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News Nuggets, 10.21.03

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Committee expects to wrap up chancellor search by March


10.20.03: Saturday drubbing triggers Franks dismissal by Duke... .. Conference USA standings, scores and schedule ... .. Frogs up a notch in one poll, steady in the other... .. Football weekend: The good, the bad, the ugly... .. More...
10.19.03: Rivers' bell rung during Pirates first practice... .. Conference USA weekend football roundup ... .. Tulsa trustees sign off on move to C-USA... .. TCU basketball posts help wanted notice... .. New ACC alignment separates Wolfpack and Heels... .. More...
10.18.03: U of L runs through Green Wave... .. Tar Heel gridiron legend 'Choo Choo' Justice passes ... .. Big East exit fee complicates BC's jump to ACC... .. 'Un-beleeevable' Wacker to get TCU tribute... .. More...
10.17.03: 'Productive' BCS skull session hands off to presidents... .. Wolfpack rides Rivers' arm past Clemson... .. Kick for a Million Tour lands at tonight's U of L-Tulane game ... .. Davis, Schobel on mid-season All-America list... .. Atlantic Sun Conference adds Buccaneers... .. More...
10.16.03: Suspension hits Pirates' secondary... .. Thursday TV capsule: N.C. State vs. Clemson... .. Billikens get blessing for on-campus arena... .. U of L dives into natatorium construction project... .. More...
10.15.03: C-USA presidents spring into ready mode on realignment... .. TCU, U of L accommodate change for TV... .. More...
10.14.03: 'Chat' with J.T. this a.m. on .. Frogs cop two weekly awards... .. More...
10.13.03: Frogs' ascension up the rankings continues... .. Record-setting QB, longtime trainer to be enshrined by UC... .. College football weekend: The good, the bad, the ugly... .. More...
10.12.03: Houston QB highlights Saturday C-USA action... .. Coaches in post-game confrontation after Memphis-MSU game... .. Colonel Rebel bites dust, leaves no heirs... .. More...
10.11.03: Frogs hop over South Florida... barely... .. NCAA mounts push on academic performance... .. LSU AD calls on fans to squeal on troublemakers... .. More...

Based on the timeline laid out in a Monday press release from the school's news bureau, East Carolina's conference fate in the current round of realignment will likely have been long decided by the time a new chancellor is named to replace William Muse.

ECU's chancellor search committee has scheduled three forums to collect ideas and suggestions for its work.

The forums will be held at the following locations and times:

— 3:30-5 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 23) in the auditorium of the Brody School of Medicine;

— 3-4:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 in the Great Room at Mendenhall Student Center on campus;

— 5:30-7 p.m. on Oct. 30 in Room 1203 of the Greenville Centre, 2200 S. Charles Blvd.

According to the release, the committee is seeking comments on problems, needs and opportunities facing ECU in the coming years, the preferred future of the university, and desirable qualities in a new chancellor.

Muse resigned last month after two years as chancellor. Dr. Bill Shelton, vice chancellor for university advancement at ECU and former president of Eastern Michigan University, is serving as interim chancellor.

Individuals who wish to speak at the forums may register by calling 252-328-2789 or by sending an e-mail message to The committee also welcomes e-mail feedback.

In addition, comments by letter are solicited. Letters may be addressed to Dr. Phyllis Horns, Secretary, Chancellor Search Committee, East Carolina University, Room 133 Rivers Building, Greenville, N.C. 27858-4353.

The committee plans to complete its work by March.

The reshaping of intercollegiate athletic leagues — at least as it relates to ECU — is expected to be determined long before then.

Currently a member of Conference USA, ECU is working to get itself into a league alignment that will allow access to the Bowl Championship Series or whatever subsequent arrangement is devised to determine the nation's Division I-A football champion.

The Pirates are an outside shot to gain entrance into the Big East, which plans to decide how it will reformulate itself after losing linchpins Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Currently a BCS member, the Big East is thought by many knowledgeable observers to be in danger of losing its guaranteed bid to one of the four lucrative bowls that collaborate with ABC Television and six of the 11 Division I-A conferences to stage a so-called national championship.

C-USA is also laying the groundwork for a major reconfiguration of its own if, as expected, the Big East turns to several C-USA schools to replenish its ranks.

League recognizes Townes for record-shattering day

Four players have been honored as Conference USA Football Players of the Week after helping their teams to victories this past weekend.

East Carolina's Marvin Townes earned the offensive award with a record-breaking performance at Army, while Kerry Rhodes of Louisville and Will Hyden of Memphis shared the defensive honors and Nick Browne of Texas Christian picked up the special teams award.

Following are brief recaps of the players' performances:

OFFENSE: Marvin Townes, Running Back, East Carolina

Townes set a Michie Stadium record with 39 rushing attempts, gaining 184 yards and scoring three touchdowns to lead East Carolina to its first win of the season, 38-32 at Army. It was the third straight 100-yard game for Townes.

DEFENSE: Kerry Rhodes, Safety, Louisville, and Will Hyden, linebacker, Memphis

Rhodes had two interceptions in Louisville’s win over Tulane, including one that he returned 33 yards for a touchdown. He also added six tackles.

