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News Nuggets, 12.24.04
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

BCS produces sequel to 'Night of the Living Dead'


12.23.04: Bowling Green shakes off Memphis in GMAC Bowl ... Primetime bowl preview: Bearcats vs. Herd ... Tranghese: BCS not interested in playoff ... More...
12.22.04: Up-and-coming programs tangle in GMAC bowl ... Petrino hits jackpot with new pact at U of L ... College basketball power indexes ... More...
12.21.04: Cold, hard facts about health swayed Majerus ... Basketball panel tinkering with RPI formula ... More...
12.20.04: GMAC Bowl history sets stage for Tigers-Falcons shootout ... Memphis reinstates Banks after one game ... Mounting attrition challenges Pitino, Cards ... More...
12.19.04: Houston AD livid with Nebraska over cancellation ... Duke cans offensive coordinator Galbraith ... Majerus retreats back to TV booth ... More...
12.18.04: Wolfpack's Hodge not short on self-esteem ,,, James Madison rushes to I-AA championship ... More...
12.17.04: Nebraska icon Osborne irked with aloof AD's ... William & Mary QB captures Payton Award ... More...
12.16.04: Pirates hawking hoops tickets with a twist ... Majerus ditches TV gig to rescue Trojans ... More...
12.15.04: Bowl season kicks off with Southern Miss victory ... Marshall linebacker suspended for bowl game ... More...
12.14.04: Preview: USM, North Texas kick off bowl season ... Former ECU assistants McFarland, Brindise land jobs ... McLendon to bolt Wolfpack for NFL draft ... More...
12.13.04: Musical chairs at full tilt as coaches change jobs ... List of Division I-A coaching changes ... Heisman Trophy chronology 1935-2004 ... More...
12.12.04: Title game of the Heismans set ... All-time Heisman winners list ... Blue- Gray Classic scratched again ... More...

We're at that point in college football's annual B-movie horror classic when the monster staggers back to its feet for the umpteenth time.

It's already been shot, stabbed and electrocuted, folded, mutilated and spindled, drowned, fricasseed and, most recently, flattened by a steamroller. But in the next moment, with the monster rising to its full height yet again, comes the awful realization: The BCS lives!

Dr. Frankenstein had nothing on the suits who brought the Bowl Championship Series to life. Like his creation, theirs also was a bad idea that's only gotten worse over time. It has turned college presidents into hypocrites, forced coaches to become beggars and turned off more fans than anything since Roseanne Barr put on a football uniform for the movie ``Backfield in Motion.''

But the BCS isn't going anywhere. Bloodied but unbowed by the news this week that The Associated Press would not allow its poll to be used in determining its rankings, Big East commissioner and former BCS boss Mike Tranghese promised yet another reincarnation after the organization meets in April.

``The BCS is here and it's going to continue. But the BCS is a target for all the playoff proponents. When something like this happens, they jump on it. They look at something like this as a crack. They don't understand the strong position of our presidents,'' he said.

Tranghese is right about that last point. A playoff system could incorporate the major bowls and bring in more money for everyone involved and is favored by a majority of the coaches, players and fans.

The real reason the college presidents won't go along is simple: They want to protect the six major conferences, four bowls and the TV network that control the BCS and decide how to divvy up the take. But the reason they offer is that a playoff would harm their student-athletes' chances at academic success.

Please. Even an old-school authority like Penn State coach Joe Paterno isn't buying that line anymore.

``I think the college presidents allowing the BCS thing is a real, real shame,'' he said recently. ``Whenever the talk turns to having some kind of a playoff, they say you can't miss classes and yet we've already got NCAA playoffs (in every other college sport) and everything else.

``I mean, who's kidding who?'' Paterno added. ``They've got to try to figure out a way to get rid of it and the hypocrisy of money, money, money.''

