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August 10, 1998 - Image 14

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1998-08-10

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14- The Mihig n Daily Monay. August 10, 198 FOO TBALL
Buckeyes Big Ten favorite;
Notre Dame rumors swin

.. .. ,.,c r - .. .

MEETINGS
Continued from Page 13
by Big Ten preseason defensive player of the year
Andy Katzenmoyer.
But Cooper harbors reservations.
"Nothing changes if you're picked one or 25,'
said Cooper, whose Ohio State record against
Mchigan - 1-8-1 --- may be the sole chink in the
Buckeyes' armor. "We're not going to be sneaking
up on everyone. But whether we're the best team in
the country remains to be seen."
Michigan is the defending national champion, yet
coach Lloyd Carr's focus remains undeterred.
He opened his remarks "looking forward to
defending the Big Ten championship;' instantly
regionalizing his team's goal.
"This is the greatest challenge to a Michigan team
since 1947;" Carr said, referring to Fritz Crisler's
Mad Magicians squad.
Michigan's core talent also returns, but its respect
does not. The Wolverines remaina distant second in
the preseason Big Ten media poll.
Carr said the Wolverines are again prepared to
face the nation's best, one year after conquering the
nation's most challenging schedule.
"I think we're playing a tougher schedule this year
than we did last year," he said.
Scheduling may be the bane of this Big Ten sea-
son, as the top teams may never meet. The next level
of conference competition -Wisconsin and Purdue
- could take the back door route to the conference
title with schedules conducive to success.
The Boilermakers, 9-3 last season, avoid the
dynamic duo atop the conference altogether, while
Wisconsin's only bump in the road is a late-season
trip to the Big House.
The outlook is not so rosy further down the Big
Ten totem pole.
Unfortunately for the trio of cellar-dwellers - all
with second-year head coaches -last week's meet-
ings may be the peak of their 1998 campaign.
Optimism ran high among Indiana's Cam Cameron,

Illinois' Ron Tuner aind Minnesota's Glen Mason,
but reality it s a different story. Th tbrec teams
combined for only five victories last season.
Uncertainty ruled most of these coaches' com-
ments, as might be expected from programs in
search of an identity. Each coach just explaincd it in
his own mtanner.
"I'm sure we'll get help from incoming guys, but
who they are we can only guess," Mason said.
Cameron claimed that just two offensive positions
are filled and competition will determine this team's
makeup. Turner tried to fill the gaps with humor, but
holes that deep - the Illini finished 0-11 in 1997 --
are difficult so escape.
"Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to this
year" Turner said. "The key word for us this year is
progress."
Progress, though achievable in measured steps, is
that much more difficult in the Big Ten. With last
season's national champion and this season's presea-
son No. I clearly in a different league of competi-
tion, programs such as Illinois and Minnesota will
have to gauge success on a lesser scale.
But with a Big Ten-record seven ranked teams
over the course of last season, the battle for middle-
of-the-pack bowl invitations - among Michigan
State, Iowa, Penn State and Northwestern --may be
the strength of a widely disparate league.
FOR OPENERS: Discussions about adding Notre
Dame an the Big Ten's 12th member were alive and
kicking in Chicago, but mostly in media circles.
Many coaches suggested that the addition would be a
positive move for the conferencee- allowing for two
six-team divisions and a revenue-generating postsea-
son playoff- but all talks remain speculation.
Northwestern coach Gary Barnett said if the
Fighting Irish were brought into the Big Ten, the
advantages would be numerous.
"Having 12 teams keeps everyone in the race until
the end of the season," he said. "Notre Dame is the
logical choice (for expansion.) If Notre Dame were
to come into this conference, it would establish us as
the top conference in the country."

JOHN KRAFT/Da ly
Michigan wide receiver Tia Streets (left) and tight end Jerame Tuman (right) will have their hands full
trying to repeat as Big Ten and national champions - Ohio State has the No.1 preseason ranking.

Big Ten Media Poll
Team Pts.
1. Ohio State (141) 499
2. Michigan (45) 340
3. Pets State (2) 114
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Coaches Top 25 poll
Here is the ESPN/UsA Today preseason top 25 coege
football poni First-place votes i parentheses.
Team Pts. 1997
1. Ohio State (31) 1,465 12
2. Florida State (10) 1,447 3
3. Nebraska 1121 1.372 1
4. Florida (1) 1,348 8
5. Michigan 141 1,309 2
8. Kansas State (1 ) 1205 7
7. UCLA (3) 1,139 5
8. Louisiana State 1,062 13
9. Arizona State 993 14
10. Tennessee 934 8
11. North Carolina 778 4
12. West Virginia 738 -
13. Penn State 725 17
14. Syracuse 662 20
15. Texas A&M 600 21
16. Colorado State 543 16
17 Washington 506 18
18. Georgia 448 10
19. Virginia 427 -
20. Wisconsin 344 -
21- Southem MissisSo;pi 271 19
22. Auburn 222 11
23. Michigan State 211 -
24. Notre Dame 206
25. Arizona 180

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