The last thing beleaguered Maryland needs is another black eye, but that's just what it got on Saturday, after coach Bobby Ross raced across the field, moments after the Terps lost 32-30 to North Carolina, in order to grab the referee from behind. A security officer quickly pulled Ross away. Ross had been displeased with the officiating, and perhaps with justification. But that is no excuse for his behavior. What did Ross intend to do with the ref once he got his hands on him? Bang his head against the concrete? Slap him around? Or just talk trash?
Indeed, what signals does Ross's behavior send to the Maryland players? And what about young athletes who saw Ross on TV? There is no denying the ugly message Ross sent: If you get mad, proper redress is to mug the official.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
How long do we go on acting as if there's nothing wrong with the Penn State uniforms? Answer: No longer. Penn Staters call them uniforms, but they're really generic wrappers—mostly washed-out white with a few touches (a very few touches) of washed-out dark blue on the road, and the reverse at home. And they're bottomed off with black shoes. No matter how great a player is, you put him inside this costume and he looks ordinary.
Without resorting to hyperbole, which we never would, the horrible truth is that Penn State tried to give them to Goodwill but was turned down; the city trash collectors wouldn't even consider junking up their trucks with these abominations. So the Nittany Lions just go on wearing them in public. At the end of last season, the Orange Bowl asked the Lions to please, please wear orange patches on their jerseys in their game against Oklahoma. No, said GQ-conscious Penn State.
One should never criticize without a solution, and we have one. At a tradition-bound place like Penn State, why not return to tradition? That would mean returning to the original uniforms of pink and black. We're not pulling your leg; the Lions wore pink and black in 1887, the first year they fielded a team. They even had a wonderfully appropriate cheer: Yah! Yah! Yah! Yah! Yah! Wish, Wack—Pink, Black!
Coach Joe Paterno loves tradition, so he would have no trouble with this idea. May we be so bold as to suggest a few fashion touches befitting one of the land's first-rate teams? Nothing outlandish, just some subtle bells and whistles. Artist Patrick McDonnell illustrates a before and after of what we have in mind. Now, please, which outfit is snazzier?
DUM QUOTE OF THE WEAK
Ohio State coach Earle Bruce becomes the first Dum Quotee to make a return appearance, thanks to a boffo doubleheader performance. First, in trying to enlighten a somewhat slow reporter, he said, "You can only play one quarterback at a time." Oh, now we've got it. Then he went on to point out, "We're 2-0 at night, and that's not bad." Except, of course, if you count the Buckeyes' 16-10 loss to Alabama at night, which would, most experts agree, make their record 1-1.
Ron Moten, a starting outside linebacker at Florida, was charged Oct. 24 with assault, battery and burglary involving a Gainesville woman he had been dating. Later he allegedly telephoned her four times, threatening to kill her if she called the police; a policeman says he was listening in on an extension phone. At week's end, Moten had not entered a plea. Coach Galen Hall suspended Moten for the season, but the Gator defense dedicated Saturday's game against Auburn to Moten. Said safety Adrian White, "He wasn't a bad guy. This just makes him look bad."
At Nebraska, where the Huskers are still smarting over their stunning loss to Colorado a fortnight ago, Tom Osborne grumbled about those who have long contended he runs too much: "I've heard for years about how we need a more balanced offense. Against Colorado, we had perfect balance—123 yards rushing and 123 passing. So much for that theory."
...Along I-70, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State are being called the "Bermuda Triangle" of college football for lost fans, lost coaches, lost attendance....
At 2-6 Purdue, coach Leon Burtnett complains about fans booing his players. In fact, most are booing Burtnett, who after 4½ years in West Lafayette has had just one winning season and who last week vowed to "never resign from Purdue University." If the school wants to buy out the remaining four years of his five-year contract, he says it will have to pay him "in the ballpark" of $450,000....
Ursinus coach Sterling Brown, after scouting Villanova punter George Winslow: "The kid had one kick that hung up there for 6.2 seconds. I mean, it could have changed color or got ice on it by the time it came down."
...Illinois coach Mike White is down in the dumps, and says, "I'm disappointed because I don't see the burning desire to win. We've lost the mental toughness, confidence and belief we can win."
...When asked if he was amazed to be the nation's percentage leader in field goal accuracy (94.4%), Arizona's Gary Coston said, "I grew up in Southern California. Not too many things amaze me anymore."
EXPLOSION SCHEDULED IN ALABAMA
A brouhaha bigger than any Alabama-Auburn showdown is brewing over where that game will be played in the future. For the last 38 years, the two teams have met in Birmingham at Legion field, one of Alabama's two home sites. (The other is in Tuscaloosa.) This strikes Auburn, which trails 19-30-1 in the series, as unfair.
For eons, Auburn understandably has wanted to have every other game at the War Eagles' Jordan Hare Stadium. SI has learned that while Auburn has a contract saying the Birmingham-only deal runs through 1987, 'Bama is quietly insisting that the late Bear Bryant "penciled in" an agreement that the game would be played in Birmingham through 1991. Auburn believes this is a perfect example of why pencils have erasers.
