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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Michigan Could Have Mario Manningham Back Soon

The No. 2 Wolverines might get their missing big-play receiver back Saturday against Ball State.

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said wide reciever Mario Manningham would return to practice Tuesday after missing the team's past three games after knee surgery.

"I don't know when it will be, but I have every confidence that unless there's a setback that he's going to play pretty shortly," Carr told reporters Monday.

With Manningham out of the lineup, Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) has had to play even more conservatively than normal.

"We'll just have to see how he does [Tuesday] or Wednesday, but he can run, I can tell you that, he can run," Carr told reporters.

Not having Manningham "definitely takes away a deep threat," quarterback Chad Henne said, "and teams are playing us to take away the big play."

Henne threw 13 touchdown passes in those first six games, including nine to Manningham, but has managed only two in his last three outings.

Against the Wildcats (2-7, 0-5), Henne completed 10 of 20 passes for 116 yards and a 14-yard first-quarter TD to Adrian Arrington.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

OSU v. USC Victory Celebration After The Game - Video

This video was taken after Oregon State's historic 33 to 31 victory over previously undefeated USC. You can see that fans have stormed the field and someone's making them aware that they're on video.

Here's the video:

Saturday, October 28, 2006

USC Gets Upset By Some Beavers

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Turns out No. 3 Southern California was vulnerable.

Oregon State capitalized on four turnovers to upset the Trojans 33-31 on Saturday, snapping USC's 27-game Pac-10 winning streak and breaking the national championship race wide open.

Starting from scratch

USC lost more than just a game Saturday. After the Trojans' 33-31 loss to Oregon State, gone are the stranglehold on the Pac-10 as well as USC's clear path to the BCS title game. Among the impressive streaks that came to an end in Corvallis were:

• 38 regular-season wins for USC;
• 27 straight Pac-10 wins;
• 18 straight road wins;
• 18 straight wins in October;
• 13 straight Pac-10 road wins

One positive for the men of Troy: By scoring 31 points, USC has now scored at least 20 points in an NCAA-record 59 straight games. While that's likely little consolation to Pete Carroll's crew, we felt it was worth noting.

USC (6-1, 4-1) had also won 18 straight road games. But the mighty Trojans had shown cracks in their last three games, each a victory by seven points or less.

Against the Beavers, they couldn't escape and came up one play short.

John David Booty's 2-yard scoring pass to Steve Smith with 7 seconds left made the score 33-31. But Oregon State's Jeff Van Orsow batted down a pass on the 2-point conversion to preserve the lead.

USC started the day as was one of seven unbeaten teams in the country. Now there are six.

Ohio State and Michigan won their games and will hold on to the top two spots in the Bowl Championship Series standings when they come out Sunday. That valuable spot behind the Big Ten powers, previously held by USC, is now up for grabs. All those teams with one loss are feeling a lot better about their chances to play for a national title. And Thursday's Big East battle of unbeatens between West Virginia and Louisville just got a little bigger.

Oregon State fans celebrated wildly in the second half when Matt Moore hit Joe Newton with a 9-yard scoring pass and Sammie Stroughter ran a punt back 70 yards for a touchdown to give the Beavers (4-4, 3-2) a 30-10 lead.

USC, which was coming off an off week that allowed All-American Dwayne Jarrett and fellow receiver Smith to heal injuries, came back with Booty's 4-yard scoring pass to Fred Davis to close out the third quarter.

Booty then found Smith in the end zone and Chauncey Washington ran in the 2-point conversion to narrow it to 33-25 with 12:09 left in the fourth.

After Alexis Serna's 47-yard field goal attempt went wide left, USC got one more shot.

Booty completed 24 of 39 passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Smith caught 11 passes for 258 yards.

Moore completed 21 of 32 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown, while Stroughter caught eight passes for 127 yards.

Turnovers helped the Beavers take control in the first half.

Moore's 22-yard completion Stroughter on Oregon State's first drive set up the quarterback's 1-yard score for a 7-0 lead.

On USC's first possession, Booty's pass intended for Jarrett in the end zone bounced into the arms of Oregon State free safety Bryan Payton, who returned it to the USC 48.

Oregon State didn't get any points out of the drive, but it ended up as a sign of things to come.

Washington ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 10:47 left in the first half to even it at 7 for USC before Serna kicked a 47-yard field goal to put the Beavers back out front.

Oregon State mounted another big drive after Booty fumbled on USC's 26 and the Beavers recovered. The match netted Serna's 31-yard field goal.

Another USC fumble led to a 53-yard field goal for Serna, last season's Lou Groza award winner for the nation's best kicker.

Mario Danelo kicked a 29-yard field goal for USC to narrow it to 16-10 at halftime.

Then Oregon State scored 17 straight, making it 33-10 on Serna's 20-yard field goal.

The Beavers were without tailback Yvenson Bernard, who sprained his right ankle in Oregon State's 17-10 victory over Arizona last weekend.

Clinton Polk took his place and 22 carries for 100 yards.

The last time the Trojans visited Corvallis, it was 2004 and so foggy that it was difficult to see Reggie Bush's wily 65-yard punt return. The Trojans emerged with a 28-20 victory.

Oregon State last defeated the Trojans in 2000. Probably the Beavers' most notable victory over USC came in 1967, when the so-called Giant Killers downed the O.J. Simpson-led Trojans 3-0 on a muddy field in Corvallis.

Thirty-nine years later, the Beavers pulled off another stunner.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hurrican Moore Could be Charged With Felony

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami receiver Ryan Moore is expected to face a felony charge for his role in an August altercation with two women, and will not accompany the Hurricanes to Georgia Tech for their game Saturday.

The felony charge is not why Moore isn't traveling to Atlanta on Friday, Miami coach Larry Coker said.

"I probably know a lot more about it than you do right now and I won't go into that," Coker said. "But I will say that he will not travel."

Moore, who has not played this season because of an indefinite suspension levied after that incident, is expected to play against Virginia Tech on Nov. 4, Coker said.

While Moore won't be playing, starting linebacker Jon Beason -- who wasn't expected to be available for the Georgia Tech game because of a left knee injury suffered against Florida International on Oct. 14 -- may be on the field Saturday.

Beason practiced Thursday and "will be available," Coker said. Beason will not, however, start the game.

"He's genetically gifted, I guess," Coker said. "He's come along fast. He looked like he had not missed a beat. ... Just having him there and available means a lot to us. It will make me sleep better at night, I know that."

Moore has caught 82 passes for 1,205 yards and nine touchdowns in 33 career games with the Hurricanes (5-2, 2-1), who are a half-game behind No. 21 Georgia Tech (5-2, 3-1) in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division.

Moore was suspended Aug. 26, hours after police said he kicked a woman's car door, then grabbed her by the neck and pushed her down. A second woman got out of the car and Moore allegedly threatened her, police said.

Moore was arrested Oct. 18 and charged with two misdemeanors -- criminal mischief and simple battery, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office said. But the mischief charge will be upgraded to a felony because of the amount of damage done to the car.

Still, even with the more severe charge, Moore -- a first-time offender -- will be offered a pretrial diversion program, which will include restitution to the victim, community service hours, and anger control classes, prosecutors said.

Moore did not practice Thursday, Coker said.

"I held him out of practice because he's not going to travel so we are not going to get him turns to get him ready to play," Coker said. "We want to get the guys ready that will play."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Top 10 2007 High School Football Recruits - CBS Video

This is a video clip from CBS' TV show on the top 10 football recruits for 2007, including QB Jimmy Clausen, who's verbally committed to Notre Dame.

Here's the video..

Boosters Say Bowden Must Go

Our dilemma is: How do you ask a legend to retire?"

All-time Division I-A
coaching victories
Coach W L T
x-Bobby Bowden 363 110 4
x-Joe Paterno 359 120 3
Bear Bryant 323 85 17
Pop Warner 319 106 32
Amos Alonzo Stagg 314 199 35
LaVell Edwards 257 101 3
Tom Osborne 255 49 3
Lou Holtz 249 132 7
Woody Hayes 238 72 10
Bo Schembechler 234 65 8
x- active

The question was posed by Bill Davis, a past president of Seminole Boosters Inc., in an interview with The Palm Beach Post. The answer might be coming soon.

