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1 to 117 Our Rankings from Top to Bottom

Aug. 13, 2001
Aug. 13, 2001

Table of Contents
Aug. 13, 2001

College Football Preview 2001

1 to 117 Our Rankings from Top to Bottom

Compiled by Richard Deitsch

TEAM
(FINAL 2000 2000 RETURNING SCHEDULE
RANK AP TOP 25 RANK) RECORD STARTERS STRENGTH

This is an article from the Aug. 13, 2001 issue

1 Oregon State (4) 11-1 11 45
Beavers, who were 1-10 in 1991 and haven't finished unbeaten
since 1907, will end up smelling Roses

2 Florida (10) 10-3 18 15
Gator bait? Tennessee, Mississippi State and Florida State visit
the Swamp this season

3 Miami (2) 11-1 16 36
Four of five starters are back on a mammoth offensive line that
allowed only nine sacks last year

4 Texas (12) 9-3 17 48
Longhorns are one of only three I-A teams with two 1,000-yard
passers on their roster

5 Oklahoma (1) 13-0 16 51
Lost amid the Josh Heupel hype: Wideout Antwone Savage caught 48
passes as a sophomore

6 Florida State (5) 11-2 10 14
The Seminoles have not lost at home since 1991 ("Wide Right I"
vs. Miami), a streak of 52 games

7 Oregon (7) 10-2 12 25
J.C. transfer Maurice Morris set a school record for first-year
rushers with 1,118 yards last season

8 Nebraska (8) 10-2 14 53
Tight end Tracey Wistrom, little brother of former
All-America DE Grant, is Eric Crouch's No. 1 target

9 Tennessee 8-4 17 9
John Henderson, likely the draft's first pick, had 12 of
Tennessee's school-record 50 sacks in 2000

10 Virginia Tech (6) 11-1 17 58
Sure-handed Hokie: Junior running back Lee Suggs did not fumble
in 222 carries last fall

11 Georgia Tech (17) 9-3 18 55
Senior WR Kelly Campbell needs 27 receptions and 93 yards to
become Tech's career leader in both

12 Northwestern 8-4 17 50
WR Jon Schweighardt is the lone new starter for the nation's
third-best offense (475.6 yards per game)

13 LSU (22) 8-4 20 41
Senior Rohan Davey threw seven touchdown passes and one
interception in 59 attempts last year

14 Michigan (11) 9-3 13 24
WR Marquise Walker starts his senior season having caught at
least one pass in 24 straight games

15 Kansas State (9) 11-3 11 38
Senior wideout Aaron Lockett had a Division I-best 22.8 yards
per punt return last season

16 Washington (3) 11-1 12 17
Sophomore QB Cody Pickett (1 of 2 for 12 yards in 2000) takes
over for Marques Tuiasosopo

17 Wisconsin (23) 9-4 10 39
The top three RBs (Anthony Davis, Tyrone Griffin and Jerone
Pettus) have zero college carries

18 Notre Dame (15) 9-3 15 6
Sophomore QB Matt LoVecchio started the Irish's final eight
games and went 7-1

19 South Carolina (19) 8-4 18 29
From 0-11 in 1999 to 8-4 in 2000, Holtz's Heroes lost only 15
lettermen, the fewest in the SEC

20 Clemson (16) 9-3 11 64
Will Woodrow Dantzler be the first college player to pass for
2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in one year?

21 Texas A&M 7-5 12 42
The Aggies have their own Chris Sims, a touted redshirt freshman
who takes over as placekicker

22 Mississippi State (24) 8-4 13 40
Senior Pig Prather, who converted from running back in '99,
takes over the "dog" safety spot on defense

23 UCLA 6-6 17 5
A healthy Kenyon Coleman at DE will help the Bruins improve
their 88th overall ranking against the run

24 East Carolina 8-4 16 81
A loaded defense welcomes back nine starters, including senior
linebacker Pernell Griffin (87 tackles)

25 UNLV 8-5 15 57
Don't be surprised if Jason Thomas (52.7% completion percentage,
14 TD passes) makes a Heisman run

26 Georgia (20) 8-4 15 44
The Dawgs have lost three in a row to Georgia Tech (worst since
an eight-loss streak from 1949 to '56)

