•Money talks. A number of schools simply are tired of being beaten. So they are spending to stop the hemorrhaging. Losing schools realize that the alternative to dropping down a division, or dropping the sport altogether, is to invest as much money in their programs as the Nebraskas and Michigans. During the '80s, Georgia Tech spent $30 million on athletic facilities. Kansas State nearly doubled its recruiting budget. This may be a case of skewed priorities in an era of tight money for higher education, but college presidents know how easy it is for a football score to find its way into The New York Times and how hard it is for an accomplishment in the biology lab to make news.
So, weird as it is, 1990 is not a fluke. Don't look for a return to the days of perennial powerhouses and predictable doormats anytime soon. Last Saturday, Mississippi lost to Tennessee 22-13. Business as ususal in the SEC? Not exactly. The loss narrowly deprived 8-2 Ole Miss of its first Sugar Bowl appearance since 1970. Says coach Billy Brewer of his team, and other reborn bowl contenders: "We haven't turned the corner yet, but we've got our blinkers on."