Some Florida State boosters are calling for 76-year-old football coach Bobby Bowden, whose Seminoles (4-3, 2-3 ACC) are in last place in the conference's Atlantic Division, to retire.

Palm Beach attorney Peter Mettler, who is a former board member of Seminole Boosters, told the newspaper he was one of many boosters who have written to Florida State calling for Bowden to retire.

"I am convinced and frankly have been for the last two seasons that coach Bowden should retire or be forced to retire," Mettler wrote to Florida State president T.K. Wetherell, the newspaper reported. "Someone has to stand up and make this difficult decision. As our president I urge you to be the leader I know you are, and do what has to be done."

Mettler, who is a Golden Chief in the booster organization ($6,000 miniumum donation) told the newspaper he sent his letter on Friday, the day before Florida State lost at home to Boston College.

On Monday, Mettler discussed the situation with ESPN's Joe Schad.

"I think the world of Bobby Bowden and in a perfect world, this is his call. You say, 'He's earned that right. He's a treasure.' But there comes a time when you've got to say, 'Look, how much more of this do you want to take?'"

"I don't have a problem with him being the 'CEO' of Florida State. To me, the issue is wins and losses for the last five and a half years. If this was a Fortune 500 company or an NFL team, there would be change. The record is simply deteriorating."

Davis also told the Post he thinks it's time for a change at the top for the Florida State football program.

"This is a real tough business. It boils down to one of two things: It's either the horses or the jockeys. And we think we have some pretty good horses."

Wetherell told the Post that no moves will be made during the season, adding that FSU evaluates its coaches after their seasons end.

"Right now all loyal Seminoles fans ought to be out there supporting the team and we'll deal with it at the appropriate time," Wetherell told the Post. "We don't fire deans in the middle of the semester and we don't give out grades to the students in the middle of the semester."

Asked if he supports Bowden, Wetherell told the newspaper "Absolutely, I support him."

A Web site, "RetireCoachBowden.com", also is calling for Bowden to step down.

"We think it is time for someone in the FSU Administration to tell the Emperor he has no clothes...it is time to let our Legendary Coach retire with some amount of class and dignity. Let 2006 be the swan song year so FSU can look ahead to the future with a new, younger direction, with an active Head Coach who actually coaches in the game," the introduction to the Web site reads.

However, Bowden remains upbeat.

"I know it sounds crazy, but I feel real good about our program right now," Bowden said Sunday after the Seminoles lost their second straight conference home game.

"I can't worry about that," Bowden said. "Find the sun. The glass is half full, not half empty. That's always been me."

Bowden on Monday also came to the defense of his offensive coordinator -- and youngest son -- Jeff Bowden, who has faced increased criticism for the Seminoles' decline in offensive production.

"I don't think he'd get half the criticism if his name ain't Bowden," Bobby Bowden told The Associated Press. "How can I have nine coaches and it's always one guy's fault? We're a team. We win and we lose. We don't point fingers."

With the season's final road trip on tap Saturday at Maryland (5-2, 2-1), Florida State needs a win to avoid heading into the season's final month at .500 for the first time in Bowden's 31 years at the school.

The Seminoles' three losses to Clemson, North Carolina State and Boston College are by a total of 16 points.

"We've been in every ballgame until the last dadgum minute," Bowden said. "We're playing so many younger people, we should get better."

When, however, is the question for the defending ACC champs, who have now lost seven of their last 12 games dating back to last November.

"I don't want to present this as 'Oh boy, next year,'" Bowden said. "I'm talking about this season. [But] we've got some growing up to do."

Injuries have forced Bowden to play 17 true freshmen this year, including five who started in the loss to Boston College.

"People win with freshmen. You also get beat with freshmen," Bowden said. "But they're going to be good."

Reaffirming his positive nature, Bowden said his years in coaching have taught him good follows bad.

"We're going to come out of this doggone thing," he said.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cal Survives A Thriller In OT

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Marshawn Lynch played on two sprained ankles, and No. 11 California was on its heels all day -- particularly after Washington scored the tying touchdown on the most improbable deflected pass either team had ever seen.

Yet Lynch finally got Cal into the driver's seat with a 22-yard scoring run in overtime. A few seconds later, he was in another driver's seat -- careening around the field at the wheel of a stadium cart to celebrate the Golden Bears' 31-24 victory Saturday.

Cal (7-1, 5-0 Pac-10) hadn't played a close game all season, but this one got too close for comfort when linebacker Desmond Bishop deflected Carl Bonnell's last-gasp 40-yard pass right into the arms of Washington's Marlon Wood, who lunged over the goal line as time expired.

"We thought we had it wrapped up, and then I thought Doug Flutie was out there," Cal linebacker Zack Follett said.

Several Bears sat on the field in disbelief -- but Lynch was unaffected, finishing off a 150-yard performance with his second dynamic scoring run. Bishop, who made 16 tackles, redeemed himself with a game-ending interception as the Bears kept their Bowl Championship Series hopes on track and set off a wild celebration.

"This brings us together really tight, and it gives us some experience we can use for the rest of the season," said Bishop, who returned the last of Bonnell's five interceptions nearly 80 yards with the entire Cal roster running beside him.

"We know we can win big games now. We know it's inside us."

Instead of getting deflated by Washington's unbelievable comeback, Lynch and Bishop rallied their teammates together -- and with a superb overtime, Cal won its seventh straight game.

After Bishop finally fell down with the final interception, Lynch commandeered the cart used to carry injured players, saying he planned to pick up his exhausted linebacker.

The junior tailback wanted to ghost ride -- a tradition in his native Oakland in which drivers lean horizontally out of their open car doors -- but the cart has no doors. So Lynch jubilantly left turn tracks on Cal's artificial turf while the student section went crazy.

"It was a phenomenal feat, what he did," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said of Lynch's perseverance through injury. "I don't know about the cart, but he's an incredible player."

Lynch, who tied a school record with his 15th 100-yard performance, barely practiced during the week to rest his sore ankles. It didn't affect his motivation: Before the game, he angrily rallied his teammates after watching Washington run its pregame drills on the "Cal" logo at midfield.

Lynch made a 17-yard TD run with 1:52 to play. When Justin Forsett ran for a 2-point conversion and a 24-17 lead, Cal appeared to be safe after trailing much of the day against the Huskies (4-4, 2-3) and Bonnell, who was shaky but resilient in his first start in two years in place of injured Isaiah Stanback.

But Bonnell drove the Huskies 48 yards to the Cal 40, where he uncorked a long throw to the end zone with 6 seconds left. Bishop or Robert Peele could have knocked it down, but instead deflected the ball straight to Wood, who caught it and lunged over the goal line with just his second catch of the season -- and the first TD of his career.

"I was shocked that I actually caught it and just had to dive to take it to overtime," said Wood, a sprinter who returns kickoffs. "They kind of batted it out. I was lucky they didn't bat it down."

"I just tried to catch it -- and knock it down," Bishop lamented. "I've never even been in that situation before. I didn't know what to do."

Washington took USC down to the final possession of a 26-20 loss two weeks ago, and coach Tyrone Willingham's club again showed a flair for drama -- but again couldn't finish it off.

Nate Longshore passed for 291 yards but no touchdowns as Washington shut down Cal's big-play offensive stars -- except Lynch, who rushed for 102 yards after halftime.

Bonnell passed for 284 yards in his first game since Stanback was ruled out for the regular season with a severely sprained ankle. Stanback was hurt last week in the Huskies' home loss to Oregon State.

"Our line picked up pretty much everything they brought at us," said Bonnell, who also rushed for a score. "We did what we came here to do, but just didn't score enough points. We fought hard, but we had too many turnovers."

After a disappointing second half in last week's 21-3 win at Washington State, the Bears remained in their offensive slump. After scoring 192 points in the first halves of their last six games, Cal managed only Tom Schneider's field goal 2 seconds before halftime.

