Can't wait to see these things this fall

Originally Published: May 10, 2005
By Ivan Maisel and Pat Forde | ESPN.com

Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall In the Sun Belt
Ivan Maisel
Pat Forde
1. Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas — two top North Texas backs, one football. Will they be the Cadillac Williams-Ronnie Brown of 2005?

2. Howard Schnellenberger is back knocking on Division I-A's door at Florida Atlantic. It's been 22 years since he took Miami to the national championship, 40 since he was on the staff of Bear Bryant's third national champion at Alabama. You have to think the next reincarnation will be as entertaining as the others.

3. Troy fans remember the 24-14 upset of Missouri. Troy coach Larry Blakeney has been thinking about four losses by four points or fewer. However, the Trojans have only seven returning starters.

1. Will North Texas have the best running game in America? Freshman Jamario Thomas merely led the nation in rushing in 2004 $mdash; but only after starter Patrick Cobbs got injured. They're both back this year, which makes the Mean Green the strong favorite to win a fifth straight Sun Belt title.

2. How does Hal Mumme do with his "passaholic" offense at New Mexico State? Mumme has had success everywhere throwing the ball, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him do well in Las Cruces — but has he been humbled after crashing and burning in the SEC? Better people skills and closer attention to rules compliance by his staff would be a start.

3. Can Troy build on its Sun Belt debut? The Trojans joined the league, upset Marshall and Missouri and earned a bowl berth in 2004. The program is on the rise, but the hard part will be replicating that success after losing several key performers from that team.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com