With controversy swirling around the BCS, Miami made a strong case for its national title, beating Nebraska 37-14 in the Rose Bowl.
Going into the game, there had been much talk of a split national title if the Huskers won, sharing it with the Ducks of Oregon, who throttled Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl. But Miami would have none of it, as its solid defense made Nebraska’s Heisman trophy winner, Eric Crouch, look like a freshman.
Spurrier creates a stir
Florida head coach Steve Spurrier resigned shortly after a decisive victory in the Orange Bowl over Maryland, with no apparent job prospects. This created a flurry of activity in both professional and college sports as Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley searched for a replacement.
His search led him to Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, and Mike Shanahan of the Denver Broncos. Analysts speculated that the job was Shanahan’s if he wanted it, but he turned it down after confirming his job security with the Broncos.
Foley eventually came to an agreement with New Orleans defensive coordinator Ron Zook. Zook will try to keep Florida at the level of national prominence that it enjoyed during the Spurrier years; the Gators are already heading in the right direction with quarterback sensation Rex Grossman confirming his return.
Meanwhile, Spurrier is expected to take a job in the NFL. After the season ended, head coaches around the league were handed pink slips, including in San Diego, Minnesota, Washington, Indianapolis, and Carolina, and Spurrier’s name has been rumored to fill any one of the vacancies.
Issel’s loose tongue costs him job
Dan Issel, head coach of the Denver Nuggets, resigned on Dec. 26, after making racist remarks to a fan after a Dec. 11 loss to Charlotte at the Pepsi Center. Interim coach Mike Evans replaced Issel.
Issel was caught by KUSA-TV, shouting “Go drink another beer, you f****** Mexican piece of s***,” after being provoked by the belligerent fan.
Issel immediately came under heavy fire from the media and NBA and received a four game suspension from Nuggets’ management, but many felt this was not strong enough. Issel eventually caved into the pressure and left the team after Christmas.
Forsberg almost returns
Avalanche star Peter Forsberg underwent surgery once again on Jan. 10. It came as a shock to most Denver fans, who expected the All-Star center to return to the ice within a week.
Forsberg has been in and out with various injuries, mostly to his ankles, for the last two years. This particular injury involved tendons in his left ankle.
He has been out of the rotation since last season’s playoffs, when he had problems with his spleen. He was ready to play during training camp but unexpectedly decided to take the season off for health reasons. During the interim, he had ankle surgery in his native Sweden, which will sideline him at least four months. Forsberg will miss the Olympics and the rest of the NHL season.n