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ABC Sports Online's 2001 All-America Team
ABC Sports Online

When Nebraska headed out to Boulder for Thanksgiving, the Huskers seemed to be invincible. They were 11-0, and cruising to a Big 12 championship tête-à-tête with Oklahoma for a shot at playing for the national championship. After their 62-36 shellacking, it all seemed lost -- no national championship and no Heisman for Eric Crouch.

Eric Crouch
Eric Crouch has been the nation's best player all season.
But everything could change this Saturday. If Tennessee loses to LSU in the SEC Championship game, the BCS computers could send the Huskers to Pasadena to face Miami for the national title.

And Crouch could rightly win the Heisman in New York. Crouch's numbers in defeat (360 yards, 2 TDs) are being downplayed. His ability to take Nebraska so far is being ignored. That is why ABC Sports Online is giving its Player of the Year Award to Crouch, the leader of the Husker option.

There were a number of standouts on defense, but there was one player who stood out time and again -- Roy Williams of Oklahoma. From bone-crunching hits to key interceptions, the junior was the key playmaker that made the Sooners the most feared defense in the nation.

The season had many surprises, but none bigger than the champions of the ACC and Big 12. ABC Sports Online Coach of the Year Ralph Friedgen directed Maryland to a 10-1 record in his first season in College Park, as the Terps ended Florida State's dominance of the ACC.

Colorado started its season with a 24-22 loss at home to Fresno State. Doubters started to expect another 3-8 season in Boulder, but Gary Barnett's team bounced back, and earned ABC Sports Online's Surprise of the Year. Since an October loss to Texas, the Buffaloes have won five straight, including wins over then-No. 2 Nebraska and then-No. 3 Texas to earn a spot in the BCS and possibly the national championship game.

There were many memorable games in 2001, from the seven overtime marathon between Arkansas and Mississippi to the 1 vs. 2 showdown between Oklahoma and Nebraska. But ABC Sports Online based its selection on the Game of the Year on the game's importance. With a trip to Pasadena hanging in the balance, nothing could have matched the excitement, importance and history that were on display when Tennessee beat Florida in The Swamp for the first time in 30 years to win the SEC Eastern Division title and move within one game of reaching the national championship game. Other games of merit were Texas-Colorado and Miami-Virginia Tech.

Looking ahead to next season, ABC Sports Online's "Team to Watch" in 2002 is Florida State. With a year under their belt, Chris Rix and Adrian McPherson should be ready when Bobby Bowden opens up his offense, the receivers should be experienced and healthy, and Darnell Dockett should lead a defense that will improve greatly after a down year.

QB Eric Crouch Nebraska
RB Luke Staley BYU
RB Travis Stephens Tennessee
WR Josh Reed LSU
WR Lee Evans Wisconsin
TE Daniel Graham Colorado
OT Bryant McKinnie Miami
OG Toniu Fonoti Nebraska
C LeCharles Bentley Ohio State
OG Andre Gurode Colorado
OT Mike Pearson Florida
PK Damon Duval Auburn
All-Purpose Bernard Berrian Fresno State

DE Dwight Freeney Syracuse
DT John Henderson Tennessee
DT Wendell Bryant Wisconsin
DE Julius Peppers North Carolina
LB Rocky Calmus Oklahoma
LB E.J. Henderson Maryland
LB Robert Thomas UCLA
CB Quentin Jammer Texas
CB Phillip Buchanon Miami
S Ed Reed Miami
S Roy Williams Oklahoma
P Jeff Ferguson Oklahoma

Second Team

QB Ken Dorsey Miami
RB Bruce Perry Maryland
RB Chester Taylor Toledo
WR Jabar Gaffney Florida
WR Darius Watts Marshall
TE Jeremy Shockey Miami
OT Joaquin Gonzalez Miami
OG Antwan Kirk-Hughes Texas
C Seth McKinney Texas A&M
OG Martin Bibla Miami
OT Victor Rogers Colorado
PK Seth Marler Tulane
All-Purpose Roman Hollowell Colorado

DE Alex Brown Florida
DT William Joseph Miami
DT Alan Harper Fresno State
DE Anthony Weaver Notre Dame
LB Larry Foote Michigan
LB Levar Fisher North Carolina State
LB Ben Taylor Virginia Tech
CB Eugene Wilson Illinois
CB Keyuo Craver Nebraska
S Quentin Harris Syracuse
S Mike Doss Ohio State
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ABC Sports Online's 2001 Midseason All-America Team

ABC Sports Online's 2001 Preseason All-America Team