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College Football Spotlight

ACC Might Want a Recount

October 19, 2003|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

After welcoming Boston College this week, which gave the traditionally southern-fried Atlantic Coast Conference a Yankee feel, the league then revealed how it would split into two divisions.

Because it was apparently too difficult for the ACC to break into North and South divisions, with six teams each, there will be an "A" division and a "B" division. Interestingly enough, Miami and Florida State were put in different divisions.

However, it's unclear when the conference will get its 12th member and play its first title game, the lucrative reason behind the raid on the Big East Conference that netted Miami, Virginia Tech and, when the lawsuits are settled, Boston College.

Recent reports indicated Boston College could be left hanging until July 1, 2006, before exiting the Big East and joining its new ACC rivals. Miami and Virginia Tech each paid the Big East the tidy sum of $1 million to be set free.

Big East leaders recently voted to up the ante to $5 million, plus 27 months' advance notice from Boston College.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Boston College officials made nice with their new friends at a meet-and-greet this week at Greensboro, N.C.

Then the Eagles went back to the Big East and received a lovely parting gift Saturday at Syracuse, a 39-14 loss.

Last week, Syracuse failed to take out its frustrations at being jilted by the ACC on Virginia Tech, losing a 51-7 squeaker to the Hokies.

Syracuse had been one of the schools mentioned last summer as being on the ACC's hit list, along with Boston College and Miami. The ACC went with Virginia Tech instead of Syracuse.

Earlier in the week, Syracuse Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw called Rev. William P. Leahy, Boston College's president, a "double-agent" because he played on both sides of the ACC/Big East feud.

Saturday, the Orangemen gained a measure of revenge.

So did their fans.

Near the end of a lopsided victory at Syracuse, a near-capacity crowd of 45,313 began to chant "ACC, ACC."

The Mason-Dixon Line never looked so good.

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Meanwhile ...

No. 9 Ohio State lulled No. 8 Iowa into a trance and escaped with a 19-10 victory that won't impress anyone outside of Buckeye Nation. It should have been the game of the day, but served as an indicator of how far Ohio State has fallen.

At game's end, Buckeye Coach Jim Tressel tried to calm the nerves of the faithful by saying, "Don't be disappointed. That was a good football game."

Sorry, bub, but No. 15 Michigan State's 44-38 victory over No. 25 Minnesota was a good football game. So was No. 13 Purdue's 26-23 victory over No. 14 Wisconsin.

Michigan State got a 100-yard kickoff return in the final minute of the first half to keep Minnesota at arm's length. Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton, who completed 38 of 55 passes for 411 yards and a touchdown, drove his team 82 yards to set up the winning field goal with three seconds remaining.

Michigan State is 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten and Purdue is 6-1, 3-0, the only unbeaten teams in conference play. And, unlike Ohio State, the Spartans and Boilermakers appear to be getting better by the game.

They'll each be tested in the next two weeks by Michigan (6-2, 3-1). Purdue plays there next week. Michigan State plays host to the Wolverines on Nov. 1.

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They're No. 1

Michigan State is atop more than one set of standings.

To be sure, the Spartans have a better conference record than the other teams. They also have more arrests at home games -- 200 through four games -- than the others. Most are linked to alcohol, according to police.

"Of course, we would like the number to be lower, but I think it shows the officers are doing their jobs," said Sgt. Florene Taylor of the Michigan State Police Department. "In that sense, it's helping to keep the community safe by keeping them off the streets."

That's one way of looking at it, all right.

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No Wonder He Quit

A day after the announcement that legendary Coach Jackie Sherrill would be calling it quits at season's end, Mississippi State went out and played as if it couldn't care less during a 45-13 loss to No. 19 Auburn.

The last of Sherrill's 13 teams at Mississippi State might be his worst, what with the Bulldogs (2-5, 1-2 in the Southeastern Conference) playing like lap dogs while giving up six touchdowns to Auburn's Carnell Williams.

With Bo Jackson watching from a luxury suite, Williams broke Joe Cribbs' 25-year-old school record for touchdowns in a game. Williams carried only twice in the second half as Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville called off the, ahem, dogs.

Sherrill would not speak about his pending retirement, but heaped praise on Auburn, which has won five consecutive games.

"We felt Auburn may be the best team we've seen this year," Sherrill said. "They dominated us on both sides of the ball right off the bat. They attacked us at all angles and we didn't do a good job of tackling."

Woof.

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Bronco Mania

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