When Coach Barry Switzer’s Oklahoma Sooners were voted No. 1 in the two major preseason polls, he bowed his head and asked, “Why us?”
After his team replaced Oklahoma this week as No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, Auburn Coach Pat Dye was equally pleased.
“No comment,” he snapped when asked about the poll. “Ask me about it in January, and I’ll tell you about it.”
Auburn running back Bo Jackson said what was on his coach’s mind: “As far as I am concerned, picking any team No. 1 early in the season is like a jinx.”
No wonder he feels that way. After being named No. 1 in the AP’s 1984 preseason poll, Auburn lost its first two games to Texas and Miami. The Tigers finished 9-4.
“Starting out No. 1 and losing right off the bat had a lot to do with our disappointing season,” linebacker Russ Carrecker said. “This year, I think we can handle it better. We’re not going to be fooled again.”
Dye said his team learned its lesson last season.
“It’s different the way our people are handling it,” he said. “I haven’t heard it mentioned. Nobody’s running around here excited about being No. 1 like they were last year.”
That still doesn’t mean he likes it.
“I don’t think it’s going to make it any easier than last year,” he said. “It’s a tremendous motivating factor for teams we play.”
According to the NCAA computer, Florida has the toughest schedule this season.
Having already beaten Miami in the opener last Saturday, the Gators, ranked third this week, still must play No. 1 Auburn, No. 7 Florida State and No. 12 LSU. Also included on Florida’s schedule are Georgia and Tennessee.
The computer used opponents’ 1984 records to determine strength of schedules.
Following Florida are Rutgers, which plays the Gators this week, Washington, Boston College, Florida State, Tennessee, UCLA, Pittsburgh, Washington State and Georgia.
Accused last season of playing too many Bo Diddley Techs, defending national champion Brigham Young has the 34th-most difficult schedule this season. One of the most outspoken critics of BYU has been Switzer, whose Sooners play the 37th-most difficult schedule.
BYU Coach LaVell Edwards doesn’t apologize, saying: “You can schedule yourself right out of the business.”
Colorado has dedicated today’s game against Oregon at Boulder, Colo., to Ed Reinhardt, the Buffaloes’ tight end who suffered a life-threatening injury in a game against the Ducks at Eugene, Ore., last season.
“The way that community poured out its heart to Ed and his family at such a difficult time was really something,” Colorado Coach Bill McCartney said. “The reason we have Ed Reinhardt Day is not to get our team fired up to play. It’s our opportunity to say to Eugene, Ore., ‘Thank you for you love and your support. We’ll never forget it.’ ”
Reinhardt remained in Eugene for a month after undergoing surgery to remove a clot from the left side of his brain.
His former roommate, Jon Embree, told the Associated Press this week that Reinhardt continues to make progress in his rehabilitation.
“He’s in a wheelchair at home,” Embree said. “He’s in a rehab program. My parents work with him once a week. A lot of people help with his program. He does it every day, eight hours a day. He’s a lot more aware of his surroundings. You can see improvement day by day. It’s very encouraging.
“If he keeps improving like he has, I don’t see any reason why he can’t have a full recovery. He’s got more movement on his right side, and he’s able to formulate thoughts that he couldn’t before. I think it’s just a matter of time.”
Reinhardt’s injury was particularly difficult for Embree to accept because he replaced his friend as Colorado’s starting tight end. He made All-Big Eight after catching 51 passes for 680 yards in his sophomore season.
“I thought about it a long time, but I decided to stay with football,” he said. “Something like that can happen when you’re crossing the street. It just shows how fragile life is.”
College Notes Oklahoma State quarterback Ronnie Williams will be out for at least four weeks because of a broken jaw suffered in last Saturday’s victory over Washington. Sophomore Rusty Rankin is starting in Williams’ place. . . . In the aftermath of the 17-13 loss to Florida State, Nebraska has benched quarterback Travis Turner. The new starter is McCathorn Clayton. . . . Auburn may also be on the verge of making a quarterback change. Offensive coordinator Jack Crowe wasn’t particularly pleased with starter Bobby Walden, who threw two interceptions in last Saturday’s victory. “The two interceptions Bobby threw, he’s going to have to get those out of his system or he’s not going to be our quarterback,” Crowe said . . .
Chip Rish of Huntington Beach Marina High School, California’s 1984 State 400-meter champion, has returned to the team at Arizona State after a three-day absence. He reportedly told friends he wanted to concentrate solely on track at Arizona State, then reconsidered. He will return kickoffs in Saturday’s opener at Michigan State. . . . Arizona has lost starting offensive tackle John DuBose with a knee injury for the second straight season. . . . Notre Dame could have nine games televised nationally by the two major networks and cable networks this season. One Notre Dame game that definitely won’t be on television is against USC, which is on probation. . . .
Seven Kansas players have been declared ineligible for the season for academic reasons. The Jayhawks lost 10 players last season because of academics. . . . USC’s next opponent, Baylor, has three players who were members of the NCAA’s 1985 championship 1,600-meter relay team and third-place 400-meter relay team. The Bears, who will play Georgia today, will play at the Coliseum Sept. 21. . . . Coach LaVell Edwards admitted that BYU panicked in the final minute last Saturday against UCLA. Trailing by three, the Cougars called a long pass that was intercepted by UCLA’s Marcus Turner at the Bruin 20. In other years, when facing similar circumstances, BYU patiently moved the ball downfield with short sideline passes. “We did make a mistake there,” Edwards said. “We had plenty of time to work it down there.”