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August 02, 1978 - Image 15

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-08-02

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Pressing the Issue
38 days to go...
.. .a season of optimism
T HERE IS something sad about the 1978 Big Ten football season opening
in just 38 days. Not because it implies that the summer is rapidly ap-
proaching its end, but because the game signalling the start of the gridiron
new year is Northwestern at Illinois.
The Wildcats and Ilini used to reserve their intrastate battle for the final
game on the schedule, but Illinois officials decided dwindling interest caused
by people staying home to watch Michigan play Ohio State on television was
enough motive to make the change.
At first the move seems to make a comment on the quality of football in
the Big Ten when two teams create so much excitement that the other con-
ference teams are completely lost in the background.
After letting the idea sink into your brain, it sounds like a realistic plan
to revive the old feelings that usually surround a traditional rivalry. With no
other game to conflict with the one in Champaign-Urbana, the experiment
will probably be successful.
Break up the 'Big Two'
While inroads have been made to solve that problem, another one still
haunts the league as a whole, specifically, what to do about the em-
barrassing "Big Two, Little Eight" label the conference has been saddled
with the past few years.
At the seventh annual Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago last Friday, the
coaches in the Big Ten spent a great deal of time refuting the image of an
overly imbalanced conference.
"We had the pleasure of a post-season experience last year," said Cal
Stoll, head coach of Minnesota. "It was the first time someone other than
Michigan or Ohio State went to a bowl in a long time.
There is a lot of interest in Big Ten teams by the bowl committees and I
think three or four teams will go to a bowl game this year. That would
suggest to me the break-up of the 'Big Two, Little Eight'."
"I'm as sick of it as you are," said Iowa's Bob Commings. "It's still
going to take some time before the gap is totally closed, but it's not as wide
as it used to be."
The two teams that are given the best chance of toppling the cement
pedestal that separates Michigan and Ohio State from the rest of the league
are Michigan State and Indiana ... that's right, Indiana.
Last year the Hoosiers slipped by virtually unnoticed to their first non-
losing season (5-5-1) since 1969. Coach Lee Corso has molded a number of
talented players into a more than just competitive team. "You win with
character, not characters," Corso told the reporters at the luncheon.
Opposites attract
Even Woody Hayes agreed. "Lee gave you people the key to success,
you win with people. A noted author wrote a book with that title," Hayes said
amid laughter in obvious reference to-a book he penned a couple of years
ago. But in a serious vein Hayes added that Corso "will run the ball and not
put it up in the air for grabs" which will further help Indiana contend for its
firstbowl bid since the 1968 Rose Bowl, and only the second in its history.
With a completely opposite philosophy, Michigan State's Darryl Rogers
fully expects to challenge for the Big Ten title with a balanced offensive at-
tack, although using the pass to its utmost advantage. If any team can make
a serious threat to end Michigan and Ohio State's domination, the Spartans
can. But it won't be easy.
MSU has a killer of a schedule as does Indiana. The Spartans play at
Southern Cal, return home for an engagement with defending national
champion Notre Dame, then visit Ann Arbor in consecutive weekends. If
they survive that, MSU could be well on its way.
The Hoosiers have as rough a non-conference slate as any team in the
country. IU tackles Washington in Bloomington the week after meeting
Louisiana State under the lights in Bayou Country and one week before
facing Nebraska back home in Indiana. In case you weren't aware, all three
of the Hoosiers' opponents went to bowls after the 1977 season.
"We are going to do our best to represent the Big Ten in the best fashion
we know how," Corso said, "but just remember the first three don't count;
the last eight (all the conference games) do.".
"MSU and Indiana have an advantage because they don't have to play
both of the 'Big Two'," said Stoll.
With all the renewed optimism around, Hayes and Michigan's B
Schembecher issued their fair warnings to the rest of the conference
coaches. "I think we can beas good as last year, but we always like to think
we can do better," said Hayes.
'We expect to win4he championship," Schembechler said confidently.
