Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Five Teams That Could End UP In Pasadena

It’s pre-season and hopes are high for everyone. Here are my top five teams that have a shot at being in the Rose Bowl.

1. USC – The Trojans humbled OU in the Orange Bowl last season and return 15 starters this season, most notably Heisman trophy winning quarterback Matt Leinart. Leinart has plenty of talent around him with all everything back Reggie Bush and speedy wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett.

Lawence Jackson recorded 6 tackles last season as a freshman and will lead a strong Trojan defense that will be strong across the front and very quick in the secondary.

KEY QUESTION: How will the offense do without departed guru Norm Chow?

BIG GAMES: Sept. 24 @ Oregon
Nov. 12 @ Cal

2. Virginia Tech – The Hokies have possibly the most talent in the nation at the skill positions led by highly touted quarterback Marcus Vick. The Hokies also have three All-ACC first team players that are returning this year. Place Kicker Brandon Pace who made 21 of 27 field goals and 43 0f 44 extra points, defensive end Darryl Tapp who recorded 8.5 sacks last season and corner Jimmy Williams who led the conference in interceptions last season with five.

KEY QUESTION: Can troubled Marcus Vick live up to expectations?

BIG GAMES: Nov. 5 Miami (FL)
Nov.12 @ Virginia

3. Texas – After making a run to the Rose Bowl last season the Longhorns are hoping that Jr. Quarterback Vince Young can lead them back. The Texas season hinges on one game, Oklahoma! The Longhorns have lost five in a row and they are tired of hearing about it. They have the talent and a Red River Shootout victory could launch the Longhorns into the BCS Title game like it has the Sooners the past two seasons. Texas will get a huge test on the road early in the season when they visit Ohio State.

KEY QUESTION: Graduating Seniors leave question marks at receiver and running back.

BIG GAMES: Sept. 10 @ Ohio State
Oct. 8 Oklahoma
Nov. 25 @ Texas A&M

4. Michigan – The Wolverines are loaded on the offensive side of the ball and are poised to make championship run. Sophomore quarterback Chad Henne passed for over 2,700 yards last season and 25 touchdowns. Gone is Braylon Edwards but Sr. Jason Avant should do a good job at filling the void. Sophomore running back Michael Hart will look to have another outstanding season after rushing for over 1,400 yards last season.

KEY QUESTION: Has the defense improved from last season?

BIG GAMES: Sept. 10 Notre Dame
Oct. 22 @ Iowa
Nov. 19 Ohio State

5. Oklahoma – After two consecutive BCS Championship appearances a third will be a reach for the Sooners, but it is still in sight. Like Texas the Red River Shoot Out will be the key to their BCS Title hopes. Running back Adrian Peterson will lead the charge for the Sooners offense who actually have more talent this season than they are getting credit for. Senior wide receiver Travis Wilson led the teams in touchdown receptions last season and will step into the spotlight this year as the number one option for the new quarterback.

KEY QUESTION: Who will replace Jason White at quarterback and how much has the defensive secondary improved?

BIG GAMES: Sept. 17 @ UCLA
Oct. 8 Texas
Nov. 12 Texas A&M