College Football Preview 2001
Message Board
Sunday, August 19
Schedule loaded with great games

By Joe Wojciechowski

The good thing is you have options. You can order the ESPN college football package. You can make friends with someone who owns a satellite dish. Better yet, you can buy your own.

With so many good games this season, you won't want to miss one. Here is a quick look at some of the best ones.

Miami at Penn State (Sept. 1). There has to be an easier first game. Larry Coker tries to score his first victory at Happy Valley as Joe Paterno goes for win 323, which would tie him with Bear Bryant in all-time I-A wins. Oh yeah, Adam Taliaferro, who overcame paralysis suffered in a game against Ohio State last season, will lead the team out of the tunnel. Think it will be an electric atmosphere?

UCLA at Alabama (Sept. 1). Two programs on the rebound meet in a huge matchup for both. Both Dennis Franchione and Bob Toledo are out to prove their Crimson Tide and Bruins are ready to return to national contender status.

Colorado State at Colorado (Sept. 1). The best team in Colorado may not be the one you think. Sunny Lubick's Rams have speed and talent to keep up with the Buffaloes, as evidenced by their two-game winning streak against CU.

Kansas State at USC (Sept. 8). Finally, K-State steps up early. The Wildcats get a test against USC, which features a new offense under coordinator Norm Chow and a different look on defense under new head coach and defensive coordinator Pete Carroll.

Eric Crouch
Eric Crouch and Nebraska have a handful of tough games, including Notre Dame.
Notre Dame at Nebraska (Sept. 8). Let's face it, Notre Dame could have -- and probably should have -- won last year's contest in South Bend. This year, though, may be tough to get payback. Nebraska looks poised to make a national title run with a healthy Eric Crouch. An upset win, though, shows last year's resurgence by the Irish was no fluke.

Penn State at Virginia (Sept. 13). This could be the game JoePa breaks Bear Bryant's record. Or it could be the game he ties it. Either way, it's worth watching.

Tennessee at Florida (Sept. 15). This has turned into one of the best rivalries in college football. The winner gets a head start on a national championship run as well as the SEC crown. Florida has won 12 of the last 15 meetings, including the last seven in The Swamp.

Washington at Miami (Sept. 15). Do the Huskies own Miami? Well, they are undefeated against the Canes (2-0). And they are the only team to beat Miami last season. And they are the ones to snap Miami's 58-game home winning streak back in 1994. Could it happen again?

Georgia Tech at FSU (Sept. 15). The Yellow Jackets think this is the year they knock off the Seminoles. They have the defense. They have Heisman candidate QB George Godsey. But is it enough to beat FSU in Tallahassee? The Seminoles have won nine straight by an average score of 36-10.

George Godsey
Georgia Tech and George Godsey are aiming for FSU.
USC at Oregon (Sept. 22). Welcome to the Pac-10, Pete Carroll. For your first conference game, you meet the favored Ducks in one of the most intimidating places to play, Autzen Stadium where Oregon owns a 20-game home win streak. Have fun.

Clemson at Georgia Tech (Sept. 29). If Florida State should stumble this season, these two teams are the likely successors. Gee, think this is a big game in the ACC?

Mississippi State at Florida (Sept. 29). Joe Lee Dunn did the impossible -- he baffled Steve Spurrier and the Florida Gators offense. The Bulldogs held Florida to minus-78 yards rushing last season in MSU's upset of the third-ranked Gators. That's the third-lowest ground output in SEC history and a MSU record. Florida's offense will be primed for revenge, but last year wasn't a fluke. The Bulldogs defense is that good.

Florida at LSU (Oct. 6). Last time Florida started the season No. 1, it was a loss at Death Valley that did them in. It's also the only time the Tigers have defeated Spurrier in his 11 years as Florida's head coach.

Oklahoma vs. Texas (Oct. 6) Think Mack Brown and Texas remember the 63-14 whipping Oklahoma laid on them last year? In a huge game as far as the national championship picture is concerned, this would be a good time for the Longhorns to show they can win the big games.

Maryland at Georgia Tech (Oct. 11). First year Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen returns to Georgia Tech, where he was offensive coordinator from 1997-2000.

Ken Dorsey
Ken Dorsey and Miami want back-to-back wins over Florida State.
Miami at Florida State (Oct. 13). The final part of a early season death march for the Hurricanes. Miami plays at Penn State, Rutgers, Washington, at Pittsburgh and Troy State before playing the Seminoles. OK, throw out Rutgers and Troy State as gimmes, but if Miami can survive this stretch of the season, it's smooth sailing until the showdown with Virginia Tech.

Florida vs. Georgia (Oct. 27). The World's Largest Cocktail party gets an extra shot of energy as Mark Richt takes over at Georgia. Richt knows Florida well from his days as offensive coordinator at FSU. Nothing would get the Richt-era a bigger boost than knocking off the Gators.

OU at Nebraska (Oct. 27). Hard to believe that just a few years ago, Nebraska was beating Oklahoma by scores of 73-21 and 69-7. Now the rivalry is back where it belongs with both schools national championship contenders.

FSU at Clemson (Nov. 3). Bowden Bowl III could have extra special meaning as Bobby could pass his idol, Bear Bryant, on the all-time wins list.

Tennessee at Notre Dame (Nov. 3). If the Vols somehow manage to get past Florida, this game could be the last roadblock for a Tennessee run to the Rose Bowl. If not, who cares. This a great matchup between two of the best programs in the country.

Kansas State at Nebraska (Nov. 10). The Wildcats have to be a little miffed they aren't lumped with Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma as national title contenders. Here's their chance to prove they belong.

Oregon at UCLA (Nov. 10). The Ducks biggest test before the Civil War.

Alabama at Auburn (Nov. 17). Like physical football? Don't miss this one. This rivalry produces some of the hardest hits of the year.

Florida State at Florida (Nov. 17). How big is this game? Six of the last eight years, the winner has gone on to play in the national championship game.

Ohio State at Michigan (Nov. 24). Jim Tressel is talking the talk about Michigan. Now, can the Buckeyes walk the walk in the Big House?

Army vs. Navy (Dec. 1). Best rivalry in college football. Enough said.

Miami at Virginia Tech (Dec. 1). Believe it or not, Virginia Tech has won five of the last six matchups. That's good news for the Hokies as the winner of this game could be heading to the Rose Bowl.

Oregon State at Oregon (Dec. 1). How big has this game become? ABC asked both teams to move the game back a few weeks to make it the national game of the week. An unusual request, considering both schools will have two weeks off before the game, but this year's Civil War should be worth it, though. It's probably the battle for the Pac-10 title and features a pair of Heisman candidates in Oregon's Joey Harrington and Oregon State's Ken Simonton.

Joe Wojciechowski is the college football editor at He can be reached at

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