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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALAN MALAMUD

Bowl Alliance Adequate but Playoffs Better

July 24, 1996|ALAN MALAMUD

Having the No. 1- and 2-ranked teams play for the national collegiate football championship every year should work out just fine. . . .

Especially if the games are more competitive than that between No. 1 Nebraska and No. 2 Florida in the Fiesta Bowl last season. . . .

The bowl alliance is a step in the right direction toward crowning a true NCAA champion. . . .

But a playoff format still would be the best way. . . .

Consider that seven of the nine NCAA Division I basketball champions from 1985 to '93 were not ranked in the top two of the Associated Press poll at the end of the regular season. . . .

Of course, basketball has a 64-team tournament that would be infeasible for football. . . .

An eight-team playoff format would be ideal. . . .

The site for the first championship game after the 1998 season has not been determined, but here's a vote for the Rose Bowl, whose seating capacity is bigger than those of the stadiums hosting the Sugar, Fiesta and Orange bowls and whose tradition is unmatched. . . .

The most exciting swimming race I've ever seen was the duel between Alexander Popov and Gary Hall Jr. in the 100-meter freestyle at Atlanta on Monday. . . .

Popov won by seven-hundredths of a second after the bitter rivals matched stroke for stroke the last half of the race. . . .

But NBC showed more replays of finishes of races that weren't nearly as close, local newscasts focused on other results, and this newspaper didn't have a photo of Popov anywhere or a mention of him on Page 1 of our Olympic section the next morning. . . .

Do you suppose the coverage would have been different if Hall, the American, had out-touched Popov, the Russian? . . .

If international swimming officials allowed Michelle Smith of Ireland to compete in the 400-meter freestyle, then the U.S. federation should have allowed Kristine Quance to compete in the 400-meter individual medley. . . .

Common sense prevailed only in Smith's case. . . .

A 200- 400-meter double in the Olympics by Michael Johnson would be unprecedented for a male runner, but still wouldn't match the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and marathon triple by Emile Zatopek of Czechoslovakia in the 1952 Games at Helsinki. . . .

The Olympic boxing tournament, which has a blind draw, ought to be seeded. . . .

Dream Team I was ripped for showing its opponents no mercy in 1992. Dream Team III is ripped for defeating Argentina by only 28 points and Angola by only 33. . . .

Pity the athlete who gets up at 6 every morning for several years, trains half the day, earns a silver medal, has a microphone pushed into his or her face, and is asked, "What went wrong?" . . .

President Clinton asked to meet Mark Spitz in Atlanta and got his wish. . . .

The regulars at Friendly Hills Country Club in Whittier say Oscar De La Hoya couldn't be more friendly. . . .

Terry Donahue's newest passion is golf. . . .

Mary Murphy, 78, of Los Alamitos, is giving water skiing lessons at the American Boating Jubilee that runs through Sunday at the downtown Long Beach marina. . . .

Exit finished second in the last race of the Hollywood Park meeting. . . .

Anaheim already has clinched a playoff berth--in arena football. . . .

Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Pat Forde has nominated Cigar for sportsman of the year. . . .

Chances of the Astros staying in Houston improved slightly last week when a club-record 170,447 fans showed up at the Astrodome for a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves. . . .

Cincinnati outfielder Eric Davis should figure prominently on any list of National League comeback-player-of-the-year candidates. . . .

Ryne Sandberg's error with two out in the ninth inning that gave San Francisco a 3-2 victory over Chicago on Monday was only the second of his comeback year. . . .

Where They Aren't Now: Quarterback Andre Ware, the 1989 Heisman Trophy winner from Houston, was released by the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. . . .

Super Bowl XXXI will be Jan. 26 at the Superdome in New Orleans. The NFC and AFC championship games will be Jan. 12, but I can't tell you where. . .

NBC volleyball reporter Bill Walton, a basketball Hall of Famer, would have made a ferocious spiker.

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