ON THE BEAT

Tiger Rag heard the following through the grapevine:

Finished… The season winless at 0-12. In his first season since coming to New Mexico State from Southeastern Louisiana, former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme went 0-for-a-dozen in his initial season with the Aggies. It's the first winless season for New Mexico State since going 0-11 in 1989. NMSU was 1-10 in 1990 and 1996.

Injured… Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm during the Cardinals 41-17 rout of Syracuse Saturday. Brohm suffered a right knee injury on a third-quarter scramble. On third-and-8 from the Louisville 21, Brohm dropped back to pass and ran to his right after the protection broke down before being tackled by Syracuse's Kellen Pruitt. Brohm awkwardly rolled over his right knee as he fell and lay on the turf for several minutes before being helped to the sideline. He had an MRI exam on Monday and his status for next Saturday's game at Connecticut is uncertain.

Avoided… Finishing last in the SEC East. Tennessee beat lowly Kentucky 27-8 for the 21st straight time to finish fifth in the eastern division. The Vols were ranked as high as No. 2 in preseason polls. The win was only the third in league play for Tennessee, which also beat No. 3 LSU and Ole Miss.

Listed… For sale in an auction is the original plaster cast of the Heisman Trophy. The original 1935 plaster cast of the Heisman Trophy sculpture will be up for auction on Dec. 10 -- the date this year's award is announced -- as part of Sotheby's and SCP Auctions' sale of "Important Sports Memorabilia and Cards. When members of the Downtown Athletic Club originally conceived the idea of an annual award to honor the most outstanding college football player, Frank Eliscu, a then-23-year-old New York native, was commissioned for the work. Ed Smith, a leading player on the 1934 New York University football team, assisted Eliscu as his model.

Filled…. The vacant spot in the Music City Bowl. The SEC usually sends a team to the Nashville-based bowl game, but only six SEC teams will be bowl eligible this season. Music City Bowl officials announced they will tab a team from the ACC to fill the vacancy.

Accepted… Various teams received invitations to bowl games including New Mexico to the Fort Worth Bowl, Navy and Colorado State to the Poinsettia Bowl, Utah to the Emerald Bowl, TCU heads to the Houston Bowl and BYU was selected by the Las vegas Bowl.

Dismissed… claims of slander and libel filed against Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer over statements he made to NCAA officials investigating recruiting violations at Alabama. Fulmer has one less headache to worry about in the midst of a losing season. Former player Kenny Smith and his mother, Vicki Smith Dagnan, sued Fulmer and the NCAA in January for $480 million claiming they were defamed when Fulmer told NCAA investigators in 2000 about rumors that Smith's mother was involved with an assistant coach at Alabama. Fulmer thought the statements were confidential but they were made public when the NCAA handed over written summaries of Fulmer's interview to a federal grand jury in Memphis investigating a criminal case against an Alabama booster. Fulmer has been accused by Alabama supporters of conspiring with the NCAA to destroy the Alabama football program. In 2002, the NCAA placed Alabama on probation for five years after finding several violations.

Fired… Middle Tennessee State coach Andy McCollum. After guiding MTSU into Division I football, McCollum was let go after his fourth consecutive losing season. McCollum, 46, was hired in December 1998 to oversee the Blue Raiders' move to Division I-A. He turned in winning seasons in 2000 and 2001, including a share of the Sun Belt championship in 2001. But they didn't go better than 5-6 after that.

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