They are the kind of names you just automatically think of when it comes to BCS bowls. But this year, well, we hear Boise is lovely in December.
It wasn't too long ago the Buffs were having a Fiesta after knocking off Texas. But the cupboard isn't nearly as stocked as it was back then, especially when players like QB Craig Ochs and RB Marcus Houston transfer and RB Chris Brown leaves early for the NFL. The defense has a lot of returners, but is that always a good thing? And the schedule doesn't do the Buffs any favors with trips to FSU and K-State and home games against Colorado State (OK, that's in Denver), Oklahoma and Nebraska.
In (Ron) Zook, we don't trust. We love the energy, and he may have locked up the best QB recruit last year in Chris Leak, but the fact Leak may be starting kind of makes us wonder a little bit about how much talent is left in Gainesville. It has to be scary to Gator fans that there is little-to-no experience at QB and wide receiver. And don't even get us started on their defensive inexperience. With trips to Miami and LSU and home games against Tennessee, Georgia (OK, that's in Jacksonville) and FSU, another five-loss season isn't out of reach for the Gators.
The Huskers have tweaked the offense, pumped up the defense and have a new attitude. Well, they needed to do something after a 7-7 season. Still, it's tough to turn into a balanced offense overnight, and considering Nebraska rarely lands the best receiving or passing recruits -- would you go to Nebraska if you were a stud recruit who likes to pass or catch the ball? -- here's guessing the DBs of the Big 12 are hardly quivering. The schedule features home games against Penn State, Texas A&M and K-State and a trip to Texas. But the one to watch is the opener against Oklahoma State. How the Huskers fare against a program on the rise like OSU may tell us everything we need to know.
Where have you gone, Joey Harrington? A Duck nation turns its sad and lonely eyes to you. We do love the D-line tandem of Igor Olshansky and Haloti Ngata, but there are so many questions in so many other areas that the only thing saving the Ducks may be a schedule that skips USC this year. Still, tough games at home against Michigan and Oregon State coupled with trips to Arizona State and Washington make it a tough year in Eugene.
Washington State Cougars
Will Washington State now return to obscurity without Mike Price? The high-flying offense may be grounded -- literally -- with a big line and a couple of decent tailbacks, tempting new coach Bill Doba to keep it a little simpler without Jason Gesser at the helm. The schedule includes trips to Notre Dame, Colorado, USC and Washington as well as home games against Arizona State, which all but guarantees the Cougars won't be seeing a BCS bowl this season.