2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 41
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 75

The departure of four year starting quarterback Riley Skinner is a serious blow to Wake Forest. The team regressed in 2009, winning only five games, after an eight win season in 2008. With no quarterback on the roster that has thrown a pass in a collegiate game before, who will emerge to lead this team?

Junior quarterback Skylar Jones is expected to be the new man under center this season, trying to fill the large shoes of Riley Skinner. Skinner threw for over 3,100 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. Jones, along with fellow quarterbacks sophomore Ted Stachitas and redshirt freshman Brendan Cross, have never thrown a pass in college game before. To say that this group is inexperienced is an understatement. Luckily for them, they have a terrific wide receiving trio. Marshall Williams, Devon Brown and Chris Givens combined for 166 catches, 2,167 yards and 20 touchdowns. All three return and should be a safety net for a young quarterback.

<a href=Wake Forest Demon Deacons Cheerleader” width=”300″ height=”225″ />

To ease the transition at quarterback, Wake Forest will try to become more of a running team. Senior running back Josh Adams returns after leading the team with 541 yards rushing. The total is low, but his 4.8 yards per carry is proof that he can produce when given the opportunity. The offensive line returns only two starters from a year ago and has little depth. If they have a hard time up front, Adams and the new quarterback will have very little margin for error.

The defense will have a hard time replacing starting defensive tackles Boo Robinson and John Russell. Ramon Booi and Frank Souza will try to step in and control the line. Defensive end Kyle Wilber will be back to provide a speed rush after missing much of last season with injuries. Joey Ehrmann was second on the team in sacks from his linebacker position and should again help in the pass rush. Josh Bush and Kenny Okoro, the team leader in interceptions, will man the corner spots. Chyl Quarles, the team’s leading returning tackler, will start at strong safety.

The Demon Deacons will have a hard time succeeding while their quarterback experiences growing pains. The receivers are great, but with a shaky quarterback and a weak offensive line, the team will have a hard time putting points on the board and winning football games.

Wake Forest’s odds to win the ACC: + 3000

College Teams:
 

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 46
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 55

Graduation, injuries and legal troubles have left the North Carolina State Wolfpack reeling. Many starters are gone on both sides of the ball, and it will be up to the young talent to step in and produce. After recording only 5 wins last season, head coach Tom O’Brien has his work cut out for him.

The top three running backs from 2009 are all gone, 2 by graduation and 1 from injury. The most productive returning contributor from last season, James Washington, rushed for only 76 yards. He is likely to split time with Curtis Underwood who redshirted last year. The passing game was very good for the Wolfpack, led by quarterback Russell Wilson. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns, fourth most in the nation. Leading receivers Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams return after a strong campaign. Williams led the team in catches and touchdowns (11), but Spencer led in receiving yards (765 with a 25.5 average yards per catch). First team ACC tight end George Bryan’s future is in doubt after being arrested for marijuana possession. He was second on the team in catches and will be missed if he is not able to play this year. The offensive line returns only two starters, and one of them was arrested along with Bryan.

North Carolina State Wolfpack Cheerleader

The defense lost all four starting linemen after ranking 114th nationally in turnover margin. The two projected defensive tackle starters were also arrested with Bryan and may be suspended. The starting secondary is made up of four sophomores, who combined for a total of 0 interceptions last year. The best news for the Wolfpack defense is the return of middle linebacker Nate Irving after missing all of 2009 with injuries from a car accident. He averaged almost 9 tackles per game in 2008 and was sorely missed last year. Leading tackler Audie Cole also returns.

Outside of the quarterback and starting receivers, there is almost no proven talent on the roster. Legal proceedings could have a big impact on N.C. State’s season, but either way, they should be a below average team.

North Carolina State’s odds to win the ACC: + 2500

 

A Look Back – Last year was supposed to be the return to greatness for the New England Patriots. They were good enough to win all 16 regular season games two years before, and in spite of the fact that QB Tom Brady missed virtually the entire 2009 campaign, they were still capable of winning 11 games. Surely, they’d win the AFC East and make a deep run in the playoffs, right? Wrong. New England looked mortal last year, and though it won the AFC East, it wasn’t convincingly. Baltimore knocked it out of the playoffs in the first round with relative ease.

