- Mark Schlabach, ESPN Senior Writer
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The 2007 college football season opens with several traditional rivals trading places. Notre Dame entered the 2006 season under the spotlight, with coach Charlie Weis and quarterback Brady Quinn expected to lead a Fighting Irish revival. No one really knew what to expect from Southern California a year ago, after the Trojans lost 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and quarterback Matt Leinart.
This season, with Quinn, receiver Jeff Samardzija and several other key pieces leaving South Bend, Notre Dame might struggle to win six games. Meanwhile, the Trojans are the consensus favorite to win another national championship, with quarterback John David Booty and the country's best defense returning for Troy.
Michigan and Ohio State also are trading places in 2007. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 for most of last season, and quarterback Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy. Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr seemingly entered 2006 on the hot seat, after a couple of subpar seasons. Of course, Carr's seat didn't cool off after the Buckeyes beat Michigan for the fifth time in six years to win the Big Ten championship.
But the Wolverines are the hot team in the Big Ten this season with quarterback Chad Henne, tailback Mike Hart, offensive tackle Jake Long and receiver Mario Manningham returning to school. The Buckeyes must replace Smith and receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez, which will be no easy task.
Here's a look at what's "hot" and "not" as we prepare for the kickoff to 2007:
Mark Schlabach covers college football and men's college basketball for ESPN.com. You can contact him at email@example.com.
15hSam Khan Jr.
20hMitch Sherman and Josh Moyer
5dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
5dAndrea Adelson and Matt Fortuna