It's small consolation, but the BCS is already hard at work — not at legislating itself out of existence, or ending the hypocrisy, mind you, but on the ``money, money, money'' part. The organization just signed a four-year deal worth $320 million with Fox for the broadcast rights to the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls from 2007-10 and the national title game from 2007-09. And credibility has never been high on the BCS' to-do list.

Never mind that the AP poll comprised one-third of the formula the BCS used to draw up this season's rankings — the coaches' poll and six computers made up the remaining two-thirds — or that the writers and broadcasters were the only ones who made their votes public. The coaches, many of whom have contracts triggering handsome bonuses for appearances in BCS bowls — have already indicated a willingness to stay on, and keeping the computers in the fold won't require anything more than a steady supply of electricity.

``We're just going to have to put our heads together,'' Tranghese said, ``and come up with an alternative way of picking the teams for the 1-2 game.''

Small wonder Tranghese was undaunted. Since they hijacked the postseason in 1998, the BCS and its old-boy network have had to revise the formula four times and the front-running scheme for alternative No. 5 is creation of a selection committee, similar to the one used for the NCAA's basketball tournament. The major difference, of course, is that after the basketball committee finishes seeding the teams, the championship is decided on the court.

The BCS won't go that far in reforming the system. And short of a playoff, it will never resolve the underlying flaw inherent in trying to seed a two-team tournament anytime there are three or more deserving contenders. But at least the monster will look different.

Cincy torches Herd in frigid Ft. Worth Bowl

FORT WORTH — Gino Guidugli returned from a broken throwing hand and passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns in Cincinnati's 32-14 win over Marshall in the Fort Worth Bowl on Thursday night.

Wearing a padded glove on his still very swollen right hand, which he injured on Nov. 20, Guidugli completed 24 of 36 passes on a bitterly cold night.

After his only interception, which Marshall returned for a score, Guidugli completed 10 straight passes and 14 of 16 in the second quarter. He threw both TD passes in that stretch to put Cincinnati (7-5) ahead to stay.

The Bearcats overcame a 2-4 start to finish with a winning record for first-year coach Mark Dantonio, the former Ohio State defensive coordinator. The bowl was their last game as a Conference USA member before moving to the Big East next season.

Marshall (6-6), moving next year to C-USA from the Mid-American Conference, had its streak of 20 straight winning seasons ended.

The Thundering Herd, which had won five straight bowl games, had a season-low 134 yards. Stan Hill completed 14 of 30 passes for 137 yards and a TD to go with minus-3 yards rushing for his team.

Kevin Lovell kicked three field goals (23, 19 and 35 yards) and Hannibal Thomas had nine catches for 102 yards for Cincinnati.

Guidugli missed the regular-season finale after he broke two bones in his hand in a fall outside his home. Without him, the Bearcats lost 70-7 to No. 7 Louisville with two quarterbacks combining for just 33 yards.

Before that, Guidugli had thrown for 1,022 yards with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions during a four-game winning streak.

Adjusting to the glove on his hand, Guidugli struggled early Thursday. He was 1-for-4 with his first interception in 145 passes, returned 32 yards by Willie Smith to give Marshall a 14-10 lead at the end of first quarter.

Guidugli completed his next 10 passes, all six on the drive that ended with a 15-yard TD to tight end Brent Celek for a 17-14 lead.

The Bearcats had the ball once more before halftime, an 87-yard drive during which Guidugli had a pair of 20-yard completions before an 8-yard TD to Earnest Jackson with 18 seconds left.

Guidugli's school-record 26th TD pass was a lame duck, thrown with a rusher in his face, but Jackson caught it between two defenders. Greg Cook had 25 TD passes for the Bearcats in 1968.

The only scoring after that came in the fourth quarter. Lovell kicked his last two field goals and Cincinnati blocked its second punt, with Marshall punter Ian O'Connor falling on it in the end zone for a safety.

The Bearcats led 7-0 before Guidugli even stepped on the field. Tyjuan Hagler blocked the first punt just a minute into the game. Antwuan Giddens returned it 9 yards for the touchdown.

