College Football Notebook

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Associated Press
The college football notebook …NEW ORLEANS ó Alabama coach Nick Saban didn’t rule out the possibility Wednesday of All-America left tackle Andre Smith returning for his senior season. An NCAA spokeswoman, meanwhile, said the governing body has spoken with university officials and determined that it is an internal matter.
Saban suspended the Outland Trophy winner for Friday night’s Sugar Bowl against No. 7 Utah after alleged dealings with a sports agent.
“Andre Smith is a fine young man and he did a great job here for us,” Saban said in his first public comments since announcing the suspension in a statement Monday. “He may be doing a great job for someone else in the future or he may be doing a great job for us in the future. That decision has not yet been made.”
MARYLANDCOLLEGE PARK, Md. ó Assessing the success of Maryland’s season depends on whether you see the Humanitarian Bowl as half empty or half full.
The Terrapins capped an up-and-down ride with a 42-35 win over Nevada on a chilly Tuesday night in Idaho before a crowd of 26,781. There were more empty seats than Maryland fans, yet those in attendance watched the Terps secure their fifth eight-win season in eight years under Ralph Friedgen.
There’s nothing wrong with finishing 8-5, but Maryland expected much more after beating four ranked teams to put itself in position to play for the ACC championship. Two straight losses ruined that quest and left the Terrapins and their fans to pack for Boise instead of Florida for the Orange Bowl.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. ó Tyrod Taylor answers questions with “yes, sir” or “no, sir” when possible. He has little to say, even though the sophomore quarterback is perhaps the most discussed player on No. 21 Virginia Tech’s roster.
He hears the debate about whether he should have redshirted, an option each of the past two years before coaches decided they needed his services by the season’s second game. He understands questions exist about whether he can effectively pass the ball with a hitch in his delivery and height (6 feet 1) unfit for a prototypical quarterback.
Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring prefers the facts. They initially make Taylor recoil in humility before he finally smiles with affirmation. He is 19 years old, has twice won an ACC championship and will play against No. 12 Cincinnati in his second Orange Bowl today.
“It’s happened quicker” than expected, Taylor said. “I expected to redshirt. But things happened fast, and I had to go out there and keep playing through the hard times.”
Taylor came to Virginia Tech as one of the nation’s top quarterback recruits, another dual-threat prospect from the Tidewater region that sent Michael Vick to Blacksburg a decade ago.