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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

If They Go Flat Out, Look for Pancakes and Tortillas

December 31, 1996|RANDY HARVEY

It's more rare than the prime ribs Orlando Pace and Juan Roque devoured in the Lawry's Beef Bowl last week when a game like the Rose Bowl is decided by two offensive left tackles.

But Ohio State's Pace and Arizona State's Roque, with all due respect for Sun Devil quarterback Jake "the Snake" Plummer, could be the two best players in Wednesday's game.

Pace, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound junior from Sandusky, Ohio, has received more attention, having won the Lombardi Award in 1995 and '96 and the Outland Trophy this season.

Then again, Ohio State's sports information director, Steve Snapp, did more attention grabbing, winning the half-teasing, half-not Hypesman Trophy awarded annually by his counterparts around the country for his promotional prowess.

Pace had 74 pancake blocks this season, meaning that's how many times he flattened defenders. Snapp stirred that around in his mind and came up with the idea of mailing pancake refrigerator magnets to Heisman voters.

Roque, a 6-8, 313-pound senior from Ontario, was a finalist for the Lombardi and Outland without the hype. Or even the syrup. The Sun Devils prefer to categorize their blocks as finishes and double-finishes, which Roque claims are harder to get credit for at Arizona State than a pancake at Ohio State but are not as, well, snappy. I have yet to see a "double-finish" refrigerator magnet I would have in my kitchen.

"I guess we should have called them Juan's Tortillas," laments Arizona State's publicist, Mark Brand. "He's Mexican. He would have loved it."

*

If the Miami Heat wins Sunday at Utah and next Tuesday at Seattle, the attempt to break the 1971-72 Lakers' 16-game road win streak will come on Jan. 8 at Portland. In their record-breaking '95-96 season, the Chicago Bulls won no more than nine consecutive road games. . . .

Attention Bill Fitch: Minnesota won four games in a row with Coach Flip Saunders wearing Jerry Garcia ties. . . .

The most highly recruited high school quarterbacks in California in 1987 were Capistrano Valley's Todd Marinovich and El Toro's Bret Johnson. Both have been surpassed by another Californian from the same class, Mark Brunell of Santa Maria St. Joseph, now leading Jacksonville in the NFL playoffs. . . .

There's speculation that the New Orleans Saints are coming after Arizona State Coach Bruce Snyder. . . .

Arizona State's Snake lost his composure once this season, when defensive end Brent Burnstein wrapped his boa constrictor around Jake Plummer's arm at a party. . . .

Rose princesses don't necessarily remain on the sidelines. Farah Wheeler is a shooting guard at Pasadena Muir; Jodi Tanner started on the girls' water polo team at South Pasadena High. . . .

A Tallahassee, Fla., radio station is sponsoring a contest to name Spurrier Whine. The best entry so far: "Made From the Finest Sour Grapes." . . .

For the celebration Sunday of jockey Laffit Pincay's 50th birthday, Santa Anita is charging 50 cents for general admission and 50 cents for parking and giving $50 to each 50th person through the gates. . . .

Among Bill Clinton's Christmas gifts to Hillary, a die-hard Cub fan, was a copy of author Mike Schacht's "Mudville Diaries." . . .

ESPN Radio's Hank Goldberg nominates Evander Holyfield for sportsman of the year. "He did something every woman wants to do," Goldberg says. "Knock out Mike Tyson."

*

Angels are in. There are movies "Michael" and "Preacher's Wife," the television show "Touched by an Angel," books "Everyday Angels" and "The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven," and swimmer Angel Martino, who gave her bronze medal last summer to an Olympic volunteer recovering from cancer.

Last week in Virginia, a 14-year-old girl who had been in a coma for almost two weeks cried when her mother played the Alabama song, "Angels Among Us."

But now baseball's Angels are giving them all a bad name by raising prices on high-end tickets in 1998 from $14.50 to $32.50, making them virtually unaffordable for anyone not on an expense account. There goes the neighborhood.

"Take me out to the ballgame,

"Take me out to the suites,

"Buy me some foie gras and creme brule,

"I don't care; the company will pay,

"So it's root, root, root for the Angels,

"But if they don't win, it's all the same,

"Cause it's one, two, three innings, I'm out

"At the new Big A."

*

While wishing someone had given J.R. Henderson, Kris Johnson and Jelani McCoy watches for Christmas, I was thinking the order of finish in Pac-10 basketball will be: Arizona, Stanford, Cal, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Washington, Washington State, Arizona State, Oregon State.

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