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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Key to Rose Bowl Obviously Resides in the Back Door

November 14, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

Bob Kravitz in the Indianapolis Star: "The good news is, if the Back Door Boilermakers beat Indiana [Saturday] at Ross-Ade Stadium, they go to the Rose Bowl.

"The bad news is, if the Back Door Boilermakers beat Indiana next week at Ross-Ade Stadium, they go to the Rose Bowl.

"Does this Purdue team deserve to go anywhere--the Weed Eater Bowl, the Rose Bowl--after Saturday's miserable, throat-clutching performance against Michigan State?

"The better question might be this one: After Northwestern lost to Iowa, unofficially making Purdue the luckiest team in America, does anybody from the Big Ten deserve to go to the Rose Bowl?"

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Trivia time: What was the largest crowd to see a UCLA-USC football game?

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Heart of the Huskies: Washington Coach Rick Neuheisel, on versatile Husky quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who lost two fumbles against UCLA last Saturday:

"You could coach the turnovers out of him, but by doing it you'd coach some of the magic out of him. He's just a quarterback who makes plays.

" . . . All I know is, we'd be hard-pressed to go on without him. The guy pumps the blood in our veins."

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Welcome home: Former Miami Dolphin coach Don Shula, on why he has been around the team more lately:

"It was tough for me to support Jimmy [Johnson]. I just never felt comfortable or wanted. Dave [Wannstedt] has reached out and tried to make everyone comfortable. He comes at you straight on."

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There, there: Christian Laettner doesn't care for Dallas Maverick Coach Don Nelson's substitution rotation, specifically his quick hook and use of Laettner at center.

"It's really hard, and it's really hard on top of that if you think you're being over-criticized and over-analyzed all the time."

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With onions too? Steve Aschburner in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "A TV reporter, trying to follow up on Patrick Ewing's odd pledge to donate a kidney to Alonzo Mourning if needed, got his internal organs mixed up and asked: 'So, would you really deliver your liver?' "

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Better options: Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, on some things he'd rather hear than Dick Vitale's commentary during a college basketball game:

* "Honey, there's a letter here from the IRS.

* "Daddy, come see the pretty color I painted your sports car."

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Shrinking man: Forward Clarence Weatherspoon of the Cleveland Cavaliers, on whether he really measures up to his listed height of 6-feet-7:

"Who cares how tall I am? I've been in the league nine years. I ain't going to get no taller."

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Looking back: On this day in 1992, Terry Porter of Portland made seven three-point baskets against Golden State without a miss, an NBA record since broken by Jeff Hornacek and Sam Perkins, each with eight.

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Trivia answer: 103,303 in 1939 at the Coliseum, a scoreless tie.

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And finally: Woody Paige of the Denver Post, on Oakland Raider owner Al Davis: "[He] is Beelzebub by the Bay, Satan in Silver & Black, the Fated Hated Raider.

"Al Davis is the Greaser Geezer--the most despised devil in Denver. No one even ranks second."

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