St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on January 3, 1992 · Page 25
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 25

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Friday, January 3, 1992
Page 25
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L5 JAN 3 D SECTION FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 1992 ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH SPOMTS lit f BERNIE MIKLASZ COMMENTARY P Tnorfi il loinoc? No Tap Dancing: 'Canes Deserve nappy i o oe To Wear Top Hat Coaches' No. 1 TOfeiriiif Estate efogift We are privileged to live in a de mocracy. We have the freedom to ex press an opinion, the right to vote. We can engage in open debate over the crucial issues that affect our American way of life. The final college football polls, for instance. This season's bowl games are histo ry. The midnight caucuses have been completed. The New Year's election is official. And inconclusive. Miami is No. 1, according to the 60 sportswriters and sportcasters solicit ed by The Associated Press. Washing ton is No. l, according to the college coaches polled by USA Today-CNN. The overall winner? Ambiguity. For the second time in the past two seasons, the national champions will share the tynor. Last season, Colorado and Georgia Tech split the trophy. ,' Four national champions in two sea' ' sons? Ties are less plentiful In the -f National Hockey League. Using this model, the 1991 World Series should have been called a draw at the end of the ninth inning of Game 7, with Minnesota and Atlanta declared co-champs. In these modern times it is possible to build a smart bomb that can land in the chimney of a terrorist dictator it is truly astounding that college football can't determine a true champion. A playoff isn't the solution. It would take too much time and only create additional debates. (How many teams get in the playoff? Who decides?) One extra game a college cham pionship to be played the week before the super Bowl would work. But only in seasons like these last two. What about the years that fail to deliver a Washington and a Miami two clear contenders for the title? There's another way: Do away with conference affiliations and set up the bowl games to produce the most meaningful matchups. Eight bowl games were played Wednesday. Most were dull, dreadful or irrelevant. If you're going to have an orgy of football and not find a way to pit Miami or Washington in one of the bowls, what's the point? Greed and power. Those provincial minds who run the bowl games don't want to relinquish control. Some of the conferences don't want to sacrifice that big, automatic pay day by being relinquished to a lesser bowl. I support Miami's claim to No. 1, for two basic reasons. First, Miami faced a tougher schedule than Washington. Miami beat six bowl teams; the 12 Hurricane opponents had a winning percentage of .529. Washington's 12 opponents had a .518 winning percentage. This is statistical fodder. We can crunch numbers and analyze this thing to death. Miami beat Nebraska by 22. Washington beat Nebraska by 15. But Miami won at home, and Washington played at Nebraska. But Washington allowed Nebraska to score 21 points and Miami shut out Nebraska. Blab, blab. An endless stream of point, counter-point More troubling is how Miami lost ground in the polls without losing a game. Miami assumed the No. 1 spot in the AP and the coaches' poll by beating top-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee on Nov. 16. Miami then won three consecutive games but lost polling points at each interval. Why the penalty? Coming into the Orange Bowl, Miami was tied with Washington in the USA Today-CNN poll. After the Orange Bowl, the coaches broke the tie and gave Washington the edge. The Hurricanes, then, were downgraded after handing Nebraska its first shutout defeat In 220 games. Is that fair? How does a team go -from being a unanimous choice for No. 1 to being handed a split for No. 1 without losing? No. 1 wins; No. 1 stays on top. No asterisks, no sharing, no split votes. Indeed, Washington was impressive in taming Desmond Howard and Michigan in the Rose Bowl. But we seem to have overlooked a key historical trend: the Pac-10 representative has won 19 of the last 23 Rose Bowls. Michigan has been a traditional New Year's Day parade float, waiting to be shoved up and down the field. The Wolverines had lost eight of their last 10 RosBowls. (Bo Schembechler s the Grandaddy of them all.) And we should be shocked that Washington roughed up Michigan again? Why was this an urgent news flash? Am I missing something here? Obviously, Miami was punished for not running up the score on Nebraska and earlier foes. This is Ironic, because some voters