College Football Notebook
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The college football notebook …
DURHAMó Victories have been hard to come by over the past two decades at Duke. Wins over good teams have been even rarer.
The Blue Devilsí three victories this season have come against teams that have a combined record of 7-15. Duke (3-4, 1-2 ACC) hasnít beaten a Top 25 opponent in nearly two decades.
Now they could be down to their last chance this season to knock off a nationally ranked power.
That has added at least a little urgency to this weekís preparations for No. 15 Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1), which certainly has been playing like the Coastal Division favorite during a three-game winning streak in which it hasnít scored fewer than 30 points.
But Duke believes itís better than both its record and its history. The Blue Devilsí last win against a Top 25 team came in 1994, and theyíre coming off a one-point loss to Wake Forest in which a blown tackle led to a big play for the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
CHAPEL HILL ó Former North Carolina associate head coach John Blake said he never worked to steer players to late NFL agent Gary Wichard.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated released Wednesday, Blake denied wrongdoing as he prepares to attend the school’s hearing Friday with the NCAA infractions committee in Indianapolis.
“It’s important to me that they know (I’m) an honest and good man,” Blake said. “We all make mistakes in life. But my character, my integrity means a lot to me.”
Blake’s relationship with Wichard ó a longtime friend who died of cancer earlier this year ó became a key part of the investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct within the football program.
According to the notice of allegations, Blake received more than $31,000 in financial transfers from Wichard from 2007-09, though his attorneys have described those as loans between friends during financial trouble that lingered after Blake was fired as Oklahoma’s head coach in 1998.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ó Two weeks of frenzied pre-game buildup. Behind the scenes TV maneuverings. Four-digit ticket prices.
This 1-versus-2 showdown between LSU and Alabama has both the hype and the feel of a game played in January with a title actually on the line instead of just a potential shot and SEC West frontrunner status.
Since both teams fortuitously have open dates, it means an extra week of chatter ahead of the primetime game Nov. 5 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It makes for an awful lot of what the second-ranked Crimson Tide’s coach Nick Saban calls clutter, too.
“Getting our players not to think about everything that’s surrounding the game. That’ll be the hardest part,” Saban said.
MADISON, Wis. ó Peter Konz’s knees ached more than ever on the late flight back from East Lansing, Mich.
The Wisconsin center was restless, unable to sleep after Michigan State’s final-play prayer was answered to knock the Badgers from the ranks of the unbeaten last Saturday night.
“No happy faces. Very quiet,” Konz said of the flight. “Everything hurts just a little more.”
Their hopes for a BCS title run dashed for now, the 12th-ranked Badgers (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) have no choice but to move forward. They won’t get much of a breather. Next up is a trip to Ohio State, which was No. 1 when the Badgers knocked them off 31-18 last season.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. ó Brian Kelly wants a Jumbotron at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Irish coach said Wednesday night that a big scoreboard that can show replays is the next step in creating an “incredible” atmosphere at the old stadium.
Notre Dame piped in music over the P.A. system for its rare night game Saturday against Southern California, including playing Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” when the defense was facing third down.
Notre Dame has largely resisted the in-game entertainment.