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BOWLS '85-86 : ORANGE : Switzer Hits Campaign Trail Again This Season : Coach Says His Oklahoma Sooners Should Be No. 1 . . . If They Beat Penn State

December 30, 1985|RANDY HARVEY

Unimpressed with Brigham Young last season, Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer said before the Orange Bowl that the Sooners should be No. 1.

Then they lost to Washington, 28-17.

You would think Switzer learned his lesson, but again this year he is on the campaign trail.

Even though the Miami Hurricanes have the same record as the Sooners (10-1) and beat them, 27-14, on Oct. 19 in Norman, Okla., Switzer said he feels his team should be the national champion if it beats No. 1 Penn State in the Orange Bowl.

In the final pre-bowl rankings, Oklahoma was No. 2 in the UPI poll and No. 3 in the AP poll. Miami was No. 2 in the AP poll and No. 4 in the UPI poll.

"The only case I have is that if we were No. 2 the last several weeks in the UPI poll, and we are fortunate enough to beat the No. 1 team, we should go up a spot," Switzer said. "It's as simple as that.

"I'm sure (Miami Coach) Jimmy Johnson feels they should go to No. 1 (if Penn State loses) because they beat us. That might get him some support, maybe in the AP poll. But then, Florida beat him, so maybe Florida should be ranked ahead of both of us. I don't know."

Switzer failed to mention that besides one loss, Florida also was tied once.

"Being No. 1 is nice, but there's no permanency to it," Switzer said. "I voted Fresno State (11-0-1) No. 1 last week. But I imagine I'll vote us No. 1 if we beat Penn State in the Orange Bowl."

On the same subject, Iowa Coach Hayden Fry told the Miami Herald: "When Jimmy Johnson says, 'We're No. 1,' that motivates me to look at Miami's schedule. And let me tell you, some of the people that they beat (Rice, East Carolina, Cincinnati, Louisville, Colorado State and Notre Dame) are not that good.

"I don't really think Penn State is No. 1, but I didn't really think Brigham Young was No. 1 last year, either. But I voted for them in the final poll because they were undefeated."

Could Iowa be No. 1?

"If Oklahoma wins that game (the Orange Bowl), there are several teams to be considered for No. 1, and we'll be one of them if we beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl," Fry said. "

Dan McNamara, executive director of the Orange Bowl, received a call this week from Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda, on a stopover at the Miami airport while on his way to the Dominican Republic. McNamara said Lasorda wished good luck to Penn State Coach Joe Paterno.

"Paterno . . . and Danny Marino," Lasorda said. "All the Italians."

The only true Italian in the Orange Bowl is Penn State place-kicker Massimo Manca, who is from the island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy.

His mother and father are English professors who moved their family to Reno, Nev., when Massimo was in the sixth grade. They lived for two years in Reno, where his parents taught Italian, returned to Sardinia for two years, then came back to Reno for two more years when Massimo was in the 10th grade.

A soccer player in Sardinia, he first kicked a football when he was in the 11th grade. Although he was supposed to move back to Italy with his family for his senior year, his high school coach convinced him he could earn a college scholarship if he remained in Reno and played football.

Massimo and a younger brother, Maurizio, stayed in Reno with an older brother and both earned college scholarships. Maurizio is a backup placekicker for the University of Virginia.

Massimo, a senior, has been successful on 11 straight field-goal attempts and made 21 of 26 this season. He kicked three from more than 50 yards.

He had a 52-yard field goal in high school, a school record until it was broken this season by Dirk Borgognone's 68 yarder.

Massimo's family is returning from Sardinia to see the Orange Bowl. It will be the third game his father has seen this season.

"He doesn't know all the rules," Massimo said. "But neither do I."

Oklahoma quarterback Jamelle Holieway, the freshman from Banning High School, has a tattoo on his left arm that says "Jammin," his nickname.

"My best friend in high school, Jose Wilburn, and I went down to San Diego, around the Navy bases, and just to do something different, we got a tattoo," Holieway said.

Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer said it took him several weeks to learn how to pronounce Holieway's first name.

"I slaughtered it," he said. "Now I think I've got it. Jamelle rhymes with bell, well and hell."

Holieway became Oklahoma's starting quarterback after sophomore Troy Aikman, a better passer than he is a runner, was injured during the 27-14 loss in October to Miami, the Sooners' only loss.

Since then, Oklahoma has averaged 38 points a game.

The Sooners' outspoken sophomore linebacker, Brian Bosworth, told Sports Illustrated it was a "blessing Troy went down because, with Jamelle in there, it has been back to the wishbone of old."

Aikman, who had a broken ankle, returned to practice this week, but he might not be with the Sooners much longer. Considering the success of Holieway, who was the All-Big Eight quarterback, and another freshman quarterback, Eric Mitchel, Aikman said he is considering transferring.

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