61. Iowa State
If coach Jim Walden doesn't deliver a winning season in '94 with 19 starters returning, he may not be returning in '95. Will Walden's triple-option offense, the nation's 11th-best rushing attack last year, be enough to save his job? It just might.
62. South Carolina
Rookie coach Brad Scott, who left his job as offensive coordinator at Florida State to take over the Gamecocks, will open up the attack. Though he doesn't have a Charlie Ward to run his offense, Scott does have a newly aerodynamic Steve Taneyhill, who has cut off his famous ponytail—at Scott's request.
63. Washington State
The Cougars ended '92 ranked No. 15 in the country. They ended '93 ranked No. 6 in the Pac-10—and that was with the Pa-louse Posse, the ninth-best defense in the nation. This year the Posse has lost its leader; defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer ran off to become a Cowboy.
64. New Mexico State
After quarterback Cody Ledbetter was sacked 19 times last year, coaches imported six beefy juco linemen to protect him—the line now averages 300 pounds. Another improvement: Only three starters return off a defense that ranked 96th in '93.
65. Utah State
Since returning from a Mormon mission in early 1992, defensive tackle Dave Balls has tried to intimidate foes by painting black grease circles around his eyes. More intimidating, however, is fleet-footed junior Profail Grier, who rushed for 947 yards in '93, even though he didn't break into the starting lineup until Game 5.
Say what you will about this downtrodden program, but if 59-year-old coach Johnny Majors can still inspire players by turning his hat backward, jumping into a blocking drill and yelling, "Now come at me," can improvement be far off? Remember, in his previous stint at Pitt, Majors took over a 1-10 team and four years later won the national championship.
67. Ball State
To celebrate last year's MAC title, coach Paul Schudel and his players participated in an on-campus symphonic tribute to the state of Indiana's adopted son, Knute Rockne. Schudel, who once crooned in Carnegie Hall with Muncie's Master-works Chorale, is hoping for a stirring encore from the league's 1993 freshman of the year, running back Michael Blair.
68. San Diego State
The Aztecs finished '93 by allowing a total of 196 points in four straight losses. Their biggest loss, though, came in April when running back Marshall Faulk left for the NFL. New coach Ted Tollner's post-Marshall plan: a no-huddle scheme that highlights talented quarterback Tim Gutierrez (3,033 yards passing last year).
New coach Larry Smith has inherited a defense that has been the Big Eight's worst in each of the last four years and an offense that has been outrushed in each of the last five. Nonetheless Smith insists these Tigers can win this year. Say the fans: Show me.
Two important team members make their debuts this season: sophomore quarterback Troy DeGar and mascot Captain 'Cane. DeGar saw action on special teams last year but has never taken a snap in a college game. As for the good Captain, Tulsa hasn't seen anything like it since Huffy the Storm Cloud was sacked four years ago. Says athletic department spokesman Don Tomkalski, "When you're the Golden Hurricane, it takes awhile to figure out what your mascot is."