Florida State awakens UM from dreams of BCS game


There was time enough to dream yesterday. The Maryland Terrapins entered the fourth quarter at Florida State with the ACC title and a Bowl Championship Series game still within the realm of possibility.

It was a pipe dream, of course. The 10th-ranked Seminoles eventually collected themselves and even if they hadn't, there was still the small matter of Maryland beating a ranked Boston College team, winning two games on the road in North Carolina and beating (presumably) Virginia Tech in the first Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. Talk about fantasy football.

But give coach Ralph Friedgen some credit. He said after the win over then-No. 19 Virginia three weeks ago that he hadn't given up on playing in Jacksonville (the site of the ACC title game), and he brought his team back from a discouraging home loss to the No. 3 Hokies to give the Seminoles a legitimate scare in front of a hostile crowd and a national television audience.

The Terps are 4-4, but they still have a chance at a decent bowl bid if they can run the table against North Carolina, BC and North Carolina State. The way they played yesterday, that no longer seems out of the question.

The Late Show revisited: In the 14th inning of the longest World Series game in history, I talked to a father and son who were going the whole nine yards - actually 5 hours, 41 minutes - at Minute Maid Park, but one of them wasn't happy about it.

"It's 1 in the morning," 13-year-old Alex Shumaker told his dad as the clock ticked past 1 a.m., "and I've got two tests in the morning."

Nothing doing, said Charles Shumaker, who had waited 44 years to see the Houston Astros in the Fall Classic.

"I've never been to a World Series," he said. "He's never been to one. This is the chance of a lifetime, and we've got to stay to the end."

So I went to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen the next day and asked him if he would have let his boys - back when they were school age - stay up that late on a school night to watch the World Series.

"Yeah, especially in these cities," he shot back. "You don't know if that's going to happen again. You're going to go to school for a long time, but you don't know when Houston will be in the World Series again."

Guillen's entertaining performance in the postseason proved one thing: You can say whatever you want, and as long as you win, everyone will call you a "character." Do the same thing while you're losing and you're an embarrassment to the organization.

The undefeated, two-time defending national champion Southern California Trojans dropped out of the top spot in the BCS standings after Texas scored a resounding victory over previously undefeated Texas Tech last weekend. No truth to the rumor that Longhorns coach Mack Brown schmoozed up the BCS computer to get extra strength of schedule points.

Brown, you might recall, sparked controversy last year when he lobbied for votes in the traditional polls and angled California out the Rose Bowl.

Watched a quarter of the Lakers-Kings preseason game in Las Vegas on Friday night and saw our old friend Kwame Brown getting significant playing time for Los Angeles. In the space of four minutes, he threw away a pass, missed an easy runner inside, kicked the ball out of the paint in a promising scoring opportunity and didn't go up strong enough to finish a layup that might have resulted in a three-point play.

It was downright nostalgic.

The man who impersonated Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to pick up women in Pittsburgh was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $300 fine for disorderly conduct last week.

Meanwhile, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn't have to worry about identity theft, because he is constantly surrounded by five metaphorical offensive linemen and uses a fraud-resistant credit card.

Virginia Tech scored another one-sided victory over a very good Boston College team Thursday night and is stalking the BCS field. USC beat the Hokies in August 2004 in the Black Coaches Association Classic because of a questionable pass interference call, then went on to the national championship. Wouldn't it be nice if the Hokies brought it full circle and ended up beating the Trojans in the BCS championship game at the Rose Bowl?

Well, now that I think about it, no.


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