By David Stratton | Coaching changes, as well as personnel losses due to graduation, can dramatically affect how teams perform on the field.
Here is a Dirty Dozen that should be viewed with caution during the upcoming season.
1. Hawaii: With only eight starters returning and a new coaching staff, the Rainbow Warriors wont be the scoring machine (average 44 pts/game) of the last two seasons. Expect about half the 12 wins recorded last year.
2. Michigan: Rich Rodriquez inherits a team with only three returning starters on offense and 10 overall, the least in the Big 10. The Wolverines will struggle in a rebuilding year.
3. Middle Tenn: Despite one of the best quarterbacks in the Sun Belt conference, the Blue Raiders have been outscored by opponents the past two seasons. With only 11 seniors and 16 juniors returning, the woes continue.
4. New Mexico: Although Rocky Long has taken the Lobos to bowl games the past two seasons, he has just 10 returning starters in 2008. Key losses on offense will dent last seasons 24.7 pts/game production.
5. Vanderbilt: The Commodores were competitive in the SEC last year; they even beat a couple of conference foes. But theyre rebuilding this season and may not crack the leagues win column.
6. So Miss: Replacing Jeff Bower was a strange move, since he had coached the team to 14 straight winning seasons. With only 10 returning starters and a new coaching staff, that string could snap this year.
7. Wash St: The Cougars havent had a winning season since 2003, and even though new head coach Paul Wulff has 14 returning starters, WSU will probably stay in the Pac 10 cellar.
8. Colorado St: Replacing Sonny Lubick wont be easy, especially when the new head coach, Steve Fairchild, brings NFL experience to the job. It wont be an easy transition, and the Rams may not top last years three win total.
9. Arkansas: Bobby Petrino takes over for Houston Nutt and the transition wont be easy. Petrino loses two quality running backs, most of the teams defense, and plans to install a West Coast offense. Add it up and it translates to a losing season.
10. Army: How could it get worse than back-to-back 3-9 seasons? Try only eight starters back and a defense that gave up over 30 points/game last year. At least theres Michie Stadium.
11. Boston Col: The Eagles will feel the sting of losing star quarterback Matt Ryan (third in NFL draft) as well as 22 other lettermen. And with only 10 starters returning, BC will struggle to become bowl eligible.
12. Ga Tech: New head coach Paul Johnson did a great job at Navy, but his option attack will take time to implement in Atlanta. Moreover, his nine returning starters are the fewest in the ACC, thus, despite 11 straight bowl appearances, becoming bowl eligible could be a stretch.