Key Addition – P Zoltan Mesko – It isn’t normal for a team to call a punter a key acquisition, but that’s exactly what Mesko is for the Pats. P Chris Hanson averaged a putrid 39.7 yards per punt last year, while Mesko, in his final year at Michigan, averaged 44.5 yards per punt and didn’t have one blocked. He’s used to kicking in miserable weather as well, and could be a tremendous and very underrated asset for HC Bill Belichick to use.

New England Patriots NFL Cheerleader

Key Loss – DE Adalius Thomas – Thomas was a superstar when he came to New England a few years ago, but for whatever reason, it just never worked out quite right for the Pats. Thomas played in 14 games last season, starting 11, but he only picked up three sacks and wasn’t a huge difference maker. Still, there is a huge hole in the linebacking corps now for the Patriots to fill, and there’s a big question mark about who is going to step up and fill that void.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – The Pats get their swagger back. New England had you beaten more often than not before you ever got off the bus in 2008. When it came into the stadium, there was just an aura around it that said it couldn’t be beaten. The Patriots looked mortal last season, and for the first time in years, there was a ton of confusion on the sidelines when things weren’t going right. Get that swagger back, and the Pats should be in the driver’s seat yet again in the AFC East.

The Crucial Game – Everyone in New England has October 17th circled with a big red pen. The Patriots welcome the Ravens back to Gillette Stadium for the first time since getting knocked out of the playoffs by them last year. Baltimore has an even better team now than before, and taking care of it would be a huge boost for the Pats for the rest of the season. If they survive the trip to the Meadowlands in Week 2, the Patriots might be 5-0 at that point.

Predictions – Even though New England isn’t getting the same type of respect it had in years past, it is still the best team in the AFC East. Winning the division with 11-12 wins should be the result once again even though the schedule is incredibly difficult. The NFL season wins totals for the Patriots is just 9.5 wins.

2010 New England Patriots Regular Season Schedule

9/12 vs. CIN
9/19 @ NYJ
9/26 vs. BUF
10/4 @ MIA
Bye
10/17 vs. BAL
10/24 @ SD
10/31 vs. MIN
11/7 @ CLE
11/14 @ PIT
11/21 vs. IND
11/25 @ DET
12/6 vs. NYJ
12/12 @ CHI
12/19 vs. GB
12/26 @ BUF
1/2 vs. MIA

 

Maryland Terrapins 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 102
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 83

The glory days of the Maryland Terrapins are over. After an embarrassing two win season in 2009, the Terps have a new quarterback and a lot of holes to fill. Head coach Ralph Friedgen will likely be on his way out, as 2010 does not look very bright.

Jamarr Robinson will be stepping in as the new starting quarterback for Maryland. He played ok in limited appearances last season, especially with his legs. Using his 4.5 second 40 yard speed, he rushed for 129 yards against Virginia Tech. His main receiving target will be junior Torrey Smith. Smith caught 61 passes for 824 yards and will once again be the focal point of the passing game. Adrian Cannon and Ronnie Tyler provide decent depth at the position. Da’Rel Scott will start at tailback after gaining 448 yards rushing in an injury shortened season. In 2008, Scott was named first team All-ACC after rushing for 1,133 yards so he has the talent to get the job done. The offensive line was poor last year, and after the loss of Bruce Campbell should be worse. Look for the line to again rank as the worst in the ACC.

Maryland Terrapins College Football Cheerleader

Three starters are gone from both the defensive line and secondary. However, the defensive tackles A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano, should be strong up the middle. Francis was an ACC Freshman All American in 2009. The linebackers return all three starters and are the strength of the team. Middle linebacker Alex Wujciak was 8th in the nation with 131 tackles last year and is on the Nagurski and Lott trophy lists watch. Adrian Moten led the team in sacks and Demetrius Hartsfield was on the All-ACC freshman team.

While there are some bright spots, Maryland’s chances as a contender are slim in 2010. The team is rebuilding and has some quality talent, so look for the Terps to be back in the mix in a couple of years.

Maryland’s odds to win the ACC: + 6000

College Teams:
 

Miami Dolphins 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – Injuries really crippled the Miami Dolphins in 2009, as the losses of both QB Chad Pennington and RB Ronnie Brown were devastating for their hopes of making the playoffs. Brown is back, but Pennington’s replacement, Chad Henne, now has the pressure on his shoulders for leading the franchise into the next generation.

