December 4 , 2006


Imperfect BCS rewards Gators


Associated Press/Stephen Morton
Florida quarterback Chris Leak celebrates beating Arkansas 38-28 in Saturday’s SEC title game in Atlanta. The Gators will play Ohio State for the national championship.

AP Sports Writer

The Bowl Championship Series broke in favor of Florida, sending Urban Meyer’s Gators to the national championship game to play Ohio State.
Michigan was the odd team out in this year’s college football controversy, getting passed by the slimmest margin in BCS history and denied a rematch with the Buckeyes.
Despite the results, Meyer and Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr found common ground Sunday night in bashing the BCS.
“It’s an imperfect system,” Meyer said. “If you want a true national championship, the only way to do it is on the field.
Carr’s take: “I don’t think there is any question that there are flaws in the system. I hope one day we have a system where all the issues are decided on the field.”
Maybe one day, but not yet.
Florida, which lobbied hard for the victory, got in by a whisker — just a hundredth of a point in the BCS standings.
The Gators had a BCS average of .944. The Wolverines were at .934. The teams were tied in the computer ratings, but Florida had a 38-point lead in the Harris poll and a 26-point advantage in the coaches’ poll.
Meyer spent more time answering question about why voters finally saw fit to put the Gators ahead of Michigan than he did talking about how his team went 12-1 against one of the nation’s best schedules to win the country’s toughest_conference.
“We’re beyond the fact of do we need a playoff,” he said. “It’s now, can we get one.”
Of course, Southern California could have made things simpler by beating UCLA on Saturday. Instead, the Trojans were upset 13-9, dropping in the standings and clearing the way for Florida (12-1) or Michigan (11-1).
The Gators leapfrogged idle Michigan by winning the Southeastern Conference championship game, 38-28, over Arkansas.
“It’s well deserved, and I’m proud of it,” Meyer said of the Gators’ selection.
The championship game is Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.
Michigan’s consolation prize is a Rose Bowl bid to play USC (10-2), a classic Big Ten vs. Pac-10 matchup of teams left to wonder what could_have been.
“I don’t think they (Florida) would have moved ahead of us if USC would have won the game,” said Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.
In other bowls:
l Big 12 champion Oklahoma will meet unbeaten Boise State in the Fiesta on Jan. 1.
l Big East champion Louisville will play ACC champion Wake Forest in the Orange on Jan. 2.
l LSU will take Florida’s spot in the Sugar and play Noter Dame on Jan. 3.
When the Wolverines ended their regular season with a 42-39 loss to the Buckeyes two weeks ago, they talked about getting another swing at their Big Ten rivals.
While Michigan was left to wait and hope, the other contenders still had games to play.
As Florida padded its resume, Meyer became a very vocal critic of the BCS, especially when it appeared the Gators wouldn’t get a shot at Ohio State — and Michigan could get a mulligan.
Meyer suggested the BCS should be imploded if the SEC champ again was left out of the championship game — the way undefeated Auburn was_in 2004.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who is taking the Buckeyes to the BCS championship game for the second time in his six years in Columbus, isn’t so sure about a playoff system.
“With a 12 game season, it would be next to impossible to have a 16-team playoff,” he said. “We’ll continually improve the system. As you look at it over the past few years, it has gotten better and better.”
But Tressel wanted no part of helping decide which team the Buckeyes would face in Arizona.
A voter in the coaches’ poll, Tressel declined to cast a ballot in the final rankings.
“We felt it was somewhat of a conflict of interest,” Tressel said.
It’s always something with the BCS. The system was created to make sure No. 1 and No. 2 played in the final game of the season, but rarely has there been a title game everybody agreed upon. If it’s not too many unbeaten teams, which was the case in ‘04 when USC beat Oklahoma for the title, it’s not enough, which has usually been the case. Last year, when USC and Texas were the only undefeateds, was an aberration.
“What we’ve got is an extremely exciting regular season that the BCS actually enhanced by making so many games important not only in the region that they were played but nationally,” said Mike Slive, BCS coordinator and SEC commissioner. “The next part is here we are with many deserving teams.
“We need to continue over the next few years to look at the postseason to make sure it works the way we want it to work.”
So instead of the 104th meeting between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes, Florida and Ohio State will play for the first time.
The Buckeyes have won four national championships, including the 2002 title under Tressel. Ohio State upset Miami 31-24 in an overtime classic at the Fiesta Bowl.
Last year, Ohio State beat Notre Dame 34-20 in the Fiesta Bowl, giving the country a taste of what was to come this season.
The Buckeyes have been No. 1 since the preseason. Led by Heisman Trophy front-runner Troy Smith, they’ve run roughshod over their competition. Only Michigan and Illinois stayed within 17 points of Ohio State.
Smith, a senior, capped his season with four touchdown passes against the Wolverines. He finished with 30 TD passes and five interceptions.
Florida, meanwhile, rarely had an easy game. The Gators won at Tennessee by one in September, and none of their last five victories over I-A teams have been by more than 10 points.
The Gators relied on their defense, a unit ranked 10th nationally in yards allowed and sixth in scoring.
Florida’s senior quarterback, Chris Leak, entered the season as a Heisman contender but ended up sharing the job with freshman sensation Tim Tebow.
Tebow’s tough running has complemented Leak’s passing, but unlike the explosive Buckeyes, Florida’s offense has had its ups and downs. The Gators’ only loss came Oct. 18 at Auburn, a 27-17 setback that was a four-point game until the Tigers scored on the final play.
“They have a great football team,” Tressel said. “When you can win the SEC championship, you’re a great football team.”



