College Football

2009 Season Preview

Conferences: Big 10 | Big 12 | Big East | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-BCS


Penn State running back Evan Royster (By Jamie Sabau -- Getty Images)

Heisman Hopeful: Evan Royster, Penn State, Jr., RB

Last year, Royster has a breakout season amid a cast of potent offensive weapons, rushing for 1,236 yards and 12 touchdowns. With much of the Nittany Lions' talented receiving corps gone, the Westfield High grad should emerge as their offensive centerpiece.


Looking Down on the Rest: Ohio State again appears to be on top. With the development of mobile QB Terrelle Pryor, the Buckeyes should have a solid running game. Their defensive line is stout and their secondary has talent.

On the Rise: Minnesota is still a long shot to win the Big Ten but has improved the past two seasons, going from 1-11 in 2007 to 7-6 last season. The Gophers should continue to trend upward with 18 returning starters.
On the Decline: Purdue finished 4-8 last season, returns only a handful of players and is adjusting under first-year Coach Danny Hope. The Boilermakers lack experience at quarterback, running back and wide receiver.

Game of the Year: Ohio State at Penn State, Nov. 7.

This meeting of the Big Ten's heavyweights could again determine the conference champion. The Nittany Lions won last season in Columbus, Ohio, for the first time since 1978, but the teams split the league title.

Predicted Finishes

1 Ohio State
2 Penn State
3 Michigan State
4 Illinois
5 Iowa
6 Wisconsin
7 Michigan
8 Minnesota
9 Northwestern
10 Purdue
11 Indiana

© The Washington Post Company