Six bowl games dot Tuesday sports lineup
ATLANTA, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The college football season gets red hot Tuesday with six games on tap.
The busiest day of the offseason slate got under way at high noon Eastern time with WAC champion Boise State (11-1) hosting Iowa State (7-6) in the Humanitarian Bowl. Also, Washington (7-5) takes on Purdue (6-6) in the Sun Bowl, Fresno State (8-5) faces Georgia Tech (7-5) in the Silicon Valley Classic, and Conference USA champion Texas Christian (9-2) battles Mountain West winner Colorado State (10-3) in the Liberty Bowl.
In night games, Tennessee (8-4) meets Maryland (10-3) in the Peach Bowl, and Air Force (8-4) clashes with Virginia Tech (9-4) in the inaugural San Francisco Bowl.
The game of the day likely will take place in the Georgia Dome, where the Terrapins and Volunteers square off.
The Terrapins (10-3) have not won a bowl game since beating Syracuse, 35-18, in the 1985 Cherry Bowl. Last year, Maryland was outclassed by Florida, 56-23, in the Orange Bowl.
It was the first bowl appearance for the Terps since they tied Louisiana Tech, 34-34, in the 1990 Independence Bowl.
Maryland will be facing a Tennessee team that experienced a down year by its standards. The Volunteers (8-4) lost three times at home and need a win to avoid their first five-loss campaign under Coach Phillip Fulmer.
Tennessee did end the regular season with a three-game winning streak and back-to-back shutouts, blanking Vanderbilt and Kentucky by identical 24-0 scores.
Maryland, which spent most of the year without running back Bruce Perry, last season's ACC Offensive Player of the Year, rebounded from a 1-2 start to win eight in a row at one point. The streak ended with a 48-13 loss to Virginia, but the Terrapins rebounded to beat Wake Forest, 32-14, in their regular season finale.
The victory enabled Maryland to record consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time in school history. It also made Coach Ralph Friedgen (20-5) the winningest two-year coach in ACC history. He surpassed Ken Hatfield, who won 19 games at Clemson in 1990-91.
Ferentz earns coaching honor
NEW HAVEN, Ct., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Kirk Ferentz of No. 3 Iowa has been named Coach of the Year by the Walter Camp Foundation.
Ferentz led Iowa to a share of the Big Ten title and a berth in the Orange Bowl.
Iowa finished 11-1 overall and 8-0 in the Big Ten under Ferentz, three years after compiling a 1-10 mark in his first season at the school. The Hawkeyes will meet fifth-ranked Southern California in the Orange Bowl on Thursday in Miami.
Led by quarterback Brad Banks, the Heisman Trophy runnerup to USC quarterback Carson Palmer, Iowa averaged a conference-best 38.9 points per game. In addition, the Hawkeyes ranked second in the nation in rushing defense.
Ferentz was named Iowa coach in December 1998 after spending six years as an assistant and offensive line coach of the Baltimore Ravens. He served as an assistant under Hayden Fry at Iowa from 1981-89.
Ferentz is Iowa's 25th head coach. In his four seasons at Iowa, he has a mark of 22-25 mark, but has led the Hawkeyes to an impressive 18-6 record and two bowl appearances in the last two seasons. He was head coach at Maine from 1990-92.
He is the ninth Big Ten coach to earn the Camp Award.
Couch out for postseason
CLEVELAND, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The broken bone in his right leg has shelved Cleveland quarterback Tim Couch for the postseason.
The playoff-bound Browns, who are in the Super Bowl derby for the first time since re-entering the league in 1999, will have to rely on backup signal-caller Kelly Holcomb. He started the first two games this season while Couch was out with a shoulder injury.
Couch suffered a broken right fibula on the first play of the second quarter in Sunday's season-ending 24-16 win over Atlanta, and will miss the remainder of the season.
"When I got hit the play before, it didn't feel like my knee," Couch said. "It felt like my calf, a kind of charley horse like deal. I felt like I could get up and walk it off. Once I dropped back on the next play, I knew something was wrong. I went into the locker room and X-rays confirmed it. It's frustrating. This is what I worked hard for all my life and to get hurt is frustrating. But there is nothing I could do about it. I'm going to be the biggest cheerleader this team has."
Couch was fitted for a cast Monday morning and will undergo a 4-to-6 week healing process.
"Losing Tim is a huge blow to the team," said Coach Butch Davis. "We certainly wouldn?t be in the playoffs today if not for the performances and the victories he helped lead this team to. Getting Kelly back into the flow of taking 80-to-85 percent of the snaps in practice this week will certainly help him be able to execute the gameplan. He's smart. He just needs to throw and get back into the rhythm and sync of it."
