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September 06, 2001 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-06

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The Michigan Daily - SportsThursday - September 6, 2001- 3B

JOE'
SMITH

Irish looking for revenge against Huskers
SEC Conference play set to begin with Georgia meeting South Carolina

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer

Jordan rules'should
keep His A irness away

Michael Jordan has said that he
will decide in the next few
weeks whether he will make
yet another return from retirement,
after three years away from the NBA.
Most recent reports show that even
though the five-time MVP was hum-
bled in summer league workouts with
other current NBA players and ham-
pered by two cracked ribs, Jordan has
rated his state of readiness at a seven
out of a possible 10.
And what a spectacle his return
1 would be.
Picture this: Opening night on Oct.
30 in a place where Jordan thrives -
Madison Square Garden - as His Air-
ness proves everyone wrong once
again in scorching the Knicks for 50
points and leads the Washington Wiz-
ards to victory.
But hold on a minute.
Put that champagne down.
Commissioner Stern shouldn't count
his cash quite yet, and neither should
executives from Hanes or Gatorade.
Maybe Jordan thinks he's ready, but
it's important to remember three spe-
cific "Jordan rules" why Jordan should
not - and will not - return to the
NBA.
1) There's one man Jordan can never
compete with.
Many fans don't want him to tarnish
the legacy that he left, or even the man-
ner from which he left the NBA.
Nailing his last shot in the last few
seconds of his last game to win his
sixth championship ring is impossible
to beat.
But Jordan's biggest hurdle would
not be dealing -with his legacy.
Nor would it be the killer crossover
of Allen Iverson, the athleticism of
Kobe Bryant or the sweet jumpers of
Ray Allen.
His biggest challenge looks back at
him from the mirror every morning.
Sure, he's arguably the greatest play-
er to grace the hardwood, and he
helped lift the NBA to new heights.
But at 38, can he be the same Michae
Jordan he was even a few short years
ago?
People close to Jordan know the
truth - at his age, with tendinitis in his
knee and after suffering two cracked
ribs this summer, he won't be the same
Airness.
And coming back as only one of the
top players in the league won't be gooe
enough for Jordan - he wants to be
the best and dominate like he always
has.
Even so, Charles Barkley, who also
toyed with the idea of returning to the
NBA this year, told ESPN.com recent-
ly that although he doesn't want his
friend to come back,'he thinks that Jor-
dan will.
"He's the greatest basketball player
who ever lived and he can't compete
against that," Barkley said. "There's
nothing positive for him to gain by
coming back.
"If he comes back and just plays
well, then that's not good enough. I
don't understand how this helps
Ihim."
2) Jordan hates to lose more than
anything.
Some think that Jordan is taking a
page out of his friend Mario Lemieux's
book - future Hall-of-Famer coming
down from the owner's box to revital-
ize a struggling franchise and improve
business.
But there's one catch: Lemieux had
one of the greatest hockey players in
the world on his team in Jaromir Jagr,
along with a sufficient supporting cast.
Jordan doesn't have that type of
help. He couldn't recruit any big-name

free agents over the off-season, and

even with No.1 draft pick Kwame
Brown, it won't be enough.
And do you think Jordan will be
happy when the Wizards are 10-22?
He doesn't even like losing a game
of H-O-R-S-E to his son.
3) Jordan hates to hear critics tell
him what he can't do.
Jordan is one of the most competi-
tive people there is, and he has a lot of
fire left in him. When someone adds
fuel to the fire, he almost always
responds.
Remember his stint in professional
baseball?
Jordan proved everyone wrong the
first time he came out of retirement and
led the Bulls to another NBA title.
But if he can't repeat the feat, he'll
hear it from everywhere - media,
friends, and other NBA players. That's
something the proud Jordan would not
enjoy.
"I don't want the press to have the
right to criticize him," Barkley told
ESPN.com. "I don't want them to have
that luxury.
"They'll expect him to play like
Michael Jordan and he can't do that."
There's one simple solution to this
predicament: When Oct. 30 comes
around in Madison Square Garden, Jor-
dan can still be the star of the show.
He'll just be wearing a suit in the
owner's box, where he should stay.
After all, rules are rules.
Joe Smith does not play for the Min-
nesota Timberwolves. But he can be
reached at iosevhms~umich.edu.

