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Football officials like to let the players decide outcomes
but in the biggest game of the season — the Fiesta Bowl between Ohio State
and Miami — a penalty for pass interference proved to be the difference
between another national title for the Hurricanes and a 31-24 double
overtime triumph for the Buckeyes.
The BCS system that produced the classic showdown for the
national title apparently has three more years. In the meantime, one
president from each of six conferences including the ACC, Big East, Big Ten,
Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC will study the issue of postseason play in Division
I-A. The committee members will be selected this month and will make a
recommendation in 2005.
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, who coordinated the
BCS this year, said several options could be recommended by the committee —
a return to the old bowl system which could produce more splits of national
championships; maintaining the present system; more adjustments to the
present system; or a playoff.
East Carolina chancellor William Muse was part of a
committee that studied the same issue before the BCS evolved.
“I would favor a 16-team playoff,” Muse said. “The BCS came
about because the leagues foresaw a playoff coming with the NCAA controlling
it and distributing revenue as they do in basketball.”
SEC commissioner Roy Kramer was instrumental in the founding
of the BCS when Muse was president at Auburn.
Conference USA receives $1 million annually from the BCS and
has used the money to develop ties with five non-BCS bowls. A C-USA team
could get a BCS slot in the present system if it was in the top six in the
It will be interesting to see if the playoff concept finally
gains acceptance. The Fiesta Bowl provided some great drama on Jan. 3 but
couldn’t approach what a month of playoffs even within the existing bowl
structure would generate.
ECU football notes
Deon Adams, who earlier committed to the Pirates, has
apparently reconsidered and opted for Duke after the Pirates coaching
change. ... New ECU coach John Thompson is headed for New Orleans today and
the American Football Coaches Association convention. He will likely do some
interviews there for staff positions at ECU. ... Thompson and Pirates
running backs coach Jerry McManus met with players on Sunday night to get
the team on the same page for the start of second semester classes on
Tuesday. ... Former ECU standout receiver Larry Shannon, who completed his
Pirates eligibility in 1997 and played sparingly due to injuries in the NFL,
has expressed interest in joining Thompson’s staff, apparently as a graduate
Carolinas 2002 football wrap
Here’s the final college football poll for the Division I-A
teams in the Carolinas for the 2002 season:
N.C. State ... The Wolfpack capped an 11-3 season with a 28-6 Gator
Bowl win over Notre Dame.
Wake Forest ... The Deacons finished 7-6 with a 38-17 win over Oregon
in the Seattle Bowl.
Clemson ... The Tigers’ trip to the Tangerine Bowl was spoiled with a
55-15 loss to Texas Tech.
South Carolina ... The domino effect of John Thompson’s hire at ECU
sent Gamecocks defensive coordinator Charlie Strong to Florida.
East Carolina ... The zenith of a 4-8 season was a win over C-USA
co-champion TCU but wasn’t enough for Steve Logan to keep his job.
North Carolina ... The Tar Heels struggled when quarterback Darian
Durant was injured and finished 3-9.
Duke ... The Blue Devils felt good about their progress in a 2-10
season and extended the contract of Coach Carl Franks three years.
CAROLINAS COACH OF THE YEAR
In three years, N.C. State alumnus Chuck Amato took the Wolfpack to its most
wins ever in an 11-3 season in 2002 as the Pack beat Notre Dame 28-6 in the
Amato was a linebacker for State’s “White Shoe defense” in
1967 that sparked the Wolfpack to a 9-2 season and a 14-7 win over Georgia
in the Liberty Bowl. Chuck, also known as “The Chest,” was a longtime
assistant at Florida State before coming back to Raleigh after Mike O’Cain
was dismissed after the 1999 season. Interestingly, it was a 23-6 loss at
ECU that kept O’Cain’s final NCSU team from being bowl eligible and paved
the way for Amato’s return.
Amato has used strong recruiting and motivation to raise
the level of the Wolfpack program, which has also coincided with significant
improvements of NCSU’s football facilities. Amato’s work at State could make
him an appealing candidate at Florida State, which is coming off an
uncharacteristically-poor 8-5 season.
