Tag Archives: Oklahoma Sooners

Vintage Tom Davis and Current Keno Davis Prevail in the Same Night

Tom Davis, back in the day as Iowas coach (AP photo)

Tom Davis, back in the day as Iowa's coach (AP photo)

The Big Ten Network did Iowa Hawkeyes fans a favor Tuesday night.

The BTN aired a replay of the 1987 NCAA Tournament West Regional semifinal between Iowa and Oklahoma from the Kingdome in Seattle.

The Hawkeyes won the game in overtime, 93-91. It was magnificent basketball played by two teams full of magnificent players. It was decided on Kevin Gamble’s 3-point swish for Iowa with one second left in overtime.

That was Iowa’s 30th and last win of the 1986-87 season. Their fifth and final loss came two days later to UNLV in the West final, a game that is still nothing but scar tissue to Hawkeye fans with long memories.

But let me repeat: That was fantastic ball, relentlessly attacking ball by two teams with future NBA players. Iowa had B.J. Armstrong, Brad Lohaus, Roy Marble, Ed Horton, Gamble.

Al Lorenzen of Cedar Rapids, the ninth man on that Iowa team, gave the Hawkeyes some major production.

Oklahoma had Stacey King and Harvey Grant, two front-line players who went on to prosper in the NBA themselves.

This was how good college basketball could be. I covered that game way back when, and it was truly a shame someone had to lose.

(By the way, I saw myself at courtside on the BTN replay Tuesday, and it appears my white hair isn’t a recent phenomenon.)

This isn’t just a trip down Memory Lane, however. Tuesday night in real time, Providence upset top-ranked Pittsburgh, 81-73.

Providence is coached by Keno Davis, who led Drake to its terrific 28-5 season a year ago.

The Friars are 17-11 overall, 9-7 in the rugged Big East. They are on that proverbial NCAA tourney bubble, though they certainly bounced upward with the win over Pitt.

I love this paragraph from Associated Press’ story on the game, played at Providence:

The fans in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center crowded around the courtside press tables for the final minutes. Twice, the public address announcer begged the fans to stay off the court following the game; twice the crowd responded by laughing.

Keno was an adolescent that Friday night in Seattle when his dad’s team found a way to beat that fabulous Oklahoma squad of Billy Tubbs. Twenty-two years later, he made his biggest mark to date in the Big East.

So far.

I’m not the only to say this, but I’ll say it again: The more time passes, the more you realize what Iowa had in Tom Davis. His only child can coach a little bit, too.

Comparative Results: Iowa, Iowa State, UNI and Coe College All Better Than Florida and Oklahoma

I’ve caught some grief from USC supporters who think I’m being unfair to the Trojans by noting Utah beat Oregon State and USC did not, thus, no No. 1 AP vote from me for USC.

You can’t compare scores, they’ve bleated. It’s not fair. Utah played Oregon State at home. USC played the Beavers in Corvallis.

Boo hoo. Lots of things aren’t fair. USC having a recruiting advantage in southern California and a budget that is probably about the size of Utah’s government may not be fair, either, but why bring that into this discussion?

If you can’t compare scores in making judgments, what are we left with in college football? Besides torn ACLs, intoxicated chest-painters, and millionaire coaches, that is?

Hey, I may vote Iowa State No. 1 if Florida beats Oklahoma for the national title. Why? Because … Iowa St beat
Kent St who beat
Buffalo who beat
Ball St who beat
Navy who beat
Wake Forest who beat
Mississippi who beat
Florida, while Mississippi beat Texas Tech who beat Texas who beat Oklahoma

Then again, I may opt for Iowa No. 1 ahead of Florida and Oklahoma since …

Iowa beat
Florida Int’l who beat
Middle Tennessee St who beat
Maryland who beat
Wake Forest who beat
Mississippi who beat
Florida, while Mississippi beat Texas Tech who beat Texas who beat Oklahoma

Heck, Northern Iowa outclassed Florida this season. Proof:

Northern Iowa beat
New Hampshire who beat
Army who beat
Louisiana Tech who beat
Mississippi St who beat
Vanderbilt who beat
Mississippi who beat
Florida, while Mississippi beat Texas Tech who beat Texas who beat Oklahoma

For that matter, I may vote Coe College No. 1, since the Kohawks established dominance over Florida and Oklahoma. How so?

