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College Football Notes....Mainly Spurrier

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  • College Football Notes....Mainly Spurrier

    Notes: Spurrier out of sight, not out of mind

    He's everywhere, and he's nowhere. He's right around the corner and out of sight.

    He's Steve Spurrier, and right now the Old Ball Coach casts the longest shadow in college football.

    Not that anyone can inquire about what is turning into Spurrier's favorite year. No coaching, no recruiting, no Dan Snyder, lots of money, lots of golf.

    All the biggies have tried to land interviews, but they've told the same thing as

    Florida spokesman and close friend Norm Carlson has been told to reject interview requests.

    "I think he's relaxing and playing golf and enjoying his family," Ray Graves, Spurrier's Florida coach in the 1960s, said from Tampa. "I mentioned it to him and he said, 'I don't have any offers.'"

    We should all be so lucky. The guy is happily out of work after resigning from the Redskins. But he remains one of the most coveted coaches around. While his pro career might be over, Spurrier, at age 58, still figures to be a hot college commodity after taking a year, or two, off.

    Speculation in rampant: North Carolina if John Bunting doesn't improve things dramatically. He'd be in the ACC tormenting Miami and Florida State again every year. How about Auburn if Tommy Tuberville is undercut (again) by his bosses?

    A friend says Steve Spurrier has been playing lots of golf and enjoying his family.(Getty Images)
    Don't forget about Florida. Poor Ron Zook has done an admirable job of succeeding the legend. Now that Spurrier is a free agent again, the pressure will only increase until Spurrier finally, officially, retires.

    But as Graves said, "He can't retire. He's gotta retire to something."

    Homes in Crescent Beach and St. Augustine and golf every day aren't bad places to start.

    "People think I'm going to coach again, I don't know," Spurrier told the Orlando Sentinel in January. "I'm definitely not going to coach for a year, probably not within two years and maybe not again."

    Graves, who spoke to Spurrier 10 days ago and will see him this weekend, isn't so sure. The only predictability about the man is that he is unpredictable.

    "I think he's going to be back in football," Graves said. "If he could be an offensive coordinator whether it's pros or college, just coach quarterbacks and offense, he'd be happy and do a good job."

    What makes it so fun is that Spurrier isn't saying a thing. If you're a coach on a seat that is even lukewarm, you're not looking over your shoulder, you're checking Spurrier's whereabouts every day.

    The silence is deafening.

    Bowling in the Big Apple
    Whoever thinks New York City is a college football Mecca needs to be re-educated.

    "It isn't," said Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese.

    Strangely, that's the reason that the conference, New York Jets and city are teaming up trying to bring a bowl game to the Big Apple by the end of the decade.

    The loosely titled "Big Apple Bowl" would feature a Big East team in the Jets' new $1.4 billion stadium on Manhattan's west side. Never mind that not one grain of dirt has been turned. This is New York and any chance to make a splash, well ... the latest was over the weekend when the Jets announced they were hooking up with the Big East.

    The National Football Foundation is expected to be a major sponsor. The city hasn't played host to a postseason bowl since the old Gotham Bowl in the early 1960s at Yankee Stadium.

    "I just said to people, 'To continue to accept this without trying, is meaningless,'" Tranghese said. "I was first approached about this by (the National Football Foundation). We had discussions about creating a bowl in Northeastern sector. We've never had anything like it."

    The foundation is headquartered in New Jersey and oversees the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. It also participates in collecting the data for the BCS rankings each week.

    The Big East champion is currently committed to the Bowl Championship Series, but who knows what the situation could be in 2010? That's the earliest the game could be staged.

    The Big East has come a long way from limbo last summer when the ACC was picking off its teams like a carnival sharpshooter. Tranghese was able to add Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida and get a guaranteed spot in the BCS after 2005.

    The stadium on the west side of Manhattan isn't even a sure thing. But it shows faith that the city and Jets want the Jets to be a part of it. Jets president Jay Cross said the bowl game is the stadium's first annual event that has been "booked."

    Whether, as has been speculated, the bowl evolves into a national championship someday, well, Tranghese laughed.

    "We'll see," he said. "One thing at a time."

    Lincoln quarterback factory
    No, we're not talking about the Turner Gill-Eric Crouch tuck-it-and-run type either.

    One of new coach Bill Callahan's goals at Nebraska is to build an honest-to-goodness quarterback school for prospects. It's part of his master plan to reconfigure the Huskers offense.

    Look out, then, for the Nebraska Elite Quarterback Academy that starts next week in Lincoln. Once you get over the shock of seeing "Nebraska," "elite" and "quarterback" in the same sentence, you'll figure out what Callahan is up to -- stocking the cupboard for his West Coast offense.

    While the transition might be painful initially (starter Joe Dailey was recruited to run the option), word has gotten out that Callahan is going to run a sophisticated offense. Florida blue-chipper Harrison Beck recently committed for 2005.

    Each year 40 to 50 high school quarterbacks will be "selected" to come to Lincoln to show off their wares. Callahan and offensive coordinator Jay Norvell are the brainchildren.

    "We want to prove to people we are committed to throwing the football," Norvell told the Omaha World-Herald. "This is one way to do that. You can't change the perception overnight, but this is a good beginning."

    If he is training the best high schoolers, what are the chances of Callahan landing a few in recruiting? Pretty good. The best-known quarterback camp is the Elite 11 each year in California. The best in the country go there the same way the foxiest debutantes flock to the Miss America competition.

    You're no one unless you're there.

    That could change when the Nebraska's three-day academy begins on Monday. Someday soon two other walls might fall:

    A Nebraska quarterback has never thrown for 300 yards in a game.

    The next Nebraska quarterback drafted could be a first-rounder.

    Money for nothing, er, coalition teams
    A BCS bowl director hinted last week at the financial solution to having to take coalition teams in the system.

    Money, what else?

    The Rose Bowl, particularly, would be affected because it has the largest BCS stadium (93,000 seats) and has no season-ticket base. If the Rose were forced to take a coalition team (i.e. Marshall, Tulane, etc.), the BCS could end up reimbursing the Tournament of Roses Committee for lost revenue.

    It's not like the BCS doesn't have the money. Commissioners have $400,000 set aside just to establish a BCS office. They have never followed through on opening the office.

    Quick Hits

    Oklahoma's four Heisman Trophy winners have come from towns with a total population of 24,038. The biggest of those four is 1969 winner Steve Owens' Miami, Okla. (13,704). The others are 2003 winner Jason White, Tuttle, Okla. (4,294), 1952 winner Billy Vessels, Cleveland, Okla. (3,067) and 1978 winner Billy Sims, Hooks, Texas (2,973).

    If West Virginia's Rasheed Marshall rushes for at least 500 yards this season he will become the Big East's quarterbacks rushing leader. He will bypass the likes of Donovan McNabb.

    If Mike Stoops is going to turn it around at Arizona, he is going to have to do it with the toughest schedule in the country. That's the conclusion of BCS guru Jerry Palm, who already has developed a strength-of-schedule component for the 2004 season. The Wildcats face eight bowl teams including Utah and Wisconsin in out-of-conference games. Other notables: Georgia (No. 2), Notre Dame (No. 5), Miami (No. 10), LSU (No. 12) and Southern California (No. 32).