2007 Rutgers Scarlet Knights Picks & Predictions
Five years ago, Rutgers rewarded head coach Greg Schiano with a contract extension despite records of 3-20 overall and 0-14 in the Big East in Schiano’s first two seasons at the helm. five seasons later, RU is coming off the most successful campaign in recent program history. This season, RU returns 13 starters, including RB Ray Rice, QB Mike Teel, three fifths of the offensive live, All American DT Eric Foster and three quarters of the defensive backfield. Rice helped the Knights rank 15th in the nation in rushing, and Foster helped the defense rank fourth overall and 17th against the run. Add it up, and Rutgers outrushed opponents last year by an average of over 70 yards per game. The Knights will have to replace all everything RB Brian Leonard, and several questions surround the linebacking corps. But the offense could be better and more balanced with an improved passing game. and Teel got better as last season rolled along. If all goes well, the season finale showdown in Louisville Nov 29th might have a BCS Bowl bid on the line.
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2007 Rutgers Scarlet Knights Picks & Predictions
2007 Penn State Nittany Lions Picks & Predictions
Penn State went 9-4 last year, with its four losses coming to Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin, and they beat Tennessee in the Outback Bowl. The Nittany Lion’s defense was very solid, ranking 15th overall and allowing just 17 tds all season, but the offense was downright pedestrian, considering the talent. so the trick for 80 year old Joe Paterno this year will be to retain that strength on defense and infuse some excitement on offense. He’ll have 14 returning starters to work with including eight on offense. RB Tony Hunt is gone but QB Anthony Morelli is back, and he’s got some talent on the outside to throw to. The defense lost three quarters of the front line, but the linebacking will again be solid, despit the loss of Paul Posluszny. The schedule isn’t too bad either, with ND, Wisconsin and Ohio State all visiting Happy Valley. If Morelli can mature, and play like he did in the Outback Bowl, the Lions have a change to win 10 games.
2007 Oregon Ducks Picks & Predictions
Oregon sat at 7-2 last year until it lost its last four games, including that 30 point disaster against BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl. The offense ranked ninth overall last year, but stumbled down the stretch, scoring 10 points and less in three of those last four games. And the defense ranked 42nd but allowed 35,37,30 and 38 points over those final four games. This year the Ducks return seven starters on offense and six on defense, including QB Dennis Dixon and a good pair of cornerbacks. But there are holes to fill on the defensive front seven and questions at safety. Oregon pays an early season visit to Michigan, but gets Fresno State, Cal, USC and Oregon State in Eugene. There is talent here, but the ducks have to get over the shock of the end of last season before they can think of competing for the PAC 10 title.
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2007 Oklahoma Sooners Picks & Predictions
Last year Oklahoma got robbed in Oregon in Week 2 and lost to Texas a couple of weeks later. This after losing their projected starting QB and star RB, for various reasons. Minus one of those defeats, OU might have been playing in the national championship game. Instead, they played Goliath to Boise State’s David in that amazing Fiesta Bowl. This year the Sooners return eight starters to the 40th ranked offense and seven to the 16th ranked defense, including four fiths of the offensive line, a good set of RBs, their top four receivers and the entire defensive backfield. The losses include the starting QB, RB Adrian Peterson, three top pass rushers and two thirds of the starting LB corps. But with a great head coach and a ton of talent, Oklahoma will be in the running to repeat as champs of Big 12 and earn a berth in the national championship game.
2007 Ohio State Buckeyes Picks & Predictions
Ohio State beat defending national champion Texas early on last year and then rolled through the Big Ten. But the Buckeyes were exposed as paper tigers in that sorry national championship game loss to Florida. OSU held its first 11 opponents last season to eight points per game, but Michigan put up 39 on them and the Gators 41. So coach Jim Tressel’s previously untarnished reputation as a big game coach took a bit of a hit. He gets a chance to redeem himself this year, though, as the Buckeyes return just ten starters after losing some of the biggest names in the game. Ohio State has to replace its Heisman winning starting QB, two great receivers, a sold RB, a pair of offensive linemen and three quarters of its defensive line. A step back this year would be logical conclusion. But new talent abounds, and the schedule is manageable, which sets the Bucks up for a run under the radar. Which is probably just the Tressel would prefer it.
2007 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Picks & Predictions
Notre Dame had a mixed 2006 season, finishing with a 10-3 record but suffering a 41-14 beating at the hands of LSU in the Sugar Bowl, Coach Charlie Weis will have his work cut out for him, as only eight starters return from last season’s team. The first task will be to replace QB Brady Quinn and freshman Jimmy Clausen appears to have the inside track. Darius Walker and leading receiving Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight are also gone, meaning it could be a dry season for points in South Bend. Things are a bit better defensively, with five players returning. Victor Abiamiri’s 10.5 sacks will be missed up front, but Maurice Crum Jr. can make a difference from his inside linebacker position. The Irish have one of the nation’s toughest schedules in 2007. This season will be a true test of Weis’s coaching ability.