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FOOTBALL | NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Mountaineers on Top

September 01, 2006|Chris Dufresne

West Virginia will win the national title because, in a year in which there are no stand-alone favorites, the Mountaineers have the best chance to go 12-0 and are ranked high enough in the preseason polls to offset a weak schedule. One reason why these contenders won't:

AUBURN

* The Southeastern Conference is the toughest league in the nation. It wasn't two years ago when Auburn made it through unbeaten and fell short in the BCS standings.

TEXAS

* Breaking in a new quarterback, or two, with no exhibition games in the year after Vince Young leaves might cost the Longhorns an early-season loss.

USC

* See the Texas blurb, sub in Matt Leinart for Vince Young and Trojans for Longhorns.

OHIO STATE

* No team that loses nine starters on defense and plays at Texas should get as much preseason love as the Buckeyes are getting.

LOUISVILLE

* The talent is there, but it's tough to see the Cardinals beating Miami and West Virginia.

NOTRE DAME

* The entire starting unit returns on offense, but last we checked the defense was still picking corn chips out of their helmets from the Fiesta Bowl.

CALIFORNIA

* The quarterback position killed the Bears last season and there's no guarantee Nate Longshore will shore things up.

FLORIDA

* No matter how much they spin it, Chris Leak isn't the right quarterback to run Urban Meyer's spread offense.

IOWA

* Didn't even win it last year when this columnist picked the Hawkeyes to make the Rose Bowl only to watch them go wings up.

-- Chris Dufresne

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