Anthony Russo caught a 49-yard TD pass moments earlier for the Huskies, who led 10-3.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Nebraska Try To Step Up

With all of the early buzz about bringing a pass-happy West Coast offense to Nebraska, Bill Callahan soon learned he couldn't stray too far from at least one aspect of the Cornhuskers' run-based roots.

It's why he's come up with a simple description for the Cornhuskers' recent running-game development. Callahan likes to call it "pounding the rock."

Kevin Terrell/WireImage.com
Marlon Lucky is part of a quartet of I-backs leading Nebraska's rushing revival."You've got to establish some type of physical presence up front, and I think the running game is the best way to do that," Callahan said. "Whether you use one back or two backs, it really doesn't matter, as long as you allow the opportunity for your lineman to come off the ball and establish a physical nature. And a commitment to doing that is important to our team."

The Cornhuskers haven't gone back to the glory days of Mike Rozier and I.M. Hipp just yet. But passing is down more than 25 percent after Nebraska averaged 37 pass attempts per game last season with quarterback Zac Taylor.

Nebraska has utilized a four-pronged rushing attack that features four backs with at least 300 rushing yards this season. Nebraska has improved from ranking 107th in rushing last season to 11th this year with an average of 207.7 yards per game.

The new balance has helped the Cornhuskers become one of four teams nationally and the only Big 12 team to rank in the top 30 in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense and scoring offense. The big reason has been the development of a consistent running game.

That surge has helped Nebraska jump to a 6-1 record heading into Saturday's pivotal showdown of Big 12 divisional leaders against Texas.

"I don't know what they call that offense, if it's the West Coast or East Coast or South Coast or Canadian or whatever," Troy coach Larry Blakeney said after Nebraska thrashed his team 56-0 earlier this year. "Their style of play and their ability with Zac Taylor to throw the ball down the field really gave us more than we could handle."

Callahan's devotion to the passing game got him hired at Nebraska. But to really win back the hearts and minds of Nebraska's devoted fan base, he learned the Cornhuskers needed to establish some kind of running game. It would provide balance for his passing game and hearken back to the program's blue-collar roots.

Nebraska's change has caught the attention of Texas coach Mack Brown as he prepares for Saturday's game.

"It's obvious that Bill Callahan came in and said, 'We're going to start running the ball like the old Nebraska teams, and we're going to stop the run,'" Brown said. "They've done that, and I think it's the No. 1 reason they're where they are now."

The Cornhuskers are off to their best start since 2001 and the biggest reason is a retooled running game. Callahan has developed a four-headed rotation of I-backs that have become a featured weapon, along with Taylor's aerial work.

Marlon Lucky, Cody Glenn, Brandon Jackson and Kenny Wilson have combined to rush for 1,487 yards. Each back has produced at least one 100-yard rushing game this season.

"I've told the guys that one of them would probably be mad after every game," Nebraska guard Greg Austin said. "They can all run the ball, but there's just not enough plays to go around. And in order to the get them into rhythm, they have to get their carries.

"All of them have been featured at one point of the season. And they are all cool with their use. All of them have good attitudes -- they are grown men."

Callahan claimed earlier this week he was "oblivious" to which I-back was in the game. The decision on who plays typically is made by Nebraska running backs coach Randy Jordan, depending on game situations, Callahan said.

"We're just trying to get the best production we can out of the group," Callahan said. "We can get better and our group can play better. If it takes one back, two, three or four of them, we'll use them."

Jackson has emerged as the starter in the last two games, rushing for 208 yards on 38 carries in those games.

Lucky was the heralded recruit who was expected to claim the job before training camp. He started the first five games and has a team-high 476 rushing yards, including four TD runs of at least 34 yards.

Glenn has been compared to former Texas Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell because of his bruising running style. He has scored six TDs and gashed Iowa State for 148 yards when Callahan opted to run between the tackles against the Cyclones two weeks ago.

And Wilson, who joined the Cornhuskers as a heralded junior-college transfer from Butler County (Kan.) Community College, rushed for 100 yards with Glenn two weeks ago against Iowa State.

"They all put their personal goals on the shelf so we can win games," Nebraska offensive coordinator Jay Norvell told the Omaha World-Herald.

Collectively, the group has provided an I-back that fits almost every game situation the Cornhuskers they could face.

The running game's development has helped take some pressure off Taylor, who was sacked 38 times last year when depending heavily on passing.

In his first seven games this season, Taylor has passed for 1,547 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions to qualify as the nation's ninth-most efficient passer. Most importantly, he's been sacked only 10 times.

"I really haven't taken many shots. It's not even close," Taylor said. "The hardest hit I took [against Kansas State] was one where I didn't run out of bounds on a bootleg run."

Nebraska's new-found rushing success will be tested against Texas' tough defensive front. The brute strength-vs.-strength matchup, coupled with Texas' running game against Nebraska's strong defensive front seven, means this game will be determined in the trenches.

"I think yards are going to be hard to come by. It's going to be old-time, physical football," Brown said. "The offenses are both good, but the defenses are going to be getting after each other."

Texas defensive end Tim Crowder relishes the challenge of stopping Nebraska's emerging running attack.

"We always look forward to a physical game," Crowder said. "OU came right at us and we knew we had to be physical to win. We'll be looking forward to it."

Most of Nebraska's sculpting has been against softer defenses. The Cornhuskers haven't faced anything comparable to Texas' second-ranked rush defense, which is yielding only 47.7 rushing yards per game.

Glenn vows the Cornhuskers will steal a page from the Pittsburgh Steelers in their plans for the Longhorns.

"I think it will be very physical," Glenn said. "That's our team motto, that we want the game to be physical every week. The Steelers were hitting and pounding people every game last year. And that's how we want to play -- to be physical and show no mercy to anybody."

Nebraska's ability to dictate tempo in Saturday's game might end up determining it. Callahan is looking for a breakthrough win to signify his program is back among the national elite.

The Cornhuskers have soared as high as 17th in this week's AP poll. It's the highest ranking for a Callahan-coached team in his three-season tenure there.

The once-dominant Cornhuskers haven't claimed a Big 12 North Division title since 1999 and have played in only one BCS-affiliated bowl since the 2000 season. During that same period, the Cornhuskers have made three trips to the Alamo Bowl.

That's what makes Saturday's game so important: Callahan's team has a big chance to earn national respect while moving into the driver's seat for a North Division title.

"This is a great opportunity for the program," Glenn said. "With the way we are playing, we feel we are showing people we are on the way back. And if we could win against Texas, I think we would be."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Two Miami Players Issue Apologies

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- Miami president Donna Shalala offered no apologies for the disciplinary action taken by her university in the days following a sideline-clearing brawl that sparked widespread outrage, saying the punishments handed out were strong enough.

And two of the sanctioned Miami players remorsefully agreed.

Sophomore Anthony Reddick and senior captain Brandon Meriweather issued apologies -- on their own, without university urging -- Tuesday for their roles in the brawl with Florida International, the first act in the long road the Hurricanes will travel in an effort to rebuild the program's damaged reputation.

Reddick swung his helmet as a weapon and struck an FIU player with it during Saturday night's fight at the Orange Bowl, while Meriweather was seen stomping on some Golden Panthers in apparent retaliation after they hit one of his teammates.

"You'll never see that behavior out of me again," Reddick said. "My behavior was a disgrace to my school, my family and my friends, especially the young kids who look up to me as their role model. I do understand that what I did was wrong."

Meriweather's mea culpa came in the form of a letter, which Hurricanes coach Larry Coker wasn't made aware of until moments before its distribution.

"I was not part of the initial fight that broke out," Meriweather wrote. "However, I did see that my teammates and, more specifically, the placeholder were being attacked by the FIU players. At that point I went over the pile so that I could control my teammates and prevent the fight from becoming worse. When I arrived at the pile, I did not use my better judgment."

The brawl started with 9 minutes left in the third quarter of a game Miami went on to win 35-0. As the fighting started, two FIU players -- Chris Smith and Marshall McDuffie Jr. -- attacked Miami holder Matt Perrelli.

Moments after Perrelli was hit, Reddick ran across the field, holding his helmet high, then swung it wildly and smashed it into at least one FIU player.