Key Addition – WR Brandon Marshall – The Dolphins have been craving a legitimate #1 receiver for years. They’ve finally found it in the form of Marshall, who absolutely busted out as one of the Top 5 receivers in the NFL last year. He caught an NFL record 21 passes in a game in 2009 and could pull off a similar stunt if Henne only has eyes for him at some point this year. The key is going to be staying out of trouble off the field, as South Beach provides plenty of opportunities for Marshall and his entourage to get into danger.

Miami Dolphins NFL Cheerleader

Key Loss – LB Joey Porter – Porter was a veteran presence in the linebacking corps for the Fins since coming to Miami. He proved that he still had some game left in the tank by averaging double digits in sacks for his team in South Beach. Porter does have some replacements available for him, most notably second round draft pick Koa Misi and former Arizona Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby, but no one is going to have the motor and desire that Porter does to reach opposing quarterbacks.

2010 Will Be a Success if... – Brown and RB Ricky Williams continue to carry the load. That duo needs to be good for 2,000+ yards this season for Miami to have a chance of making the playoffs. There are several teams with amazing rush defenses that the Fins will run up against this year, and if they can’t successfully run the ball on all of them, the defense probably isn’t going to prove to be good enough to get the job done often enough to reach the second season.

The Crucial Game – The game in the Meadowlands on December 12th could be the difference between getting into the playoffs and missing them for the Dolphins. Either New York or New England is probably going to have to be beaten in order to make the second season, and a win in the Big Apple would go a long way to punching the Dolphins ticket. Pretty much “gimme” home games against Buffalo and Detroit lurk immediately after that game and Chicago, Oakland, and Cleveland are directly before it. Don’t be shocked if a win against the Jets puts the Fins on a six game winning streak by the time it’s all said and done.

Predictions – Miami might have a favorable schedule down the stretch, but that doesn’t mean that it is a playoff team waiting to happen. The Fins have plenty of work to do and have to improve, particularly on defense, throughout the season in order to reach the playoffs. Don’t expect this to be the year that happens. The Miami Dolphins regular season wins over/under is 8.5 wins.

2010 Miami Dolphins Regular Season Schedule

9/12 @ BUF
9/19 @ MIN
9/26 vs. NYJ
10/4 vs. NE
Bye
10/17 @ GB
10/24 vs. PIT
10/31 @ CIN
11/7 @ BAL
11/14 vs. TEN
11/18 vs. CHI
11/28 @ OAK
12/5 vs. CLE
12/12 @ NYJ
12/19 vs. BUF
12/26 vs. DET
1/2 @ NE

 

Clemson Tigers 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 74
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 20

How does a team respond after losing its game breaking star running back and top two receivers? That is the question facing the Clemson Tigers in 2010. Playmaking runner/receiver/returner C.J. Spiller was a top 10 draft pick, and wide receiver Jacoby Ford and tight end Michael Palmer have also moved on.

Luckily for the Tigers, quarterback Kyle Parker will be returning after throwing 2,526 yards and 20 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. He should be even better as he matures and develops. He will not have the luxury of having Spiller in the backfield, but tailback replacements Jamie Harper and Andre Ellingtonare no slouches. In back up roles last year, they combined for 900 yards rushing and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Replacing the departed receivers will be trickier. Senior Xavier Dye caught the most passes of any returning receiver and he only had 14. Sophomore tight end Dwayne Allen has potential after catching 3 touchdowns on only 10 receptions in 2009. The offensive line returns four starters who boast much experience. The problem is there is almost no depth behind the starters. If injuries hit the guys up front, Clemson’s season could go down the tubes.

Clemson Tigers College Football Cheerleader

The Tigers’ defense will also have to deal with its share of losses. Both starting cornerbacks, two starting linebackers and sack leader Ricky Sapp are gone. Jarvis Jenkins and Brandon Thompson will be the leaders up front, and Brandon Maye provides some experience at linebacker. All three linebacker spots are up in the air though, and will be determined as the season gets closer. Safety DeAndre McDaniel passed on the NFL and will return for his senior season and is a preseason All-American in 2010. Marcus Gilchrist will move from safety to corner, and Byron Maxwell will start opposite him.

