College champion just myth this year


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THE LONGER the college football season goes -- there are instances of it stretching to nearly 20 weeks for some teams -- the more apparent it becomes there should be no mythical champion this year.

* Wee Willie Ronson makes it sound like a mission, the Baltimore Blast jumping the Big Pond to play an exhibition game against the best team in Division II English soccer during a big indoor tourney in Manchester, England: "I've played in the arena they're using many times and I know they don't take American soccer seriously back home. I'm dying to show them how we play indoors."

* Altitude sickness? Jim Palmer's already in the Hall of Fame, so what's all this light-headed foolishness coming out of Denver about him sneaking back on the field at age 45? Many's the time his manager and teammates complained that Jimbo didn't take the mound when he appeared to be fit. Some have suggested Jim's been wearing Jockey shots marked S.

* What ninny came up with the Kodak All-America team, naming Notre Damers Chris Zorich, Todd Lyght and Mike Stonebreaker? The trio plays defense, which has been an anathema to the Irish all season. Besides, all have gotten by on reputation this year, having had bad years or been injured most of the time.

* The sports books in Las Vegas certainly don't waste any time when it comes to setting horse racing lines. Hot off the presses are the early odds for the 1991 Breeders' Cup next October. Unbridled and Summer Squall have drawn the co-favorites role for the featured Classic.

* Some experts: For the second year in a row, not one living (or reasonable facsimile thereof) baseball writer correctly named all hands on the 10-man Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.

* Perhaps in an attempt to get fans' minds off the team, come Saturday night at the Capital Centre when the club takes on the Indiana Pacers, numerous pro team mascots will be on hand to celebrate team mascot Hoops' birthday. Invited guests include the Oriole Bird, Hugo the (Charlotte) Hornet, Stuff the (Orlando) Magic Dragon, Big Shot (76ers), Spuds McKenzie, et al. What, no Denny the Detonator from the Blast?

* For you folks who never had the pleasure of watching Johnny Rodgers (circa 1972) frolic on the gridiron, be advised Rocket Ismail is his mirror image and will probably join the Nebraska star as a Heisman Trophy recipient.

* There can be little doubt that the Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl will be much the worse off not extending an invitation to the Maryland Terrapins and the legion of fans that would have followed them to Shreveport, La.

* Business opportunities: Sure, times are tough, but the Rose, All American, Freedom, Hall of Fame, Liberty and Peach bowls are still without a title sponsor and it just doesn't seem right.

* No sooner does Monica Seles get done co-headlining the First National Bank Tennis with Jennifer Capriati here next Tuesday at the Arena when she's off to Argentina for an exhibition series against Gabriela Sabatini, whom she beat for the Virginia Slims title in five grueling sets the other day.

* It's just a guess, but one suspects the reason a site hasn't been selected for the Sugar Ray Leonard-Terry Norris bout from among Las Vegas, Atlantic City and New York is each probably hopes one of the others gets it.

* The pump-em-up-as-quick-as-you-can style of the Denver Nuggets actually works against Paul Westhead's 1-9 juggernaut. The opposition is subjected to the 48-minute sprint just every so often, not 82 times like the Nuggets will be. Teams are consistently shooting 60 percent against Denver because they're treated to so many layups.

* How tough is it to win on the road in the NBA? Through the first three weeks of the campaign it has been Napoleonic, just four of the 27 teams having a winning mark on the suitcase circuit. It's no picnic in the NHL either, just five of 21 teams having their noses above water.

* There should be some sort of award for Houston coach John Jenkins for mercifully pulling quarterback David Klinger midway through the fourth quarter and not allowing him to pad his 41-for-58 and 11 touchdown passes performance against an always dangerous and fast-closing Eastern Washington powerhouse. The final was 84-21. Recall, the Cougars stacked up 95 points in a game last year.

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