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B-CC: Zero losses, not much more respect

By JAMAL THALJI

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 10, 2000


Al Gore and George W. Bush aren't the only ones scrounging for votes this fall. Bethune-Cookman also is looking for some votes, and respect, from the coaches who vote in the USA Today/ESPN Division I-AA poll.

The Wildcats improved to 6-0 on Saturday with their most impressive win of the season, 41-20 over Delaware State in an important mid-season Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference meeting.

Yet when the Division I-AA poll came out Monday afternoon ... still no ranking.

Not that B-CC coach Alvin Wyatt cares.

"It doesn't matter to me," he said. "I'm not concerned with anything but winning football games."

True, but the B-CC athletic department and coaching staff have been lobbying to get the Wildcats ranked.

That effort netted just 21 votes in this week's USA Today/ESPN poll, released Monday. Nor is the team ranked in the Sports Network I-AA poll, which is voted on by sports information directors and select media.

Still, the lobbying will go on, B-CC sports information director Charles Jackson said.

"We've been having some of our coaches call their peers at other universities and colleges," he said. "From our office we've been faxing out information on a weekly basis, letting other SIDs know how well we're doing in other areas. But all that has still failed to produce a major national ranking at this point.

"I guess the bottom line is we have to show people how talented we are. They read the paper, but they don't believe it. We have an awesome football team and we're doing it week-in and week-out, yet we're not getting the respect and honors our players well deserve."

There are 10 teams who received more votes than B-CC, including South Florida, which is ineligible for the I-AA playoffs. The only ranked teams on the Wildcats' schedule are North Carolina A&T at No. 19 and FAMU at No. 10. B-CC, which improved to 3-0 in the MEAC, can try to impress the voters again in its next game Saturday against South Carolina State.

The last time B-CC was ranked in the top 25 in both polls was No. 14 in 1998.

OUCH: Tallahassee must not have been a fun place Saturday.

Not after former No. 1 Florida State lost 27-24 to No. 7 Miami at the Orange Bowl, and Florida A&M, the former No. 1 in the Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College rankings, lost 12-10 to No. 7 Grambling in Saturday's Circle City Classic at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.

That upset ended the Rattlers' hopes for an undefeated season and dropped them from No. 3 to No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN Division I-AA poll. The win vaulted previously unranked Grambling to No. 24.

Worse for FAMU, it opened the door for the No. 2 team in the Sheridan poll to take over the top: Archrival B-CC.

OUCH, THE SEQUEL: UCF set a dubious school record in Saturday's 40-20 loss at Northern Illinois: the team fumbled six times. Add an interception and a blocked punt that resulted in a safety and it's easy to see how the Golden Knights (3-3) fell to .500 for the season.

UCF had three turnovers by halftime, then fumbled again during its first two possessions of the third quarter.

Everyone on offense seemed turnover-prone, whether it was redshirt freshman Ryan Schneider fumbling and throwing an interception, or senior wide receiver Tyson Hinshaw giving up the ball, or redshirt freshman tailback Corey Baker.

JACQUAY WATCH: FAMU wideout Jacquay Nunnally caught eight passes for 51 yards Saturday. He is fifth in Division I with 272 career receptions, 29 shy of Jerry Rice's record. Close behind him is Louisville receiver Arnold Jackson, who had four receptions for 48 yards, and is tied for eighth with 264 catches.

- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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