Smith and McDuffie were kicked off FIU's team on Monday; Reddick was given an indefinite suspension by the Hurricanes. The 16 other FIU players sanctioned for their roles in the brawl were suspended indefinitely, while 12 more Miami players will sit out this Saturday's game at Duke.

Shalala -- who has apologized repeatedly to FIU officials and her own university community for the fight -- said that sanctions levied against 13 players for their role in the sideline-clearing brawl were fair, justified and strong enough to satisfy the university.

All that, though, came with one big caveat: Miami athletes simply can never fight again, she said.

"This university will be firm and punish people who do bad things," Shalala said. "But we will not throw any student under the bus for instant restoration of our image or our reputation. I will not hang them in a public square. I will not eliminate their participation at the university. I will not take away their scholarships."

Miami officials have enacted a new rule that any athlete who fights will be dismissed from that team, a "new standard ... zero tolerance" policy. That, along with 12 one-game suspensions, one indefinite suspension and orders that all players involved in the brawl do community service, is sufficient punishment, Shalala said.

"It's time for the feeding frenzy to stop," Shalala said. "These young men made a stupid, terrible, horrible mistake and they are being punished."

Shalala will meet with FIU president Mitch Maidique on Thursday to determine if next season's game between the teams will be played. An announcement will be made by the weekend, Shalala said.

Echoing Shalala's sentiments, Coker said he found the sanctions ordered by his school and the Atlantic Coast Conference to be fair.

"We are accountable and we need to take care of our athletes and do everything we can to make sure these things don't occur," Coker said. "When you have a terrible incident like this, it really brings home the consequences."

Suspended Miami players continued to practice with the team; most will have scout-team duty this week.

"Let's move forward," Coker said. "Let's don't look back."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rookie To Start For Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia coach Mark Richt said Monday that he will start freshman Matthew Stafford at quarterback in Saturday's home game against Mississippi State.

Stafford will be making his third start. He also started against Alabama-Birmingham and Colorado when senior Joe Tereshinski was out with a sprained ankle.

Tereshinski, who began the season as the starter, has started in the Bulldogs' back-to-back losses to Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Georgia (5-2 overall, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) fell out of the Top 25 with the losses.

In Saturday's 24-22 loss to Vanderbilt, Tereshinski was 11-for-17 passing for 151 yards, including a 23-yard scoring pass to Martrez Milner.

Richt said Tereshinski was disappointed when he learned from Richt and quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo that he would not start Saturday.

Tereshinski and the rest of the senior class will serve as game captains for the game.

Stafford was 9-of-13 for 86 yards, including a drop by Milner that cost Georgia a possible touchdown. Overall, Stafford has completed 47 of 93 passes for 582 yards with four interceptions and one touchdown. He has not thrown a touchdown pass since the first game of the season against Western Kentucky.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Miami Hurricanes vs. FlU Fight - Video Of An American Trajedy

This video is of what in my opinion is a criminal act in the making.

This brawl that occured Saturday night between Miami and FIU represents what's wrong with a society that seems to have moved to a point where more and more violence is acceptable. Plus, with so many African American players going to college with the idea of turning pro to escape their backgrounds, it's time for we as blacks to really look at how we're raising our kids as well as our expectations.

To me this video represents black-on-black crime. There's one African American player kicking anothers one on the ground. Another black player throwing his helmet. What are we allowing to emerge? This is our future?

Look, it doesn't matter of your black and date someone of another color -- I do - but it's still your problem simply by association -- wake up people!

As much as some don't like what Bill Cosby has said about youth and Hip Hop culture, I think it's time to look at his point. Cosby said this:

""Let me tell you something," Cosby, one of America's most admired men, told the group. "Your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it's cursing and calling each other [the N-word] as they're walking up and down the street. They think they're hip. They can't read. They can't write. They're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere."

....Except to Miami and FIU.

We as adults -- regardless of whether we're married or single or black, Asian, Latino, and white -- must take some measure of responsiblity for this. Moreover, this problem's just not a "black" problem -- it's an American trajedy.

Oh, and just because the video has mostly black boys (not men), don't think there aren't white boys and Latino kids in their as well -- look closely. This culture of violence is copied by not a small number of kids and glorified in video games, too. Don't by stupid enough to isloate it as just a black problem and call these kids racist names. Then you become part of the problem.

It's got to stop.

Check out this video and tell me what you think:

Miami Suspends 8 Players

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The fight is over. The fallout is only beginning.

At least eight Miami players were suspended Sunday for their role in a sideline-clearing brawl against Florida International, the latest -- and perhaps worst -- on-field incident to plague the Hurricanes.

"I don't have many bad days. This is a bad day."
-- Larry Coker

Five of those players were ejected, meaning they drew automatic sanctions from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the university. Miami coach Larry Coker punished three others after reviewing tape of the incident, which marred the Hurricanes' 35-0 win Saturday night over their neighboring rival.

"Disgraceful," Coker said.

Coker suspended safeties Anthony Reddick and Brandon Meriweather, along with H-back James Bryant. It was unknown how long any of the suspensions will last.

Reddick swung a helmet during the melee, Meriweather stomped on some FIU players during the fight and Bryant drew his suspension for excessively celebrating his touchdown just before the fracas began.

"What's going to be portrayed around the country is probably not going to be positive," Coker said. "But I will tell you this, and if you've been around our players, you know this. We have great kids in this program. They're not good kids. They are great kids."

ACC officials were meeting Sunday to review the brawl; calls and e-mails to a conference spokesman were not immediately returned. Meanwhile, FIU officials expected to hear from Sun Belt Conference officials about sanctions Monday.

The suspensions come at a terrible time for Miami, which has six ACC games remaining -- and probably needs five wins to even have a chance at playing for the conference title.

"I don't have many bad days," Coker said Sunday. "This is a bad day. And last night was a bad night."

Miami was involved in a postgame altercation at last year's Peach Bowl against LSU and a pregame incident at Louisville this season.

"We've got a strong grip on this program," Coker said, "although this is obviously a setback."

Coker was asked why he felt the incident took place. He began his remarks by saying FIU is a crosstown rival and that "you've got players on their team who wanted to be here."

Coker said it all began when an FIU player shoved and taunted a Miami player in pregame warmups.

"When it got away," Coker said, "was when they slam-dunked our holder -- grabbed him, lifted him up and threw him to the ground."

Miami director of athletics Paul Dee said the school is waiting to review a complete video of the incident.

Dee has spoken with ACC commissioner John Swofford and Miami president Donna Shalala. He said that discipline will be a joint action with the conference.

Coker added that he did not have a full grasp of the incident from the field Saturday and had a different perspective after watching television replays.

Miami (4-2) had five players ejected: offensive linemen Derrick Morse and Chris Barney, running back Charlie Jones, and cornerbacks Carlos Armour and Bruce Johnson.

FIU (0-7) lost eight players to ejection: wide receiver Chandler Williams, defensive backs Lionell Singleton, Chris Smith and Marshall McDuffie Jr., fullback John Ellis, linebacker Mannie Wellington, tight end Samuel Smith and defensive end Jarvis Penerton.

Officials from both universities apologized publicly Saturday night.

"I can promise you," FIU coach Don Strock said, "that this will never happen again."

It's the third on-field incident involving the Hurricanes in their last seven games. And there's been plenty of off-the-field ones, too.

• Several Miami players fought with LSU players following the Tigers' 40-3 win in the Peach Bowl, a brawl that quickly escalated into an out-of-control melee in the tunnel leading from the field.

• Shortly before the Miami-Louisville game Sept. 16, virtually the entire Hurricanes' roster jumped on the Cardinals logo at midfield -- an act widely viewed as a taunting gesture. Afterward, several Miami players chided teammates for their involvement in that incident.

• A Miami player was shot outside his home shortly before training camp began in what players contend was a robbery attempt. Meriweather returned fire at the alleged assailants. Police said he acted legally.

• Wide receiver Ryan Moore, who was sent home from the Peach Bowl for violating team rules, was suspended for the first two games of 2006 for other violations. He is expected to be charged this week with misdemeanors stemming from an August fight with a woman. He hasn't played this season.

