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Bowled over, snowed under



Published: Sun, January 6, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Random thoughts on the bowl season that was:

UIt was painfully obvious that Oregon should have been the opponent for Miami in the Rose Bowl Thursday night. The Ducks' dismantling of Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl proved that.

However, as impressive as the Ducks' performance was on Tuesday, I think Miami still would have beaten them by two touchdowns in Pasadena. The Hurricanes were that good.

Just think how close Miami came to stumbling in late-season games against Boston College and Virginia Tech. Had a series of plays in either game gone the other way and it might have been Oregon and Colorado in the title game.

When all was said and done, the humans (the poll voters) did a heck of a lot better job picking the top teams than the machines.

Opinion has changed: I have to admit that my opinion of a playoff has changed, but only slightly. Originally, I was in favor of a 16-team tournament (shoot, even an eight-team field would be satisfactory), incorporating some of the current bowl games.

However, I realize that any playoff plan involving more than four teams is a much better idea on paper than in reality. The major drawbacks would affect the fans; they can be asked to make only so many trips.

Instead, I believe the best plan would be to keep the bowl system intact. Then have a championship game between the No. 1- and 2-ranked teams, according to the AP and coaches polls, the following weekend. The computer ratings would only be used to break a tie, say, if Oregon was ranked No. 2 in one poll and Colorado was No. 2 in the other one.

UI don't think there's too much argument about which bowl game was the most entertaining: Texas' come-from-behind win over Washington in the Holiday Bowl. But Marshall's victory over East Carolina in the GMAC Bowl and Ohio State's loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl would have to rank right up there.

UI lost a lot of respect for Texas quarterback Chris Simms while watching the Holiday Bowl. When Major Applewhite, the Texas quarterback who replaced him in the starting lineup, struggled with interceptions in the early part of the game, Simms was shown on television laughing with a teammate on the sideline.

Bellisari ordeal: Jim Tressel came under a great deal of scrutiny for his handling of Steve Bellisari's DUI charges. Many believed the senior quarterback and co-captain should have been thrown to the wolves (no pun intended, Michigan fans) for his critical lack of good judgment.

I believe Tressel handled the situation correctly, to some extent. I agreed with his decision to reinstate Bellisari to the team, but I don't think he should have been given back his captaincy and he should not have been permitted to play in the bowl game.

That point having been made, it was my understanding Tressel made his decisions based on the approval of the entire squad, so I can certainly understand his reasoning for doing so.

UMy preseason top five for 2002, in no particular order: Florida, Florida State, Miami, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

UMy prediction for the Big Ten next season (only the bowl eligible teams): Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue, Penn State.

USome would believe Tyrone Willingham earned the Notre Dame job because he had a successful coaching record and his players had a very high graduation rate. I would submit he got the nod because his Stanford teams won three out of the four games they played against the Fighting Irish.

XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write to him at todor@vindy.com.




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