LSU just can't seem to behave properly. Last month a field goal kicker made an obscene gesture at the fans in Tiger Stadium, and coach Bill Arnsparger tried to pretend that it didn't happen. Over the past few years there have been myriad investigations into wrongdoings involving both the football and basketball programs.
Last week the wheels came off again. University chancellor James Wharton suspended AD Bob Brodhead when the State Commission on Ethics for Public Employees charged Brodhead with three violations, including taking a free trip to Mexico in April with the owner of the radio station that broadcasts LSU games and accepting outside payment for doing only what his job requires, like disseminating information about the athletic department. Naturally Brodhead, who, you may recall, pleaded guilty last spring to bugging his office for the purpose of eavesdropping on NCAA investigators, gets to keep his $82,000-a-year paycheck.
Said Arnsparger last week, "I'm disappointed for Bob. I'm disappointed for our athletic department." Disappointed? This kind of stuff is atrocious. There is no excuse, but there is a solution: Burn down the athletic department complex, fire everyone, and start over. And if that doesn't work, then drastic measures will be required.
DUM QUOTE OF THE WEAK
Ohio State coach Earle Bruce: "You don't build a winning team by losing."
Despite an underwhelming 23-17 victory over Cincinnati last week, Penn State is a tough-on-tough team that isn't getting the respect it deserves as it slinks along toward a possible national title. While others remain skeptical, we have ranked the Nittany Lions No. 2 all year. You will applaud our prescience at season's end.
Penn State has a schedule that guarantees the Lions a 6-0 record when they take on No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 25. By the time the Tide plays Penn State, Alabama will have spent itself coping with Ohio State, Florida, Notre Dame and Tennessee. The Lions will have spent themselves coping with East Carolina.
Says Paterno, "I'm not going to apologize for this schedule." O.K., then we'll apologize for you, Joe. It stinks, but so does Miami's and that of a lot of other Top 20 schools. Doesn't matter, because come Jan. 2 the question is not who but how many. Ask BYU.
Another reason Penn State often doesn't get its due is that the school sometimes comes off as arrogant, and Paterno can sound pompous. So, hooray for the new Joe Paterno golf ball, yours for only $32.86 a dozen. It has Joe's face on it, and for some Penn State critics, that alone makes it worth smacking. Goody Two Shoes is giving his 10% royalty to the university's Joe Paterno Library Endowment. So far about 200 dozen have been sold, and sharp tongues have pointed out that the ball is a lot like the traditional Paterno offense: guaranteed to go up the middle three times out of four.
THIS REALLY HAPPENED
In its first five games, Ole Miss allowed each of its opponents to score on the first possession. Luckily, against Georgia a fortnight ago, the Rebels won the toss, but Ole Miss coach Billy Brewer inexplicably chose to take the second-half option. So the Bulldogs elected to receive the opening kickoff, and naturally they scored on their first possession. The TD turned out to be pivotal, as the Bulldogs won 14-10. Said disbelieving Georgia coach Vince Dooley, "I guess sometimes it's better to lose the toss." And never forget that coaches come in early and work late seven days a week to equip themselves to make decisions like this one.