."-i~nThe Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 16, 1997 -&1I
Super Alliance will
change college game
Saban readies for
clash with Irish
it iss aced Press
The people who call the shots for the
major-bowl games got slapped twice
over the weekend. At the rate things are
going, the rest of us could be reeling by
' time the college football season
grindsto a halt.
After watching marquee names like
Notre Dame, Colorado, Miami and
Texas lose Saturday and fall out of con-
tention for the national championship,
the boys in the blazers must have fig-
ured that was as bad as it was going to
get. Wrong. Even worse news awaited
them at the top of the rankings Sunday.
WStillpoised at No. 1 was Penn State,
ichas been there since the presea-
son poll, and gave no indication it was
going, anywhere by destroying Temple
52=1O:Climbing into the No. 2 spot,
meanwhile, was Washington, which
clobbered San Diego State 36-3 and
leapfrogged idle Florida in the process.
So this: Neither team yet belongs to
tbe *Super Alliance" that held a news
nferxnce a few weeks ago to remind
us for the millionth time why major col-
legefodtball doesn't need a playoff. The
SupeAlliance, you'll recall, replaced
the Bowl Alliance, which used to call
itselfthe Bowl Coalition.
What's in a name? In this case, a spot-
ty past. What has remained constant,
anyway, is that the fast-talking, fashion-
challetged, deal-making crowd that
ptomited to clean up after the messy
lt-dampionship seasons of 1990-91
. .illnking promises on which it may
not be able to deliver.
This same bunch promised to do
whatever was necessary to ensure a No.
1 vs. No. 2 matchup to end each and
every season. They then proceeded to
make offers to the glamour conferences,
glamour independents and glamour
bowls that they were certain couldn't be
refused. Somebody refused.
It happened to be the people who run
the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences, as
well as the Rose Bowl, that cozy little
stadium in Pasadena where they stage
their own little postseason tournament.
In the past, that hardly would have
been a worry. Other than Washington's
half-share of the 1990 title, no Pac-10
team had been part of the national
championship picture for nearly three
decades. And before Penn State made
the Big Ten number 11 teams, the last
time that conference had a No. I team
was Woody Hayes' 1968 Ohio State
With coach Joe Paterno and the
Nittany Lions in the Big Ten fold, that
omission alone guaranteed the alliance a
perpetual headache. The Huskies' resur-
gence threatens to make it a migraine.
We have been down this road before.
Three seasons ago, Nebraska claimed a
national title that had Paterno's smudged
fingerprints on the side. Last season,
Pac-10 champion Arizona State was
ranked No. 2 and Big Ten champion
Ohio State was ranked No. 4 when they
met in the Rose Bowl. Ohio State won,
but had the result been the other way
around, the Florida State-Florida game
played at the Sugar Bowl, a match
Despite the restriction to just six teams, Alliance Bowl bids come easily for Florida.
The national champion Gators are perennial contenders for one of the spots.
EAST LANSING (AP) - What
Nick Saban grants with one hand -
Saturday's game against Notre Dame is
a BIG game - he can take away with
the other - it's just one game out of 11.
Saban was in his best "yes, but" form
yesterday as he discussed Michigan
State's upcoming clash with the Irish.
"Notre Dame is a great national
exposure school," he said at his weekly
news conference. "Anytime you can
play them and beat them, that certainly
would be tremendous exposure for your
team and your school.
"This is a good opponent. I think to
be able to raise the standard we're talk-
ing about raising is to beat good oppo-
But having said that, Saban added
that if Michigan State loses: "It means
we've lost one game. We can make this
as big a game as we want to make it, but
it's one game out of 1."
Saban said Notre Dame will provide
the 17th-ranked Spartans with a mea-
suring stick of exactly where they are.
"This game will help us accomplish
our goals"he said. "There's no question
about that. But it won't keep us from
accomplishing any of them if we don't
succeed. It will just be another step in
the learning process to try to get there.'
Michigan State travels to South Bend
to take on the Fighting Irish on
Saturday. And the Spartans find them-
selves in an unusual position, -
Michigan State is ranked 17th in tje
country, while Notre Dame is
Michigan State is coming off two
thumpings of lowly opponents - 42-
10 over Western Michigan and 5141
over Memphis last Saturday - while
Notre Dame is 1-1. The Irish defeated
Georgia Tech, 17-13, but fell Saturday
to Purdue, 28-17.
"I think Notre Dome is an outstaa-
ing football team," Saban said. "I think
Purdue played a tremendous gamde
"We definitely improved as a football
team from game one to game two," he
said. "We still have challenges ahead-of
us, in terms of becoming a really good
football team. I was especially pleased
about the progress we made on offense.
