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ESPN.com Teams to Watch

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ESPN.com Teams to Watch

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/others/0-4-37/Teams-to-watch-heading-into-spring.html?post=true

Teams to watch heading into spring
February 10, 2009 2:05 PM
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

Below is a list of teams to watch heading into the spring. None of these teams are on the list I posted yesterday, but could be on the preseason top 10 after a strong spring.

For those of you who think that spring football doesn't matter, it does to teams like the ones listed below that have to fill major holes either left by graduation or guys leaving early for the NFL. Spring is where a championship season begins.

Top 10 teams to watch this spring (in no particular order):

1. Utah – The Utes have a lot of skill and leadership to account for this spring with the loss of almost all of their key players. The biggest hit is at quarterback. While Corbin Louks is a good player, he'll need to develop the leadership that Brian Johnson possessed. That's going to be tough to replace.

2. Tulsa – Last year wasn't exactly how Tulsa wanted the season to go and it might be awhile before it's in the hunt for a BCS game again. The Golden Hurricane has to find a new quarterback, running back and a receiver to replace Brennan Marion and complement Damaris Johnson.

3. Navy – The Midshipmen have a nice nucleus of defensive players returning, but lost all of their key offensive players, including the entire backfield that was the No. 1 rushing offense last season. Ricky Dobbs already has shown he can run the Midshipmen offense, but he'll need help.

4. Troy – The Trojans will have a quarterback controversy on their hands with the return of Jamie Hampton, who suffered a torn ACL in the middle of the season. Levi Brown, Hampton's replacement, led the Trojans to a Sun Belt title. A fierce battle like this could be difficult on the team.

5. Rice – The Owls have had two winning seasons in the past three, but those days will be gone if coach David Bailiff can't find a group of players to replace Chase Clement, Jarett Dillard and James Casey, one of the most prolific scoring trios in the country this past season.

6. Florida International – The Golden Panthers started to show some life and gain some confidence with their five-win season. With several of those players returning and a great recruiting class on the way, there's a good chance FIU could be the Sun Belt team to beat.

7. Ball State – The loss of Nate Davis is huge, but new head coach Stan Parrish contends that he has a gem in quarterback Kelly Page, a redshirt freshman from Dallas. The Cardinals do return several key defensive players, and running back MiQuale Lewis, who ranked fifth in the country in rushing.

8. Buffalo – Coach Turner Gill is determined to prove that this past season's Mid-American Conference championship was no fluke, but he'll have to do so with a new quarterback and almost an entirely new offensive line. Buffalo does return star running back James Starks and wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt.

9. Florida Atlantic – After a slow start to the season, the Owls went on to win six of their final seven, including a victory in the Motor City Bowl. The Owls return 12 starters, but almost all of those players are on offense. FAU will need to almost completely rebuild its defensive line.

10. Louisiana Tech – The Bulldogs have 17 starters returning from last season's team that won eight games. The thing the Bulldogs will need to refine this spring is consistency so they can go up against Boise State and perhaps steal the WAC in 2009.

3 Sunbelt teams mentioned although I completely disagree with her that FIU may be the Sun Belt team to beat. No doubt they've improved and say all you want about their recruiting class. No one ever talks about our recruiting yet we're the only sunbelt team to have ever won back to back bowl championships. I guess it'll be something that will be argued about until we play on the field

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: ESPN.com Teams to Watch

Not sure rebuilding our D-Line is a bad thing.

Teambeer is the most knowledgeable FAU sports fan I know, way smarter than me.
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Re: ESPN.com Teams to Watch

And no way is FIU the team to beat.  FIU is going to be the team to be aware of and not let them beat you.

Teambeer is the most knowledgeable FAU sports fan I know, way smarter than me.
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Re: ESPN.com Teams to Watch

walty12 said

And no way is FIU the team to beat.  FIU is going to be the team to be aware of and not let them beat you.

I agree. I think they'll improve and could have 7 wins this season especially when teams take them lightly. Oh FIU that's an easy win and before they know it FIU is just putting up points with ease. I think FAU thought that going into last years Shula Bowl and I think this year they know not to take FIU lightly. The belt should be pretty competitive. It could be almost anyone's division this year. Well anyone but N. Texas and WKU I just hope N. Texas wins more than 1 game. I think WKU may end up doing better then UNT

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: ESPN.com Teams to Watch

the fact that graham watson still has a blog on ESPN.com and is PAID for her work is a sham… it's a [insert curse word here] joke


<br>The one and only, world famous checklist signature is back!
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Re: ESPN.com Teams to Watch

owl09 said

the fact that graham watson still has a blog on ESPN.com and is PAID for her work is a sham… it's a [insert curse word here] joke

haha well no one said she does a good job. Especially if you read the comments to all her blog entries. She's ripped apart by almost everyone who writes a comment. Unfortunately she's the only one who has a blog dedicated to the non bcs schools

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: ESPN.com Teams to Watch

walty12 said

Not sure rebuilding our D-Line is a bad thing.

No kidding.  Plus, most of the players that are returning in the D-line played extensively during the year due to injuries.  Losing Jackson hurts, but I think the D-line will be a big improvement from last year. 
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Re: ESPN.com Teams to Watch

I just loved how Brohm leaving L'ville was front page ESPN news ticker, and had its own spot on the Big East Blog, yet Ms Graham has YET to mention it.

Having one blogger cover ALL non-bcs schools is prettly lame, especially when they saddle her with Notre Dame as well.

ESPN needs to split that duty, its too much for anyone to cover.

And I agree rebuilding the line will NOT be a bad thing. Perhpas we can pressure someone this year?

I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick @$$ and I'm out of bubble gum.

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Re: ESPN.com Teams to Watch

I still think we might want to consider a switch to a 4-3...make use of our consistently talented linebacking corps and get running starts at the offensive line to try and get some pressure/sacks, or get an extra spy for containment of a quick spread O.

Florida Atlantic University Owls
2007 Sun Belt Football Champions 2007 New Orleans Bowl Champions 2008 Motor City Bowl Champions 2011 Sun Belt Basketball Champions No Bowls without Owls
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Re: ESPN.com Teams to Watch

SeminOWL2006 said

I still think we might want to consider a switch to a 4-3…make use of our consistently talented linebacking corps and get running starts at the offensive line to try and get some pressure/sacks, or get an extra spy for containment of a quick spread O.

I know I usually drink at the games, sometimes a lot….but dont we use the 4-3 scheme on defense?

Teambeer is the most knowledgeable FAU sports fan I know, way smarter than me.
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