Purple matmen champs

Cortland High wrestlers certainly exceeded early season expectations on Saturday.
Coach Dave Darrow figured his Purple Tigers were good for at least three wins while hosting the 17th annual Cortland Dual Meet Tournament. His squad then went out and defeated all five foes on hand to claim the team title.
The Purple Tigers opened with a 69-0 skunking of LaFayette in the opening round. After knocking off Dryden 59-10, CHS handled Chittenango 43-18, beat Jordan-Elbridge 40-24 and finished up with a 35-18 victory over Ithaca High.
On top of that, Coty Cute of Cortland won all four of his matches at 171 and 189 pounds to share most outstanding wrestling honors with heavyweight Nick Sacco of Ithaca.
Chittenango finished second in the six-school event, with Ithaca winding up third. Dryden went 1-5 on the day, the lone Purple Lions win coming against LaFayette by a narrow 34-33 margin.
“The kids are very young and they work very hard. We’ll see how far we can go,” said Coach Darrow after the victory. “They wrestle really well as a group. They don’t get pinned and the really support each other.”
Darrow was most concerned about the Chittenango match-up, which opened up with Cute coming up with a 4-3 decision victory over highly regarded Keith Chappell in a 189-pound showdown. Jon Wood at_215, Fran Evangelista at 103 and Mike Gates at 112 all followed with pins and the Purple Tigers had a 21-0 lead en route to victory.
Barry Kinney won a major decision at 125 and Clint Morse got a second period pin at 130 as CHS maintained the lead. The Purple Tigers then closed out the match with three straight victories, starting when Brandon Fitzgerald pulled out_a 7-6 decision over Manny Nieves 7-6.
Foster won a wild 11-10 decision over Scott Rutledge at 160, Rutledge another of the top Bears, before Josh Morehouse’s 39-second pin at 171 finished the victory in what proved to be the title match.
Cute went 4-0 on the day, including first period pins in the wins over Jordan-Elbridge and Ithaca, to earn his MOW honor. He did not take the mats against Dryden.
Foster also had an impressive day, including a 45-second pin, is winning all five of his matches. Brandon Fitzgerald was also a perfect 5-0, with technical fall and major decision on his resume.
Coach Darrow raved about unbeaten lightweights Fran Evanglista and Mike Gates, too. At 103, Evanglista had a pin and major decision to go along with two forfeits. Gates had two pins while going 5-0 at 112 and 119.
Morehouse won all three of his matches at 171 and 189, Clint Morse went 4-1 with three pins at 125 and 130, and three forfeits helped A.J. Meldrim also go 4-1 on the day at 140. Jon Wood had two pins at heavyweight and a decision at 189 for the champions.
CHS has a tough match at Mexico on Wednesday before traveling to the Whitesboro Duel Meet Tournament on Saturday.
“The kids kept plugging away,” said Darrow after this success. “If we continue not to get pinned, you can lose six or seven matches and still get a win in duals.”
DRYDEN had two wrestlers have undefeated days. Anthony Jerome was 5-0 at 135 pounds. The Purple Lion senior posted the 100th win of his career when he posted a 13-2 major decision over Cortland’s Corby Reynolds.
Another Dryden senior, Rex Hollenbeck, went 3-0 on the day at 60 pounds. Tony Clarke posted a 4-1 record at 215 pounds while Josh Scott was 3-2 at 125 pounds.
“The guys wrestled well,” said Dryden coach Larry Hinkle. “We some have some holes in our line-up. As soon as some guys get enough practices in, we will have wrestlers at 103, 119 and 152. That will really helped us out a lot.”
CORTLAND JVs got two pins victories from Shaq Sanders (103), Garrett Morse (112), Jason DeGouff (125 and 130), and Cody Hartmann (180 and 215) on the day.
Dustin Black also won twice at 189 and 215, including a pin. Others winning by fall were Andrew Hotchkiss (145), Rob Johnson (275) and Nick Barbarito (275).




