Record: 8-3, 6-2 Big Ten (2nd in league)
Coach: Lloyd Carr (seventh season)
Key players: WR Marquise Walker (1,043 yards, 11 TDs), QB John Navarre (2,195 yards, 17 TDs), LB Larry Foote (26 tackles for loss)
Season summary: Despite having to replace nearly every key offensive player before the season, Michigan led the Big Ten the entire season until losing two of its last three games, to rivals Michigan State and Ohio State, the Wolverines' first home loss to the Buckeyes in 14 years. The defense was mostly solid and Walker's game-breaking abilities often saved an otherwise inconsistent offense, but heading to their third Citrus Bowl in four years was not the ending Wolverines fans had in mind.
Record: 10-2, 7-2 SEC (1st in SEC East)
Coach: Phillip Fulmer (10th season)
Key players: QB Casey Clausen (64.1 percent completions, 2,969 yards), RB Travis Stephens (1,464 yards, 10 TDs), DT John Henderson (20 career sacks)
Season summary: The Vols opened the season with victories over bowl teams Syracuse, Arkansas and LSU, dropped a last-second home heartbreaker to Georgia, then proceeded to roll off seven straight wins. The last of them came in impressive fashion at Florida, a place where the Vols had not won since 1971, propelling them to the SEC East crown and into contention for the national championship. But LSU put those thoughts to rest with a 31-20 upset in the SEC championship game.