Day's coming for Miami to become No. 1


A DAY FOR rumbling and rambling:

Let's forget about all the criteria the Bowl Championship Series use for selecting Nebraska No. 1 and Oklahoma No. 2. The best college football team in the country is Miami, and the Hurricanes should get a shot at the national championship once they beat Temple, Boston College, Syracuse (No. 19 in the Associated Press poll), Washington (No. 11) and Virginia Tech (No. 12) to close out the season.

Oklahoma plays great defense and Nebraska is not far behind, but both teams are limited offensively. The Sooners can't run and the Cornhuskers can't pass.

Meanwhile, Miami is more of the total package. The Hurricanes have three standouts in the secondary with cornerbacks Phillip Buchanon and Mike Rumph and free safety Edward Reed. They have so much depth on the defensive line that they use a 10-man rotation. Offensively, the Hurricanes have two great tackles in Joaquin Gonzalez and Bryant McKinnie, who haven't allowed quarterback Ken Dorsey to be sacked all year. Clinton Portis is a standout running back, led around by fullback Najeh Davenport. The kicking game is superb with punter Freddie Capshaw and kicker Todd Sievers.

Now, on the other end of the spectrum ...

We have Navy. The Mids need to change more than a head coach. Supporters of the program don't want to hear about moving down to Division I-AA, and they are right. The Mids should contemplate moving down to Division II.

And then there is Towson University. The Tigers didn't allow Monmouth to complete a pass Saturday, but they still lost, 24-17. That's embarrassing.

Now that we've seen Michael Jordan twice in the regular season after his three years in retirement, can the networks do us all a favor and not show him again for a while?

Jordan looked better in Atlanta last night than he did Tuesday against New York, but watching Jordan and the Wizards is pretty boring. It's basically Washington working out of a half-court offense and Jordan shooting jumpers.

The experts say Jordan will get better; wait until he gets his legs under him. But the high-flying days are over. I'd prefer to see Kobe, Shaq, Iverson or Vince Carter. At least there would be more excitement because they'd go to the rack more often.

Plus, Jordan has virtually no support. The Wizards don't have a dominating center, just a wannabe in Jahidi White. They can't knock down jump shots, either. Guard Richard Hamilton has potential, but still needs more time to develop. Forward Christian Laettner hasn't had any significant impact on a team since leaving Duke.

At least in Chicago, Jordan could get help from softy Scottie Pippen. It's not so in Washington. The Wizards might be in the playoff hunt late in the season, but for them to achieve that goal would require a miracle.

Ravens coach Brian Billick is trying to play head games with the Steelers, but Randall Cunningham will start at quarterback Sunday in Pittsburgh. If he doesn't, the Ravens are making a huge mistake.

Starter Elvis Grbac is still sore from the bruised ribs he suffered two weeks ago in Cleveland. If he isn't 100 percent, he could become a stationary target for the Steelers, who lead the league in sacks (24). The Ravens' pass protection has been poor most of the season, with the team allowing 12 in the past two games.

Plus, it would be interesting to see how this team responds to Cunningham in a second straight start. Cunningham completed 23 of 31 passes for 222 yards in an 18-17 victory against Jacksonville last week, but the Jaguars' defense is less than average if a team can handle its front four. Pittsburgh is a lot tougher.

Blast owner Ed Hale keeps plugging away at trying to make professional indoor soccer work, but it's in vain. The league can change its name and commissioner for the umpteenth time, but the Blast will never draw more than an average of about 5,500 despite all the free give-away nights.

The league is calling itself the Major Indoor Soccer League again and has established a salary cap. A future plan calls for an 18-team league with three conferences.

We've heard this before, but the pizzazz and pageantry of what sold the league in the '80s is gone. There is a drop-off in talent level and fan base.

Last year in the deciding game of the conference final, the Blast drew only about 3,000 fans. The team must have run out of free mug nights.

Cardinal Gibbons is renaming its gymnasium, dedicating it to late Crusaders basketball coach Ray Mullis, the all-time winningest coach in Baltimore City high school history.

The ceremony will take place Nov. 30 after the 6 p.m. game of the Ray Mullis Tip Off Classic. Guests will include former players Robert and Mark Valderas, Damien Maggio, Steve Wojciechowski and coaches such as Jerry Savage and Cokey Robertson. There will also be a proclamation from the governor's office.

San Francisco and New York are ahead of Washington in America's bid to secure the Summer Olympic Games in 2012. San Francisco has long been considered one of the prettiest cities in America, and its climate is ideal. The only drawback is figuring out mass transit for the Games, but that shouldn't be a problem when the International Olympic Committee is ready to make the decision.

If the Games don't go to San Francisco, New York then would become the sentimental choice for obvious reasons. One of the three cities will be chosen next year, and the IOC will choose the final site for the Games in 2005.

Washington is a very unlikely site.

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