Even new Northwestern coach Rick Venturi was caught up in the spirit
and cautioned everyone not to take his team lightly. "I have two challenges
- one is to win, we all live with that, and two, to be a hit at the box office. We
will be anentertaining ball club . .. expect the unexpected."
We'lsee;.njust38dlays. - '
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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, August 2, 1978-Page 15
Smalley out to prove
success isn't relative
By The Associated Press ballplayers in a trade for Bert Blyleven
MINNEAPOLIS - Shortstop Roy before their pitching ace could play out
Smalley of the Minnesota Twins has his option. He needed a shortstop and
more to worry about these days than Smalley was playing out of position at
fastballs up and in and sharp grounders second base in Texas, so the trade
in the hole. seemed practical for both Smalley and
Smalley, 25, has been receiving a Mauch.
steady diet of vocal criticism from the Mauch, of course, didn't need much
fans in Metropolitan Stadium, not only of a scouting report because he has
for playing below his fan-imposed followed Roy's career "since he was a
capabilities, but also because they feel couple of hours old."
his staying power is related - literally "FOR AN uncle and nephew we're
- to the fact that his manager, Gene very close, and we've always been that
Mauch, is also his uncle. way," Smalley says. "He's probably
like a second father to me, even though
"I THINK that bothers a lot of people, my father and I are as close as a father
that somebody should have the and son could be."
'audacity" to get his nephew to play On the field, however, their relation-
shortstop for him," Smalley says, "but ship is strictly that of player and
I guess that's human nature. manager. "I have never gone out of my
"It took me about a month to get used way to champion him," Mauch insists,
to the booing, but I now understand the "simply because it would be inter-
mentality of some of the fans. The ones preted as nepotism."
that don't like me have been able to "We're both professionals and we're
vocally influence the ones that are un- both interested in doing our respective
decided about me when I'm not doing jobs," Smalley adds.
well. They just don't happen to like me DESPITE THE flak from the vocal
because I'm related to the manager." minority in the Twin Cities, the switch-
For what it's worth, Smalley hardly hitter's production speaks for itself. He
had anything to do with it. is among the American League leaders
MAUCH, WHOSE sister Jolene at his position in virtually every offen-
married Roy Smalley Sr. - Gene's sive category. He is batting a steady
teammate on the Chicago Cubs - was .277 and has 11 home runs, only one shy
managing in Montreal when the Texas of his entire career output through 1977.
Rangers selected Roy Jr. in the 1974 But some people are never satisfied.
free agent draft and signed the shor- "Statistically, I'm playing as well as
tstop to a contract. any shortstop in the league," Smalley
Shortly after becoming the Twins' says without hesitation, "but the
skipper, Mauch was faced with a manager's nephew is supposed to be
dilemma: how to get a couple of perfect."
A San Diego Shue-in
By The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO - Gene Shue, formerly head coach of the Baltimore and
Philadelphia National Basketball Association franchises, was named head coach
yesterday for San Diego's NBA entry by Club President Irv Levin.
The former NBA guard, who had a 14.4 point per game average with the
Philadelphia Warriors, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons and Baltimore Bullets,
takes over ateam that last season played in Buffalo and had the nickname Braves.
A name for the new team will be announced within the next week, Levin said.
Shue said he signed a two-year contract with an option for an additional year.
Levin killed all trade rumors by saying that all player unatters were now in the
hands of Shue.
Shue was fired from the Philadelphia post last Nov. 3. In four seasons, Shue's
76ers won one Eastern Division title in 1976-77, but the team's overall record was
157-177. His career head coaching record is 448-434.
The San Diego player lineup is expected to include 6-foot-11 Sven Nater at cen-
ter, 6-9 forwards Kermit Washington and Sidney Wicks and 6-3 Randy Smith and 6-
4 rookie Freeman Wilams at guards. Seven-foot Kevin Kunnert probably would
share time at center.
The saline Area Players '
are accepting applications for:
Artistic Director "NHERIT

Artistic Director
Musical Director "MAME"
Dates: November 2,3, 4-March 12,.3
Call: 429-9118 or 429-5133 after 5 pm or write: P.O. Box 334,
Saline, Ml, 48176
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