"We had a rule," recalls Tommy Thompson, a boyhood teammate of Husky tailback Napoleon Kaufman. "Whenever Napoleon got around the corner, we took a knee so we wouldn't clip anybody." If Kaufman can turn the corner in September—when Washington plays USC and Miami—and Michigan's Tyrone Wheatley can't, the rest of the Heisman field might want to take a knee too.
22. Texas A&M
The Aggies are celebrating their 100th year of football the way they did their first: without TV coverage. A year of probation also nixes bowl bids and a shot at the conference title, but the real penalty is that only ticket holders will get to watch sophomore tailback Leeland McElroy.
Only Washington (38-9) has a better Pac-10 record in the '90s than the Bears (30-17-1). One man responsible for Cal's recent success is senior quarterback Dave Barr, whose efficiency rating of 164.5 last year was the 10th best in NCAA history.
The Longhorns have one bowl appearance in the last six years (a 46-3 loss to Miami in the '91 Cotton Bowl), and third-year coach John Mackovic needs another to save his job. Fear not. Coach: A&M is on probation, your schedule is a snap, and 17 starters are back, including quarterback Shea Morenz, who completed 183 passes last fall before leading the baseball team in RBIs and hits.
In the off-season, linebacker Dana Howard said no thanks to both the NFL draft and a photo op for Playboy's All-America team. He changed his mind about the latter but not the former. A favorite for the Butkus Award, Howard, a senior, is one of 11 returning starters on defense. The offense will rely on sophomore tailback Ty Douthard, who led the Illini in rushing and receiving in '93.
26. Brigham Young
A 17th straight bowl bid is in jeopardy. Last year the Cougars allowed 199 points in four nonconference losses, and the defense was 104th out of 106 Division I-A teams in yards allowed. The offense, however, is potent; John Walsh continues the tradition of stellar BYU quarterbacks.
Coach Tommy West, a former Tiger assistant, has been charged with putting paw prints on the Top 10 again. He's off to a good start: His debut was a Peach Bowl win over Kentucky. The game's offensive MVP was fullback Emory Smith, now a sophomore, whose trophy sits in his parents' house—alongside some hardware won by his big brother, Emmitt.
Dorsett, Walker, Faulk and...Merten? Last year Bruin placekicker Bjorn Merten joined Tony Dorsett, Herschel Walker and Marshall Faulk as the only freshmen ever named first-team All-Americas. But even Merten won't get UCLA into a second straight Rose Bowl.
29. Ohio State
To prepare for his final season in Columbus, split end Joey Galloway watched footage of former Nebraska flanker Johnny Rodgers, the '72 Heisman winner. Twenty years from now players will be watching footage of Galloway, who last season averaged 20.1 yards per catch and a touchdown every 4.3 times he touched the ball on a play from scrimmage.
30. Kansas State
Coach Bill Snyder, who keeps several copies of the movie Pinocchio in his office, says Geppetto is his inspiration. "A young guy made of wood is given the opportunity to think," he says, also pointing out that Geppetto always stood behind Pinocchio. Who could argue with this philosophy? Snyder has been named Big Eight coach of the year three of the past four seasons.
31. Michigan State
After a seventh-place finish in the Big Ten, the Spartans got a house call from the Doctor of Defense. New defensive coordinator Hank Bullough, a veteran NFL assistant, is known for rebuilding defenses, and he is constructing this one around linebacker Reggie Garnett, the Big Ten freshman of the year in '93.
32. Colorado State
The Rams won their final three games in '93, a sign that they were adjusting to rookie coach Sonny Lubick. Other signs? An offense that averaged 438.5 yards over the last four games and a defense that allowed only 41 points over the final three.
"Rock, chalk, ouch!" should have been the battle cry of the '93 Jayhawks: 27 players missed at least one game because of injuries. The breaks weren't all bad though. Tailback June Henley, now a sophomore, emerged with a Big Eight-leading 1,127 yards rushing.
34. West Virginia
With much of the Mountaineers' firepower gone, punter Todd Sauerbrun should see more action. Sauerbrun, who spent the Fourth of July at the home of his friend Los Angeles Ram punter Sean Landetta, had a 44.6-yard average last fall. That would have placed him third nationally had he not finished three punts shy of the number necessary to be ranked, and it was 1.7 yards better than Landetta's '93 average.
35. Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets hope to take their defense back to the future with the hiring of defensive coordinator George O'Leary, who held that post until '92, when he bolted to the San Diego Chargers. In O'Leary's last two seasons in Atlanta, the defense held opponents to an average of 286 yards per game: in the two ensuing seasons, that number ballooned to 398.8.
The Cavaliers have won at least seven games for seven straight seasons, but in '92 and '93 they started 5-0 and won only two more games. Last winter the Florida State game—scheduled for October—was moved to Week 1. Virginia should now finish better...but it will start worse.
37. Mississippi State
After a disappointing '93 season, coach Jackie Sherrill needs help to fight off growing pressure in Starkville. He'll get it from running back Michael Davis, the SEC's second-leading returning rusher.
In 1993, Danny Ford's first season as head coach in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks won two more games than they had in '92. The Hogs will be even better this year if the Oscars—tailback Malone and fullback Gray—can improve an offense that averaged only 15 points per game last fall.
Oh, boy! The defense has eight starters back. Oh, no! The defense has eight starters back. Last year the Cardinal gave up an average of 35 points per game. Senior quarterback Steve Stenstrom, who threw for 330 yards per game in '93, will make up for a lot of mistakes, though.
40. N.C. State
Junior quarterback Terry Harvey, an All-America pitcher, replaced starter Geoff Bender in midseason and reeled off four consecutive come-from-behind victories. Now if the Wolfpack could only keep other teams from scoring.... Harvey can help there, too—he threw a no-hitter in 1993.
Two veteran players will get long-awaited opportunities. Kevin Mason, a fifth-year senior who has spent the last four years holding clipboards on the sideline and footballs on extra points, will start at quarterback. And linebacker Dan Conley, a Butkus Award candidate in 1992, has been granted a sixth year of eligibility following nine knee operations.
42. Western Michigan
They play at Waldo Stadium, study at Waldo Library and celebrate at Waldo's Tavern, but you should have no trouble finding the Broncos—they'll be atop the MAC standings. One of 18 returning starters is quarterback Jay McDonagh, a former junior Golden Gloves champ, who punched out the school record for completion percentage (.615) last year.
The Scarlet Knights move into a new 42,000-seat stadium, and they'll be counting on thunder and lightning every game. That is how the school is marketing its two game-breaking running backs, junior Bruce (Thunder) Presley and sophomore Terrell (Lightning) Willis.
Coach Bill Mallory will use John Paci and Chris Dittoe in a two-quarterback scheme. He alternated signal-callers once before—at Miami of Ohio in 1973—and the team went 11-0.
45. Texas Christian
In an effort to boost attendance, clowns, musicians and dancers have been booked to entertain fans at Carter Stadium. But the best performances might come from the Horned Frogs themselves: 18 starters return, including Andre Davis, who rushed for 867 yards in '93.
46. Oregon State
Last season's 4-7 record included three losses—to Washington, Stanford and UCLA—by a total of 14 points. The Beavers will keep things close again with running back J.J. Young, who coach Jerry Pettibone, an assistant at Oklahoma in the '70s, says is as good as former Sooner Billy Sims.
47. Arizona State
The Sun Devils, who were placed on probation in July, have finished above .500 in 10 of the last 11 seasons. Come December it'll be 10 of 12. They lost their best runner (1,100-yard man Mario Bates) and pass rusher (Shante Carver) to the NFL and their best linebacker (Brian Easter) to a suspension for violating team rules.
48. New Mexico
The Lobos must be going loco: Four of their losses last year were by a total of eight points. Still, they had their first winning season since 1982. They'll have their second this fall thanks to quarterback Stoney Case, who is a superb runner (14 touchdowns) and passer (2,490 yards. 17 touchdowns).
49. Bowling Green
The Falcons have put up some lofty numbers: seventh in the country in defense in '93, a 15-game home unbeaten streak, one conference loss in three years. Another number: Last fall they lost only two fumbles to become the first team in 25 years to lose fewer than three in a season.
Marion Campbell, the new defensive coordinator, will try to bring the same success to the Dawgs that he brought to the Rams (the Fearsome Foursome) and the Vikings (Purple People Eaters) during his NFL coaching career. Good luck. The offense is not a concern, however. Senior quarterback Eric Zeier will become the leading passer in SEC history.
