HEAD COACH: Jim Tressel
Reggie Germany-WR, Mike Gurr-OG, Tam Hopkins-OG, Henry Fleming-OT, Derek Combs-TB, Ken-Yon Rambo-WR, Dan Stultz-K, Vanness Provitt-WR, Chad Cacchio-WR
DEFENSIVE KEY LOSSES: Rodney Bailey-DE, Ryan Pickett-DT, Brent Johnson-DE, Nate Clements-CB, David Mitchell-CB

It took 15 days to name a coaching replacement for John Cooper, who was dismissed as head coach for the Buckeyes. In stepped Jim Tressel from Division I-AA Youngstown State. The murmurs in Columbus lately have stemmed from a perceived waste of talented athletes on both sides of the ball. NFL talent shouldn't equate into so-so seasons. Leading the offense will be three-year starter Steve Bellisari. That might give him enough experience to no longer be referred to by OSU's coaching staff as a young quarterback. Losing wide receivers Reggie Germany and Ken-Yon Rambo should cause Bellisari some go to problems. They were huge. It will be imperative that the offense finds some steady replacements at receiver. The offensive line should be a positive as LeCharles Bentley is the glue stud holding everything together. Both tackles could take on anyone. The additional returnee is offensive tackle Tyson Walter, a three-starter who sat out all of last season with a lower-back infection. On defense, the fact that Pickett and Clements skipped early for the NFL doesn't bode well. However, the linebackers may be the best around. All three starters return as well as the backups. All Big Ten player Joe Cooper was granted and extra year of eligibility and that spells trouble for opponents. Joining him will be All-American safety Mike Doss. The key will be up front as Mike Collins is the sole returning starter. Who knows what 2001 will bring for the Buckeyes. Many OSU fans will tell you they deserve to be a Top rated team. Considering last year didn't spell a ranking, you would figure this position would be a fair assessment. But it is true, there is a ton of talent, and it wouldn't be surprising to see this team be the one that makes the most noise in the Big Ten. Beating Michigan would do a lot for Coach Tressel's security. Time will tell, but rest assured the Buckeyes have the talent and coaching to beat anyone.

Returning Starters in Bold
QB Steve Bellisari-Sr Scott McMullen-So
FB Jamar Martin-Sr Jesse Kline-So
TB Jonathan Wells-Sr Sammy Maldonado-So
SE Drew Carter-So Michael Jenkins-So
FL Ricky Bryant-So Chris Vance-Jr
TE Darnell Sanders-Jr Ben Hartsock-So
OT Adrien Clarke-So Ivan Douglas-So
OG Alex Stepanovich-So Scott Kuhnhein-Jr
C LeCharles Bentley-Sr Mike Jacobs-Sr
OG Jim Massey-Sr Bryce Bishop-So
OT Tyson Walter-Sr Shane Olivea-So
K Josh Huston-Fr ..
DE Darrion Scott-So Kenny Peterson-Jr
DT Tim Anderson-So David Thompson-Jr
DT Mike Collins-Sr Fred Sturrup-So
DE Will Smith-So Tim Cheatwood-Sr
OLB Joe Cooper-Sr Cie Grant-Jr
MLB Matt Wilhelm-Jr Fred Pagac-So
OLB Courtland Bullard-Sr Robert Reynolds-So
CB Derek Ross-Jr Bobby Britton-Fr
CB Brandon Childress-Fr Harlen Jacobs-Fr
SS Mike Doss-Jr Arthur Allen-So
FS Donnie Nickey-Jr B.J. Barre-So
P B.J. Sander-So ..
  HEAD COACH: Walt Harris
Latef Grim-WR, Tim Stein-WR, Mark Browne-OT, Jeff McCurley-C, John Turman-QB, Kevan Barlow-TB, Nick Goings-TB

