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College Football - Back-to-Back, No Doubt

By Steve Apel
Friday, October 4th, 2002
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To make it to the Fiesta Bowl, a team must have all the ingredients of talent, chemistry, and most importantly, luck. No matter how good the team is, they have their fair share of close games.

The Miami Hurricanes versus the Huskies (err, the Hokies). Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game two years ago, and even Florida State versus Clemson (14-7) in '99.

The Contenders

Ken Dorsey may not have the numbers of a Heisman candidate, but with the players he has around him, he sure looks like one. The numbers don't lie, his completion percentage isn't very high, and he has been prone to throw the interception. But although his stats aren't as good as they were last year, players like Willis McGahee have really picked up the slack.

McGahee has jumped into the Heisman race, and in many opinions, leaped frog his quarterback. McGahee's ability to reverse fields is uncanny, and with the size of holes he's getting he should be putting up big numbers (533 yards, 7 TDs). With the blockers in front of him, he should be pushing 1,200+ yards by season's end. The real test will be seeing if he wears down late in the season, thus proving whether or not his Heisman hype is legit.

Doesn't it seem like it was just yesterday Chris Simms was changing his mind from going to Tennessee to Texas? Four years later, do the Vols even mind the change of heart?

Simms has taken a fair share of criticism over the years at Texas, and rightfully so. His inability to win, let alone throw a touchdown pass in a big game, is mind boggling. With the talent that he is surrounded by, how they don't win the national title every year is amazing in itself.

He has had his opportunities to prove himself, yet he keeps coming up short each time. Will this year be any different? Probably not, but it won't be for sure until games versus Oklahoma and Nebraska (don't discount at Kansas State or vs. Iowa State, either). Simms once again will have the weight of Texas on his shoulders, and if history repeats itself, he will fold again.

No matter who you have around you, having a quarterback who can not make mistakes in the big games decides the team's fate. Just ask the Longhorns.

The game of the year in college football will be December 7th when Virginia Tech travels to the Orange Bowl to take on the Hurricanes. Virginia Tech is the real deal, and the question of whether or not Miami will be able to handle it makes this game so appealing.

The Hokies have the dynamic duo of Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs, arguably both top five running backs in the nation. To go along with a defense that resembles the '99 squad, Virginia Tech might be even better than that Michael Vick-led team.

Don't Forget About Us

Oklahoma: Is Josh Hybl good enough? Quentin Griffin and Brandon Jones are, as is the defense.

Ohio State: Easy conference, and Maurice Clarett is the man. Losing to Michigan is the only thing that'll keep OSU out of the title game.

Florida: Rebounded versus Vols, true tests at Georgia and FSU.

Oregon: Eight home games, QB play shaky.

The Pick: Miami will win the showdown with the Hokies, and OSU will make it through the Big 10. Miami should win by two touchdowns, and Dorsey will go out on top.

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