Let's not make a deal: Miami Coach Jimmy Johnson, whose team has two tough games after "picking day," says he will accept no "if this or if that" deals from the Orange Bowl.
"If we are fortunate enough to be 9-0 on picking day, we will only consider unconditional offers," he said.
His third-ranked Hurricanes, however, will have to play Notre Dame and South Carolina after bowl bids go out, and it would be a brave selection committee indeed that would invite a potential 9-2 team to a game with the Big Eight champion, probably Oklahoma (now No. 1) or Nebraska (now No. 2), for the national championship. The Orange Bowl probably would like to make a conditional choice.
"If Jimmy were No. 1, his comments would have a lot more impact," said R. Pete Williams, chairman of the selection committee. "He dictated everything last year, but he's not there right now."
Last season, Miami was ranked No. 1 throughout and had a lot more leverage than this in setting up its Fiesta Bowl game with Penn State. Still, Miami might have just enough to pull it off. Imagine the Orange Bowl not inviting a 9-0 team. One that just happens to be the home-town team.
When it comes to getting near the football, Tim Brown has had more trouble with his mother than with opposing defenses. She kept him out of freshman football in high school, which just about everybody knows by now.
But did you know that Josephine Brown kept little Tim from every Dallas boy's birthright--Cowboy games on the radio. The Fighting Irish star-to-be had to pilfer his mom's keys and sneak out of church to listen on the van radio.
Here's what Tim's brother, Donald Kelly, told the Dallas Times Herald: "By the time the game got heated up, church service heated up. At the opportune time, you'd sneak out. Offering time was always good. Everybody marches around, so you keep right on, out the door."
In Texas, there's religion and then there's football, and few, other than Mrs. Brown, can tell them apart.
Heisman gantlet: The Nebraska defensive line has a kind of vote in the trophy voting, or seems to think it does.
Last week, it ran Oklahoma State's Thurman Thomas off the ballot, holding him to just seven yards. He'd been averaging 140 a game. In their second game of the season, the Cornhuskers sent voters a similar message, holding UCLA's Gaston Green to just 46 yards rushing. Green has averaged 132 since.
Before we actually select a winner, let's see Tim Brown return a punt against these monsters.
Good things happen when you win: Syracuse beat Penn State last week and vaulted into the top 10 for the first time in more than 20 years. In addition, the 6-0 team was awarded a network TV date for its game with Pitt.
Said Coach Dick MacPherson: "There was some ham in the pea soup this week. We've come a long way."
Coming a long way, cont.: Texas El Paso, which last played in a bowl game in 1967, and which was 1-10 as recently as 1985, is leading the Western Athletic Conference with a 3-0 record, 5-1 overall, qualifying for second most surprising team of the year, right behind Syracuse.
The Miners are averaging 33.5 points a game, about what they gave up last season on average. The turnaround, under second-year Coach Bob Stull, is well appreciated. Home attendance is averaging 47,000, which is 20,000 more than a year ago, and Stull reports, "Our fans are tailgating in the parking lot six hours before kickoff."
The rest of the WAC is no less interesting.
Among the nation's seven leaders in total offense are five WAC quarterbacks.
The list includes San Diego State's Todd Santos, who passed for 536 yards against Stanford Saturday night, breaking the WAC career record held by Brigham Young's Jim McMahon. Santos needs to average just 203.6 yards in his final five games to break Kevin Sweeney's National Collegiate Athletic Assn. career record.
So far as we know, Richard Tardis is the only Division I-A defensive end who has run with the bulls.
So far as we know, Tardis is also the only walk-on player from France now leading a Southeastern Conference team in quarterback sacks.
So far as we know, there is nobody else like Richard Tardis.
Tardis, who at least played rugby, came to Augusta, Ga., several years ago as an exchange student and got interested in this game of football that the South took so seriously. He enrolled at Georgia and, uninvited, went out for the football team. He had size--he's 6-2 and 230 pounds--and quickness. The coaches were intrigued.
Up to a point. When they tried him on offense in a blocking drill, he simply tackled the defender.
Coaches aren't dumb, no matter what you hear. So they tried him on defense. And during the 1986 spring scrimmage, Tardis made so many sacks in a row that Coach Vince Dooley halted play, walked out on the field and awarded him his scholarship on the spot.
Since then, Tardis has led the team, last season and this, in sacks, playing mostly on passing downs or against mostly passing teams.
But wouldn't you expect him to be handy with an onrushing blocker? This is a guy who's spent several exciting days in Pamplona, Spain, running the bulls. Not Bulldogs, bulls, lower case. When those guys stick you, it counts.