Guidugli's only completion in the first quarter was a 20-yarder to Thomas after Andre Frazier recovered Hill's fumble at the Herd 27. Cincinnati didn't get another first down, and settled for Lovell's 23-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.

The temperature at kickoff was 28 degrees, with a wind chill of 17 that dropped throughout the game. The announced crowd was 13,204, less than half of the tickets distributed for the bowl sponsored by PlainsCapital.

UAB makes bowl debut against prolific Warriors

HONOLULU — Alabama-Birmingham is making its first postseason appearance in a Pacific island paradise. Hawaii is playing in its third straight hometown bowl game. The Blazers say that gives them an edge in Friday's Hawaii Bowl.

``I think it's an advantage for us because our kids are so excited,'' UAB coach Watson Brown said. ``It's history to us. It's our first bowl.''

Brown said reaching the postseason is a milestone for the program that joined Division I-A in 1996 after competing in Divisions III and I-AA. UAB was bowl eligible twice before, in 2000 and 2001, but didn't get an invitation.

``The wait was definitely worth it,'' said Blazers senior linebacker Zac Woodfin. ``This is a dream come true. I don't want to be anywhere else.''

The Blazers (7-4) have a fast-attack offense that averages 30.2 points per game and should have success against the Warriors, the third-worst defense in the nation, allowing a whopping 479.2 yards and 38.2 points per game.

On the other hand, Hawaii scores an average of 42.8 points (on 472.6 yards per game) at home.

``We have got to score some points because nobody holds these guys down for the whole game,'' Brown said. ``They'll get their points sooner or later, so we know we have to score points.''

UAB is led by beefy quarterback Darrell Hackney and receiver Roddy White, who has 65 catches for a Conference USA-record 1,339 yards and 13 TDs this season. White is second in the nation with 121.7 yards receiving per game.

``Whatever they give us, we'll take. We're not going to force the ball,'' said Hackney, who has thrown for 2,653 yards and 24 TDs. It's a game of checkers. You move here, I move there.''

The Warriors (7-5) reached the postseason by closing out the regular season with wins against Idaho, Northwestern and Michigan State. It is the fourth bowl game under sixth-year coach June Jones. In last year's Hawaii Bowl, the Warriors were involved in a nasty postgame brawl after defeating Houston 54-48 in triple overtime.

``We are very pleased to be here because it wasn't looking very good with three games to go,'' Jones said.

The game closes the storied career of Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang, the most prolific passer in college history. He owns career NCAA marks for passing yardage (16,667), attempts (2,390), completions (1,357), interceptions (80) and total offense (16,508). He is eight touchdowns away from matching Ty Detmer's record of 121.

Chang has thrown for 3,853 yards this season, with a career-best 34 TDs.

``Timmy has learned through experience you don't have to make every play. Just stay cool, and once he gets into his rhythm, he's tough to stop,'' Brown said.

Hawaii's biggest scoring threat is former walk-on Chad Owens, a senior who has 94 receptions for 1,176 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also scored four times this season on punt returns.

``This is my last game as a Warrior, so I want to make it one to remember,'' said the 5-foot-7 Owens, who was virtually unstoppable the last two games, scoring nine times and making 22 receptions for 438 yards.

In watching game film, Brown noticed visiting teams often run out of gas at Aloha Stadium because of the balmy climate and Hawaii's high-flying offense.

``About the middle of the third quarter, (the defensive linemen) are not around Chang near as much as they were, and look out, things start happening,'' he said.

Hawaii has won seven straight at home after dropping its season opener to Florida Atlantic on Sept. 4.

UAB will rotate its players in and out of the game to keep them fresh. The Blazers, who did not play west of the Central time zone this season, arrived in Honolulu early to adjust to time difference, climate change and enjoy the holidays.

``We want to put the merry in Christmas,'' Hackney said. ``If we don't get the win, there won't be any merry, it'll just be Christmas.''

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:07 PM


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