Coe beat
Simpson who beat
Northwestern MN who beat
Malone who beat
Marian who beat
Valparaiso who beat
Davidson who beat
Jacksonville FL who beat
San Diego who beat
UC-Davis who beat
Portland St who beat
Eastern Washington who beat
Weber St who beat
Cal Poly SLO who beat
San Diego St who beat
UNLV who beat
Wyoming who beat
Tennessee who beat
Vanderbilt who beat
Mississippi who beat
Florida, while Mississippi beat Texas Tech who beat Texas who beat Oklahoma.

Hey, you USC whiners, you aren’t even as good as Penn State.

Penn State beat
Oregon St who beat
USC

Wait, you say USC beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl?

OK, I’ll give you that one.

Why do people keep calling for a playoff every year when these things are all so obvious? Just look at who beat who.

Now who was it that beat Utah?

Hlas Column on Utah Lobbying Me for a No. 1 Vote in the AP poll

I know what its like to be the guy on the left - well, not really

I know what it's like to be the guy on the left - well, not really

The “colorful” governor of Illinois appointed a former attorney general of his state to replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

If you were Roland Burris, you might have been torn between two reactions when Gov. Rod Blagojevich called. “No thanks, it’s not worth the aggravation,” comes to mind. So does “I have the chance to help steer this nation I love to a safer, smarter path. It’s my obligation as a citizen to say yes.”

Those were the two reactions I had in November when the Associated Press asked me to be a replacement voter in its college football rankings.

OK, it’s not really how I felt at all. What I thought was, “I should be able to get some easy column and Hlog material out of this, and it shouldn’t cause any real problems.”

After all, AP’s rankings no longer factor into the BCS championship formula. To its credit, AP wanted nothing to do with being involved in that masquerade.

Besides, don’t you just go with whoever wins the BCS title game, and make that your No. 1 team, anyway?

Uh, not necessarily.

Let’s backtrack. AP called me, for some bizarre reason, when Eric Page left the Quad City Times to work for a college near his home. You can always spot the young sports writers who won’t make a career of it. They get lost thinking about other things, like life and stuff.

Page was Iowa’s representative on the 65-member AP football voting panel. When he abruptly fled to academia, AP decided it wanted to continue to have an Iowan who covers college football participating in its poll. It was for the same reason the Senate still wants two representatives from Illinois, I guess.

So, AP came to me. Maybe it was because I voted in its poll in the mid-1990s. Or maybe it’s because they don’t vet their candidates very well.

It was only for a few weeks, I thought, so why not? But I didn’t see what was coming. Namely, an avalanche from Utah.

Know that the AP championship remains a legitimate national championship unto itself and isn’t beholden to FedEx, Tostitos, or the rest of the BCS cabal. The voters are media people, not coaches. The AP voters actually watch games and pay attention. The coaches are preoccupied with trivial matters like, well, coaching.

But more years than not, the winner of the BCS title game is the slam-dunk pick for No. 1 in the final AP poll. No controversy, no worries.

That will be the case again Thursday if the winner of the Florida-Oklahoma game has a decisive victory, or prevails against an opponent that gave a very determined battle.

But what if those two teams slog around like Texas and Ohio State did for much of Monday’s Fiesta Bowl? What’s to stop a voter from jumping Utah, the lone unbeaten team, to No. 1 on the heels of the Utes’ impressive Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, which had been ranked No. 1 for five weeks during the season?

If Oklahoma wins, it would be very hard for me not to tab it No. 1 with its wins over Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Kansas, TCU, Cincinnati, and finally, Florida. Look, the Sooners have scored 58 or more points in each of their last six games. Their 45-35 October loss to Texas in Dallas is a scratch, yes, but not a gash.

But don’t use the “strength of schedule” argument with me if Florida beats the Sooners. The Gators trailed Alabama for three quarters before winning in the SEC title game, 31-20. Utah jumped on the Crimson Tide for a 21-0 first-half lead, fought off a staunch ‘Bama rally, and put away the Tide with authority, 31-17.

Florida, for all its dominant wins over the likes of Georgia and LSU and Florida State, lost at home to Mississippi. Ole Miss had a really good team, as it turned out. But it lost four games.

As for USC fans, don’t even chime in. Your Trojans lost to Oregon State. Utah beat Oregon State.

And Texas Longhorn people should know deep in their hearts that their 12-1 team didn’t pass the eyeball test for No. 1 in its 24-21 Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State.

Utahans and others have spent the last few days making their feelings known to AP voters.