No. 17 Notre Dame at No. 5 Nebraska - Satur-
day 8 p.m.
It may be hard to believe, but in Lincoln, Neb., a 10-
2 record and No. 7 ranking in the coaches poll is con-
sidered an unsuccessful season. After coming into the
season ranked'first, the Cornhuskers lost to Oklahoma
and Kansas State, ending their national championship
dreams.
Despite losing two All-America offensive linemen,
the Huskers' running game should be as strong as the
team that lead the nation in rush-_
ing yards last year with 349.9 ACROSS THE
yards per game.T
Nebraska has already gotten off ToP 25
to a strong start this season - cur-
rently the Huskers are ranked fourth in the nation with a
2-0 record. In its game against Troy State last week, the
Nebraska defense held Troy State to two yards of total
offense in the second half.
Notre Dame will be Nebraska's first challenge of the
season and its first game against a ranked opponent.
Last year's game was played in South Bend and per-
haps the least anticipated team in recent Notre Dame
history almost upset the Comhuskers in a 27-24 over-
time game.
In that game, it was Nebraska's special teams, or
lack thereof, that kept Notre Dame in the game. This
year, the Cornhuskers' special teams are improved
forcing Notre Dame coach Bob Davie to need more
productivity from his offence.
Also keep in mind, the last time the Irish were on the
field, they were crawling out of the Fiesta Bowl follow-
ing a 41-9 crushing at the hands of Oregon State.
Nebraska 24, Notre Dame 13
No. 21 South Carolina at No. 25 Georgia - 7:45
p.m.
Georgia did one step better then stealing a page ovt
of Florida State's playbook - they stole its coach. The
former offensive coordinator at Florida State left for the
top job at Georgia last year.
Last week his offense put up Bowden-like numbers
against Arkansas State, mounting almost 600 yards of
total offense and saw redshirt freshman, David Greene
pass for 285 yards.
It may not be so easy putting up such lofty numbers
against No. 24 South Carolina in the first SEC came for

both teams - doubling
the stakes.
In addition, Georgi
was the first team to taste
what a Lou Holtz-led
Gamecocks team can do
The Bulldogs were the
first team to lose to the
Gamecocks in 18 games,
Then-Georgia quarter-
back Quincy Carter threw
five interceptions, squan-
dering the game 21-10 to
South Carolina.
But Georgia has not
lost two in a row to South
Carolina since 1989 and
holds a 23-5 record at
home against the rival
Gamecocks.
South Carolina - a Musa Smith (32) and his Ge
team that erased all recent Carolina this weekend.
history when Holtz got to
town - is coming off an 8-4 season, its best season in
over a decade. In addition, they are welcoming back 18
starters from last year, including most skill positions.
Of those 18, eight are returning from a defense that
allowed 15.8 points per game.
Nevertheless, Georgia has home-field advantage and
revenge on the mind.
Georgia 26, South Carolina 21
Western Michigan at No. 9 Virginia Tech - 12
p.m.
At the beginning of the season everyone was won-
dering how a Michael Vick-less Virginia Tech would
fare. After one game, people were prompted to ask the
question how a Hokie team without Lee Suggs will
fare.
Suggs tore his ACL in his left knee in last week's
game after rushing for 99 yards and setting a school
touchdown record in a 52-10 win over hapless Con-
necticut. Suggs who led the Big East in rushing last
year will have to miss the remainder of the season
while his leg heels.
While losing Suggs may not spell disaster against
Western Michigan, it likely means Virginia Tech is out
of national title contentions and will not threaten Miami
for the Big East title this year.
Suces' reblacement is iunior Keith Burnell. who has

AP PHOTO
eorgia teammates open conference play against South
seen limited action behind Suggs, carrying the ball only
17 times.
What will carry this team is a defense which has nine
starters returning from last year's team. Luckily, for the
Hokies, they don't face a ranked opponent until Miami
on December 1. But poor play this weekend against a
strong MAC could be the tell tale sign of cracks in the
team.
Western Michigan's defense recorded three shutouts
last season and cannot be underestimated by Virginia
Tech who moved the ball well last week against Con-
necticut despite losing Suggs.
Furthermore, a strong game by the Broncos could
spell trouble for Michigan who play the Broncos in
Ann Arbor and struggled against fellow MAC team
Miami (Ohio).
Virginia Tech 31; Western Michigan 15
Louisiana-Monroe at No. 2 Florida -6 p.m.
The BCS calls strength of schedule into play in
hopes of persuading coaches to schedule tougher non-
conference opponents. No knock on Florida - who
stick their necks out every year playing Florida State -
teams like Louisiana-Monroe are laughable. For some
reason, the Gators looking ahead to Tennessee next
week should not be a problem.
Florida 62. Louisiana-Monroe 14

I

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