CNNSI.com 2002 College Bowls


 

Notebook

'Canes party flier gives Buckeyes extra motivation

Posted: Saturday January 04, 2003 2:11 AM
Updated: Saturday January 04, 2003 5:01 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Never announce a celebration until there is definitely something to celebrate.

That should be the lesson learned by Miami after its 31-24 double-overtime loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Friday night.

The Buckeyes said they saw a flier about a party planned in Miami's South Beach to celebrate the Hurricanes' defense of their national championship.

"We took that to heart, man," Ohio State safety Will Allen said. "They counted us out before we were even there. We just took that as motivation and just took it to 'em."

CNNSI.com's Stewart Mandel
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    The flier said the party would be hosted at a night club by former Miami running back Clinton Portis, now a rookie with the Denver Broncos.

    "We seen the flier," Allen said. "They were taking us for granted, but you saw what happened. They didn't know what they were getting themselves into."

    Happy alums

    In the hallway outside the Ohio State locker room, Archie Griffin, the Buckeyes' two-time Heisman Trophy winner, grabbed coach Jim Tressel in a long hug.

    Rex Kern, the quarterback for the Buckeyes the last time they won a national championship 34 years ago, quietly watched the celebration and compared it to that one so long ago.

    "This was just as good," he said. "Our kids don't know when to quit. They never quit. They played with class."

    In the long, storied history of Ohio State football, this was perhaps its finest moment, and two of its biggest names of the past were on hand to see it.

    "Unbelievable, unforgettable," Griffin said, "This is something that we will long remember. You've got to give a lot of credit to coach Tressel, Craig Krenzel, all the guys that played today. They just did a terrific job. I'm very proud."

    Adios, Sun Devil Stadium

    The Ohio State-Miami game Friday night almost certainly will be the last national championship game at Sun Devil Stadium.

    The stadium carved into the rock at the edge of the Arizona State campus has hosted the Fiesta Bowl since its inception in 1971.

    But the game is moving across Phoenix to the western suburb of Glendale when the Arizona Cardinals' new state-of-the-art stadium is completed, possibly in time for the 2006 game.

    If the BCS is still around, the Fiesta's next turn for a title game would be in 2007.

    The $358 million stadium is to have a retractable roof and a natural grass field that slides outdoors like a kitchen cutting board when not in use.

    The stadium was approved by voters two years ago but construction has been delayed by a lawsuit and political squabbling over a site. Groundbreaking now is expected later this month.

    The stadium will be built near the new arena for the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.

    Lonely homecoming

    Anyone who turns out to greet the Ohio State team plane on its return to Columbus won't find much of the team to welcome.

    Backup quarterback Scott McMullen is the only scholarship player scheduled to take the flight. NCAA rules permit Ohio State to give players the cash equivalent of a full-fare coach ticket. Then players can find their own way and pocket the difference.

    Ohio State sports information director Steve Snapp said some preliminary plans have been made for a reception for the team, most likely late next week.

    New era

    Miami went through this week without causing a bit of controversy -- a far cry from their predecessors who came storming into Arizona in camouflage fatigues for the title game 16 years ago.

    "I fit in a lot better with this team," linebacker Jonathan Vilma said. "I don't like to talk much or showboat because that can come back to haunt you. I feel uncomfortable doing that sort of thing so I'm glad I'm on this team."

    Not all of the Hurricanes prefer the low-key attitude prevalent on this year's team.

    "Our football team in the past didn't have the best reputation in the world," center Brett Romberg said. "Guys like me wish we could have played back in the '80s when everything was crazy."

    Would Romberg have liked to have worn fatigues this year?

    "I would have worn them in a second," he said. "But a majority of guys want to do it the way we have all year."

    One vs. two

    This will be the 34th meeting between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the AP media poll. The No. 1 team leads, 20-11-2.

    The last 1-2 matchup was top-ranked Florida State's 46-29 win over Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl, which gave the Seminoles the national title.

    Bellowing Buckeyes

    Ohio State fans have vastly outnumbered their Miami counterparts all week.

    Of course, the throng at Sun Devil Stadium on Friday night was mostly a sea of red, but all across the Phoenix area Ohio State fans were prominent, usually in red and white football jerseys.

    At the Philadelphia-Phoenix NBA game Thursday night, the marching bands of both teams, as well as the cheerleaders and mascots were on hand. In a competition over which fans were the loudest at that game, Ohio State won by a landslide. Thousands of red-clad Ohio State fans milled about outside the stadium because they didn't have tickets to the game.


     
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