Miami Reigns Supreme In Rose Bowl
Race Bannon, Pasadena, California – In Loving Memory Of Sonny Burnett
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena California was missing a few things this year. It was played on the 3rd, two days after the parade. It missed the 1st half in brilliant sunshine, followed by the 2nd half under the lights. It missed the Pac 10 and Big 10 champions meeting, for the first time in 50 plus years.
What it wasn't missing was a dominant performance by a worthy champion. The Miami Hurricanes wrapped up their 5th National Championship by halftime, as they slapped the Nebraska Cornhuskers around like they were a JC team. The Canes jumped to a 34-0 halftime lead, and only a missed field goal kept them from equaling their 37-0 halftime lead over Washington.
The 2nd half saw the Huskers respond with more pride than our beloved Dawgs did, but to no avail. It was obvious the Canes held no personal grudge against Nebraska, as they loosened their ties, kicked off their shoes, and enjoyed a cocktail while going through the motions of the 2nd half. It was a far cry from the blood bath at the Orange Bowl, where the Canes played with anger and passion for 60 minutes.
It began with the Miami offensive line, truly one of the finest ever assembled. Ken Dorsey could scan the field and go through three or four options before finding the receiver that was the most wide open. It was usually Andre Johnson, who had a coming out party, dancing past stumbling Husker backs on his way to a near record performance. Portis slipped and slid his way to over 100 yards. Tackling him is as easy as stopping a greased fire hydrant with a 327-engine. The Canes could have hit 60 with just a little more effort.
The Miami defense was said to be the one weak link, at least in run stopping. After they shut down the nations premiere rushing school, we will have to look further for a weakness. Jonathan Vilma made two big hits, totally legal, that removed ball carriers from the field. Size, speed, attitude, and toughness, it did look like the total package.
We have no choice but to salute the Miami Hurricanes, champions of 2002. Congratulations to Larry Coker, undefeated in his career as head coach. The first time in 50 years a first year coach won the title.
After the game, reaction around the land was that Miami was the class of the college football world in 2001. ABC's halftime show bombed, as Mike Bellotti was asked on the set to complain about the BCS. But with the score 34-0, you could tell that the bit wasn't going to work. An uncomfortable Bellotti looked as if he was afraid he was going to be asked to actually play the Canes. Oregon remains unbeaten against top opponents that they could have beaten if they could have played them.
Bellotti held out small hope that a tight win by Miami would still allow his 11-1 Ducks to be voted #1 over a 12-0 Cane team, stating that voters should "vote their mind". (Seattle P-I, January 4th, 2002) We would politely suggest that someone seems to have "lost his mind".
It's all moot now. The Miami Hurricanes are your 2001 National Champions.
Ducks Bash Buffs, Stake Their Claim For Number 2
Race Bannon, Tora Bora, Afghanistan
The Oregon Ducks, Champions of the Pac 10, destroyed the Colorado Buffalos in the Fiesta Bowl, completing the greatest season in school history. The 11-1 Ducks set a school record for wins in a season, and won their first New Year's Day bowl since the 1917 season. Fans were in tears, telling stories of tales passed down from generation to generation about the big Rose Bowl win, played amidst the horror of World War One.
The Ducks matched the Oregon State Beavers state record for wins, and became just the 2nd team in state history to win the Fiesta Bowl. Joey Harrington capped his glorious career with a virtuoso performance, as he shredded the Buff secondary with pinpoint passes to Sammie Parker and Keenan Howry. About the time the Buffs started to play the pass, Mo Morris unleashed a sensational scoring run that saw him nearly go down, but regain his balance and take it to the house.
It was no contest as Nick Aliotti told the Buffs what defense he was going to run, then ran it to perfection. The well-drilled Duck defenders stayed in their gaps, and played fast and hard all day long. The ease of the defeat was shocking to most, as the Ducks didn't even bend, let alone break.
Jeff Tedford left the Duck fans wanting more as he departs for California after masterminding the game plan that buffaloed the Buffalos. The rolling pocket negated the pass rush, and the precision decision making of Harrington exposed the Buffs porous defense.
We can't complete this story without a word about General Barney Barnett, the despotic leader of the Buff Nation. It appears that Barney and the Buffs spent the three weeks before the game believing their press clippings. They had one plan; they would run like they did against Nebraska. They had no back up plan, and when the Ducks stuffed them twice in the first quarter on short yardage runs, you could see the air fly out of Barney's balloon. Bobby Pesavento didn't have the arm, and Barney didn't go to Ochs soon enough. It probably wouldn't have mattered anyway, but Barney's return to dominance will have to wait at least another year.
