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NATIONAL INSIDER

Tulane Happy to Be Home in the 'Dome Too

September 30, 2006

Instead of U2 and Green Day, a marching band will play before the game today at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Instead of a sellout crowd of 70,000 emotionally charged fans, officials expect between 15,000-20,000.

But that doesn't make the game today against Southern Methodist any less important to Tulane than last Monday night's NFL game was to the Saints.

It's Tulane's first game in New Orleans since Dec. 4, 2004, before Hurricane Katrina flooded part of Tulane's campus and heavily damaged the Superdome. The Green Wave played all 11 games last season in different stadiums outside its home city.

Monday night's game between the Saints and Atlanta Falcons drew media attention around the world, raising further the sense of anticipation for eager Tulane players.

"Our players are excited about playing back at home, but the one thing we can't do is get caught up in all the hype," Green Wave Coach Chris Scelfo said. "It's kind of unique from the standpoint that it's our first time back in the dome in a long time and it's a situation where we're going to have to be able to handle it."

Storm damage on the Tulane campus included a number of athletic fields and facilities -- including those for football, which have been rebuilt.

"We've all been through a lot," Scelfo said.

Mixed Reaction

Hometown response to Auburn's 24-17 victory over South Carolina on Thursday couldn't have been more different -- or perplexing to each team's head coach.

Auburn was criticized because it has played three close games, which left Coach Tommy Tuberville peeved Friday.

"We're not going to turn our season into apologizing every week that we won by one or two points," he said. "It's not about style points. It's about winning games. We're not in this business to impress anybody other than our fans and our football team."

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Coach Steve Spurrier was chiding fans that applauded his team because it didn't get blown out by No. 2 Auburn.

"I don't know if any coach has told our fans, 'Please don't clap if we get beat,' " he said. "They thought we were going to get clobbered. We didn't get clobbered so that's OK?

"That's not OK."

No Respect

Because of an off week, No. 14 Oregon has had two weeks to hear about how its 34-33 victory over Oklahoma on Sept. 16 was a gift from Pacific 10 Conference officials.

But the Ducks want everyone to know that they put up 501 yards in offense in that game and deserve some credit.

"In all of that controversy it has not been publicized as much what this team did, what the Ducks did," Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti said. "Are we proud of what we accomplished? Yes. Should that be acknowledged? Absolutely.

"It has been difficult because it's taken away a lot of the luster of this victory, and that's very frustrating. It's also given me cause to tell our kids that we need to validate that victory, and the best way to do that is to win our next game."

Up today: Arizona State, which dropped out of the top 25 after a 49-21 loss to California last week.

Playoff Precedence

The Big Ten game next week between Penn State and Minnesota may have to be rescheduled to Nov. 25, depending on how the Minnesota Twins finish in the baseball standings.

The Golden Gophers and Twins play home games at the Metrodome. The Twins have clinched a playoff berth.

They would play at home next Saturday if they are the wild-card team or win the division with a record worse than the New York Yankees and Oakland A's.

If the Twins win the division with a better record than the other two division champions, they would be on the road Saturday and the Golden Gophers' game will be played as scheduled.

Gettin' Juggy With It

The oldest rivalry in the nation resumes today when No. 6 Michigan visits Minnesota in a battle for the Little Brown Jug.

The Wolverines are also looking for revenge. Last year, the Golden Gophers stunned Michigan on a field goal with one second to play and won the Jug for the first time in 20 years.

This will be the 103rd meeting between the schools. Michigan coaching legend Fielding Yost left the Jug in Minneapolis after a tie in 1903 and Minnesota refused to return it until Michigan reclaimed it with a victory.

They next met in 1909 with Michigan reclaiming the Jug, and the schools have played for it ever since.

Michigan is 63-22-3 with the Jug on the line, but Minnesota holds the Jug.

"I love the Little Brown Jug," Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr said. "The tradition of that trophy, it's the oldest in college football history, which you all know. And you probably don't care. If you're a Michigan football player, if you're a Minnesota football player, I guarantee you care."

Back in Time

As part of its 100 Years of Florida Football celebration, Florida players will wear throwback uniforms today against Alabama representing teams from the mid- to late-1960s.

-- Compiled by Peter Yoon

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Associated Press contributed to this report.

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