Lastly, traveling cross country is never easy and the Fresno State Bulldogs will have this game circled.
The Favorite: USC Trojans
Why they could lose: Although most assume that Mark Sanchez will be the next great Trojan quarterback many said the same about last seasons starter John David Booty. And now with Sanchez dislocating his kneecap, many wonder whether he may be passed by backup Mitch Mustain.
The sooners will also have to replace place kicker Garrett Hartley. Redshirt freshman Jimmy Stevens will get the shot and may have to prove early on that he can be just as consistent.
The Underdog: Cincinnati Bearcats
Why they could win: While the NCAA denied quarterback Ben Mauk a sixth season of eligibility, senior Dustin Grutza has the experience to lead the team. And there are few coaches in the nation that can get more out of the position than Brian Kelly who will move forward with his "Cat Attack" offense.
The Bearcats have not one, but two big, physical backs who can move the pile and soften defenses between the tackles. The Cincinnati receiving corps is loaded, led by the duo of Dominick Goodman and Marcus Barnett, while top reserve Charley Howard caught everything in sight in the off-season.
The Bearcats retain many of the key parts from last season’s stingy, ball-hawking defense that lead the nation in takeaways, including three All-Big East performers. With defensive tackle Terrill Byrd back to clog the middle of the line and cornerback Mike Mickens cutting off half the field for opposing quarterbacks, Cincinnati could be one of the toughest defenses in the nation.
Auburn @ Ole Miss
The Favorite: Auburn Tigers
Why the could lose: The offense is undergoing an overhaul of styles with new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin stepping in and establishing his spread attack. The biggest question is who will run it? Both quarterback prospects are young and inexperienced and the SEC usually chews up and spits out young, inexperienced quarterbacks.
The receiving corps could be a work in progress where there could be a weekly changes in the depth chart.
Maybe he biggest question on defense will be the health of Antonio Coleman. He's expected to be fine, but if not the defensive line lacks a true pass rusher.
The Underdog: Ole Miss Rebels
Why they could win:The league’s worst scoring attack got a huge boost this off-season with the emergence of quarterback Jevan Snead, an immediate upgrade for the passing game. Now, the talented receiving corps, led by Shay Hodge and Mike Wallace, should do far more, while Dexter McCluster will be used in a variety of roles.
The strength of the offense should be up front with offensive tackle Michael Oher returning for his senior year to lead a big, beefy group of veterans. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is gone, but pounding junior Cordera Eason had a good spring and star recruit Enrique Davis is almost certain to be used right away.
The Defensive line will get more pressure in the backfield with junior pass rushing sensation Greg Hardy who is a pro prospect with a tremendous speed burst off the ball and a great ability to close once he gets a bead on a quarterback. The steady star on the inside is senior Peria Jerry, an All-SEC tackle who anchored the front line making 58 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
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