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Breaking Down Weekend While Waiting for BCS

November 12, 2001|Chris Dufresne

A recap of the weekend's winners and losers while trying to figure out how USC sneaked ahead of UCLA in the Pacific 10 standings, Brigham Young moved up in the polls after a near loss and Bob Toledo turned into Woody Hayes.

Winner: Major Applewhite. You talk about having a senior moment. After scoring a touchdown in mop-up time against Kansas, the Texas quarterback chucked the football into the stands and got a standing ovation from Texas fans. Applewhite also got slapped with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which is a joke because there is probably no better sport in the game.

Applewhite deserves a Nobel Peace prize for keeping his yap shut the last two years as Chris Simms' backup. All Applewhite did to lose his starting job was set 40 school records. Yeah, Simms has the better arm, the better name, and transferred from Tennessee to get to Texas, but it has been Applewhite's back-bench diplomacy that has allowed the Longhorns to stick together and make a national-title run.

Loser: ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. Did we miss something? Did Tom Osborne return and announce another retirement? The voting coaches are at it again. In 1997, they dropped Michigan from No. 1 to No. 2 after a win in the Rose Bowl game and handed Nebraska a share of the national title. Sunday, they dropped Miami to No. 2 after a win and moved, ta da, Nebraska into the No. 1 spot.

It's amazing parents of recruits let these guys into their homes.

Winner: Mountain West Conference: The first word of this week's MWC news release ought to be whew. Brigham Young's not-so-enthralling 41-34 win over Wyoming kept the Cougars' alive in the $13-million bowl championship series bowl game sweepstakes. True story. Riding up the press box elevator at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday, a Wyoming athletic department official wondered out loud if his school might be better off losing the game so as to not spoil BYU's Fiesta Bowl chances.

This is the kind of money-driven logic that drives athletic departments. If BYU goes 13-0 and makes the Fiesta Bowl as an at-large pick, Mountain West schools will divide a $13-million check. Hmm, that's a nice chunk of change for Wyoming.

So, imagine the conflicted, black-angus angst when Wyoming was driving in the end with a chance to actually, gulp, win the game.

There is no doubt the Cowboys were going all guns to win--the kids don't care a cow chip about bowl checks they can't cash--but it makes you wonder about priorities. Happy ending: Wyoming played well in defeat and sent BYU home a winner.

Losers: William Green and DeShaun Foster. Call them the Cleat Clods. Boston College and UCLA were two superstar backs away from pulling off Saturday upsets, yet both players were unavailable when their teams needed them most. Green, the nation's leading rusher, was suspended from Boston College's Saturday game against Miami for breaking a team rule. Miami failed to score an offensive touchdown and hung on to win, 18-7. Eagle Coach Tom O'Brien said Green's absence "didn't hurt us at all." Yeah, right, and the Three Stooges were better off without Curly.

Foster missed UCLA's 21-20 loss to Oregon because some 50-watt Hollywood actor sold him on a Beatles' lyric: "Baby you can drive my car."

Five of UCLA's last six plays were runs, and all it bought the Bruins was a last-second, 50-yard field-goal attempt.

Think Foster would have mattered?

Winner: Brandon Doman. Who says Mormons are all missions and no play? The senior BYU quarterback jokingly blamed his so-so performance against Wyoming on his age. "I'm extra sore, because I'm so old," he said. Doman was responding to a Sports Illustrated story last week in which back-page columnist Rick Reilly opined BYU shouldn't be allowed to effectively redshirt players by sending them on two-year Mormon missions.

Reilly wrote BYU had an unfair advantage because six of its players are 25 or older. Doman turns 25 next month. Reilly suggests the NCAA impose an age cap at 23.

"Yeah, it's an advantage," Doman said, "but I don't think people should be punished for fulfilling service to a church."

Losers: Miami, Tennessee. We warned you the only thing that could hurt Miami in the BCS was a sloppy victory that might cause the Hurricanes to drop in the polls. Sure enough, Miami's shaky 18-7 win over BC caused the Hurricanes to fall from their No. 1 perch in the coaches' poll.

We'll see how it affects Miami in today's BCS standings.

Tennessee? Have we not been Big Sky clear on the importance of running it up? You'd think Volunteer Coach Phil Fulmer would have learned something from Steve Spurrier after all these years. Yet, while Florida bolstered its BCS status by going for the jugular in the Gators' 54-17 win over South Carolina, Fulmer took the civil approach and cleared his bench after building a huge lead on Memphis.

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