Poll on polls shows coaches split on how to determine champion Notes

January 02, 1992

The victories yesterday by top-ranked Miami and No. 2 Washington are bound to stir another debate over the national championship and renew calls for a playoff system in college football.

However, the calls aren't likely to come from the coaches of the two top teams.

Miami's Dennis Erickson and Washington's Don James are opposed to a playoff, and so are a slim majority of this year's bowl coaches.

Nineteen of the 36 coaches surveyed by The Associated Press said they were against a postseason tournament to determine the national champion. The other 17 favored some kind of playoff, although many attached conditions and none wanted to completely scrap the bowl system.

"I'm for a playoff," said Florida coach Steve Spurrier, whose No. 3 Gators lost to Notre Dame in the USF&G Sugar Bowl last night. "Division I-A football is the only NCAA sport that doesn't have one to determine its champion. Everybody else can't be wrong."

But Erickson and James said they think a playoff would create more problems than it would solve.

"It would make the season too long," said Erickson, whose Hurricanes beat Nebraska last night in the Federal Express Orange Bowl. "If you could figure out a way to play one extra game, I could deal with that. But to do it right, you're going to have to play a number of games, which will lengthen the season. I don't think it would be good for the players physically."

In 1984, Brigham Young edged Washington for the national championship in the closest vote since the AP started its postseason poll. The Huskies could face a similar situation this season, even though they beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl and finished 12-0.

Still, James remains opposed to a playoff.

"I feel like the players are overworked as it is," he said. "We already play enough games, and a playoff would add even more. Plus, I wouldn't want to do anything to hurt the bowls because they've been so good for college football."

* TEXAS CHRISTIAN: TCU is expected to name 1971 Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan of Auburn to succeed Jim Wacker as its football coach today.

TCU officials wouldn't comment on reports that Sullivan, 42, would be named coach. But associate athletic director Glen Stone announced a news conference for 11:30 a.m. today, presumably to announce Sullivan's appointment as the replacement for Wacker, who took the Minnesota head coaching job Friday.

An Auburn source said Sullivan, an Auburn assistant coach the past six seasons, was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area yesterday, but he could not be reached for comment. TCU athletic director Frank Windegger also was unavailable for comment.

* GEORGIA TECH: Defensive coordinator George O'Leary and offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen both told athletic director Homer Rice they want to replace Bobby Ross as football coach.

Ross resigned Tuesday, saying he would sign a four-year contract with the San Diego Chargers.

Friedgen had worked with Ross at The Citadel and Maryland.

Rice said Tuesday that he would form a committee to replace Ross. He wouldn't say how long a search would take. But it took Rice only 24 hours to replace coach Bill Curry with Ross five years ago.

Rice wouldn't name candidates, but media reports have identified O'Leary, East Carolina coach Bill Lewis and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer as possibilities.

"I would personally hope that Coach Rice and the committee here at Georgia Tech would [promote] a member of our coaching staff, which I think is a fine one, an outstanding one," Ross said.

Beamer said yesterday that he does not plan to take the job.

Lewis, commenting after his team won the Peach Bowl yesterday, also said he had not been contacted by Tech officials. He was returning to North Carolina last night.

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