Does a college football team's conference standing correlate directly to its number of scholarships? Not in the Western Football Conference. Portland State led the WFC last season with the equivalent of 40 full scholarships, yet finished in third place. Consider:
The Scholarship Race
WFC SCHOOLS RANKED BY '85 STANDINGS
'85 '86 '85 School W-L-T W-L-T Grants Santa Clara 4-0-1 2-2-0 36 CS Sacramento 4-1-0 4-0-0 23 Portland State 2-2-1 3-1-0 40 Cal Poly SLO 2-3-0 1-2-0 33 Cal Lutheran 1-4-0 0-5-0 35 CS Northridge 1-4-0 3-1-0 18 Southern Utah n/a 1-3-0 n/a
Grants are all forms of financial aid benefiting football players, represented in an equivalent number of scholarships.
Scholarship totals remain about the same this season, except for Sacramento and Northridge. Sacramento is up to 31 1/2 scholarships and Northridge has 23. Southern Utah State, which has about the same number of scholarships as Portland State, joined the conference in 1986. The Division II limit is 45.
UC Davis and Cal State Northridge, opponents Saturday night at North Campus Stadium, have the best records among four-year colleges in the state. Davis (7-0) is ranked second in the Division II. Northridge (7-1) is tied with Millersville at No. 8, its highest rating in history. Fresno State of the Division I Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. is the only other team in the state with a record of 7-1.
Coach Bob Shoup of Cal Lutheran said his players were taunted by some Cal State Sacramento players before Saturday's game. "They tried to intimidate us," Shoup said of the conference-leading Hornets. "After warming up, when we walked through their dressing area before the game they said, 'Hey, you guys clap good, but can you play as well as you clap?' Our guys decided they weren't going to take it."
And they didn't. Sacramento, which had blown out previous WFC opponents, needed a touchdown in the final minutes to beat the last-place Kingsmen, 18-17.
Valley College and Moorpark are unlikely to earn invitations to postseason bowl games.
Valley (4-3 overall, 4-1 in the Southern California Conference) trails College of the Desert (5-0) in the race to play host to the SCC bowl game. And Moorpark lost to top-ranked Glendale, 31-21, on Saturday.
At-large berths for the eight bowl games for California community college teams are limited, and an inability to raise travel expenses leaves just three bowls for which the two Valley-area schools would be considered.
Glendale, the defending Potato Bowl champion, will probably return, leaving Moorpark as a long-shot candidate for the SCC and the Orange Coast Pony bowls.
Despite its impressive play of late, Valley's 0-3 start makes it a less-attractive contender for the Pony or Potato bowls, arguably the elite of the state's postseason games.
Moorpark Coach Jim Bittner said his team is still reeling from its loss to Glendale.
"We haven't quite put Glendale behind us," he said. "We were still feeling sorry for ourselves come Monday. Too much of that woulda, coulda, shoulda stuff."