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ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Coach: Nick Saban
2007: 7-6 overall, 4-4 in the SEC
Head of the Class: The 2008 recruiting class. Hailed by many as the top in the nation, Crimson Nation will soon find out if kids like ace WR Julio Jones are the real deal. The Tide is undertalented all over the field, and head coach Nick Saban has signaled a willingness to get these kids on the field and see what they can do.
Underachievers: QB "Sarah Jessica" John Parker Wilson has been crucified daily by Crimson Nation, and not without good reason. On his best days, he's passable - and he didn't have many of his best days. Tide fans must hope new offensive coordinator Jim McElwain's short, safe passing scheme will play to whatever strengths Wilson does have.
Academic Suspension: The defensive front seven wasn't good last year and it's not likely to get much better this year. If massive newcomer Terrance Cody (6'5, 385 lbs) can hold down the NT position and MLB Prince Hall returns from suspension to team up with star-in-the-making MLB Rolando Clain, the Tide's interior defense could improve as the season progresses, with All-SEC SS Rashad Johnson providing additional support.
Coach: Bobby Petrino
2007: Overall 8-5; 4-4 in the SEC
Head of the Class: Ex-Hogs coach Houston Nutt was criticized for many things during his time at Arkansas. The size, strength, and play of his offensive line wasn't often one of them. He didn't leave much in the cupboard as far as skill position players go, but he's given new coach Bob Petrino a solid group of lineman to help the transition, headed by senior center Jonathan Luigs.
Underachievers: QB Casey Dick is a great unknown. He's never been put in a situation to succeed and he's not the kind of player Petrino will recruit to the position in the future, but this is who Arkansas has in the here and now. How much Petrino can get out of him this year will have a huge impact on how far the Razorbacks go.