1. OHIO STATE (3-0) DID NOT PLAY
No matter the ranking or talent, no season is as easy as 1-2-3 for a John Cooper-coached team. The Buckeyes lost all three of their key matchups last season--at Penn State, at Michigan and in the Sugar Bowl against Florida State. Next: Penn State.
2. NEBRASKA (4-0) BEAT WASHINGTON, 55-7
The Cornhuskers have long memories. Washington was the last team to defeat Nebraska at Lincoln on Sept. 21, 1991. DeAngelo Evans, who had not played since 1996, remembered where the end zone was with three touchdowns. Next: Oklahoma State
3. UCLA (2-0) DID NOT PLAY
Cancellation of the Miami game because of Hurricane Georges gave the Bruins extra study time for their conference opener. New Washington State quarterback Paul Mencke is a Ryan Leaf-like 6-feet-5, 230 pounds. Next: Washington State.
4. TENNESSEE (3-0) BEAT HOUSTON, 42-7
Take note, UCLA players and coaching staff of Houston Coach Kim Helton's comments: "Tennessee is a good, hard-nosed and clean team. They're a lot tougher than UCLA. Tennessee was very physical up front." Next: At Auburn.
5. KANSAS STATE (4-0) BEAT NE LOUISIANA, 62-7
Wildcat Coach Bill "No Mercy" Snyder pulled quarterback Michael Bishop with 11 minutes left and Kansas State clinging to a 48-7 lead. Did Snyder know Bishop was 43 yards short of a school passing record? You be the judge. Next: At Colorado (Oct. 10).
6. LOUISIANA STATE (3-0) BEAT IDAHO, 53-20
Kevin Faulk scored four touchdowns and, with 268 all-purpose yards, moved into third in the Southeastern Conference in that category behind Georgia's Herschel Walker and Auburn's James Brooks. Next: Georgia.
7. PENN STATE (3-0) DID NOT PLAY
Is this a magical season for the Nittany Lions? Coach Joe Paterno has already notched his 300th victory, so what's next? Big Ten championship? National championship? OK, let's not get carried away. Next: Ohio State.
8. FLORIDA (3-1) BEAT KENTUCKY, 51-35
Hey, who's running the Fun 'N Gun offense anyway? Kentucky's Tim Couch is 40 for 61 for 406 yards and three touchdowns but Florida's Doug Johnson does more (five touchdowns) with less (13 for 23 for 230 yards). Next: At Alabama.
9. WASHINGTON (2-1) LOST TO NEBRASKA, 55-7
The Huskies were supposed to swagger into Lincoln, Neb., and uphold the honor of the Pacific 10. Instead they were driven out on a rail, shamed with their worst defeat since 1975. Next: Arizona.
10. FLORIDA STATE (3-1) BEAT USC, 30-10
Seminole fans at Tallahassee weren't chanting, "You give me fever" watching 13-for-31 passing of Chris Weinke, one of 10 Florida State players whose practice time was limited by nausea caused by the dreaded Duke virus. Next: At Maryland.
11. VIRGINIA (4-0) BEAT DUKE, 24-0
The defense pitched another shutout but the Cavaliers needed a home run in the form of a 59-yard touchdown run on a broken pass play by Hammerin' Aaron Brooks to get some breathing room against the Blue Dev(ills). Next: San Jose State.
12. SYRACUSE (2-1) DID NOT PLAY
What's this? The Orangemen starting October with a 2-1 record? Well, Syracuse--a traditionally slooooow starter--is actually a last-second field goal away from possibly being unbeaten, which would have really been novel. Next: N. Carolina St. on Thur.
13. GEORGIA (3-0) DID NOT PLAY
Just think, Bulldog quarterback Quincy Carter could have been in left field for the Chicago Cubs instead of Brant Brown. Well, probably not as he batted .215 and .211 in two minor league seasons. That's why he's at Georgia. Next: At Louisiana State.
14. WISCONSIN (4-0) BEAT NORTHWESTERN, 38-7
Variety is the spice of the Badgers' life. They scored touchdowns by the run, the pass, and fumble and punt returns, and graciously allowed Northwestern a touchdown with four seconds left, ending a streak of 13 scoreless quarters. Next: At Indiana.
15. COLORADO (3-0) PLAYED BAYLOR
Next: At Oklahoma.
16. ARIZONA (4-0) BEAT SAN DIEGO ST., 35-16 (THURS.)
No knocks yet on Wildcat Coach Dick Tomey's two-quarterback system, which seems to draw criticism everywhere else it's used It might have something to do with the distinct styles of Throwin' Ortege Jenkins and Runnin' Keith Smith. Next: At Washington.
17. TEXAS A&M; (2-2) BEAT NORTH TEXAS, 28-9
You can't credit the Aggies for much of an effort in this one as they barely shook off the effects of a forfeited game and loss of star running back D'Andre Hardman, who was declared academically ineligible earlier in the week.Next: At Kansas.
18. USC (3-1) LOST TO FLORIDA STATE, 30-10
Perhaps Doogie Howser, M.D., should have been brought in to see what was ailing the Trojan passing attack, which produced only 23 yards. Even Reggie Perry could hang in there for more yardage than that. Next: Arizona State.
19. WEST VIRGINIA (2-1) BEAT TULSA, 44-21
Are those whispers of "Heisman Trophy candidate" coming out of Morgantown, W.Va.? Famous Amos Zereoue ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns to upgrade his status. Next: At Navy.
20. OREGON (4-0) BEAT STANFORD, 63-28
The Ducks are looking a lot like the San Francisco 49ers. Akili Smith, like Steve Young, has a lot of targets, and Reuben Droughns is rumbling like Garrison Hearst. Too bad Oregon doesn't play in NFC West. Next: At Washington State (Oct. 10).
21. VIRGINIA TECH (4-0) BEAT PITTSBURGH, 27-7
Safety Nick Sorenson was pressed into service at quarterback when the Hokies' Nos. 1 and 2 were unable to play. Sorenson needs some forward thinking though: he had minus-two yards rushing, minus-one passing.Next: At Boston College (Oct. 8).
22. ALABAMA (2-1) LOST TO ARKANSAS, 42-6
Whoa Nellie, what happened to Alabama and Shaun Alexander at Fayetteville, Ark.? Alexander had five touchdowns against BYU and 204 yards rushing against Vanderbilt, but was held to 48 yards in 21 carries. Next: Florida.
23. AIR FORCE (3-1) LOST TO TEXAS CHRISTIAN, 35-34
The Falcons blew a 31-20 lead at Fort Worth, Texas, and their air attack, piloted by Blane Morgan, couldn't get off the ground in the fourth quarter. After both teams scored 69 points in the first 50 minutes, neither could score in the final 10. Next: New Mexico.
24. NOTRE DAME (2-1) BEAT PURDUE, 31-30
Irish are indeed back in the Driver's seat. Tony Driver, who left school two weeks ago when upset over being moved from running back to safety, had two fourth-quarter interceptions, one setting up a game-deciding field goal.Next: Stanford.
25. MISSOURI (2-1) DID NOT PLAY
Quarterback Corby Jones criticized the Missouri coaching staff's play-calling in a loss to Ohio State last week after serving as a human tackling dummy for Andy Katzenmoyer and Co. Larry Smith unimaginative? Come on. Next: Northwestern State.