27 Colorado 3-8 21 18
Stampede: The players who produced 3,953 of the Buffaloes' 3,982
total yards (99.3%) are back

28 Pittsburgh 7-5 17 52
WR Antonio Bryant (130.2-yard average) was the first Panther in
25 years to lead a national stat category

29 USC 5-7 16 1
The conference's best offense (415.9 yards per game last fall)
has eight starters back

30 Alabama 3-8 16 4
Senior Freddie Milons (a disappointing 32 catches in 2000) will
have opponents seeing Crimson in 2001

31 Ohio State 8-4 13 11
John Cooper was 2-10-1 against Michigan; new coach Jim Tressell
gets his first shot on Nov. 24

32 Purdue (13) 8-4 17 26
Coach Joe Tiller hopes redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon
Hance finds the spread offense a Brees

33 Colorado State (14) 10-2 14 65
Jason and Justin Gallimore, I-A's only identical twins, each
scored a defensive TD vs. Wyoming last year

34 Louisville 9-3 17 80
Zek Parker has six kickoff returns of 60 or more yards in his
three years with the Cardinals

35 N.C. State 8-4 14 59
LB Levar Fisher, the reigning ACC defensive player of the year,
had a nation-best 166 tackles in 2000

36 Michigan State 5-6 14 31
The Big Ten's best backfield is paced by 249-pound T.J. Duckett
and Little John Flowers

37 Fresno State 7-5 19 79
A 15-game home winning streak (third-best in I-A) faces a stern
test vs. Oregon State on Sept. 1

38 BYU 6-6 14 83
Brandon Doman is the first Cougar since Steve Young to throw for
300 yards and run for 50 in one game

39 Southern Miss 8-4 20 56
The nation's No. 2 defense (268.2 yards per game) lost seven
starters but still has SS Chad Williams

40 Penn State 5-7 12 2
Facing four tough teams early, Joe Pa may not get win No. 325
(and pass the Bear) till October

41 Syracuse 6-5 14 16
Senior DE Dwight Freeney led the Big East with 13 sacks in 2000
despite missing the final four games

42 Stanford 5-6 18 20
Senior safety Tank Williams, as his name suggests, is the big
hitter for the Cardinal defense

43 Marshall 8-5 13 106
Junior Byron Leftwich's nine interceptions were the fewest among
QBs with 400 attempts

44 Arizona State 6-6 18 30
DE Terrell Suggs was the second Sun Devil to start the first
game of his career as a freshman

45 Texas Tech 7-6 12 22
Air Raid: Red Raiders junior Kliff Kingsburry threw 584 passes
in 2000, tops in the nation

46 Boston College 7-5 15 35
DE Antonio Garay (294 pounds) earned All-America honors at the
2001 NCAA wrestling championships

47 Virginia 6-6 13 33
Senior Antwoine Womack (1,028 yards) was Virginia's third ACC
rushing leader in as many seasons

48 San Diego State 3-8 20 82
Big-play wide receiver Derrick Lewis averaged 25.2 yards per
catch in 2000

49 Illinois 5-6 13 12
Senior Kurt Kittner has thrown 42 TD passes and 13 interceptions
over the past two years

50 UAB 7-4 18 84
Nicknamed the Steel Shield, the defense has 10 starters back,
led by senior end Bryan Thomas (10 sacks)

51 Arkansas 6-6 17 13
Sophomore Cedric Cobbs and junior Fred Talley are the SEC's best
running tandem

52 North Carolina 6-5 15 21
The Tar Heels open with three road games (Oklahoma, Maryland and
Texas) for the first time since 1893

53 UTEP 8-4 13 104
Senior wideout Lee Mays (70 catches, 1,098 yards and an
NCAA-best 15 TDs) has NFL scouts drooling

54 Auburn (18) 9-4 11 32
The Tigers have seven senior starters, though offensive tackle
Kendall Simmons is one of the SEC's best

55 Toledo 10-1 18 113
Quarterback Taveres Boldon and running back Chester Taylor form
the MAC's best backfield

56 West Virginia 7-5 13 46
First-year coach Rich Rodriguez, a disciple of Tommy Bowden,
brings the spread offense to Morgantown