“Make a statement against the failure of a system we call the BCS and give the Utes the recognition they deserve,” one e-mailer urged me.

“It has to be Utah. No question,” wrote someone else.

“Choose from an exclusive collection of replica watches,” offered another e-mailer. But that was just spam.

So here’s the deal, Florida and Oklahoma: Show me something Thursday night.

Not that I’ll see most of it. I’m covering the Minnesota-Iowa men’s basketball game Thursday.

But since when did you have to be a totally informed voter to participate in the democratic process?

Hawkeyes Coldcock Gamecocks

 

Well, well, well. That was quite a display of efficiency the Iowa football squad displayed against a South Carolina team that showed all the poise and precision of a home video during an earthquake.

I said it at the end of my column that should be posted Thursday night on http://www.hawkeyebowlgame.com,  and I’ll elaborate here. I think Iowa is one of the 10 best teams in the nation.

Where will the Hawkeyes be ranked in the Associated Press poll late next Thursday night after the BCS title game? Probably 21st or 22nd, maybe 23rd.

But if you went on how teams were playing in November into December and January, can you honestly name 10 teams that are better?

The obvious ones on their bodies of work: Florida, Oklahoma, Alabama, USC, Penn State, Texas, Texas Tech. That’s seven. Although, you take Penn State with a grimace the way it fell so far behind in the first half of the Rose Bowl against USC.

Add Utah if it plays Alabama close in the Sugar Bowl. If Ohio State isn’t routed by Texas, you probably have to include the Buckeyes. I’d certainly include 11-2 TCU, as well.

OK, that’s 10 if Utah and Ohio State hold up their ends. And 11 if Cincinnati wins over Virginia Tech in Thursday night’s Orange Bowl, though I’d take the Hawkeyes over the Bearcats on a neutral field 10 times out of 10. But a BCS league-champ with a 12-2 record has earned its place.

But that’s it. A 10-3 Georgia? Not sold. A 10-3 Oregon? Very good, but I think the Ducks-Hawks game would be a coin-flip. If Ole Miss upsets Texas Tech Friday in the Cotton Bowl, I rank the Rebels on an even keel with Iowa.

You know how this works, though. Those four losses hang over Iowa’s heads, and not being ranked all year makes it hard for the Hawks to ascend very far once they do get into next week’s rankings.

No matter. They had the bowl scene all to themselves for the first two hours Thursday and wasted little time showing America (and poll voters) what they had.

They’ll get a nice spot in August’s preseason Top 25 for the 2009 season. What they do with that is up to them instead of the pollsters.

One Man’s AP Top 25 Ballot

In my heart of hearts, I know Oklahoma and Florida and Texas are better than Alabama. But the Crimston Tide have run the table thus far, won at Georgia and LSU, and may be better than I (and many others) realize.

I kicked around putting Florida second ahead of Oklahoma given the way the Gators have mauled their last several foes, including Georgia.

Am I a homer to have Iowa 20th with four losses and Michigan State 22nd with three defeats, when MSU beat Iowa? I wrestled with it, but the Spartans got buried at Penn State Saturday, and no one buried Iowa this season.

But I think the Hawkeyes would beat Boise State, Ball State, and one if not both of the Oregon brothers, but ranked all four ahead of Iowa. The first two are undefeated and need no explanation. I think the Pac-10 is underrated this season, and think the Oregon twins are better than people realize. Oregon State is way better than it was in September when it got smacked down at Penn State.

Look, the SEC champ will meet the Big 12 champ in the title game, so the rest of this is just window dressing, anyhow.

1.       Alabama

2.       Oklahoma

3.       Florida

4.       Texas

5.       Utah

6.       USC

7.       Texas Tech

8.       Penn State

9.       Ohio State

10.   Missouri

11.   Boise State

12.   Oklahoma State

13.   TCU

14.   Georgia

15.   Ball State

16.   Cincinnati

17.   Oregon State

18.   BYU

19.   Oregon

20.   Iowa

21.   Georgia Tech

22.   Pittsburgh

23.   Michigan State

24.   Western Michigan

25.   Mississippi

I Cast an AP Top 25 Ballot, But You Can Do the Campaigning

Something bizarre and potentially dangerous has happened in college football this week.

I have become one of the 65 voters in the Associated Press college football rankings.

In late November? How? Why? And most of all … me?