Last season the Pittsburgh Panthers had their most successful campaign in more than a decade, finishing with a 7-4 record, the best since 1989. Things are looking even brighter for the 2001 season as Pittsburgh returns 53 lettermen and 19 starters, which includes both punter and kicker. The strength of the team will begin with a nationally ranked defense that boasts the return of ten starters. Whether you may know it or not, the Panthers led the Big East in sacks last year with 35 of them. So it all has to start with All-American, Brian Knight from his defensive end position. Brian began opening eyes towards the end of 2000 as he finished with 11.5 sacks and 74 tackles. Another leader will come from phenom hitter Ramon Walker at free safety. The linebackers were the heart of the unit last season and coaches claim they wouldn't trade them in for anybodies as all of them return, including the backups. The key to success in Steel Town U. undoubtedly will be on the offensive side as senior quarterback John Turman was lost to graduation, as were both of the top two tailbacks. Two players do return at QB with experience in senior David Priestley and sophmore Rod Rutherford. Priestley boasts the most experience, having logged significant time each of the last two seasons. A major void needs filled with the loss of Latef Grim, the school's all-time pass catcher. No problem, as last year's Biletnikoff Award winner Antonio Bryant returns. Bryant was only the second sophmore to ever win the award as the nation's best receiver (Randy Moss was the first). Seemingly, Coach Harris and his team are ready to take Pittsburgh to the next level with all of the talent returning, a brand new indoor/outdoor practice facility, and a brand new stadium downtown. It's none too soon for local fans and alumni who crave the success of glory days. Miami, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech come to town in 2001, with the Canes on an ESPN Thursday nighter. The difference between good and great for 2001 will be filling voids at QB and RB. But INSIDE99 is telling these big time programs coming into Western PA and the new stadium, "Yenz better beware"!

Returning Starters in Bold
QB David Priestley-Sr Rod Rutherford-So
FB Lousaka Polite-So Dustin Picciotti-So
TB Malcolm Postell-Fr Mike Jemison-Fr
WR Antonio Bryant-Jr Darcey Levy-Sr
WR R.J. English-Sr Lamar Slade-Jr
TE Mike Bosnic-Sr Kris Wilson-So
OT Matt Morgan-So Joe Manganello-Jr
OG Jon Schall-So Jon Pressnell-So
C Chad Reed-Jr Justin Belarski-Fr
OG Bryan Anderson-Jr Rob Petitti-Fr
OT Khiawatha Downey-Jr Saul Freund-Fr
K Nick Lotz-Jr ..
DE Ryan Smith-Jr Brian Guzek-Jr
NT Penny Semaia-So Darrell McMurray-So
DT Joe Conlin-Sr Vince Crochunis-Fr
DE Bryan Knight-Sr Claude Harriott-So
SLB Gerald Hayes-Jr Lewis Moore-So
MLB Amir Purifoy-Sr Ryan Gonsales-Sr
WLB Brandon Williams-Sr Brian Beinecke-Jr
CB Shawntae Spencer-So Torrie Cox-Jr
CB Shawn Robinson-Jr Tyrone Gilliard-Fr
SS Mark Ponko-Sr David Routt-Jr
FS Ramon Walker-Jr Corey Humphries-So
P Andy Lee-So Jay Junko-Jr
  HEAD COACH: Jeff Bower
: Shawn Mills-FL, Billy Clay-C, Kelby Nancy-RB
DEFENSIVE KEY LOSSES: Cedric Scott-DE, DeQuincy Scott-NT, Gerald Mumford-NT, John Nix-DT, Daleroy Stewart-DT, Deric Scott-BAN, Zaid Houston-WLB, Keon Moore-CB, Raymond Walls-CB, Leo Barnes-ROV

Could there be a more underrated team in the country? Every season Coach Jeff Bower puts together an unbelievable group of tough kids in Hattiesburg and that trend is likely to continue. An unbelievable amount of starters return to the offense. Senior Jeff Kelly leads the Golden Eagles once again at QB and has accumulated over 4000 career passing yards, which is good enough to place him third on USM's all time passing list. Running back Derrick Nix was a 1000 yard rusher in 1999 but left after the fourth game of the season with medical problems. No matter, in steps Dawayne Woods at running back, as he will return for his senior season, hopefully as well as Nix. The strongest unit on the field for the Eagles may be the receiving corps. Even with the big loss of Shawn Mills, three of the top four pass catchers return. However, it will be like night and day when speaking of the defense as some huge names have departed. Most missed will be All-American Cedric Scott at DE as well as the whole front line. The defensive backfield will be missing quite a few players, but safety Chad Williams, the team's leading tackler from last season, will help aid the transition for some of the new faces. With only four starters back, the rebuilding of the defense will be the key. Another favorite to win the Conf USA crown is likely. The road doesn't get any easier with visits to Alabama and Penn State. However, there is enough talent that it could be likely that Jeff Bower's Golden Eagle team will be favorites heading into those games. Underrate them all you want, but this team and coaching staff isn't going to disappear.