57 Western Michigan 9-3 16 100
Early trips to Virginia Tech (Sept. 8) and Michigan (Sept. 15)
will have the Broncos ready for MAC play

58 Iowa State (25) 9-3 10 61
Senior Ennis Haywood rushed for 1,237 yards last season, tops in
the Big 12

59 Mississippi 7-5 11 67
Three decades after Archie Manning won Rebel hearts, son Eli
takes over at Ole Miss

60 TCU 10-2 10 66
La-la land: Junior WR LaTarence Dunbar replaces RB LaDainian
Tomlinson as the main weapon

61 Minnesota 6-6 13 27
Ron Johnson, the Big Ten's best wideout, needs 29 catches to
become Minnesota's alltime leader

62 Missouri 3-8 16 54
WR Justin Gage, a backup forward on Mizzou's hoops squad, led
the Tigers with 44 receptions in 2000

63 Maryland 5-6 17 75
Can first-year coach Ralph Friedgen (class of '69) end the ACC's
longest postseason drought (10 years)?

64 Iowa 3-10 17 43
Senior wideout Kahlil Hill averaged 27.2 yards on kickoff
returns last season, seventh in the nation

65 San Jose State 7-5 15 71
Short in stature at 5'6", senior tailback Deonce Whitaker is
long on yardage (1,577 rushing yards in 2000)

66 Temple 4-7 19 69
The lame-duck Owls, voted out of the Big East effective June 30,
2002, have 10 starters back on D

67 Boise State 10-2 11 97
Sophomore QB Ryan Dinwiddie takes over the nation's top scoring
offense from a year ago (44.9 ppg)

68 Oklahoma State 3-8 16 47
LB Dwayne Levels had four games in 2000 with 10 or more tackles,
including 16 against Missouri

69 Arizona 5-6 14 10
New coach John Mackovic has a good one in sophomore CB Michael
Jolivette (five interceptions in 2000)

70 Idaho 5-6 10 105
The nation's eighth-best offense is led by three-year starter
John Welsh (3,171 passing yards in 2000)

71 Tulane 6-5 12 62
Sophomore Mewelde Moore's 890 rushing yards were the most for
the Green Wave since 1970

72 Air Force 9-3 7 85
Senior wideout Ryan Fleming (52 catches, 930 yards in 2000) is a
frequent flier for the Falcons

73 Northern Illinois 6-5 13 110
Senior Chris Finlen set a Huskies record with 1,857 passing
yards last season

74 Cincinnati 7-5 10 88
Junior Jonathan Ruffin, the Lou Groza Award winner, made 26 of
29 field goals in 2000

75 Kansas 4-7 11 28
Senior Harrison Hill needs 28 receptions and 753 yards to become
the Jayhawks' career leader in both

76 Kentucky 2-9 12 7
Prodigious passer Jared Lorenzen (275 pounds) was second in the
nation in total offense last year

77 Middle Tennessee 6-5 13 111
Junior running back Dwone Hicks set a school record with 21
touchdowns last season

78 Vanderbilt 3-8 15 49
Greg Zolman, the SEC's second-leading passer, threw for 2,441
yards, the most by a Commodore since '88

79 Washington State 4-7 19 3
Senior running back Dave Minnich, a former Marine, is the
Pac-10's oldest player, at 27

80 Memphis 4-7 15 78
If RB Jeff (Sugar) Sanders has a sweet year, the Tigers won't
repeat as Conference USA's worst offense

81 Indiana 3-8 17 19
Senior Antwaan Randle El, the Hoosiers' quarterback the past
three years, shifts to wideout

82 Cal 3-8 17 8
A Nixon at Berkeley? Standout linebacker Matt Nixon had 15
tackles for losses last season

83 Houston 3-8 13 70
The WR corps (Brian Robinson, KeyKowa Bell, Brandon Middleton)
goes by the nom de catch of Killer B's