The how is easy. Eric Page had been Iowa’s representative on the AP panel. But he has quit his sportswriting job at the Quad City Times to take a position at a Quad Cities college. Page joins the million or so people who have left newspapering in November, but at least his departure was voluntary and for a better station in life. Good for him.

I guess it’s fitting I work in sportswriting, because I need a turnstile to count all the people I’ve seen come and go in the newspaper biz.

So last week I got a phone call. AP decided it wanted Iowa to have a vote through the final three weeks of the regular season and after the national-title game is played next Jan. 8. Would I do it?

I asked myself what was in it for me, and the answer was nothing. Then I thought some more. I could get some Hlog fodder out of it. And, of course, the threat of violence from fans of teams who felt wronged. The Hlog fodder cancelled out the fear of personal harm, so I agreed.

I did this once before, way back in 1993. My pick for the No. 1 team at the end of the season was Notre Dame. The national-champ was Florida State. I still think I made the right call.

So, tonight after the material from the Iowa-Minnesota game is shipped off to the Gazette and Gazetteonline, I’ll cobble together a Top 25. I will do so not having seen the Texas Tech-Oklahoma game, which stinks. Nor will I have seen BYU-Utah, or Michigan State-Penn State, or Pittsburgh-Cincinnati, or any other game involving a ranked team or a squad vying for a ranking.

So I’ll have to rely on the scores, and published accounts of the games. But if you want to offer kernels of valuable information you think I need to know to cast a more-informed ballot, I encourage you to post your comments here anytime Saturday.

And now, off to Minneapolis.

The Hlist: America’s Most-Craved College Football Roundup

By Mike Hlas
Photo

Illinois head football coach Ron Zook, left, talks with linemen Jeff Alle (rear) and Jon Asamoah during Saturday’s 23-17 loss to Western Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit. (AP photo)

Opening kickoff

“We are at about 19,000 feet. The mountain is at 26,000 feet, and the air is changing a little bit. The air is a little rarer.” — Alabama Coach Nick Saban after his team improved to 10-0 with a 27-21 overtime win at LSU

First downs

1. The Wait is On: There is no Game of the Week this week. Which is all right, because next week’s is good enough for two weeks.

It’s 10-0 Texas Tech at 9-1 Oklahoma. Both are idle this week. Both got even more revved up Saturday. Tech routed No. 8 Oklahoma State, 56-20, and Oklahoma obliterated Texas A&M, 66-28.

“We can stop ourselves, and that’s what we try not to do,” said stellar Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree. “But I think probably that’s about the only people who can stop us.”

“We seem to surprise a lot of people other than our team,” added his coach, Mike Leach.

The Red Raiders have scored 479 points. Oklahoma tops even that, with 514. The Sooners held a 66-21 lead over A&M after three quarters in College Station, then released their feet from Aggie throats.

“There are still sportsmanship issues that you do your best to handle,” Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops said. “I just think that’s important. We played hard for three quarters.

“You just have to choose sportsmanship over BCS points. To me, in the end, it’s the right way to play it.”

OU running back Chris Brown didn’t have the same sentiment after his three-touchdown effort.

“You know how the BCS is going right now,” Brown said. “You just can’t win by a nail-biter, unless it’s a very great team you’re playing against. You can get up on a team 35-0 in the first half and fell like, well, the game’s over. Not with us. We want to keep pouring it on.”

2. Dancing in East Lansing: Did you see this coming? Did anyone? The first-place team in the Big Ten on Nov. 11 is Michigan State.

The Spartans are 6-1, a nose in front of 5-1 Ohio State and 5-1 Penn State. They have this week off, then play for at least a share of the Big Ten title Nov. 22 at Penn State. MSU is virtually assured its first January bowl in nine years

Michigan State beat Purdue, 21-7, to set up its showdown in State College.

“We’ve been through a lot together, but I think our greatest moments are ahead of us,” said Spartans senior quarterback Brian Hoyer. “We have an opportunity to do something here that hasn’t been done in a long time.”

MSU head coach Mark Dantonio: “I said last year that we have an opportunity to win every single football game that we come out to. Everything we do — the 80 hours a week you work as a coach — that’s to win, that’s not to stay close.”

3. Bucking Broncos: Can anyone in the Big Ten defeat Western Michigan?

The Broncos of the Mid-American Conference handled Illinois in Detroit, 23-17. WMU quarterback Tim Hiller completed 28 of 40 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns.

