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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

He Should Know It's Time to Call Off the Wildcats

November 10, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

The Kansas State Wildcats hurried to the line of scrimmage Saturday for one last play, a touchdown run from the one-yard line that enabled them to beat Baylor by 43 points instead of a mere 36.

In a terse exchange after Kansas State's 49-6 victory, Wildcat Coach Bill Snyder said he tried to call time out to prevent his offense from going for another score. But Baylor Coach Dave Roberts was not appeased, wondering why the Wildcats threw a 31-yard pass to set up the touchdown if they didn't intend to score one.

You might sympathize with Snyder, but that's only if you don't understand the bowl championship series rankings. Because you're probably among the 99% of college football followers who don't, including Snyder, then everyone is excused this time.

Amid a tight BCS race to determine which two teams will play in the Fiesta Bowl for the national championship, Snyder, or at least his players, might have believed they needed to boost their margin of victory to impress the voters and the computers.

That could be the case with voters, although it's doubtful coaches from the USA Today/ESPN poll or sportswriters from the Associated Press poll not named de Sade or Spurrier were more swayed by a 43-point victory over a 2-7 team than a 36-point victory.

As for the three computers employed by the BCS, they were not at all moved. The Seattle Times does not use margin of victory as a factor, which is the reason UCLA continues as No. 1 according to that computer, while the New York Times and Sagarin place a cap on runaway scores at around four touchdowns.

Charles Bloom, the BCS media director, said Monday that coaches who run up the score aren't scoring many points in the rankings.

"Kansas State blew out Baylor, while UCLA barely beat Oregon State, and yet UCLA is No. 2 in the BCS because margin of victory doesn't mean that much," Bloom said. "We figure that, at most, it might have an 8% impact."

Asked how much he believes Kansas State was helped by scoring a last-second touchdown against Baylor, Bloom said, "None at all."

For the benefit of humankind, Snyder needs to know that. His team has games against Temple and Texas El Paso next season and UTEP, Ball State and Akron in 2000. It's not necessary for the Wildcats to beat them the way they did Indiana State (66-0), Northern Illinois (73-7) and Northeast Louisiana (62-7) this season.

*

If the USC-UCLA game were today, I'd still favor the Bruins. . . .

That could change before their game Nov. 21 at the Rose Bowl if R. Jay Soward's ankle heals. . . .

In two games against UCLA, the Trojan wide receiver has 14 catches for 441 yards and four touchdowns. . . .

USC Coach Paul Hackett realized he needed to put the ball in Soward's hands more often, scripting 13 of the first 20 plays at Stanford for him. But Soward was injured on the first drive of the Trojans' 34-9 victory. . . .

Vinny Testaverde must have read Keyshawn Johnson's book. . . .

Johnson, who has become Testaverde's favorite receiver, now suggests that former Jet quarterback Neil O'Donnell used to throw passes to him in places that increased the wide receiver's potential for injury. . . .

One reason for the New York Giants' collapse is the season-ending injury suffered by defensive back Jason Sehorn, formerly of USC, in the first exhibition game. . . .

It will come as no surprise here, but many fans in St. Louis have grown weary of Georgia Frontiere's Rams. . . .

Their television ratings in St. Louis are the lowest since they moved from Anaheim, having plummeted 26% from last season. . . .

Still, in a testament to pro football's popularity, ratings for the Rams in St. Louis are higher than they were for Mark McGwire's Cardinals last summer. . . .

Look-alikes: Terry Bradshaw and Vladimir Lenin. . . .

Tony Tavares, the Angel president, was right when he said no player is worth $10 million. But that doesn't mean he's not going to have to pay it. . . .

Ergo the six-year, $72-million offer to Mo Vaughn. . . .

So what if the loss of Brian Bohanon means the Dodgers have only Dave Mlicki to show for their trade of Hideo Nomo? The Mets still got taken. . . .

Bill Bradley, the former senator and New York Knick, will be in town Thursday to interview for the Clippers' coaching job. . . .

Just kidding. He will be at Brentano's in Century City to sign his new book, "Values of the Game." . . .

Awesome Again and Silver Charm, 1-2 in the Breeders' Cup Classic, could start their 1999 horse-of-the-year campaigns next spring in the Santa Anita Handicap. . . .

Frank Stronach, Awesome Again's owner, hopes to complete negotiations to buy Santa Anita by mid-December and plans to send his horses there for the winter. . . .

Calendar pop music writer Richard Cromelin suggests Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's first act should be to change the name of International Falls to Two Out Of Three Falls.

*

While wondering what took so long for Tee Martin to become Tennessee's starting quarterback, I was thinking: John Cooper couldn't wait to lose to Michigan, you're smarter than most if you guessed the 49er game at Atlanta would mean something, I doubt Earth looked any different to John Glenn without the NBA.

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