There's still 55 teams to go on the countdown.
All but 10 are from BCS automatic qualifying conferences. One of those is Notre Dame.
Of the remaining nine, one is in today's interval. And so are four borderline bowl teams from power conferences.
55. N.C. STATE
There's scads of interesting subplots with the Wolfpack (or is it Wolpfack?), all worth mentioning in some form or another.
Quarterback Russell Wilson returns after a 31-touchdown season and getting drafted early by the Colorado Rockies.
Linebacker Nate Irving resumes his career with a porous N.C. State defense after missing last season with injuries suffered in a serious car wreck.
Tom O'Brien begins Year No. 4 in Raleigh, and he'll have a new boss (Debbie Yow) who promised accountability throughout the N.C. State athletic department upon her hire last week.
For a middle-of-the-road program, it has a chance to be among the most interesting in the ACC.
One step toward good interest would be beating Western Carolina on Sept. 4. It would be the Wolfpack's first win in an opener since 2006 --- ending one of the longer season-opening skids among BCS conference teams.
The longest active opening-game droughts in major college football:
12: Utah State
6: Northern Illinois
5: Florida International
5: San Diego State
5: Western Michigan
4: New Mexico
4: Washington State
4: Western Kentucky
3: Middle Tennessee
3: N.C. State
The the conference expansion/obliteration wheel spun and spun last month, there was one coach who it was pretty easy to sympathize with.
A lot of people would say Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, even though he either (a) Could have gotten another really good job in a year or two or (b) Turned the Jayhawks into a Memphis-type overlord in a new league and simply scheduled like mad in nonconference play.
No, the potential loser was Turner Gill, who had escaped Buffalo with his good name intact (and actually enhanced) and got a power conference job of his own. Moreover, he stepped into a situation where a smile and a kind word was sure to ingratiate him with his new players and fans.
Fortunately for Gill, the Big 12 (Minus Two) will exist a while longer. Unfortunately for Gill, he inherits a terrible defense and an inexperienced quarterback after Todd Reesing's never-ending career actually ended.
The Jayhawks also get Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech off the schedule --- much like in 2007 --- and that will buy Gill some time. There are seven home games, a neutral-site date with Missouri and trips to Baylor and Iowa State. Don't expect a miracle run in Gill's first season, but 7-5 and a lower-tier bowl appearance could be in the cards.
53. FRESNO STATE
What you see is what you get with Pat Hill's Bulldogs.
Hill took over in the Valley in 1997. In each of his 13 seasons, Fresno finished between 6-2 and 4-4 in the WAC (there was a 5-2 mark in 1999 after the league split in two and was briefly left with eight teams).
So even accounting for Boise State's dominance, the Bulldogs invariably do two things every year: Beat or scare the bejesus out of a power conference team, and trip up against someone who doesn't win the WAC in league play.
Fresno's averaged nearly eight wins a season over the last eight years, and with a strong offensive line in place, the Bulldogs remain a good bet to finish close to the top of the conference and land in yet another bowl game.
The Rebels lost a 1,000-yard rusher (Dexter McCluster), a 1,000-yard receiver (Shay Hodge) and a quarterback who didn't live up to his Heisman-candidate billing last year but was nonetheless decent (Jevan Snead)..
Since Ole Miss isn't, say, Alabama or Florida or Louisiana State, it won't simply reload and be a borderline top-25 team.
But expecting the Rebels to completely fall apart? For those who do so, it's a trap.
While Admiral Ackbar won't be prowling the sideline in Oxford, the Rebels should be pleased they draw Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt from the East Division. Toss in three home nonconference games --- and a home date with Mississippi State --- and it should be enough to earn one of the SEC's plethora of available bowl berths.
In short, Ole Miss won't be overwhelming, but its defense should be good enough to manage seven wins and an extra month of practice.
It's been a quiet five months in Knoxville.
Well, relatively speaking.
Lane Kiffin is no longer around to agitate and instigate, which means the Volunteers haven't made nearly as many headlines. And that translates into non-Kiffin matters; they're nowhere to be found in the most recent Fulmer Cup standings.
Ultimately, Tennessee traded the scion of one coaching family for another. And Derek Dooley, who was 17-20 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech, takes over a program that just endured an exodus of talent.
Unlike Ole Miss --- a team in a very similar predicament --- the Volunteers get no help on the scheduling front. Alabama and Louisiana State pop up from the West Division, and Oregon pays a visit in the second week of the season.
Dooley's greatest test will be surviving a brutal opening two months. The November schedule --- Memphis, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Kentucky --- is plenty manageable, but it won't matter if Tennessee stumbles to a 2-6 start. Matching last year's 7-6 record during the Kiffin Interregnum would be sufficient to qualify as a success this fall, even if Dooley doesn't do it with as much bravado as his predecessor.