Things turned out quite differently for Arizona State quarterback Daniel Ford. "Danny has a lot to learn," said offensive coordinator Jim Colletto after Nebraska beat the Sun Devils 35-28 on Sept. 26. "He's a good college quarterback, but he's not going to win games for us. He's got to help us not to lose them. As long as he doesn't hurt us, we'll be all right." If Colletto was trying to light a fire under Ford, it didn't work. Against UTEP on Saturday, Ford completed two of six passes for 48 yards and an interception before being benched in the second quarter, even though Arizona State was ahead 21-10 at the half. His replacement. Paul Justin, took over as the Sun Devils went on to win 35-16.
THE GRASS IS GREENER
To explain the Big Ten's woes in recent Rose Bowls, some folks in the Midwest have settled on the Turf Alibi. Ever since Michigan and Ohio State, the Big Ten's most frequent representatives in Pasadena, installed artificial playing surfaces—Michigan in '69, Ohio State in '71—the conference has lost 16 of 19 games to Pac-10 teams. Fifteen of those 18 Rose Bowl hosts play on grass. This has some Big Ten coaches ready to call Lawn Doctor. "When our artificial turf wears out. we're going to grow grass," says Iowa coach Hayden Fry. whose Hawkeyes lost 45-28 to UCLA on the well-manicured Rose Bowl grass in 1986. "Every time we go out to play on the West Coast, we look like we're running in mud and it looks like they're on skateboards."
Michigan's Bo Schembechler, who has a 1-7 Rose Bowl record, demurs. "I don't think that the turf is a legitimate excuse for losing," he says. "Hayden may just be talking. Grass isn't practical in this climate. Some of the great games we've had on artificial surfaces would have been played on slop."
Another possible explanation for all those Big Ten losses is proffered by Arizona State coach John Cooper, whose Sun Devils beat the Wolverines 22-15 in last January's Rose Bowl. He posits the Halter Tops and Hollywood Theory, which holds that those farm boys from the Midwest simply can't handle the distractions of sunshine, bikinis and glitz in Southern California.
DUM QUOTE OF THE WEAK
Houston coach Jack Pardee offered this assessment of the two freshman quarterbacks—the Cougars' Andre Ware and Baylor's Brad Goebel—who faced each other in the Astrodome Saturday: "Neither one is not nearly as good as they're going to get."
Kansas State coach Stan Parrish thought he had a good idea. He figured he would get some extra fans to show up at KSU Stadium on Saturday, and they just might see the Wildcats win for the first time in nine tries. After all, Tulsa, also winless this season, was the opponent. So Parrish sent copies of the same letter to the college and local newspapers. "Being negative is easy," he wrote. "Being positive takes conviction. Our team needs your support to help us become winners." His team needs more than that. Although 28,400 spectators showed—Kansas State's largest crowd in a year—Tulsa won 37-25....
"I know it's the American way to say you always have a chance," said Iowa State coach Jim Walden before his Cyclones got blown away 56-3 by Oklahoma, "but it's also the American way not to lie." Still, the Sooner starters displayed unseemly cockiness. After running up a 32-point lead in the first half, the first-stringers sat on the bench in their sweatpants throughout the second....
Holy Cross was supposed to play Yale on Saturday, but the Crusaders backed out of that commitment, leaving Yale with an open date. As it happened, Hawaii had a hole in its schedule as well and invited Yale to Honolulu. Hope the Elis enjoyed the beaches. Hawaii's Heikoti Fakava scored five touchdowns as the Rainbows won 62-10. In 116 years of football a Yale team had never traveled so far or been beaten as badly.