MIAMI, DEC. 29 -- It's difficult to say who the good guys and bad guys are when No. 1 Oklahoma meets No. 2 Miami for the national championship in the Orange Bowl on Friday. Both teams are cheerfully detested by their opponents.
Miami is accused of running up the score and cheap shots, to the point that both Maryland and South Carolina have said they won't reschedule the Hurricanes. Oklahoma is also accused of inflicting undue pain on opponents, and is under scrutiny by the NCAA. The result is that players for both teams have jokingly bickered about who is worse.
"Every time I look up, Miami is stealing our black hat," Oklahoma quarterback Jamelle Holieway said.
The situation is made more ironic by the fact that the two teams have a love-hate relationship. Miami has beaten Oklahoma twice in the last two years in heated contests, but there are also some close friendships between the teams. For instance, Sooners tight end Keith Jackson had Christmas dinner with Miami running back Mel Bratton. But all friendliness has been put on hold.
"There's no partying before this game," Bratton said. "We're enemies right now and he knows it."
Jackson is also close with Miami defensive end Danny Stubbs, who will be matched against him. Jackson's assessment of the Hurricanes expressed perfectly the two teams' relationship. "They're the sorriest, rudest guys I've ever seen," he said. "But I like them." Switzer: a Surprise Honor
Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer was a surprise inductee into the Orange Bowl Honor today. While it is usual for the game coaches to be present at the annual luncheon honoring Orange Bowl standouts, it is not so usual for them to be inducted unawares. Switzer did not know of the award until it was announced.
Before the awards ceremony, Switzer asked an official who this year's secret honoree was. "It's a secret," he was told.
"Being a football coach, I accepted that," he said.
The luncheon was also an opportunity for Switzer to trade remarks with Miami Coach Jimmy Johnson. According to Switzer, he received a practical joke phone call in his room two nights ago from former Miami coach Howard Schnellenberger, waking him up at 1:30 a.m. to ask if he had bought his Miami season tickets yet.
"I could swear I heard Jimmy laughing in the background," Switzer said.
"That's a lie," Johnson replied, "because you've never in your life been in your room by 1:30 a.m." Sooners' Kilpatrick Hurt
Injuries are rapidly becoming a story for both teams. First Miami lost senior offensive tackle Matt Patchan to a sprained left knee Monday in a pass blocking drill. That was added to the loss of linebacker George Mira Jr. and offensive lineman John O'Neill when they failed their NCAA drug tests.
Today, Oklahoma lost defensive tackle Darren Kilpatrick. He suffered ligament damage in his left knee and was declared out for the game after a teammate fell on him during a drill.
Kilpatrick will be replaced by a redshirt freshman, Scott Evans. Description of the Week
The description of the week goes to Miami defensive back Bennie Blades, who said of Oklahoma's blindingly fast Charles Thompson, starting in place of the injured Holieway, "He's like trying to catch a fly with chop sticks." . . .
Miami receiver Michael Irvin also gets credit for a good line, and a good description of the Hurricanes' confidence. "We feel we can beat anybody. If the San Francisco 49ers showed up here, we'd think we have a shot. Until it was 38-0."