Noseguard Lenny Gomes said he was going to be good until after Thursday's Holiday Bowl, but that vow lasted about as long as your average New Year's resolution.

Given the opportunity, Gomes couldn't resist lashing out at WAC coaches - including BYU's LaVell Edwards - for slighting him on the All-WAC team. Last year, Gomes was a first-teamer; this year, he was relegated to second-team status.Gomes told the San Diego Union-Tribune, "I think I had my best year yet under the circumstances. My sacks were down, but I was getting double- and triple-teamed because of problems elsewhere in the defense. And I still had twice as many tackles as I had in '92."

(Gee, Lenny, the official BYU stats say you had 56 tackles last season and 70 this season. If that's "nearly twice as many," then I'm nearly nine feet tall.)

Gomes continued, "We had a horrible year defensively, so WAC coaches said, `BYU had a down year so let's rub it in their faces.' The face that got rubbed hardest was mine. The All-WAC team was a complete joke."

Gomes said he was hurt that Edwards didn't pull some strings to get him an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game for seniors, but he also said he knew why.

"I've been a problem in Provo. I'm outspoken. I say what I think. I don't smile nice for the cameras. I'm a fighter. And I make 'em cringe. If they knew I was talking to you right now, they'd be cringing."

Gomes wonders if he made a mistake by playing his final season.

"I should have left last year. Maybe I could have done better in the draft than this time."

GRIM REMINDER: One topic that keeps cropping up here is the 1990 Liberty Bowl, when a cocky Ohio State team was knocked off by lightly regarded Air Force.

"We had the worst feeling coming out of that game that I've ever been associated with here," said Ohio State guard Jason Winrow.

"Fans were calling for the coach's job and criticizing everything we do," said offensive lineman Alan Kline.

SWAMI COOPER: Asked about his earlier guarantee that his team would win Thursday, OSU coach John Cooper waffled a little. "Well, sure, I think we're going to win the ballgame," he said.

His players say the promise doesn't bother them.

"I'm not uncomfortable with it," said running back Raymont Harris. "Now, we just have to back it up."

"He put us on showcase, and now we've got to step up and prove the man right or be a national embarrassment," said Winrow.

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Edwards' reaction? "I'll let him do all the guaranteeing. We'll be there, however. That part I can guarantee."

BEST QUOTE: This award goes to Edwards. Asked if there was a "sense of urgency" to this game, he responded, "When you're 6 and 5, you've had a sense of urgency all year long."

SHORT STUFF: The game won't be televised in San Diego; some 2,500 tickets remained unsold as of the blackout deadline Monday . . . Cooper said he wasn't impressed by the oddsmakers line on this game, making his team a 14-point favorite. "Those people that make those point spreads don't know anything about college football."

BYU brought 103 players on this trip . . . OSU has two first-team All-Americans, sophomore offensive tackle Korey Stringer and sophomore defensive tackle Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson.

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