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Fighting Irish Win Game of the Century

Column by Mike Duffy
and Andrew Heitner

sports columnists

We apologize to all our loyal fans, especially those who count on Sir Vix Picks every week to pay for tuition and the nutritious meals at Lobdell, who missed our column last week. Your humble scribes were in Dallas to oversee the selection of the cheerleading squads that will be invited to compete for the national cheerleading championship next month. Pom poms everywhere -- rough work, but someone has to do it.

Here at Let's Argue, credit is given where credit is due. Therefore, we offer our congrats to Lou Holtz and the Fighting Irish for winning the latest version of the "Game of the Century." We must also salute college football guru Beano Cook, who said in an interview two-and-a-half weeks ago that Notre Dame would beat FSU and win the National Championship. We first thought that the Beanster had swigged too much Iron City Beer out there in Pittsburgh, so we did not take him seriously. Obviously, he knew something your humble scribes did not; that's why he gets paid the big bucks and we are limited to five figures in our contracts with The Tech.

Kudos also to Don Shula who, with his 325th win on Sunday, secured his position as the greatest coach in NFL history. With every win he gets, Coach Shula will ensure that his is one of only a few records in sports that will never be broken. There will never be another coach who can win as much or for so long as Shula has because the pressures of the job are too great.

Moreover, with the growth of TV, coaches now have a way to get out of the game, yet still be around it. Take, for example, Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, Mike Ditka, and John Madden, all great coaches who achieved great success, but eventually felt they could not physically hold up to the job. The coaches of today who have many wins, Dan Reeves, Marty Schottenheimer, and Marv Levy, are nowhere close to 325 and have not yet felt the pressure coming from having won a Super Bowl.

Dreams of a rematch between ND and FSU in the Fiesta Bowl are just that -- dreams. Despite what bowl coalition members and AP sportswriters (a term used loosely) think, it is Holtz who holds all the cards. He will not play FSU again, nor would it make sense to do so, because another showdown with the Seminoles would be a no-win situation for Notre Dame. First of all, it is tough to beat a football team twice in the same season, especially one as good as FSU, on a neutral site (see Ohio State-UCLA in 1975). Second, if ND did win, it would not prove anything. If, by some miracle, Nebraska won their bowl game, then two unbeaten, untied teams would be left (West Virginia will lose to BC next week and Auburn is on probation). The question of which team is better would not be settled because, presumably, Nebraska would have beaten a quality team such as Miami in the Orange Bowl, and the folks in Lincoln would argue that the Irish had avoided the Huskers in order to play a team they had already beaten. (Of course, all this would be moot if Kansas had just kicked the damn extra point.) Finally, if Florida State would win that game, then there really would be no definitive national champion. Notre Dame and FSU would have split two games, Nebraska would be 12-0 (versus generally sub-par competition) and Ohio State would be 11-0-1. Not only did Notre Dame show their power by negotiating their own TV contract separate from the 63 other Division 1-A schools a couple of years ago, but thumbed their nose at the coalition last year by playing in the Cotton Bowl. Look for the same this year. Do you think the Orange Bowl officials would not open their arms to the Irish and welcome a ND-Nebraska game? And, ultimately, Nebraska is a much easier game for the Irish than FSU.

We wrap up our NBA scouting report with the Western Conference:

Midwest

1. Houston: Last year the Rockets were a surprise winner of the Midwest, this year there will be no shock when they go wire to wire. Hakeem is shooting hard for the MVP.

2. San Antonio: Addition of Dennis "I'm Sporting" Rodman gives the Spurs undoubtedly the most noticable hairdo in all of professional sports. Questions at the point position were answered with the addition of Negele Knight from Phoenix. The bigger question: can the team survive with a starter who registers single-digit points but grabs 20+ boards a game?

3. Utah: Jazz have a team only Julia Child could love in Mark Eaton, Felton Spencer, and rookie Luther Wright. Look for management to increase meal money to $100 per day.

4. Denver: With a front line corps of Mutumbo, Ellis, and developing rookie Rodney Rogers, the Nuggets are a team of the future. The step up in shooting, passing, and leadership of the new Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf may make Dan Issel forget he's got no teeth.

5. Dallas: Added Monster Mashburn (our pre-season Rookie of the Year pick) and Popeye Jones to go with Jimmy Jackson. Although "Mighty" Quinn Buckner has a long road to go before making the Mavs a contender, they will win more games than the Cowboys this year.