51. Fresno State
Eight starters are gone from a 39-points-per-game attack, including Trent Dilfer, the nation's top-rated passer. Sophomore Adrian Claiborne replaces him, but he has attempted only nine career passes, and his backup, Richie Donati, has thrown one. It was incomplete.
52. Texas Tech
Eight starters are gone from the SWC's top offense, and of the quarterback hopefuls, Sone Cavazos has the most experience: one junior varsity game. The biggest loss is running back Bam Morris, last year's Division I-A scoring leader, who is now a Steeler. The biggest gain is freshman Byron Hanspard, who might one day be as good as Morris.
One era of Hawkeye football is starting, another may be ending. Redshirt freshman Tavian Banks, the best running back to come out of Iowa since Roger Craig, begins his career. If the Hawkeyes finish closer to Northwestern than to Michigan in the Big Ten, coach Hayden Fry's 16th season in Iowa City could be his last.
Wait a minute, isn't this type of football prohibited in the Big Ten? One coach described the Gophers' wide-open offense—tabbed Air Wacker after third-year coach Jim Wacker—as "just like a three-ring circus, only crazier." Minnesota, the only team to beat Wisconsin last year, threw the ball 500 times in '93, and in the process rewrote a good portion of the school record book.
The fall is sure to be less exciting than the summer. On July 12 coach Billy Brewer was fired. On Aug. 16 Ole Miss admitted to several NCAA rules violations. Interim coach Joe Lee Dunn, the Rebels' defensive coordinator since 1992, has restored calm. Dunn is a popular guy, and there's no reason to think the team won't do as well under him as it did under Brewer.
56. Louisiana State
Blue Bayou: Would-be quarterback and savior Josh Booty decided to play for the Florida Marlins instead of enrolling at LSU. The one beneficiary is junior quarterback Jamie Howard, who will seek to avoid becoming known as the man Booty would have replaced. Still, the Tigers have some weapons, especially flanker Eddie Kennison, but the defense allowed an average of 28 points a game last year.
57. Southwestern Louisiana
The most improved team in Division I-A last season, the Ragin' Cajuns won six more games than they did in '92. The defense was excellent and should be again with free safety Orlanda Thomas, whose nine interceptions last fall led the nation.
If the Wildcats can find a competent quarterback to replace Pookie Jones, who gave up his final year of eligibility to play baseball in the Rockies' organization, they could end up in a bowl. One candidate is junior Antonio O'Ferral, who, with Jones injured last year, led Kentucky to two key victories.
The Cardinals' hopes for a new stadium are dying in the bluegrass, as plans for construction have been put on hold. An artist's rendering of the stadium graced the cover of the '93 media guide, but it wasn't the first time the guide was...uh, premature. Printed on the 1990 cover: "Our program is on a collision course with the national championship...."
New coach Rick Minter should have no trouble motivating his team. After 43 years without a bowl appearance, the Bearcats finished 8-3 and hoped for a bid to the Independence Bowl. Instead the invitation went to Indiana—their opponent in this year's season opener.
61. Iowa State
If coach Jim Walden doesn't deliver a winning season in '94 with 19 starters returning, he may not be returning in '95. Will Walden's triple-option offense, the nation's 11th-best rushing attack last year, be enough to save his job? It just might.
62. South Carolina
Rookie coach Brad Scott, who left his job as offensive coordinator at Florida State to take over the Gamecocks, will open up the attack. Though he doesn't have a Charlie Ward to run his offense, Scott does have a newly aerodynamic Steve Taneyhill, who has cut off his famous ponytail—at Scott's request.
63. Washington State
The Cougars ended '92 ranked No. 15 in the country. They ended '93 ranked No. 6 in the Pac-10—and that was with the Pa-louse Posse, the ninth-best defense in the nation. This year the Posse has lost its leader; defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer ran off to become a Cowboy.
64. New Mexico State
After quarterback Cody Ledbetter was sacked 19 times last year, coaches imported six beefy juco linemen to protect him—the line now averages 300 pounds. Another improvement: Only three starters return off a defense that ranked 96th in '93.