Streaking Cortland women romp past Clarkson

For the second straight night, SUNY Cortland women stifled a basketball opponent with some solid defensive play.
Junior forward Sara Cavanaugh scored 17 points and senior guard Andrea Wilkinson poured in 14 points as the Red Dragons defeated visiting Clarkson 77-38 for its fifth straight victory.
Cortland led 38-14 at halftime, holding the Corey Gymnasium visitors to just 10 percent shooting from the field over the opening 20 minutes. The Golden Knights finished the game shooting 22 percent from the floor.
The previous night, SUNY Institute of Technology shot just 17 percent from the floor in a lopsided 80-37 Red Dragon romp.
Top scorers Cavanaugh and Wilkinson also pulled down six rebounds apiece for the Red Dragons, who improved to 5-1.
Freshman Jessica Laing added 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. She fell two rebounds shy, however, of recording her sixth straight ‘double-double’ to start her collegiate career.
Sophomore Ali Canale finished with nine points and a career-high four blocked shots and sophomore Maggie Byrne dished out seven assists. Senior Kerry Costello added eight points and sophomore Kristin Ciccone tallied four assists.
The Red Dragons were also a deadeye 16-of-17 from the free throw line, while shooting 44 percent from the floor.
Freshman Michelle Reddinger was the lone double-figure scorer for Clarkson (0-6) with 11 points. She also pulled down five rebounds.
Cortland High graduate Alica Chace had two points in four rebounds in 20 minutes of court time coming off the bench for Clarkson. She was 1-for-5 from the floor against the_Red Dragons.

Cortland Men Stop Skid

Cortland men used a 19-5 run at the end of the first half to take a 14-point lead and the Red Dragons went on to defeat Alfred University 72-58 in a non-league match-up Saturday.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Red Dragons (3-2), led by senior forward Rod Headley’s 15 points. Sophomore Carson Niehoff finished with career-highs of_14 points and eight rebounds and freshman Mike Lewis added seven points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Senior guard Dave Maggiacomo scored nine points, six coming on 3-pointers late in the Red Dragons’ decisive run. Junior point guard Mark Schaller added seven points, five in the first half.
Dillon Stein topped Alfred (2-3) with_13 points. Jared Patt added 12 points, Ryan Clemenson scored 11 points and Pat Smithgall grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for the_visitors.
The teams were tied at 21-21 when Alfred’s Clemenson made a 3-pointer with 7:20 left in the first half. Niehoff gave Cortland the lead for good with a lay-up at the 6:42 mark and added a free throw 28 seconds later. Headley’s put-back at the 5:39 mark, two straight Lewis lay-ups and a Niehoff basket extended the lead to 32-21 with 3:55 remaining.
Alfred drew back within eight points before center Joe Sargent responded with a lay-up with 1:08 left. Maggiacomo then hit two 3-pointers in the final 34 seconds, sandwiched around a Smithgall inside score, and Cortland led 40-26 at the break.
The Red Dragons’ lead stayed in double figures the entire second half. Cortland led by 19 points at 56-37 on a Headley free throw with 12:06 remaining. Trailing by 18 points with 6:08 left, the Saxons made one last push to within 12 points with 3:03 left, but Niehoff and Schaller each made two free throws in the final 1:06.
Cortland men and women host Ithaca College on Tuesday, the women tipping things off at 6 p.m.




Golden Eagles able to shut down Victor

MORRISVILLE — Taylor Brown netted two goals as the Cortland-Homer Golden Eagles improved to 2-0 to start this hockey season thanks to a 4-0 non-league win over Victor from Section 5 Saturday at SUNY Morrisville.
Paul Zimmerman added one goal and one assist to the Golden Eagles attack while Carl Zimmerman netted one goal. Steve Stowell dished out one assist.
“The first line of Brown, Paul Zimmerman and Stowell had another strong game,” said Golden Eagles coach Don Armstrong. “The first defense of (Vic) Marchetti and (Dan) Farris had a very solid game, logging a lot of penalty kill time.
“Overall, the team showed some improvement over the first contest, but will need to pick it up some more when we face Fulton Tuesday,” Armstrong added.
Cortland-Homer took a 1-0 lead at 3:55 on a power-play goal in the first period. Paul Zimmerman scored by deflecting a shot by Farris taken from the top of the right face-off circle. Stowell also assisted on the opening goal.
The Golden Eagles took a 2-0 advantage 8:54 into the second period. Vic Marchetti made a great breakout pass to Brown as he crossed the defensive blue line. Taylor forwarded the puck to Paul Zimmerman on the right wing. Zimmerman headed towards the goal and drew the defender towards him. Zimmerman return the puck to Brown who fired the scoring shot from close range.
The Golden Eagles got their final two goals during third period play to seal the victory. The first goal of the period was an unassisted tally by Brown, who now has three goals on the season after a great individual effort. After losing the defense in the neutral zone, Brown broke in on goalkeeper Katie Double (28 saves) and scored after a nice deke.
The final goal came when Carl Zimmerman was awarded a penalty shot after he was pulled down on a breakaway. Zimmerman moved one way, got Double to commit, and then scored the first varsity goal of his career with a nice backhand shot.                        
Brian Frankel played all 45 minutes and had another solid game in goal for Cortland-Homer, making 16 saves including stopping one breakaway scoring chance by Victor (0-2-1).
CHS-Homer was slated to play a two-day tournament, but a power failure on Friday night limited the event to a one-day affair.
The Golden Eagles clash with Central New York Scholastic Hockey League foe Fulton is a 7 p.m. start Tuesday at the Fulton War Memorial rink.