Sports Illustrated released their post spring top 25, which features two Mountain West teams- Utah and TCU- as well as some of their opponents. Below will be just the opponents and schools from the MWC.
BYU just missed the cut, somewhat odd because they won 10 games for their third straight year. With senior QB Max Hall, RB Harvey Unga, and TE Dennis Pita returning one would think BYU would be on the list.
Perhaps their defense which suffered last year is the reason and losing WR Austin Collie to the NFL draft.
As of this list it is safe to say that the MWC will face at least these three opponents as ranked opponents in the fall. The Mountain West is trying to beef up its schedule to get more national respect in these game.
Number 25 on the list is Notre Dame, and I do not buy it until they start winning games.
Key returnees: QB Sam Bradford, RBs DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown and Mossis Madu, TE Jermaine Gresham, DT Gerald McCoy.
Spring star: DE Frank Alexander. Auston English and Jeremy Beal should start, but opposing offensive tackles won’t get a break when Alexander rotates into the lineup.
Spring recap: Unlike last year, the Sooners knew plenty about their defense heading into spring.
This year, they needed to find four new starters to play in front of Heisman Trophy-winner Bradford and the three-headed monster of Murray, Brown and Madu.Williams has moved to left tackle, and he’ll have to lead a group that includes redshirt freshman C Ben Habern, OG Stephen Good, OG Brian Simmons and OT Cory Brandon.
Key returnees: QB Andy Dalton, RB Joseph Turner, WR Jimmy Young, OT Marshall Newhouse, DE Jerry Hughes, K Ross Evans.
Spring star: QB Casey Pachall. The early enrollee from Brownwood, Texas, won’t unseat incumbent starter Dalton, but through no fault of his own, Pachall already has caused a mini-controversy.
Spring recap: The Horned Frogs will enter the season as potential BCS busters. Hughes should continue to terrorize quarterbacks, and Newhouse should anchor a line that will help TCU hog the ball and keep its defense fresh. Last year, the Frogs led the nation in time of possession (35 minutes, 10 seconds per game).
Key returnees: RB Matt Asiata, T Zane Beadles, DE Koa Misi, LB Stevenson Sylvester.
Spring star: QB Jordan Wynn. The race to replace Brian Johnson was supposed to be between juniors Corbin Louks and Terrance Cain. Wynn, an early enrollee from Oceanside, Calif., made it a three-man race heading into preseason camp.
Spring recap: The only undefeated team in 2008 faces a lot of uncertainty even after spring practice. Along with quarterback, center remains unsettled. The good news is the Utes boast plenty of depth at running back and defensive line, and cornerbacks Brandon Burton and R.J. Stanford should make fine replacements for Sean Smith and Brice McCain.
Key returnees: QB Christian Ponder, RB Jermaine Thomas, G Rodney Hudson, LB Dekoda Watson. Spring star: OT Andrew Datko, who started 11 games as a 270-pound true freshman in 2008, has bulked up and could be one of the ACC’s best tackles in 2009.
Spring recap: The running game should be better with Thomas as the starter at tailback, but receiver remains a question mark. The Seminoles’ biggest disappointment this spring might have been an injury to redshirt freshman QB E.J. Manuel, who had been expected to push Ponder but wound up missing all but one practice. The defense remains a work-in-progress; freshman DT Jacobbi McDaniel and CB Greg Reid — who arrive in June — could contribute immediately.
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