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Ap Voters Show Nebraska Unusual Preseason Respect

Here’s a new twist for Nebraska: For the first time in 13 years, the Cornhuskers will start the season as the No. 1 team.

Nebraska, looking for an unprecedented third straight national title, is the overwhelming No. 1 pick in the Associated Press’ preseason college football poll.

Since the AP started its preseason poll in 1950, the Cornhuskers have opened at No. 1 four times but each time failed to finish that way. The last time was 1983, when the Huskers went 12-0 before losing 31-30 to Miami in the Orange Bowl.

“Somebody has got to be No. 1 in the preseason,” Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said. “We are as willing to accept that position as anyone.”

The Cornhuskers received 50 first-place votes for 1,644 points, easily outdistancing No. 2 Tennessee, which had seven first-place votes and 1,538 points.

No team has gone wire-to-wire ranked No. 1. Like Nebraska in ‘83, Florida State came close in ‘93. The Seminoles were No. 1 for most of the season, lost to Notre Dame but beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to claim the title.

“I don’t think it adds a whole lot of pressure,” Osborne said of starting out No. 1. “We have enough attention and pressure as it is. I don’t think anything can really make it worse.

“These are awfully high expectations on us, and we hope to measure up.”

It also marks the first time in seven years a team from Florida was not atop the preseason rankings. Florida State was first in 1991, 1993 and 1995, while Miami was No. 1 in 1990 and 1992 and Florida No. 1 in 1994.

Nebraska, riding a 25-game winning streak, could find it tougher to get back to a title game this season because the new Big 12 Conference has a league championship game on Dec. 7. On the field, the biggest change is at quarterback, where Scott Frost replaces Tommie Frazier.

The Volunteers, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, lost only once last season, collapsing in the second half in a 62-37 loss to Florida. This year, the Vols play the Gators on Sept. 21.

Florida State, last year’s preseason No. 1, is third with five first-place votes and 1,529 points. Running back Warrick Dunn returns to lead the Seminoles.

Florida, unbeaten in ‘95 until humbled by Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, is No. 4 with one first-place vote and 1,490 points. Danny Wuerffel is back after passing for 3,266 yards and 35 TDs.

Colorado is fifth, its highest preseason ranking since it entered the 1972 season at No. 2. The Buffaloes, with three first-place votes, also were ranked fifth to start the 1990 season - the year they won the national title. This season the Buffaloes open at home against Washington State on Aug. 31.

Northwestern, the surprise team of ‘95 with a 10-2 record and No. 8 final ranking, makes its first preseason poll appearance since occupying the 20th spot in 1971.

xxxx The Preseason Top 25 The Top 25 teams in the Associated Press preseason college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 1995 records, total points based on 25 points for a first place vote through one point for a 25th place vote, ranking in 1995 final poll: Record Pts Pvs 1. Nebraska (50) 12-0-0 1,644 1 2. Tennessee (7) 11-1-0 1,538 3 3. Florida St. (5) 10-2-0 1,529 4 4. Florida (1) 12-1-0 1,490 2 5. Colorado (3) 10-2-0 1,377 5 6. Notre Dame (1) 9-3-0 1,295 11 7. Southern Cal 9-2-1 1,171 12 8. Texas 10-2-1 1,026 14 9. Ohio St. 11-2-0 987 6 10. Syracuse 9-3-0 982 19 11. Penn St. 9-3-0 981 13 12. Miami 8-3-0 877 20 13. Texas A&M; 9-3-0 803 15 14. Michigan 9-4-0 766 17 15. Alabama 8-3-0 601 21 16. Virginia Tech 10-2-0 563 10 17. Auburn 8-4-0 536 22 18. Northwestern 10-2-0 496 8 19. LSU 7-4-1 465 20. Arizona St. 6-5-0 380 21. Kansas St. 10-2-0 366 7 22. Iowa 8-4-0 356 25 23. Virginia 9-4-0 288 16 24. Kansas 10-2-0 217 9 25. Clemson 8-4-0 212

Others receiving votes: Washington 197, Oregon 154, Texas Tech 87, E. Carolina 65, Utah 64, N.Carolina 45, Georgia 42, Wisconsin 37, UCLA 27, San Diego St. 26, Brigham Young 17, Stanford 16, Arizona 12, Arkansas 9, Georgia Tech 6, Oklahoma 6, Colo. St. 4, Wyoming 4, Mich. St. 3, Toledo 3, Cincinnati 2, Baylor 1, Boston College 1, Miami, Ohio 1.


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