Those woes pale, however, compared with Tennessee's troubles off the field. Last week the university general counsel began an investigation into whether athletic administrators knew of allegations that tutors had performed work for athletes and, if so, whether the administrators took the appropriate action. Before the game against Memphis, Tennessee suspended four redshirt freshmen who were allegedly helped by the tutors but then reinstated them last Friday. Tennessee joins Washington, Miami, Alabama and Florida State in the ranks of national champions in this decade to have stepped off the pedestal and into an investigation.
Going Big-time In a Big Hurry
When Marshall moved up to Division I-A and joined the Mid-American Conference in 1997, "Everybody in the conference expected [the Thundering Herd] to take a few years to reach the pack," says Miami of Ohio coach Terry Hoeppner, whose RedHawks were pounded 32-14 at home by Marshall last Saturday. "But Marshall has quickly passed the rest of us, and we're all trying to catch up."
With its victory over Miami, the No. 15 Thundering Herd is in position to win its third consecutive MAC title, has a chance to go undefeated and hopes to play in a bowl of more stature than the Motor City, in which it has appeared in the last two seasons. Given the losses by Purdue and Florida last weekend, Marshall has the longest winning streak (nine games) and home winning streak (27) in Division I.
Much of its success is attributable to quarterback Chad Pennington, who picked apart the RedHawks, throwing for 294 yards and three touchdowns, and to its defense, which neutralized Miami running back Travis Prentice (67 of his 131 yards came against the Herd's second team).
"This is a story made for Hollywood," says Marshall coach Bob Pruett, who took over for the highly successful Jim Donnan in 1996 and led the Herd to a 15-0 record. "What we've done in a short amount of time is nothing short of a miracle. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this. We set high goals, and if you shoot for the sun, it doesn't matter if you end up on the moon."
LSU's Narrow Loss
What Were the Tigers Thinking?
Please explain why LSU coach Gerry DiNardo, whose Tigers had driven 61 yards in 1:08 for a touchdown to pull within a point of Georgia at 23-22, didn't believe his offense was playing well enough to win in overtime and therefore went for two. The Tigers lost when the Bulldogs' Will Witherspoon knocked down the conversion pass.