Eight days after Colorado freshman wideout Jeremy Bloom returned a punt for a score in a 29-7 loss to Oklahoma in the Dec. 7 Big 12 title game, he flew to Ruka, Finland, to ski in his first World Cup moguls competition of the season. The circuit's reigning champ took his finals a week early to make the trip. "I'm so sleep deprived," says Bloom, who found time last week to read Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to kids at the Denver Rescue Mission.
Bloom, who missed the first three World Cup events and has had just three days on the snow this fall, will spend the next three months skiing competitively, then make up the semester in summer school. His future at Colorado is uncertain, though, because the NCAA forbids him to accept endorsement money, meaning Bloom and his family have to come up with as much as $40,000 to cover his costs. "If it wasn't for the NCAA, there's no question I'd come back next season," he says. Regardless, he will come back on Saturday, then board a plane on Sunday to San Antonio, where Colorado plays Wisconsin in the Dec. 28 Alamo Bowl. Bloom, who is fifth in the nation in yards per punt return, will miss a few days of practice while in Finland, but, says coach Gary Barnett, "For three days we can make this work. This team loves him."