Despite all that, Coker bristled at the suggestion that he doesn't have control of his team.

"I do have a grip on this program," Coker said. "Don't ever doubt that. Don't ever doubt that."

There were many instances of heated words being exchanged from the game's opening minutes, especially after Williams dived helmet-first at prone Miami defender Kenny Phillips following a first-quarter interception.

From there, unsportsmanlike turned into unruly.

Bryant pointed at the FIU bench and bowed to the crowd after catching a touchdown pass with 9 minutes left in the third quarter. Moments later, FIU's Chris Smith wrestled Miami holder Matt Perrelli to the ground and punched him.

McDuffie kicked Perrelli in the helmet. Morse jumped onto the Smith-Perrelli pile, Singleton followed and tried to punch the Hurricanes' Calais Campbell -- and benches began to empty.

"You've got to back up each other," said Miami quarterback Kyle Wright. "You're not just going to sit out there and let guys get beat up."

Several players appeared to throw punches, including Miami's Bryant, DajLeon Farr and Ryan Hill, and Meriweather was seen attempting to stomp on FIU players. At least two FIU players were seen throwing punches on the far side of the field, and another swung a crutch menacingly.

Meanwhile, Reddick charged across the field, helmet raised high over his head, and slammed it into FIU cornerback Robert Mitchell.

The fight marred what was supposed to be the beginning of a rivalry between two schools with players who grew up playing each other on high school fields in South Florida.

Now, there's some doubt if the series will -- or should -- resume

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Oklahoma Recuriting Violations?

NORMAN, Okla. -- The NCAA has officially begun an investigation into alleged violations by former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn that led to the players' dismissal from the team.

In a letter to university president David Boren released Friday by the university after an open records request by The Associated Press, NCAA director of enforcement Julie Roe informs Oklahoma of the investigation and tells the university it hopes to finish its work by Nov. 1.

"At this time, the possible violations primarily involve excessive earnings provided to student-athletes employed by a representative of the institution's athletics interests," Roe writes in the letter dated Sept. 20. "However, please note that new information is often developed during an investigation that leads to expanded inquiries."

According to the letter, Roe and assistant director of enforcement Jeff Myers will process the case. The NCAA's Committee on Infractions would take over if the investigation results in a notice of allegations against Oklahoma.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has said the players were dismissed for "knowingly" breaking NCAA rules. The university has said the players "received extra compensation above that to which they were entitled related to their employment at a private business," and a subsequent report to the NCAA identified that business as Norman car dealership Big Red Sports and Imports.

Since the time of the violations, the dealership has changed ownership. Bomar has transferred to Sam Houston State and Quinn has transferred to Montana.

Oklahoma associate athletic director for communications Kenny Mossman said athletic director Joe Castiglione would not comment on the investigation.

Among other documents released Friday were a log of seven football players who worked at Big Red during the 2003-04 academic year and 10 football players who worked at the dealership in 2004-05. All of the athletes' names have been redacted from the logs as well as from their pay stubs from the dealership and tax forms.

One student's W-2 form shows annual earnings in excess of $10,400 in 2005. The university has not revealed its estimation of the extra benefit received by the students, citing student privacy.

However, the documents released include an explanation by Oklahoma senior associate athletic director of administration Keith Gill that the university's estimate was based on "testimony, benchmarking against the pay of others that had similar schedules, class schedules, work schedules, practice schedules and other available documentation to create percentages that it believes represent a fair estimate of the benefit."

Oklahoma also sent the NCAA a schedule of team activities for a two-year period beginning in May 2004.

"The University acknowledges it was very difficult to determine the exact amount of the extra benefit in this case," Gill writes in the e-mail dated Oct. 3.

Oklahoma appeared before the Committee on Infractions in April regarding an investigation into excessive recruiting calls made by the school's men's basketball team under former coach Kelvin Sampson.

In that case, the NCAA largely accepted Oklahoma's self-imposed sanctions, including probation, reductions in scholarships, recruiting calls and trips and visits to the school by prospective recruits. The committee also issued a public reprimand and censure.

Sampson, now the coach at Indiana, was banned from calling recruits and participating in off-campus recruiting activities for one year.

Infractions committee chairman Thomas Yeager said Sampson and his staff "deliberately disregarded NCAA rules" by making 577 impermissible phone calls from 2000-04.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bevo XIII Dies

AUSTIN, Texas -- Bevo XIII, the longest-tenured mascot in Texas Longhorns history, has gone to the big ranch in the sky.

Bevo XIII, whose actual name was Sunrise Express, was a world champion steer at 3 years old before he became the Texas mascot.
The retired mascot died Monday on the private ranch where he lived with his successor, Bevo XIV, the Silver Spurs spirit club announced Tuesday.

"They would hang out together," said former Bevo XIII handler Ricky Brennes. "Bevo XIV would follow him around."

Bevo XIII, 22, was on the Texas sideline for 16 seasons, starting in 1988.

During his tenure, the Longhorns had three head coaches and won a Big 12 football title and Ricky Williams won the Heisman Trophy. Bevo XIII retired before the 2004 season.

He had reached his life expectancy and had trouble standing. His handlers thought he would have to be put down before his heart finally gave out, Brennes said.

Brennes noted he lived long enough to see the Longhorns beat rival Oklahoma 28-10 on Saturday.

According to the Silver Spurs, the Longhorns mascot "represents courage, fighting ability, nerve, lust of combat, efficiency in deadly encounters and the holy spirit of 'Never Say Die.'"

Bevo XIII, whose actual name was Sunrise Express, was a world champion steer at 3 years old before he became the Texas mascot.

In 2000, then-freshman wide receiver Roy Williams caught a long pass against Oklahoma State and thought about leaping on the 1,900-pound steer for a spectacular highlight. He thought better of it when he got a close-up look at the horns that measured 5-feet-7 inches tip to tip.

"I told people if I scored close to him, I'd jump on him," Williams said after the game. "He stood up real quick. I got scared and turned around."

Bevo XIII even dabbled in politics. In 2001, he traveled to Washington, D.C., to be part of President Bush's inauguration ceremonies.

Perhaps his most famous moment came after a Texas loss.

After Nebraska beat Texas in the 1999 Big 12 championship game in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Bevo XIII was walking off the field when nature called.

With perfect timing, he left his mark squarely on the Cornhuskers logo.

Brennes said Bevo XIII will be memorialized in the new Silver Spur/BEVO Center, due to open the first weekend in November at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

Sixth-ranked Texas (5-1, 2-0 Big 12) plays Baylor (3-3, 2-0) at home Saturday night.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

USC's Jarrett To Return, Cal's Lynch Back To

Two of the Pac-10's most exciting offensive players are expected to suit up for their teams on Saturday.

USC wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who had only one catch for five yards last week against Washington and has been rehabilitating a sprained left shoulder, will play against Arizona State, coach Pete Carroll said.

Jarrett's return is key for the injury-plagued Trojans, who could be without wide receiver Steve Smith, who suffered a high ankle sprain last week and missed Monday's practice. USC is ranked No. 3, but has beaten Washington State and Washington by only six points apiece in each of the last two weeks.

"We're playing pretty solid football," Carroll said Tuesday. "The margin of victory is just closer. Each play becomes crucial."

In other Pac-10 injury news, California running back Marshawn Lynch will play through an ankle sprain at Washington State on Saturday, coach Jeff Tedford said.

Lynch has been hampered by a troublesome ankle all season, but had still managed to top 100 yards in four consecutive games.

"He reirritated it during the game," Tedford said Tuesday. "But he's moving around fine. He's just a little bit sore. I wouldn't say he's questionable. I would say he'll play for sure."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cal Clobbers Oregon 45-24

And I was there. The score does not indicate how much of a blow-out this was. Oregon's first score came on a fake field goal attempt and that was their second run of that play in the game! The officiating was terrible. The score should have been over 50 points. This Cal team's got the image of a national champion. Look out for Cal.