84 Utah 4-7 17 77
The Kaufusi Brothers--senior LT Doug and sophomore DE Jason--are
tough in the trenches

85 Ohio 7-4 19 94
The nation's No. 2 ground offense has its top three rushers
back, including QB Dontrell Jackson

86 Hawaii 3-9 16 103
Native son Timmy Chang (Honolulu's St. Louis High) threw for
3,041 yards as a true freshman

87 Central Florida 7-4 12 90
Brothers Josh and Jake McKibben start side by side on the Golden
Knights' defensive line

88 Utah State 5-6 15 96
Senior Emmitt White led the nation in all-purpose yards last
season with 238.9 per game

89 Miami (Ohio) 6-5 12 91
Redshirt freshman QB Ben Roethlisberger, an Ohio high school
legend recruited by Ohio State, will start

90 Baylor 2-9 19 34
Nine starters are back from the nation's worst offense of a year
ago (221.8 yards per game)

91 New Mexico 5-7 13 63
DE Brian Johnson (280 pounds), who led the Mountain West with
9 1/2 sacks, was a 195-pound walk-on

92 Akron 6-5 13 95
Can the Zips make it back-to-back-to-back winning seasons for
the first time in 22 years (1977-79)?

93 Wake Forest 2-9 21 37
KR John Stone (two career TDs) was the ACC track champion in
both the 100 and 200 meters

94 New Mexico State 3-8 12 74
Senior RB Kenton Keith (7.8 yards per carry) should pick up
where Ravens draftee Chris Barnes left off

95 SMU 3-9 21 86
Ten defensive starters are back, led by junior linebacker Vic
Viloria (WAC-best 130 tackles)

96 Tulsa 5-7 17 99
QB Josh Blackenship to WR Donald Shoals has been as good as gold
for the Golden Hurricane

97 Rutgers 3-8 15 72
Thanks to its best-ever recruiting class, James Gandolfini's
alma mater will whack opponents--in 2003

98 Ball State 5-6 17 107
MAC freshman of the year Talmadge Hill went 5-2 as the
Cardinals' starting quarterback

99 North Texas 3-8 13 92
Stout sophomore Brandon Kennedy (5'10", 325) was second-team
All-Big West as a true freshman

100 Duke 0-11 16 23
After six seasons of minor league baseball, freshman Jim
Scharrer, 24, will start at linebacker

101 Army 1-10 13 87
Senior WR Omari Thompson is the first Cadet since Glenn Davis
with two punt-return TDs in one season

102 Rice 3-8 22 93
Senior LB Dan Dawson led the Owls in tackles (88), tackles for
loss (9) and interceptions (7)

103 Central Michigan 2-9 18 98
If RB Vince Webber stays healthy, the Chippewas should improve
their anemic 2000 scoring average (12.4)

104 Bowling Green 2-9 18 89
New coach Urban Meyer, formerly of Notre Dame, hopes to help the
Falcons (15-29 since '97) take wing

105 Wyoming 1-10 13 68
Massive T Adam Goldberg (320 pounds) leads the way for TB Nate
Scott (5.9 yards per carry in 2000)

106 Navy 1-10 12 60
The Middies, 9-25 since 1997, travel to Northwestern on Sept. 15
in the year's second-worst mismatch

107 Louisiana Tech 3-9 17 76
Jack Bicknell III, whose dad coached Doug Flutie at BC, has a
potential star in QB Luke McCown

108 Nevada 2-10 19 73
Senior QB David Neil will add to his school-record totals in
passing yards, attempts and total offense

109 Kent State 1-10 17 102
Senior LB Rashan Hall had 10 or more tackles four times, with a
season-best 14 on two occasions

110 Louisiana-Lafayette 1-10 17 101
The Ragin' Cajuns, who have won six games in the last four
seasons, make their Sun Belt debut

111 Eastern Michigan 3-8 12 115
Senior WR Kenny Christian set a MAC single-game record for
receptions with 20 against Temple last year

112 Troy State 9-3 14 108
Good news: The Trojans make their I-A debut. Bad news: The
season-opener is against Nebraska

113 Buffalo 2-9 14 114
For homecoming the Bulls host Marshall, which has outscored them
106-17 in the last two meetings

114 Arkansas State 1-10 9 116
With alltime leading WR Robert Kilow gone, the offense revolves
around tailback Jonathan Adams

115 Louisiana-Monroe 1-10 18 109
The mismatch of the year has the Indians (NCAA-worst 8.73 ppg)
traveling to Florida on Sept. 8

116 South Florida 7-4 9 117
Junior quarterback Marquel Blackwell is already South Florida's
alltime leader in total offense

117 Connecticut 3-8 21 112
UConn tackles South Florida on Oct. 13 in college football's Mr.
Irrelevant Game

Won-lost records include bowl games. Returning starters include
kickers and punters. Schedule strength is based on SI's rankings.