6. Minnesota: Clarification, Rodman's is more noticable, but Laettner's hairdo is the worst in the NBA. Isiah Rider will eventually make the 'Sotans forget former draft-day gems like Luc Longley and Felton Spencer. Chuck "Missing" Person is past his prime (which was usually only in games at Boston Garden anyway), and poor production from the backcourt hurt the T-Wolves.

Pacific

The Pacific is by far the best division in the NBA top to bottom. There should be some great games taking place out on the Left Coast this winter.

1. Seattle: Kemp, Gill, Payton, Pierce, Perkins, Schrempf, Cage. Any questions?

2. Phoenix: Loss of Richard Dumas will hurt more than people think. AC Green is a nice addition, but won't compensate for loss of Dumas' scoring. Barkley missed his big title shot last year.

3. Portland: Sending Kevin Duckworth to the Bullets should allow team plane to take off more easily, but leaves Blazers with Chris Dudley and Cliff Robinson as centers. Portland will flounder while Dudley is hurt, but will come on strong at the finish.

4. Paper Clips: Danny Manning will have a big year to ensure a fat contract next year. Mark Jackson, "Hats off to" Ron Harper, and Gary "Bringing Up Baby" Grant are both cocky and talented enough to win. Look for the Clips to move out to Anaheim next season, though.

5. Sacramento: Our sleeper pick for the West. Kings have the nucleus of a good team -- Richmond, L-Train, Walt Williams (when he's not hurt), and rookie Bobby Hurley -- but still no center. A coach's worst nightmare is to try to win in the NBA with Peplowski, Breuer, and Chilcott in the pivot.

6. Golden State: Could be a dominant team if healthy. Without Hardaway, Marchilonas, and Mullin (for a while), however, the Warriors are not a contender. Chris Webber uses this year to show that he is the real thing.

7. Lakers: Nicholson and the rest of the Forum faithful glad to see Kurt Rambis back in town. With young players like Nick "Rip" Van Exel and Doug "Lightning Strikes" Christie, the Lakers are a team of the future, but not this season.

Playoffs

Sonics over Kings, Rockets over Clips, Suns over Jazz, and Spurs over Blazers. Championship: Sonics over Rockets in 6.

NBA Championship

As good as the men in green are, the NY defense proves too tough and bench too deep for Seattle. Knicks take Sonics in 7.

With the NCAA season underway, we offer the following fodder to get those classic, and always heated, Lobdell Lunch debates underway:

Simson's Final Four

1. North Carolina

2. Arkansas

3. Louisville

4. Minnesota

Abs' Sleeper Teams

1. Cincinnati

2. George Washington

3. UCLA

4. Wisconsin

5. Marquette

Pookie's Players to Watch

1. Glenn "Mister" Robinson, Purdue

2. Jason "The" Kidd, Cal

3. Eric "Is no" Montross, UNC

4. Grant "Mole" Hill, Duke

5. Aaron "Minnie and" McKie, Temple

6. Jalen "Sweet as a" Rose, Michigan

7. Othella "anyone?" Harrington, Georgetown

8. Billy McCaffery, Vandy

9. Michael Finley "It's happened to me" Wisconsin

10. Konstantine "John Paul, the" Popa, Miami, Fla., and John Fluker, MIT

Best Conferences

1. Big Ten

2. ACC

3. SEC

4. Great Midwest

5. Atlantic Ten

Menudo's Top 5

1. Notre Dame

2. Florida State

3. Ohio State

4. Miami, Fla.

5. West Virginia

The Buckeyes, in Ann Arbor tomorrow, move ahead of the Hurricanes due to Miami's lackluster performance against Rutgers. The Mountaineers are at home where they square off against the 'Canes. Look for WVU QB Jake "and the Fatman" Kelchner, a Notre Dame transfer (he was in the same recruiting class as Rick Mirer), to give Miami all they can handle and boost Don Nehlen's club (a class guy, by the way) to victory.

Let's Argue Fan Top 5

This week's list is sent to us from Godard Abel G:

1. Penn State

2. Pittsburgh

3. Carnegie Mellon

4. Indiana University of Pennsylvania

5. California, Pa.

You Heard it Here First

The Missouri Tigers will become the 12th member of the Big Ten. The Tigs desperately want in and the Big 10 (despite wanting Kansas) will finally appease their university officials. With the departure of Mizzou, the Big 8 will then combine with the SWC to form a new super conference, a la the SEC.

Mondongo's Hueso de la Semana

This week's award goes to Minnesota Norwegian-American wide receiver Anthony Carter for missing the "Slippery When Wet" sign and tripping over the five-yard line as he was heading for a TD in Sunday's game at Denver. Carter caught a pass from Sean Salisbury and was gearing up to do his victory dance when the thick white stripe floored him. On the next play, the Vikes fumbled, thereby forcing Minnesota to get nothing and, yes, like it. (With special mention going to Isiah Thomas, the worst pound for pound fighter in the world.)

