Rugby World Cup
This Week's Issue
Life of Reilly
SI for Women
CNN/SI - TV
Golf Pro Shop
MLB Gear Store
NFL Gear Store
SI FOR KIDS
INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Emotion-charged foes felled Florida State, Michigan and Notre Dame
by Ivan Maisel
Posted: Wed September 16, 1998
College football is a dynastic sport, and in sizing up the dynasties, fans and pundits often succumb to circular logic: This is mighty Florida State, therefore whomever Bowden chooses as the starting quarterback will lead the Seminoles to victory because this is mighty Florida State. Then sophomore Chris Weinke goes to North Carolina State and is intercepted six times, and the Seminoles lose 24-7. In making his first start before a hostile crowd, Weinke fared miserably, which is normal for a first-year starter but not one from Florida State, possessor of 11 consecutive Top 10 finishes.
With its two straight losses Michigan has settled the argument over who should have been last season's Heisman Trophy winner. Wolverines cornerback Charles Woodson, not Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, really was the most outstanding player and deserved the Heisman, which, of course, he won. Without Woodsonone of only two starters who didn't return to the Michigan defensethe Wolverines reverted to the form they showed before 1997, when they lost four games a year for four straight years. If you offered the Wolverines the guarantee of an 8-4 season right now, they would snatch it in a heartbeat. Two weeks ago, Michigan and Arizona State, which lost 26-6 to BYU last Saturday and fell to 0-2, were candidates to play in the Fiesta Bowl (No. 1 versus No. 2 nationally). Now they're hoping for the Sun (Pac-10's No. 3 versus Big Ten's No. 5).
The upsets of Michigan, Florida State and Notre Damea 45-23 loser to Michigan State on Saturdayeach could be blamed to some extent on an inexperienced quarterback. What those losses also speak to, however, is the power of emotion in college football. Ask Iowa State about the importance of emotion. Archrival Iowa played last Saturday merely to win the intrastate matchup for the 16th consecutive season. The Cyclones played to save coach Dan McCarney's job. They won 27-9. Michigan State, which had sleepwalked to two embarrassing losses, played for senior cornerback Amp Campbell, who narrowly escaped paralysis after breaking two vertebrae in his neck while trying to make a tackle during a 48-14 loss at Oregon on Sept. 5. He underwent surgery in Eugene that night to fuse the vertebrae, and doctors believe he may be able to play football again. Standing in the Spartans' locker room before Saturday's game, he wanted to address his teammates but broke down crying. They wept with him. Michigan State then stormed to a 42-3 halftime lead.
Emotion makes college football interesting, even when the same teams win year after year. Imagine how much fun it's going to be this year on when some of them don't win. "We underestimated North Carolina State," Bowden said on Sunday, "and so did y'all."
Issue date: September 21, 1998
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.