NOTEBOOK | From Phoenix

Datish on Gonzo: Ohio State center Doug Datish, who received his undergraduate degree in history, said he enjoys talking with receiver Anthony Gonzalez, a philosophy major who is an academic All-American. "Gonzo is a great guy, super intelligent. He's a philosophy major and I'm interested in philosophy, so we can talk different things. He's good for me because I can talk with somebody not about football stuff all the time. I'll see something in the news and ask him what he thinks Socrates or some other famous philosopher would think about it."
No playoff: Datish said he would not be in favor of a playoff in Division I-A. "We play a lot of games in the regular season and I don't know if extending it to three or four more games would necessarily be a good thing. At that point it might get to be like an NFL season. The physical demands, the wear and tear from the entire season might prove detrimental." Datish, though, disputed the concern of many college presidents that a playoff would disrupt the athletes' academic progress. "We adapt to any situation. Academics during the football season doesn't necessarily take a back seat but it does taking some getting used to, time-management wise," Datish said. He did, however, note one aspect of his life that suffers. "Sleep," he quipped. "It takes a back seat to everything."
Smith expected to play: Ohio State senior cornerback Antonio Smith is expected to play in Monday's game. Smith, who is second on the team with 66 tackles, including 10 for losses, and had two interceptions, injured an arm in a pre-Christmas practice. "He is not involved in any contact at practice," OSU coach Jim Tressel said. "But he should be ready to go on Monday night."
A.D.'s reaction: Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was cornered at practice Wednesday. Naturally, every one wanted his reaction to Alabama's signing of Nick Saban to a 40 million, 10-year contract. "Well, Alabama is trying to hit a home run with a proven guy," Smith said. "Nick Saban has been a winner everywhere he's coached, starting with Toledo." Saban jumped from the NFL as a defensive coordinator to Toledo in 1990. After one season with the Rockets, he joined the Cleveland Browns as defensive coordinator before accepting the Michigan State head coaching job in 1995. Saban spent five seasons with the Spartans and five more at LSU before accepting an offer from the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Day 2004. Saban was 15-17 in two seasons with Miami. Smith doesn't think Saban's signing with start a spending spree among colleges. "There's not too many schools who can afford to do it, for one thing," Smith said. "You're looking at schools that have a 60 [million] to 65 million dollar budget and have 22 or 25 sports."
Rob Todor

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