Movers and Shakers
 
Tuesday, November 7
Miami has only itself to blame for BCS ranking




From the home office in Bristol, Conn., the weekly Top 20 List. . .

20 -- Soapbox moment
To every Miami honk wondering why the Hurricanes aren't ranked higher in the BCS rankings, we've got three words for you, Sparky: McNeese State, Washington.

Play a Division I-AA team such as McNeese and you're going to get zapped in the strength of schedule portion of the computer polls. Then get beat at Washington and you're going to take another BCS hit.

Butch Davis
Butch Davis has Miami ranked No. 2 and primed for an Orange Bowl bid.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Miami beat then-No. 2 Florida State. Beat them at the Orange Bowl. Beat them fair and square. But a three-point win at home against an FSU quarterback playing on one good ankle (who still threw for 496 yards) guarantees nothing in the BCS world.

Last week, while Florida State was beating a good North Carolina State by 44, Miami was giving up 31 points to Louisiana Tech. And yes, Miami took care of business against Virginia Tech at the Orange Bowl, but does anyone really believe the Hokies could play like a No. 2 without Michael Vick?

This isn't Hurricane bashing. Miami has won two vital games and it has lots of time to make a BCS move. And before UM fans get their shorts in a bunch over trailing the Seminoles in the BCS poll, remember this: Washington beat Miami, as well as Colorado on the road, Oregon State, Arizona State on the road, Cal, Stanford on the road and Arizona. And the Huskies' only loss was to an 8-1 Oregon team .

19 -- Miami 41, Virginia Tech 21
Vick wore a $500 ankle brace during his brief, gutsy, Heisman-killing appearance against Miami. Hope the Hokies saved the sales receipt.

18 -- Worst prediction
Me. I picked Virginia Tech to beat the Hurricanes and I did it on Tony Kornheiser's ESPN radio show. The next day Mel Kiper Jr. was on the same show and detailed about 194 reasons why Miami would win.

In my defense, I took a huge chance on Vick's sprained ankle. How was I to know that Tech's punter and secondary would play as if they were wearing the same $500 ankle braces. Plus, I was still a little woozy from the anastethia administered during the kidney donor operation. (Not really; just looking for cheap medical excuse.)

By the way, is there anybody who can't get a sideline pass for a Miami game? Former UM quarterback Bernie Kosar was there, which makes sense. Zo Mourning was there playing with his kid. And Puffy Combs was so interested in the game that he was spotted making cell calls.

17 -- Low tide
Alabama finally canned Mike DuBose, but not before soft-selling it as a "resignation." Athletic director Mal Moore threw a few crumbs DuBose's way -- DuBose gets to coach through the remainder of the season -- but facts are facts: there was no resignation. DuBose was handed a pink slip with a golden parachute attached.

DuBose says he is the same coach who led the Tide to the SEC Championship last year. He might be the same coach, but it isn't the same program. Morale is lower than ankle tape. There is DuBose-created tension and confusion among Bama's offensive coaching staff. There is talk of assorted player transfers.

This is a team that began the season ranked No. 3. DuBose himself said the program was capable of challenging for a national championship. Then came a key injury or two, the disappearance of preseason Heisman candidate Freddie Milons, the bonehead decision involving coaches Charlie Stubbs and Neil Callaway, and the numbing losses to Southern Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and UCF.

Bama can sugarcoat it any way it wants, but the timing of DuBose's dismissal had less to do with taking the pressure of the players, as Moore suggested, and more to do with sending a message: to Bama's movers and shakers, to Bama's recruits, to prospective coaches on its short list.

The short list odds
500-1 -- Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
A Bama power broker contacted a Tuberville rep not long ago to inquuire about salary considerations. For Tuberville to make that jump (and the heat that would come along with it), the money would have to be huge, close to the $2 million mark. Moore says money won't be an object, but here's guessing he doesn't have that kind of jack to spend.

100-1 -- Jackie Sherrill, Mississippi State
Sherrill played and coached for Bear Bryant, but it's time for Bama to look outside the Houndstooth Mafia. Sherrill has done a wonderful job in Starkville, and that's where he ought to stay. And from a public image standpoint, can a program still on NCAA probation from the Gene Stallings era hire a guy who has had his prickly moments with the same ruling organization?

