December 23, 2007 in Sports

36 FSU players won’t make trip

Wire and News Services The Spokesman-Review
 

Today’s game

Hawaii Bowl

East Carolina (7-5)

vs. Boise State (10-2)

At Honolulu, 5 p.m. (ESPN)

Story line: Boise State, the feel-good story of last season, is making its second trip to Hawaii in a month. The last time, the Broncos lost to Hawaii, ending any hopes of a second BCS bowl appearance. They still have a potent offense that ranked fifth in the nation in scoring with 42.7 points a game and 10th in total offense with 475.7 yards a game. East Carolina was in position to play for the Conference USA title before a loss to 1-8 Marshall. The Pirates play a ball-control game with a running attack that averages 171.3 yards a game and an offense that has only 13 turnovers.

Key players: Chris Johnson (RB, East Carolina, Sr.), Ian Johnson (RB, Boise State, Jr.), Taylor Tharp (QB, Boise State, Sr.), Jeremy Childs (WR, Boise State, Jr.).

Peter Yoon, Los Angeles Times

Thirty-six Florida State players won’t be going to the Dec. 31 Music City Bowl against Kentucky because of an academic cheating scandal, violations of team rules, injuries or other reasons.

Linebacker Dekoda Watson, cornerback Patrick Robinson, who had six interceptions, and three top defensive tackles were among the players sidelined either as a result of the ongoing investigation into an academic cheating scandal at the school or some other violation of team rules.

“It is very important that the media make clear that those missing the bowl trip are not included because of either injury or for a violation of team policy,” associate athletic director Rob Wilson said in a statement accompanying the travel list. “It would be irresponsible to imply or state that any or all of the student-athletes will miss the trip for one particular reason.”

The total number of players not going to the game was determined by comparing the travel list with the roster provided by the university. That figure, however, was disputed by Wilson, who said up to 10 walk-ons would have stayed home regardless.

The school announced earlier this week that as many as 25 players might be affected by its ongoing investigation of academic wrongdoing by the athletes. It didn’t identify which students.

A violation of team rules could range from poor class attendance to a run-in with the law or failing a drug test, among many other things.

The Florida State roster was so thinned by the academic scandal that the team had room for 17 players on the traveling party who are either redshirt freshmen or athletes who suffered season-ending or career-ending injuries this season. Only 43 scholarship players are available to coach Bobby Bowden for the game.

Junior quarterback Xavier Lee, who started three games for the Seminoles, was among offensive players not traveling. The offensive line was also hit hard with tight ends Caz Piurowski and Charlie Graham, offensive tackle Daron Rose and guard Jackie Claude not making the trip.

The absence of defensive tackles Letroy Guion, Budd Thacker and Paul Griffin, linebacker Marcus Ball and defensive ends Neefy Moffett and Justin Mincey could lead to a big day for Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson.

Two Eagles honored

Senior offensive guard Matt Alfred and sophomore wide receiver Aaron Boyce were among the 50 players in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision chosen to the College Sporting News Fabulous Fifty FCS All-America team. The Fabulous 50 is made up of 21 offensive players, 19 players on defense, five on special teams and five award-winners.

Alfred is a four-time All-Big Sky Conference selection who graduated from Gig Harbor (Wash.) High School in 2003. Recently, he was a third team All-America selection by the Associated Press.

Boyce, a 2005 graduate of Kentwood High School in Kent, Wash., had earned second team AP All-America accolades.

BSU not disappointed

Boise State might be a little disappointed about not returning to college football’s big stage. The Broncos sure aren’t showing it.

“I tell you what, if you’re not going to be in a BCS game, I don’t know if there’s a better place in the country to be,” second-year Broncos coach Chris Petersen said.

“I think half our team is on surfboards right now and hopefully staying safe.”

A year after their spectacular 43-42 overtime victory against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, the 24th-ranked Broncos (10-2) face East Carolina (7-5) in the Hawaii Bowl today. While Boise State captivated the nation with its win last Jan. 1, this time it will play in Aloha Stadium and there could be more empty seats than fans.

“It’s really a privilege and an honor to be able to go to a BCS game. No matter who you are, it takes a lot of things to line up the right way and that doesn’t happen every year,” Petersen said.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email