The Orange Bowl, which has had its share of national championship games the past decade, may get squeezed in a major way this season.
That's because Oklahoma, ineligible to go to a bowl game because of being on probation, appears to be the class of the Big Eight.The Sooners have soared to No. 11 in the Associated Press poll, thanks to impressive victories over UCLA (34-14) and Pittsburgh (52-10). Nebraska is ranked higher but that's because it had a high preseason ranking. The `Huskers struggled against Baylor (13-0) before ripping I-AA school Northern Illinois, 60-14.
Oklahoma meets Nebraska in the regular-season finale for both schools - Nov. 23. The game's in Norman.
Since the Sooners can't go anywhere, the trip to the Orange Bowl could be decided on Nov. 3 when the `Huskers host Colorado. Should Colorado win, it's conceivable the Buffaloes could take a 7-3-1 record into the Orange Bowl. They've already lost once and tied once, could very well lose to Oklahoma, and have two tough nonconference games remaining - at Texas today and against Washington next week.
PAC-10 SHOWDOWN: Unbeaten USC takes on unbeaten Washington Saturday in Seattle in the Pac-10 opener for both teams. The home-field advantage shouldn't be enough to overcome the quarterback disadvantage for the Huskies. The pick here is QB Todd Marinovich and USC 27, QB Mark Brunell and Washington, 17.
RAISING CANE NO MAS: Miami Coach Dennis Erickson has had enough of his team's shenanigans. He said he plans to bench any player he catches celebrating to a degree he thinks is too excessive.
The Hurricanes received a lot of criticism for the way they conducted themselves in last Saturday's 52-24 victory over California. Wide receiver Randal Hill, for example, thrust his arms into the air after every catch and linebackers Mike Barrow and Jesse Armstead began dancing with one another as the Hurricanes pulled away.
The Associated Press reported that phone lines at Miami weekend radio call-in shows were jammed by irate fans and alumni who said the players embarrassed the university and the city with their antics.
University of Miami President Edward T. Foote and Athletic Director Sam Jankovich said they were embarrassed by it while watching the game with the president of the University of California.
LOCAL FORECASTS: Still trying to clear the crystal ball a little after predicting BYU would have no trouble with Washington State last week. Anyway . . .
BYU 45, San Diego State 27
Another shootout. The Cougs showed in the second half against Washington State that when they're mentally on they can match up with anyone. Their minds should be, and will need to be, on the right wave-length today against an explosive San Diego State crew.
Utah 27, Hawaii 17
What do the Utes fear worst, Hawaii, or another tongue-lashing from Coach Ron McBride? This is a statement game for the Utes. They either rebound after last week's sleep-walk against Fresno State or get trampled on by the Rainbow Warriors. This game could set the tone for the rest of the season. The prediction here is that quarterback Mike Richmond will be on and that Anthony Davis and his defensive mates will get revenge for Utah's 67-20 loss last year in Honolulu.
Idaho 38, Weber State 31
The edge goes to Idaho because it's on the Vandals' field. They'll welcome a Big Sky foe after getting hammered by Oregon, 55-23, last week.