Maryland linebacker Chuck Faucette is from Willingboro, N.J., and he played baseball in the Toronto organization for two years. So why does the Terps' senior co-captain have a UCLA tattoo on his right biceps? Seems that Faucette fell in love with the school during a recruiting visit and decided he wanted to keep UCLA with him always. So he went to Sunset Boulevard and spent $65 for the souvenir.
Then baseball lured him (for a $40,000 signing bonus), and he played outfield deep in the minors. The 14-hour bus rides when he was with Medicine Hat in Alberta cut short his baseball career. "I felt like I was going to turn 50 before I turned 18," Faucette says. So he headed for Maryland and a football scholarship. Does Faucette regret the tattoo? "I don't regret anything I do," he says. "Except maybe I should have gone to UCLA in the first place."
The possible suspension by the NCAA of 60 Nebraska players for unauthorized distribution of comp tickets drove the bookies nuts. At the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas, the nation's largest legal sports book, oddsmaker Scott Schettler opened the Huskers as five-point favorites over Florida State, and the money poured in for Nebraska. In an effort to limit his losses, Schettler reduced the maximum individual wager from $5,000 to $2,500. Then word surfaced that Nebraska might play without all those players, so he took the game off the board. Finally, when the Huskers announced they would be allowed to play at full strength, Schettler put the game back on the board, with Nebraska as a six-point choice. He also regained his nerve and resumed taking $5,000 bets.
All the uncertainty in Lincoln didn't dissuade the bettors. The game attracted $86,467 at the Stardust, more than any other college game last week. In the end, the hotel lost a piddling $3,255 on the Huskers' 34-17 victory, and Schettler, good sport that he is, says, "It was a fun game."
NOT-SO-WILDCATS ARE SMILING
Spirits are high at Kansas State, home of the nation's worst major college football program. It's not that anybody really expects the Tamecats to win this season, it's that the explanations of their upcoming defeats will be so entertaining. That's because they come from the new coach in Manhattan, Stan Parrish, who has a way with words. Reflecting on last season, Parrish says, "When you are 1-10, you belong in the obituary column." Nor is he too sanguine about his new offense: "Last year it was run, run, run and punt. Now it will be pass, pass, pass and punt."
Of course, Parrish would love to make Kansas State a winner, but he won't. So it's best to laugh when tears are close. Still, Parrish, who had a 13-8-1 record in two years at Marshall, is demonstrating the spark and the spirit that make college football so appealing. Too often, dour coaches have stripped the game of its joy. You know who you are.
BACK TO NATURE
To play at Arizona, a player must submit to a preseason at Camp Cochise. The prospect culls out the faint of heart. This year's camp featured a flash flood, an invasion of tarantulas and nightly harassment by skunks at the players' dorm.