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It Seems Software Should Like Kansas State's Schedule

November 17, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

So Kansas State continues to rise in the football polls, taking over sole possession of No. 1 in voting by coaches and strengthening its hold on No. 2 in voting by sportswriters. The computers can't be fooled.

Despite Saturday's victory over Nebraska, Kansas State remained No. 3 in the bowl championship series rankings, which means that, if the Fiesta Bowl to determine the national championship were played today, the Wildcats wouldn't be in it. Tennessee and UCLA would be.

It's nothing personal against Kansas State. These are computers, remember. It's just that they download laughing every time they look at the Wildcats' schedule, which is the 68th strongest in the land. In contrast, UCLA and Tennessee have the 12th and 13th strongest schedules, respectively.

Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking or whoever devised the BCS formula is open for criticism, especially in Manhattan, Kan. One thing they did right, though, was assign considerable weight to strength of schedule.

We can only hope that this will achieve the desired effect, encouraging college football's superpowers to pick on teams their own size.

That, however, will not change the approach at UCLA and USC. Both, for the most part, already subscribe to that philosophy.

It helps to play in the Pacific 10, which has three or four outstanding teams every year. Outside the conference, the schedule makers for the schools, USC Associate Athletic Director Daryl Gross and UCLA Media Relations Director Marc Dellins, said they try to schedule at least two traditionally strong teams each year.

Because of circumstances beyond their control, they failed for 1999. The Bruins play at Ohio State. But they also play Boise State and Fresno State, the latter which they had to schedule late because Pittsburgh canceled. The Trojans play at Notre Dame. But they also play Hawaii, San Diego State and Louisiana Tech, the last one added after Colorado canceled.

The computers will not accept excuses.

Beyond next season, however, the Bruins and Trojans should be in good stead. USC has games against Colorado and Notre Dame in 2000 and 2002, and Oklahoma and Notre Dame in 2001. UCLA has games against Alabama and Michigan in 2000, and Alabama, Ohio State and Missouri in 2001.

The Bruins, Dellins said, are still looking for a third nonconference opponent in 2000.

I would suggest Akron, Ball State or Texas El Paso, but they've already been booked by Kansas State.

*

Bobby Bonilla calls Tom Lasorda a divisive influence? . . .

Those quotes in The Times' sports section Monday belonged in Laugh Lines. . . .

Bonilla is the guy who told the Dodgers during the heat of the wild-card race that, if it was all the same to them, he'd sit out the rest of the season. . . .

Lasorda told him it wasn't all the same to the Dodgers. . . .

Gary Sheffield tried hard not to make waves after joining the Dodgers. Now Bonilla is making them for him. . . .

If he really is Sheffield's friend, Bonilla will stop speaking on his behalf. . . .

The Yankees, convinced they're going to lose Bernie Williams, are intent on trading for Jim Edmonds. But because they don't want to give Andy Pettitte for him, they're trying to acquire another quality starting pitcher to send to the Angels. . . .

Unless that pitcher is Roger Clemens, the Angels should hold out for Pettitte. . . .

Not many five-time Cy Young Award winners can say they have never won a World Series game. . . .

That's not a knock against Clemens, the only five-time Cy Young winner. . . .

All it means is that he has been dominating for teams that haven't been. He has pitched in only one World Series. . . .

With almost $80 million in box office for "The Waterboy," Disney can pay Mo Vaughn and still have money left. . . .

UCLA's women's basketball team, after losing Saturday to No. 11 Notre Dame, plays No. 2 UConn tonight at Pauley Pavilion. . . .

The Bruins, No. 14, also have games this season against No. 4 Tennessee, No. 5 North Carolina, No. 6 Duke and No. 23 Nebraska. . . .

Talk about strength of schedule. The Bruins should have recruited Alabama's timekeeper. . . .

Cheryl Ford, daughter of L.A. sports-talk personality Karl Malone, is expected to play basketball for his alma mater, Louisiana Tech. . . .

If they meet in the Fiesta Bowl, UCLA and Tennessee both can look back at bizarre fumbles that helped them get there. . . .

At least a UCLA player, Marques Anderson, caused the fumble by Stanford's Jeff Allen near the goal line that enabled the Bruins to hang on in that game. . . .

The Volunteers didn't have to do anything but fall on the ball after the man from Arkansas dropped it. . .

Hmmm. Maybe that's how Tennessee's No. 1 fan, Al Gore, will become president.

*

While wondering how many of you hurried home in the rush hour traffic to catch Bubby Brister against Rich Gannon on Monday night, I was thinking: There's nothing wrong with the 49ers that playing in the NFC East wouldn't cure, the Oilers are already playing like Titans, Jeff George was showing fans in Atlanta "the Dirty Bird" long before this year.

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