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Tuesday, August 29, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 66, Issue 7 

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Mother Nature wreaks havoc on schedule; Aggies move up in AP

NCAA Top 25

Ed De La Garza

 Mother Nature is a cold, calculating, unshakable woman.
 The Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game Sunday, which would have showcased one of the nation's best quarterbacks -- the Hokies' Michael Vick -- was postponed because of a lightning storm.

 The storm came blowing into Blacksburg, Va., and effectively canceled the matchup. Though it was only postponed, a new date is not likely to happen this year.

 Vick is one of, if not the, leading Heisman Trophy candidates.

Shuffling teams
 Saturday's and Sunday's games made for a tumultuous top-25 poll.
 The Penn State Nittany Lions, trounced by Southern Cal 29-5, dropped out of the top 25 altogether. Ranked No. 22 going into the game, Penn State quickly saw a home game at the Meadowlands turn into a sour homecoming.

 The Nittany Lions found themselves unranked for the first time since the end of the 1992 season. A streak of being ranked for 119 consecutive polls also came to an end. USC moved up to No. 12.

 Penn State's loss elevated previously unranked Texas A&M to No. 25. The Aggies travel to Notre Dame to face the unranked Fighting Irish. It's a toss-up game, but don't be surprised to see the Aggies fall back out of the AP poll.

 Florida State failed to gain any ground following its 29-3 win over the Brigham Young Cougars at the Pigskin Classic. The Seminoles' less-than-exciting victory didn't give pollsters enough of a reason to bump No. 1 Nebraska out of the top spot.

 The Seminoles jumped out to a big lead, but they weren't exactly offensive juggernauts in the second half. Unless they'd been able to beat BYU by 40, there wasn't any serious threat of the Cornhuskers falling to No. 2.

 The first 11 teams, which FSU and No. 8 Kansas State played, remained in their preseason slots.

 USC's climb bumped Tennessee to No. 13. Washington and Purdue dropped one spot each to Nos. 14 and 15, respectively.

 Southern Miss, Colorado and Michigan State each moved up one spot to Nos. 22, 23 and 24, respectively. A second Conference USA team, East Carolina, remained 54 votes shy of being ranked.

 The Texas Longhorns continued getting their usual -- and completely unbiased -- two first-place votes.

 The 'Horns won't play their first game of the season until Sept. 9 when Louisiana-Lafayette visits the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium in Austin. The scheduled season opener at Hawaii was canceled. Poor Texas would have had to travel all the way to the resort state and then come flying back to Austin.

 Good for it. It should be given every opportunity in the world to be in a position to win the Big 12 South and then fall flat on its face. Oh, I'm sorry. That wasn't unbiased, was it?

 Texas still has to deal with a brewing quarterback controversy. Major Applewhite was sidelined during spring drills because of an off-season surgery, meaning backup Mike Simms was elevated.

 Simms, being labeled the greatest thing to happen to UT since Ricky Williams, is the likely starter Sept. 9. But if Applewhite is healthy enough to play, it could be hard to keep him from starting.

 Head coach Mack Brown could just decide to go with a dual-rotation, but that wouldn't do with either quarterback. If Mike Simms is so great, it's time to let him prove it on the field.

 Applewhite may be good, but Simms has more talent.

This week's games
 The No. 5-ranked Miami Hurricanes open their season Thursday against McNeese State. Also Thursday, No. 4-ranked Wisconsin will face Western Michigan, Baylor will visit North Texas, and Wyoming will travel to Auburn.

 The Cornhuskers open their schedule against San Jose State on Saturday. It should be a close contest, pitting the underdog 'Huskers against San Jose. Maybe, just maybe, Nebraska will have enough to pull this one out.

 OK, so it wouldn't exactly be a shock to see Nebraska extend its streak to 311 consecutive poll appearances. Don't look for Florida State to move up to No. 1 unless the Cornhuskers lose the Big 12 championship.

 Also on Saturday, Ball State travels to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the Florida Gators. Conference USA powerhouses East Carolina and Southern Miss open their seasons at Duke and Tennessee, respectively. Penn State will attempt to get back in the top 25 when it faces Toledo.

The final gun
 It's finally here. Weeks of anticipation, preparation and meditation ... no, scratch that last one. The college football season is finally here. The quest to stay undefeated and beat your opponents by 60 points to have even a glimmer of a chance to play in the Bowl Championship Series is finally here.

 The season of belittling hated rivals, renewing old acquaintances and doing anything it takes to make sure Texas doesn't come near the BCS -- even if it means rooting for A&M on Thanksgiving -- is finally here.

 The weeks of talking are finally over. Check back here Tuesday as the big Saturday roundup finally debuts. Yeah, I know I said Tuesday, but Monday's Labor Day.
 

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