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The 1993 Florida State Seminoles are alive and well in Norman, Okla.Bobby Bowden's first national champion finished No. 1 despite suffering a loss to the team that finished No. 2. Dr. Lou, the coach of that Notre Dame team, slams his stethoscope to the ground and stalks out of the room every time he hears it.
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A tough closing stretch could point Bob Stoops and the Sooners toward Miami.
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Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes had plenty to shout about against Penn State.
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The Demon Deacons have missed Sam Swank's accuracy.
1. With 1,089 yards, Jacquizz Rodgers of Oregon State has broken the Pac-10 season record for freshman rushers that had been set by Darrin Nelson of Stanford in 1977. Of the league's 37 rushing records, -- single-game, season, career, class, position, teammates, etc. -- listed in the Pac-10 media guide, only 11 have been broken in the past 20 seasons. As if you needed more evidence it's a passer's league, right?
2. Mississippi State has not allowed Alabama an offensive touchdown since 2004. Head coach Sly Croom's defenses allowed the Crimson Tide only eight field goals in three games, although the Bulldogs won only the last two. Mississippi State's defense has not been so tough this year, especially with the loss of linebacker Jamar Chaney to a knee injury. But if the No. 1 Tide doesn't score an offensive touchdown early Saturday, will doubt creep into the Alabama huddle?
3. In the five automatic-bid conferences east of the Rockies, only seven teams that appear as if they will qualify for a bowl will have done so without the crutch of beating an FCS school. They are Alabama, Michigan State, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Texas, Wake Forest and, with one more victory, Vanderbilt. Let's hear it for the Pac-10, where eight teams don't play an FCS opponent. Using that 12th game to buy a win so you can play in a bowl game smells like last week's fish.
Four weeks before the season ends, the Southeastern Conference already knew which two teams will play in the conference championship game. All the Atlantic Coast Conference knows is which two teams won't play in its conference championship game. North Carolina State and Clemson are out. Everyone else is still in."I started thinking about all this stuff and I got a headache," ACC spokesman Mike Finn said Tuesday. Here's what we know: Don't judge the league by its standings. For instance, Boston College is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 2-3 record, 6-3 overall. But the Eagles are one of only three teams in the league that control their own destinies. The others are Maryland, third in the Atlantic (3-2, 6-3) and Virginia Tech (3-2, 6-3), tied for first with North Carolina and Miami in the Coastal. The other seven teams need the right teams to lose to win their respective divisions. Here's what we know: Duke, 1-4 in the Coastal, 4-5 overall, would need the most outlandish finishes to win the Coastal. Suffice it to say that there would be tiebreakers galore. Here's what else we know: All 12 teams remain mathematically eligible to finish 6-6 and be eligible for a bowl game. A realistic view indicates that nine teams will do so, which is a perfect fit. The ACC has deals with nine bowls, including the new EagleBank Bowl at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., against Navy.
Coaches are very good about throwing up a shield around their teams to keep out any issues that would prevent them from focusing on game plans and three-point stances. That's what makes it nice to see the occasional coach allow the real world and its issues to intrude.Clemson interim coach Dabo Swinney agreed to have the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity on campus set up in the locker room Wednesday and Thursday and sign up the Tigers football players for a bone marrow donor registry. Frat member Trey Robinson is a roommate of Clemson wide receiver Aaron Kelly. The mother of one of the fraternity's advisors recently died while awaiting a transplant. "I didn't think we would be able to help," Kelly said via e-mail, "because I thought they would have to draw blood and that would put us out of commission for practice for a day." Robinson explained that the players would fill out a form and have their mouths swabbed four times. That's it. Kelly urged him to approach Swinney. Robinson thought that the football team's participation would generate attention for the need for donors. What do you know? Robinson was right. "The thing I said when I got this job," Swinney said Wednesday morning, "is that for the next seven weeks we're going to do it the right way, and make an effort in these guys' lives. I may never get another opportunity to impact these players. It's critical that we teach them more than to block or tackle or catch. If that's all we're teaching them, then I'm failing as a coach. There are real issues in this world. They are blessed to have the opportunity to play football. They should never take that for granted." The rest of the Clemson campus will have an enrollment drive next week. Naturally, there will be a competition with archrival South Carolina to see which school registers the most potential donors.
The Big East announced Wednesday morning that it would promote senior associate commissioner John Marinatto to replace commissioner Mike Tranghese when he retires next spring. That came after a nationwide search for candidates. Let's see, the founding commissioner, Dave Gavitt, coached at Providence. His successor, Mike Tranghese, worked at Providence. The league office is in Providence.And what do you know? Marinatto spent 14 seasons as the athletic director at Providence. All of which is to say that Marinatto, who moved across town to the league office in 2002, is not exactly a surprise hire. Though former Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg, now an executive with the Big Ten Network, has been rumored as a top candidate, he has no Big East blood in his veins. The conference might be one of the six major players in college sports, and its 16 members might sprawl from Providence to Marquette. But the league remains at heart the small community of schools that founded it 29 years ago. Tranghese said last spring, when he announced his retirement, that he hoped that the league would stay within the family when it replaced him. Marinatto is not well-known in the football community, but the league's football administrators are smart, talented guys. Now, if they can just find a team to get back into the national-championship race.