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MEDIA SCOPE - September 2
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Preseason (Aug. 24)
Week 1 (Aug. 31)
Week 2 (Sept. 7)
Week 3 (Sept. 14)
Week 4 (Sept. 21)
Week 5 (Sept. 28)

Week 6 (Oct. 5)
Week 7 (Oct. 12)
Week 8 (Oct. 19)




Let’s get this straight. Texas A&M QB Mark Farris is a 27-year old senior for the Aggies this fall. He has thrown for over 2000 yards in each of the last two seasons, has started 26 consecutive games, and is about to break every A&M passing stat in the school's record book. Coaches decided that Mark’s 26-game run as Texas A&M’s starting quarterback apparently needed to end just prior to a huge game against current #5 team Virginia Tech.

It is obvious that the first two games of this year for the Aggies have seen dismal offensive numbers through the 2-0 start. Farris’ last four starts represent the four worst completion percentage games of his career as A&M’s starter. He is 18 of 45 for 251 yards and no interceptions. No problem, bring in sophomore Dustin Long who had previously only played in four college games and has thrown two interceptions this year…not such an illogical choice in an effort to add some offensive sparks. But Long struggles, so you then bring in the freshman Reggie McNeal who has played in one whole series the entire year. He struggles and throws a key interception. Bring Long back in.

May I please pose this question? It’s the start of the fourth quarter, you have three total points and are getting beat in one of the biggest non-conference games in Aggie history, you have under 40 yards rushing and under 100 yards passing, the current QB’s have each thrown an interception and can’t muster diddley poo (apologies to ex-Indianapolis Colts Coach Jim Mora). Hello…McFly? What are the Aggie coaches thinking at this point? Mark Farris is so deep in our doghouse that we will cut his nose off to spite our team? PUT HIM IN THE GAME! What is the worst he can do; as it is obvious the other two inexperienced QB’s are not going to win this one? This has got to be one of the worst coaching decisions I have seen all year. And yet, no one outside of College Station, TX has mentioned it once. Insanity, as the final results speak for themselves. Watching that three-point offensive display was worse than watching corn grow.

September 28, 2002 – This Saturday the Maryland Terrapins take on the Wofford Terriers in College Park, MD. won’t see an ESPN crew there, you won’t see a close match up for $32, you won’t see two Division I-A teams, you won’t know what state Wofford hails from by asking most fans, and you won’t see more than a half-filled 48,000 seat stadium. But you could have.

Maryland picked up Division I-AA Wofford just this past February to fill a void created on September 28th when Troy State dropped out of its contract at the last minute to play a game with the Terrapins in College Park. The front office at Maryland had to scramble to find a new opponent. Someone came begging for a chance to become the replacement however, and it wasn’t a Division I-AA school. If you guessed Marshall - the MAC powerhouse from Huntington, WV - you would be correct. Marshall had an open date on September 28th due to a previous contract dispute, and only maintained an 11 game schedule (when everyone else has 12 this year). The Herd desperately needed another opponent on that date outside of another I-AA school, which they already had on the schedule.

Oh, it gets much better. According to Marshall Sports Information Director Ricky Hazel this past February, the Herd offered Maryland a one time deal only for Marshall to come to College Park and play with no return trip required. On the table was an ESPN contract for a national television broadcast to boot. The two preseason Top 25 teams are only six hours apart and Marshall QB Byron Leftwich, a top Heisman Candidate, came from Washington, DC just minutes from Byrd Stadium and played for the famous H.D. Woodson High School there. Maryland said no thank you and immediately scheduled Wofford instead. “Byron was extremely upset when we told him Maryland was not interested in putting this game together,” says Hazel. “It was a unique opportunity to put two highly ranked, neighboring state schools together on national television."

The Maryland official stance: "Replacing Troy State was challenging because of the timing of its cancellation," said Rob Mullens, Maryland's executive senior associate athletics director. "We had discussions with multiple institutions over the past few weeks, but only Wofford could meet the rather narrow criteria needed to make a deal, the most important of which was that our only option was to re-schedule for the original date.” So it’s assumed that playing a team that can beat you on national television doesn’t fit into that narrow criterion.