Returning Staters in Bold
QB Jeff Kelly-Sr Zac White-So
RB Dawayne Woods-Sr Derrick Nix-Sr
WR Kenneth Johnson-So Greg James-Sr
WR Dannye Fowler-Sr Kwantrell Green-Jr
WR LeRoy Handy-Jr Rocky Harrison-Fr
TE Bobby Garner-Jr Terrell Browden-So
OT Jeremy Bridges-Sr Myron Powe-Fr
OG Buck Miciotto-Jr Jeremy Parquet-Fr
C Kendrick Key-Sr Isah Winborne-So
OG Torrin Tucker-Jr Nathan Grace-Sr
OT Jason Jimenez-Jr Bradley Worthington-Fr
K Brant Hanna-Sr Curtis Jones-Jr
DE Marchene Hatchett-Sr Brian Evans-So
NT Rayshun Jones-Sr Skylor Magee-So
DT Carlos Crusoe-Jr Chad Ruffin-Fr
BAN Terrell Paul-So LeVon Pears-Fr
SLB Joe Henley-Jr Terry Anderson-Fr
MLB Rod Davis-So Chris Vaughn-Jr
WLB Roy Magee-Sr Chris Langston-Jr
CB Carmus Haynes-Jr Daryon Brutley-Sr
CB Corey Yates-Jr Pierre Hutchins-Fr
ROV Chad Williams-Sr Alex Ray-So
FS Etric Pruitt-So Corey Hosey-So
P Mark Haulman-Jr Brant Hanna-Sr
  HEAD COACH: Chuck Amato
: Koren Robinson-WR, Derek Roberts-FB, Tramayne Simmons-FB, Eric Leak-WR, Jarvis Borum-OT, Kent Passingham-K
DEFENSIVE KEY LOSSES: Jeff Fisher-DT, Clayton White-SLB, Adrian Wilson-SS

NC State found a new coach, and Chuck Amato wasn't fooling around. This team believes in itself. Not only that but the Wolfpack brings back just about everybody from an intense, scrappy bunch of players. Frosh sensation Philip Rivers enters his second season at the quarterback helm and will get a lot of attention in the preseason for sure. The only bad is that possibly one of the top receivers in all of 2001 would have been Koren Robinson. He left early to play on Sundays. Also departing is Rivers other favorite target Eric Leak. So it will not be such an easy chore finding receivers making great catches as they did last fall. At halfback is a promising player in senior Ray Robinson. Aiding the offense will be the fact that five players return up front. The defense never really overwhelmed opponents in 2000, but 7 plus starters are coming back with experience. The linebackers are by far the deepest unit on the field. ACC Defensive Player of The Year, linebacker Levar Fisher is back and the DB's return three starters. Kicker Kent Passingham, possibly the best in the ACC last year, will be missed. This Wolfpack team is going to push a few of the top conference regulars for bowl slot position without a doubt. The whole key revolves around QB Rivers continuing to progress and surpass last year's superb freshman numbers and finding him some good hands people. The defense must improve up front if the Wolfpack are to win the big ones.

