This is a place where a pair of monument-sized guards, 320-pound Stacy Seegars and 287-pound Jeff Fortner, receive the same sort of adulation accorded quarterbacks and wide receivers. The Tigers are so old-fashioned that they pass only when necessary and believe that defense is still the most important part of the game. It will be interesting to see if Florida State's presence in the ACC forces the Tigers to pass more.
Six starters return from the unit that finished fourth in the nation in total defense and first against the rush.
There are big-play guys in receivers Terry Smith and Larry Ryans and runner Rodney Blunt, but coach Ken Hatfield is loath to turn them loose.
The Cornhuskers wound up in the Top 10 in at least one of the major polls every year from 1970 through '88, but now Nebraska is working on a stretch of three consecutive finishes in the second 10. Both Washington and Oklahoma are road games, and the second Pac-10 opponent, Arizona State, is stronger than in past years.
Derek Brown and Calvin Jones give Nebraska a potent one-two punch at I-back. Wide receiver Tyrone Hughes should be a high draft choice.
Coach Tom Osborne won't decide on his starting quarterback until the opener against Utah on Sept. 5.
18. Mississippi State
Last year, in his first season in Starkville, coach Jackie Sherrill turned the downtrodden Bulldogs into a 7-5 team. This year long-suffering State fans have reason to expect even more improvement, with a wide-open passing game in the offing.