WHERE WILL SPURRIER GO?
A periodic look at where former Florida Gators and Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier might land next year.
Hmmm, let's think about this for a second. Spurrier needs a job. Florida, the program he put on the map, needs a coach. He loves the Gators. And they love him. That obviously makes Florida this week's program to watch. But is it a done deal that Stevie Wonder will land in Gainesville? Perhaps, but it's not as if Spurrier won't have other options. An ESPN.com report this week said the Ol' Ball Coach could go back to the NFL if he wanted. The most likely team if that happens, one has to believe, is the Dolphins, who are 1-6 and have one of the worst offenses in NFL history. Other possibilities: Clemson, North Carolina and maybe even Notre Dame, which has fallen flat again.
- KEITH NIEBUHR, Times staff writerCATCH-22
With Utah at No. 6 in the BCS standings, Mountain West Conference teams are in a peculiar spot. They want to hand the Utes their first loss, but they also want the $14.4-million payoff a spot in a BCS game would afford the league.
"We want to be the team that knocks them off and keeps them from going where they want to be," UNLV athletic director Mike Hamrick told the Las Vegas Review-Journal before his team lost Saturday. "With that said, it would cost everybody a significant amount of money."WILDANDWACKY.COM
Tidbits from the UF coaching search:
Steve Spurrier on a thong? You betcha. At www.hirestevespurrier.com one can purchase a classic cotton thong that bears the name of what likely has become a popular site in recent days. Various other items, including T-shirts, sweat shirts, wall clocks and even a teddy bear also encourage the hiring of the former Gators coach to be the new Gators coach. On the site's home page, it says: "We want Steve Spurrier to come back to Gainesville where he belongs, coaching college football at his alma mater." Spurrier, or at least hirestevespurrier.com, has competition. At hirebobstoops.com, the webmaster, who claims to be a Florida grad, lists the top five reasons the Gators should hire Stoops, a former Florida assistant who's now a successful coach at Oklahoma. Among them: "Spurrier is not coming back. He's going to the Dolphins next year." Not to be outdone is www.hirejefftedford.com which urges Florida to go after Cal's coach. This site features a Tedford Timeline but at last check didn't have any thongs. Ralph Ortega, a two-time All-America linebacker at Florida and former player with the Dolphins and Falcons, told the Miami Herald he and a group of former NFL players and coaches have talked about building a coaching staff, which would have former Falcons coach Jerry Glanville as the Gators head coach.
"We have a group that would like to put together a coaching staff," said Ortega, whose son, Buck, is a junior tight end at Miami. "We just believe you should be winning championships at Florida.
"I think it's a shame that with the talent they have that Florida is not playing for a national championship every four years."
No word on whether Glanville already has reserved tickets for Elvis.
Want a good conspiracy theory? How about this one:
"I even had a Georgia fan e-mail me and lambasting my timing and claiming I did it to motivate the team to beat Georgia," Florida president Bernie Machen said. "It was hardly that."HEISMAN WATCH
With a little more than a month left in the season, the Heisman Trophy still appears up for grabs, though a few candidates have emerged:MATT LEINART, QB, USC
The composed leader of the nation's top-ranked team. He doesn't pile up huge numbers, but he rarely makes a mistake and comes up with plenty of clutch plays.
STATISTICS: 1,411 yards, 14 TD passes, three INTs and 65.3 completion percentage.REGGIE BUSH, RB, USC
The most exciting player in the country. Makes lots of big plays, but doesn't get as many touches as other top backs.
STATISTICS: 1,104 all-purpose yards, eight TDs.JASON WHITE, QB, OKLAHOMA
Last year's winner isn't throwing as much, but his numbers are starting to pile up.
STATISTICS: 1,617 yards, 17 TD passes, four INTs, 65.0 completion percentage.ADRIAN PETERSON, RB, OKLAHOMA
Freshman didn't get a chance to pad stats against early opponents because he wasn't playing as much. Now, he's looking like one of the best runners in the nation.
STATISTICS: 1,023 yards rushing, seven TDs.AARON RODGERS, QB, CALIFORNIA
Nearly knocked off USC and might be the most accurate passer in the country.
STATISTICS: 1,376 yards, 13 TD passes, four INTs, 75.0 completion percentage.ALEX SMITH, QB, UTAH
Versatile player directing high-powered offense. Utes could be a potential BCS buster.
STATISTICS: 2,247 yards passing, 452 yards rushing and 20 total TDs.FIVE THINGS
1. Florida owns six official SEC titles. But only one came before 1992, the year the conference began playing a championship game, and that was in 1991. The Gators' greatest nemesis through the years? The Georgia Bulldogs. All told, the Bulldogs kept Florida from winning at least a share of six SEC titles (1954, 1966, 1968, 1975, 1976, 1980), the SEC Eastern Division title in 1997 and possibly the national championship in 1985, when they handed the Gators their only loss.
2. Wisconsin and Michigan are 5-0 in the Big Ten with their toughest opponents behind them, and they don't play each other. If both go undefeated, Wisconsin gets the league's automatic berth to the Bowl Championship Series because of its overall record. The Badgers are 8-0; the Wolverines are 7-1, with a non-conference loss at Notre Dame. 3. Miami has given up 947 yards and 69 points in its past two games - victories against Louisville and North Carolina State.
4. Dating to the 2001 season, Purdue's past seven home losses have been by a total of 21 points, with the visiting team scoring in the final three minutes in the past four. 5. Washington (1-6, 0-4 Pac-10) is assured of its first losing season since 1976 and is coming off its first shutout loss since Nov. 7, 1981.QUOTABLE
"I've felt from Day 1 that they win despite their offense. When your punter is your best offensive player the last two years, and your kicker is your best offensive player this year, you've got some issues."
- ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit to the Dayton Daily News on Ohio State coach Jim Tressel's ability to coach offenseBY THE NUMBERS
0-2: Steve Spurrier's record as Florida coach at Mississippi State.
20-13: Tyrone Willingham's record as Notre Dame coach, identical to the record of fired UF coach Ron Zook.
72: Years since Penn State had three consecutive losing seasons. At 2-5, it looks like the Nittany Lions match that streak.
649: Yards of total offense by UAB Saturday against Tulane. UAB lost 59-55.
5,000: Approximate number of empty seats at Utah's 45,017-seat stadium for the Utes' win Saturday over UNLV.
Information from Times staff writers Damian Cristodero and Keith Neibuhr, the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was used in this report.