Quick Counts

College Football '05

The Nation

September 01, 2005|By DON MARKUS | DON MARKUS,SUN STAFF

5 games that will determine the national championship

Texas at Ohio State, Sept. 10. The first meeting between these traditional powers could be a major hurdle for the Longhorns and a major coup for the Buckeyes, who have to play at Michigan later in the season.

USC at Notre Dame, Oct. 15. The only trip east for the defending national champion shouldn't be that big an obstacle given what has transpired the past three years, but stranger things have happened in the shadow of the Golden Dome.

Louisville at West Virginia, Oct. 15. The Cardinals should get all the way to a BCS game in their first season in the Big East if they get by the Mountaineers in Morgantown.

Georgia vs. Florida, Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 29. The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, as this annual affair at the Gator Bowl is called, has more than a few margaritas riding on it.

Miami at Virginia Tech, Nov. 5. If both teams win their openers - the Hurricanes play at Florida State and the Hokies are at North Carolina State - this meeting in Blacksburg should determine half of the ACC title game.

5 coaches on the hot seat

Bill Callahan, Nebraska. His first season in Lincoln was a bust. If things don't get turned around in a hurry, Cornhuskers fans might be calling for Frank Solich to return.

Joe Paterno, Penn State. JoPa's No. 2 behind Bobby Bowden in all-time victories, but the team's woeful offense has to crank up under second-year coordinator Galen Hall for Happy Valley to live up to its name.

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina. Coach Superior hasn't even thrown a visor yet, and things are getting a little testy for the Ol' Ball Coach. Wait until the games start and the Gamecocks show how bad they really are.

Mark Mangino, Kansas. This former Oklahoma assistant was supposed to be The Fridge of the Big 12, but a slow start and some off-field problems in the program have put him on thin ice with AD Lew Perkins.

Charlie Weis, Notre Dame. It's no different for the former offensive genius of the New England Patriots than it was for Tyrone Willingham. The honeymoon could end in a hurry considering the team's ridiculous schedule.

5 players to watch for the Heisman Trophy

Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma. The sophomore tailback should have won the award as a freshman last season - isn't it for the best football player in the country? - and could be hard to deny this year.

Matt Leinart, Southern California. The senior quarterback has some hurdles to overcome to repeat as winner: He's recovering from elbow surgery and lost offensive genius Norm Chow.

Reggie Bush, Southern California. Leinart won the Heisman, but Bush was voted the team's Most Valuable Player. That might have been his consolation prize. This year the junior do-everything back could get both.

Brian Brohm, Louisville. No longer having to back up or share the quarterback job with Stefan LeFors, this talented sophomore could accumulate huge numbers in the watered-down Big East.

Mathias Kiwanuka, Boston College. Coming over from the Big East to the quarterback-challenged ACC could be all "The Freak" needs to get Heisman voters to cast their ballots for the 6-foot-7, 260-pound senior defensive end.

5 players with big shoes to fill

Jason Avant, Michigan. A possession receiver who had 38 catches last season, including 30 for first down, the senior will have to get help to make up for the numbers of Braylon Edwards, last year's Biletnikoff Award winner.

Tre Smith, Auburn. After sitting out last season with a medical redshirt, this junior tailback has to help compensate for the departure of two first-round draft picks, Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown.

Selvin Young, Texas. After watching his sophomore year end with a broken ankle in the second game last season, the tailback hopes to finally live up to the hype. The only Longhorn to ever score on a punt return and a kickoff return in the same game, he could follow Cedric Benson as the next great running back in Austin.

Brian Johnson, Utah. Not only will the sophomore quarterback have to follow No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith, but he also has a new coach, Kyle Whittingham, taking over for Urban Meyer.

Nate Longshore, California. This redshirt freshman beat out JuCo All-American Joe Ayoob for the job to replace Aaron Rodgers. Longshore, who is 6 feet 5, 225 pounds, ran the scout team last year.

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