Bowl Post Mortem
By downing Florida State in the Orange Bowl, Oklahoma rescued the promoters of the Bowl Championship Series and college football from the embarrassment of split national champions, the Seminoles and Miami (Fla.).
The Hurricanes should have been in the BCS title game rather than FSU, which lost to Miami during the regular season. We wrote before the Orange Bowl that the point spread didnt give Oklahoma the credit it deserved and suggested a bet on the Sooners. Oklahoma came to the game out of the tough Big 12 Conference with victories over Nebraska, Kansas State, Texas and Texas A&M. Florida States only major win was over Florida. The rest of the FSU wins were over the creampuffs that comprise the Atlantic Coast Conference
Elsewhere, the Pacific-10 Conference flexed its muscles with no less than three of its teams Washington, Oregon State and Oregon winning major games to finish among the nations top ten. The power in the conference has shifted, at least for the present, from California to the Pacific Northwest
The once mighty Big Ten had little to be proud for its showing in the bowls
The Big East sent five teams to bowl games. Four of them Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College and West Virginia were winners over teams from the Pac-10, the ACC and the Southeastern Conference
Lou Holtz once again showed hes the master when his South Carolina Gamecocks upset Ohio State and in the process knocked John Cooper right out of his job as coach of the Buckeyes
And to close out the college football season, heres a memo to the BCS managers: Put away the computers and start using common sense.
Whats going on around the National Football League brings to mind the tag line of comedian Red Buttons: "Strange things are happening."
Last month, when his name first surfaced in connection with the coaching job of the Washington Redskins, Marty Schottenheimer on ESPN emphatically stated that it would be impossible for him to work with a person like team owner Daniel Snyder. But when Snyder offered him a $10 million contract, Schottenheimer suddenly discovered Snyder was a very engaging fellow smart, witty, personable and knowledgeable about football. Is the Snyder-Schottenheimer marriage one made in heaven, or should there be an over/under on how long before the two are at loggerheads?
When the season ended with the Buffalo Bills out of the playoffs, team owner Ralph Wilson was presented with a number of problems. He had to get a new general manager to replace the fired John Butler. He had to determine the future of coach Wade Phillips and his staff.
In the background is the teams quarterback controversy. Theres no doubt that Phillips mishandled the Doug Flutie/Rob Johnson situation. The dilemma Wilson must face is that the overwhelming majority of fans (and the Buffalo media) want Flutie to be the No. 1 QB and, if he isnt so designated, there could be a blizzard of season-ticket cancellations. Meantime, the Bills must make room within the salary cap to retain free agent wide receiver Eric Moulds. His loss would take away the teams most effective offensive weapon.
When Dick Vermeil announced his retirement after the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl last year, he said it was to spend more time with his family. Evidently, family life wasnt all that it was cracked up to be. Vermeil is to be the new coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Presumably, the powers-that-be in Kansas City want quick results. They could hardly be working on a long-range plan with the 64-year-old Vermeil.
In a bizarre twist, the news of Vermeils hiring had been in the media for two days before the Chiefs, apparently as an afterthought, announced they had fired Gunther Cunningham.
The Ryan Leaf era is over in San Diego. The Chargers will get rid of the failed quarterback as expeditiously as possible. With the first choice in the April draft, they will select Virginia Techs Michael Vick, assuming Vick passes up his senior season and makes himself available.
The only other college quarterback who could be a first-round selection is Purdues Drew Brees. Neither of the opposing Orange Bowl quarterbacks Florida States Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke nor Oklahomas Josh Heupel is rated highly by the scouts. Weinke might be a third-round pick. Heupel could be no better than a fifth-round selection.