Record: 7-4, 5-3 Big Ten (3rd in league)
Coach: Jim Tressel (first season)
Key players: RB Jonathan Wells (1,257 yards, 15 TDs), S Mike Doss (79 tackles, 9 for loss), CB Derek Ross (7 INTs)
Season summary: It was the epitome of up-and-down seasons for Tressel's first team. Inconsistent quarterback play from senior Steve Bellisari marked a rocky 4-3 start, including a crushing 29-27 defeat at Penn State where the Bucks blew a 27-9 lead. Then, just when Bellisari was improving -- in wins over Minnesota and Purdue -- he was suspended following a DUI arrest two days before a showdown with Illinois. OSU dropped that one, but recovered in time to shock rival Michigan 26-20 behind first-time starting QB Craig Krenzel.
Record: 8-3, 5-3 SEC (T3rd in East)
Coach: Lou Holtz (third season)
Key players: QB Phil Petty (1,699 yards, 10 TDs), RB/KR Derek Watson (1,153 all-purpose yards), S Rashad Faison (94 tackles, 9.5 for loss)
Season summary: The Gamecocks' resurgence under Holtz continued, as S.C. has gone from 0-11 in 1999 to securing consecutive bowl berths. In starting 7-1, the Gamecocks won in every conceivable way, from defensive struggles against Georgia and Mississippi State to a 37-36 shootout against Alabama. Things took a sour note with losses to Tennessee and Florida, the latter a 54-17 pasting on their home turf, but ending a four-game losing streak to rival Clemson provided redemption.