When BYU sets out to upgrade its football schedule, it does so with a vengeance.
The Cougars, who were already facing road games at UCLA and Penn State to open the 1991 season, have now accepted a bid to play Florida State in the Disneyland Pigskin Classic Aug. 29.Florida State finished last season ranked fourth in the nation - finishing in the top four for the fourth year in a row. The Seminoles were 10-2 and beat Penn State 24-17 in the Blockbuster Bowl.
Since they lost only five starters to graduation, FSU could easily be the preseason pick for No. 1.
"I'm afraid that might be true on a lot of polls," said Florida State sports information director Wayne Hogan. "Down here, though, a lot of people are hoping we don't get that No. 1 tag."
The last time FSU was the preseason top pick, it opened the season with a 31-0 defeat at the hands of Miami.
Considering BYU's schedule this fall, Hogan was surprised the Cougs accepted the Pigskin Classic offer. The Seminoles were invited to play in the game last year but turned it down, he said, because they didn't think their young team would be ready for Colorado. Tennessee eventually accepted the bid and tied Colorado.
This time, FSU eagerly accepted the bid. "BYU is a good opponent for us," Hogan said. "They give us another national-reputation type game."
And unlike the Cougs, the Seminoles won't have to give much thought to subsequent opponents. After the BYU game, their veteran team will get a chance to fine tune against Tulane and Western Michigan at home.
The key returnee for the Seminoles is quarterback Casey Weldon. He won the starting job after FSU had suffered back-to-back losses to Miami and Auburn, and he led them to six straight wins.
Weldon finished third in the nation in pass efficiency (right behind BYU quarterback Ty Detmer), completing 112 of 182 (61 percent) for 1,600 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions.
"Our offense is pretty heavily dominated by the pass," Hogan said. "We like to throw to our backs a lot."
FSU returns its four top running backs, including starting tailback Amp Lee, who rushed for 825 yards on 158 carries. He also had 34 receptions.
The Seminole offense ranked fifth in the nation in scoring in 1990, averaging 39.5 points per game.
The defense, meanwhile, limited opponents to 17.2 points per game. Among the stars of that unit were second-team AP All-American Terrell Buckley, a junior cornerback, and sophomore linebacker Marvin Jones, who made 133 tackles.