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Notes and quotes from the world of sports

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The most blinding, disorienting Rose Bowl distraction for Washington State was not, as folks in the Pacific Northwest feared, the lingering presence of Mike Price, the folksy Alabama-bound head coach.

It was Bob Stoops, Oklahoma's mastermind, who took the Cougars out of this game and never let them back in, his Sooners cruising, 34-14, in a match that wasn't that close.

There can't be a better coach in America than Stoops. WSU couldn't out-scheme Bob with two heads, Price and heir apparent Bill Doba, who will ask that this blemish not be included on his resume.

Clearly, the pre-game focus on Price, WSU's lame-duck leader, was wildly overstated. The Stoops defense — brother Mike is co-coordinator and secondary coach — had an answer for every question posed by Price's high-octane, multi-receiver set. It generally went something like this: "Get that weak stuff outta here!"

Said Sooners free safety Brandon Everage: "We knew what was coming before the play started."

The folks at Alabama, awaiting Price's arrival, might be wondering what they're getting themselves into with this fellow who became a folk hero in Pullman. His Cougars couldn't have looked any worse, any more overmatched, on the big stage in Arroyo Seco.

That's what Stoops does to people. — By Lyle Spencer, The Press-Enterprise

"What is this going to do? It's going to make it neat because people are going to think we should win now. That's really good because we're trying to build a program to where we can have a reputation like Notre Dame or Florida State." — North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato, after his team started 9-0 in 2002 against some weak competition before dropping three straight by a combined 15 points, falling from No. 10 in the rankings to an also-ran then staged a strong finish, beating Florida State, one of the best programs in the nation, and trouncing Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl.

"If (other schools) didn't, we're going to be very concerned about that and ask for sanctions. Even though we won our game, this heavily impacted us. We followed the letter of the rule, and we were under the impression everyone else was following it, too." — Fresno State athletic director Scott Johnson, one day after Fresno State ended its season with a 30-21 Silicon Valley Football Classic victory over Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs won without the services of seven players who failed to satisfy a new WAC rule requiring six units of satisfactory progress toward their degree to participate in postseason play.