"Nobody ever wants to be in a game like that," said Paterno, who tried to console losing coach Tim Murphy by saying, "You'll have better days, Tim." Maybe so, but ahead for the Bearcats are dates with North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia Tech and Kentucky—none of them world-beaters but every one a likely big winner.
Not long ago, Cincinnati had a program that was at least respectable. But since a 5-6 record in 1986, Cincinnati has gone steadily downhill—4-7, 3-8, 1-9-1 and 1-10. Last season's team, which got clobbered by Iowa (63-10), Florida State (70-21) and Alabama (45-7), drew an average of only 13,310 for its three home games in 59,754-seat Riverfront Stadium.
Even though the Cincinnati area produces some of the nation's best high school players, the Bearcats have never been able to successfully recruit against Ohio State, Notre Dame and the other Midwest powers. Perhaps it's time for the university to reexamine its commitment to Division I-A; travesties such as the Penn State game are a waste of everyone's time, especially the players', and an insult to the ticket-buying public.
Since Michigan had lost four consecutive season openers to Notre Dame, it dawned on athletic director Jack Weidenbach and coach Gary Moeller that it might be a good idea if the Wolverines played somebody—anybody—before this Saturday's visit by the Irish to Ann Arbor. The solution was to move Michigan's trip to Boston College up by two weeks, from Sept. 21 to last Saturday. The Eagles were happy to oblige, maybe because they liked the idea of catching Michigan looking ahead, which is exactly what happened.
With only eight minutes left in the game, the Wolverines found themselves clinging to a 14-13 lead. Then wide receiver Desmond (Magic) Howard did a little hocus-pocus (box) and Michigan won 35-13, the icing on the cake being Lance Dottin's 50-yard runback of an interception for a TD with 55 seconds left.
Afterward, Michigan offensive tackle Greg Skrepenak was not pleased. "If we'd played Notre Dame today, we probably would have gotten our ass kicked," he said. Skrepenak may be interested to know that the Irish were almost as dissatisfied with their own performance in their 49-27 victory over Indiana in South Bend. "We played good football," said linebacker Demetrius DuBose, "but to beat Michigan, we'll have to play great football."
DuBose and quarterback Rick Mirer had been arrested at a raucous off-campus beer party on Aug. 30. Mirer wasn't charged, but the 20-year-old DuBose was cited for possession of alcohol by a minor. Both players rebounded with fine games against the Hoosiers, who had last met their in-state rivals in 1958. DuBose intercepted a pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown, and Mirer completed 11 of 17 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown and rushed for three more scores.
On Saturday Mirer will face a Michigan defense that remembers only too well Notre Dame's 28-24 come-from-behind win last year in South Bend. "We can't help but get fired up for Notre Dame," said fifth-year Wolverine linebacker Erick Anderson. "Nobody on this team has ever beaten them, and I was on the first team that got this started. It really hurts me."