65. Utah State
Since returning from a Mormon mission in early 1992, defensive tackle Dave Balls has tried to intimidate foes by painting black grease circles around his eyes. More intimidating, however, is fleet-footed junior Profail Grier, who rushed for 947 yards in '93, even though he didn't break into the starting lineup until Game 5.
Say what you will about this downtrodden program, but if 59-year-old coach Johnny Majors can still inspire players by turning his hat backward, jumping into a blocking drill and yelling, "Now come at me," can improvement be far off? Remember, in his previous stint at Pitt, Majors took over a 1-10 team and four years later won the national championship.
67. Ball State
To celebrate last year's MAC title, coach Paul Schudel and his players participated in an on-campus symphonic tribute to the state of Indiana's adopted son, Knute Rockne. Schudel, who once crooned in Carnegie Hall with Muncie's Master-works Chorale, is hoping for a stirring encore from the league's 1993 freshman of the year, running back Michael Blair.
68. San Diego State
The Aztecs finished '93 by allowing a total of 196 points in four straight losses. Their biggest loss, though, came in April when running back Marshall Faulk left for the NFL. New coach Ted Tollner's post-Marshall plan: a no-huddle scheme that highlights talented quarterback Tim Gutierrez (3,033 yards passing last year).
New coach Larry Smith has inherited a defense that has been the Big Eight's worst in each of the last four years and an offense that has been outrushed in each of the last five. Nonetheless Smith insists these Tigers can win this year. Say the fans: Show me.
Two important team members make their debuts this season: sophomore quarterback Troy DeGar and mascot Captain 'Cane. DeGar saw action on special teams last year but has never taken a snap in a college game. As for the good Captain, Tulsa hasn't seen anything like it since Huffy the Storm Cloud was sacked four years ago. Says athletic department spokesman Don Tomkalski, "When you're the Golden Hurricane, it takes awhile to figure out what your mascot is."
71. Central Michigan
After winning at Michigan State in '91 and '92, the Chips were down in '93, finishing below .500 for only the second time in 29 seasons. But Central has the perfect player to revive its program: senior tailback Brian Pruitt, who plans to become an evangelist. Pruitt's retort to trash talk? "Yes, and Jesus loves you, too."
After a one-year sabbatical from coaching, athletic director Chris Ault returns to the sidelines to guide the Wolf Pack. He'll have to get used to a lot of new faces. Eleven starters—including NCAA total offense leader Chris Vargas—are gone.
The offense will rely on a massive back-field: quarterback John Gustin (6'6", 225 pounds) and alternating running backs Terry Hendricks (5'10", 237) and Ryan Christopherson (6', 236). The defensive backfield is smaller—and slower—and that spells big trouble in the explosive WAC.
Coach Rich Brooks has stepped down as athletic director to concentrate on football. Just what is it that demands his undivided attention? Even though Danny O'Neil became only the fourth quarterback in Pac-10 history to throw for more than 3,000 yards, the team had a losing record in '93.
After riding the pine behind Marshall Faulk at San Diego State, running back Joe Abdullah returned to his hometown of Stockton to join the Tigers. Just in time, too: Pacific's rushing attack was the nation's second worst (69.4 yards per game) last fall.
76. Southern Mississippi
Nugget II, a 10-year-old golden eagle, was found dead in her cage on Dec. 6, 1992. Initial reports speculated that the bird, the team mascot, had been poisoned, but a federal investigation that was concluded just before the beginning of last season revealed that malnutrition was the cause of death. It was an omen: The Golden Eagles went 2-8-1, their leanest mark since 1925.
Before injuring his ankle last year, All-MAC tailback Casey McBeth could leg-press his entire offensive line (1,427 pounds) and nearly hurdle them (36-inch vertical leap). If McBeth is healthy, he could launch the Rockets to the top of the conference.
78. East Carolina
Following a dismal '93 season the Pirates have two things to be excited about: Quarterback Marcus Crandell is back after breaking his leg in the second game of the year, and real estate tycoon Ron Dowdy has donated $1 million to the team. Needless to say, Crandell will now be playing in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The Tigers finally have an attraction to rival Graceland. Freshman running back Derrick Jones, a Florida high school 100-meter champion, is a bullish runner, who—with the help of his pit bulls—hunts wild boars in his spare time.
