Ty Detmer, the Brigham Young quarterback and 1990 Heisman Trophy winner, has experienced two different seasons through BYU's first 10 games of '91. He has little chance of winning the Heisman again, but he and his team are performing well once more.
"Right now, we can play with any team in the country," Detmer said as the Cougars, ranked 23rd, prepare to play San Diego State Saturday night for the Western Athletic Conference title and a Holiday Bowl bid.
"It took some time to get that experience, to get everybody in the right places, but we're confident in what we can do, and that's the real difference now," Detmer said.
BYU has won seven consecutive games after losing their first three to No. 1-ranked Florida State, UCLA and Penn State.
The senior quarterback was sacked 14 times, threw four interceptions and averaged 217 yards passing in those three losses.
In the seven victories, he has averaged 340 yards and passed for 19 touchdowns. He has thrown only three interceptions and has been sacked 11 times.
Detmer credited the maturation of his offensive line and receivers, adding: "I have more control now. I think I've been really consistent; I'm on top of things. I'm just going out and having fun."
Trivia time: Recipients of the major leagues' most-valuable-player awards will be announced next week. Who is the only player to win a triple crown twice and not receive the MVP in either of those years?
Family planning: As he undergoes rehabilitation after shoulder surgery and approaches his 27th birthday Saturday, Dwight Gooden's sense of family is such that he has bought four homes on one block in St. Petersburg, Fla.--three for his closest relatives and one for himself, his wife, Monica, and their three children--and hopes to buy a couple more.
"If we can get two or three more, then we could knock down a couple and put up a playground and basketball court," he said. "If we can get that far, I'd like to talk to the city and see if we could put up a gate at the end and close it off. We could call it Gooden's Landing."
Rough landing: Eddie (the Eagle) Edwards, the bespectacled British ski jumper who gained a measure of renown in the 1988 Winter Olympics because of his unathletic appearance and unspectacular distances, has crashed financially.
A court in Bedford, England, declared Edwards bankrupt based on debts of about $177,000, according to his manager, Andrew Petherick. The total includes a tax bill of $52,000.
Petherick said Edwards hopes to get his career off the ground again and will represent England in European Cup and World Cup jumping meets this winter.
Trivia answer: In 1942 and '47, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox led the American League in hitting, home runs and runs batted in but lost the MVP award those years to the New York Yankees' Joe Gordon and Joe DiMaggio, respectively.
Inflation: It took only the first free-agent signing of the winter to cause consternation throughout baseball. The Milwaukee Brewers, stung a year ago by the $13-million signing of Ted Higuera, whose future is now uncertain because of arm problems, retained pitcher Bill Wegman for four years at a total of $9.5 million.
Wegman was 15-7 with a 2.84 earned-run average in 1991 but has been on the disabled list in each of the last five years and has a 51-51 career mark. Even Wegman was shocked that the deal came so quickly.
"We were going after three years, and I thought that would be tough to get," he said. "I was really surprised when they offered four years."
Quotebook: Terry Dill, a former attorney now playing on the Senior PGA Tour: "I'll tell you, practicing and playing golf is a lot better than handling divorce cases."