John McGrath in the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune, commenting on next year's bowl championship series title game to be played under lights at the Rose Bowl:
"Think about it. The event's most recognized marketing tool--that gorgeous sun, which through TV has been warming Snowbelt living rooms since 1952--will be moved inside like an antique prop so American sports fans can watch . . . another night game?
". . . I'd rather watch any Rose Bowl under a blue sky than a battle of unbeaten behemoths under a full moon."
Trivia time: Who holds the record for years as football coach at one Division I-A school?
Florida futility: Gary Shelton in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, commenting on Tampa Bay's 21-3 NFL playoff loss to Philadelphia:
"They score an embarrassing amount of points. . . . They talk about next year. By now this is becoming formula. The wrong team dances in the final scene. Who knows? Maybe this is the way it will always be."
Irish wake: David Haugh in the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, on Notre Dame's embarrassing 41-9 Fiesta Bowl loss to Oregon State:
"Critics of this matchup were right about two things: It actually was a Siesta Bowl, and one team didn't belong there. But that team turned out to be Notre Dame, all lead feet and gold helmets.
". . . If Notre Dame's offense had moved south with any more frequency, the Mexican border patrol would have been alerted."
More Irish: Rick Morrissey in the Chicago Tribune, on Notre Dame's apparent lack of speed: "You can't teach fast-twitch muscles. That's going to be Notre Dame's challenge next season. That or hope the rest of college football country goes on a work slowdown."
Sarcasm: Mark Kriegel in the New York Daily News: "Mario Lemieux scored three points in his return. So what's the big deal? Given the opportunity, [Knick] guard Chris Childs can do that every night."
Let's wait it out: From physicist Don Page at the University of Alberta: "If the fastest average speed of any individual athletics race at the Olympics continues to increase linearly at the average rate it did between 1896 and 1996, it will reach the speed of light in just under 15 billion years from now."
The what game? Tom FitzGerald in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Sports fans tend to have short memories. In fact, many of us have already forgotten the score of the Blue-Gray game."
How could he leave? Ron Rapoport in the Chicago Sun-Times: "I don't want to say they're bitter in New York about [Coach] Al Groh deserting the Jets for Virginia, but here's Mike Freeman in the New York Times:
" 'The Jets will probably be in the playoffs next season. Groh will be trying to get the Cavaliers that Alamo Bowl invitation.' "
Looking back: On this day in 1970, in the last AFL championship game, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders, 17-7. The Chief defense made four interceptions, three in the final quarter.
Looking back again: On this day in 1976, the Dallas Cowboys became the first wild-card team to reach the Super Bowl with a 37-7 rout of the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship game.
Trivia answer: Amos Alonzo Stagg, Chicago, 41 years, 1892-1932.
And finally: Masters champion Vijay Singh already has settled on a menu for the Champions Dinner on the Wednesday night before the tournament: Thai food.
Singh said a chef from Atlanta will come to Augusta National to prepare the food. What will someone like Sam Snead think of his choice, Singh was asked. Singh: "He can always have a hamburger."