Nebraska hopes to start the new season season on a better note than it ended 2001.
The Cornhuskers lost to Miami 37-14 in the national championship game at the Rose Bowl, giving up 472 total yards. That came after a humiliating 62-36 loss to Colorado.
They begin a brand new season at home against Arizona State on Saturday in the Black Coaches Association Classic, one of six games during an unusually early opening weekend of college football.
Fresno State plays at No. 25 Wisconsin in today's only game. On Saturday, No. 3 Florida State plays Iowa State in Kansas City, 13th-ranked Ohio State plays host to Texas Tech and New Mexico is at North Carolina State. On Sunday, Arkansas State visits No. 16 Virginia Tech.
In Lincoln, Jammal Lord will take over for Heisman winner Eric Crouch, and the Cornhuskers hope he can lead them back to a national championship appearance despite his inexperience.
"Every other question is, 'I want to know what he's going do under this and do under that.' All I can say is, 'Watch the game,"' Lord said.
Coach Frank Solich, who has five other new starters on offense to worry about, said Lord is ready.
"I've been real pleased with his progress. He has really shown the ability to be an outstanding quarterback," Solich said. "We all want him to get off to a great start."
"We've done all we can do," he said. "We'll play the game and we'll find out what we've got."
The team said only two players, wide receiver Lorne Sam and nose guard Jeff Womble, would be not able to play Saturday. Sam has a shoulder injury, while Womble is serving a one-game suspension for unspecified disciplinary problems. He probably wouldn't have played anyway because of a sprained knee.
With its rich tradition, speedy players and coach Bobby Bowden's 323 victories Florida State was a logical choice for Saturday's game at Kansas City.
But Iowa State? In the last 12 years, Iowa State has had two winning seasons while Florida State has won two national championships.
"This a tremendous opportunity," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "I just hope everybody in my football family understands it. Iknow they're tired of hearing it from me."
-- From wire reports