Originally created 07/04/99

College notes: Despite Kansas St. pleas, BCS likes regional games

Evidently, Roy Kramer's recent "tweaking" of the Bowl Championship Series was too minor to include the interests of Kansas State.

In announcing changes to the system last week, the SEC Commissioner didn't seem concerned with the fortunes of the Wildcats, who were relegated to a minor bowl in 1998 after they finished the season with just one defeat.

"We still feel the bowls, after you get past the 1-2 game, need to have some regional flexibility," said Kramer, the BCS coordinator whose system produced a national championship matchup of Florida State and Tennessee after Kansas State lost the Big 12 championship in overtime. "You can't take two West Coast teams and play in Miami. You've got to have regional ties to make the bowls succeed."


Will the national championship be coming to Atlanta anytime soon? If a fifth game is added to the BCS series, it's possible.

Though Kramer indicated last week that talks of such a game are in their preliminary stages, he didn't exclude the possibility of such an addition as early as 2001.

Peach Bowl officials say they'll have to explore all the details before launching a spirited push to be the fifth game.

"It's very cloudy what the fifth bowl game will represent," said David Epps, director of marketing for the Peach Bowl. "I've heard talk that the fifth game wouldn't be in the championship rotation and it wouldn't host the championship game.

"If that were the case, we'd have to look pretty seriously whether to become involved with that."

The four bowls in the BCS lineup are the Fiesta in Tempe, Ariz., the Rose in Pasadena, Calif., the Sugar in New Orleans, and the Orange in Miami.

In the 1998 season, the BCS's first, the title game was played at the Fiesta Bowl. Next up is the Sugar Bowl, slated for Jan. 4, 2000.


With the approval of the NCAA Clearinghouse, 22 of 25 football signees at South Carolina will be eligible to play this fall -- a breath of fresh air for Gamecock fans who have seen promising signees stopped short of their freshman years by academics in recent years.

The recruiting classes of former South Carolina coach Brad Scott were perennially troubled by non-qualifiers; In 1996 and 1997, Scott suffered a total of 16 academic casualties. At worst, new Gamecocks coach Lou Holtz will lose three signees from his 1999 recruiting class.

Last week, Trevin Smith of Berkeley, S.C., learned he fell short of the required SAT score by 40 points. Dillon, S.C.'s Isaac Stackhouse didn't qualify and will attend junior college, while Hartsville S.C.'s Jason Capers is still waiting to hear news of his SAT results.


Joe Hamilton's Heisman Trophy campaign begins officially this week, when Heisman voters across the country will receive a CD-Rom that features five minutes of the quarterback's career highlights.

It might be the most significant Heisman push ever launched by Georgia Tech, according to its media relations staff. A campaign was assembled for quarterback Shawn Jones in 1991, but the efforts fizzled as the season progressed.

Hamilton got some help recently when The Sporting News named the senior its first-team All-American quarterback.


The same publication didn't look as favorably upon schools in the Palmetto State. South Carolina was ranked 77th by The Sporting News; Clemson was picked 54th.


Despite the losses of tackles Matt Stinchcomb and Chris Terry to graduation, Georgia's offensive line in 1999 will be one of the most seasoned in the Southeastern Conference.

It appears the Bulldogs will start three seniors and two juniors on the line, a number matched by Tennessee, to lead the conference.

South Carolina figures to start one of the most youthful bunches on the offensive front, no matter the configuration. The Gamecocks have just one senior among their 11 returning offensive linemen -- not to mention five redshirt sophomores and two redshirt freshmen.

Kentucky, which looks to start three sophomores and two juniors, will start the youngest offensive front in the conference.


If Tennessee finishes with an unblemished record in 2001, the Volunteers likely won't encounter any arguments disputing their supremacy -- from opposing fans or the BCS strength of schedule rating.

Tennessee will play road games in 2001 against Arkansas, Florida, Alabama, Notre Dame and Kentucky. The Vols will also play Syracuse at home and, for the first time since 1995, won't be granted an open date before the Florida game.


Perhaps Brian Elam's chances of playing this fall just got better. South Carolina's reed-thin secondary absorbed a blow last week when free safety O'Rondai Cox suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

Cox, a 20-year-old sophomore backup from Decatur, Ga., underwent surgery Thursday. The 6-foot, 175-pounder impressed coaches in spring drills and was expected to be the fifth defensive back in the Gamecocks' nickel package.

Elam, a freshman defensive back from North Augusta, said last week he is hoping to avoid a redshirt season in his first year as a Gamecock.


Florida's heralded basketball recruiting class lost some of its sparkle last week when Sylbrin Robinson failed to qualify academically for the second consecutive year.

Robinson helped make the Gators 1999 class -- which included Cuthbert, Ga. star Donnell Harvey -- one of the top five nationally, according to most recruiting services.

The 6-foot-9 forward originally signed with Florida in 1998, but he failed to graduate in his senior year at Miami Senior High School. Robinson was dismissed the following year from Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy after he failed to complete the necessary classes.

The Gators have 11 scholarship players for the 1999-2000 season.


It might have been an all-star game, but the Georgia-Florida All-Star Game two weeks ago in Atlanta was missing a few prominent faces.

Most conspicuous by their absence were several Florida signees who were encouraged by coach Steve Spurrier to skip the annual event.

Just three Gainesville-bound players participated -- tight end Marshall Schapp, linebacker Byron Hardmonand receiver Elgin Hicks. Among the no-shows were highly touted players Lito Sheppard, Mike Nattiel and Clint Mitchell.

Spurrier said recently he would urge his signees to "think more strongly" about playing after the events of last year, when incoming freshman Chuck Marks tore a knee ligament during the game and John Capel dislocated an elbow in practice.

The Georgia-Florida clash wasn't the only of its kind across the South that saw depleted ranks. Kentucky tight end Derek Smith sat out the Tennessee-Kentucky game in favor of the Kentucky-Indiana basketball game the same day in Indianapolis. Four future Alabama players -- including heralded linebacker Saleem Rasheed -- chose not to play in the Alabama-Mississippi game.


Demotto Youngblood, one of Kentucky's prized signees from College Park, Ga., won't likely suit up for the Wildcats this fall. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder failed to complete the necessary course work to meet the approval of the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Larry Williams can be reached at (706) 823-3645 or larrywill7@yahoo.com.


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