The nadir for the Boilermakers came last Oct. 9, when they became the first team in NCAA history to score 56 points...and lose. Minnesota squeaked by 59-56. Says coach Jim Colletto, "We're not setting any goals other than making one of the biggest turnarounds in college history."
In his first season as coach, Fred Goldsmith is trying to remind folks in Durham that roundball isn't the only game in town. He has created a special section at Wallace Wade Stadium for Wade Wackos—the football equivalent of Cameron Crazies—and sent letters to 1,620 incoming freshmen, soliciting their support. The letters have already produced three walk-ons, two managers and a student trainer.
82. Air Force
Last fall coach Fisher DeBerry suffered only his second losing season in 11 years with the Falcons, who saw their four-year bowl streak snapped. The defense is solid, with three of last year's four top tacklers back, but the wishbone offense seems to have become obsolete.
83. Wake Forest
After the Demon Deacons lost their last five games—including four they led at halftime—coach Jim Caldwell said his team lacked toughness. It's safe to assume he didn't mean his quarterback. Rusty La Rue. LaRue, who's also a guard on the basketball team, played the final football game and the entire basketball season with a broken bone in his throwing hand. He's ready to go after surgery in May.
84. Southern Methodist
The rebuilding process continues for the Ponies, who were powers before their football program was shelved by the NCAA in 1987. Things are looking up: While SMU was 2-7-2 last year, it was only 16 points from a winning record, and the team lost just four first-stringers.
Ken Hatfield, who coached Arkansas from 1984 to '89, returns to the SWC and will attempt to bring the Owls their first bowl appearance since 1961. Hatfield's spread-option attack will require Yoncy Edmonds, Rice's leading rusher in '93, to recover quickly from two off-season ankle operations.
86. Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs hope that defensive tackle Arna Bontemps, a juco transfer, is aptly named. Because the team had only 16 sacks last season, Tech coaches are going to let Bontemps rouler.
Coach Mark Duffner encouraged his players to join a bowling league over the winter. "We want to instill a sense of winning in their daily lives," says Duffner. "There are a lot of small wins to be gained. You write a paper, you do your wash—those are small wins." See, football teams don't have to play dirty to win.
Wildcat booster on a Chicago radio show: "We beat Boston College, Boston College beat Notre Dame, and Notre Dame beat Florida State, so logic dictates that Northwestern should be national champs." Hmmm. Now if the Daily Northwestern had written that the Wildcats were No. 1, we would know who to blame: Placekicker Sam Valenzisi doubled as sports editor over the summer.
89. Oklahoma State
On a team that finished 102nd in total offense last year, it's not surprising that the biggest weapon is kick returner Rafael Denson. He should see plenty of action this fall because the defense isn't much better than the offense.
Last November, Jeff Horton quit as coach of Nevada to take over the program at archrival UNLV. Bitter Wolf Pack fans erected billboards along Highway 95 declaring him a turncoat. To exact revenge when the teams meet on Nov. 19, Horton will need a healthy Henry Bailey, a senior All-Big West kick returner, who played most of last year with two broken hands.
WAC co-champs two years ago, the Rainbows finished eighth in the conference in '93. They lost 14 starters from that team, but one returning is defensive lineman George Noga, brother of former Hawaii and NFL players Pete, Niko and Al.
92. Miami (Ohio)
The Cradle of Coaches may have to fire one if Randy Walker doesn't start winning more. He hasn't won more than six games in a season since taking over at his alma mater in 1990. Things got so bad last year that Walker had to use a linebacker at quarterback after his first three quarterbacks were sidelined.
Last fall the Midshipmen followed a 4-2 start—their best beginning since '81—with five consecutive defeats. Among the stingers were a 10-turnover disaster against Vanderbilt and a 16-14 loss to Army, when Ryan Bucchianeri missed a field goal with 12 seconds left (page 116). With 14 starters gone from last year's team, Bucchianeri may not get the chance to kick many game-winners this fall.
O.K., so the last time the Bobcats won more than four games in a season, Men at Work was a hip new band. And, yes, five times in the last eight years they have ended the season with one win. So? This is the Bobcats' 100th year of football, and they won four of their last five last season.
