How big is football in Nebraska? According to John Jeansonne of Newsday, the mayor of Lincoln, Bill Harris, a Nebraska grad, likes to put it this way:
"You know that big 'N' on the side of the football stadium--the first thing you see when you come into town from the airport?
"Well, a lot of people think we're just a football school, but we also emphasize academics. That 'N' really stands for 'knowledge.' "
Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants, out with a pulled hamstring, revealing it occurred while he was chasing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham: "He's got five gears. I ain't got but four."
Add Eagles: Kicker Paul McFadden, who missed a 39-yarder that would have won the game for Philadelphia, got a vote of confidence from Buddy Ryan, but he's not shopping for any homes in the area.
"I think I know what he's thinking," McFadden said. "I better put the ball between the pipes or I won't be around anymore."
Wait a Minute: USC Coach Larry Smith, on the UCLA game: "This will be a fun week. The way I look at it is that you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain."
Don't tell it to Ted Tollner.
Trivia Time: If USC wins Saturday, it will meet Michigan State in a rematch in the Rose Bowl. What happened the last time Michigan State played a rematch in the Rose Bowl? (Answer below.)
Said San Diego Chargers linebacker Chip Banks after Sunday night's win over the Raiders: "They tried to shove us around like they always do, but we shoved them back."
Said safety Martin Bayless: "We showed them that we weren't taking anything from them anymore."
Said Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler on Ohio State's firing of Earle Bruce: "Tell him not to worry. Tell him I'll take the athletic directorship at Michigan and hire him up here. Tell him that. That'll shut them up."
New England Patriots running back Craig James, the other half of the Pony Express backfield with Eric Dickerson at Southern Methodist, told Gary Myers of the Dallas Morning News: "I think the bottom line is Eric ought to be in the top five paid in the NFL. I think he's that good a player.
"Eric is also a very good person who has handled all this extremely well. Probably some people who don't know him say he has let stardom go to his head. I don't see that at all."
Add Dickerson: After Indianapolis won at Miami Sunday, he said: "This is the best team I have been on. It's a good feeling to be in first."
The 1987-88 NCAA basketball guide is out, with Danny Manning of Kansas and Sue Wicks of Rutgers on the cover. On the cover last year were David Robinson of Navy and Katrina McClain of Georgia. They wound up as the players of the year.
Trivia Answer: It lost to UCLA, 14-12, in the 1966 Rose Bowl after beating the Bruins, 13-3, in the 1965 regular-season opener. This year, in the regular-season opener, Michigan State beat USC, 27-13.
Ruth Rothfarb, 86, of Cambridge, Mass., on why she doesn't expect to break her personal best Sunday in the Royal Marathon at Bangkok, Thailand: "You lose an awful lot of speed between 80 and 86."