Forget About Heisman When These Teams Pig Out on Floyd

No matter what their records, Iowa and Minnesota seem to play harder when they meet on the football field. Floyd of Rosedale is at stake.

Floyd is a 21-inch-high bronze sculpture of a pig that enters the custody of the winning team each season. The porcine trophy graced the sidelines when the Gophers and Hawkeyes played Saturday in Iowa City.

Minnesota fans might have considered it a particularly bad omen when Gopher quarterback Scott Schaffner was injured during the second half. Schaffner ran out of bounds and struck his helmet against the case enshrining Floyd.

Schaffner didn't return to the game. But there apparently was no Floyd curse at work; the Gophers went on to a 43-7 Big Ten victory, took possession of the trophy and returned to the Twin Cities.

Trivia time: Who became the first horse to earn $1 million by winning the Hollywood Gold Cup in his last race July 14, 1951?

Long memories: Tonight's game between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants, both 9-2, has been called a preview of the NFC title game. But Bill Parcells, coach of the Giants, is having none of it.

"We have five games left, three at home, and several tough games coming up," he said.

Giant cornerback Mark Collins was more candid.

"Two 9-2 teams playing on Monday night. It doesn't get much better than that," he said. "This game can be a big turning point in our season."

When the 49ers lost their final game of the 1988 regular season to the Rams, eliminating the Giants, quarterback Phil Simms said the 49ers "laid down like dogs." Backup 49er quarterback Steve Young said: "We've been talking about (Simms) ever since it happened."

Add 49ers: Bill Walsh, former 49er coach and now an NBC commentator, on the success of the team: "When I see the 49ers play, it's the football I devised, developed and refined over the last 20 years of my life. It's like doing a painting. It's your final piece of work and somebody else has it on their wall. I'm proud of it, but it's not yours anymore."

Future is up in air: Two Soviet teams played the first game of American football in Moscow Sunday, according to the Tass news agency.

Bears Moscow, which already had played in West Berlin and Finland, outclassed Atlants Kharkov, 26-0.

The match, played in a packed indoor stadium, was the first organized by the Soviet-American Football League, which was formed two weeks ago.

The league won't have to worry about meddling by its president. He is cosmonaut Alexander Viktorenko, who has been on board the space station Mir since September and is not expected to return to Earth until February.

Does he deserve us?Danny Ainge of the Sacramento Kings has a new nickname for teammate Pervis Ellison, sidelined since foot surgery: Never Nervous Pervis now is Out of Service Pervis.

Trivia answer: Citation.

Quotebook: San Francisco 49er tight end Jamie Williams, who is on the disabled list: "I'd run down field with my hair on fire, naked, just to get that uniform on."

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