Holtz Can’t Resist ()1 Final Jab

When the ballots were counted in the Associated Press college football poll and Notre Dame officially was named the No. 1 team in the nation, Coach Lou Holtz couldn’t resist getting in a final jab at Miami Coach Jimmy Johnson.

Notre Dame (12-0) defeated Miami, 31-30, in October, but Johnson has been saying to anyone who will listen that the Hurricanes (11-1) should have been No. 1 because they could have tied Notre Dame by kicking an extra point with 45 seconds left. Johnson says Miami gave the game and the national title to Notre Dame by trying a 2-point conversion pass that would have won the game had it succeeded.

“I’ve known Jimmy Johnson for a long time,” Holtz said. “I’ve never known Jimmy Johnson to give away anything except the check. We would have come back and won it. They’d have had to kick off.

“He could have kicked it (the extra point). That was his decision, that wasn’t ours. He didn’t come over and consult me. I didn’t send him a note. It was his decision.”


Add No. 1: Holtz pointed out that the situation this season is similar to last season’s when No. 1 Miami defeated No. 2 Florida State, 26-25, after the Seminoles scored in the final minute but missed on a 2-point conversion attempt.

“I think I’ve made it abundantly clear on a consistent basis that I have great respect for Miami and their football team,” Holtz said. “But what’s the difference between this year and last year with Florida State?

“If (Johnson) did give it to us, I want to say on behalf of the entire Notre Dame football team, ‘We thank you.’ ”

Add Holtz: Before beating West Virginia, 34-21, in the Fiesta Bowl to nail down the No. 1 spot, Holtz was asked if he knew how to handle his first top-ranking in 19 years as a coach.


“I’m no Barry Switzer,” Holtz said. “This sucker’s new to me.”

Afterward, when told that the Irish probably will be ranked No. 1 again at the start of next season, Holtz showed he does, indeed, know how to handle it.

“Oh, my,” he said. “We’ve really got some problems on our team.”

Last add Holtz: During a speech last June in St. Louis, at the Associated Press Sports Editors national convention, he said: “I can assure you all of one thing. Notre Dame will win the national championship. Just when and who will be coaching then, I can’t tell you.”


For what it’s worth: UCLA, by finishing No. 6 in the final AP poll, has 5 finishes in the top 10 in the past 7 seasons. Only Nebraska, with 6, has more, and Miami also has 5.

The Bruins also have won 46 games in the past 5 seasons, tied with Auburn behind only Miami (52), Oklahoma (51), Nebraska (50) and Brigham Young (49).

USC has only 2 top 10 finishes the past 7 seasons and has won 40 games in the 5-year span. Not only that, UCLA has finished in the top 20 in each of the past 7 seasons, while the Trojans have been unranked 3 times. USC has not finished higher than UCLA in any of those 7 seasons.



Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz, upon his arrival in Honolulu: “I would love to win the Hula Bowl, although there is nothing in my contract saying I have to.”