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Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Updated: February 17, 5:07 PM ET
Chow's time has finally come

By Ivan Maisel
ESPN.com

The USC recruiting story didn't generate much mail, beyond the very clever among you who wanted to know if they could have copies of whatever USC is blackmailing me with, because there couldn't be another explanation for why my colleagues and I continue to blow smoke up the Trojan skirts.

Listen, the minute your team goes 33-1, we'll nominate your coach for the next vacancy at Vatican State. In the meantime, USC has lost one game in the last two seasons, and that one was in triple overtime. And before we get into schedule discussions, find me another team that has done that with an easy schedule, a hard schedule or a payment schedule.

The quarterback list continues to generate a lot of e-mail. If I may summarize, Charlie Ward should have made the list, Ken Dorsey should have made the list earlier, and we should posts some more "best of" lists, such as best programs of the ESPN Era or best fight song. I hesitate to dive into these matters, especially fight song, because there's a reason they're called fight songs.

Off the top of my head, I have to say that the best program of the ESPN Era was Cheers.

And thanks to all the expatriate Mobilians who e-mailed me regarding my paean to our hometown during the Senior Bowl. The rest of you e-mailed me regarding your pain in reading it.


Read your articles all the time, you are a great writer and I am big fan. I am not a USC fan so I really don't care, but why doesn't Norm Chow get more interviews? I hear about how he never gets called, but I am curious if there is some reason why he doesn't. With his success it seems he should be in the running for a number of jobs. Heck, even Slick Rick Neuheisel gets a job after running CU into the ground. Personality? Organizational skills? What do people see he is lacking?

Sam Niebrugge
Denver

Norm Chow
Norm Chow has been a success everywhere from BYU to NC State to USC and now heads to the NFL.
The short answer, Sam, is I don't know, and neither does Chow, based on our conversations. Chow is a quiet guy, yet he is unguarded in what he says. Don't ask him a question unless you want to hear the answer. I have heard that he doesn't interview well, and he has heard similar speculation, but no one has ever told him that to his face.

I think for most of his career, the industry figured he would stay at BYU for life. But the university didn't hire him to replace LaVell Edwards, and so the rest of college football got to see why the Cougar offense did so well for so long.

He turned down the Kentucky job a couple of years ago, and he finished as a runner-up at Stanford this year, mainly because he didn't go to UOP with Ted Leland, who replaced a guy he used to work with (Buddy Teevens) with a guy he used to play with (Walt Harris).

Who knows -- maybe his new job with the Tennessee Titans will help him land a head-coaching job. That's what he's banking on.


Great [USC] article. Right on the money. But you have to admit that the recruiting marvel of this season has to go to Nebraska. Most high school players would regard that program, having come off its first losing season since forever, as headed only downhill. But Callahan and his staff pulled off the recruiting sting of the year in my opinion.

Tom A. Ritz
Denver

Agreed on all counts, but remember Nebraska also signed plenty of JUCO players who will have an immediate chance to play as well. The USC story appealed to me because of the turnaround in fortune of the entire west coast in a very short period of time.


Look forward to your column every week. I have a quick comment about the Big 12. I've been saying this for the last few years but it seems that OU and UT, who are very good teams, have somewhat fooled the public with great season records by benefiting from a mediocre, at best, conference. OU plays only one real game, as does UT. Then they go undefeated or 10-1 and everybody thinks they are so dominant. The SEC on the other hand, has five top-tier, BCS-caliber teams (Auburn, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, and Florida) who by nature beat each other up. It's no wonder why every year I read "maybe the SEC is not as tough as expected" because it's just so darn tough to go unscathed, having to get up every week, rather than for one game. Even the SEC's second-tier teams (Arkansas, Alabama, and South Carolina) can beat anybody on a given day -- wasn't it Arkansas lost Texas but outplayed them and Alabama who did the same to OU a year to two back? Anyhow, hopefully former Big 12 standouts (Nebraska, Colorado, K-State, and A&M) will increase the competition and turn our conference around so we can live up to our rankings. Thanks.

Carlos Gomez
San Antonio

That's the same complaint about Miami's dominance during the 1990s.

The Big 12: The New Big East.

That's not a slogan that will have legs.


In your most recent article concerning recruiting (and obviously overall) powerhouse USC, you gave the readers the impression that USC simply has to offer a kid, and he practically drools all over the written offer. You even made the assumption that Marlon Lucky was one of those kids and that the only reason he didn't sign with USC was because of their "stacked" backfield containing LenDale White and Reggie Bush. On the contrary, Lucky chose Nebraska simply because he wanted to get the hell out of California and knew from visiting both schools that Nebraska was much quieter (he is a laidback guy, not much of a party kid) and he felt better about the campus and coaches at Nebraska.

I think the fact that USC has two great backs has very little, if anything, to do with his college decision. Nebraska also has two very fine tailbacks that will compete with Lucky for playing time. Cory Ross will start over Lucky simply because he is an amazing leader and was the only weapon we had on offense this year. Granted, they are not the high-profile players that USC has, but the reason they are "more quality" players than the tailbacks at Nebraska are because of the supporting cast on that team

Kevin Wait
University of Nebraska-Kearney

Kevin, it's always dicey to take at face value what the coach who didn't get the kid says about the situation. But no matter the reason, Lucky will see more time on the field in Lincoln than he would have in Los Angeles. That's one of the perils that great teams must face, and Carroll has faced it less than most coaches in his shoes have.


Not that I'm disagreeing any of your top ten picks but I think there is someone who forgot to be mentioned. I didn't not see anywhere in the article that said only I-A Quarterbacks but Steve McNair should be up there with those guys: passing yards (14,496) touchdowns (119), completions (958), attempts (1,673), rushing yards (2,327 on 375 carries) and yards per carry (6.2). And he finished third in the 1994 Heisman voting. When was the last time you saw a division I-AA player even in the voting? I don't know what rank he should be, but he should be in there.

Chris Vollmer
New York City

And David Greene and Jay Barker and Steve Walsh and ...


Let me get this straight, someone is out there paying you a living to come up with ideas like, "Chris Weinke and Danny Worthless [Wuerffel] are two of the greatest QBs of the last 25 years." Am I correct about this? As a 'Cane fan, I can only Amen the chorus of e-mails that pointed out your stupidity about forgetting about Dorsey. As a 'Cane fan, I would also like to point out that we never ever feared Weinke. We feared Charlie Ward. It's an age thing right? You appreciate other aging men who are unable to come through in the clutch.

Dustin Witmer
Greenville, SC

Boy, I hate it when my wife e-mails people with complaints about me in the clutch.

Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your question/comments to Ivan at ivan.maisel@espn3.com. Your e-mail could be answered in a future Maisel E-mails.