Weekend matchup brings back classic memories

Updated: September 8, 2006, 3:00 PM ET
By Chris Fowler | Special to ESPN.com
BOISE, Idaho -- It's a long college football timeline from Kyle Rote to Troy Smith. More than a half century. But the last time a No. 1-ranked team rolled into Austin, Texas, was 1950, when Rote and SMU were conquered in a 23-20 thriller, and crumbled after that. The No. 1 ranking was hardly deserved.

Are No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Texas the two best teams? Like most people, I have them ranked that way, but my early September ballot is about as worthless as the next voter's. That question can't be answered for a couple of months; that's why No. 1 vs. No. 2 games don't mean as much in September. But I do know this: After seeing Notre Dame, Florida State and Miami in the last six days, none look like world-beaters .

Troy Smith
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireTroy Smith has the opportunity to be this year's Vince Young with a win over Texas.
I know, it's early. Too early for the 'Canes and 'Noles, it seems. I look forward to next year, when this rivalry shifts back to October, when it used to be. Offensive execution will be better -- it can't be worse. Three rushing yards combined! On 51 attempts! I have never seen a stat like that. In the other 115 Division I-A teams that played, a total of 477 individual players exceeded the combined total for Miami and FSU.

Chris Fowler

College Football
Since 1989, Chris Fowler has been ESPN's primary college football and men's college basketball studio host. He's anchored College GameDay, the network's award-winning Saturday morning college football preview show, since 1990.