Injuries are tormenting Georgia. First, tailback Tim Worley went down with a season-ending knee injury. Then fullback Keith Henderson sustained a less severe knee injury. Now UGA IV, Georgia's white English bulldog mascot, has suffered a torn knee ligament in his left hind leg. UGA underwent surgery last week, and the leg was put in a cast. He will miss at least four games, but what's worse, because the accident happened so deep into the season, the NCAA says it will not allow UGA to be redshirted.
Sadly, like so much in college sport these days, the incident is steeped in suspicion. Seems that UGA was hurt just before the Vanderbilt game, when he jumped off the bed in his hotel room. Speculation was rampant in The Atlanta Journal and Constitution sports department about what UGA IV was doing in a hotel bed.
UGA, who is 49-13-4 in six seasons, is being spelled by his brother, Otto, 8. Like all Georgia fans. Sonny Seiler, a Savannah lawyer who owns the dogs, was concerned about Otto's lack of game experience. But, said Seiler last week, "Otto is excited that he's finally getting his chance. He's at home now studying the playbook."
Coach Vince Dooley knows Otto personally and was sure he would make an able replacement. Said Dooley, "It's great to know we have reserve strength with our dogs, something we don't have as much of with our team."
Otto lived up to expectations on Saturday at Kentucky, where Georgia won 31-9. When Dooley learned that Otto hadn't been awarded the game ball, he promised to put the matter to a team vote.
DUM QUOTE OF THE WEAK
Auburn quarterback coach Pat Sullivan on Tiger QB Jeff Burger: "He has taken the role of general of the ship."
It's comforting to know that as things change in college football—remember when an end wasn't tight, split, wide or flanked?—one thing remains constant: the gamblers' favorite teams. Scott Schettler, who runs the sports betting operation at the Stardust in Las Vegas, says their favorites will always and forever be:
1. Notre Dame. Even when the Irish are bad, they are the one team that takes the home-field advantage from any opponent. "Gamblers," says Schettler, "would take Notre Dame against an NFL team."
2. Oklahoma. The Sooners seldom get beaten badly.
3. Nebraska. So steady, in other words, so soothing to big money.
4. Penn State. The good guys, brainy and solid.
5. Alabama. It's the Crimson Tide's history, i.e. the Bear.
Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who comes from Long Island, says the only cold-weather pro teams he wants to play for are the Giants or the Jets....
Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer says the Cotton Bowl doesn't interest him because "Dallas isn't really a trip for our players since it's so close."
...The word on Rumor Street is that Purdue quarterback Jeff George is thinking of transferring....
Clearly on the endangered species list is Mizzou's Woody Widenhofer, who is 3-15. Including his days as coach of the USFL Oklahoma Outlaws, he's 9-27 as a head coach....
How much does Nebraska miss I-back Doug DuBose, who was injured during a preseason practice? Last fall with DuBose, the Huskers' bread-and-butter I-back pitch plays averaged 8.9 yards per pop. Through six games this year, they were averaging just 3.1....
Last month Texas players refused to talk to local reporters, prompting Rice publicist Bill Cousins to say, "We've got a similar situation. Texas can't get its players to talk to the hometown media, and I can't get the hometown media to talk to my players."
...Speaking of Rice, the Owls' new coach, Jerry Berndt. who came from Penn, has noticed one surprising difference between the Ivy League and the SWC. "Coaching, overall, is a little better in the [Southwest] conference because we have spring practice," he says. "But I was surprised that conference schools work independently. It's very cutthroat. I expected a group of men willing to work together. The Ivy coaches were willing to do that. There's not much thought given to the whole conference [in the SWC]."
IS THIS TEST TOO TOUGH?
A few enlightened people believe prospective college football players should meet the same admission requirements that regular students meet. To that end, a friend has sent us what he swears is a confidential entrance exam developed by a major southern state university that assures future Saturday heroes will have brains as well as brawn. A few sample questions follow. Answers appear on page 222.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: In Northern Arizona's 24-0 defeat of Idaho, Goran Lingmerth scored all the Lumberjacks' points on an NCAA-record 8 field goals, ranging from 46 yards to 18.
DEFENSE: Jim King, a senior cornerback at Colorado State, intercepted four passes, including one in the final minute of play, to lead the Rams to a 20-15 victory over Wyoming.
SI TOP 20
Back when his team was 0-4, Colorado coach Bill McCartney was moaning that he would have to die to get better. Hallelujah! Instead he beat Missouri and Iowa State and then miraculously upset Nebraska 20-10 and got all better without signing off'. Bumped the Huskers down live spots, too.
1. MIAMI (7-0)
2. PENN STATE (7-0)
3. MICHIGAN (7-0)
4. OKLAHOMA (6-1)
5. TEXAS A&M (6-1)
6. AUBURN (7-0)
7. ARIZONA STATE (6-0-1)
8. ALABAMA (7-1)
9. NEBRASKA (6-1)
10. IOWA (6-1)
11. WASHINGTON (6-1)
12. ARKANSAS (6-1)
13. ARIZONA (6-1)
14. LSU (5-1)
15. UCLA (5-2)
16. N.C. STATE (5-1-1)
17. BAYLOR (5-3)
18. OHIO STATE (6-2)
19. USC (5-2)
20. CLEMSON (5-2)
*Ranking last week