You may remember Hiller torching Iowa for 367 yards and three TDs in Western’s 28-19 win in Iowa City last November.

“He’s a great player, an NFL player, with unbelievable accuracy,” said Illinois Coach Ron Zook.

“My grandfather (Dan Sabino) played for Illinois in 1952 when they won the Rose Bowl,” Hiller said. “He had his jersey and ring in his office. I learned all about Illinois football. That’s why this was so special.”

4. Campbell Mmmm Mmmm Good: The Hlist normally holds pickpockets in the same regard it does Pick ‘Ems.

That’s The Gazette’s Saturday Pick ‘ems, a weekly collection of bizarre predictions and even less stable commentary. The Hlist is one of the participants. The Hlist may be a self-Hloather.

But KCRG-TV’s John Campbell predicted this score: Iowa 24, Penn State 23. And that’s no fish tale.

FUMBLES

1. Penned In: Penn State’s loss to the Hawkeyes wasn’t welcomed only in Iowa.

“Let’s face it, the majority of the country did not want to see Penn State in the BCS title game,” wrote Stewart Mandel of sportsillustrated.com.

It’s hard to get too down on Penn State. That’s still the best team in the Big Ten, and will be the league’s Rose Bowl representative. Plus, Joe Paterno was more than generous after Saturday’s game.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Iowa,” Paterno said. “The Iowa kids stayed tough, played hard. Their quarterback played a heck of a game for them. . . . And when they turned the ball over for us, we didn’t get the job done. Don’t take anything away from Iowa, OK?”

What becomes a legend most? Grace in a difficult moment, that’s what.

2. Orange Slush: Let’s say you’re the Motor City Bowl, and Illinois finds a way to win one of its last two games to finish 6-6. Do you want the Fighting Illini in your game?

Who is the Motor City Bowl to be picky? Who is the Motor City Bowl to turn up its nose at a team that was in the Rose Bowl last season?

Well, Illinois played in Detroit Saturday, losing to Western Michigan in front of a reported gathering of 12,785. The actual crowd was about half that at 65,000-seat Ford Field, the site of the Motor City Bowl. It is believed to be the smallest crowd to see an Illini game since they hosted Pittsburgh before 9,962 fans in 1945.

“We could have played them naked in a gymnasium (and still lost), said Illinois defensive coordinator Dan Disch.

“We want our seniors to go out with a bang,” said Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn, “but they’re not going out with the bang they expected.”

3. Gophers Burrow Downward: Minnesota was nationally ranked and 7-1. Then it lost successive home games to Northwestern and Michigan, which aren’t exactly Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

“You could tell they didn’t take us seriously,” said Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham after the Wolverines’ 29-7 win at Minnesota. “They weren’t expecting us to smack them in the mouth. They questioned our toughness. They must have thought that we just stopped caring about playing.”

The Gophers stop playing their home games in the Metrodome for good after their season-finale against Iowa. Michigan (3-7) closed its Metrodome history with 12 wins in 12 visits. That’s a dozen times it left the Dome with the Little Brown Jug traveling trophy.

“Michigan needs to get the Little Brown Jug, fill it with cognac, and forget this whole season ever happened.” said Chris Fowler on ESPN’s College Gameday.

Final gun

“Okay, this time I really mean it: Since Notre Dame clearly can’t hold up its end of the football rivalry, BC really is going to have to drop them from our schedule the way we did Holy Cross.” — Mike Lupica, New York Daily News and Boston College grad.

BC beat Notre Dame, 17-0, for its sixth-straight win over the Irish.

Photo

(AP photo of Michigan State’s Javon Ringer)

The Hlist: America’s Favorite College Football Collection of Quips, Quotes and Quackery

AP photo

AP photo

Opening kickoff

“We’re all going to be dreaming it for the rest of our lives, but even if it ends right here you’ve got the happiest group of students and alumni and townsfolk in the whole wide world. If we don’t win another game again we can die happy.” — Texas Tech 1972 graduate Bill Windsor on the Red Raiders’ 39-33 win over Texas

First downs

1. High Tech: Who knew it could actually be fun to be in Lubbock, Texas?

If you didn’t find Texas Tech’s win thrilling Saturday night, you must be too numb from watching Big Ten football.

“Play 60 minutes. You may have a second to spare,” Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach said after the game.

Leach was right about that, and everything else so far this season. His unbeaten Red Raiders won the Game of the Year on the Play of the Year, Graham Harrell’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree.

