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They’re Not Very Good at Bowling

THE BOWL BOTCHERS

Certainly it isn’t true that Bo Schembechler retired as Michigan coach after his 1990 Rose Bowl drubbing so he wouldn’t tie Bear Bryant’s record for most bowl losses, lifetime (12).

Still, bowl-botch fans were sad to see him go. Luckily, we still have Brigham Young’s LaVell Edwards. Edwards absorbed his ninth bowl setback, a 39-50 loss in the Sea World Holiday Bowl last year, despite an emotional “Win One for Kandu” speech.

Edwards and BYU are back in the same game--Holiday Bowl rules only prohibit the same team from participating 12 consecutive years--against Texas A&M.; Nebraska’s Tom Osborne also has a chance to register bowl loss No. 10 against Georgia Tech in the Citrus Bowl.

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West Virginia’s Don Nehlen, who lost two bowl games in 1989--the Fiesta in January and the Gator in December--is taking this bowl season off.

RANKINGS

Coach (Team) Record Next Loss 1. Akers (Purdue)* 2-8, .200 Idle 2. Dooley (Wake Forest) 2-7,.222 Idle 3. Edwards (BYU) 5-9, .357 Sea World 4. Hatfield (Clemson) 3-5, .375 Hall o’ Fame 5. Perles (Mich. St) 2-3, .400 Hancock 5. Smith (USC) 2-3-1, .400 Hancock 7. Mallory (Ind) 3-4, .429 Peach Pit 7. Nehlen (W. Va.) 3-4, .429 Idle 9. Fry (Iowa) 5-6, .454 Woes 10. Osborne (Neb.) 8-9, .470 Citrus

* Fired at end of year.

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Botcher Emeritus: Schembechler (Mich.), 5-11, .312.

THE PROS

Two weeks ago, Miami wide receiver Jim Jensen accused Philadelphia Coach Buddy Ryan of placing a bounty ($100) on him--the latest player to make that charge against Ryan. Then, suddenly, quarterbacks Phil Simms, Jim Kelly, Jim Harbaugh and Steve DeBerg--all of whom had possible dates against Philadelphia in the playoffs--were felled with injuries.

Just a coincidence? We wonder.

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One team that doesn’t have to worry about the playoffs is Cleveland (3-11). Many fans attribute the team’s decline to meddling by owner Art Modell, who fired Marty Schottenheimer because he couldn’t boss him around.

One fan tried unsuccessfully to enter the stadium with a sign imploring Modell to take a leap from his luxury box. Then the same spectator hired a plane to fly over the stadium with a banner that read: “Jump, Art!” as well as: “You can’t take this!” Other Modell critics decorated a skyscraper under construction near the stadium with one-story-high letters that said: “Jump, Art.” (If only to the new international football league.)

RANKINGS

UNPOPULAR OWNERS DIVISION

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Genius (Team) Rec. Criticism 1. Modell (Cleve.) 3-11 Meddles too much 2. Kiam (New Eng.) 1-13 Novice cheapskate 3. Frontiere (Rams) 5-9 See No. 2 4. Bidwill (Phoenix) 5-9 Outrageous ticket prices

FLOP O’ THE YEAR DIVISION*

* Preseason evaluations of L.A Rams

Source 1990 Prediction for Rams 1. Sports Illustrated Will make Super Bowl 2. Sporting News Will win NFC West 3. Street & Smith 2nd best in NFL 4. Rams Press Guide “Strong run at Super Bowl” 5. Bottom Ten “Rams will go undefeated!”

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MILLI VANILLI DIVISION

Impostor (Record) Last Loss Next Loss 1. Dallas (7-7)* D. Phoenix, 41-10 Phila.

* Cowboys have a 1-5 record against teams with winning records.

QUOTEBOOK: ABC’s Dan Dierdorf, spotting Lamb owner Georgia Frontiere signing autographs for some fans during the third quarter of 49er game: “Watching the game closely, I see. Riveted to every play.”

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QUOTEBOOK II: Phoenix Coach Joe Bugel on his next opponents, the Giants and Eagles: “We want to end the season on a high note. These are two playoff teams. It’s not like Molly Putz is coming in.” (Molly’s out with injuries, too.)

NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT: 49er quarterback Steve Young could be first player paid $1 million per pass. He has thrown one pass this year. (Darn right it was complete.)


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