50-1 -- A Bowden
Clemson's Tommy? ABC's Terry. FSU's Bobby?

Bama had its chance at Bobby years ago -- and Bobby wanted it -- but he never got an offer. Sure it sounds crazy, but if I were Moore, I'd at least make a call, just in case. Bobby turns 71 on Wednesday, but trust me, men 30 years younger than him have a hard time keeping up with Bowden and his schedule. He says he wants to keep coaching and who better to add stability, credibility and excitability to Bama? Probably a pipe dream, but what the heck.

Word is that Terry wants to give TV a serious run, but he could probably be convinced otherwise. But Bama?

Tommy would be a nice fit, but he probably has a better chance of winning a national title at Clemson than Bama. Only one or two teams to beat in the ACC and no conference championship game.

25-1 -- Dennis Franchione, Texas Christian
Franchione's contract has some different buyout conditions, depending on the suitor. It wouldn't be cheap, but if Franchione wanted to ditch TCU for Tuscaloosa, it could be done. Bama could do a lot worse, and has.

15-1 -- David Cutcliffe, Ole Miss; Jeff Bower, Southern Miss
Is there any coach from the state that hasn't been mentioned?

10-1 -- Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
If we were Bama, this would be one of the first guys we'd call. And if we were Beamer, we'd take the job if offered. Short of winning a national championship, Beamer has done everything that he can at Tech. And if Vick bolts for the NFL after this season or next, then what?

Beamer is a proven winner, is media savvy and would be a nice fit.

8-1 -- Mystery candidate
Moore has his own secret list. Figure at least one surprise on it.

5-1 -- Butch Davis, Miami
No one can question the rebuilding job Davis did under the thumb of NCAA penalties. The question is, now that he's done the heavy lifting does he want to leave Miami (and its rich recruiting base) for the Bama headache and the scrutiny that comes with it?

15 -- Iowa 26, Penn State 23
Probably the wrong week to institute the no-booing public address announcement at Beaver Stadium. Iowa wins at Unhappy Valley for the second time in five years.

14 -- Players of the week
A no-brainer: Penn State's Adam Taliaferro, San Jose State's Neil Parry and Washington's Curtis Williams.

Taliaferro, who continues his rehabilitation from paralysis suffered while making a tackle against Ohio State Sept. 23, made his first public appearance last week. According to his specialists, Taliaferro's overall condition "continues to improve every day."

So does the Adam Taliaferro Fund, which is at $94,000 and counting, thanks to the efforts of Penn State and Ohio State.

Neil Parry
Neil Parry, who had his ankle and foot amputated recently, provided the inspiration the San Jose State defense needed to shut down the Horned Frogs.
Meanwhile, the equally amazing Parry told teammates, supporters and media that he is going to play football again.

Parry, a sophomore walk-on, had his right foot and ankle amputated two weeks ago after suffering a leg injury during the Oct. 14 game against UTEP. The upbeat Parry attended Saturday's game against TCU, where his brother Josh, the WAC's leading tackler, led to San Jose State to the emotional upset against the previously unbeaten Horned Frogs.

Williams, who injured his spinal cord against Stanford Oct. 28 and is hospitalized at Stanford Medical Center, watched the emotional Huskies rally to knock off Arizona in overtime on a television they had mounted above his bed.

"If nothing else, we were happy to keep him awake for the entire ball game," said Neuheisel, who flew down to Stanford Thursday night to visit Williams. "And a game ball is on its way to Curtis."

Honorable mention: Northwestern's Sam Simmons. Two weeks, two consecutive last-minute, game-winning touchdown catches.

13 -- Second guessing
That's what Kentucky fans are doing these days, especially after the Wildcats' home loss to Mississippi State, dropping their record to 2-7 overall and 0-6 in the Southeastern Conference.

Coach Hal Mumme chose redshirt freshman Jared Lorenzen, all 270 pounds of him, over the more experienced Dusty Bonner (who took his 65.2 percent completion rate, 3,266 yards and 26 touchdowns to Valdosta State) and the results have been mixed. Lorenzen has 15 touchdowns, but a crippling 18 interceptions.

In this case, you give Mumme the benefit of the doubt. The guy knows quarterbacks. But seven losses (with a season-ending game at Tennessee) doesn't make it easier for Mumme.

