Jim Schaefer and Michael Rosenberg, Detroit Free Press: Rich Rodriguez backtracked on public claims he made recently that his team achieved the highest cumulative grade point average ever for a Michigan football team, saying now that neither he nor the university knows what that record is. Michigan officials told the newspaper that it doesn't keep team GPA files.
Greg Dooley, M Victors: Former Michigan quarterback Rick Leach criticized former Wolverine coach Lloyd Carr for mingling with Iowa supporters during last Saturday's game. "Our ex-coach flipped a huge middle finger right in our current coach's face," Leach told WTKA host Sam Webb. "So ask people to go investigate that, Sam. There will be a lot more there. Trust me."
Katie Thomas and Ken Belson, New York Times: Documents in a fraud case involving 61 Florida State athletes across 10 sports shed light on the normally secret process by which the NCAA investigates violations of its rules. They offer an unflattering portrait of Florida State’s professors and administrators defending themselves before the Committee on Infractions. President T.K. Wetherell said the university was embarrassed by the cheating, but had learned from the incidents. "This is not something that we are proud of, and it is not necessarily our finest hour," he said, paraphrasing a famous quotation about Apollo 13's failure to reach the moon.
Paul Gattis, Huntsville Times: The Southeastern Conference midseason review: It's a down year for the league.
Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times: The first Bowl Championship Series standings will be released Sunday and if history is a guide, something weird will come out of it.
Jon Solomon, Birmingham News: CBS is riding Alabama and Florida to big ratings for its telecasts of SEC games.
Nick Canepa, San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego State's decline in fortunes easily can be traced — by even amateur football genealogists — to Nov. 24, 1979, a 63-14 bloodletting in unbeaten Brigham Young's favor that finished before vendors sold two hot dogs.
Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle: California players are boarding the bus Thursday a six- to seven-hour ride to Pasadena for Saturday's game against UCLA, a move that was an attempt to help the university with budget shortcomings but may end up being more symbolic than fiscally responsible. The Bears are leaving a day earlier than they would have if they traveled via charter flight. It is estimated that the road travel would have saved about $20,000, a number all but wiped out by the extra night of hotel and food costs.
Mike Kern, Philadelphia Daily News: It's now or never for Charlie Weis, whose defining moment as Notre Dame coach is a 34-31 loss to USC in his sixth game.
Pete Thamel, New York Times: Cincinnati became the first Division I-A team to "adopt" a child through Friends of Jaclyn, which matches pediatric brain tumor patients with sports teams, mostly from colleges. Players, coaches and support staffers are quick to identify Mitch Stone, a 12-year-old cancer patient, as a key to the Bearcats' season.
Matt Hinton, Dr Saturday: A rainy day in Southern California made for an interesting competition between USC coaches at the end of practice.
John Taylor, College Football Talk: Georgia Tech officials are warning of a counterfeit ticket scam for Saturday's game against Virginia Tech.
Dugan Arnett, Lawrence Journal-World: Fans are showing up in droves for Kansas home games, but they aren't sticking around. Many are leaving at halftime. "I've done all I can to get them here," coach Mark Mangino said. "Somebody else is going to have to do something else to keep them here."
Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times: USC tailback Stafon Johnson, who was injured in a weight-lifting accident on Sept. 28, was released from the hospital. Plus, USC players recall a harrowing flight to South Bend the last time the team played there.
Paul Buker, Oregonian: Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis wonders why fans can't fill 45,674-seat Reser Stadium. "I've never seen a state like this, where it's one or the other, you're a Duck or you're a Beaver. Well, if [OSU alumni] are so proud of that, why is it so hard to keep this thing going? We have a hell of a football product — a hell of a football product — and we can't sell out the stadium? Where are all the Beaver fans?"
Todd Milles, Tacoma News Tribune: Washington's Steve Sarkisian, whose team is still in the running for the Rose Bowl, is dangling that carrot before his players in hopes they don't suffer a letdown Saturday against Arizona State.
Kevin Cirilli, Daily Collegian: Former Penn State running back Austin Scott has filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming a dropped rape case against him damaged a potential NFL career. Thanks to Ben Maller.
Steven Marcus, Newsday: The football playing days of Jason Gwaltney, Long Island's most gifted high school player since Jim Brown, appear to be over.
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