OSU Primed To Go Wire-To-Wire

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,

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    Forum: Will Ohio St. win it all?

  • though, will be a toughie -- against Michigan, which is 8-1-1 against Ohio State the past 10 years.

    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.

    No Faith

    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).

    Remember us?

    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.


    "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.

    Extra points

  • No. 3 UCLA, which travels to No. 10 Arizona on Saturday, last won in Tucson in 1988. The last time two Pac-10 teams ranked in the Top 10 met was Oct. 19, 1991, when No. 3 Washington beat No. 7 Cal 24-17.
  • The Bowl Championship Series is reconsidering the release date of its first poll -- the one that eventually determines which teams play in the Fiesta Bowl, the BCS' designated national title game, on Jan. 4. The original release date was Nov. 17, but now it looks as if the poll will be released Oct. 27 or Nov. 3.
  • Virginia Tech, at Boston College on Thursday night, is trying to open a season 5-0 for the first time since 1967.
  • Former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler was chosen as the 1999 Amos Alonzo Stagg award winner for his contributions to college football. The award, given by the American Football Coaches Association, will be presented during the NCAA convention in Nashville, Tenn., on Jan. 10-13.
  • Syracuse has lost to a team frothe state of North Carolina the past four years -- to North Carolina State last week and in '97, to North Carolina in '96 and to East Carolina in '95.
  • Nebraska quarterback Bobby Newcombe, still bothered by a slightly torn knee ligament, will have limited practice this week and coach Frank Solich says the sophomore is a "little questionable." Newcombe missed two games earlier this season and was not effective running the option in a 24-17 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday.
  • Columbia's 20-17 win against St. Mary's in Moraga, Calif., marked the Lions' first game on the West coach since beating Stanford 7-0 in the 1934 Rose Bowl.

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