This reporter hearkened back to last year in Boulder, after the Huskies stuffed the Buffs, listening to local radio callers bemoan the loss of Neuheisel, and calling for Barney's head. Expect more of the same this winter.
Congratulation to the Oregon Ducks, your number 2 team in 2001.
Cougars Hang On To Nip Boilermakers
Rob Boberson, Juarez Federale Prison
The Washington State Cougars completed a stellar season with a nail-biter over the Purdue Boilermakers. A last minute interception in the red zone saved the Cougars from embarrassing defeat. Freshman Kyle Orton, making only his third start, led the Boilers to almost 500 yards against the vaunted Coug defense, but his 5 turnovers proved to be too much.
Jason Gesser had a mediocre game, but competed enough prayers to lead the Coug charge. Nakoa McElrath complimented Coach Price after the game for his brilliant play calling.
The Cougars lost to Oregon and Washington, but crushed the Idahos and Boise States of the world, and ended up with a 10-2 record. Yes, it was the third best season in school history. Mike Price said it's time for a raise for the assistants. The school accountant said its time to have a winning season in back to back years. Stay tuned for the results of this stand off.
The Cougars finished ranked ahead of the Huskies. No, really.
Horns Hook Huskies
Rick Neuheisel turned down the lifetime forty-three million dollar offer from Notre Dame and focused on crafting a better ending to the Husky season than what was seen in Miami. The Huskies were given no hope in this game, and came within a minute of shocking the world.
Texas came out sluggish, and the Huskies only partially took advantage. After a scoreless first quarter, the Huskies took advantage of Texas mistakes to score 23 points in the 2nd quarter. But it was the three field goals on good field position that would come back to haunt them. Major Applewhite threw three touchdown passes in the 2nd quarter, two of them to his own team. The score was 23-14 UW at the half.
In the third quarter the Husky offense came to life, scoring two more touchdowns to increase the lead to 36-17. It was beginning to look like we were witnessing one of the more shocking outcomes in recent memory.
Then the Texas defense finally lived up to their ranking as the top stop unit in the land. For four straight series they stuffed UW on three plays, including an interception that set UT up on the Husky 10 yard line. The Texas offense responded with four straight scoring drives, three touchdowns and a field goal, and took a 40-36 lead late in the game.
Cody Pickett lead the proud Purple clad warriors down the field on a textbook two minute drive, mixing in passes to several receivers, notably Jeremy Stevens, and showed the cool and calm that marked his incredible sophomore year. Willie Hurst ended his Husky career with a great touchdown run that put the Huskies back in the lead at 43-40.
Alas, a minute and change still remained on the clock, allowing Major Applewhite to end his Longhorn career with a stirring comeback drive to put the final nail in the Husky coffin. The Major is a Texas Legend already, and his performance only increased the pressure on Mac Brown, as many wondered why Christine Simms was starting ahead of him in the first place.
Neuheisel will now put the finishing touches on another top recruiting class to continue the rebuilding of the Husky program. Rick has yet to finish worse than second in the Pac-10 since his arrival here. Most fans will spend the winter and summer worried about the defense, with some pretty good reasons, but we can only assume that the staff has seen the same things that we have seen. Look for a great leap forward in this department, starting in Spring Ball, where we may see the first inklings of Rick's evaluation of the state of the kennel.
The Huskies finished the year ranked 19th, just about spot on from where they were in the pre season polls. They had been picked to finish 4th in the conference.
Maryland gave up 56 points to Florida, the second time this year that the ACC champs were so abused. The first time was at Florida State……Florida State bashed Virginia Tech, giving hope to long suffering Nole fans that their absence from the top 5 is over after one long year….LSU may have been the hottest team after thrashing Illinois………Tennessee looked awesome destroying Michigan, and South Carolina held on to beat Ohio State…Four leagues have won the BCS Championship, leaving only the Pac 10 and Big 10 on the outside looking in…….Not good news for these proud old line conferences…..Stanford lost in Seattle again, and then lost their coach to Notre Dame….Steve Spurrior surprised us all by resigning……..As we go to press, both Mike Bellotti and Rick Neuheisel are still at Oregon and Washington….Bellotti refused to give UW Texas game tapes……..This act will be memorialized at the entry of the new Inferiority complex in Eugene………How about a Kick Off Classic between Miami and Oregon?….How about a tanker load of testosterone shipped to Eugene to make it happen? ……Only 34 weeks to Ann Arbor! – duck fighter
Coming Soon! Recruiting Spectacular!
Did Alabama ruin the SEC salary cap? Is $100,000.00 too much to pay for a defensive lineman?
Will Oregon's Sleeper Cells Wake Up In Time?
Will Anyone Leave LA?
Which Florida School Will Win The Recruiting Title?
A Happy New Year to all our readers! Thanks for reading.
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