5 Minute Guide

The games, players and zaniness that make the season great
August 14, 2005

>Must-see Games

SEPT. 3 Boise State at Georgia The Broncos aspire to be this year's Utah; the Bulldogs desire to be this season's USC. The loser's dream ends before Labor Day.

SEPT. 10 Texas at Ohio State Storied programs, Heisman candidates, national championship contenders--nonconference games don't get much better than this.

SEPT. 17 Tennessee at Florida Urban Meyer's SEC baptism comes against a Vols team with one of the nation's nastiest defensive lines.

OCT. 8 Oklahoma versus Texas (at Dallas) With the Sooners having to replace 13 starters, Texas fans believe this is the year the Horns finally stop their Red River losing streak, which stands at five. Really.

OCT. 8 Iowa at Purdue The Hawkeyes may be the only team standing between the Boilermakers, who don't face Ohio State or Michigan, and a Big Ten title.

OCT. 22 Michigan at Iowa The Big Ten coach (Michigan's Lloyd Carr) accused of getting the least out of his players meets the Big Ten coach (Iowa's Kirk Ferentz) praised for getting the most.

OCT. 29 Florida versus Georgia (at Jacksonville) After losing 13 out of 14 to the Gators, the Dawgs finally did themselves proud at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in '04.

NOV. 3 Pitt at Louisville The new-look Big East no longer has BC, but it still has a BCS berth--which is likely at stake in this Thursday matchup.

NOV. 5 Miami at Virginia Tech The Hokies have beaten Miami seven times in 10 tries, and they could be 8--0 entering this ACC showdown.

NOV. 12 USC at Cal No team poses a bigger threat to USC's three-peat hopes than the Bears, who've been trouble three straight years, including a 2003 upset in Berkeley.

JAN. 4, 2006 BCS Championship Game, Rose Bowl, Pasadena.

>Race for The Heisman

FRONT-RUNNERS

1. Reggie Bush, RB, Jr., USC See Reggie run. See Reggie catch. See Reggie return. He does it all with style. But can the President earn enough votes playing alongside last year's winner?

2. Matt Leinart, QB, Sr., USC Guru Norm Chow's gone, but Leinart, who's recovered from off-season elbow surgery, needn't worry. In his quest to become the second two-time Heisman winner, he still has more talent around him than Hugh Hefner.

3. Vince Young, QB, Jr., Texas The Longhorns' would-be savior has an unorthodox throwing motion, but he can take over games with his speed and elusiveness.

4. Adrian Peterson (above), RB, Soph., Oklahoma Advantage: With quarterback Jason White gone, the offense will revolve around Peterson, last year's runner-up. Disadvantage: Three linemen also departed, creating uncertainty up front.

5. Chris Leak, QB, Jr., Florida There's no questioning his talent, but his Heisman status will depend on how well he makes the transition from pocket passer to point man in Urban Meyer's spread-option attack.

DARK HORSES

1. Ted Ginn Jr., WR-KR, Soph., Ohio State The Midwest's version of Bush--only faster. Last year the former track standout returned four punts for touchdowns.

2. Reggie McNeal, QB, Sr., Texas A&M A better passer than Young and a better runner than Leak, McNeal has to keep the Aggies on the national radar to have a chance.

3. Laurence Maroney, RB, Jr., Minnesota He has the potential for a 2,000-yard season but plays in a system that spreads the workload.

4. Gerald Riggs Jr., RB, Sr., Tennessee He also shared playing time last year. Let's see what he can do as the featured rusher.

5. Brian Brohm, QB, Soph., Louisville Brohm hasn't started a game, but the übertalented passer takes over a loaded offense that doesn't know when to stop scoring.

>You Gotta Know

FINALLY, A FEMALE REF

Oregon State players Bryan Payton and Adam Speer went before a judge in May--Judge Judy (left). Speer won his case against Linn-Benton Community College student Ben Arends, who had punched Speer's Ford Bronco, causing $1,500 damage. But Arends won a suit against Payton, who had clocked Arends after Arends clocked Speer's SUV.

DAD, CAN I BORROW YOUR SHOULDER PADS?

Ohio State freshman linebacker James Laurinaitis is the son of Joe Laurinaitis (right), a former pro wrestler dubbed Animal who partnered with Michael Hegstrand, a.k.a. Hawk, to form the famed tag teams Legion of Doom and Road Warriors.

