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College football around the nation

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 20, 2000

It's not just baseball: Game length a worry

If you have watched all of a college football game recently, you know the games are taking a long time. The officials in charge of the sport agree and are trying to figure out what to do about the length of games.

The average SEC television game this season has taken 3 hours, 18 minutes.

The corresponding figure in the ACC is 3:22.

"I think everybody's concerned about it," SEC commissioner Roy Kramer said. "When a game starts approaching four hours, you're talking about quite a commitment of time. And it can't be great for the people in the stands, either."

The big offender might have been one of the season's best games. The Oct.7 Florida State-Miami game, which the Hurricanes rallied to win 27-24, lasted 3:52.

"Our game with Florida State lasted forever," Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary said of the 3:43 game. "I just don't think you can hold people's attention for that long."

Television is a big factor. The SEC contracts with CBS and ESPN call for the networks to get seven timeouts in each half to air commercials. The first of the seven timeouts is 2:25, and the other six are 1:55.

But television isn't the only reason for college football's increasing game time.

College football has a 20-minute halftime; the NFL has 12. Teams are passing more than ever. The clock stops after every incomplete pass and every completion that takes the receiver out of bounds.

Thursday's game

Garrard was 11-of-20 for 174 yards to keep the Pirates in the race for the conference title

The Cardinals (5-2, 2-1) trailed 28-10 after Garrard's 12-yard score to Keith Stokes with 10:30 left in the third quarter.

But Louisville backup quarterback Mike Watkins, who replaced injured starter Dave Ragone at halftime, engineered two long touchdown drives in the second half that pulled the Cardinals within three points midway through the fourth quarter.

Louisville got the ball at its 19-yard line with 3:58 left for a chance to tie the score. The Cardinals reached the ECU 30, but the drive stalled there with 44 seconds left.

Ragone left after injuring his right collarbone in the first half. He played the first half, going 8-for-17 for 93 yards and a touchdown. He also threw a career-high three interceptions.

Kentucky-Georgia: quarterback quandaries

Kentucky's nightmare season got worse when freshman quarterback Jared Lorenzen injured the thumb on his throwing hand during practice.

An athletic department statement said Lorenzen sprained his left thumb during a goal-line passing drill when he hit the helmet of a player. The statement said X-rays showed no fracture.

Lorenzen, the SEC leader in passing yards and total offense, is 202-of-347 for 2,182 yards with 12 touchdowns.

Freshman Shane Boyd, a touted recruit from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, was expected to redshirt but might be forced into action against the Bulldogs. Mark Perry is the third quarterback listed on the roster. Neither has thrown a pass in a college varsity game.

Georgia finds itself in a similar situation. Quarterback Quincy Carter bruised a rotator cuff in last week's 29-19 victory over Vanderbilt and has missed all practices this week.

VMI: School superintendent Josiah Bunting said he will ask the Southern Conference for an "open-ended leave of absence" for the program. Under the proposal, the football team would be an independent but other sports would remain in the conference.

INDEPENDENCE BOWL: ESPN will televise the game in Shreveport, La., through at least 2006 under a new contract. The cable channel has shown the game since 1992. This year's game, Dec. 31, will pit teams from the Big 12 and SEC. The payout is $1-million.

COACHES LIKE PATERNO: Penn State's Joe Paterno is the best coach in college football, according to a Bloomberg News Service poll of Division I-A coaches.

Paterno, who needs five wins to become the career I-A leader, edged Florida State's Bobby Bowden by 1 1/2 votes. Kansas State's Bill Snyder finished third. Eighty-eight of 114 I-A coaches responded. Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer was fourth, and Florida's Steve Spurrier was fifth.

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