Offense: QB--Danny Wuerffel, Florida. RB--Stephen Davis, Auburn; Mike Alstott, Purdue. WR--Keyshawn Johnson, USC; Derrick Mayes, Notre Dame. OL--Jason Odom, Florida; Bryan Stoltenberg, Colorado; Jonathan Odgen, UCLA; Aaron Graham, Nebraska; Willie Anderson, Auburn. TE--Marco Battaglia, Rutgers.
Defense: DL--Marcus Jones, North Carolina; Tedy Bruschi, Arizona; Cedric Jones, Oklahoma; Daryl Gardener, Baylor. LB--Simeon Rice, Illinois; Randall Godfrey, Georgia; Kevin Hardy, Illinois. DB--Aaron Beasley, West Virginia; Lawyer Milloy, Washington; Ronde Barber, Virginia; Matt Stevens, Appalachian State.
K--Remy Hamilton, Michigan. P--Brad Maynard, Ball State.
After years of remodeling, the Bob Villas of the bowl system have put away their tools and unveiled the closest possible thing to a national playoff. Gone are the automatic conference champion tie-ins that gave us such thrilling matchups as USC vs. Texas Tech. Instead, the major bowls revised the selection process by using the time-honored "highest bidder" principle.
"God, motherhood and the American way," is how one bowl executive director described the bidding, which was won by the Fiesta Bowl.
Under the new system, the Fiesta chooses two teams from a list of conferences that includes the Southeastern, the Atlantic Coast, the Southwest, the Big Eight, the Big East, the Pacific 10 and the Big Ten, as well as independent Notre Dame. The catch: With the Pac-10 and Big Ten champions committed to the Rose Bowl through 2001, only the No. 2 teams from those two conferences are available for the alliance.
The Orange Bowl drafts third and fifth, and the Sugar Bowl drafts fourth and sixth.
In 1997, the Sugar gets the first two picks and the Orange gets them in 1998.
"It allows matchups to be made that have never been made before," said John Junker, executive director of the Fiesta Bowl.
The Rose Bowl remains the Alliance's biggest worry. If, say, USC and Penn State finish the regular season ranked No. 1 and 2--and it's possible they will--they go to Pasadena and the Fiesta is stuck paying $24 million to the Alliance for a game no one cares about.
Big East--Virginia Tech
Big Ten--Penn State
Dates to Remember
September--(2) Michigan at Illinois, Colorado at Wisconsin, Miami at UCLA, Florida State vs. Duke; (9) Colorado State at Colorado, UCLA at Brigham Young; (16) Tennessee at Florida, Washington at Ohio State, Oregon at UCLA; (23) Miami at Virginia Tech, Texas at Notre Dame, Texas A&M at Colorado; (30) Colorado at Oklahoma, Wisconsin at Penn State.
October--(5) Mississippi State at Auburn; (7) Miami at Florida State, (14) Florida at Auburn, Oklahoma vs. Texas; (21) USC at Notre Dame, (28) Boston College at Notre Dame, Nebraska at Colorado.
November--(2) Florida State at Virginia; (9) Texas A&M at Rice; (18) UCLA at USC, Alabama at Auburn; (24) Oklahoma at Nebraska; (25) Florida State at Florida.
December--(2) SEC Championship, Army vs. Navy, Texas at Texas A&M.
Exotic Bowl Venue
For the first time in NCAA history, an international bowl game has been certified by the Special Events Committee. Beginning Jan. 1, 1997, the Haka Bowl will be played in Aukland, New Zealand. The Haka folks, not knowing any better, will happily agree to Arkansas State vs. Akron matchup.
Ohio State and Notre Dame haven't played each other since 1936, which explains why, at last count, seven companies have been licensed to sell t- shirts for the Irish's Sept. 30 trip to Columbus.
If a t-shirt isn't enough, a southern California firm is selling CD-ROMs featuring the Buckeyes and the Irish.
Given the choice between a dinner of green flies or attending a gender equity seminar, college football coaches would choose the insect feast.
The obvious candidates: Florida's Wuerffel, Auburn's Davis, USC's Johnson, Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, Notre Dame quarterback Ron Powlus, Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell, Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning.
The not-so obvious: Illinois' Rice, Colorado quarterback Koy Detmer, Texas Christian quarterback Max Knake.
History isn't in Rice's favor. The closest a defensive player ever got to winning the Heisman was in 1980, when Pittsburgh's Hugh Green finished second to South Carolina running back George Rogers.
A list of teams serving time in the NCAA big house:
Auburn--on probation until Nov. 11, but eligible for TV and bowl game.
Mississippi--on probation until Sept, 30, 1998, and ineligible for TV and bowl game.
Oklahoma State--on probation until Jan. 5, 1996, but eligible for TV and bowl game.
Pittsburgh--on probation until Nov. 23, but eligible for TV and bowl game.
Texas A&M--on probation until Jan. 6, 1999, but eligible for TV and bowl game.