Early look at '07 (cont.)
|NCAA Football Power Rankings|
Auburn Tigers (11-2)Who's back: QB Brandon Cox, RB Brad Lester, WR Rod Smith, DE Quentin Groves.
Who's not: RB Kenny Irons, WR Courtney Taylor, G Ben Grubbs, LB Will Herring, CB David Irons.
Skinny: The Tigers will likely field another solid defense, and Lester and Ben Tate will be a great 1-2 running tandem. But the offensive line could be a problem area.
Oklahoma Sooners (11-3)Who's back: RB Allen Patrick, WRs Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesias, S Reggie Smith.
Who's not: QB Paul Thompson, RB Adrian Peterson*, DE Larry Birdine, LB Rufus Alexander.
Skinny: There's a lot of talent returning on both sides of the ball, but QB will be a huge question. The Sooners could be led by an incoming freshman, Keith Nichol.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (11-2)13/12 Rutgers (11-2)Who's back: QB Mike Teel, RB Ray Rice, WR Kenny Britt, DE Jamaal Westerman, DT Eric Foster.
Who's not: FB Brian Leonard, TE Clark Harris, DT Ramel Meekins.
Skinny: Rutgers' talent level is only getting better. The Scarlet Knights' front seven will be a strength. Young receivers such as Tim Brown will need to step up.
Boise State Broncos (13-0)Who's back: RB Ian Johnson, WR Vinny Perretta, T Ryan Clady, S Marty Tadman.
Who's not: QB Jared Zabransky, WRs Jerard Rabb and Drisan James, LB Korey Hall.
Skinny: Boise returns only nine starters, but the Broncos play so many guys that they won't be without experience. The new QB could be Nick Lomax, son of Neil.
Penn State Nittany Lions (9-4)Who's back: QB Anthony Morelli, WR Derrick Williams, LBs Dan Connor and Sean Lee.
Who's not: RB Tony Hunt, DE Tim Shaw, DT Jay Alford, LB Paul Posluszny.
Skinny: Morelli looks to build on his big Outback Bowl performance. Finding a capable replacement for 1,300-yard rusher Hunt will be priority No. 1.
Arkansas Razorbacks (10-4)Who's back: RBs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, WR Marcus Monk, DE Antwain Robinson.
Who's not: T Tony Ugoh, DE Jamaal Anderson*, LB Sam Olajubutu, CB Chris Houston*.
Skinny: The Hogs would be in the top 10 if Houston Nutt's program wasn't such a soap opera. McFadden and Jones return to form another scary running attack.
Tennessee Volunteers (9-4)Who's back: QB Erik Ainge, RB LaMarcus Coker, LB Jerod Mayo, S Jonathan Hefney.
Who's not: WRs Robert Meachem* and Jayson Swain, T Arron Sears, LB Marvin Mitchell.
Skinny: Ainge is poised for a huge senior year, but he'll be counting on some inexperienced receivers. A healthier defense should improve from a mediocre '06.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-5)Who's back: RB Marlon Lucky, WR Terrence Nunn, LBs Corey McKeon and Bo Ruud.
Who's not: QB Zac Taylor, RB Brandon Jackson*, DEs Adam Carriker and Jay Moore.
Skinny: With Arizona State transfer Sam Keller at quarterback, Bill Callahan's offense could become more lethal. The defense has major holes to fill up front.
Georgia Bulldogs (9-4)Who's back: QB Matthew Stafford, RB Kregg Lumpkin, CB Paul Oliver, K Brandon Coutu.
Who's not: TE Martrez Milner, DE Charles Johnson*, LB Tony Taylor, S Tra Battle.
Skinny: Heralded freshman Stafford made major strides late in the season. Georgia's stingy defense faces its biggest reloading challenge yet under Mark Richt.
Boston College Eagles (10-3)20/23 Boston College (10-3) Who's back: QB Matt Ryan, LBs Jolonn Dunbar and Brian Toal.
Who's not: G Josh Beekman.
Skinny: New coach Jeff Jagodzinski inherits an experienced team with 17 returning starters. Ryan will benefit from new offensive coordinator Steve Logan.