Rockin', rollin' in prime time
Cal Bears crush Oregon in front of national television audience


Article Last Updated:10/08/2006 06:21:03 AM PDT

BERKELEY — Cal found the best way to incite a sold-out crowd of 72,516 on Saturday night at rocking and rolling Memorial Stadium.
Crush the opponent.
The No.16 Golden Bears (5-1, 3-0 Pac-10) proved they are a prime contender for the Pac-10 championship with a 45-24 victory over No.11Oregon (4-1, 2-1).
Both teams were considered to be offensive machines coming into the nationally televised game. Only the Bears lived up to that billing.
"Anytime a West Coast team gets to be on national television (ABC), it's big," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "Hopefully, I won't get asked about Tennessee every week now. That really wasn't us out there (in a season-opening loss to the Volunteers). But our kids never lost focus or confidence."
Cal scored more than 40 points for the fifth consecutive game — the first time it accomplished the feat in the history of the program.
As has been the case since the Bears' opening-season lossto Tennessee, quarterback Nate Longshore was efficient. He threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns.
"I just have been guiding it," Longshore said of his offense. "I get to pretend I'm in charge."
Longshore had plenty of help. Bears wide receiver DeSean Jackson continued to be a scoring machine as he added two more touchdowns to raise his Pac-10-leading total to 10 for the season. Jackson caught a 36-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

And Cal managed to ring up 45 points without tailback Marshawn Lynch available in the second half. Lynch sprained his ankle on a 24-yard run in the second quarter and was done for the night.
Backup tailback Justin Forsett took over, rushing for 163 yards on 27 carries.
While Cal's offense couldn't be stopped, its defense had its best effort of the season against an Oregon squad that led the conference in scoring and total offense.
Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory put together an aggressive, attacking game-plan that had the Ducks back on their heels most of the night.
"Our guys played fast and hard," Gregory said. "That's all it was."
Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart, the conference's leading rusher coming into the game, finished with 25 rushing yards. San Leandro native Dennis Dixon threw for 263 yards, but most of it was in a too-little, too-late fashion. His three interceptions were more telling.
Cal led 28-10 at halftime and 38-17 after three quarters. Oregon was left to make the game respectable in the fourth quarter.
Tedford had made a plea to his fans to turn Memorial Stadium into a hostile environment. They responded.
"I want to thank the fans for creating a 12th man," Tedford said. "It was an unbelievable atmosphere. It was a great day for the players and the university."
Cal charged up the throng early with a huge play on Oregon's opening offensive play. With Bears defensive end Nu'u Tafisi bearing down on him, Dixon threw a dying-duck pass to the flat that was intercepted by rover Brandon Hampton.
Hampton returned the ball 8 yards to the Ducks' 7. Four plays later, Cal got on the board when tight end Craig Stevens slipped off the line to catch a 2-yard touchdown pass from Longshore.
"It was just a routine interception," Hampton said. "I was where I was supposed to be. Dixon got frazzled, and he didn't see me."
Oregon answered with an 11-yard, 67-yard drive that resulted in a 22-yard field goal by Paul Martinez. It had to be a somewhat hollow feeling for the Ducks, who had a first-and-goal at the Cal 3.
Hampton chased Dixon out of bounds for a 2-yard loss on first-and-goal, and tackle Brandon Mebane stuffed Stewart at the line of scrimmage on second down. After an incompletion, Martinez hit the field goal, and Cal led 7-3.
The Bears struck again before the quarter ended as Longshore connected with Jackson on a 36-yard touchdown pass. Jackson put a fake on cornerback Jairus Byrd that left Byrd in a crumpled mess and ran on to take Longhore's lob all alone in the end zone.
Cal immediately had another chance to ring up a touchdown when Desmond Bishop intercepted a Dixon pass that was tipped by tight end Dante Rosario. Bishop made a diving catch at the Ducks' 38-yard line.
The Bears moved to the Ducks' 5-yard line, but Longshore threw into the teeth of the defense. The ball was tipped and intercepted by Byrd.
It didn't take long for Cal to get another opportunity. On Oregon's next series, Stewart fumbled on third down, and Cal defensive end Abu Ma'afala dove on the ball at the Ducks' 26.
This time, Cal made Oregon pay. Lynch broke free for a 24-yard gain to the Ducks' 2. Two plays later, Longshore sneaked over from a yard out for a 21-3 lead.
Unfortunately for the Bears, Lynch wrenched his back on his 24-yard gain. He stiff-armed Oregon's Patrick Chung the last 5 yards of the carry, and he was twisting when he hit the ground. He went to the locker room before the half was over for treatment.
Even without Lynch, Cal wasn't done scoring in the first half. Jackson scored his second touchdown of the game on a 65-yard punt return.
Accepting the ball at the 35-yard line, Jackson cruised laterally to his left as he tried to pick up a wall. When he saw nothing was open, he quickly changed direction back to where he originally caught the ball. Oregon's players simply couldn't keep up. Jackson caught a couple of blocks, hit a seam and was gone. Cal led 28-3.
Although it looked as if the game could get out of hand, Oregon grabbed a bit of momentum with a touchdown just before halftime. An 11-play drive was kept alive on a 25-yard pass completion to Dante Rosario on a fake field goal attempt. Holder, and backup quarterback, Brady Leaf took the snap and found Rosario running free down the sideline.
Stewart's TD dive cut Cal's lead to 28-10, but the Bears grabbed back the momentum on the first possession of the second half.

Gators Jump To Number 2

These are good days to be a Gator.

What's your Top 25?
Would you rank Florida No. 2? Now that you know what the Associated Press' Top 25 teams are, we want to know SportsNation's Top 25 team

Florida is the new No. 2 in The Associated Press Top 25, its highest ranking since Steve Spurrier left Gainesville, and by far the best team in the Sunshine State.

For the first time in 24 years, neither Miami nor Florida State is ranked.

Florida moved up three spots Sunday into second behind No. 1 Ohio State on the strength of a 23-10 victory over LSU on Saturday -- and with a lot help from Arkansas.

The Razorbacks pulled off the first stunner of the season, beating Auburn 27-10. The Tigers had held the No. 2 spot for three weeks. They became the first top-10 team to lose to an unranked team this season.

Arkansas is unranked no more.

The Razorbacks' big win moved them into the rankings for the first time since October 2003. With Arkansas at No. 17, the Southeastern Conference had six teams in the Top 25. Auburn fell to No. 11.

The Buckeyes have become a runaway No. 1, with 63 of 65 first-place votes and 1,623 points. Florida has 1,516 points and jumped over No. 3 USC, which had a second consecutive close call on Saturday, to become the fourth team to be No. 2 this season. Notre Dame and Texas have also been No. 2.

Mike Radano of the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, N.J., was one of many voters to move Florida ahead of USC this week.

"USC hasn't been its same dominant self," Radano said. "I thought they got a little fortunate yesterday."

The Trojans beat Washington 26-20, a game that ended when the Huskies couldn't get a play off from the USC 15 with 2 seconds left.

"I got to watch both (USC and Florida) and I was a little more impressed with Florida's offense right now," Radano said.

Michigan moved up two spots to No. 4 and West Virginia slipped a spot to No. 5, though the Mountaineers received two first-place votes.

Texas is sixth followed by Louisville, Tennessee, Notre Dame and California, which moved back into the top 10 after an impressive 45-24 victory over Oregon.

In the USA Today coaches' poll, Ohio State is No. 1 followed by USC, Florida, West Virginia and Michigan. In the Harris poll, the top five are Ohio State, USC, Florida, Michigan and West Virginia.

The Harris and coaches' poll are used in the Bowl Championship Series standings, along with computer rankings. The first BCS standings of the season come out Sunday.

Miami fell out of the rankings three weeks ago for the first time since 1999, and is still trying to work its way back. Florida State joined the Hurricanes among the unranked in the latest poll after losing 24-20 to North Carolina State on Thursday. The Seminoles and Hurricanes, who have combined for seven national titles since 1983, are both 3-2.

The last time neither was ranked was the final regular-season AP Top 25 of 1982, the year before Miami won the first of its five national championships.

Florida State was unranked for one week late last season.

The unbeaten Gators, in their second season under coach Urban Meyer, haven't held such lofty status in the media poll since 2001, the last season Spurrier was in charge at Florida. The Gators started that season No. 1 and finished it No. 3.

