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Daily Roundtable - The Most Interesting Teams
Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen
Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen
Posted May 22, 2009

Which teams will be the most interesting to watch out for this year? Which will bring the biggest storylines and the most intrigue? Here are the programs that'll demand attention in the CFN Daily Roundtable Discussion.

CFN Daily Roundtables

May 22

Which teams will be the most interesting going into the season?

- May 18 No BCS, No Weis?
- May 19 Does 2008 Utah have a beef?
- May 20 When should preseason polls come out?
- May 21 Is Tebow the best QB ever?

Over the next several weeks, as part of the CFN 2009 Preview, we'll examine some of the key questions going into the year with a daily discussion of the big topics

Pete Fiutak, CFN

Q: What team most interests you at the moment?
A: While Florida will be the storyline of the year, by far the most interesting team will be Notre Dame. After the mediocrity of the last two years, the Irish really will be good enough to be in the hunt for a BCS spot with all the young players who took their lumps over the last few seasons now mature veterans. Charlie Weis and his staff have upgraded the overall athleticism and talent in a big way compared to where the program was at when he took over. Jimmy Clausen knows what he's doing, and backup Dayne Christ is ready to step in if he's not, and the receiving corps is the best the program has had in years, if not ever.

The defensive front is loaded, the back seven can move, and the special teams are solid. With everything in place, to go along with an extremely manageable schedule, one of three things will happen. 1) The Irish will underachieve, be mediocre, and Weis will get canned, 2) everything will come together and this will be a BCS season, or most likely, 3) there will be three losses and plenty of talk about whether or not they'll be in the 2010 preseason top five considering almost everyone of note will be back. If nothing else, more time and energy will be spent analyzing Notre Dame, and even more if there's a coaching search starting December.

Along with Notre Dame, the five other teams I'm really interested in seeing what they'll come up with will be (in alphabetical order): Auburn, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Richard Cirminiello, CFN

Q: What team most interests you at the moment?

A: I’ll go off the beaten path and say Stanford. Very quietly, Jim Harbaugh has done some nice things in two years on the Farm, gradually changing a culture of football mediocrity and ratcheting up the talent level. Yeah, the Cardinal has won just nine games in his brief tenure, but that’s the program’s best two-year stretch since 2000-2001.

However, it’s the recruiting classes that have really made Stanford a program worth following again. In 2008, it beat out a slew of schools for Andrew Luck, who looks like he’s already set to become the quarterback of the future that the school has been craving. This most recent haul was ranked among the nation’s best, an unprecedented collection of players from as far away as Georgia, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. Heck, the 2010 class already has some blue-chippers from clear across the country. Harbaugh is recruiting nationally, a must for a university with such stringent academic standards. Good coaching plus really good talent almost always equals results.

The Cardinal hasn’t bowled in eight years, but that streak could go down this December. And if it does, Harbaugh and Stanford are going to take a serious head of steam into the following year. As long as he’s in the driver’s seat of the tractor, this will be one of the country’s up-and-coming programs.

Matthew Zemek, CFN

Q: What team most interests you at the moment?

Oregon. Quite simply, the Ducks just might have the chops--and the schedule--to knock USC off its Pac-10 perch. The fact that UO is aiming for West Coast football supremacy with someone other than Mike Bellotti at the controls only makes this team that much more fascinating to an outside observer. This is a program to follow closely when the 2009 season kicks off.

Jon Miller, Publisher,

Q: What team most interests you at the moment?

A: Tennessee, because that situation just seems straight out of the National Enquirer. Ohio State, because their schedule sets up for a return trip to the BCS title game that no one wants to see outside of Columbus.  USC, because they are going to replace eight starters on defense and they have no can't-miss answer at quarterback...but at the top of my list is Penn State, because they are going to be ranked in or near many preseason Top 10 polls, and I have been saying since January that they will be one of the most overrated teams in college football.  Let me add a caveat to that; their schedule is weak enough where they will probably win at least eight games, but this team has to replace three first-team All Big Ten offensive linemen, every receiving target worth talking about, two NFL defensive ends and their entire defensive backfield, plus a killer return specialist.  We don't know how well Sean Lee will play at linebacker after his return from ACL repair, either.  I have a feeling that last year's Spread HD offense is going to be dialed down to an Analog version this year.  Not only is this not a Top 10 team, it's not even the second best team in the Big Ten; I think that team will come from the pool of Michigan State, Illinois or Iowa.  Yet, on this day in May, you can write them down for five wins; their four out of conference lay downs and Indiana at home.  That means they have to go just 4-3 in the other seven games to get to nine wins, which means a January date in either Orlando (Cap One) or Tampa (Outback).  You might not call that one of the most overrated teams, but now that you see how easy their road is to get to that point.  Can you at least smell what I am cookin'?