Commentary

Can't wait to see these things this fall

Originally Published: May 12, 2008
By Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall In The Big Ten
Ivan Maisel
Mark Schlabach
1. Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite to win its fourth consecutive championship. The Buckeyes are loaded on both sides of the line. Yet all anyone wants to know is whether the name "Terrelle Pryor" will be recognized by anyone outside of Columbus in October. Will offensive coordinator Jim Bollman create a Tebow-like package of plays for Pryor? Or does Pryor disappear until he learns starter Todd Boeckman's playbook?

Juice Williams2. Behind the Buckeyes, the race gets interesting. Wisconsin will challenge. After the Badgers, which team comes next? Is Illinois ready to handle being the hunted? Can quarterback Juice Williams run for 755 yards again, without first-round draft pick Rashard Mendenhall there to distract the defense? Some challenger will emerge from mediocrity. Penn State? Iowa? Michigan State? Northwestern?

3. Linebacker U could use a linebacker. When Sean Lee blew out his right knee late in spring practice, Penn State lost one of its seven returning starters, and no longer had a preseason All-American at outside linebacker. The guy behind Lee on the depth chart, sophomore Navorro Bowman, remains suspended because of a felony assault charge from a campus fight last fall. That leaves sophomore Bani Gbadyu, who has made all of six tackles, as the man to watch.
1. What will Michigan look like under Rich Rodriguez? Only the maize-and-blue uniforms figure to look the same. Does Rodriguez have the right personnel to run his spread offense? A winning record might be a heck of an achievement in his first season.

2. Was Illinois' success in 2007 a fluke? Illini coach Ron Zook has recruited like a madman in Champaign, but can he match last season's unexpected success, without Rashard Mendenhall and J Leman?

Jim Tressel3. Can Ohio State return to a third straight BCS title game? Perhaps only Buckeyes fans want them back there, but Ohio State is deep and experienced. Winning at USC on Sept. 13 would silence a lot of the Buckeyes' critics and pave the way to Miami.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball

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