New York–Let’s tie up a few loose ends before I head back home to the ATL.
1. Congrats to Randy Cross, a new Hall of Famer: Former 49ers All-Pro and UCLA star Randy Cross was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last night at the annual banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Cross, who played at UCLA from 1973-75, now lives in Atlanta. As a member of the 49ers, he played in three Pro Bowls and was All-Pro six times. He works for several television and radio outlets, including The CBS College Sports Network and FSN South. Randy’s son, Brendan, plays quarterback at Wake Forest.
Also going into the Hall of Fame last night was former Alabama coach Gene Stallings, who won 70 games and a national championship in his seven years as the head coach of the Crimson Tide (1990-96). He also coached at Texas A&M before a long stint with the Dallas Cowboys.
2. Tom Brokaw remembers, Georgia-Alabama, 1965: I spoke to former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who was honored with the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. One of Brokaw’s early stops was in Atlanta, where he worked for WSB-TV in 1965. That year, Brokaw said, somebody gave him tickets to the 1965 game between Alabama and Georgia in Athens. “I’ll never forget the excitement,” said Brokaw, who played high school football in his native South Dakota. “Alabama was the defending national champs and would win it again. But they lost to Georgia (18-17). I will never forget the flea-flicker play (Kirby Moore to Pat Hodgson to Bob Taylor). That was a great afternoon.” Brokaw is a huge college football fan.
3. Temple got a raw deal. A total of 72 teams qualified to play in bowl games and 70 received bids. Among that group there were 13 teams with records of 6-6. One of those 6-6 teams, Western Michigan, got left out. The other team was Temple, which was 8-4. That record included wins over Connecticut, which is headed to the Fiesta Bowl, and Army, which is also going to a bowl. We should have a rule that all of the 7-5 (or better) teams must be taken care of before a 6-6 team goes. That is simply not fair to those kids.
4. Mac McWhorter retires: McWhorter, who played at Georgia and was a coach for 37 years, has decided to retire at Texas. One of eight members of the McWhorter family to play at Georgia, McWhorter was one of three assistant coaches at Texas who will be moving on after the Longhorns went 5-7 last season. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis (once an OC at Georgia) resigned while McWhorter and defensive line coach Mike Tolleson have decided to retire. Also remember that McWhorter was the interim coach at Georgia Tech for the Yellow Jackets’ Seattle Bowl when George O’Leary left for Notre Dame in 2001. McWhorter told me yesterday and the and his wife, Becky, had been thinking about retirement for a couple of years and that the time was right. Mac McWhorter is a damn good football coach and a better man.
5. Meyer votes Oregon No. 1. Six of the 12 SEC coaches vote in the USA Today coaches poll: Urban Meyer (Florida), Dan Mullen (Mississippi State), Bobby Petrino (Arkansas), Mark Richt (Georgia), Nick Saban (Alabama), and Steve Spurrier (South Carolina). All but Meyer voted Auburn No. 1 in the final poll. Meyer said the two teams were like “IA and 1B” and that he had previously had Oregon No. 1. The other five coaches all lost to Auburn and saw Cam Newton up close and personal. Of course there will be speculation that Meyer’s decision was based on the fact that Newton was once in the Florida program and left under difficult circumstances. Or maybe the thinks Oregon is better or maybe he had had Oregon No. 1 on his ballot for a while and decided not to change it. But it is interesting.
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