Can't wait to see these things this fall

Updated: May 27, 2007, 3:41 PM ET
By Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach |

Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall
Ivan Maisel
Mark Schlabach
1. The NCAA Football Rules Committee has erased its mistake, returned the clock rules to what they were and restored more snaps to the game. Let's see how the new changes work. Special teams often are shaky in the early season. With the new kickoff rules, we could see records broken in the return game.

2. Once again, USC will begin the season as the consensus No. 1. The teams of the Leinart-Bush Era seemed infallible. This one doesn't. The defense will be good. The running game has got to prove itself and give quarterback John David Booty room to breathe.

Bobby Bowden3. The Florida State-Clemson game on opening weekend would be intriguing even without the family soap opera. Bobby Bowden finally remade his coaching staff, and Tommy Bowden could use a good start in a critical season for him. A decade ago, we had four Bowdens coaching. Now we have two. This game could give us a hint how quickly one of them will be the last Bowden standing.
1. Can the Big East keep its momentum? Rutgers, West Virginia and Louisville certainly have star power. But do those teams have the depth to make a sustained run to the BCS championship game? Can Pittsburgh and Syracuse rebound to balance what is largely a top-heavy league?

Colt Brennan2. Can another WAC team crash the BCS party? Boise State did it last season, and with tailback Ian Johnson returning, the Broncos again are favorites to win the league for a sixth consecutive time. Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan returned to the island for a shot at a big bowl, but the Warriors' weak schedule -- which might include two Division I-AA opponents and only 13 games -- might keep him in Hawaii for the holidays and out of the Heisman Trophy race.

3. Will the SEC be the country's dominant conference again? LSU sure looks like a national championship contender, but Florida and Georgia both have serious questions on defense. Tennessee must replace its big-play receivers and key components on the offensive line. Auburn might challenge LSU, a year after Tommy Tuberville's team was supposed to win the SEC. One thing is certain: With what Steve Spurrier is building at South Carolina, and Kentucky and Vanderbilt improving, there are no easy Saturdays in the South.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer,

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball