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Scott Ostler

Mr. Fixit Wants to Pour Some Sense Into Bowl Mixture

November 17, 1987|Scott Ostler

Something need fixing around the ballpark or stadium? Ask Mr. Fixit.

Mr. Fixit, I see where UCLA, if it loses to USC, will be relegated to the Aloha Bowl. The big New Year's Day bowl bids have already gone to lesser teams because they could commit earlier. If UCLA had a lousy season, the Bruins would have a good shot at a bigger bowl. Can anything be done to fix this stupid bowl system.

Yes, but my rule is, "What Rube Goldberg has created, let no man put asunder."

If I did want to tinker with this wonderfully ridiculous system, I would do this:

End bidding and conference contracts. An impartial panel of experts would rank the nation's top 20 teams at the end of the regular season. Then, starting at the top, the teams would select the bowl they want to play in. It would be a bowl draft.

Thus, we would have a national championship game every year, unless No. 2 elected to duck No. 1 and be branded a wimp, with no additional games necessary. Bowls could entice top teams with big cash payoffs, big parties and assorted goodies, maintaining a semblance of the college traditions of greed and corruption.

We would all live happily ever after.

Can the Dodgers fix up their image by signing Steve Garvey?

Can the U.S. government fix up its image by repainting the White House? If the Dodgers are looking to recapture some of that old Dodger spirit, they shouldn't stop with the Garv.

They should make 1987 a nostalgia theme season. Bring back Davey Lopes, Ron Cey and Bill Russell. The Dodgers could call their season the "Spirit of '76 Reunion Tour," sponsored by, I don't know, Texaco maybe.

I'm not sure there would be any point to doing this, and that makes it a perfect Dodger move.

What should the Raiders do after the season?

For starters, kidnap Dan Marino. Also, what they might do is change coaches. Tom Flores has done a great job for years, but when a team flounders, the coach usually gets the blame (see: John Madden). Al Davis is unlikely to fire himself.

How about this: Move Flores to general manager and hire Terry Donahue. How many Rose Bowl rings can TD wear? He's only got so many fingers and toes.

A major reason Donahue rejected the Atlanta Falcons job was that he didn't want to move his family. This way, the Donahues can stay. And Terry could work for the most ferocious competitor in football, in a new and challenging situation.

Stop me if I'm being too logical.

Joe Montana hurt a finger while holding for a kick during practice. Why does Joe Montana, whose hands are worth a fortune to the team, hold for kicks?

Because the water boy is usually busy. Holding for kicks is not brain surgery, or even macrame. Seals could be trained for the job. Yet coaches continue to expose their quarterbacks to this needless danger.

My solution is simple. Eliminate the kick-holder. Field goals and PAT kicks are incredibly boring and routine. It's like watching Wade Boggs play tee-ball.

But if you eliminate the holder and force the kicker to kick the ball as it bounds and squirts along the ground after being snapped by the center, you introduce a whole new element of excitement and athletic skill.

Can you help the Clippers? Coach Gene Shue's new offense might be too complicated for these young fellows. When Michael Cage held out, then joined the team late, he said: "I was looking at the playbook and it's very complex. It was almost like looking at a law book."

Cage was looking at a law book. By mistake he picked it up out of Benoit Benjamin's locker. Shue realizes he must start slowly and simply. His Clipper playbook is one page, with a drawing of a hoop and a basketball, and a dotted line connecting the two.

Raider executive John Herrera recently said, on TV and in print, "The L.A. Times has become a rag." Gee, The Times used to be a swell newspaper. Can you help fix it, Mr. Fixit?

I'm always trying. It is an amazing coincidence that The Times started going to heck the day the Raiders came to town.

Mr. Fixit doesn't usually give household tips, but I must caution you that Mr. Herrera's remarks were not meant to be taken literally.

I tried drying my dinner dishes with a copy of The Times, and it made a soggy, inky mess. For such jobs, I find an official Raider crying towel works best.

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