Returning Staters in Bold
QB Philip Rivers-So Olin Hannum-Sr
FB Chance Moyer-Fr Cotra Jackson-Jr
TB Ray Robinson-Sr K.J. Stone-Jr
WR Andy Bertrand-So Tramain Hall-Fr
WR Bryan Peterson-Jr Jerricho Cotchery-So
TE Willie Wright-Sr Andy Vanderveer-Sr
OT Chris Colmer-So Matt Broel-Sr
OG William Brown-Sr Joe Lardino-Jr
C Derek Green-Jr Keegan Weir-Sr
OG Reggie Poole-Sr Travis Brinson-So
OT Scott Kooistra-Jr Tim Turner-Jr
K Austin Herbert-So ..
DE Brian Jamison-Sr George Anderson-Jr
DT Sean Locklear-So Ricky Fowler-Jr
NT Darius Bryant-Sr ..
DE Corey Smith-Sr ..
SLB Corey Lyons-Sr Roger Pollard-So
MLB Dantonio Burnette-Jr ..
WLB Levar Fisher-Sr ..
CB Brian Williams-Sr ..
CB J.J. Washington-So James Walker-So
SS Julius Patterson-Jr ..
FS Terrence Holt-Jr Rod Johnson-Jr
P Austin Herbert-So ..
  HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll
Antoine Harris-TE, Eric Denmon-C, Brent McCaffrey-OT, Matt Nickels-SR, Trevor Roberts-OL, Mike Van Raaphorst-QB, Petros Papadakis-TB
DEFENSIVE KEY LOSSES: Sultan Abdul-Malik-DE, Matt Childers-DE, Ennis Davis-DT, Shamsud-Din Abdul-Shaheed-DL, Zeke Moreno-LB, Ifeanyi Ohalete-S, Markus Steele-LB

Change is taking place in Trojan Country. A new coach, a new staff, and hopefully a new attitude after an eighth place finish in the Pac Ten last season left a bad taste with many long time supporters. Stepping in as head coach is Pete Carroll who led the New England Patriots to two playoff births in just the last three years. There is renewed optimism and things seem to have gotten off on the right track as USC hauled in a Top 10 recruiting class. The key was getting Norm Chow as offensive coordinator, who arguable may be one of the best. The new coaches will welcome back 14 starters and both punters and kickers, which isn't too bad. On offense, three of the nation's premier players return in QB Carson Palmer, TB Sultan McCullough, and WR Kareem Kelly. McCullough is the fastest runner ever at USC and ran for over 1100 yards last season, the school's most since 1990. Quarterback Carson Palmer is on pace to break several USC passing records and some experts feel he may be worthy of early Heisman consideration. Also welcomed back are three holdovers on the offensive line. Replacing four-year starter Antoine Harris at tight end was important enough that 2000 starting linebacker, Kori Dickerson, has been moved to that spot. USC will be hit harder with losses on defense, in particular the front seven. But the entire starting secondary returns, including last year's team leading tackler Troy Polamalu at strong safety. When breaking down Coach Carroll's first season in a nutshell, strengths will come offensively at quarterback; speed, depth, and production at running back; and the wide receiver spots. But the Trojans must improve on last year's turnover margin as they finished next to last in the nation and there really has to be some defensive concerns up front on the line and at linebacker where two USC greats have departed. No reason exists why this team should not be playing in a post-season game and so in that sense, the pressure is already on.

Returning Starters in Bold
QB Carson Palmer-Jr Matt Cassel-Fr
FB Charlie Landrigan-Sr Sunny Byrd-Sr
TB Sultan McCullough-Jr Malaefou MacKenzie-Sr
SE Kareem Kelly-Jr Keary Colbert-So
FL Marcell Allmond-Jr Frank Candela-Fr
TE Kori Dickerson-Sr Doyal Butler-Jr
OT Eric Torres-So Joe McGuire-Fr
OG Faaesea Mailo-Sr Derek Graf-Jr
C Lenny Vandermade-So A.J. Single-Fr
OG Zach Wilson-Jr Travis Watkins-Fr
OT Norm Katnik-So Phillip Eaves-Jr
K David Newbury-Sr John Wall-So
DE Omar Nazel-So Bobby DeMars-Sr
NT Bernard Riley-Jr Malcolm Wooldridge-Fr
DT Ryan Nielsen-Sr Kenechi Udeze-Fr
DE Lonnie Ford-Sr Anthony Daye-Jr
SLB Chris Prosser-So John Cousins-Sr
MLB Aaron Graham-Jr Lee Webb-Fr
WLB Mike Pollard-Jr Darryl Knight-Sr
CB Kris Richard-Sr Antuan Simmons-Sr
CB Chris Cash-Sr Darrell Rideaux-Jr
SS Troy Polamalu-Jr Matt Grootegoed-Fr
FS Frank Strong-Sr DeShaun Hill-Jr
P Mike MacGillivray-Sr Tommy Huff-So
1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25,
26-30, 31-35, 36-40, 41-45, 46-50