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2000 preseason magazine review

Athlon's college football preview
$5.99, 176 pages
reviewed by Wade Williams, "Mississippi Husker for Life"


Well, let me start off by saying that I don't put to much stock in preseason publications. Except for Huskers Illustrated of course. If it weren't for the fact that college football is probably the most watched and talked about sport, pro and college, most of these guys would be biding their time flying cargo loads of rubber dog doo-doo out of Hong Kong. Quite honestly, they couldn't pick their nose if they had directions.

That having been said, I have compiled a listing of everything that Athlon Sports publication is predicting, as far as how it relates to NU. So, here we go!!

First, let's start with the top five: #1. Florida State, #2. NEBRASKA, #3. Alabama, #4. Michigan, #5. Wisconsin.

Okay, first of all, let's get one thing straight! FSU is not going to repeat as champions. Their first one was the result of a couple of blown calls against Nebraska and everyone knows it too. Sure, I'm biased, but I also know that a replay verified that one of their TD's was actually a fumble that popped out around the 2 yard line and we recovered it. Instead, they gave FSU the TD. I personally don't think that FSU could have beaten Nebraska last year. So, not counting FSU, that leaves Nebraska, Alabama, Michigan, and Wisconsin from the top 5. Alabama is over-rated and their coach is not that good! Michigan didn't deserve the share of the title they received in '97 and certainly won't get it done this year. And Wisconsin? Absolutely not! I really think that Nebraska will go undefeated. Their question mark will be, can the defense be as good as last year or at least be good enough to hold opponents to 21 or fewer points. I don't see anybody being able to keep the Huskers from hanging 30 points on them, unless they get help in the form of turnovers.

Athlon's acknowledged FSU as "The Team of the Decade," going 109-13-1, even though they play in the basketball dominated ACC (Astonishingly Crappy Conference). Other than Conference USA and the Big East, this has got to be one of the all-time worst conferences ever assembled. I think FSU made a deal with the devil to get into that conference. However, Athlon's did have the decency to acknowledge that Nebraska went 103-20 in the '80s, followed by 108-16-1 in the '90s, thus becoming the first ever team to win 100 or more games in two consecutive decades.

As far as the Heisman Trophy goes, Eric Crouch did not even get mentioned. They predict that Michael Vick will begin the season as the favorite but to watch out for Chris Weinke of FSU and Drew Brees of Purdue. Their outside favorite is Deuce McAllister of Ole Miss, or Univ. of Mississippi, whichever you prefer. I live in Mississippi and Ole Miss is my second favorite team. Deuce McAllister will not win the Heisman!! Basically, he would have to run for about 2,500 yards and the team would have to go undefeated. That simply isn't going to happen. They do have a shot at being 6-0 going into the Alabama game, but somehow they will find a way to screw that up, they always do! I think Crouch could have a resonable chance because he is going to be on national TV against the beloved Fighting Irish. If he has a huge game there, he will be in the top 3. However, to win it, he would probably need to run and pass for 1,000 yards each on the season and have his team heading for a date in Miami in January.

#1 on Athlon's list of Top Ten Questions For the 2000 Season: Who will play in the Orange Bowl for the national championship? They say that Florida State and Nebraska would be a good place to start. Hmmmm, I agree!

Under the heading, "Wouldn't Wanna Be": Craig Bohl - Replaces Charlie McBride as defensive coordinator at Nebraska after McBride had been there for 23 years, 18 as the DC.

Athlon's opinion of the Notre Dame vs. Nebraska game: Well, they have Nebraska pegged to win of course. Stating that "the game against Nebraska could be Men Against Boys."

Athlon's All-America Team: Nebraskans on the First Team: OL Dominic Raiola, P Dan Hadenfelt, PR Bobby Newcombe. Nebraskans on the Second Team: TE Tracy Wistrom, LB Carlos Polk. Nebraskans on the Third Team: NONE!! WHAT?? Excuse me, but Eric Crouch and Bobby Newcombe deserve to be at least Third Team All-Americans. Particularly considering that they put Newcombe on the Second Team as a punt returner. The guy is an athlete, we just don't throw that much. What a shame!! As far as Crouch goes, I would have at least put him ahead of Weinke on the Third Team. Yeah, I know, FSU won the title last year. But this guy already has gray hair (28 yrs. old), can't run worth a lick, and is an average passer at best. When and if FSU plays anybody capable of putting immense pressure on the QB (hopefully Nebraska in the Orange Bowl), then this guy will quickly become a major liability.

Recruiting!! Athlon's Top 10 classes of 2000: 1. Florida, 2. Tennessee, 3. Florida State, 4. Alabama, 5. Penn State, 6. Ohio State, 7. Texas, 8. NEBRASKA, 9. Michigan State, 10. Auburn

Out of the Top 100 players in the country according to them, NU signed two. They actually had three listed but that was because, just like Street & Smith's, they had Adrian Mayes (#68), DB out of Houston, signing with the Huskers. For more than one publication to get that wrong is surprising to me. These magazines were obviously going on his verbal commitment at press time. The other two players were #42 Jason Richenberger, LB 6'1" 200, out of Liberty, MO, & #47 Chris Septak, TE 6'4" 245, out of Omaha, NE.

Within the Big XII, they give the Longhorns credit for the #1 recruiting class, followed by the Huskers. Stating, "The Cornhuskers always seem to have big-play, physical tight ends and Chris Septak will carry on the tradition. Also coming on board are linebackers Ira Cooper and Jason Richenberger. Keep an eye on cover corner Lornell McPherson."

The rest of the conference, in order, went like this: #3 Oklahoma, #4 Colorado, #5 Texas A&M, #6 Kansas, #7 Oklahoma State, #8 Missouri, #9 Kansas State, #10 Baylor, #11 Iowa State, #12 Texas Tech.

For the Class of 2001, they have a running back out of Lincoln, NE listed. It does not really say what this list is, so I'm assuming it's a keep-your-eye-on type of list. Anyway, this kid is listed as 5'10" and 185 lbs. And, unless this is some sort of drastic typo, his name is Nanfwang Mutfwang. Too bad Harry Carry is not still alive. I would like to have seen him try to pronounce that one.

Fewest hurdles to clear: Athlon lists the schools predicted to have two or fewer key games to win in order to finish the season undefeated:

Nebraska 9 2 Oklahoma, Kansas State
Texas 9 2 Oklahoma, Texas A&M
Va. Tech 10 2 Miami, Virginia
Florida State 10 2 Miami, Florida
Washington 9 2 Colorado, Oregon
Alabama 10 1 Tennessee
Georgia 9 2 Tennesse, Florida
TCU 10 1 SMU
(Nebraska, Texas, Alabama, & Georgia must
also clear the conference championship game hurdle.)

Last and least: The worst team in Division I for the 2000 season, according to Athlon's, is Connecticut.

Unfortunately, this edition of Athlon's happens to be the SEC magazine. But hey, that's what you get when you live in the deep south. I hope this has been informative to you, and GO BIG REDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!