Bobby Bowden can’t coach forever.
CAROLINAS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
One of Amato’s first recruiting projects was to secure a commitment from a
quarterback from Alabama named Philip Rivers. State had recruited Rivers
prior to its coaching change and Rivers arrived on campus for Amato’s first
spring practice after graduating early from high school.
Rivers moved into a starting role as a true freshman and flourished under
the guidance of offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Although Chow left after
the 2000 season to develop Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer at Southern
Cal, Rivers has continued to be State’s offensive leader.
became the father of a daughter before the 2002 season and his dad coaches
at Wakefield High in Raleigh.
As MVP of the Gator Bowl, Rivers was instrumental in State’s most prolific
football win ever. His return for his senior year will spur some talk of
Heisman Trophy candidacy and the Wolfpack’s non-conference game with Ohio
State next season will give State a matchup with implications for its
aspirations of a national championship.
From football to basketball — and from worst to first for
Duke ... Freshman guard J.J. Redick led the Blue Devils with a 15.8
scoring average going into an 89-71 win on Sunday night at Clemson. The
Blue Devils host Georgetown on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Wake Forest on
Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Wake Forest ... Josh Howard scored 21 points and had nine rebounds as
the Deacons improved to 9-0 with a 68-62 win at Richmond on Saturday. Wake
hosts Elon at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and visits Duke at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Clemson ... Senior guard Edward Scott is the Tigers’ top scorer with
an 18.4 average prior to the Duke game on Sunday, the Tigers first game in
renovated Littlejohn Coliseum this season. The Tigers were one of four
unbeaten Division I teams before falling to the Blue Devils. Clemson hosts
Morris Brown at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
East Carolina ... The Pirates got 14 points and nine rebounds from
junior forward Erroyl Bing in a 93-47 win over winless Division II UNC
Pembroke on Jan. 2. ECU returns to action against Charlotte on at 7 p.m.
on Saturday (WITN-7). Point guard Travis Holcomb-Faye may return from an
academic suspension for the 49ers game.
North Carolina ... The Tar Heels lost 64-61 in overtime at Miami on
Saturday despite leading 58-47. UNC went the last 12:10 without a field
goal, and got no call as Jawad Williams was apparently fouled on a 3-point
attempt at the OT buzzer. The Heels host Davidson on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
and visit Virginia on Saturday at noon.
N.C. State ... The Wolfpack opened ACC play by topping Virginia 75-63
on Sunday evening in Raleigh as Julius Hodge led the way with 21 points.
State visits Georgia Tech at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Davidson ... The Wildcats improved to 7-3 by topping The Citadel 86-72
on Sunday as Conor Grace’s 23 points paced the Wildcats, who had an early
18-0 run in their Southern Conference opener. Davidson plays at North
Carolina on Wednesday at 8 p.m. and hosts Western Carolina at 3 p.m. on
UNC Wilmington ... Brett Blizzard scored 16 points and had seven
assists as the Seahawks (7-3) routed Hofstra 71-47 on Saturday. UNCW
continues its Colonial Athletic Association schedule at home against Old
Dominion at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and at Drexel on at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
College of Charleston ... Tom Herrion, brother of ECU coach Bill
Herrion, has the Cougars off to a 10-3 start despite a 70-53 loss at
Vanderbilt on Thursday. Thomas Mobley, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, leads
the Cougars with a 14.3 scoring average. C of C plays at Wofford at 7 p.m.
tonight and hosts Chattanooga on Saturday at noon.
South Carolina ... Sophomore forward Carlos Powell had 20 points as
the Gamecocks improved to 6-4 with a 66-50 win over The Citadel on
Thursday. Powell leads Coach Dave Odom’s second-year USC team with a 16.3
scoring average. USC hosts Ole Miss at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and plays at
Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
The Not-So-Sweet 17
12. Appalachian State
13. Coastal Carolina
14. High Point
15. Charleston Southern
16. UNC Greensboro
17. UNC Asheville
22. South Carolina State
24. The Citadel
25. Western Carolina
26. N.C. A&T