Downs and distance

September 25, 2009

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1. Mind-bending move

The College Football Hall of Fame, a mainstay in the college football hotbed of South Bend, Ind., for the past 22 years, is moving. To Atlanta. This is a dumb move. This is akin to moving the Hockey Hall of Fame to Miami or the Pro Football Hall of Fame to Los Angeles. When one thinks of college football, destinations such as South Bend, Ann Arbor, Mich., or Gainesville, Fla., come to mind. Not Atlanta. The powers that be cited declining attendance (the hall annually draws about 60,000 visitors) as the main reason for pulling up stakes. A shrine dedicated to elite college football players belongs in a college town rather than being lost in a booming metropolis such as Atlanta.

2. Hurricane watch

There’s no doubt this is the year of the quarterback, with a pair of Heisman Trophy winners (Florida’s Tim Tebow and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford) gunning for a second award, not to mention Texas’s Colt McCoy, the trendy favorite to cop this year’s award. But there’s another QB turning heads, and he plays at Quarterback U. Miami sophomore Jacory Harris has led the Hurricanes from unranked afterthought to No. 9 after wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech. Under the tutelage of former UMass boss Mark Whipple, Harris has displayed excellent mobility, a strong, accurate arm, and a commanding field presence. He faces his biggest test tomorrow vs. Virginia Tech.

3. Best is superlative

The best player in the country right now (non-quarterback division) is Jahvid Best. The 5-foot-10-inch, 195-pound Cal tailback put on quite a one-man show against Minnesota, rushing 26 times for 131 yards and five touchdowns. The compact, muscular Best has explosive speed and excellent vision. While he might not be on everyone’s Heisman radar, look for his profile to rise significantly if the Bears can take one or both of their upcoming games against Pac-10 heavyweights Oregon and Southern Cal. Meanwhile, Best, who rushed for 1,580 yards last season, will continue his assault on the school’s season rushing record held by J.J. Arrington (2,018 in ’04).

4. Sickly Sycamores

I don’t know about you, but I’m rooting for Indiana State in their Family Day game against Youngstown State tomorrow. The poor Sycamores have lost 30 straight games, including all four this year. Coach Trent Miles’s squad has been competitive in just one game - an overtime loss to NAIA Quincy in the opener - this season. The squad is coming off back-to-back shutouts against Eastern Illinois and South Dakota State. Only Prairie View (80 straight), Columbia (44), and Northwestern (34) have longer Division 1 losing streaks. The last time Indiana State won was a 28-22 decision over Missouri State in 2006, and that snapped a 24-game skid. For the love of Larry Bird, go Sycamores!