Two things are certain: 1) Somewhere the Bear is chortling over having caused the War Eagles as much trouble now as he did when he was alive, and 2) although there is only smoke now, a fire storm seems apt to erupt soon.
NO CLASS ACT OF THE WEEK
With five seconds remaining and Iowa State leading Missouri 34-14, Cyclone coach Jim Criner called timeout to allow his team to kick a 25-yard field goal. After the 37-14 win, Criner defended his excess by saying that Mizzou coach Woody Widenhofer "runs off at the mouth a little too much." Maybe, but Criner might have remembered how he felt when Iowa poured it on his team 43-7 earlier this year.
HEISMAN VS. EDUCATION
It's sad, even depressing to note that of the last 10 Heisman Trophy winners, only four have their degrees. If we are going to perpetuate the myth of the scholar-athlete, perhaps the time has come to require the Heisman winner-elect's school to certify that he is making normal progress toward a degree and that, in the opinion of the school, he will receive it. Make the president of the institution responsible for this determination. If the player is found to be academically deficient, then we should go down the list until we find a genuine student. If we don't stop until we get to the player who finished 23rd in the voting, so be it.
In the meantime, congratulations to the recent Heisman winners who graduated: Boston College's Doug Flutie, Georgia's Herschel Walker, Oklahoma's Billy Sims and Texas's Earl Campbell. And shame on you guys who chipped away a little more at college football's foundation by your disdain for the classroom: Auburn's Bo Jackson, Nebraska's Mike Rozier, Southern Cal's Marcus Allen and Charlie White, South Carolina's George Rogers and Pitt's Tony Dorsett. As for this season's odds-on Heisman favorite, Vinny Testaverde, well, academics definitely have never been his first love.
Did anyone outside Oklahoma and Kansas watch ABC's telecast of the Oklahoma-Kansas game on Saturday? Our random phone survey of 50 million homes didn't turn up a viewer, but in fairness, a few people weren't home, and several lines were out of order. Anyway, if somebody somewhere did see the game, please give us a call and tell us whether Oklahoma won 100-0 or 200-0.
Penn has won or shared the last four Ivy League titles, so when coach Jerry Berndt left for Rice before this season, many Quaker followers were concerned. But linebacker Bruce McConnell is surely right when he says, "Nothing against Jerry Berndt, but sometimes a coach gets too much credit for what a team accomplishes. It's the players who make the program." Amen and hallelujah. After beating Princeton 23-10 Saturday, Penn was 7-0 and on its way to another Ivy crown.
SEC AND SOFTIES
Though Harvey Schiller just became commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, he has already demonstrated that he is possessed of the proper instincts. For openers, he took one look at the nonconference opponents of most of the league members and groaned. The only one with a nervy schedule is Alabama, which plays Ohio State, Notre Dame and Penn State this year. Says commissioner Schiller, "There's no reason for us to be playing the West Carolinas and Memphis States of the country."
Boy, Harvey, you got that right. Presumably Schiller also means to put the nix to UT-Chattanooga, East Carolina, Kent State, Georgia Southern, Texas-El Paso, New Mexico, Tulane, Arkansas State, Southwestern Louisiana and Richmond—all of which appear on SEC member schedules this fall. Instead, Schiller wants SEC teams to reach north to the likes of Notre Dame and Penn State and west to the likes of Washington and UCLA. Hey, Harvey, you're clearly a fan's kind of commissioner, which makes you our kind of commissioner.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: William & Mary's Ken Lambiotte completed 25 of 37 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for two more touchdowns in a 41-37 upset of Virginia.
DEFENSE: Morgan State safety Vernon Beard picked off three passes, returning one for a touchdown, as the Bears beat District of Columbia 21-16 to snap a 29-game losing streak.
SI TOP 20
Darn it, some of you guys sure do make it tough on us to be nice to you. Like you, Arizona. You tricked us into falling in love with you, then you come a cropper, losing 20-13 to USC, a team that doesn't make our heart do nip-ups, either. And Iowa—not only did you lose 31-10 to so-so Ohio State, but you also stunk doing it. Nuts to LSU and Auburn, too.
1. MIAMI (8-0)
2. PENN STATE (8-0)
3. MICHIGAN (8-0)
4. OKLAHOMA (7-1)
5. TEXAS A & M (7-1)
6. ARIZONA STATE (7-0-1)
7. ALABAMA (8-1)
8. NEBRASKA (7-1)
9. ARKANSAS (7-1)
10. UCLA (6-2)
11. N.C. STATE (6-1-1)
12. AUBURN (7-1)
13. OHIO STATE (7-2)
14. USC (6-2)
15. BAYLOR (5-3)
16. IOWA (6-2)
17. WASHINGTON (6-2)
18. ARIZONA (6-2)
19. CLEMSON (6-2)
20. MISSISSIPPI (6-2-1)
*Ranking last week