|COLLEGE FOOTBALL PACKAGE: BC and Clemson play for division title|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 14 November 2007 11:51|
Ryan will lead the 18th-ranked Eagles against No. 15 Clemson on Saturday night, and the winner clinches a berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. Ryan was asked whether the game had a playoff feel to it, but having gone from a small private high school to Division I NCAA football, he's never had the opportunity to feel the playoffs before.
``I don't really know,'' he said Wednesday. ``I went to a high school were we didn't go to the playoffs. I'd have to go back to weight ball to tell you what playoffs feel like.''
Ryan went to William Penn Charter School in Exton, Pa., where he was the captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. In college, he earned the nickname ``Matty Ice'' for his performance under pressure, but he almost lost his cool when asked whether the his high school skipped the playoffs because it wasn't eligible or wasn't good enough.
``We were good enough,'' he said with a sidelong glance.
Ryan's Heisman Trophy chances took a hit with consecutive losses that dropped BC (8-2, 4-2 ACC) from No. 2 to 18th, but the Eagles still have a chance at the ACC championship game and the Orange Bowl. If Clemson (8-2, 5-2) wins on Saturday night, they get the Atlantic Division title and the spot in the championship game.
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden is using freshman quarterback Willy Korn on the scout team to help the defense prepare for Ryan. Bowden said Korn will bring a big-time ``presence'' to Clemson's defenders working to stop Ryan and the Eagles.
A highly regarded quarterback prospect for the Tigers, Korn had been on the sidelines most of this season with the emergence of junior Cullen Harper.
Some Clemson fans thought Korn would challenge Harper for the Tigers' starting job. But Harper's thrown 26 touchdowns and only four interceptions this season.
Korn saw mop-up action in wins over Louisiana-Monroe and Furman in September. He has not played the past seven games and has been bothered by a sore shoulder.
Korn has completed 8 of 11 passes this season for 100 yards and a touchdown.
LEAN SELMON: Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe is still glad Zac Selmon has trouble gaining weight.
If the 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end could have packed on a few more pounds five seasons ago, he might have followed the rest of his famous family to Oklahoma.
He would have been a natural to become a Sooner - his father Dewey and uncles Lee Roy and Lucious all starred for Oklahoma before playing in the NFL. Spurned by the Sooners, he chose Wake Forest (6-4, 4-3) and hopes to wrap up a solid career in a bowl game.
``The main reason most of the good players don't get recruited by the Oklahomas was because they're not big enough,'' Grobe said. ``He's got good height and a good frame, but he was kind of a lean-muscle-type guy. ... He still has struggled to put weight on. If he was 30 pounds heavier coming out of high school, he probably goes anyplace he wants to go.''
ELUSIVE LANDMARK: Bobby Bowden hopes to get his 300th career coaching win at Florida State on Saturday when the Seminoles host Maryland.
The Terrapins (5-5, 2-4) need a win to become bowl-eligible. Maryland became bowl-eligible last year with its 27-24 win over the Seminoles.
Florida State (6-4, 3-4) needs a win to avoid a second straight losing season in conference play. The one-time ACC kingpins are 14-14 in the last 28 games and just 6-11 against league opponents in regular season play.
Bowden, 372-117-4 in 42 years as a head coach, has a one-game lead on Penn State's Joe Paterno (371-124-3) in their competition to become the winningest major college coach.
However, both are far behind 81-year-old John Gagliardi of St. John's (Minn.), who is 452-121-11 in 59 seasons as a small-college head coach, including 55 at St. John's, a private Catholic college that does not offer football scholarships and doesn't allow tackling in its practices.
.500 OR BUST: Georgia Tech has already qualified for a bowl, but a seventh win would probably provide some assurance of an 11th straight appearance.
There's an even longer streak at stake this week.
The Yellow Jackets (6-4, 3-4) are trying to finish .500 or better in conference games for the 13th straight season - the longest active streak in the league.
The streak began in 1995, George O'Leary's first season as head coach. A win over North Carolina would give Georgia Tech its sixth .500 conference finish in the 13-year span, including four 4-4 league records in six seasons under coach Chan Gailey.
Georgia Tech's seniors wanted to finish better than .500, but they want to make sure they don't finish below that mark.
``I don't want to be part of that group that was below .500,'' said senior safety Djay Jones. ``I just want to go out and win this game and finish the ACC .500 and hopefully we'll get a good bowl bid.''
Georgia Tech won the Coastal Division last season with a 7-1 ACC record. It also was 7-1 in the league in 1998.
RIVALRY NERVES: Count North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams among those that take the football rivalry with North Carolina State pretty seriously.
Williams was running practice Saturday and went into the coaches' locker room to turn on the game for a quick look at the score. The Tar Heels led 27-24, but the first play Williams saw was T.J. Yates' interception that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamelle Eugene to give the Wolfpack a 31-27 lead.
Williams immediately figured he was a jinx and shut the game off, missing the Tar Heels' final drive to the Wolfpack 7-yard line before failing to convert a fourth-and-goal in the final seconds.
``I'm glad that I didn't watch the last four plays, because I'd have been dying,'' Williams said.
BRIEF STAY: Duke coach Ted Roof is leading his team this week to Notre Dame, where he almost ended up as an assistant coach.
Roof was part of George O'Leary's staff at Georgia Tech when O'Leary was hired to coach the Fighting Irish in 2001. But O'Leary resigned when it was discovered parts of his resume compiled years ago were inaccurate.
By then, Roof had spent a day at Notre Dame, meeting school officials and looking for a place to live. He had a contract in hand when he flew back to Georgia Tech before getting a call in the middle of the night from fellow assistant Bill O'Brien saying the situation had changed.
Roof was able to chuckle when asked Tuesday about his brief stint there.
``The day I was there,'' Roof said, ``it was nice.''
AP Sports Writers Charles Odum, Brent Kallestad, Aaron Beard, Joedy McCreary and Pete Iacobelli contributed to this story.