Holcomb has no doubt he can step in and get the job done.
"If I wasn?t a confident person, I wouldn?t be standing here today," Holcomb said. "If you don?t believe in yourself, no one else is going to believe in you."
The Browns play at Pittsburgh Sunday in an AFC wild-card game. The Steelers beat the Browns twice in the regular season, both times by three points.
Young kicked off team at Xavier
CINCINNATI, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Senior guard Dave Young has been dismissed from the men's basketball team at Xavier University.
Head coach Thad Matta announced the dismissal Monday.
Young, who was ineligible to play as a freshman, played in 66 games in his three seasons at Xavier, including 32 starts. He averaged 5.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game this season.
He lost his starting job after Xavier lost at Stanford, 63-62, in the second round of the Preseason NIT.
"There were clearly some differences in philosophy about his role in our program," said Matta. "We have offered to help him if he decides to pursue other opportunities, whether academically here at Xavier or elsewhere. Dave is on track to graduate in May and we will support him in his efforts to complete his degree. I discussed this decision with the players and staff. We're all in agreement that this is in the best interest of the team. We're moving on now and always in constant pursuit of building our team from the beginning of the season to the end of the year."
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Tuesday that Young, a native of New Castle, Pa., did not commit on a fifth year of eligibility next season, and was among a core of players griping about their lack of playing time.
Young is the second player to leave the team since the season began.
Anthony Coleman, a sophomore forward, quit Dec. 19 after appearing in five games. Coleman averaged 0.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in 6.8 minutes per game.
Despite the player losses, Matta was not worried.
"Nothing really changes (without Coleman and Young)," Matta told the Cincinnati Post. "We just keep doing what we're doing."
The Musketeers host No. 18 and unbeaten Creigton Tuesday night, and plays at top-ranked Alabama Saturday.
Timberwolves suspend Woods
MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves have suspended center Loren Woods indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.
Team Vice President of Basketball Operations-General Manager Kevin McHale made the announcement Monday night after Minnesota's 104-98 win over Phoenix.
No explanation was given as to what the 7-1 Woods did to warrant the suspension but it might have been tied to negative comments Woods made about management.
"He said a couple things, did a couple things, and he's going to have to sit back and think about it, hopefully get his head right and come back and play," McHale was quoted as saying in the Pioneer Press, adding that an incident occurred Monday but the problem was ongoing. "There are times in the business world where you have bosses, and you'd better keep your mouth shut. And unfortunately in our league right now, that whole line -- I don't know if it's been erased, but it sure has been moved around a little bit."
McHale also was quoted as saying, "Actions speak a hell of a lot louder than words. I'm not interested in apologies; I'm interested in players."
"I don't have nothing to say," was Woods' comment to reporters.
Woods, 24, a second-year player out of Arizona, was averaging 3.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He did not score or grab a rebound in four minutes off the bench in the contest Monday night.
Mironov returns to Blackhawks
CHICAGO, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Boris Mironov has decided to return to the team following his 28-day walkout.
General Manager Mike Smith made that announcement Tuesday.
Mironov, 30, will begin a conditioning stint with the Blackhawks immediately. No timetable has been set for his return to the active roster.
Mironov, suspended indefinitely by the club on Dec. 5 after leaving the team, had three goals, one assist and 22 penalty minutes in 20 games this season. The Blackhawks acquired the 6-3, 223-pound Russian from the Edmonton Oilers in a seven-player trade in March 1999.
He has appeared in 220 games with the Blackhawks, recording 21 goals, 69 assists and 231 penalty minutes. In his career, Mironov has 70 goals, 209 assists and 771 penalty minutes in 605 games with Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Chicago.
Australia wins Hopman Cup match
PERTH, Australia, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt Tuesday led Australia to a round-robin sweep of Slovakia at the $1 million Hopman Cup.
Australia was the host nation in the mixed team tennis championship.
Hewitt, the reigning Wimbledon champion, never lost his serve and needed less than an hour to roll to a 6-2, 6-0 rout of Dominik Hrbaty. That gave Australia an unassailable two matches to none lead over Slovakia in the Group B contest.
In mixed doubles, Hewitt and Alicia Molik outdueled Hrbaty and world No. 8 Daniela Hantuchova, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5). In the women's singles match, Molik surprised Hantuchova, recording seven aces en route to a 6-4, 6-2 triumph.
Group B features host Australia, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Australia and the Czechs won their opening ties on Saturday, while Italy and the Czech Republic square off Wednesday.
The United States, Belgium, defending champion Spain, and Uzbekistan make up Group A. The Americans and Spaniards clash Wednesday.
The tournament uses a "super" tiebreaker, in which the first team to 10 points wins, with a margin of at least two.