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December 09, 1997 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily -Tuesday, December 9, 1997 --11

,Orange Bowl fails to match
top two teams for title game

The Associated Press
Unable to match the top two teams in
th'e nation, the Orange Bowl went for the
'ext best game - No. 2 Nebraska versus
o. 3 Tennessee with Heisman Trophy
Hopeful Peyton Manning.
With No. 1 Michigan playing No. 8
Washington State in the Rose Bowl on
Jan. 1, the Orange Bowl could turn into a
national title game only if the Cougars
(10.4-) upset the Wolverines (11-0).
The Orange is this year's top bowl
alliance game and went for the highest-
ranked teams available.
The Sugar Bowl grabbed No. 4 Florida
state (10-1) and No. 9 Ohio State (10-2),
while the Fiesta went for No. 10 Kansas
State (10-1) vs. No. 14 Syracuse (9-3).
"It was a very close decision;' said
Keith Tribble, the Orange Bowl's execu-
tive director. "We had an undefeated and
No. 2 Nebraska and we needed to get the
No. 3 team, and that was Tennessee."
" But just barely. The Volunteers (11-1)
- got four touchdown passes from Manning
o edge Auburn, 30-29, in the SEC title
ame on Saturday night.
Automatic bowl alliance bids go to the
ACC, Big East, Big 12 and SEC champi-
ons,-with two at-large bids available.
The conference title winners were
Florida State (ACC), Syracuse (Big East),
JNebraska (Big 12) and Tennessee (SEC).
Ohio State, second in the, Big Ten, and
Kansas State of the Big 12 were the at-

large picks, with No. 5 UCLA and No. 7
North Carolina left out of the alliance.
"There will always be a little controver-
sy, but I'm not sure that controversy
shouldn't be a part of this game,'said Roy
Kramer, the bowl alliance coordinator.
"Most years we've always ended up a
consensus No. I versus No. 2, and ... I
think we'll have that in the future"
Next season, the Rose Bowl and Big
Ten and Pac-10 conferences become part
of the alliance. If that was the case this
season, a true national title game would
have matched No. 2 Michigan against
No.2 Nebraska (12-0). But for the second
straight year, the top two teams will play
games 3,000 miles apart.
Last year, Ohio State beat Arizona
State, 20-17, in the Rose Bowl and
spoiled the Sun Devils' national title
hopes. The result also turned the Jan. 2
Sugar Bowl into a true title game when
then-No. 3 Florida beat a No. 1 Florida
State, 52-20, for its first national title.
This time, it's the No. I team that has to
lose in the Rose Bowl to give Nebraska or
Tennessee a title shot. Nebraska coach
Tom Osborne, whose team is 59-3 the
past five seasons with national titles in
1994 and 1995, knows all about the twists
and turns of winning a championship.
"In 1994, we were fortunate to be voted
No. I and Penn State was undefeated and
didn't get that opportunity," Osborne said.
"Sometimes it happens that way, and all
we can control is our own level of play

and hope we play well on January 2."
A look at the rest of the bowl lineup:
* Las Vegas: Air Force (10-2) vs.
Oregon (6-5), Dec. 20.
® Aloha: Michigan State (7-4) vs.
Washington (7-4), Dec. 25.
Motor City: Marshall (10-2) vs. at-
large team, Dec. 26.
Heritage: South Carolina State (9-2)
vs. Southern (10-1), Dec. 27.
® lnsight.com: Arizona (6-5) vs. New
Mexico (9-3), Dec. 27.
Independence: Notre Dame (7-5) vs.
LSU (8-3), Dec. 28.
® Humanitarian: Utah State (6-5) vs.
Cincinnati (7-4), Dec. 29.
® Carquest: Georgia Tech (6-5) vs.
West Virginia (7-Dec. 29.
Holiday: Missouri (7-4) vs.
Colorado State (10-2), Dec. 29.
Alamo: Oklahoma State (8-3) vs.
Purdue (8-3), Dec. 30.
* Sun: Arizona State (8-3) vs. Iowa
(7-4), Dec. 31.
® Liberty: Pittsburgh (6-5) vs.
Southern Mississippi (8-3), Dec. 31.
* Outback: Wisconsin (8-4) vs.
Georgia (9-2), Jan. 1.
* Gator: North Carolina (10-1) vs.
Virginia Tech (7-4), Jan. 1.
Citrus: Penn State (9-2) vs. Florida
(9-2). Jan. 1.
Cotton: TexasA&M (9-3) vs. UCLA
(9-2), Jan. 1.
O Peach: Clemson (7-4) vs. Auburn
(9-3), Jan. 2.

AP Photo
The second-ranked Nebraska Comhuskers are entangled in the hunt for a national title. They will face No. 3 Tennessee In the
Orange Bowl in what could be the championship game if No. 8 Washington State upsets Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Continued from Page 9
be blamed for circling the wagons and
waiting another year.
Instead, Chase's injury became a
blessing in disguise for the
Wolverines, as it led to the emergence
of Sarah Behnke.
Behnke, a 5-foot-0 freshman from
Baroda, was expected to contribute off
the bench this season. She passed the
bench stage after Chase went down,
leading the team in kills in her first
two games as a starter. Behnke
remained in the starting lineup even
after Chase came back.
Not coincidentally, Michigan's for-
tunes began to rise with Behnke's
insertion into the lineup.
The Wolverines ran off eight-con-
secutive wins, including their first
four conference games. When
Columbus Day rolled around,
Michigan found itself sitting pretty
with an 11-4 record and a national
ranking of 26th, its best ever.
As the Wolverines were adding to
their win total, they were also accom-
plishing many of the goals that they
had set prior to the season. One of
these goals was to win the state flag
fromn Michigan State.

