August 17, 1999
It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 months since the Vols won the first BCS National Championship on a soft desert evening in Tempe, Arizona. Luckily, VHS tape recordings of the Fiesta Bowl will live on forever. Big orange nation has been getting jiggy with it all spring and summer. But time waits for no man, and it’s time to look ahead to the next college football season preview.
1. Tennessee – QB Tee Martin is returning, and Coach Phillip Fulmer is locked in for the foreseeable future. I would bet my Nintendo 64 that this is the beginning of a dynasty.
2. Florida State – Some have the Seminoles ranked higher, but I don’t know if QB Chris Weinke will be ready to play at full speed. That puts a lot of pressure on Coach Bobby Bowden and Offensive Coordinator Mark Richt.
3. Penn State – Joe Paterno and LB LaVar Arrington will easily win the Big 10 and play in a BCS Bowl Game.
4. Nebraska – The Cornhuskers have potential, but are we sure QB Erich Crouch shouldn’t be playing WR?
5. Arizona – Not a lot of buzz around this roster but that’s good. Let the Wildcats fly under the radar and prove the naysayers wrong.
6. Florida – This seems too high for me. Coach Steve Spurrier will get embarrassed by Tennessee in the swamp on the third Saturday in September.
7. Texas A&M – The shutout in the Alamo Bowl by Penn State hurt but only Y2K can stop the Aggies from winning the Alamo Bowl this year.
8. Miami – Santana Moss, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Clinton Portis. Plus, the triumvirate of coaching: Butch Davis, Larry Coker, Greg Schiano. This team is going places.
9. Michigan – WR Marcus Knight makes this team better, including QB Tom Brady.
10. Wisconsin – RB Ron Dayne might have some potential. Remains to be seen.
11. Ohio State – WR Ken-Yon Rambo has the best college football name since Major Applewhite.
12. Georgia Tech – Love the wishbone offense, but this year navigating the ACC will be as tough as the movie Fight Club.
13. UCLA – Sure we lost Cade Mcknown and a 20-game win streak. But Drew Bennett is a QB built for the NFL. It’s not like we’ll never go to another Rose Bow ever again, right? Right?
14. Virginia Tech – QB Michael Vick is a human cheat code. Only Coach Frank Beamer can slow him down.
15. Georgia – Quincy Carter deserves to be in the same conversation as Michael Vick. The Dogs are also lucky to have Coach Jim Donnan around for many years to come.
16. Colorado – Watch out the matchup against their old coach Rick Neuheisel in Washington on September 25.
17. Texas – This isn’t Varsity Blues and QB Chris Simms won’t be able to run an Oop-Dee-Oop formation in the Big 12.
18. Notre Dame – Tough schedule with some potential landmines.
19. USC – QB Carson Palmer has his work cut out for him with this team. The Trojans need to hurry up and promote Hue Brown from Offensive Coordinator to Head Coach.
20. Alabama – This Tide team has a lot of potential. But it’s the highwater mark for Alabama football. The glory days are over, and they need to accept the new reality.
21. Kansas State – I don’t know how much longer Bill Snyder will be coaching but hopefully he can lead the Wildcats at least a few more years.
22. Purdue – QB Drew Brees is lucky to have Jim Chaney has an Offensive Coordinator. Hopefully last year wasn’t a fluke.
23. Arkansas – Houston Nutt is the right man to coach the Razorbacks.
24. Virginia – Tough schedule, but the Cavaliers will be alright. They will once and for all prove Virginia is a football school.
25. Marshall – QB Chad Pennington is gone and there is no way his successor Byron Leftwich will be able to top last season’s 11-1 record.
Sure Woodstock 99 was a disaster, Seinfeld is over, and Michael Jordan has retired for the final time. But college football is here to close out the millennium with a bang. ESPN GamePlan has been ordered, my CD Discman is loaded with Dave Matthews Band, and as long as nobody picks up the phone, I have connection to the world with dial-up internet.
Pat Benson has been a sideline reporter, P.A. announcer, and radio personality. Tweet him @Pat_Benson_Jr