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Nothing But The Best

What ingredients would combine to make the perfect football program? The items on the following pages suggest an answer

Best Pregame Ceremony:
Howard's Rock
For 25 years Clemson Tigers have rubbed this lucky hunk of stone named for former coach Frank Howard.

Best Kickers:
Daffy Daugherty, the Michigan Slate coach from 1954 to '72, signed Louis Bobich, the nation's first soccer-style kicker, in 1962, and the Spartans have set the standard ever since. Morten Andersen, Hans Nielsen and John Langeloh followed in Bobich's footsteps.

Best on-the-Field Ritual:
The Suicide Squad
At Texas A&M, one player on kickoff coverage is always a walk-on, selected from a hand of low-glory, high-risk volunteers—each of whom wears number 12.

Best Weight Room:
Cavalier Iron
Though it's a modest 8,000 square feel, Virginia's pump room has antibacterial carpeting, a built-in stereo system and an adjoining locker room complete with solid oak lockers.

Best Playbook:
Navigational Aid
The Coast Guard razzle-dazzle game plan includes variations on the "lonely end," in which a player Jakes coming off' the field, then catches a pass. The Bears used it successfully four times in '91.

Best Tailgating:
Honolulu Luau
At Hawaii's Aloha Stadium, waves crash rhythmically along the shore as sushi is rolled and teriyaki is skewered to the sounds of guitars and ukuleles.

Best Fans:
The Red Sea
Its schedule is peppered with patsies, but Nebraska has welcomed a sellout crowd of 73,650 for 182 straight games.

Best Wide Receivers:
Flying Vols
Tennessee's truck stars Richmond Flowers, Stanley Morgan, Anthony Hancock, Willie Gault, Sam Graddy, Anthony Miller and Carl Pickens have been unbeatable off the line.

Best Quarterbacks:
Cougar Attack
BYU signal-callers have included Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer and four All-Americas, one of whom, Jim McMahon (left), set 70 NCAA records, from 1977 to '81.

Best Defensive Line:
Tough Cats
Auburn line coach Wayne Hall has sent 15 of his front men to the pros, including Tracy Rocker, who won both the Outland 'Trophy and the Lombardi Award in 1988.

Best Tight Ends:
Irish Specialty
From Dave Casper in the '70s to Mark Bavaro in the '80s to Derek Brown (left) in the '90s, Notre Dame has had a series of pseudotackles with both the speed and the hands to pull down the Hail Marys.

Best Cornerbacks:
Hard Hitters
Florida State's Deion Sanders and Terrell Buckley played the position so aggressively that they created a new niche: offensive defensive back.

Best Running Bucks:
Swervin' Cowboys
Sony, USC, but Oklahoma State has produced three of the last 10 rushing champions: Gerald Hudson (right), Barry Sanders, who won the Heisman in '88, and Thurman Thomas.

Best College Town:
Home of the Heels
There are 23, 000 students at North Carolina, more than half the total Imputation of Chapel Hill, where fall explodes into a fantasia of foliation during the football season.

Best Marching Band:
Intermission Magicians
In 1946 William P. Foster taught his Florida A&M musicians how to dance while they played, altering forever the course of halftime. Foster now uses computers to choreograph his Marching 100.

Best Uniforms:
Old Look
Penn State's garb is breathtakingly basic. True, the Lions look like generic brands on a super market shelf, but many schools, trying to be unique, choose uniforms that are just plain ugly.

Best Stadium:
Unbeatable View
From a seal in Washington's Husky Stadium, a fan can admire vistas of the Olympic and Cascade ranges, including Mount Rainier, and Lake Washington.

Best Academic Achievement:
Smart As the Devil
Duke has graduated 85% of its scholarship players over the past decade and remains competitive on the field.

Best Mascot:
Ragin' Ralphie
Colorado opponents cringe at the sight of 1,200 pounds of buffalo charging up the sidelines, chased by 100 Buffaloes.

Best Safeties:
Men of Troy
For deep pass defense the choice is Southern Cal, which has had a siring of All-Americas that includes Dennis Thurman, Ronnie Lott, Tim McDonald and Mark Carrier

Best Offensive Line:
Rock-Solid Protection
Michigan's line coaches have developed a hunch of bruising tackles, from Dan Dierdorf in '70 (left, 72) to dreg Skrepenak last season, and a lot of bruising guards in between.

Best Couches:
Hurricane Brains
Miami fills its coaching vacancies •without missing a beat. Its last three hires, Howard Schnellenberger, jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson, have each copped a national title.

Best Postgame Tradition:
The Stroll
The Walk from Williams celebrates a homecoming victory in Williamstown, Mass., where players and fans stroll down Spring Street to St. Pierre's Barber Shop for some hair trimming, harmonizing and bell-raising.

Best Nickname:
Go, Slimeballs!
Lions and Tigers and Bears and Bulldogs are ubiquitous, but we are certain that UC Santa Cruz has sole claim to the Fightin' Banana Slugs.

Best Linebackers:
Tidal Ware
It's Alabama, bauds down, from Lee Roy Jordan way back in the '60s to three of the fiercest defenders in recent times: Cornelius Bennett, Derrick Thomas and Keith McCants (86).