12 -- Don Nehlen says goodbye
The legendary West Virginia coach, who just announced his plans to retire at season's end, needs one more victory for No. 200 in his 30-year career. He has three more chances: at Rutgers, East Carolina, at Pittsburgh.

If the Mountaineers have any sense of drama, they'll Nehlen his win a couple more for a bowl bid. Given Nehlen's 21 seasons at the school, it's the least they can do.

11 -- Innocent until proven guilty
The Image Police didn't like it, but Penn State's Joe Paterno got it right when he stood by quarterback Rashard Casey, despite a grand jury investigation into allegations of beating an off-duty police officer. Last week the charges were dropped, lifting the legal cloud over Casey and, indirectly, JoePa.

10 -- Quote of the week
"They just told me that nothing is impossible, and that this doesn't have to limit anything I do. Even if I can only hold the ball for the kicker, that's what I'll do."
-- San Jose State's Neil Parry on his football future.

Save a ticket for us.

9 -- Northwestern 54, Michigan 51
Best Arena Football League game we've ever seen.

8 -- Battle of beatens
You could fill an Echo with the number of fans who watched 0-8 Duke play at 0-7 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons won, 28-26.

7 -- Just wondering
Go figure. How can the school that brought Randy Walker and his point-a-nanosecond offense to Evanston also hire Bill Carmody and his Ivy League backdoor offense?

By the way, Northwestern's 54 points Saturday would have outscored last season's Wildcat hoops team 17 times.

6 -- Just wondering -- Part II
Gatorade and Nes-Quick on the Northwestern sideline tables. Ovaltine and Yoo-Hoo are going to be peeved..

Credit for this one goes to ABC sideline reporter Jack Arute, who found the chocolate milk under some towels.

5 -- Heisman Trophy race
Invite to Downtown Athletic Club: Oklahoma's Josh Heupel, Florida State's Chris Weinke, Purdue's Drew Brees, Northwestern's Damien Anderson.
Keep name on DAC's Palm Pilot: Auburn's Rudi Johnson, Nebraska's Eric Crouch, Michigan's Anthony Thomas, Indiana's Antwaan Randle El, Miami's Santana Moss, TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson.
Can tell the kids he was a fringe Heisman candidate: Wisconsin's Michael Bennett.
Thanks for stopping by the booth: Virginia Tech's Michael Vick (it's not fair, but it's hard to make a serious case for him at this point).

4 -- Congratulations
To independent Middle Tennessee State, the second-year Division I-A team that just won its fourth game of the season. Any program that plays road games at Illinois, Florida, Mississippi State, UAB and Maryland deserves a compliment every so often.

One of these days you'll know about MTSU coach Andy McCollum.

3 -- Whatever happened to. . .
Brigham Young.

No bowl game. No winning record. No proper farewell tour for LaVell Edwards.

2 -- The wrong list
Big-name teams already eliminated from bowl consideration: Alabama, BYU, Colorado, Kentucky, Penn State and Missouri.

One hack's weekly elite
Oklahoma (8-0) -- Now you know why OU gave coach Bob Stoops a $7-million extension.
Miami (7-1) -- Beat Virginia Tech, now have to deal with the Butch Davis-to-Alabama rumors.
Florida State (9-1) -- Guaranteed a BCS bowl game, but need Nov. 18 win against Florida for chance at national championship.
Florida (8-1) -- Beat South Carolina Saturday and the Gators are in the SEC Championship game.
Nebraska (8-1) -- Huskers still cling to possibility of BCS mini-miracle.
Washington (8-1) -- Took best shot from Arizona and survived.
Oregon State (8-1) -- Beavers' turn against Arizona this week.
Oregon (8-1) -- Two weeks, two consecutive OT wins.
Virginia Tech (8-1) -- Hokies never had a chance without healthy Vick.
Purdue (7-2) -- Beat 4-5 Michigan State and 3-6 Indiana and Boilermakers are in the Rose Bowl.
Waiting list: Notre Dame (6-2), Georgia Tech (6-2), Northwestern (7-2), Ohio State (7-2), Mississippi State (6-2).
Honorary Elite: Wake Forest (1-7).

Gene Wojciechowski's Movers and Shakers appears every Monday.










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 ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski discusses last Saturday's Nebraska-Oklahoma game.
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 ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski anlyzes the strength of the Big Ten conference.
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