"As long as Robert Griffin’s knee is fine, Baylor has a shot to finally get to a bowl game again. Three starters return up front after breaking in a relatively young group last year, and some receivers have to be replaced, but RB Jay Finley returns and the O takes on a whole other level if Griffin is Griffin again. The defense will never be a rock, and losing LB Joe Pawelek and safety Jordan Lake isn’t good, but there are just enough returning players to not be awful. Playing at TCU isn’t going to be a positive, but getting Sam Houston State, Buffalo, and at Rice should help the record."
3) UCF - Scout has them tagged as ranked 82nd going into next season..
Is UCF capable of ditching the even-year jinx? A lot will depend on the development of QB Rob Calabrese, who took a backseat to Brett Hodges in his second year. The defense will have to overcome some heavy losses along the front seven, putting even more weight on DE Bruce Miller and LB Lawrence Young. Harvey will once again spearhead an offense that will spend the offseason making sure the sophomore gets enough help from the passing game.
4) UConn - Scout has them tagged as ranked 37th going into next season..
After three consecutive winning seasons and bowl games, Randy Edsall has positioned the Huskies to keep those trends going and avoid prolonged rebuilding periods. RB Jordan Todman returns, as does QB Zach Frazer, who started looking comfortable in the system as the season wound down. Even without leading pass rusher Lindsey Witten, the front seven ought to be fantastic, especially with the return of linebackers Lawrence Wilson, Greg Lloyd, and Scott Lutrus.
On the MAC side of things:
Mike Breese over at red and Black Attack told me he is pretty sure that UB will be making the trip to Dekalb this fall. So I will physically be at my first Bulls game in some time as Dekalb is only about a five hour drive for me. Right now we 'know' 5 of UB's opponents.
5) Northern Illinois Scout has them tagged as ranked 91st going into next season..
This was hardly a complete team, but it came up with a solid, successful season that should lead to much bigger things. Almost all of the key parts are back on offense while the defense can’t help but be better. With Central Michigan in a rebuilding mode, NIU should be the preseason favorite to win the West, and this year there won’t be any excuses. This team should be good enough to finally get over the hump to win the MAC title.