COLOR PHOTO: WINSLOW TOWNSON TOUGH STRETCH A daunting early schedule may topple Eric McCoo and the No. 40 Nittany Lions.COLOR PHOTO: BRAD MANGIN DEAD RED? Brian Allen and the No. 42 Cardinal will run for their lives in a stacked Pac-10.

Conference Rankings

Conferences are listed in order of strength. Each team's SI
national ranking is in parentheses

1 SEC

East
Florida (2)
Tennessee (9)
South Carolina (19)
Georgia (26)
Kentucky (76)
Vanderbilt (78)

West
LSU (13)
Mississippi State (22)
Alabama (30)
Arkansas (51)
Auburn (54)
Mississippi (59)

2 PAC-10

Oregon State (1)
Oregon (7)
Washington (16)
UCLA (23)
USC (29)
Stanford (42)
Arizona State (44)
Arizona (69)
Washington State (79)
Cal (82)

3 BIG TEN

Northwestern (12)
Michigan (14)
Wisconsin (17)
Ohio State (31)
Purdue (32)
Michigan State (36)
Penn State (40)
Illinois (49)
Minnesota (61)
Iowa (64)
Indiana (81)

4 BIG 12

North
Nebraska (8)
Kansas State (15)
Colorado (27)
Iowa State (58)
Missouri (62)
Kansas (75)

South
Texas (4)
Oklahoma (5)
Texas A&M (21)
Texas Tech (45)
Oklahoma State (68)
Baylor (90)

5 BIG EAST

Miami (3)
Virginia Tech (10)
Pittsburgh (28)
Syracuse (41)
Boston College (46)
West Virginia (56)
Temple (66)
Rutgers (97)

6 ACC

Florida State (6)
Georgia Tech (11)
Clemson (20)
N.C. State (35)
Virginia (47)
North Carolina (52)
Maryland (63)
Wake Forest (93)
Duke (100)

7 CONFERENCE USA

East Carolina (24)
Louisville (34)
Southern Miss (39)
UAB (50)
TCU (60)
Tulane (71)
Cincinnati (74)
Memphis (80)
Houston (83)
Army (101)

8 MOUNTAIN WEST

UNLV (25)
Colorado State (33)
BYU (38)
San Diego State (48)
Air Force (72)
Utah (84)
New Mexico (91)
Wyoming (105)

9 WAC

Fresno State (37)
UTEP (53)
San Jose State (65)
Boise State (67)
Hawaii (86)
SMU (95)
Tulsa (96)
Rice (102)
Louisiana Tech (107)
Nevada (108)

10 MID-AMERICAN

East
Marshall (43)
Ohio (85)
Miami (Ohio) (89)
Akron (92)
Bowling Green (104)
Kent State (109)
Buffalo (113)

West
Toledo (55)
Western Michigan (57)
Northern Illinois (73)
Ball State (98)
Central Michigan (103)
Eastern Michigan (111)

11 INDEPENDENTS
Notre Dame (18)
Central Florida (87)
Utah State (88)
Navy (106)
Troy State (112)
South Florida (116)
Connecticut (117)

12 SUN BELT

Idaho (70)
Middle Tennessee (77)
New Mexico State (94)
North Texas (99)
Louisiana-Lafayette (110)
Arkansas State (114)
Louisiana-Monroe (115)

BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.
Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans
Jan. 2 Orange Bowl in Miami
Jan. 3 Rose Bowl in Pasadena

The BCS will select the eight teams for its four bowls from the
champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC,
as well as two at-large teams. The two top teams, as determined
by the complex BCS formula, will play for the national
championship in the Rose Bowl.