Blakeney won’t pick a winner

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Sports Editor

Troy State Larry Blakeney and his coaching staff are in unique predicament.

After all, his Blakeney’s Trojans are the only team in America to have faced both No. 1 Miami and No. 4 Nebraska this season. Both the Cornhuskers (12-1) and Hurricanes (11-0), will square off on Jan. 2 in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship.

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Despite having had to prepare for both teams, Blakeney refuses to pick a winner. Troy State lost in Lincoln, 42-14 to open the year and fell to Miami 38-7 in October.

"If I was forced to pick one, I’d probably go with Nebraska," said Blakeney who was featured on ESPN Radio earlier this week. "We still have to play them next season."

Blakeney thinks the game will come down to which quarterback makes the least mistakes. Both school’s possess two of the top signal caller’s in college football. Miami is led by dropback passer Ken Dorsey, while the ‘Huskers have a Heisman winner in Eric Crouch.

"You’ve got a match-up between the top college program in history with Nebraska and probably the most talent-laden football team with Miami," said Blakeney. "It’s going to be a good one."

The Cornhuskers will enter the National Championship game surrounded by controversy. Nebraska got drilled by Colorado, 62-35 in the final game of the regular season, failing to win the Northern Division of the Big 12 Conference. The Buffalos took the title over Texas in the Big 12 title game and both Colorado and Oregon are ranked above Nebraska in the AP and Coach’s Poll at no. 3 and No. 2, respectively.

Nebraska got the nod, barely, on strength of schedule. Five-hundredth’s of a point separated the Cornhuskers and Colorado in the BCS rankings.

Despite an angry outcry from Oregon and Colorado supporters, Blakeney still believes Nebraska deserves a shot at the Hurricanes’ No. 1 ranking.

"People are upset about the BCS, but that’s all we’ve got right now. It’s not perfect by no means. I think the fact that Nebraska played one more game then everyone else helped them out," he said.

Blakeney also doesn’t believe a Division 1-A playoff system is the answer.

"People talk about having the playoffs, but if we had the playoffs in place then you’d have someone upset about where they were seeded," he said. "In the playoffs it’s all about where you’re seeded. You’d still have people left out also."

Ironically, the Trojans probably had a hand in helping the Cornhuskers get to the Rose Bowl.

Troy State beat Mississippi State 21-9 in Starkville and then edged Division I-A bowl-bound North Texas at the end of the year 18-16.