In defense of the Terps, early dates with Notre Dame and Florida State in the first three games made it tough to find the sense in adding another Top 25 foe, at least for a team that is the defending ACC Champions, who just completed a 10-2 season. On the other hand, the Maryland September slate has Akron, Eastern Michigan, and Wofford. The scheduling philosophy of Head Coach Ralph Friedgen is "what it is" for spelling wins and confidence, but please don’t tell the season ticket holders living inside the metro beltways that it is imperative to start filling empty seats for home games against these three schools while claiming this was all we could find at the last minute. Maryland did not want any parts of Marshall, and they went so far as to avoid a sell-out crowd on national television and a chance to show incoming recruiting prospects that Maryland loves being in big games on the tube. But how would that look spelled out in the Media Guide? Or even worse, how would that look in the won-loss column?

Marshall still has an 11 game regular season schedule for 2002.

As if the BCS doesn’t have enough rules for Independent Notre Dame, it looks like the Irish will be fighting for more. Notre Dame has played in four football games and won them all. However, the BCS system currently counts the Irish as having only three wins to their credit.

Notre Dame opened the season with a win over Maryland in the Kickoff Classic, which is normally considered an "exempt'' preseason game. But Notre Dame contends it should not be considered an exempt game because it was played the same weekend most teams started the season -- not a week ahead like most years. The game was originally scheduled for Aug. 24, but was moved because it conflicted with freshman orientation at Notre Dame. So by the time the Kickoff Classic kicked off, most teams already had begun their seasons. Regardless, the BCS still considers the game to be exempt when counting the number of victories required for the Irish to be BCS eligible.

There were eight preseason classics played this year, which equals 16 teams. Out of all those 16 teams, only one university decided to not add an extra 13th game to their schedule. That was Notre Dame, who sited earlier in the summer that the schedule was already difficult enough for the student/athlete in South Bend. No one is disagreeing with the Irish right to only play 12 games while forcing the Kickoff Classic to move its originally scheduled August 24th contest back a week to accommodate the university. But here is the bottom line: If Maryland cannot receive BCS credit for that accommodation, neither can the Irish because they chose to only play 12 games unlike everyone else. But if you credit Maryland in the BCS for having played 13 games, don’t you have to extend that courtesy to everyone else that participated in the preseason games? If the Irish would have followed the other 15 school examples and added that 13th game, we wouldn’t need this complaint from South Bend. Really, the only way around it is to add another asterisk (*) to the BCS Rules.

(*) Notre Dame

September 23, 2002

Ricky Sixx's Top 25 Breakdown
( -/+ difference) from the Sixx poll

1. Miami - Still no reason to think this team isn't the best in the country after beating Boston College by 32 points. ( - )

2. Texas - No reason to disagree with a #2 ranking after two consecutive weeks of inspired football. ( - )

3. Oklahoma - October 12th will tell us if they are #2 or not, but for now it's not worth splitting hairs between the Sooners and the Longhorns. ( - )

4. Florida State - Last week we couldn't decide between teams #2 through #5. This week it's teams #4 through #6 that are interchangable. No problem with FSU being #4 for now though. ( - )

5. Virginia Tech - Stock continues to rise after victory against Texas A&M. ( - )

6. Ohio State - I have a feeling even with Maurice Clarett, the Buckeyes would still have come out flat vs. Cincinnati. Virginia Tech took advantage of Ohio State's uninspired play. ( +2 )

7. Georgia - It took a visit from Northwestern State for the Bulldogs to finally play well. For now I still think their # 7 ranking is about nine spots too high. ( +9 )

8. Oregon - Still a hard team to gage, we know they are good, but how good? I will nervously agree with the #8 ranking but would not go as far as saying they're not top 10 material. ( +1 )

9. Florida - Knowing very well that Tennessee is not that bad of a team, it makes us wonder. Is Florida ranked too low? Is Miami that good when they want to be? Despite the blemish on their record, I think Florida could be ranked a few spots higher. ( -3 )

10. Notre Dame - Got to give Notre Dame credit, they don't know how to lose but in reality who have they beaten? Maryland is looking like a .500 team without Bruce Perry, Purdue just lost to Wake Forest but yet barely lost in South Bend, Michigan will play anyone outside the Top 10 close, and Michigan State's two man team was handled a lot easier by California. Unlike the media, I'm not falling in love with Notre Dame until they can at least look dominant against the average teams. Any other school with the same wins not wearing gold helmets would be no higher. ( +11 )