Crabtree went all-or-nothing on the play with time slipping away. Instead of slipping out of bounds after the catch to set up a chip-shot field goal, he tightrope-walked the sideline after shedding a tackle, then veered into the end zone with: 01 left.

“On the sideline, I dreamed that I would catch a pass and go in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown,” Crabtree said afterward. “But I do that every game.”

For those thinking the win was a fluke, Tech outgained the Longhorns 579 yards to 374, and only trailed for a minute and 28 seconds all night. Harrell vaulted into Heisman Trophy contention after completing 36 of 53 passes for 474 yards. Suddenly, Texas counterpart Colt McCoy isn’t a lock to win the Heisman.

“Colt’s a good quarterback. But I think the best quarterback lives in Lubbock,” said Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill.

Leach took the win, called the biggest in Tech’s history, more in stride more than anyone in Lubbock. His team hosts No. 8 Oklahoma State Saturday.

“Now the biggest game in history is Oklahoma State,” Leach said, “or the history of this year, anyway.”

2. Dawgs Pounded: Florida’s players were ordered to do 42 repetitions at each weight station during summer workouts, one for each point they allowed in their 42-30 loss to Georgia last year.

The Gators also did 188 sit-ups, push-ups and crunches each during those workouts, one for each yard Georgia back Knowshon Moreno rushed for in that game.

After Moreno scored Georgia’s first touchdown against Florida last year, 70 Bulldog players rushed to the end zone to stomp around. In his biography called “Urban’s Way,” Florida Coach Urban Meyer said “That wasn’t right. It was a bad deal. And it will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team. . . . So we’ll handle it. And it’s going to be a big deal.”

Meyer called timeouts with 44 and 30 seconds left in the game and his team ahead by 39 points.

The Hlist thinks Urban’s Way could use some Urban Refinement.

3. Kafka No Nightmare: Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka set a Big Ten record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 217 in the Wildcats’ 24-17 win at Minnesota.

Kafka, playing because starter C.J. Bacher was out with an injury, also passed for 143 yards.

“That kid was good,” Minnesota defensive end Willie Van DeSteeg said. “It was like having two running backs out there.”

“And only the Northwestern eggheads could have a quarterback named Kafka, by the way,” wrote Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “His wideouts were Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy.”

The Wildcats, 7-2, were playing to hang on for an overtime. But Brendan Smith returned an interception 48 yards for the winning score with 12 seconds left. The ball bounced off cornerback David Oredugba’s hands and into Smith’s.

“They always make fun of me for my bad hands,” Oredugba said, “so thank you, Lord, for giving me bad hands.”

Fumbles

1. Bo-loney: Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini was a little miffed after his team got crushed at Oklahoma, 62-28. The Sooners had a 28-0 lead six minutes into the game.

Pelini refused to make his players available to the media afterward. Which was kind of a rotten deal for the dozens of traveling reporters from Nebraska, where Cornhusker football is still bigger than life even though the Huskers are a humble 2-3 in the Big 12.

A city named Lincoln shouldn’t have a dictator as a prominent resident.

When asked to explain his decision to muffle his team, Pelini’s voice started rising.

“You know what,” he said, “I will make them not available the whole week, if that’s what you want me to do. Is that what you want me to do? I thought I made it clear where we stand on that.

“The players are not available for comment, OK? If you don’t like it, tough. Ask me the questions you’d ask the players.”

To which a good first question would have been, “How come your head coach didn’t put you in a position to compete tonight?”

2. Michigone: How bad is it for Michigan? Toledo shoved coach Tom Amstutz out of his job Monday even though the Rockets won at Michigan last month. In years past, Toledo would have given a coach a lifetime contract for beating the Wolverines.

Michigan secured its first losing season since 1967 with its 48-42 loss at Purdue. The 2-7 Wolverines won’t go to a bowl for the first time in 34 years.

“We’ve had great tradition and we still have great tradition,” said Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez.

Well, at least he’s half-right.

3. Bottomed Out: Wisconsin was ranked ninth in the nation in September. Now it’s November, and the Badgers are 1-5 and alone in last place of the Big Ten.

The Badgers only trailed for seven seconds of their game at Michigan State. They were the wrong seven seconds, the last seven seconds. After their 25-24 loss, UW safety Chris Maragos said “Everything is kind of in disarray right now.”

“We are just trying to get to a bowl game,” Badger wide receiver David Gilreath said. “You don’t want the season to go down the drain.

