THEY ALSO SERVE
Quick, how many service academies can you name? If you said three, you haven't been paying attention. While Army, Navy and Air Force play for the Commander in Chiefs Trophy, the Merchant Marine and Coast Guard academies have been vying since 1981 for the Secretary's Cup, which is not something office temps store pencils in. The cup is bestowed on the winner by the secretary of transportation—when he bothers to show up. He didn't on Saturday, when the Coast Guard Bears beat the Merchant Marine Mariners 35-7.
"We're never given much respect," says Bears fullback Scott Huerter, who rushed for 33 yards on Saturday. The Big Three deride the Coast Guardsmen as buoy tenders, shallow-water sailors, the knee-deep Navy. "Of course, when it comes to respect," says Huerter, "Merchant Marine gets even less than us." Perhaps that's because graduates of the Merchant Marine Academy can't get licensed as ship's officers without Coast Guard approval.
In recent seasons, the Mariners have taken some license with the Bears on the gridiron. They came into Saturday's game with a six-year winning streak against their Division III rivals. "A lot of hatred has built up between the two schools," says Merchant Marine defensive tackle Marc Bromante. "Personally, I'd like to kill them."
That sounded ominous, considering that in 1966, Mariner fans started a near riot by tearing the furry head off the Coast Guard's bear-suited mascot. Order wasn't restored until the Merchant Marine marching band struck up The Star-Spangled Banner. An eight-year cooling-off period ensued before the series resumed amid a tense calm. Now that most of the action is back on the field, all that's needed is for the secretary to show up.
THE HURTING TEN
College football administrators may soon join in a new craze: scheduling opponents from the Big Ten. With the season just two weeks old, an alarming number of cream puffs have squashed teams from that heretofore powerhouse conference. The Big Ten has a collective 3-9 record and is 0-4 against its Rose Bowl rival, the Pac-10. Still, no one was prepared for Michigan State's 17-13 loss Saturday to Rutgers, a school that lists Mr. Magoo as a letterman in its media guides. The Scarlet Knights hadn't faced a Big Ten opponent since 1919, when they defeated Northwestern 28-0.
Over the past few years the Big Ten has been enjoying a refreshing level of parity within its ranks, but against nonconference opponents the league's record has been growing steadily weaker; it was 24-6 in 1985, 20-13 in '86, and 16-12-3 last season. And while Michigan State did defeat USC in the Rose Bowl last January, restoring some measure of pride to the conference, Minnesota tailback Darrell Thompson could be the only Big Ten player with even a ghost of a chance of finishing among the top five in this fall's Heisman balloting.
THE BIG ONE?
Ohio State, under new coach John Cooper, wasn't expected to do much better than break even in his first season. But while the rest of the conference sputtered. Cooper's Buckeyes handed Syracuse its first loss in 22 months, 26-9. Cooper may be personally more flamboyant than his predecessors, Woody Hayes and Earle Bruce—he whirled a small scarlet towel over his head as he triumphantly rode his players' shoulders after the game—but his offense is cut from the same cloth. Ohio State ran the ball 75% of the time in piling up 306 total yards, and it passed on only four of 28 first downs.
In his nine years at Ohio State, Bruce called all the plays, but Cooper called none in his debut. Instead, he let offensive coordinator Jim Colletto run the attack from the press box. "T tried to stay out of it and not foul it up," said Cooper. Greg Frey, the Buckeyes' sophomore quarterback, completed 12 of 17 passes for 141 yards and one touch-down, and he did not throw an interception.
Last year, Washington's offensive line averaged 281 pounds from tackle to tackle. But the Huskies also finished a disappointing 7-4-1, largely because the Washington blockers were only pulling their weight on the junk-food line. "These guys had a lot of beer and pizza at midnight," says offensive guard Brett Wiese, who weighs 284 but has just 10.8% body fat. "A lot of guys couldn't hang on in the fourth quarter."
Enter the Coach Don James Diet Plan. Since February, offensive linemen have been required to file daily meal plans and weigh in regularly. Those who forget have to ride a stationary bike for 30 minutes at 5:30 a.m. The regimen has worked. The offensive line now averages 274 pounds, and that mass has more muscle. "We're looking good," says center Bern Brostek, who dropped from 290 to 265 and reduced his body fat from 18.6% to 14.4%. "We're going to meet some girls."
And maybe win more games. In Saturday's 20-6 defeat of Purdue, Washington scored a touchdown and a field goal in the fourth quarter with drives of 54 and 35 yards. Fullback Aaron Jenkins, who rushed for 162 yards on 24 carries, gave the credit to the offensive line. "They started talking and getting everybody ready to go," he said. At the very least, they weren't out of breath.
After only 250 people attended Kansas's spring practice game, the Jayhawk athletic department was understandably worried that Memorial Stadium might become the Midwest's largest echo chamber this season. So for Kansas's home opener against Baylor last Saturday, some 15,000 tickets that normally go for $13 apiece were bought at a discount by a food distributor and given away free with the purchase of grocery items from local stores. The handout helped build a crowd of 43,200—the Jayhawks averaged only 24,533 for last season's six home dates—but Kansas blew a late 14-6 lead and lost 27-14.... Two views of the night: "I hate night games," said Iowa State coach Jim Walden before his Cyclones beat Tulane 30-13 in a game that began at 6:10 p.m., "because I hate being nervous. Playing at night gives me five more hours of going to the bathroom and puking." However, Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz was pleased to be playing his opener against Michigan at 9 p.m. "It gives us more time to mature," he said. His older and wiser Irish beat the Wolverines 19-17 in the season's first big thriller.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: In his first start for Utah, sophomore quarterback Scott Mitchell completed 26 of 44 passes for a school-record 511 yards as the Utes defeated Idaho State 41-16. Carl Harry caught all three of Mitchell's TD passes, for 48, 72 and 70 yards.
DEFENSE: Baylor linebacker Gary Joe Kinne, a junior, blocked a Kansas field goal (the ball was then run in for a TD by Bears safety Robert Blackmon), intercepted a pass to set up Baylor's final TD and had five tackles and a sack in a 27-14 win.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Reggie Ho, a junior, was 4 for 4 in his first field goal attempts for Notre Dame as the Irish beat Michigan 19-17. Ho, a 5'5", 135-pound walk-on from Kaneohe, Hawaii, booted the game-winner from 26 yards with 73 seconds left to play.
FLORIDA ST. (1-1)
NOTRE DAME (1-0)
PENN ST. (1-0)
MICHIGAN (0-1 )
OKLAHOMA ST. (1-0)
S. CAROLINA (2-0)
OHIO ST. (1-0)
W. VIRGINIA (2-0)