A Week ago, Tuesday's Notes talked about the mythical national football championship tournament being conducted by a Nashville computer for The National sports daily. First, the computer identified the top 16 teams in the country. Second, it bracketed them in a single-elimination tournament. Third, the games are being played.BYU was seeded ninth and opened against No. 8 Washington. The computer Cougars got thrashed by the computer Huskies, 31-7.
The National ran a full game story and box score of the make-believe game. It was not a pretty outing for BYU. Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Ty Detmer threw for 280 yards, his lowest output of the season, and completed just 18-of-36 passes.
The newspaper also published make-believe quotes. "It's like I fell off one of the Wasatch Mountains or something," Detmer is quoted as saying. "Coach is probably thinking about sending me into the darn missionary program."
The quotes were even more un-Detmer-like than his statistics.
The National's circulation penetration hasn't reached Provo yet. It's probably a good thing.ADD NATIONAL: The mythical championship tournament had completed five first-round games as of Monday. Besides the Washington 31, BYU 7 score, Penn State beat Clemson 9-3, Miami edged Louisville 22-19, Colorado handled Oklahoma easily 38-17 and Georgia Tech stayed undefeated with a 24-14 win over Tennessee.
Notre Dame-Florida, Florida State-Houston and Texas-Michigan were still to play.
The championship game will be played on Sun., Dec. 30. In true journalistic style, just one game is being played a day, and in plenty of time to meet deadlines.
The computer tournament is a protest of sorts to the college football establishment's refusal to bow to public sentiment that favors a for-real national championship tournament, and the elimination of the wire service polls as the vehicle that decides who's No. 1.
Writes Scott Ostler of The National, "Polls are useful tools of society, in the right hands - like Kasey Kasem's and Mr. Blackwell's. But for deciding a football champion, hey, the polls are as viable as mail-order brides."RUNNING, SORT OF: The University of Utah is running more this year and it's by design.
"The teams I've always had have been more power teams because that's what our personnel has been," explains Ute Coach Rick Majerus. "However, this year we are doing some things that are foreign to me as a coach. We are going to fastbreak more than any team I've ever had. Our talent, not only this year but certainly next year, warrants that . . . we'll play over the entire 94 feet. We want to take advantage of our quickness."
But lest anyone thinks Majerus, who is coming off a year's layoff because of heart surgery last winter, is setting up Loyola Marymount East, or the Denver Nuggets West, the coach is quick to note that he's not even thinking about becoming a Paul Westhead disciple. "I'll never be a Paul Westhead type coach and run like he does," says the coach, "because that would definitely bring on the big one."SEEING THE AUDIENCE: In the latest issue of Sport Magazine, John Madden, who has a fear of flying, talks about his habit of driving across the country for his broadcasting assignments.
"I love it," he says. "You get to see the country. It's a little like Charles Kuralt, only more natural. I have more freedom than he does. I can decide to stop in a small town because I want to. I don't have to worry if there's a story there."
Madden cruises in his own custom Greyhound, a 40-foot, $500,000 home on wheels that has a queen-sized bed, a kitchen, a video and stereo system, and five pull-out beds.
He says not flying helps him get close to his audience. "I just came from California to New York," he says. "You're in Youngstown, Ohio. You're in Nevada. You're in Wyoming. You kind of get to know the people that you're talking to, if that makes any sense. If you fly from Oakland to New York, you don't get that."QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Former Denver Nuggets Coach Doug Moe, on his lack of aggravation over being fired: "It gives me plenty of time to do what I do better than anything in the world: absolutely nothing."