?BEST GAME NO ONE SAW: Syracuse 32, West Virginia 31 (Nov. 21). In the closing 1:32, quarterback Don McPherson drove the Orange 74 yards, capping the march with a 17-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left. Syracuse made a two-point conversion to stay unbeaten.
?BIGGEST UPSET: 19-point underdog North Carolina State's 30-28 win at Clemson, then No. 6 (Oct. 24). Two weeks later the Wolfpack lost 29-14 to I-AA East Tennessee State. Runner-up: No Southwest Conference school going on probation.
?BEST PLAYS: The back-to-back punt returns for touchdowns—71 and 66 yards—by Notre Dame's Tim Brown against Michigan State. They probably clinched the Heisman for Brown while helping to raise...
?THE BEST HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION: If Brown played for Syracuse and McPherson for Notre Dame, would anyone care who was ahead of whom in all-purpose yardage?
?TO THINE IMAGE BE TRUE AWARD: Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman. Quoth Spielman: "If you had told me at the beginning of the year that we weren't going to a bowl, I would have shot you or punched you right in the face." (He picked up our vote right there for the Butkus Award, given to the year's top linebacker.)
?MOST CLOSELY WATCHED STREAK: Columbia's skein of 41 straight losses. Two consecutive classes of seniors have never tasted Lion victory. Honorable mention: The woman who ran naked onto the field and lay down on the 50-yard line a few minutes before the opening kickoff of the Utah- UTEP game in Salt Lake City.
?COACH OF THE YEAR: Dick MacPherson of Syracuse. After a 5-6 season that led to a Sack Mac campaign a year ago, MacPherson led a supposedly middling team to an 11-0 record, a Sugar Bowl berth and an outside shot at the national title. Runner-up: Paul Roach, Wyoming's 60-year-old rookie head coach, who guided the Cowboys to their first bowl in 11 years.
?COACHES SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS: Arkansas coach Ken Hatfield. After losing 51-7 to Miami, he began his TV show by saying, "And Jesus wept."
?NOBLEST COACHING GESTURE: Indiana's Bill Mallory. After his Hoosiers were clobbered 27-3 by Michigan State in the game that determined the Big Ten champion, Mallory spent about a minute in the locker room of the Rose Bowl-bound Spartans. "It was a real pep talk," said Michigan State coach George Perles. "I will never equal it."
?PLAYERS IN NEED OF A PUBLICIST: 1) Quarterback Eric Jones of Vanderbilt, who topped the SEC in total offense and passing efficiency; 2) Dee Dowis, a 165-pounder at Air Force who set the NCAA rushing record for quarterbacks with 1,315 yards; 3) Minnesota sophomore running back Darrell Thompson, who became the first Big Ten player to rush for 1,000 yards in both his freshman and sophomore seasons.