Top 25 teams and games — No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers


Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer will have a new starting quarterback this fall in junior Jonathan Crompton.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 12:05 a.m.

No. 23 Tennessee

The buzz: Despite an early-season blowout loss in Gainesville, the Vols won the Eastern Division last season and hope to carry that rebound momentum into 2008. The folks on Rocky Top are definitely excited about new offensive coordinator Dave Clawson and what he brings to the table.

Difference-maker: Eric Berry may be the best strong safety in the nation. He's such a good athlete that the Vols were playing him some on offense (shotgun quarterback) in the spring and he could be a major factor on both sides of the ball as UT unveils a new offense.

The upside: Junior quarterback Jonathan Crompton adjusted nicely to the new offense and had a big spring and the Vols are loaded a running back, led by Arian Foster. Despite a new starter at quarterback, it looks like the Vols will be very productive in the passing game.

The downside: The offensive line had a hard time creating any space in the running game and that's a major concern. The defensive front doesn't look as dominant (or deep) as it's been over the years.

Schedule factor: The Vols open their SEC schedule at home against division rival Florida, but UT has to play Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina on the road. Then, of course, there is the traditional game against Alabama, which is at Neyland Stadium.

No. 23 Michigan at Ohio State

Where: Columbus, Ohio.

When: Nov. 22.

Why it is sexy: Because it's Ohio State-Michigan, one of college football biggest and longest rivalry games. This game is always one of the most watched and most anticipated games in college football.

Preseason buzz: This rivalry will have a little bit of a different look this year because there's a new coach on the Michigan sideline former West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez. There's a lot of speculation about how his spread offense is going to work at Michigan and who the quarterback will turn out to be. The Wolverines struggled with the offense in the spring.

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