“You want something good to come out of it. I guess a bowl would do that.”

Uh, David, what if the bowl is the Motor City?

Final gun

“I stayed up watching the game again until 2:30 (a.m.). I didn’t erase it and I’m going to watch it a couple of other times.” — Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance

The Hlist: America’s Favorite Weekly College Football Roundup

(AP photo)

Opening kickoff

“You’re aware of Rich Rodriguez, the high-priced football coach at Michigan who has been having a rough time adapting to the rigors of the Big Ten?

“Well, don’t feel too sorry for him. Just remember that ‘Fraud-Riguez,’ as the T-shirts proclaimed him last winter, bolted West Virginia, where he had six years remaining on his contract, a mere 17 days before his team faced Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

“Rodriguez, who watched the bowl game on TV while an assistant coached the Mountaineers to victory, isn’t even a fellow to face up to his deviousness. He sent a graduate assistant to deliver his resignation letter to West Virginia’s athletic director.” — Rick Telander, Chicago Sun-Times

First downs

1. Penthouse State: Alone atop the Big Ten stands Penn State after its 13-6 win at Ohio State. Finally, the Nittany Lions played someone of repute.

“I thought it was a good football game,” Penn State Coach Joe Paterno said after his 381st win. “I’ve been around a lot of football games.”

Still, there are always critics. Not everyone is convinced Paterno’s squad is worthy of a national title game.

“I don’t know if they’re a better team than Texas, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, USC or Alabama,” former Auburn coach Pat Dye told Sportingnews.com.

He neglected to include Texas Tech.

2. One in a Row: Wisconsin, which used to win games with frequency, snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Illinois, 27-17.

“It feels like we just won the national championship,” said Wisconsin’s David Gilreath, who had a 49-yard touchdown reception.

“It’s a game on the schedule that we needed to win,” Badgers Coach Bret Bielema said. “I don’t know if there is any more importance to win at any time.”

“That’s a lie,” UW strong safety Jay Valai said, grinning. “Let’s keep it real. This game was more important than any of the ones we played because we finally (won), thank God.”

3. Spartans Have Hart: Michigan State fans congregated in a corner of Michigan Stadium Saturday, chanting “Lit-tle Sis-ter! Lit-tle Sis-ter!”

Last year, Michigan running back Mike Hart referred to Michigan State as “little brother.” The Wolverines beat MSU last year for their sixth straight triumph over their state rival.

A banner was hung outside Michigan’s stadium after the game. It read: “Little Brother Just Kicked Big Brother’s (Backside)”

What would MSU people do if their team ever won two in a row over the Wolverines?

4. Gophers Golden: Minnesota was 1-11 last year with the defense that was ranked last in the nation.

This year’s Gophers are 7-1 after a 17-6 win at Purdue.

“We just fly around,” said Minnesota safety Kyle Theret, who had nine solo tackles and an interception.

The Gophers fly with an attitude. They had four personal foul penalties at Purdue.

“We were running our mouths and did a little extra activity that we shouldn’t have,” senior defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg said. “But we won.”

Fumbles

1. Joe the Bummer: It’s been a fine 12-year run for Joe Tiller as Purdue’s coach. The first 11 seasons were good, anyway, with 10 bowl trips.

The 2-6 Boilermakers are alone in the Big Ten basement at 0-4 in this, Tiller’s final season. Some way to go out.

“This isn’t how I envisioned it,” Tiller said.

His team managed a paltry 226 yards in its 17-6 loss to Minnesota. The 109 passing yards were the fewest in Tiller’s Purdue tenure.

When asked about a slight shoulder separation that kept Boilermakers quarterback Curtis Painter on the sideline the entire second half, Tiller told a radio reporter “Most guys would play with that. I don’t know why he didn’t. But he didn’t . . .”

Tiller’s frustration carried over from midweek when he reacted to comments made by running back Kory Sheets that questioned Sheets’ confidence in Painter.

“Well, as I said to our own coaches,” Tiller said, “(Sheets) has grown physiologically but not intellectually the last four years. So, if you know him, it’s not a surprise. It’s a disappointment.

“So, if any person thinks that they’re going to carry the team, then perhaps we should just hand him the ball and stand on the sidelines and cheer. I don’t know what type of game plan that would be, but perhaps we could try it.

“One thing about it, I don’t really ever sugarcoat stuff.”

