Thursday, December 01, 2005

Reporters' Notebooks

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times: USC tailback LenDale White isn't sure if he will be able to play against UCLA.

Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette: A look at the glory and the gory of the past football weekend, lifted from published sources nationwide (subscription, so story is in comments).

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Bowl games are stuck in neutral waiting for the final weekend of play to be completed (registration).

Michael Pointer, Indianapolis Star: Former Purdue linebacker Kyle Williams appears to be in a boatload of trouble for two incidents Tuesday night.

Tim Bisel, Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas State has zeroed in on Virginia offensive coordinator Ron Prince to replace Bill Snyder.

1 comment:

dawizofodds said...


Mike Hlas
Cedar Rapids Gazette

1. Happy Days: Some teams are happy to go to any bowl game. They’re not like 9-2 Miami, which must lower itself to play in the Gator Bowl.

"I don’t guess we’re excited about any bowl right now. I know I’m not and I doubt that our players are either,’’ Miami Coach Larry Coker said.

Boo hoo. Let’s hear instead from thankful teams.

"It’s a great thing to be able to go to a bowl," Northwestern Coach Randy Walker said. "There is no such thing as a bad bowl. I made a statement two years ago when we went to the Motor City Bowl: I could go there eight years in a row. It’s just great to be in a bowl. It makes a statement about your program."

Yes, it says your coach should go into politics. So should Arizona State’s.

"We’re going to spend Dec. 27 in beautiful downtown Phoenix. We’re pretty excited about that," ASU Coach Dirk Koetter said after his team edged Arizona, 23-20. Arizona State was then invited to play in the Insight Bowl, 11 miles from its Tempe campus.

Rutgers will be ASU’s opponent. It will happily cede the homefield advantage to the Sun Devils.

"Hey, who’s kidding who?" said Rutgers Coach Greg Schiano. "We’ll go to a bowl game and play anyone."

Rutgers is headed to its first bowl since it played Arizona State in New Jersey’s Garden State Bowl 27 years ago.

The Garden State Bowl is long gone. Too bad. Randy Walker would have loved it.

2. Big of Mack: When asked on ESPN Saturday if he was a BCS or playoff supporter, Texas coach Mack Brown replied, ‘‘I’m a playoff guy.’’

Which was surprising, since the Longhorns are a Big 12 title-game win over Colorado Saturday from playing in the BCS’ national-championship game at the Rose Bowl.

Brown suggested that 10-1 Penn State, with a last-second defeat at Michigan, and 10-1 LSU, which fell in overtime to Tennessee two months ago, deserve a shot at the title as much as his ’Horns.

That may have been easy of Brown to say since he’s a win from the title game, but it was still generous.

3. Rise of Troy: Former Iowa State Heisman Trophy runner-up Troy Davis is getting a championship ring.

Davis’ Edmonton Eskimos won the Grey Cup, the Canadian Football League’s Super Bowl, with a 38-35 overtime decision over the Montreal Alouettes in Vancouver. Davis had a game-high 68 rushing yards on 11 carries.

Since graduating from high school in Florida, Davis was on just two winning teams in his 12 seasons before this one. In his three years at ISU, including the two seasons he led the nation in rushing, Iowa State was 5-27-1. He was on the 3-13 New Orleans Saints in 1999 and the 1-17 Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in 2003.

"Now I am here (in Edmonton)," Davis said, "and I am on a winning program and I am so happy."

1. Beleaguered Title Games: Most league championship games serve two primary purposes. One, make money. Two, cause embarrassment.

Colorado will play Texas for the Big 12 title. That’s the Colorado that lost its last two games by a total of 60-19. That’s the Colorado that told the world it didn’t want to win the Big 12 North when it fell 30-3 at home to Nebraska Friday. That’s the Colorado that lost to Texas, 42-17.

"Think the Buffs will show up for their Big 12 title game feast against Texas with an apple in their mouth while laying on a silver platter? Hey, it would save time," wrote Tom Dienhart on The Sporting News’ Web site.

Florida State is no better. It heads the ACC title game against Virginia Tech with a three-game losing streak. The latest indignity was Saturday’s 34-7 loss to Florida.

The Mid-American Conference has the weirdest championship pairing of them all Thursday night in Detroit, with 7-4 Northern Illinois facing 6-5 Akron.

Akron won a three-way tiebreaker for the MAC East title over Bowling Green and Miami (Ohio) because the teams the Zips played in the other division had the best combined record.

Had it been needed, the second tiebreaker would have involved a climb up a mountain of crushed cars.

2. Broken Projectors: Note to everyone for next year: Bowl projections must go straight to recycling bins.

CBS’ is a good Web site. But its bowl projections, as of late Monday afternoon, were daft. It had Iowa in the Music City, Iowa State in the Holiday, and Oregon beating out Ohio State for a Fiesta berth.

No, no, and no.

Monday, the Houston Chronicle forecasted Missouri, not Iowa State, to be the Big 12’s Houston Bowl invitee. Whither the Cyclones? In the Alamo against Minnesota. Huh?

Iowa State is Houston Bowl-bound, and Iowa’s likely to revisit the Alamo. Is that so hard to grasp?

3. Aye to Irish: We all know why Notre Dame will get a Fiesta Bowl bid. The Fighting Irish are the Oprah of college football. They have legions of fans and get monster television ratings. The Fiesta would be nuts to spurn them.

But 9-2 Notre Dame needed a last-minute touchdown to beat Stanford, 38-31. The Irish have just three wins over teams headed to bowls, and two of them are BYU and Navy. They lost at home to Michigan State, which then went 2-6 in the Big Ten.

Oregon is 10-1 with a seven-game winning streak. It lost only to USC. Auburn beat Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, and would have been perfect in the SEC but for an overtime defeat at 10-1 LSU.

Notre Dame has had a terrific season. But USC beat Stanford by 30 points, Oregon beat Stanford by 24, and even Cal-Davis beat Stanford.

Cal-Davis lost 24-7 to Eastern Washington, which lost by a field goal to Northern Iowa Saturday in the I-AA playoffs. So figure UNI is 20 points better than Notre Dame.

The Hlist kids the Irish.

"I keep reading that the BCS ‘got it right’ this year.

"Got what right? Michigan beating Penn State on the last play of the game, so we didn’t end up with three undefeated teams?" — Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News.

"They still don’t want to give me credit.

"It gets old . . . I’ll always hear, 'Can he do this? Can he do that?' Do I have to go out and run against Jesus on the field or against 11 Jesuses to actually prove I can play in this league?" — Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson last week.

Johnson rushed for 119 yards in the Chiefs’ 26-16 win over New England Sunday. Apparently, the Patriots used 11 mortals on defense.