"If we have matured as a team and
have more character than we've had in
the past, we will be able to overcome
the adversity of playing a good football
team on the road," he said. "We've
shown more leadership and character;l
think, so far this season, and maturity,
but it remains to be seen if we're able to
take that on the road to Notre Dame and
play the kind of football we'll need to
play against an opponent as good as
between Nos. I and 3 going in, would
not have produced a clear-cut national
Give the alliance people credit for this
much. They were persistent. They went
after the Big Ten and Pac-1O and got
them to come on board beginning after
the 1998 season. The two conference
champions will join the champions of
the SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference,
Big 12 and Big East, with the two
remaining slots available to at-large
teams (read: Notre Dame). The same
deal puts the Rose Bowl into the rotation
alongside the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta
for the title game.
It's worth remembering that this sea-
son still has a long way to run, and that
Penn State and Washington could both
be faint memories by the time it is over.
It's also worth remembering that the
"Super Alliance" makes the same old
phony arguments against a playoff and
has so far managed to stave one off. And
that this alliance is made up of the same
old civic types who ramble on about
educational trips to places like Sea
World and Disneyland, as though the
purpose of the bowls is to provide a
week of fun in the sun for a swell bunch
If everybody were really concerned
about the kids' academic load, there
would be more study halls. And their
coaches wouldn't make twice what their
The real purpose for the bowls is to
drum up tourism and make money for
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WOMEN'S FIELD HOCKEYN/
AT BALL STATE
WON'T FIT ON 19TH...
TEAM TENNIS/ .
AT TOM FALLON INVITATIONAL
AT UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA
AT LADY NORTHERN
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA
.yr AT INDIANA
MICHIGAN STADIUM 12:30 PM
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRYN
AT SPARTAN INVITATIONAL
AT TOM FALLON INVITATIONAL
AT DUKE, 7:30 PM
WOMEN'S FIELD HOCKEYN
PHYLLIS OCKER FIELD, 10:00 AM
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
MEN'S TENNISN MEN'S TENNISN MEN'S TENNISN MEN'S TENNISN MEN'S TENNISN MEN'S TENNIS/V MEN'S FOOTBALLN MEN'S GOLF/V
AT TOM FALLON INVITATIONAL AT NATIONAL CLAY COURT AT NATIONAL CLAY COURT AT NATIONAL CLAY COURT AT NATIONAL CLAY COURT AT NATIONAL CLAY COURT VS. NOTRE DAME AT NORTHERN INTERCOLLEGIATE
WOMEN'S FIELD HOCKEYN CHAMPIONSHIPS CHAMPIONSHIPS CHAMPIONSHIPS CHAMPIONSHIPS CHAMPIONSHIPS MICHIGAN STADIUM EAST LANSING, MI
AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN, 2:00 PM 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL/I 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL/I 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL/I 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL/I WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALLN MEN'S CROSS COUNTRYN WOMEN'S RUGBY/C
WOMEN'S SOCCER/V IMSB IMSB IMSB IMSB AT UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA AT ILLINOIS INVITATIONAL ELBEL FIELD
VS. OHIO STATE SOCCER/I SOCCER/ SOCCER/I SOCCER/I 7:00 PM 11:00 AM 9:00 AM
MICHIGAN SOCCER FIELD, 1:00 PM MITCHELL FIELD MITCHELL FIELD MITCHELL FIELD MITCHELL FIELD WOMEN'S FIELD HOCKEYN MEN'S TENNISN MEN'S RUGBY/C
TEAM TENNIS/I ICE HOCKEY/I ROLLER HOCKEY/ ICE HOCKEY/I VS. IOWA AT NATIONAL CLAY COURT ELBEL FIELD
PALMER FIELD ENTRIES DUE ENTRIES DUE YOST ARENA PHYLLIS OCKER FIELD, 4:00 PM CHAMPIONSHIPS 2:00 PM
WOMEN'S RUGBY/C MEN'S SOCCER/C WOMEN'S SOCCERN WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALLN WOMEN'S SOCCER/C
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4:00 PM MICHIGAN SOCCER FILD 3:00 PM 7:00 PM 8:00 AM
28 29 30
MEN'S TENNISN SOCCER/I 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL/I
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CHAMPIONSHIPS 3.N. AKTALISCE/ WON'T FIT ON 28TH...
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VS NORTHWESTERNICHOKYiCEOKY/ YOST ARENA
PHYLLIS OCKER FIELD,NOON EST ARENA YOST ARENAIROLLER HOCKEY/I
MEN'S GOLF/VOTARN OS RN
AT NORTHERN INTERCOLLEGIATE MEN'S SOCCER/C SOFTBALL/I ELBEL FIELD
EAST LANSING, MI MITCHELL FIELD, 4:00 PM ENTRIES DUE ULTIMATE FRISBEE/I
WOMEN'S SOCCERN MITCHELL FIELD
VS. NORTHWESTERN WOMEN'S SOCCER/C
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