Penn State Coach Joe Paterno is one of the favorites to win coach of the year honors, but South Carolina's Steve Spurrier will get serious consideration if his team continues to win in the SEC. The Gamecocks have won four straight conferences games, including the past two on the road, to become bowl eligible. Spurrier set a preseason goal of playing in a bowl, but many outside the program deemed that overly ambitious. Spurrier's former team, Florida, visits Columbia, S.C., next week. . . . Kudos to second-year Arizona coach Mike Stoops, who got the landmark victory his team needed last night. The key, of course, was the Wildcats' fourth touchdown, which put them up 28-0. Before that, UCLA was right where it wanted to be: trailing 21-0.


How many folks are still members of the Bill Callahan fan club this morning? Things have gone from bad to worse to worst for the Nebraska coach in recent weeks. To get a proper picture of Husker Nation despair and angst, consider a Nebraska team message board last night. The 199 fans logged on posted subject threads with these titles: "Dumbest coach in America," "OBITUARY -- Mr. Red," and "I feel pretty sick." Seemingly every week, schools are ending streaks against the once mighty Cornhuskers. Kansas was the latest to do so yesterday, ending its 36-game losing skid against the Huskers. The 40-15 blowout occurred just days after the Big 12 office reprimanded Callahan for making a throat-slashing gesture that he initially denied happened. The only good news for Nebraska fans is that the Huskers don't play Texas this year.

Spinning Ahead

If not for a certain school from State College, Pa., two running backs, Wisconsin's Brian Calhoun and Minnesota's Laurence Maroney, would almost certainly be packing for trips to New York in December as Heisman Trophy finalists. Either still might sneak in there, but Penn State's defense undoubtedly hampered Heisman hopes. On Oct. 1, the Nittany Lions held Maroney to 48 yards on 16 carries. Yesterday, Penn State held Calhoun to 38 yards on 20 carries. It will be interesting to see Penn State's overall defense face off against an offense the likes of, say, Notre Dame. . . . Is there really any doubt Texas is one of the nation's top two teams? The Longhorns have been dominant all year, registering at least 40 points in every game except the 25-22 victory at Ohio State on Sept. 10.

Steve Spurrier has turned South Carolina around quickly.