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Ferentz: Too early to predict nation's No. 1 team

Register Staff Writer

Lincoln, Neb. - Three or four games into the college football season is too early to designate anyone as the top-ranked team in the nation, Coach Kirk Ferentz said before Iowa's loss to Nebraska.

"I don't know how you can know in September who the No. 1 team is," said Ferentz, whose team fell, 42-13, at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. "Nebraska certainly is one of the bona fide contenders; they'll be in the top three, fighting for the championship at the end. But I think there are some pretty good teams in the Big Ten, too."

Ferentz was impressed by the Cornhuskers, to a point. Can they beat a bad professional team?

"I think not," he said. "Nebraska's good, but in the pros, they've got 11 guys who can track things down."

He got support from Norm Parker, Iowa's defensive coordinator. He made his point by asking a question.

"Can a high school team beat a college team?" he asked.

Pro-tential: Nebraska senior defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch is taking things as they come. Next Saturday's game against Missouri will occupy the athletic portion of his mind this week, not what he watches on television each Sunday.

"I'd like to give pro ball a shot, but it's not something I'm worrying about right now," the 6-foot 4-inch, 270-pound preseason all-American said.

Vanden Bosch, a former Iowa high school star at West Lyon of Inwood, has been told he could be drafted as early as the second round or as late as the fifth.

"He certainly has the potential to go someplace," Ferentz said.

Saturday's game against the Hawkeyes was a chance for Vanden Bosch to be reunited with Iowa linebacker LeVar Woods. They were high school teammates and friends.

Woods, a fifth-year senior, already was at Iowa when Vanden Bosch selected Nebraska.

"It was between Iowa and Nebraska," Vanden Bosch said. "When Nebraska offered, it was hard to turn down."

Vanden Bosch and Woods hung out together, sometimes in Vanden Bosch's make-shift weight-lifting setup in his garage.

"There's not a lot to do in Larchwood," Woods said of the northwest Iowa town with a population of 740 in which the pair lived. "That's why Kyle built the weight room in his garage. I worked out, concentrated on football and dated a few girls every now and then."

Crash Alexander: Nebraska I-back Dan Alexander broke more than a few tackles while rushing for 320 yards the first two games this season.

Last Tuesday, though, he paid for his second effort.

The car he was driving to the team's weekly press conference sideswiped a concrete post at Memorial Stadium. He drove about 5 feet before he noticed the damage.

"Those yards after contact will cost me more than $500," he quipped after finally arriving at the press conference.

Will he ever lose? Tom Osborne appears to be doing as well in the political arena as he did on the football field. The former Nebraska coach, a Republican running for Nebraska's 3rd District U.S. House of Representative race, was the choice of 78 percent of the people during recent polling by the Omaha World-Herald.

Osborne's Democratic challenger, Rollie Reynolds, received only 10 percent support.

As usual, Osborne is taking nothing for granted.

"It's like football," he said. "Large early leads are not necessarily the final score."

The poll showed broad support for Osborne, with backing from 77.4 percent of those who said they worked in the farm economy, 85.1 percent from Republicans, 75.4 percent from Democrats and 98.7 percent from college students.

Against the best: Two Iowa assistant coaches have been involved in previous games against top-ranked opponents.

Phil Parker, defensive backs coach, was an assistant at Toledo during a 49-0 loss against top-ranked Ohio State in 1998. Defensive coordinator Norm Parker was an assistant at Vanderbilt during a 28-21 loss against No. 1 Florida in 1996.

"We got beat, but we had a chance," Norm Parker said.

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