Florida was No. 7 in the preseason this year and had held steady at five for three weeks.

Auburn starts the second 10, followed by Clemson, Georgia Tech, LSU and Iowa.

Georgia dropped six spots to No. 16 after losing 51-33 to Tennessee. The Volunteers became just the second team to score 50 points at Sanford Stadium.

After Arkansas at No. 17, Oregon is 18th. Unbeatens Missouri and Boise State round out the top 20.

The final five are Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Rutgers and Wisconsin.

The Badgers are ranked for the first time this season. Boston College dropped out of the rankings without playing.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Auburn Falls From Unbeaten

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Arkansas made the first major upset of the college football season look easy.

With a swarming defense and unstoppable tailbacks, the Razorbacks knocked off No. 2 Auburn in a stunningly one-sided 27-10 victory Saturday that will rearrange the top of the rankings.

Upsetting turn of events

2006 began as the Season of the Favorites as only five ranked teams lost to unranked teams through the first five weeks of the year. In fact, it was the first time since the preseason poll began in 1950 that fewer than two top-15 teams were beaten by an unranked team during the first five weeks. But that trend may be coming to a close in Week 6 with two ranked teams falling to unranked foes, including No. 2 Auburn falling 27-10 at home to Arkansas.
Date Unranked upset
Oct. 7 No. 2 Auburn lost to Arkansas
Oct. 5 No. 17 Florida State lost to NC State
Sept. 28 No. 17 TCU lost to BYU
Sept. 23 No. 20 BC lost to NC State
Sept. 16 No. 9 Florida State lost to Clemson
Sept. 9 No. 18 Clemson lost to BC

Arkansas (4-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) entered as 15-point underdogs and left with the SEC West lead.

"We want people to respect us," said tailback Darren McFadden, who ran for 145 yards and a 63-yard touchdown against a defense that hadn't allowed a TD on the ground all season.

"We came out here with the mentality that we were going to earn that respect."

Auburn (5-1, 3-1) becomes the first top-10 team to lose to an unranked opponent this season, a huge blow to its national title hopes. The Tigers leave with questions about a defense abused for 279 rushing yards and an offense that totaled 213 yards.

"They beat us to the punch on both sides of the ball," Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We've got to find ways to get it done, especially at home. We're disappointed but this is not over. This was the first half of the season."

McFadden carried 28 times and Felix Jones gained 104 yards on 13 carries, pounding out yards inside and occasionally busting outside for big gains.

Arkansas hadn't beaten a team ranked so high since a 42-11 in over No. 1 Texas in 1981.

It was ugly enough for Tuberville to offer this assessment: "We're not that bad a football team."

But is Arkansas, a team that lost its opener at home 50-14 to Southern California, that good?

Jones' 1-yard touchdown run gave Arkansas a 24-10 lead late in the third quarter that was too much for a sputtering Auburn offense to overcome.

The Tigers had already survived two SEC scares, salvaging wins over South Carolina and No. 9 LSU on late defensive stops. The Razorbacks were the ones making most of the big plays this time.

"I thought we could compete for four quarters," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "To say we were going to be up 10-0, I don't know about that. To say we were going to win by 17 points -- no way."

But the Razorbacks sacked Brandon Cox five times, including once by Jamaal Anderson and Keith Jackson on fourth-and-9 from the Arkansas 39 on the final play of the third quarter.

On their next possession, the Tigers went three-and-out for the third time in the game. They weren't able to muster any more threats.

It was a matchup of the only SEC West teams without a league loss, but with much of the conference's focus being on Auburn and LSU, the Razorbacks had been overlooked. They lingered on the field or a few minutes celebrating with fans -- and Nutt climbed into some hedges and directed the band.

"We were just trying to come out and earn some respect and show the world we're not a pushover," said receiver Marcus Monk, who caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from heralded freshman Mitch Mustain.

Auburn had won 20 of its last 21 games against SEC opponents and was chasing its second undefeated season in three years. Now, the Tigers have to win out and hope Arkansas loses another league game just to earn a spot in the league championship game.

The Razorbacks capitalized on an Auburn mistake to push their lead to two touchdowns. Jones' TD capped a drive that began at the Auburn 34 after Kody Bliss's 19-yard punt. Flanker Reggie Fish set up the score with a 25-yard run after lining up kneeling near Mustain.

Arkansas didn't need much trickery against the nation's No. 3 scoring defense. The Razorbacks ran on 36 of their final 38 plays. Mustain was an efficient 7-of-10 passing for 87 yards and wasn't sacked.

"They came in here and pretty much dominated on the ground," Auburn safety Eric Brock said. "We really have no excuses. I'm pretty much shocked by our performance.

"They pretty much beat us at our own game," he said.

Arkansas held Kenny Irons to 75 yards on 15 carries. Cox was 17-of-29 for 153 yards.

The Razorbacks had used two big plays to take a 17-10 halftime lead. First, Monk reached over a falling Jonathan Wilhite for the ball and ran into the end zone.

After Auburn failed on fourth-and-5, McFadden burst through the middle and outran the defense for a 63-yard TD with five minutes left in the first half.

Nutt stopped short of saying this was his biggest win at Arkansas, but for a coach coming off two straight losing seasons it was very significant.

"I told our guys, 'You won't know how big it is until on down the line," he said. "To go on the road and win a game like this against a team the caliber of Auburn, I am really proud of them. We have to build on this and keep going."

Friday, October 06, 2006

North Dakota Taking NCAA To Court

FARGO, N.D. -- State officials filed a lawsuit Friday against the NCAA to challenge its restrictions on the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the lawsuit, filed in Northeast Central District Court in Grand Forks, alleges a breach of contract by the NCAA, a breach of good faith and illegal restraint of trade.

Stenehjem said the lawsuit seeks to allow the University of North Dakota to use the nickname throughout the school year without being sanctioned in possible postseason play, along with unspecified money damages.

The NCAA has banned the use of some Native American nicknames and logo in postseason tournaments, saying they are hostile and abusive.

Stenehjem said the NCAA overstepped its bounds.

"This is about a process to be followed by the NCAA," he said.

"Frankly, I don't think that anybody, regardless of how they feel about the result, should be satisfied or pleased with the process," Stenehjem said.

The NCAA has 20 days to respond after it is served with the lawsuit, the attorney general said.

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said he was not surprised by the lawsuit, which was discussed earlier by officials of UND and the state.

"We are planning on aggressively defending our right and our responsibility, quite frankly, to conduct our own NCAA championships in an environment free of racial stereotyping," Williams said.

The state Board of Higher Education voted in June to file the lawsuit after two North Dakota appeals were rejected.

"This action by the NCAA keeps me from doing what the Board of Higher Education says we should do here," UND President Charles Kupchella said. He said the NCAA process was unfair and wrong.

Christopher Peltier, president of the UND Indian Association, said his group is focusing "on fundraising efforts and building unity," not the nickname issue. In March, the group passed a resolution opposing the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

"My personal opinion is to keep it a personal opinion," Peltier said Friday. "If somebody wants to be against it, that's fine. If somebody wants to be for it, that's fine. I'm not going to tell them they're wrong."

One official with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe wrote a letter supporting the university, but another opposed the nickname.

Tex Hall, chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, said tribal officials on his reservation will consider whether to file court documents supporting the NCAA. Hall said it is ironic that the state filed its lawsuit on "First Nations Day," which was designated by the Legislature to honor tribal contributions to the state.

A branch of the University of North Dakota Alumni Association set up a fund to help pay for the lawsuit after the state board of education said it must be financed with private money.

"Some of the bills are being paid from funds established by the foundation for this purpose. Other bills are being paid directly by donors," Kupchella said. "We don't even see them."

Other schools initially deemed to have unsuitable nicknames by the NCAA have won the right to use their monikers on appeal. They include the Florida State University Seminoles, the Central Michigan University Chippewas and the University of Utah Utes.

The North Dakota lawsuit says UND does not have a mascot and points out that that Florida State has a "stereotypical Native American" riding a horse.

