A: Yes. Led by All-America noseguard Rob Waldrop and safeties Brandon Sanders and Tony Bouie, the Wildcats have one of the nation's finest defenses. They have two other things going for them, too: a schedule on which Washington does not appear and on which the toughest nonconference game is against Illinois on the road and, more important, the fact that Washington is ineligible for the Rose Bowl.
Q: Who's going to replace I-back Derek Brown, who ran for 1,015 yards last season, now that he's carrying the ball for the Saints?
A: Calvin Jones, that's who. Brown's departure just means that there will be more opportunities for Jones, a junior who ran for 1,210 yards last year and might challenge Mike Rozier's single-season school rushing record of 2,148 yards.
Q: Will sophomore quarterback Tommy Frazier improve upon his 44% completion rate of last season?
A: Sure, if he just aims lower: Wide receivers Reggie Baul, Corey Dixon, Abdul Muhammad and Riley Washington are each 5'9" or shorter.
Q: The Huskers collapsed in the Orange Bowl, losing 27-14 to Florida State. Is there any reason to think Nebraska, which is 0-6 in bowls in the last six years, won't fold again?
A: Well, the Huskers are starting to catch up to the rest of the country. Literally. They have junked their read-and-react 5-2 defense in favor of an attacking 4-3 because, as senior linebacker Trev Alberts puts it, "you've got to be able to get from point A to point B fast." It's getting to point C (a championship), however, that has been troublesome for Nebraska.
13B. Texas A & M
Q: Is there any reason to think the Aggies, who have almost everyone back from a team that went 11-0 last fall but who have lost the last two Cotton Bowls by a combined score of 38-5, won't find themselves facing a superior team on Jan. 1 once again?