The central problem at Missouri is coach Woody Widenhofer, who is 3-18 in two years on the job and has proved to be totally overmatched. Unfortunately, new athletic director Jack Lengyel says he won't fire Widenhofer, but the strong hunch here is that he will have to reconsider.
In 1982, Missouri led the Big Eight in both passing offense and passing defense. In 1983 the Tigers beat Oklahoma 10-0 and were first in the conference in rushing defense. Two weeks ago the Sooners slammed the Tigers 77-0. A few weeks before that a very average Syracuse team routed Missouri 41-9.
Mizzou has won 10 outright conference titles. Not bad in a league dominated by Oklahoma (24 titles) and Nebraska (27). After these three, the school with the most outright championships is Kansas, with two.
Tiger fans properly are staying home. Recruiting is suffering because little boys in Kansas City and St. Louis no longer dream of being Tigers. Which means Missouri is light-years away from the glory days of Dan Devine and Don Faurot.
The career of Houston's Bill Yeoman, the dean of major-college coaches with 25 years at the same school and sixth among active coaches in career wins (160), will reach an inglorious end at the conclusion of this season. Last week Yeoman announced his resignation in the face of allegations from 23 former players that they had received thousands of dollars in cash and other benefits from Cougar coaches. Further, 12 players flunked out after last season, and 10 of 28 1986 recruits were ruled academically ineligible before the start of the season. Yeoman insists there's no connection between the team's off-field problems and his resignation.
In any case, the Cougars are terrible (1-8). The average attendance in 1976 was 39,000; so far this year it's 16,727. Even Yeoman joked at a recent press conference, "There are more people here than at some of our games." What a horrible fall for a man who has been to 11 bowls, including 4 Cottons. Good heavens, as recently as 1984 Houston was co-champ in the rugged SWC.
Yeoman, the father of the veer offense, who will remain at Houston as a fund-raiser for the athletic department, simply stayed too long on the job. "I was doing my usual cheerleading bit at the homecoming bonfire, and I said to myself, 'What is a gray-haired man doing up here leading cheers?' " he says. And the image of Houston, which was never good, deteriorated. Yeoman has a sign on his desk that says EXPECT A MIRACLE. Perhaps he's still expecting. No one else is. Debbie Hanna, chairman of the Regents, says of athletics in general at Houston and of football in particular, "This is the last candle. We're on our last legs."
After Temple fell from the bowl picture, Owl coach Bruce Arians was philosophical: "If you dream about things, you get broken dreams."
...The word on Rumor Street is that Harvey Schiller, the new SEC commissioner, is a leading candidate to become executive director of the NCAA....