Notre Dame probably made the most noise last season with the signing of Jimmy Claussen. But on the field, Notre Dame got crushed against it's elite opponents, so how will that change now that Brady Quinn is a Cleveland Brown?
THE OUTLOOK: Notre Dame is definitely going to have a down-year. Even though everybody thinks that Notre Dame is loved by the polls, having back-to-back BCS seasons is a pretty good start to a coach's career with Charlie Weis. But this is not going to be even close to that. The offense should be better at the run, mildly, but the passing game is going to be going down the drain. The defense got nailed by better offenses last year. Notre Dame is going to teeter on the verge of eligibility but I just can't see them upsetting the good teams on this schedule. They'll compete with Purdue and UCLA, but it won't be enough because of the team's youth. Any which way you slice it, Notre Dame is going to have a rough year, but WATCH OUT! 2008 is when it'll come together for a big season and after that, Notre Dame will be, for real, here to stay. And, about Jimmy Claussen, he'll be the starter midway through the year when Notre Dame begins 0-3.
BOWL GAME?: This may come as a shocker, but, no.
THE OFFENSE: Ohio's fate will be determined by their QB. Brad Bower is the guy in charge as of the moment, but earlier this spring, there was a fierce competition. Theo Scott and Josh Febus (to a lesser extent) were pushing Bower, but it still looks like he has a hold on the job. Solich probably won't have a long leash because it looks like he might want to see what Scott can do. Bower is probably the best passer of the bunch even though his stats might not indicate it. At RB though, there's a lot of good stuff to say. Kalvin McRae was one of the nation's best RBs and he didn't get a whole lot of attention. Scott Mayle is gone, he was their only plus in the passing game (Ohio was 115th in passing offense).
THE DEFENSE: The defense was the thing that got Ohio to go bowling. They get 6 starters back, but the LBing unit is depleted. Matt Muncy and Tyler Russ are gone, they were key contributors last year. T.J. Wright is also gone in the secondary. Taj Henley is a good player though and he'll certainly be capable of filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle. But forget about all of the losses, the defense (which was 29th ranked overall) should remain to be one of the better MAC defenses out there. DE Jameson Hartke is the best player on this side of the ball. At DT, Landon Cohen should keep being a very good player and in the secondary, Mark Parson is one of the better ones in the MAC. This defense was extremely good at making plays behind the line of scrimmage; they were 11th in TFLs.
THE OUTLOOK: Ohio should be in the thick of things for the MAC East championship. It really is a crapshoot, because Kent State, Miami OH, Bowling Green, Akron, and Ohio figure to be in the race. Ohio lost some key parts on offense and on defense, so don't expect the same dominance that we saw over the course of 2006. There's also an issue at K, Matt Lasher is gone and for a team that rarely blows people out and plays people close, those 3 points often come in handy. Ohio has the schedule to go bowling, but like I always say, those MAC East games are tossups. If they lose 3 times in conference play, they will probably not be in the bowl hunt. And UL Lafayette is going to be dangerous.
BOWL GAME?: Nope.