95. Northern Illinois
The LWL (Life Without LeShon) era of Huskie football has begun. All-America tailback (and Green Bay Packer) LeShon Johnson will be sorely missed after accounting for 54.2% of Northern's total offense last season. Still, LeShon-wannabe Brian Grimes should benefit from the holes cleared by 6'3", 303-pound guard Kent (Phone) Booth.
Junior fullback Akili King covered almost as much ground in the off-season as he did during the season. Last year he was the leading rusher for the nation's best running attack. In January he was caught brawling in a bar, and school officials sentenced him to 80 hours of marching.
97. San Jose State
With only two victories in '93 the Spartans had their worst record since 1970. This year's nonconference schedule consists of Fresno State, Baylor, Stanford, Cal and Washington, so don't look for much improvement. On the bright side...well, there isn't really a bright side.
Believe coach Ron Dickerson when he says he spent 60% of practice time last year on technique: The Owls played 32 freshmen last fall. Temple ranked at or near the bottom in nearly every NCAA statistical category and lost 10 straight games for the second year in a row. One ray of hope: 45 lettermen are back.
Senior linebacker Gerald Collins, who begins his sixth season in Nashville this fall, has seen the Commodores lose 40 games. He probably won't sec his 50th Vandy loss this year—then again, he might.
100. Eastern Michigan
Under 33-year-old Ron Cooper, the youngest coach in Division I-A, the Eagles rarely drop the ball—their turnover margin was among the best in the country—but they do drop names. Freshman Brian Wilcox is the son of former Tiger pitcher Milt Wilcox. Offensive lineman L.J. Shelton's dad, Lonnie, played in the NBA for 10 years. And fullback John Rice is the cousin of future NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
Coach Gerry Faust hasn't done zip with the Zips. After eight seasons he's still one game under .500, and his job is on the line. But even John Heisman resigned under pressure from Akron in 1894.
As the SWC begins its penultimate season, only the Cougars still need to find an affiliation for '96. Seeing as how they won only one game in '93, leagues are not exactly lining up to sign them up. Still, second-year coach Kim Helton's decision to scrap the run-and-shoot in favor of a two-back alignment should improve ball control (the team had the worst turnover ratio in the country last fall) and keep a most suspect defense off the field.
Coach Buddy Teevens said after last season that 1994 would be the team's best year since he arrived. Well, he arrived in '92, and the Green Wave has won two and three games, respectively, in the ensuing seasons. Even with a soft schedule sprinkled with the likes of Memphis and Navy, a four-win season will be difficult in the Big Easy.
104. Arkansas State
Some of junior punter Kyle Richardson's best work appears on the walls of the football office: Painted in vibrant blues and greens is a cartoon bearing the credo "Don't ever give up." The Indians desperately need some inspiration because last season's top rusher, Marquis Williams, transferred to LSU.
105. Northeast Louisiana
After three years of planning and fund-raising, the Indians finally departed Division I-AA for the bigs. But with a schedule that kicks off with Colorado, Auburn and Georgia, and eight players—including five projected starters—academically ineligible for the season, they may start longing for another A.
In 1988 the Miners were 10-3, their second winning season in 18 years. In '89 new coach David Lee installed an option attack, and they lost 41 of their next 53 games. Enter Charlie Bailey, who took over as coach seven games into '93. After he restored the pro set, UTEP proceeded to lose five games, by an average of 26 points.
107. Kent State
In the media guide new coach Jim Corrigall says, simply, "Thank you, Kent." But Corrigall, a Kent alum and a CLE Hall of Famer, may not be so grateful come December. He has inherited a team that lost all its games last season and that has only five wins since 1989. Look for the Golden Flashes to move into a tie for the fourth-longest losing streak (27 games) in Division I-A history by season's end.
Gifted wide receivers like Buster Tillman (12) will help Ohio State reel in a bowl bid.
PETER READ MILLER
Big hits like this were few and far between for Stanford in '93—and will be again in '94.
Georgia has holes but not at quarterback thanks to Zeier, who's set to step into history.
PETER READ MILLER
Even with a new coach, Brandon Bennett and South Carolina won't take a big leap in '94.
Expect more of the same at Oregon: lofty numbers from O'Neil, little from the Ducks.
Even with Jermaine Johnson, Vanderbilt will have trouble getting a leg up on anyone.