hate Miami for showboating and for burying previous opponents. So which poll should we believe? The coaches can't be trusted. They use the secret ballot to vote for buddies and lash out at enemies. In this case, too many of them probably wanted to do something nice for classy Washington coach Don James and were pleased to give him a No. 1 vote at the expense of those Miami renegades. One coaching clown even voted Miami third in the final poll. Enough said about their objectivity. The sports media got this one right Iiaml is No. 1. ' By Vahe Gregorian Of the Post-Dispatch Staff PASADENA, Cal. A reporter once tele phoned Don James at home, inadvertently interrupting dinner. James, the University of Washington football coach, excused himself and said he would call back in seven minutes. Precisely seven minutes later, the reporter's phone rang. Such meticulous punctuality is a James trade mark. Those accustomed to manipulating a clock, though, are vulnerable when they can't control it So it was that James awoke virtually writhing at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. No news is bad news. Relief came in the form of a phone call mo ments later, though. Hours later, the brief emptiness fresh but past the stoic James publicly shed tears of joy over being named national champion in one major poll. "For these guys not to get a part of it would have been a tragedy," said James, his voice cracking, tears tumbling down his cheeks. Shortly after midnight hours after his second- ranked Huskies had utterly dominated Michigan 34-14, he had learned that Washington was a mere runner-up to Miami James' alma mater - In The Associated Press media poll. A runner-up by four points, the most scant margin in the poll's history. The Hurricanes had defeated Nebraska 22-0, a game that Captured James' attention for perhaps 10 plays, he said. With the deflating news of being an AP brides maid, bis thoughts turned to the coaches' poll, sponsored by USA Today and CNN and to be announced in the morning. He awoke from a restless sleep at 9:30 Eastern The 1 991 USA TODAY-CNN final football coaches' poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, season records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, Record Pts Pv 1. Washington (3312) 12-0-0 1,449Vi t1 2. Miami (25V2) . 12-0-0 1,440 t1 3. PennSt. 11-2-0 1,321 6 4. Florida St. 11-2-0 1,292 7 5. Alabama 11-1-0 1,191 8 6. Michigan 10-2-0 1,071 3 7. California 10-2-0 1,027 15 8. Florida 10-2-0 1,020 4 9. East Carolina 11-1-0 1,003 14 10. Iowa 10-1-1 944 5 11. Syracuse 10-2-0 891 16 12tNotreDame 10-3-0 815 18 13. Texas A&M 10-2-0 799 9 14. Oklahoma 9-3-0 694 20 15. Tennessee 9-3-0 617 11 16. Nebraska 9-2-1 608 10 17. Clemson 9-2-1 450 12 18. UCLA 9-3-0 443 22 19. Georgia 9-3-0 407 25 20. Colorado 8-3-1 366 13 21. Tulsa 10-2-0 233 22. Stanford 8-4-0 216 17 23. Brigham Young 8-3-2 207 24 24. AirForce 10-3-0 165 25. N. Carolina St. 9-3-0 142 21 Others receiving votes: Indiana 83, Virginia 76, Ohio St. 61, Georgia Tech 47, Bowling Green 45, Illinois 17, Fresto St. 15, Mississippi St. 8, Baylor 5, New Mexico 2, San Diego St. 2, Arkansas 1, Louisiana Tech t. The Top Twenty Five teams in the final 1991 Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, season records and total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous Record Pts Pvs 1. Miami (32) 12-0-0 1,472 1 2. Washington (28) 12-0-0 1,468 2 3. PennSt. 11-2-0 1,342 6 4. Florida St. 11-2-0 1,310 5 5. Alatfema 11-1-0 1,216 8 6. Michigan 10-2-0 1,151 4 7. Florida 10-2-0 1,119 3 8. California 10-2-0 1,039 14 9. East Carolina 11-1-0 1,024 12 10. Iowa 10-1-1 883 7 11. Syracuse 10-2-0 876 16 12. Texas A&M 10-2-0 870 9 13. Notre Dame 10-3-0 848 18 14. Tennessee 9-3-0 716 10 15. Nebraska 9-2-1 666 11 16. Oklahoma 9-3-0 629 20 17. Georgia 9-3-0 428 24 18. Clemson 9-2-1 410 13 19. UCLA 9-3-0 406 22 20. Colorado 8-3-1 383 15 21. Tulsa 10-2-0 348 23 22. Stanford 8-4-0 262 17 23. Brigham Young 8-3-2 182 24. N. Carolina St. 9-3-0 109 21 25. Air Force 10-3-0 87 Other receiving votes: Georgia Tech 70, Virginia 63, Indiana 48, Ohio St. 31 , Bowling Green 27, Baylor 5, San Diego St. 5, Arkansas 4, Kansas St. 3. time. He and his wife of 39 years, Carol, immediately sensed the worst: Nobody's called. Nobody wants to break the bad news. The next 11 minutes precisely 11 minutes, of course were excruciating. His wife initially compared the emotion with a death in the family but amended herself. "It was lower than the gutter," she said, crying with less restraint than her husband. "It was like a hole out of your stomach." The gnashing of teeth was interrupted by the phone. "Don, should I get it?" "Might as well." A shriek of joy followed. "Talk about the outhouse to the