If there were a national championship tournament, I would disregard the polls and pick Washington. . . .
Exceptional strength and speed make the Huskies perhaps the most formidable Pac-10 team since USC in 1979. . . .
Granted, the Huskies lost twice this season. But it took two fourth-quarter interceptions by Colorado to beat them in Boulder the week after they reached an emotional peak against USC and they suffered from a letdown and overconfidence against UCLA after clinching the conference title. In tournament play on neutral fields, attitude would be no problem and their defense and special teams would prevail. . . .
Hayden Fry should let Hayden Fox coach the next time Iowa is invited to spend New Year's Day in Pasadena. . . .
It seems as though there have been a lot of blowouts in the Rose Bowl lately, but none of the previous four games was decided by more than eight points. . . .
This bowl season will be best remembered for a play that didn't count--Rocket Ismail's punt return that was called back because of a clipping penalty. . . .
So long, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The balance of power in the Big Eight has swung to Colorado, which is having an outstanding recruiting year and will benefit from its first national title.
Miami wore Big East Conference patches in the Cotton Bowl. Can hardly wait to see the Hurricanes' passing attack against Georgetown. . . .
Coaching Mismatch of the Day: Louisville's Howard Schnellenberger vs. Alabama's Gene Stallings in the Fiesta Bowl. . . .
Quarterbacks Browning Nagle of Louisville and Brett Favre of Southern Mississippi moved up in the NFL draft with their bowl performances. . . .
I envisioned George Allen becoming the first 100-year-old football coach. . . .
In the year 2018, Allen's Cal State Long Beach 49ers would whip Utah State before a packed house of 30,000 at George Allen Stadium on campus to clinch their fifth consecutive Big West Conference title. . . .
"The future is now!" George would shout, doing a little dance in the dressing room as his players cheered. . . .
Allen was able at the chalkboard, but will be remembered most as a master motivator. The attitude was "us against them." And always give your opponent the impression that you're working harder than he is. . . .
A popular misconception is that Allen succeeded Vince Lombardi as coach of the Washington Redskins. Actually, it was Bill Austin. Lombardi went 7-5-2 in his first and only season at Washington in 1969. Then Austin went 6-8 and was replaced by Allen, who turned it around to 9-4-1 in 1971. . . .
If Todd Marinovich doesn't return to USC, the most experienced Trojan quarterback next season will be Reggie Perry. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound native of Dallas is highly regarded, but appeared in only one game in 1990 as a freshman redshirt. Against Oregon State, he ran once for seven yards and didn't throw a pass. . . .
Coach Larry Smith says recruits haven't asked about Marinovich's status. It's rare when a quarterback gets into a game his true freshman year. The Trojans have commitments from heavily recruited quarterbacks Kyle Wachholtz of Norco High and Rob Johnson of El Toro, and are pursuing Damon Huard of Puyallup, Wash. . . .
Smith is bullish on this year's California crop and is pleased by the number of blue chippers who are academically qualified.
That Chicago-New Orleans playoff game should be some scoring explosion. . . .
It has become fashionable to predict that the San Francisco 49ers won't return to the Super Bowl. . . .
The Rams would have won two or three more without their not-so-special teams. . . .
Marcus Dupree might have a future in the NFL. . . .
Upset of the year was Georgia Frontiere's reasonable solution to the John Robinson controversy. . . .
Art Shell proved that a coach can be as important to a team owned by Al Davis as to any other team. . . .
The Raiders' home schedule next year could be their most attractive in Los Angeles. Coming to the Coliseum will be San Francisco, Buffalo, Indianapolis and the Rams as well as the usual AFC West rivals. . . .
In El Paso, they're excited about the prospect of the local Texas League club becoming an affiliate of the Dodgers. The Dodgers may pull out of San Antonio, where voters turned down a bond issue for a new stadium. The 10,000-seat Cohen Stadium was opened in El Paso.
Nationally ranked UCLA versus improved USC before a sellout crowd at Pauley Pavilion is a fine way to open the Pac-10 basketball season tonight. . . .
USC Athletic Director Mike McGee is confident that the Trojans will have to play football somewhere else only one season, not two, during the Coliseum renovation. . . .
McGee has talked to representatives of Dodger Stadium and the Rose Bowl, but Anaheim Stadium is the favorite for USC games in 1992. . . .
Only 17 more days until the Hula and Senior Bowls.