The current Wisdom has it that, by winning their orange Bowl rematch with Notre Dame, Bill McCartney's Colorado Buffaloes will lock up the national championship‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö√Üor, at least, what passes for the championship in this weird season. But that's not going to happen. Let's face it, a Colorado victory over the Irish would be too neat an ending for such a messy season, and the Fates can't possibly be on the Buffaloes' side after their shabby fifth-down win over Missouri. Besides, if those rumors about Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz going to the pros are true, surely the Irish would want to win one for The Lipper. Make it Notre Dame 28, Colorado 21.
However, Irish eyes won't be smiling when the final polls are announced. Seriously now, can anybody honestly say that a team that has had two losses at home‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö√Üone of them to 5-6 Stanford‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö√Üshould be declared national champ? Naaaah. Even Holtz seems to recognize that. "If we beat Colorado, we have a chance," he says. "I don't know how good a chance, but a chance. Nixon has a chance to be president, too."
All right, so Holtz routinely bad-mouths his team. Still, the only reason he has mentioned the possibility that the Irish could end up on top is to counter all the campaigning that Sam Jankovich has been doing down in Miami. Jankovich, the Hurricanes' athletic director (who last Thursday was named CEO of the New England Patriots), figures‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö√Üand I agree‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö√Üthat Miami will beat Texas in the best Cotton Bowl matchup in years. The Longhorns deserve a lot of credit for their 10-1 season and a lot of gratitude for shutting up Houston coach John Jenkins‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö√Üis his hair really that color, or is it my TV set?‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö√Übut they're not quite ready to beat a team as tough as the Hurricanes. So make it Miami 35, Texas 17.
That would leave both Notre Dame and Miami at 10-2. But don't forget that the Irish beat the Hurricanes head-to-head or that Miami had an opening-game loss to a BYU team that celebrated Cougar quarterback Ty Detmer's winning of the Heisman Trophy by losing 59-28 to Hawaii. You know what? Jankovich and Holtz can hold forth all they want, because Georgia Tech is going to be No. 1.
December 31, 1990
Before we get to Tech's game against Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl, let's have a moment of silence in honor of the Sugar Bowl. Did those clowns in New Orleans get what they deserved or what? Sugar Bowl officials were sooooo proud of themselves for landing Virginia in early November, when the Cavaliers were 8-1. The trouble was, Virginia went south a few weeks early, losing its final two games, to Maryland and Virginia Tech, and the Sugar came up sweet only for Tennessee, which is now looking at, oh, a 35-10 win. One more thing: Washington will whip Iowa 28-14 in the Rose Bowl, unless Iowa coach Hayden Fry devises an incredible game plan‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö√Ülike telling his players that, if they win, instead of doing the hokey-pokey, they'll all get parts in Madonna's next video.
Back to Georgia Tech. Sure, the Yellow Jackets were tied by North Carolina, but so what? The Tar Heels were at least as good as about nine teams on Nebraska's joke of a schedule. At 11-0-1, Georgia Tech will be the only remaining unbeaten team at the Division I level, and that's good enough to win a national championship. Besides, the polls owe the Yellow Jackets a title. Back in 1952, when Tech went 12-0 with a team that had six All-Americas, both the AP and the UPI polls were so loaded with voters from the East and the Midwest that they gave the title to a 9-0 Michigan State team.
So 1990 will be remembered as the year in which Atlanta got both the '96 Summer Olympics and produced the best college football team in the nation. Make it Georgia Tech 24, Nebraska 14, and bring a fitting end to a season that has been, well, a rambling wreck.