After having a strong 2009 season, Clemson will have to rebound from losing a lot of talent. The team consistently recruits well though, this year’s class ranking 19th in the country according to rivals.com. Question marks abound, but if things go their way, Clemson will be in the hunt for the ACC championship once again.

Clemson’s odds to win the ACC: + 500

College Teams:
 

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 28
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 108

For the first time in 34 years, Bobby Bowden will not be the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles. Jimbo Fisher takes over the team and hopes he will be able to have even a fraction of the success Bowden did. With new defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Fisher will try to bring Florida State back to prominence.

There are high hopes in Tallahassee with the return of senior quarterback Christian Ponder. An early Heisman trophy candidate, Ponder played well last season before getting injured in the ninth game. He still threw for 2,717 yards and 14 touchdowns before he separated his shoulder. Some scouts rank him as the best returning senior quarterback in the nation. Last year’s leading receiver Rod Owens is gone, but Bert Reed should be an adequate replacement as the number one. Jarmon Forston will try to contribute on a more consistent basis and Taiwan Easterling gives the team decent depth.

Florida State Seminoles College Football Cheerleaders

The entire offensive line returns for the second year in a row. With 142 career starts between them, this is one of the most experienced lines in the country and they should excel once again. Last year’s leading rusher, Jermaine Thomas, will again see plenty of action after averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He will be getting some competition though from Chris Thompson. There is a ton of depth at tailback, so the Seminoles will use a running by back committee philosophy.

Florida State’s defense was dreadful in 2009. The new coordinator is installing more zone and blitz packages to improve from last season. The team may have an entirely new secondary, but young cornerbacks Greg Reid, Ochuko Jenjie and Xavier Rhodes should get the job done. Linebacker Nigel Bradham returns after leading the team with 93 tackles. Mister Alexander will try to improve on his five sack total, as the pass rush along the entire line needs to be better.

The Seminole faithful are expecting a lot out of their team in 2010. The offense should do its part, but the defense is another story. With some strong offenses in the ACC, Florida State has a chance to win it all, or finish in the middle of the pack.

Florida State’s odds to win the ACC: + 300

College Teams:
 

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 98
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 26

The Boston College Eagles had a strong season in 2009, winning eight games and making the Emerald Bowl. Their top flight defense lost some talent, but the team still has what it takes to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

26 year old sophomore quarterback Dave Shinskie returns as the starter. The former baseball player had a decent season last year, throwing for just over 2,000 yards with 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He should be better with another year of experience under his belt. His top receiving target Rich Gunnell, the school’s career leader in receiving yards, is gone. The team’s second leading receiver Colin Larmond will step in to the number one role after gaining 596 yards with a 20.6 yards per catch average.

Regardless of the passing game, the strength of the team is on the ground. The offensive line returns four starters, led by left tackle Anthony Castonzo, and should be one of the best in the conference. Running back Montel Harris is also one of the best in the conference. Harris set freshman and sophomore rushing records at B.C. in his first two years. Last season he gained 1,554 yards on the ground. His projected backup, Rolandan Finch tore his ACL in the spring and will miss the season. Because of this, the depth at the running back position is thin.

Boston College Eagles College Football Cheerleader

The Eagles’ defense was great in 2009. Five starters are gone, including defensive linemen Austin Giles and Jim Ramella. The biggest story of the defense though, is the return of linebacker Mark Herzlich. The 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year sat out all last season while battling and overcoming bone cancer. How he will play in his return is unknown, but the leadership and courage he brings to the team is immeasurable. Joining him in the linebacking corps is Mike Morissey and Luke Kuechly, who finished second in the nation as a freshman with 158 tackles. The rest of the defense should remain solid and keep Boston College in all of its games.

If Shinskie can play better this season and the defensive transitions will not be too much, B.C. is a team to watch out for. A lot of the season rests on the legs of Harris, but the Eagles should again score about 8 or 9 wins this year.

Boston College’s odds to win the ACC: + 800

College Teams:
 

Duke Blue Devils 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 69
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 61

The Duke Blue Devils are known as a basketball powerhouse. The football team, however, is starting to gain some traction in its efforts to rebuild. Losing starting quarterback Thaddeus Lewis will hurt, but the team still has enough talent to turn some heads in the ACC.