I'LL BE ROBIN HOOD, AND YOU BE LITTLE JOHN

Penn State center E.Z. Smith and linebacker Mike Sothern received "temporary expulsions" from the university after they shot more than 30 arrows through a dorm-room wall in January, causing $700 damage. Both are eligible to apply for reinstatement to school this fall.

SHEEPISH IN CORVALLIS

Oregon State DT Ben Siegert pleaded no contest to drunken driving charges stemming from a March traffic stop in which a 200-pound ram, stolen from the university's Sheep Center, was found in the back of his pickup truck. The ram was part of a study of homosexuality in sheep.

THE SPARTANS ARE BOWLWORTHY!

A plumber has enlisted 300 volunteers for the Great Flush at Michigan's Spartan Stadium in mid-August. At a designated time the volunteers will flush toilets and turn on faucets to test the 111 commodes, 52 urinals and 80,000 feet of pipe newly installed as part of an upgrade to the 82-year-old stadium.

>SI's All-America Team

OFFENSE

QB Matt Leinart, USC

RB Reggie Bush, USC

RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma

OL D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Virginia

OL Max Jean-Gilles, Georgia

OL Davin Joseph, Oklahoma

OL Marcus McNeill, Auburn

C Greg Eslinger, Minnesota

WR Derek Hagan, Arizona State

WR Greg Lee, Pitt

TE Marcedes Lewis, UCLA

DEFENSE

DL Mathias Kiwanuka, BC >

DL Jesse Mahelona, Tennessee

DL Darryl Tapp, Virginia Tech

DL Mario Williams, N.C. State

LB Ahmad Brooks, Virginia

LB Chad Greenway, Iowa

LB A.J. Hawk, Ohio State

DB Jason Allen, Tennessee

DB Darnell Bing, USC

DB Ko Simpson, South Carolina

DB Jimmy Williams, Va. Tech

SPECIALISTS

PK Mason Crosby, Colorado

P Daniel Sepulveda, Baylor

PR-KR Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State

>Countdown

$25 MILLION Anonymous donation to the Cal athletic department, earmarked for the renovation of Memorial Stadium.

$1.5 MILLION Renegotiated annual base salary over the next five seasons for Cal coach Jeff Tedford, whose previous contract allowed him to leave in 2006 if there was no renovation of Memorial Stadium.

111,025 Average attendance at Michigan's six home games (above) last year, tops in the nation.

38,806 Attendance for coach Steve Spurrier's first spring game at South Carolina, about 23,000 more fans than usual.

208 Maximum pages allowed in a school's football media guide per new NCAA rules; that's 406 fewer pages than Missouri had in its 2004 guide.

40 Age of South Carolina walk-on receiver Tim Frisby, a former Army Ranger.

28 NCAA-accredited bowls this season, with the addition of the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, on Dec. 22.

22 Consecutive victories by Southern Cal, the nation's longest winning streak.

15 Consecutive losses by Central Florida, the nation's longest losing streak.

14 Total margin of defeat in Purdue's five losses last year.

12 Regular-season games allowed by the NCAA beginning in 2006.

9 Conferences, out of 11, which will allow game officials to use instant replay this season.

7 Games between West Virginia and Marshall scheduled from 2006 through '12, as negotiated by Governor Joe Manchin; the last time the state rivals met was in 1915.

4 Days after suffering a mild heart attack that Georgia Tech's 53-year-old coach, Chan Gailey, was back at spring practice.

2 Running backs on the North Texas roster--senior Patrick Cobbs (left) and sophomore Jamario Thomas (right)--who have led the nation in rushing.

1 Connecticut playbook put up for sale on eBay by former Huskies walk-on Mark Punzelt, who quickly removed it after he was contacted by UConn officials.

COLOR PHOTOHEINZ KLUETMEIER (MIAMI--VIRGINIA TECH)Miami (in orange) will be out to avenge two straight losses to Virginia Tech. COLOR PHOTOBOB ROSATO (PETERSON) COLOR PHOTOGETTY IMAGES (JUDGE JUDY) COLOR PHOTO©2005 WWE, INC. (JOE LAURINAITIS) COLOR PHOTOHULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES (ROBIN HOOD) COLOR PHOTOCORBIS (RAM) COLOR PHOTOSEAN MYERS/ICON SMI (KIWANUKA) COLOR PHOTOROB TRINGALI/SPORTSCHROME (MICHIGAN CROWD) COLOR PHOTOTONY GUTIERREZ/AP (COBBS) COLOR PHOTOCHRISTOPHER GRAYTHEN/AP (THOMAS)

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