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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

College Season Set to Kick Off

NEW YORK -- From coaches to bowls and conferences, it's out with the old and in with the new in American college football.


While the 80-year-old Southwest Conference plays its final season, a new overtime rule, a new bowl alliance and new coaches at several national powers will make their debuts.


The season opens Saturday at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, where the Wolverines play Virginia in the Pigskin Classic. The following day, Ohio State meets Boston College in the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.


Florida State is the preseason No. 1 for the fourth time in eight years, while Nebraska will try to become the first team in 16 years to win consecutive national titles.


Rounding out the preseason Top 10 are Penn State, Florida, Auburn, Southern Cal, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Alabama, which cannot go to a bowl this season because of NCAA probation.


Texas A&M, coming off NCAA probation along with Auburn and Washington, is heavily favored to win the SWC's last title and is third-ranked in the preseason AP coaches' poll.


The SWC, which produced five national champions, five Heisman Trophy winners and some of the sport's fiercest rivalries, will disband after the 1995 season following a long period of decline triggered by a series of National Collegiate Athletic Association scandals.


Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor will join the Big Eight, to be called the Big 12. Southern Methodist, Texas Christian and Rice will enter the Western Athletic Conference, and Houston will be a member of the new Conference U.S.A.


"Some of these schools won't ever be playing each other again, and that's sad," said former Baylor coach Grant Teaff.


The postseason bowl picture will have a new look. The bowl coalition has been replaced by an agreement under which the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls will rotate as the site of a likely national championship game.


The Fiesta will host the top game this season on the night of Jan. 2. The game will match No. 1 against No. 2, unless one or both is from the Big 10 or Pac-10, which will continue to send their champions to the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl.


All the other traditional tie-ins between leagues and bowls have been scrapped, greatly improving the chances of a true national championship game.


For the first time, if any bowl game is tied at the end of regulation, overtime will be used, following the tiebreaker popularized in lower-division NCAA playoffs.


In overtime, each team gets an offensive series starting at the opponent's 25-yard line. The possession continues until a team scores, turns the ball over or fails to convert a fourth-down play. They keep playing until the tie is broken after each team has had a possession.


Twenty-one teams have new head coaches, including seven schools that have won national championships in one of the major polls.


Butch Davis takes over at Miami, Lloyd Carr at Michigan, Rick Neuheisel at Colorado, Howard Schnellenberger at Oklahoma, Nick Saban at Michigan State, Gerry DiNardo at LSU, and George O'Leary at Georgia Tech.