11. Tennessee - After laying the perverbial egg at home, it's expected that the Vols would drop this low. But is this team really the 11th best? I personally think by the time they face Miami they will play at a higher level, but until then we cannot assume they are this good either. For now it's safe to keep Tennessee at #11. ( -1 )

12. Penn State - Another impressive Penn State victory has some believing they are a "great" team. Despite what Beano Cook says, the Nittany Lions need to prove they can not only beat good teams consistently, but do it on the road before we start thinking undefeated. For now #12 could be a little too high for Penn State. ( +3 )

13. Washington - Other than the Michigan loss we really don't know much about the Huskies until conference play starts. Like I said before…Michigan plays anyone outside the top 10 close so there really is no complaint with Washington's 13th ranking. ( +1 )

14. Michigan - I'm not sure if it's me, but has this team been getting worse as the season goes on? The lack of a killer instinct is really hurting this team and though I can't see Michigan losing to many teams out there, I really can't see them beating a lot of the top teams either. Until Michigan can show they can take care of teams in less than 60 minutes I don't think they warrant a top 15 ranking. ( +6 )

15. NC State - Finally, the Wolfpack played a game that would let us know how good they are and it took overtime for Coach Amato's team to come out with a victory. Since Texas Tech is not a top 20 team there should be no reason why any of us should think NC State is close to being the 15th best team in the country. ( +9 )

16. Wisconsin - As soon as I felt Wisconsin was not deserving of a Top 25 ranking they go and whip up on a decent Arizona team. I must admit I was impressed in the way the Badgers won, but I'm not going to consider them worthy of the 16th ranking.
( +8 )

17. Kansas State - They didn't look pretty but they got it done and beat a good USC team for the 2nd year in a row. ( - )

18. Washington State - The Cougars took care of Montana State and look to prove next week versus a good California team that Washington State should be ranked higher than the #18 team in the country. ( - 7 )

19. Nebraska - I originally thought Nebraska was not deserving of their original #7 ranking and again, we come to question the Huskers' current rankings. Next week's game versus Iowa State will tell us if Nebraska is worthy of #19 and if Iowa State truely does deserve to be ranked higher. ( N R )

20. LSU - The Tigers look to quietly improve and show people that this young team will end up being a much better squad that got caught up in the Virginia Tech buzz saw. A sound win over a good Miami of Ohio team tells me that there are a few teams ranked ahead of LSU that are no better than Nick Sabban's bunch. ( -2 )

21. Iowa State - The Cyclones have yet to look bad all season long and should have never been punished by losing a close game to the Noles. A victory over 19th ranked Nebraska would move them up to where they belong. ( +8 )

22. USC - This is pretty much about where the Trojans belong. They could end up losing next week, but keep in mind that their opponent is one of the better teams in the country. By seasons end the Trojans should finish ranked just about here or just outside the top 25. ( +4 )

23. Colorado State - Now that the toughest part of the schedule is behind them, the Rams are looking at a very possible 11 win season. After going 3-1 I can't argue with a top 25 ranking, but there are other equally good teams not ranked. ( NR )

24. Oregon State - Lots of people call it east coast bias, I call it east coast ignorance. The fact that this team is NOT in the top 10 is a crime, if you have seen the Beavers play this year then you would not question their worth. ( - 17 )

25. Auburn - Finally, the Tigers get ranked after a close game versus a good USC team on the road. If not for quarterback problems this would be a top 12 team.
( +6 )

Ricky Sixx's top 25
1. Miami
2. Texas
3. Oklahoma
4. FSU
5. VT
6. Florida
7. Oregon State
8. Ohio State
9. Oregon
10. Tennessee
11. Washington State
12. Alabama
13. Iowa state
14. Washington
15. Penn State
16. Georgia
17. Kansas State
18. Southern California
19. Auburn
20. Michigan
21. Notre Dame
22. LSU
23. Arkansas
24. Nc State
25. Wisconsin

Six teams on the waiting list: Texas A&M, Colorado State, Clemson, Boston College, Iowa, Air Force



Editor: Dave Hershorin