The Spartans had held the flag,
which is awarded to the winner of the
Michigan-Michigan State series, for
three-consecutive seasons and were
ranked fourth in the preseason USA
Today/AVCA poll. While the Spartans
had fallen to No. 16 when they trav-
eled to Cliff Keen Arena in October,
they were still regarded as one of the
nation's most dangerous teams.
After leaving Keen Arena, the
Spartans didn't seem so dangerous.
Aided by a record crowd of 2,346, the
Wolverines slammed the Spartans in
four games and established them-
selves as a legitimate contender.
The Spartans never really recov-
ered, as they lost the state flag for the
first time in four years. Michigan
State finished the conference season
in a fifth-place tie with Minnesota.
Michigan spent the next seven
weekends in a holding pattern, as it
went l1-l each weekend. W hen
Thanksgiving approached, the
Wolverines were on the NCAA bubble
with an 11-7 record and a game
against Ohio State looming on the
Michigan's record against the
Buckeyes in volleyball is comparable
to the Buckeyes' success against the
Wolverines in football: atrocious. The

Wolverines hadn't beaten tbe
Buckeyes since Sept. 26, 1987.
In a season of breaking the tiold,
Michigan made its biggest break of
Spurred on by an impronptu
reunion of past Michigan players dur-
ing the week, the Wolverines whipped
the Buckeyes in four games. The elu-
sive NCAA bid came days later.
It was a season of milestones, as
well. Setter Linnea Mendoza capped
off a remarkable career by notvi'g
her 5,000th career assist in the victory
over Temple.
Fellow senior Sarah Jackson record-
ed her 1,OOth career kill in a
November game against Minnesota.
Jackson ended the season ranked sec-
ond in school history in kills.
To become a consistent power, a
team needs to start somewhere. For
the Wolverines, that start is represent-
ed by winning the state flag and gr'ab-
bing an NCAA tournament bid,
With only two players in their rota-
tion graduating, the Wolverines have a
chance to be a fixture in the national
With a season of success and a
future looking brighter by the day, it
looks as if "The Victors" will describe
the volleyball team, as well.

j~niors Linsey .
3ert and Anne '";.v
Pogits soaredt
above their oppoa- -4'.' ' -x
nents this sea-
,,son: The
Wolverines fin- ' ,.
ished 21-12 and . **'
appeared in the " ' .4 t
their first NCAA :;::>:::>:::::;;;:;.:::::... ; . .;v
Mc oygetsreinstate atUCL

I *1

Mark Shapiro
Daily Bruin
UCLA basketball family has gone
from having an "Empty Nest" to a
"Full House" with yesterday's rein-
statement of junior center Jelani
McCoy, who was suspended from
.the team along with senior Kris
Johnson on Oct. 29, fulfilled the nec-
essary criteria set for his return by the
athletic department and has brought
the UCLA team fully together for the
.firstjtime this season.
"We all make mistakes," McCoy.
said. "It's about getting over it and
oking at the positive. I'm a stronger
{erson for this:'
The reinstatement came only a few
days after the Bruins were thrashed by
-North Carolina by 41 points, the sec-
ond worst defeat in the program's his-
" UCLA coach Steve Lavin stated
'that this was not a consideration in the
reinstatement of the 6-foot-10 center,
and- that the meeting that led to this
ghift was scheduled before the North
Iarolina game.
"it's fine for people to speculate,"
: Lavin-said. "We have the player's best
.'initerests in mind. We can't be con-
-cerned with people's perception."
4? 'LIKE '
ti7T I I/ T nT' eI a

McCoy, like Johnson, has regained
his eligibility to practice with the
team, but will not return to game
action until an undetermined date.
Neither player has been given a time-
line for their return to the lineup, and
neither will compete at the Wooden
Classic this weekend.
"We were careful about not saying
when they'd be back in terms of
games, that's a mixed message," Lavin
said. "If we were thinking about trying
to win games, we would have reinstat-
ed them earlier. That's not what UCLA
is about."
While Johnson returned to the team
three weeks ago, McCoy took a bit
longer in meeting the undisclosed
requirements for reinstatement.
During this delay, speculation raged as
to whether McCoy would return at all
and to his demeanor regarding the sit-
"It's not like he came out of the
dark," Lavin said. "He's been making
progress over the past three weeks. He
moved at a quicker speed once Kris
came back. I was pleased to see that.

"It's about actions, that's why Kris
came back first. Jelani, instead of
pouting, decided to take care of the
criteria set forth."
During their suspensions, the two
players had been part of periodic
meetings with the athletic department,
their families and the coaching staff
over the course of their suspension. At
these meetings, the players' progress
towards reinstatement was assessed.
"When you talk to student athletes
and their families, they want to know
what they have to do to get back and
we would tell them," UCLA Athletic
Director Peter Dalis said. "I've seen a
marked improvement in the last week
and a half for Jelani. He understands
the consequences to his actions."
The return of McCoy will add a
dimension of size to the Bruin lineup,
one that is sorely needed in light of the
beating UCLA took at the hands of the
huge front line of the Tar Heels. He is
the Bruin's single-season and career
leader in blocked shots and averaged
nearly seven rebounds a game last sea-


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