Ohio State is on a steady course to become the first No. 1 team to go wire-to-wire in The Associated Press' Top 25 college football poll.
Since the AP initiated the preseason poll in 1950, no team -- not even Nebraska -- started on top, stayed there through the regular season and finished as national champion.
The Cornhuskers came closest, holding the No. 1 spot opening the 1983 season before losing to Miami 31-30 in the 1984 Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes finished No. 1.
There were three other near misses:
- In '93, Florida State was No. 1 from the start until a loss to Notre Dame on Nov. 13. A week later, the Seminoles regained the top spot and held it the rest of the way for their first national title.
- In 1972, Nebraska was the preseason No. 1, but Southern California moved into the top spot in the first week and held it all season.
- In 1971, Notre Dame was the preseason No. 1, but Nebraska took over in the first week and held it the rest of the way.
This season, the Buckeyes (4-0) have beaten three Top 25 teams and their next six opponents have a combined record of 13-15. The regular-season finale,
Even the coach is confident his team won't let down.
"We've never had a problem with the work ethic of the players," Cooper said. "I don't know of many games we've gone in overlooking somebody. We haven't lost many games where we've been favord to win."
The Buckeyes, though, may want to beware of 36-point underdog Illinois on Saturday as they try to remain No. 1 for a seventh consecutive poll. In 1970, the Buckeyes were No. 1 for seven polls before the Illini beat them 48-29.
And then there's Michigan, which takes great joy in spoiling Buckeye seasons.
In 1969, Ohio State was No. 1 for the first 10 polls, but lost to Michigan 24-12 and Texas ended up winning the national title.
A few weeks ago, after Missouri was beaten 35-14 by No. 1 Ohio State, Tigers coach Larry Smith was asked why his team attempted only 11 passes. Smith's answer? No confidence in the passing game.
Vanderbilt coach Woody Widenhofer took the "no faith" approach a step further last Saturday when he sent out his field goal kicker on the first play of overtime against Texas Christian. John Markham's 42-yard attempt was blocked, and TCU won in the second OT, 19-16.
"I made the final decision to go with John because the first thing I wanted was no turnovers," Widenhofer said.
The Commodores (0-4) are last in the SEC in scoring and total offense, averaging 7.3 points per game and just 202.9 yards per game (that's 3.3 yards per play).
Southern California coach Paul Hackett will run into lots of familiar faces when his 19th-ranked Trojans play California on Saturday .
During Hackett's three years as quarterbacks/receivers coach with the San Francisco 49ers (1983-85), Cal coach Tom Holmoe was playing safety and assistant Mike Wilson was a wide receiver.
When Hackett was the pass offense coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys (1986-88), Cal assistant Doug Cosbie played tight end.
Quoting"She's probably out for the season." -- South Carolina coach Brad Scott upon learning his wife, Daryle, broke her left ankle and sprained her right ankle leaving the stands after the Gamecocks' 30-28 loss to Mississippi.
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