Where Are They Now?

1980 California Angels

Rod Carew, Mark Clear, Don Aase, Joe Rudi, Rick Miller, Bobby Grich,

Freddie Patek, Tom Donohue, and Dave Frost.

Trivia Question of the Week

Who are the only two NBA teams not to lose more than 100 games (total) over the last four regular seasons? Send answers, comments, and recipes for your favorite Thanksgiving dish to sports@the-tech.mit.edu.

Answer to last week's question: UTEP who, in 1973, gave up 49.5 points per game. Kudos to Helen "Hoodah" Azrin '94 and Tina Chen '94 who got it right. They each win a free Spring Break trip to the destination of their choice. Just call (800) 649-4849 and sign up 12 of your friends for a Caribbean cruise to claim your prize.

MIT TWIB Notes

The men's basketball team is in San Antonio, Texas this weekend, where they are opening the season in a four team tourney sponsored by Trinity University. The Beavers are led by captain Nikki "Diamond" Caruthers '95 and last year's CAC Rookie of the Year, center Keith Whalen '96. Rounding out the starting 5 are Randy Hyun '95, Joe Levesque '95, and Tim Porter '96. Bench strength will come from the Doctor of Dunk, Mark Heffernan '95, and Terry Rivers '95. The Beavers will return Sunday and play their first home game next Saturday versus WPI, with tipoff at 4 p.m.

The women's team opens the season by hosting the MIT Tip-Off Tournament in Rockwell Cage. They face Wentworth tomorrow at 3 p.m., with the winner squaring off against the winner of the Salve Regina-Simmons battle of the bulge on Sunday at 3 p.m. The lady hoopsters are led into battle by captain Mari Casserberg '94. Other players to watch for on Coach Sue Rowe's squad include CJ Doane '95, Kristin Ratliff '95, Sara Davis '97, and Jenn Boyle '96. Be sure to get out and support the women tomorrow.

Kudos to the men's hockey team which nailed down a 4-4 tie with a tough Bryant College squad last Saturday. The unheralded Beavers-on-ice are quickly becoming the most attended team sport at MIT, drawing several hundred fans at their home opener on Wednesday. Freshman Tetsu Inada '97 netted his first career goal versus Bryant.

Sir Vix Picks

Harvard 2436, Yale 1982: Final score is equivalent to the number of students at each school who were rejected by MIT. Therefore, the Crimson win in a landslide.

Notre Dame 31 BC 23: Eagles feel lucky just to get out of town before this weekend's "Meeting of the Minds" between LCA and TEP. LCA's "noxious odor" could be smelled all the way to the Heights.

Fish 22, Patsies 19: Shula could win this one with Mitch Williams throwing the ball. Sisson's four missed field goals don't hurt either.

Olives 24, Browns 10: Counting on Todd Philcox to run the show while waiting for the return of Vinnie Testeverde is like counting on Gilligan to watch the huts while waiting for the Skipper to return from giving another "3 hour tour."

Purple Helmeted Warriors 35, Bucs 17: Congressman from Tampa voted for NAFTA in hopes that maybe someone south of the border will want to watch the Bucs.

J-E-T-S 34 Pussycats 14: UA finally licks Bush Fund controversy by giving $4,000 to Cincinatti so Bungles can hire ball boys as defensive backs.

Skins 16, Rods 3: Former Washington faithful, Hogettes, so disgusted with the season that they remove dresses and snouts and donate bras to self-proclaimed "artist" Nicolino, who plans to string 10,000 bras across the Grand Canyon.

'Boys 42, Pigeons 21: Atlanta players, concerned about not missing "JFK: Reckless Youth" next week, get steamrolled by the boys.

Last Week: 6-3. Overall: 53-27

Rumblings From 'Round the Tute

This just in from Juanito Ramos '93:

"Saludos, from the sunny side of the country. We have an update on how the MIT teams are doing in Stanford I.M.s. In volleyball, the Rican Wall (Javier Segovia '93, Danny "Spiking Sensation" Alvarez '93, Pedro Monserratte from Cornell, and myself) is undefeated (2-0). Last match we won 15-6, 15-3. We have three more matches in the regular season left, and then playoffs. Good chance of finishing undefeated.

Me and Rob Wallet '93 are personal friends of Bill Walsh, now, and he said that for the game against Cal, running is going to be the key.