2. Northern Exposure: The Big 12 North is 2-10 against the South. The North’s best team would be the South’s fifth-best. A team from the North will play a team from the South in December for the league title.

The Hlist’s question: Why?

From the Kansas City Star’s Blair Kerkhoff:

“An incredible football game was waged on Kansas soil Saturday.

“Texas Tech took the early lead on Oklahoma, but the Sooners roared back to edge ahead.

“From there, the teams exchanged leads, and late in the proceedings the Red Raiders grabbed a 56-55 lead.

“Finally, Tech prevailed 63-58.

“Sadly for Kansas and Kansas State, the Sooners and Red Raiders played around the same time but not against each other. Instead, they toyed with the Sunflower State institutions of higher learning and lower football prowess.

“Texas Tech blew the doors off Kansas 63-21, and Oklahoma ran away from Kansas State 58-35.”

3. Boo Hoo, LSU: It’s not easy being mortal.

LSU defensive end Rahim Alem pointed the finger at his team’s offense after Georgia ripped the defending national champion Tigers, 52-38.

“There were two touchdowns we couldn’t do anything about,” Alem said, referring to LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee’s two interceptions that Georgia linebacker Darryl Gamble returned for touchdowns.

“Everybody has turnovers, but when you throw two interceptions for touchdowns, those are game-changers,” Alem said.

At least he shouldered half of the blame.

“On defense, we messed up big. On offense, we messed up big.”

Coach Les Miles got a big raise and a contract extension from LSU last December when Michigan wooed him. So someone with the program didn’t mess up big.

4. Ground Yuck: Navy beat SMU 34-7 without attempting a single pass. Using a triple option, the Midshipmen rushed 77 times for 404 yards.

It’s khaki-ugly football, though, and it’s a military thing. Army and Air Force also have won games this year without completing a pass.

Final gun

“If you can do this to LSU in frothing Tiger Stadium, you need have no fear of Florida or anything reptilian.” Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Georgia plays the Florida Gators Saturday.

Shonn Greene for Heisman Consideration a Campaign With Odds Stacked Against It

People in Iowa Hawkeye Land see no reason why Iowa running back Shonn Greene wouldn’t get included in the Heisman Trophy conversations at this point in the season

Their logic is reasonable. Greene is already over 1,000 rushing yards. He is averaging 162 yards and 6.5 yards per carry in Big Ten games.

But at this stage, just getting his name into the “also receiving votes” end of it is a tough enough hurdle. Reasons:

1. Iowa is 5-3.

2. Though his numbers are tailing off a bit and his team got walloped by Ohio State Saturday, Michigan State running back Javon Ringer is still mentioned in Heisman talk. It’s just out of politeness now, but Ringer’s name was in a lot of Heisman watches around the country Sunday, and Greene’s wasn’t. It doesn’t help that the Spartans beat Iowa when they met, though Greene was the more prolific back that day.

3. It’s a quarterback year. With a national television audience, Texas’ Colt McCoy was superb against Missouri. McCoy, already a national name, completed 29 of 32 passes as the Longhorns dissected Missouri, 56-31. He is the frontrunner after consecutive sterling efforts in wins against Oklahoma and Missouri. Greene has to go off against Penn State in three weeks to make a remotely similar impact.

On top of that, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford would probably be No. 2 to McCoy were the voting done today. Bradford has been tremendous week after week, even in OU’s loss to Texas.

4. Iowa hasn’t defeated a Top 25 team. It hasn’t played on national TV. Some Big Ten fans are just starting to get acquainted with Greene, so you know they aren’t in the South, East or West.

5. The Hawkeyes don’t play this week. The momentum Greene has with Heisman voters who are aware of his exploits will stall until things resume at Illinois next week. Iowa has to win that game, by the way, for Greene to be more than a novelty nationally. Then you worry about Penn State.

6. Greene had zero preseason buildup or name-recognition. It’s probably the reason why Iowa’s Brad Banks finished second to  USC”s Carson Palmer instead of vice versa for the 2002 Heisman. Never mind that Palmer probably deserved it. Had America known Banks and had Palmer come from nowhere instead of the other way around, Banks would have been Iowa’s second Heisman winner.

So … Greene for the Heisman is a long, long longshot. So what? It doesn’t diminish a single thing he’s done, and it certainly doesn’t dampen any of the warm feelings Hawkeye fans have about his play. And if he continues on his current path and gets that national love in the final month of the season, it’s unexpected gravy.