51. Fresno State
Eight starters are gone from a 39-points-per-game attack, including Trent Dilfer, the nation's top-rated passer. Sophomore Adrian Claiborne replaces him, but he has attempted only nine career passes, and his backup, Richie Donati, has thrown one. It was incomplete.
52. Texas Tech
Eight starters are gone from the SWC's top offense, and of the quarterback hopefuls, Sone Cavazos has the most experience: one junior varsity game. The biggest loss is running back Bam Morris, last year's Division I-A scoring leader, who is now a Steeler. The biggest gain is freshman Byron Hanspard, who might one day be as good as Morris.
One era of Hawkeye football is starting, another may be ending. Redshirt freshman Tavian Banks, the best running back to come out of Iowa since Roger Craig, begins his career. If the Hawkeyes finish closer to Northwestern than to Michigan in the Big Ten, coach Hayden Fry's 16th season in Iowa City could be his last.
Wait a minute, isn't this type of football prohibited in the Big Ten? One coach described the Gophers' wide-open offense—tabbed Air Wacker after third-year coach Jim Wacker—as "just like a three-ring circus, only crazier." Minnesota, the only team to beat Wisconsin last year, threw the ball 500 times in '93, and in the process rewrote a good portion of the school record book.
The fall is sure to be less exciting than the summer. On July 12 coach Billy Brewer was fired. On Aug. 16 Ole Miss admitted to several NCAA rules violations. Interim coach Joe Lee Dunn, the Rebels' defensive coordinator since 1992, has restored calm. Dunn is a popular guy, and there's no reason to think the team won't do as well under him as it did under Brewer.
56. Louisiana State
Blue Bayou: Would-be quarterback and savior Josh Booty decided to play for the Florida Marlins instead of enrolling at LSU. The one beneficiary is junior quarterback Jamie Howard, who will seek to avoid becoming known as the man Booty would have replaced. Still, the Tigers have some weapons, especially flanker Eddie Kennison, but the defense allowed an average of 28 points a game last year.
57. Southwestern Louisiana
The most improved team in Division I-A last season, the Ragin' Cajuns won six more games than they did in '92. The defense was excellent and should be again with free safety Orlanda Thomas, whose nine interceptions last fall led the nation.
If the Wildcats can find a competent quarterback to replace Pookie Jones, who gave up his final year of eligibility to play baseball in the Rockies' organization, they could end up in a bowl. One candidate is junior Antonio O'Ferral, who, with Jones injured last year, led Kentucky to two key victories.
The Cardinals' hopes for a new stadium are dying in the bluegrass, as plans for construction have been put on hold. An artist's rendering of the stadium graced the cover of the '93 media guide, but it wasn't the first time the guide was...uh, premature. Printed on the 1990 cover: "Our program is on a collision course with the national championship...."
New coach Rick Minter should have no trouble motivating his team. After 43 years without a bowl appearance, the Bearcats finished 8-3 and hoped for a bid to the Independence Bowl. Instead the invitation went to Indiana—their opponent in this year's season opener.