November 9, 2007

Some fans already thinking next year

What will Oregon do without quarterback Dennis Dixon? Can the Ducks really hope to win championships without him?

Relax, Ducks fans. Dixon's injured left knee isn't severe enough to keep him on the sideline next week against Arizona. But most Oregon fans surely knew that. What they don't know and want to know is what the Ducks will do without him in 2008.

It seems crazy, but it's true. Dixon may win the Heisman and Oregon could win the national championship, but some in the Pacific Northwest already are looking ahead to next year with anxiety.

OLIN'S MAILBAG
What about next year?

Oregon is doing great with a lot of sophomore and junior starters. They have also played 10 freshmen, but how do you think they will do next year without Dennis Dixon?

Allan in Portland
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That's a tough call.

Notre Dame caved in this season without Brady Quinn (among others), but Ohio State has flourished with quarterback Todd Boeckman replacing Troy Smith. The former OSU quarterback was last year's Heisman Trophy winner, so it's hard to say how a team will respond without its quarterback.

Dixon's style of play has been compared to Vince Young when he was at Texas. Yet when Young left following the 2005 season, the Longhorns still managed 10 victories in '06.

Oregon's latest depth chart shows that five offensive starters and eight defensive starters could return, which provides a solid nucleus for the '08 team. Again, that's assuming they all return, especially tailback Jonathan Stewart.

But Dixon's absence will leave a gaping hole in the offense. Who knows what impact the remaining quarterbacks on the roster can make? Oregon's only non-senior quarterback to throw a pass this season is sophomore Justin Roper, who has attempted just one. On the positive side, it was completed.

Regardless of whoever plays quarterback, the Ducks should be competitive in the Pac-10 next season. Coach Mike Bellotti's teams seemingly always are.

Ready for the draft

At this point do you think, Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden will be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft? If not, who do you think could replace him?

Jason in Baltimore
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That all depends on who is drafting first. If it's Miami or St. Louis, both of which are currently winless, expect them to either trade down or pick someone at another position because they're both relatively set at running back.

If McFadden isn't the top pick, LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm, Virginia defensive end Chris Long and Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long are the best possibilities.

The spectacular performance of Minnesota Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson may cause teams without a pressing need at running back to consider taking McFadden, too.

And McFadden is only a junior, so it's possible he'll remain at Arkansas.

OK, so he's coming out.

Personally, I think he'll be the best player in next year's draft, and as a Cowboys fan, I hope they could come up with a package of players and draft picks to move up to take him.

Muddled race

How do you think the SEC East will shake out?

Billy from Dalton, Ga.
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Your guess is as good as mine.

Tennessee controls its destiny, but I have colleagues who went to school in Knoxville and don't believe the Vols will close out the season with victories over Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

Georgia has the fewest losses thus far and two home games remaining. I'll take the Bulldogs to win at least one of those games and emerge as the SEC East winner.

Crystal ball

What are your predictions for the BCS bowls?

Connor Patrick in Dublin, Ohio
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My prediction? Pain.

Sorry, I can never resist a chance to quote Mr. T from Rocky III.

In case you missed it, here is Rivals.com's outlook for the five BCS bowls.

BCS championship game : Ohio State vs. LSU.

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia.

Fiesta Bowl: Arizona State vs. Oklahoma

Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. Missouri

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Michigan

Records check

What is the ACC record for career touchdowns?

Jeff in Winston-Salem
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Former Virginia tailback Wali Lundy holds the ACC record with 52. He rushed for 43 touchdowns and caught nine touchdown passes in his career, which stretched from 2002-05.

Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at olin@rivals.com.




 

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