"The Big Ten has never hit such an identity crisis as right now. The perception is that the champion from the Big Ten is about the sixth-best team in the SEC. And that perception has become reality for many college football fans around the country."
Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN analyst and former Ohio State quarterback
By the numbers
10 Sophomores listed as starters at Auburn.
50 Years since Arkansas legend Frank Broyles lost his debut, 12-0 to Baylor. The Razorbacks open against Western Illinois today.
58 Years since Campbell played a football game. The baptist school in Buies Creek, N.C., with an enrollment of about 5,000, faces Birmingham-Southern today, four years after deciding to return as a nonscholarship program.
Playing a very long way from home
Four years after he completed his high school playing days in Tampa and arrived in Hawaii, Khevin Peoples will be back in Florida today.
Peoples, who as a junior helped lead Jefferson to its first 4A state title game in 2002, now is a senior running back at Hawaii.
The 22-year-old is the son of former NFL player George Peoples, who died in 2003. It was with the help of his father's friend Tyrone Keys and Peoples' uncle Nathan Peoples that he got to Hawaii.
According to Keys, he and Nathan Peoples (George's brother) assembled a scouting tape for Peoples after he transferred from Jefferson to Blake before his senior season. Keys, who played in the NFL for the Bears, was acquainted with a relative of ex-Bears star Mike Singletary, who was coaching at Hawaii at the time. The Warriors took a chance on Peoples without even seeing the tape. Coincidentally, it was one of George Peoples' last requests — that Keys, who also played for the Bucs (1986-87), and his brother make sure his son was taken care of.
Peoples sustained a knee injury and was granted a medical hardship in 2004. As a redshirt freshman in 2005, he played in six games, mostly on special teams. Last season, he was a member of the scout team. Although Peoples is not listed on the Warriors' two-deep depth chart, he is one of four players from Florida on the roster. Only two made the trip to Gainesville.
Antonya English and Ernest Hooper, Times staff writers
Tradition on hold
The Nebraska defense's "Blackshirt" tradition hasn't ended, but it's definitely on hold.
New coach Bo Pelini has not handed out the coveted black practice jerseys to Nebraska's defensive starters, a tradition that dates to 1962, and he says it's possible there will be no Blackshirts for today's opener against Western Michigan. Or for the next game, or the next.
The Huskers' defenders apparently haven't proved themselves worthy yet.
Said Pelini: "What's a Blackshirt mean if it's just a symbol you haven't earned?"
Not many people can claim they beat Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps in the swimming pool. Penn State safety Mark Rubin can.
Eight years ago, when he was 14, Rubin beat Phelps in some races in Northeast region swim meets, including in the 50 freestyle, 100 free and 100 backstroke.
But the victories didn't come very often over Phelps, right, who is from Baltimore.
Rubin was a state high school champion swimmer from the Buffalo, N.Y., suburb of Amherst.
"I beat him five, six, seven times," Rubin said about Phelps. "He beat me 20, 30, 40 times."
Bowden and 'Bama
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden spent three enjoyable years as an assistant at Alabama but might have gotten a better job at the school if his father, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, had landed the coaching job after the 1986 season.
"I was in the room when he got back from the interview," said the younger Bowden, whose ninth-ranked Tigers open the season against Alabama in Atlanta today. "I was in the room when he slammed the door and said, 'It's going to somebody else.' "
Tommy Bowden, who had just lost his offensive coordinator job at Duke to a coaching change that brought in Steve Spurrier, figured he would have a position on his father's staff with the Tide. It wasn't long, though, before Tommy landed at Alabama as Bill Curry's receivers coach.
Bowden said this week that his father coaching the Crimson Tide would've changed the fortunes of the family.
"I think I was going," Bowden said. "We had discussed it."
Information from the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times was used in this report.
Remember the jersey Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon had to borrow from host Georgia Tech when his turned up missing before last season's game? Well, you can check it out at the Merryman Center, the swanky home to the football offices and a Hall of Legends with Hokies memorabilia. And that jersey sure belongs. Wearing it, Glennon completed 22 of 32 passes for a season-best 296 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown in the 27-3 win. It might not be a bad idea for him to … er … misplace his jersey so he can borrow one when the Hokies go to North Carolina and Nebraska and Florida State and …