington, and his name is Marshawn Lynch. Coming off a quietly stellar 2004 in which he averaged 8.8 yards on 71 carries, Lynch, a sophomore who according to Rivals.com was the second-best tailback recruit in the country last year, behind Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson, will be relied on for big plays while a new quarterback and young receivers gain experience. For opponents, the only thing scarier than Lynch's 4.4 speed is that four offensive line starters return to block for him. -- Kelley King