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The Top 20
William F. Reed
August 31, 1992
Will the Missile be a bigger blast than the Rocket? Will Nebraska ever win another bowl game? How long will it take SEC fans to discover that Woo Pig Sooie isn't a Chinese dish? Can the Gators win their first national title? Can anyone beat Miami?
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August 31, 1992

The Top 20

Will the Missile be a bigger blast than the Rocket? Will Nebraska ever win another bowl game? How long will it take SEC fans to discover that Woo Pig Sooie isn't a Chinese dish? Can the Gators win their first national title? Can anyone beat Miami?

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Minuses: Defensive tackle Steve Emtman decided to turn pro a year early instead of returning to see if he could score another Outland-Lombardi double as a senior. The Huskies also lost three offensive linemen to the NFL.

6. Notre Dante

Coach Lou Holtz banned reporters from the final two weeks of spring practice. One reason may have been that he didn't want it reported that he was trying Jerome Bettis, his 250-pound fullback, in a one-back set. Says Holtz, "I think that the things we do should be private." If Holtz wants privacy, he should take the New Mexico State job. Maybe he just didn't want the press to see him break in the five coaches he has hired since last season. The new defensive coaches will have to sort out a unit that could have Bryant Young, Junior Bryant and Tyler Young all in the game at the same time. However, at least in strong safety John Covington the Irish have an expert at keeping names straight. He has 19 siblings, ranging in age from nine to 37. "When I was six, I had brothers and sisters at the table that I didn't even know," Covington says. "I'd be sitting there, and someone would say, 'Who are you?' "

Pluses: Third-year starter Rick Mirer, who decided not to enter the NFL draft, does not have a howitzer arm, but he knows how to win. Bettis scored 20 TDs last fall.

Minuses: In its last four games the defense gave up a whopping 140 points, and while the coaches may be new, the personnel is the same.

7. Alabama

Has there ever been an Alabama team that finished 11-1 as quietly as last season's did? Every other lime the Tide has enjoyed that sort of year, it has been in the thick of the national title hunt. The '91 team dropped out of sight after an early 35-0 loss to Florida and then never generated a lot of excitement outside the state, in part because it was a defense-oriented outfit that scored just enough points to win. Even after beating Colorado 30-25 in the Blockbuster Bowl, Alabama finished no higher than fifth in any of the polls. In this, the 100th year of Crimson Tide football, the ghost of Bear Bryant must be grumbling.

Pluses: The defense, third in the nation last season, figures to be just as tough, because of the best pair of Antonios in the nation—London at linebacker and Langham at cornerback—and All-SEC ends John Copeland and Eric Curry. Receivers Prince Wembley and Kevin Lee are outstanding.

Minuses: Wide receiver and kick returner David Palmer, the Tide's most exciting player, was arrested for drunken driving after a traffic accident in June and has a court date this Monday. In addition, the secondary lacks depth.

8. Michigan

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