Every year in college football, you have a team come out of nowhere to make noise and shake up the Saturday landscape. In 2007, the Kansas Jayhawks came out of nowhere—and I literally mean NOWHERE—to win 12 games and the FedEx Orange Bowl.
While I highly doubt they can duplicate that performance, there are several other teams lying in the weeds who can make a statement this college football season. Here is who I think can make a sudden impact in '08:
It's not very often that a sophomore wide receiver is mentioned as a Heisman candidate. Then again, Red Raider WR Michael Crabtree isn't your ordinary sophomore WR.
After leading the nation in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown his freshman year, all secondaries will focus their attention on No. 5.
That's where senior Eric Morris comes in—to pick up where Danny Amendola left off as the No. 2 receiver in Mike Leech's "Air Raid" Offense.
Of course, it helps when a senior signal caller like Graham Harrell is protected by an experienced offensive line led by Rylan Reed.
The two questions for the Red Raiders continue to be: Can Texas Tech play defense: and can they win the big game?
The good news is that they get Texas and Oklahoma State at home. The bad news is that they travel to Norman to face a Sooner team hell-bent on revenge after a 34-27 upset last season.
They could very well start the season 6-0 when they entertain Nebraska on October 11th—but if the D doesn't come through, they could end the season 6-6 very easily. Trips to Kansas and Texas A&M come before the Texas/Oklahoma State/Oklahoma swing.
Perhaps the most inspirational story of the 2007 season was the Hooisers fulfilling the promise made by late Coach Terry Heppner of "Play 13," and making it to a bowl game for the first time in 14 years.
This season might be an encore of that success. With no Ohio State or Michigan on their schedule, an 6-0 start could be in the works for now-permanent head coach Bill Lynch and his Hoosiers.
But that will be tough, after losing stud WR James Hardy and CB duo Tracy Porter and Leslie Majors to graduation.
QB Kellen Lewis Jr. will look to carry Indiana with his arm and his legs this season (3,779 total yards, 37 total tds in 2007). But Lewis needs RB Marcus Thigpen to establish the ground game, and the receiving corps to fill the void left by Hardy's departure, for the Hoosiers to make a repeat performance in the postseason.
If 2007 was inspirational, what would 2008 be if the Hoosier could duplicate the Jayhawks' miracle season a year ago?
More to come....