penthouse we made that run," said James, who by now had collected himself after his lapse. Once before, James had been closerthanthis to See JAMES, Page 4 Uik JX i' A ' f Kevin ManningPost-Dispatch The Blues' Brett Hull (left) having words with goalie Darcy Wakaluk as the North Stars' Gaetan Duchesne (10) and referee Terry Gregson intervene during Thursday night's game. Home Is 7th Heaven For Blues Emerson Scores 2; North Stars Fall 6-1 By Jeff Gordon Of the Post-Dispatch Staff Say what you want about the Blues, but they take care of their fans at The Arena. With their second-largest crowd of the season on hand 18,392 they beat the Minnesota North Stars 6-1 on Thursday night for their seventh home win in a row. "This is the biggest game of the year so far for us," Blues coach Brian Sutter said. "The boys were up for it." The Blues are 14-3-2 in their building, giving them the fewest home losses and the best home winning percentage in the league. "I can't explain if said Brett Hull, who scored his 38th goal and added an assist to extend his point-scoring streak to 16 games. "If we can pick it up on the road and keep playing well at home, we'll be all right" The Blues are a miserable 4-11-5 on the road. "It's not like we're getting blown out on the road," said Gino Cavallini, who celebrated the arrival of his son Aidan with his ninth goal of the season. "We're losing games that we're in. When we get home, we want to rectify the mistakes." This game bad the makings of a shootout but Blues goaltender Curtis Joseph was brilliant again stopping 38 of 39 shots, many from just a few feet away. "Curtis kept us in it again," Blues defense-man Jeff Brown said. "We're winning, but we're not winning that pretty. We're working for our wins, but we've got to keep teams to 20 shots in our building." Joseph was grateful that his teammates gave him a 3-1 lead 25 minutes into the game. "It's nice to have a lead to work with," Joseph sald; "It makes It easier when you have a three- or four-goal lead." Nelson Emerson put the Stars away with a pair of third-period goals. Adam Oates and Kelly Chase also scored for the Blues; Brian Bellows scored the only North Stars goal. Chase's goal was his first point of the season. The North Stars had won three in a row and six of eight But they were missing top young defenseman Derian Hatcher, who is serving a 10-game suspension for high-sticking Dtno Clccarelli, and defensive pest Stewart Gavin, who has a groin Injury. Making matters worse was the loss of bul-See BLUES, Page 7 Miami Edges Huskies By 4 In AP Rankings By The Associated Press For the past month, college football fans have debated the question, "Who's No. 1, Miami or Washington?" On Thursday, they got the answer1 both. By the slimmest of margins, Miami finished first in The Associated Press media poll and Washington won the USA Today-CNN coaches title. The split decision won't please fanatic followers of either 12-0 team, but it seemed fair to the two head coaches. "I'm delighted," said Washington's Don James, who cried as he recounted the moment he and his wife, Carol, learned that the Huskies were No. 1 in the coaches poll. Miami's Dennis Erickson also was satisfied with the split The AP title was the Hurricanes' fourth in the last nine seasons, a stretch of dominance matched only by Notre Dame's four championships from 1943-49. "Believe me, I'm not complaining," Erickson said. "We don't want to take anything away from Washington. We both had great seasons." Miami, which blanked Nebraska 22-0 in the Orange Bowl, edged Washington by four points in the AP poll of sports writers and broadcasters, the closest finish in its 56-year history. Washington, which manhandled Michigan 34-14 in the Rose Bowl, topped Miami by nine points in the coaches poll. In first-place votes, Miami had a 32-28 edge in AP and Washington led 33H-25H in USA Today-CNN. Last year the two major polls also crowned different champions: Colorado won the AP title and Georgia Tech was voted No. 1 by the coaches. ,V;cC See MIAMI, Page 4 obinson equests elease 7-Foot Center Wants To Transfer From SLU By John Sonderegger and Jim Thomas Of the Post-Dispatch Staff Melvln Robinson says he wants to transfer from St Louis University and is asking for a release from his basketball scholarship. Robinson, a 7-foot Junior, leads the Billlkens in scoring and rebounding. Athletic director Debbie Yow received a telephone call Thursday afternoon from Vashon High coach Floyd Irons, who asked her on Robinson's behalf for a release. "I told him I would like to think that he and Melvin could sit down with Rich Grawer," Yow said. "We have an. unwritten policy that we release student-athletes who want to leave. But we have a right to