Sean Renfree will be taking over at quarterback for the Blue Devils, but it remains to be seen how effective he will be coming back from a torn ACL. He showed flashes of promise as a redshirt freshman, and Duke hopes he will be able to utilize his talented group of receivers. Wide receivers Donovan Varner, Connor Vernon and Austin Kelly became the first trio in school history to record 50 catches each in the same season. The group is led by Varner, a first team All-ACC pick, who had over 1,000 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns.

The running game desperately needs to improve this year to give Renfree a chance. Last season, the Blue Devils ranked 9th nationally in passing offense, but dead last in rushing. Leading rusher sophomore Desmond Scott, the Durham native, rushed for 262 yards with an average of 3.7 yards per carry. Some of these problems started up front with the offensive line. The line returns a majority of starters from 2009 and must improve if this team is to be successful.
Duke Blue Devils College Football Cheerleader

The defensive line will be the weakest unit on that side of the ball after losing four-year starter Vince Oghobaase and Ayanga Okpokowuruk. Also, John Drew was dismissed from the team for legal reasons after playing in every game as a freshman. Because of this lack of depth on the line, it is likely Duke will switch to a 3-4 system. The team has a very speedy secondary though, so they may make up for a weak pass rush.

Duke has some serious talent, especially on offense. The fate of the team will come down to the play in the trenches, on the offensive and defensive lines. If these units overachieve, the team has a chance to go .500. If they underperform though, this team will once again inhabit the cellar of the conference.

Duke’s odds to win the ACC: + 5000

College Teams:
 

A Look Back – The Jim Mora Jr. experiment certainly didn’t last all that long. After just one disgraceful season at 5-11, the Seahawks canned the younger Mora coach. Now, Seattle went to the collegiate ranks to take HC Pete Carroll from the purgatory known as USC. Carroll took over a team that has a pretty bare cupboard though, and a ton of work is there to be done.

Key Addition – RB Leon Washington – … Eventually. Washington showed that he has the spark to be a real threat as a featured back in this league with the New York Jets, and for a running game that ranked 26th in the NFL at 97.9 yards per game, that addition is important. However, there’s a question as to whether or not he’ll be ready for the outset of the year after breaking his leg last season.

Key Loss – OT Walter Jones – The great Walter Jones finally decided to call it a career in the offseason, which prompted the Seahawks to use their first pick in the NFL Draft on OT Russell Okung. The transition from one Hall of Fame caliber tackle to a potential Hall of Fame caliber tackle shouldn’t be a tough one, but that pick could’ve been used for a lot of other positions of need for the Seahawks.

<a href=Seattle Seahawks NFL Cheerleaders” width=”300″ height=”225″ />

2010 Will Be a Success if… – The defense figures out how to get to the quarterback. This was a real problem last season and will likely be a trend once again. Because of the lack of a pass rush, the Seahawks surrendered 245.4 yards per game through the air last year, ranking third to last in the league. That won’t cut it again this season, and Carroll vows to bring a better pass rush to his new home.

The Crucial Game – The home game with San Fran to start the season is paramount. The Niners are the team to beat in the NFC West, and starting the season with a win at home will be crucial, especially with very winnable games coming immediately thereafter. The season badly needs to get off to a good start to get the “12th Man” engaged on a regular basis at Qwest Field.

Predictions – Carroll should improve this team this season, but it isn’t ready to make the jump back to the playoffs by any means. Seattle is still at least two years and a starting quarterback away from making that push again. It seems as though the days of QB Matt Hasselbeck are just about over, though it is clear that the veteran will start the season under center. Either he has to find the Fountain of Youth, or the Seahawks are going to face another disappointing 6-7 win season at best. Their odds to win the NFC are currently +2200.

2010 Seattle Seahawks Regular Season Schedule

9/12 vs. SF
9/19 @ DEN
9/26 vs. SD
10/3 @ STL
Bye
10/17 @ CHI
10/24 vs. ARI
10/31 @ OAK
11/7 vs. NYG
11/14 @ ARI
11/21 @ NO
11/28 vs. KC
12/5 vs. CAR
12/12 @ SF
12/19 vs. ATL
12/26 @ TB
1/2 vs. STL

 

 

 

 
 
PageLines Themes