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3 ranked, unbeaten teams now have to play real foes

Preseason follies have ended for No. 11 Iowa, No. 17 Kansas State and No. 21 Texas A&M.

It's time to stop beating up on directional schools like Northern Iowa, Southwestern Louisiana and North Texas, and start facing some genuine competition.On Saturday, the unbeaten but untested trio hits the road in conference games against higher ranked opponents. The lineup: Iowa (4-0) at No. 7 Ohio State (4-0); Kansas State (3-0) at No. 3 Nebraska (3-0) and Texas A&M (3-0) at No. 16 Colorado (2-1).

"They may not have played the strongest schedule," Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel said of Texas A&M, "but they are 3-0 and you can't be better than that."

But who's fooling whom?

- Iowa outscored Northern Iowa, Tulsa and Iowa State 183-36 before a 38-10 win over Illinois in its Big Ten opener. Iowa's victims are 2-13 so far.

- Kansas State beat three Mid-American Conference teams - Northern Illinois, Ohio and Bowling Green - by a combined score of 128-27. Ohio had 20 of those points in a 23-20 loss. The trio is 6-8 this year.

- Texas A&M beat Sam Houston State, Southwestern Louisiana and North Texas by a combined score 161-16. Opponents' combined record? 2-11.

Here's Nebraska coach Tom Osborne's take on Kansas State, which has lost 28 games in a row to the Huskers.

"Bowling Green beat Akron," Osborne began. "We played Akron, and Kansas State certainly beat Bowling Green more soundly than we beat Akron . . . and it seemed like Bowling Green played Ohio State fairly tough and they really did give Kansas State a hard time."

Osborne, apparently mixing up his MAC teams - it was Ohio, not Bowling Green, that gave K-State a hard time - also said: "I don't know what kind of yardstick we have."

For the record, Bowling Green beat Akron 31-28, Nebraska beat Akron 59-14, Kansas State beat Bowling Green 58-0, Ohio State beat Bowling Green 44-13 and K-State beat Ohio (not Bowling Green) 23-20.

After K-State's win over Bowling Green, Falcons coach Gary Blackney said: "They'll find out how good they are next week."

Indeed.

THE UNBEATENS: Entering October, 19 of 112 Division I-A teams remain perfect - 16 of the top 23 teams in the AP poll, plus unranked New Mexico, Oklahoma State and Toledo.

On Saturday, the number will drop by at least two: No. 11 Iowa (4-0) is at No. 7 Ohio State (4-0) and No. 17 Kansas State (3-0) visits No. 3 Nebraska (3-0).

Of the 19, 15 still have at least one game against another undefeated team, while 10 have at least two. Some teams, like No. 6 Michigan and No. 7 Ohio State, still have four more currently unbeaten teams on the schedule.

WINLESS: Nine I-A teams are still winless: Southwestern Louisiana is 0-5; Akron, Illinois, Iowa State, Northern Illinois and Rutgers are 0-4; and San Jose State, TCU and Tulsa are 0-3.

PASSING TIME: Chad Hutchinson, pitcher, and Doug Johnson, third baseman, are faring quite well playing quarterback for their football teams.

Hutchinson is 74 of 127 for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns for No. 19 Stanford (3-1), while Johnson is 71 of 127 for 1,088 yards and 17 TDs for No. 1 Florida.

Johnson missed spring football practice to play for the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays, while Hutchinson, drafted in 1995 by the Atlanta Braves, helped the Cardinal reach the College World Series.

Johnson, meanwhile, is ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel's pace of a year ago. Through four games last season, Wuerffel threw for 925 yards and 10 TDs.

EXTRA POINTS: Florida fullback Terry Jackson is out for the season with a torn ligament in his right knee, while tailback Fred Taylor (bruised left knee) is expected to play in Saturday's game against Arkansas. Running back replacements include Eugene McCaslin and Rod Frazier, brother of former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier. . . . Nebraska's 28-game winning streak against K-State matches the third longest of an uninterrupted series against a major opponent. The Wildcats' last win was 12-0 in 1968. . . . Washington State (4-0, 2-0 Pac-10) hasn't been to the Rose Bowl since 1931. The Cougars' No. 15 ranking is their highest since a one-week stay at No. 13 in the middle of the 1992 season.