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West Virginia Coach Is Angry at Notre Dame

AROUND THE NATION

December 09, 2002|From Associated Press

West Virginia Coach Rich Rodriguez lashed out at Notre Dame after the Fighting Irish accepted a berth in the Gator Bowl and denied the Mountaineers a New Year's Day game.

No. 15 West Virginia (9-3) will play unranked Virginia (8-5) in the Continental Tire Bowl on Dec. 28 in Charlotte, N.C.

The Irish got shut out of the bowl championship series after they were routed by USC, 44-13, a week earlier, so Gator Bowl officials chose Notre Dame rather than West Virginia.

The Mountaineers normally would have gone to the Gator Bowl as the second-place team in the Big East.

The No. 11 Irish (10-2) settled for an invitation to play No. 17 North Carolina State (10-3) on Jan. 1 with a $1.6-million payout.

The Continental Tire Bowl has a $750,000 payout, although West Virginia will instead receive $1.85 million from the Big East as its bowl share for finishing second.

With Ken Haines, Continental Tire Bowl executive director listening on a conference call, Rodriguez said something needs to be changed about the way the Big East's bowl selections are made.

"I don't know if slighted is the right word, but I do question sometimes what is Notre Dame's affiliation with our league," Rodriguez said.

Notre Dame, an independent in football but a Big East member in nearly every other sport, was added to the league's portion of the BCS mix after the 1997 season.

"All the athletic directors agreed to this," Big East spokesman Rob Carolla said. The contract, which was recently renewed, runs through 2005.

"I know this agreement was made earlier," Rodriguez said. "I'm just a football coach and our players are just players, but we don't understand some of the political things. I don't understand why Notre Dame is getting the best of both worlds.

"I think the Big East is a great league and we can stand on our own. In my opinion, Notre Dame either needs to get in or get out."

*

Timmy Chang completed 33 of 54 passes for 437 yards and led a 93-yard game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to give Hawaii a 41-40 victory over San Diego State late Saturday night in Honolulu.

The victory gave the Warriors (10-3) their best record since 1992, when they went 11-2.

Lon Sheriff completed 31 of 47 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns for San Diego State (4-9).

J.R. Tolver of the Aztecs caught 18 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns.

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