The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 24, 1997, Page 7, Image 7

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    Toledo must
get respect
it deserves
When you compare undefeated
teams in college football, perception
becomes a factor. Some teams don’t
get the respect they deserve.
Of the eight undefeated teams so
far this season, only one ranks
below 12th in The Associated Press
poll: The 24th-ranked Toledo
Rockets (6-0).
The Mighty Midnight Blue and
Gold own the Mid-American
Conference - and the MAC isn’t the
piss-poor conference most people
think it is.
Toledo handed No. 22 Purdue its
only loss this season. No. 19
Virginia Tech was defeated at home
by the MAC’S Miami (Ohio) and
No. 14 Kansas State squeaked by
Ohio, also ot the MAC, by only a
field goal.
So why do the Rockets trail
Purdue in die polls?
~ “ft&kind of bullshit that Purdue
is ranked so high,” said Steve Warns,
sports editor of the University of
Toledo Collegian. “But to be honest
with you, the (voters) just base it on
conference alone.”
Even if the MAC schools are for
real, how can their talent be com
pared to teams they don’t play? No
national powerhouse football school
wants to go play at Toledo’s Glass
Bowl. For one thing, the Rockets
couldn’t pay them enough. Besides,
why would a team risk losing to a
no-name school like Toledo?
The Rockets have posted a 50
25-3 record over the past eight years
and are the winningest team in the
MAC this decade. In 1995, Toledo
ended 11-0-1, but finished 24th in
the polls. Statistically, this year’s
Rocket squad is better. And, as a
whole, the entire MAC is improv
Though Toledo and the MAC
still fall in the shadow of the Big 10
Conference, the MAC could get its
chance to prove itself this year in the
Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26 in
Pontiac, Mich.
The first-year bowl will pit the
MAC champjon against an “at
large” opponent. Warns said Rocket
fans are hoping to play a Big 10
team or even Notre Dame — assum
ing the Fighting Irish win six games
this season.
But, being realistic football fans,
Toledo backers aren’t getting too
excited just yet. *
“We couldn’t compete witji
Nebraska,” said Noure Alo, assis
tant sports editor of the Collegian.
“But there’s no way really to judge
The Rockets play at Ohio State
next season, then Syracuse in 1999,
Penn State in 2000, and Minnesota
in 2001.
For now, Toledo just wants a lit
tle respect.
Wilson is a junior news-editor
ial major and a Daily Nebraskan
senior reporter.
HUSKER SOPHOMORE Laura Simon practices Tuesday for the women1* Big 12 Invite and Relay Meets Friday and Saturday. Simon is a returning Big 12 cham
pion holding the record in the 400-meter individual medley.
Swimm rs splash into opener
■ Husker swimming and
"diving teams aim to improve
on last year’s success.
By Sarah Dose
Staff Reporter
Both men’s and women’s
Nebraska swimming and diving
teams jump into action today and
Saturday by playing host to the Big 12
Relay Meet and Invitational at the
Bob Devaney Sports Center pool.
The Big 12 Invite starts Friday at
3 p.m. and continues Saturday at 9
< H ' ■ H ' '■ H I, Mill
a.m. The Big 12 Relay Meet will be
Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Coach Cal Bentz looks forward to
the meet to see where the team stands.
“I hope to get a complete picture
of the team so I can survey everyone
for bigger meets in the near future,”
he said. “I hope to swim everybody
this weekend.”
Bentz said both the men’s and
women’s teams look promising based
on last year’s successes and this year’s
returning swimmers.
m Last season’s 9-2 men’s team
returns 23 letterwinners this season;
among them are eight All-Americans,
two Big 12 champions and 11 NCAA
provisional qualifiers.
With all that experience return
ing, the team hopes to capitalize on
last year’s performances. It was sec
ond in the Big 12 tournament, where
it broke six school records, and fin
ished the season in 12th place at the
NCAA championships.
Returning for the men’s swim
ming team this season is sophomore
All-American Adam Pine of
Australia. He finished second in the
100-yard butterfly and ninth in the
NCAA championships,
Bentz said he is confident of
Pine’s ability.
“We’re hoping he continues to
improve and I’m sure he’ll have a
great season,” Bentz said.
As for divers, Danny Bergman,
who was the Big 12 runner-up in both
the 1- and 3-meter diving competi
tions, returns as a junior.
Also returning are All-Americans
Mark Bennett, Alex Shleifman and
Please see SPLASH on 8
Huskers can’t wait
for second shutout
By David Wilson
Senior Reporter
Last Saturday’s 29-0 shutout of
Texas Tech was so fun, the
Nebraska defense wants to do it
The top
(6-0 overall
and 3-0 in the
> Big v \2
* f Coinferencejf:
dravel & to
Saturday to Pfiter
face the
Jayhawks (4-3, 2-2) at 6:07 p.m.
The game will be televised on Fox
Sports Net.
“We’re going to try to do better
than we did last week,” Nebraska
senior defensive tackle Jason Peter
said. “This defense has a lot of
The Blackshirts held the Red
Raiders to a season-low 17 yards
rushing and 127 yards of total
offense. The shutout was the
Huskers’ first since downing
Baylor 49-0 on Oct. 12,1996.
Kansas has not been shut out
since Aug. 28,1993, when Florida
State pounded the Jayhawks 42-0
in East Rutherford, N.J., in the
1993 Kickoff Classic. This season,
however, KU ranks last in the Big
12 in total offense and scoring
offense. Nebraska, on the other
hand, ranks second in the confer
ence in total defense.
But statistics are not a big
incentive for the Huskers.
“When you play against other
conference schools, they’re going
to get up for you,” senior rush end
Grant Wistrom said.
Since allowing Central Florida
365 yards of total offense Sept. 13,
the Nebraska defense has
improved each week. The Huskers
currently rank fifth in the nation in
rushing defense and 56th in the
Please see SHUTOUT on 8
NU begins
afterroad' _
By Shannon Heffelftnger
Assignment Reporter
A road win over ^-ranked Texas
A&M last weekend restored confi
dence to die Nebraska volleyball team
and erased the lingering doubts caused
by a three-match losing skid.
But Comhusker Coach Terry Pettit
quickly argues that one win does not
justify comparisons to the eariy-season
version of the Huskers, a team that
closed the month of September with a
9-1 record and victories over four
ranked teams.
“After we won at A&M, somebody
went into the locker room and said,
‘We’re back.’ I immediately stopped
them and informed them that we
weren’t,” Pettit said. “You never are. You
just can’t take it for granted that you’re
confident or good. Its a process, and
you constantly have to work at it
“I don’t want them to think that
they’re back; that they don’t have to
address issues or stay focused. That’s
not the way it is.”
The Huskers (14-5 overall and 5-3
in the Big 12 Conference) hope to con
tinue their charge to regain their old
form tonight at 7 at the NU Coliseum
when they play host to Baylor and again
tomorrow against Texas Tech at 4 p.m.
The Bears (13-9,3-5) focus their
offensive attack around Elisha Polk.
The sophomore outside hitter, who
pounded 34 kills in Baylor’s four-game
loss to Texas Tech, averages 5.24 kills
and 3.0 digs per game.
No. 11 Nebraska enters its match
against Texas Tech (17-5,44) hoping to
avenge a five-game loss suffered in
Lubbock, Texas, last season.
While Pettit expects both teams to
provide a challenge for Nebraska, he
said the Huskers control their own for
tunes this weekend.
NU is tied withTexas A&M and No.
20 Colorado for fourth place in the
league as the halfway point of the con
ference season approaches.“Before we
played Texas A&M,” Pettit said, “I said
Please see HUSKERS on 8