On the third series of the game, Hyden intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown in the Tigers win at Houston. He finished the game with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Nick Browne, kicker, Texas Christian

Browne wins Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the fourth time in five weeks. He hit all four of his field goals in a win over UAB, hitting from 25, 48, 37 and 49 yards.

WAC eyes Sun Belt for replacements in wake of C-USA raid

The Western Athletic Conference has identified eight schools as possible replacements after losing three teams to Conference USA.

New Mexico State, North Texas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State, Utah State, Idaho and Middle Tennessee State — all members of the 15-team Sun Belt Conference — are under consideration, commissioner Karl Benson said Monday.

The WAC will look for schools within that list that are competitive in football and basketball, with primary emphasis on football as the league looks to replace Rice, Southern Methodist and Tulsa.

The three schools announced Friday that they would accept invitations to join Conference USA. That league is expanding in anticipation that Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette and DePaul will join the Big East.

Tulsa, Rice and Southern Methodist cited geographical distance between them and the WAC's Western schools as reasons for leaving. Also, they were the league's only private schools and will join a conference that has several private institutions.

Those three schools would join current members Texas Christian, Houston and Tulane to form a western division of Conference USA.

Benson said the WAC hopes to choose its new members by the end of the year, adding at least two more teams for nine members. He said the WAC might consider expanding to 12 schools to address geographical concerns.

Benson said he has been contacted by several interested schools, but he declined to name them.

Many conferences started bracing for realignment when the Atlantic Coast Conference picked Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College from the Big East earlier this year.

Cowen takes jab at BCS as first set of standings released

Oklahoma is in a familiar place - first in the initial Bowl Championship Series standings. The Sooners' task this year is to stay there.

The Sooners were No. 1 in the first BCS standings for the third straight year, matching the spot it has held in the two major polls all season.

"It's a positive indicator that we've played awfully well for seven games," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Monday. "We've earned that position and have played well through this part of the season. Now, it's our job to continue it, finish it and keep it."

Miami and Virginia Tech, the other two undefeated teams from major conferences, are second and third.

The BCS standings are used to determine which teams play in a so-called national title game. The teams that finish 1-2 in the final BCS standings on Dec. 7 will play for the title at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 4.

The formula uses the AP media and coaches' polls, seven computer rankings, strength of schedule, losses and a bonus-point system for quality wins.

The Sooners (7-0) have a 1.0 for poll average, 1.33 for computer-rank average, 0.44 for strength of schedule and zero for losses for a 2.77 total. Oklahoma is ranked first in four of computers with Miami the top team in the other three.

The Hurricanes (7-0) have 4.10 points and Virginia Tech (6-0) has 10.23.

"We can't get caught up in anything other than winning our games," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "If we do that, everything will work out as it should."

Georgia (12.99), Florida State (13.14), Ohio State (13.20), Southern California (13.83) and Purdue (21.50) round out the top eight. The top four teams in the BCS are the same as in the AP poll.

The two other undefeated teams in Division I-A are not at the top of the standings. Northern Illinois (7-0) of the Mid-American conference is 10th, while TCU (7-0) of Conference USA is 14th. Both teams have poor strength of schedule rankings, with the Huskies 100th and the Horned Frogs 96th out of 117 Division I-A teams.

In the first five years of the BCS, the teams that were in the top two spots in the first standings never stayed there for the final standings. However, the 10 teams that have played in the championship game were all in the top 6 in the first BCS standings.

After fast starts the past two seasons, Oklahoma lost twice in the second half to fall short of the national title game. Three years ago, Oklahoma was second in the first standings and went on to win the national championship in the Orange Bowl against Florida State.

"There seems to be a special quality about these guys, a genuine humility to them and a hunger to them in wanting to play well," Stoops said. "I just felt in the last few years we were a little bit short in some areas."

The BCS was started five years ago to create a national title game without playoffs. Champions of six conferences - the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC - qualify for a BCS game, and two at-large teams are selected to fill out the field.

Teams outside those conferences automatically qualify for a BCS game with nine wins and a top six finish in the final standings.

Northern Illinois and TCU will need to be in the top 12 to be eligible for one of the lucrative bowl games. There has been pressure from schools outside the big six conferences to improve access to the BCS bowls - Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose.

"We've got so much football to play that we don't even really waste time thinking of that right now," Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak said.

Tulane president Scott Cowen, whose school was left out in 1998 despite going undefeated, has started a coalition to lobby the major conferences and has even threatened an antitrust suit.

"The BCS system is a restrictive and exclusive system," Cowen said. "The combination of automatic qualifiers and the ranking system make it virtually impossible for non-BCS schools to get ranked.

"Northern Illinois is a living example right in front of us. It's a vivid reminder for us - there's a real school here disadvantaged because of the system."

The BCS standings will be released each week for the remainder of the season.

The seven computer rankings are operated by Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, The New York Times, Jeff Sagarin's USA Today, and Peter Wolfe.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2003 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Page Updated: 02/23/2007

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