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ONE BOWL FOR NO. 1: THE REST FOR FUN
John Underwood
December 25, 1978
Penn State Coach Joe Paterno has always advocated a playoff to determine the national championship, and this year he got it: his No. 1-ranked Nittany Lions will meet up with Bear Bryant's No. 2-ranked Alabama squad in the Sugar Bowl
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December 25, 1978

One Bowl For No. 1: The Rest For Fun

Penn State Coach Joe Paterno has always advocated a playoff to determine the national championship, and this year he got it: his No. 1-ranked Nittany Lions will meet up with Bear Bryant's No. 2-ranked Alabama squad in the Sugar Bowl

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If true, it would suit Leach fine. A few weeks ago, Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler said, "Rick Leach has done everything a college player can do." Well, true, in a sense. In four seasons at quarterback he has rewritten the Wolverine record book, and his 81 touchdowns are an alltime NCAA high. But in three straight bowl games, Leach has come up empty. It is a deficiency that might be corrected on New Year's Day.

ORANGE BOWL
Jan. 1
Oklahoma (10-1) vs. Nebraska (9-2)

Nebraska, which this season beat fumbling Oklahoma for the first time since 1971, is infuriated that the Sooners were chosen as the Huskers' Orange Bowl opponent. The complaint is that they beat the Sooners once and shouldn't have to do it again. "A raw deal." grumps Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne. "Not fair to our team." says Athletic Director Bob Devaney. "Make Nebraska 10-point underdogs," quoth the oddsmakers.

There would be no need for all this fussing, except that after Nebraska beat Oklahoma, the Huskers skewered themselves in the final game of the regular season by losing to Missouri. Thus Oklahoma and Nebraska tied for the Big Eight title—and now there is to be a rematch. Still, it's the best possible game the Orange Bowl could get. These are the nation's top offensive team (Nebraska with 501.4 yards per game) and the top scoring team (Oklahoma with an average of 40 points per game), with second spot in each category going to the other team.

Few dispute that Oklahoma, led by the sensational Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Sims, and his roommate, Offensive Guard Greg Roberts, who won the Outland Trophy, is the best rushing team in the land. There is a story that Thomas Lott, Oklahoma's quarterback, who is from San Antonio, called Sims, who is from Hooks, Texas, when both were being recruited. "I'm going to Oklahoma, and if you come, too, we'll create a monster," said Lott. They did. Only trouble is that twice in the last two seasons, just when the Sooners were on the verge of national titles, the monster fumbled away its chances. Last year in the Orange Bowl, heavily favored Oklahoma coughed up the ball three times and tumbled 31-6 to Arkansas while, in this season's loss to Nebraska, the Sooners fumbled six times.

The Nebraska offense relies on running backs Rick Berns and I. M. Hipp and occasionally on Quarterback Tom Sorley, but Offensive Tackle Kelvin Clark probably is the key player in the unit. Assistant Coach Jerry Moore is philosophical about Nebraska's fate, saying, "How many seasons do you get a chance to beat Oklahoma twice?" Not many, and for that Nebraska can be grateful.

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