Dee and UCLA athletic director Pete Dalis will talk this week about if and when to reschedule the game. The only Saturday available is Dec. 5, two weeks after the Bruins' traditional season-ender against USC and one week after Miami would finish up, at Syracuse.
Both teams may have ample incentive to make up the game at season's end. The 2-1 Hurricanes, who opened the season with a win over I-AA East Tennessee State, must have six victories against I-A teams to qualify for a bowl; if they don't face UCLA, they'll have only seven games left in which to get five more wins. The 2-0 Bruins will be in contention for a berth in the national championship game if they finish 10-0 or perhaps even 9-1 but might need a victory over Miami to clinch the spot—especially considering that a team that plays in a conference championship game could have two more wins than the Bruins. Moreover, Miami, a likely bowl team that will have played Syracuse and Florida State, should boost the Bruins' strength-of-schedule rating several spots.
The decision on whether to play could also affect which Pac-10 team goes to the Rose Bowl. If Arizona, Oregon and UCLA finish in a three-way tie, the Bruins would be knocked out of consideration because they would have only two nonconference wins, compared to three for the Wildcats and the Ducks.
The Tucson Two-step
Arizona coach Dick Tomey had said he would start the season with a quarterback rotation of junior Keith Smith and sophomore Ortege Jenkins and reassess that strategy after three or four games. Last Friday, the day after Smith (who played the first and fourth quarters) and Jenkins (second and third) led the Wildcats to a 35-16 rout at San Diego State to run Arizona's record to 4-0, Tomey reassessed reassessing. "The only thing that will come about is we won't take a guy out if he's hot, whether it's the end of me quarter or not," Tomey said last Friday. "We're not going to count plays or series."
Smith and Jenkins, who room together on the road, have taken on some of each other's characteristics. Smith, the more accurate passer (he's sixth in the nation in passing efficiency, with a rating of 179.9), ran for touchdowns of 30 and 20 yards against the Aztecs. Jenkins, the playmaker who began the season, throwing erratically, completed 6 of 9 attempts for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Arizona has won eight straight since its overtime loss to eventual Pac-10 champion Washington State last October. The Wildcats travel to Washington this week and then meet UCLA in Tucson. "With the teams we start playing," Tomey says, "we're going to need a relief pitcher. We'll keep doing what we're doing."
Illness in the ACC
Football is often described as warfare. What Duke conducted against Florida State on Sept. 19 amounted to germ warfare. A gastrointestinal virus, which began to show up among Blue Devils players during pregame warmups, knocked the starting defensive line out of the game in the second quarter and over the next few days affected 35 Duke players and coaches. By the Monday after the game, Seminoles quarterback Chris Weinke, 11 Florida State offensive linemen and one defensive player were sick as well. "Their quarterback must have got it from them; he didn't get it from us," said Duke coach Fred Goldsmith, referring to the Blue Devils' inability to lay a hand on Weinke in a 62-13 loss. So many players on both sides were affected that neither the Blue Devils nor the Seminoles held practice early last week. Florida State all but quarantined its stricken players; Weinke was banned from quarterback meetings for fear he would infect his backups. (However, Weinke and his teammates were back in fine fettle by last Saturday, for the Seminoles' victory over USC.)
Considering the proximity of opposing players at the line of scrimmage and the amount of contact during a game, it's surprising mat such outbreaks aren't more common. After two games in 1969, Holy Cross, faced with an epidemic of hepatitis, canceled the remainder of its season. Spokesmen for the NCAA cannot recall any other such incidents. "We have a rule with bleeding," NCAA senior assistant director of sports sciences Randy Dick says. "I think the decision to play kids who are sick is based more on whether they're going to do harm to themselves."