"During every home football game, the mascot rides onto the football field and throws a flaming spear or lance into the ground at midfield," the state's lawsuit says. "The FSU marching band, called the 'Chiefs,' perform and lead the student body in what is called the 'war chant,' accompanied by a chopping motion often referred to as the 'tomahawk chop.'"

Allowing Florida State to use that imagery while abolishing the Fighting Sioux logo is "arbitrary, capricious and indicative of bad faith," the lawsuit says.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

SEC Needs Playoff

Auburn is 5-0 and ranked third in the nation behind Ohio State and USC in the USA Today and Harris Polls and second in the Associated Press poll, but coach Tommy Tuberville said Wednesday that he has doubts any SEC team can make the national championship game without a playoff system.

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"I've about had it with this playoff deal," Tuberville said after a lengthy, emotional argument for a playoff. "We all understand in our conference how tough it is. In our conference, that's about the only chance we'd have to make it."

The SEC boasts five teams in the Top 13 of the AP poll: Auburn (No. 2), Florida (No. 5), LSU (No. 9), Georgia (No. 10) and Tennessee (No. 13).

While Auburn, Florida and Georgia are all undefeated, Florida plays LSU this week and Auburn the week after. And Georgia plays Tennessee this week.

Two years ago, Auburn finished 13-0, but did not appear in the national championship game.

"There is no reason on this earth why we can't have the best four and then play one more," Tuberville said. "That's the legitimate thing to do. We added a BCS game -- for what in the world? -- I understand we're avoiding lawsuits and making money. But let's take care of the players."

Tuberville said excuses are invalid.

"The problem we have is you have 120 universities that are I-A and probably 25 would say they have a legitimate chance each year," he said. "And you have presidents that for some reason look at it more as for the money than having a national championship on the field. They keep coming up with lame excuses about academics. Football players miss fewer classes than anybody."

Tuberville said he hopes the tenure of SEC commissioner Mike Slive as the current head of the BCS will help aid a playoff structure, but he said he doubts it will happen in his lifetime. Simply put, he said the time has come for an eight-team playoff structure.

"Presidents take the money and go spend it, but they don't worry about the business of making it better," Tuberville said. "They keep coming up with excuses, yet we're playing [the national championship game] Jan. 8. It's hypocritical."

Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, long a playoff proponent, said he can't worry about it as much now that he's at South Carolina. But, he acknowledged, "The people that run college football don't listen to the coaches anyway."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ohio University Suspends Four Players

ATHENS, Ohio -- Four Ohio University student-athletes were suspended indefinitely Monday after arrests on charges that include assault and drunken driving, the school said.

The suspensions of three football players and a basketball player came a day after a newspaper reported that 17 football players have been arrested this year and have faced no discipline from the school.

Football players Tommy Stuck, Paul Johnson and Wesley Dunlap and basketball player Ken Ottrix will not be allowed to practice or compete in games during the suspension, the school said.

President Roderick McDavis and athletics director Kirby Hocutt also said they will review school policy covering the behavior of athletes.

"We take the recently publicized legal issues within the athletics department very seriously and have initiated a thorough evaluation of our student-athlete code of conduct," McDavis said in a release.

Greg Browning, the chairman of the board of trustees, promised to review the school's policies when The Columbus Dispatch told him about the arrests for a story in Saturday's editions.

Stuck, a sophomore offensive lineman, was cited Sept. 30 for underage consumption. Johnson, a junior offensive lineman, was recently convicted of assault in Athens County Municipal Court. Dunlap, a sophomore defensive lineman, was convicted of driving under the influence in April.

Johnson and Dunlap were suspended for Saturday's 21-9 loss to Bowling Green.

Ottrix, a senior, has had two alcohol-related charges, the school said.

There was no answer at phone listings for Stuck, Johnson and Ottrix. A message seeking comment was left for Dunlap with a man who identified himself as his father.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ohio State Rolls On

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The season began with a debate. Only a month ago, Ohio State was named No. 1, but on a soft consensus. The Buckeyes collected fewer than half (63-of-130) of the combined first-place votes in the Associated Press and USA Today polls. Six other teams split the rest.

Five games into the season, and especially at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night, the Buckeyes proved there is nothing soft about them. Not their offensive line. Not their quarterback. Not their defense. And certainly, after a 38-17 victory at No. 13 Iowa, not their standing as the best team in the nation.

Ohio State's Antonio Pittman chipped in 117 yards and one touchdown.Ohio State (5-0, 2-0) extended the longest winning streak in Division I-A to 12 games. Quarterback Troy Smith completed 16 passes, four of them for touchdowns. Tailback Antonio Pittman bounced outside on play after play, rushing for 117 yards and a touchdown. The stars became so numerous that head coach Jim Tressel may need to run over to Staples and buy a bunch of Buckeye helmet stickers.

"It's the best we've played," said left offensive tackle Alex Boone, who, alongside left guard Steve Rehring, opened one hole after another for Pittman and tailback Chris Wells (14-78).

"I don't coach at Ohio State, but from my vantage point, this is the best they've played all year," said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.

The top three teams in the nation played conference road games this weekend. No. 2 Auburn beat South Carolina, 24-17 on Thursday night, but only after a Gamecock dropped a game-tying touchdown pass on the final drive, which ended when quarterback Syvelle Newton threw an incomplete pass into the end zone on the last play of the game.

No. 3 USC beat Washington State, 28-22 on Saturday evening, despite being outgained by the Cougars and giving up two turnovers. The game ended with Washington State in USC territory, out of time.

As for the Buckeyes, they seized control of the game by scoring a touchdown on their first possession of the game. They drove for a touchdown to go ahead 21-10 late in the first half, an 11-play, 89-yard road-grading drive that mixed Wells, Pittman and Smith in wonderful rhythm.

"A huge confidence builder for us," Tressel called the drive.

The Buckeyes came out of the halftime locker room and drove 80 yards in 11 plays, concluding with a 30-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez. The junior probably covered more than 50 yards, crossing to the left hash, then reversing field and scoring at the right pylon behind great blocks by fellow receivers Ted Ginn Jr., and Brian Hartline.

Toss in four Hawkeye turnovers that Ohio State converted into 14 points, and you have the story of the night.

No, check that. You have the story of the first month of the season. Ohio State has defeated three ranked teams -- No. 2 Texas, No. 24 Penn State, and the Hawkeyes -- by an average margin of 20 points.

"One of the great challenges that we talked about a lot was how brutal that September schedule was," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said, "We've played against some tough teams that brought all they could bring at us."

And only one of them -- Penn State -- had the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the Buckeyes. Ohio State responded with two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns. Before this game, Ohio State had increased its share of first-place votes to 118 of 128 (two coaches didn't vote). After this game, the Buckeyes' haul should be complete.

Smith, who plays a violent, fast game with unhurried grace, said the Buckeyes believe they are the best.

"I think if there was a guy in the locker room who said we weren't the No. 1 team in the nation, he'd have a problem with me," Smith said. "Of course, you have to have that kind of attitude, that kind of swagger."

The night was a culmination of weeks of fanfare. The Hawkeye faithful turned Kinnick Stadium into a "Gold Bowl." Yellow shirts were everywhere, with a hint of Ohio State scarlet around the edges. The crowd is a big reason why Iowa had won 25 of its last 26 home games.

But the Buckeyes said the noise only pumped them up. That is, except when they quieted the crowd, which was often.

It's not as if Iowa played poorly. Tailback Albert Young's 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the first rushing score Ohio State allowed this season. The Hawkeyes forced Ohio State to drive 10-plus plays on two touchdown drives, one more lengthy drive than the Buckeyes had in their first four games.

"They're No. 1 in the nation," Iowa middle linebacker Mike Klinkenborg said. "Their offense is fast. That's all you can describe it as."

September is over. Of the Buckeyes' next six opponents, only the next two have winning records: Bowling Green and Michigan State. Tressel won't allow them to cruise until No. 6 Michigan comes to the Horseshoe on Nov. 18. Neither will Smith.

"You never want to get into a time where you say, 'OK, now we're fine,'" Smith said. "We don't have to do anything more. We have to get better, day in and day out. We can still get better."

That's not good news for the rest of college football

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