expect that Melvin will come in and talk with Rich." Irons, who coached "Big Chill" at Vashon, said he had tried to talk Robinson out of leaving SLU on previous occasions. "J'm not one for kids to be Jumping here and there. Things are not rosy all the time;" Irons said. Grawer, the SLU coach, had not been contacted by Robinson or Irons as of Thursday evening. He was stunned to hear the news that Robinson and Irons had called the Post-Dispatch at mid-afternoon to announce Robinson's decision to leave. "My reaction is I don't know anything about it" Grawer said. "As a head coach, I think I have a right to talk with those guys. I feel I'm owed an explanation." Robinson said he had made up his mind, adding that he didn't intend to talk with Grawer. "There's no reason," he said. "I really don't want to. . There's no turning back now." SLU will not give him his release until he comes in and explains his decision to Grawer, however. "When a decision is made about giving him a release, it won't be between Melvin and me," Yow said. "It will be between Rich and me, and I will follow the recommendations of the head coach." Grawer said that Robinson, a Junior, had talked about leaving a number of times. "I'm Just going to transfer. That's it" Robinson said. "I've ,' got another year left I don't know where I'm going to go, . but I'm going to leave." Robinson believes he can be eligible next December at another school, so he wants to get the transfer over with now. Yow said whether Robinson is eligible in December would depend upon what kind of school he transfers to CKVn Robinson See ROBINSON, Page 7 Raiders' Reject Returns As Cowboys' Top Hand CUE By Jim Thomas Of the Post-Dispatch Staff The question was inevitable, given the route Steve Beuerlein took to Dallas. The answer was diplomatic. Minutes after guiding Dallas to its first playoff victory in nine years, 17-13 Sunday in Chicago, Beuerlein was asked if he watched the Los Angeles Raiders play the previous day against Kansas City. "I play for the Cowboys, not the Raiders," Beuerlein replied. Then came the "confession." "I watched the game with Interest because I have a lot of friends on the team," Beuerlein said. "I like watching football. But there was no vindictiveness and there isn't any today. I'm not here to prove anybody right or wrong." But if he did delight in such pursuits, Beuerlein has pulled off a remarkable in-your-face Job on the. Raiders, particularly owner Al Davis. After sitting out the entire 1990 season in a contract dispute with Davis, Beuerlein was traded to the Dallas Cowboys last August for next to nothing a fourth-round draft pick in 1 992. The Raiders struggled with Jay Schroeder, then gambled and lost with Todd Marinovlch in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Beuerlein has guided the Cowboys to six successive victories since replacing the injured Troy Alkman, not to mention a berth in the National Football Conference semifinals Sunday in Detroit. In short it has been an amazing turn of events for Beuerlein. "I'm going to probably reflect on it a lot more when the season's over, which will hopefully be early February," Beuerlein said. "I haven't sat back and really stepped out of myself and looked at it from an outside standpoint But all I know is that I'm as happy as I've been in the last two years." So are the Cowboys. They were in playoff contention last season until Aikman suffered a shoulder Injury in the next-to-last game of the regular season. Enter backup Babe Laufenberg. Exit playoff hopes. Laufenberg was not the solution. To solidify the quarterback position, the deal-happy Cowboys traded for Beuerlein the week of this season's opener. According to head coach Jimmy Johnson, the deal took some persistence. "I had been talking to Al Davis off and on for the past year about Steve Beuerlein," Johnson said. "We came close to making the trade earlier on. In fact we came close to making the trade a second time during the draft and it never did come about So we continued with our pursuit" They finally got their man, much to Beuerletn's relief. "I was just happy to get back Into a uniform," he said. "I was coming from a situation last year where I wasn't even suited up. The writing was on the wall during the preseason. I was outplaying the people See BEUERLEIN, Page 5 SOCCER Storm Takes Title : The Storm tops Czechoslo- -vakia 4-2 In the title game of "A the Zurich New Year's Indoor Tournament. . . . . . 2 - FOOTBALL Similar Success Opposing playoff quarter-backs Mark Ryplen of the Washington Redskins and ' Chris Miller of the Atlanta Falcons have followed similar paths to success 5 ALSO Big Ten basketball notebook ...... 3

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