Headlinin’: This bowl season, don’t forget about Barry Sanders’ lost touchdowns

Dr. Saturday

Making the morning rounds.

The truth is out there. With Wisconsin's Montee Ball closing in on the official NCAA record for touchdowns in a season, the Oklahoman's Berry Tramel has a familiar bone to pick on behalf of former Oklahoma State hero Barry Sanders: The NCAA still owes him five touchdowns. Because bowl statistics didn't count toward official statistics until 2002, Sanders' absurd stat line in 1988 doesn't include his 222-yard, 5-touchdown romp over Wyoming in the '88 Holiday Bowl, leaving his official tally for the year at 3,155 all-purpose yards and 39 touchdowns in eleven games. With two more trips to the end zone in the Rose Bowl, Ball will have 40 touchdowns in 14 games — good enough for the record books, but still shy of Sanders' actual number with significantly more opportunities.

The NCAA didn't update the record books when it decided to incorporate postseason stats, according to director of statistics Jim Wright, because the data on some old games is incomplete: "We did not have the resources to, literally, recreate every bowl game with complete stats and play-by-plays that would allow us to see what additional records would be impacted." [The Oklahoman]

Mack's coming back. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said Monday that a contract extension is in the works for coach Mack Brown, mainly to quash rumors of Brown's pending retirement. "I'm just tired of all the conversations," Dodds told the American-Statesman. "It's more about stability than anything else. … I've been around [Brown] 14 years, and he seems to be into it. Everything I know points to him being happy and wanting to do it for a while."

Maybe, but it's not like Mack was in danger of becoming a short-timer: His current contract is good for $5.2 million per year through 2016. [Austin American-Statesman]

About that fine print... Several Illinois assistant coaches are fighting the university over their pending termination following Saturday's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, claiming they were promised job security through 2012. According to Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde, assistants hired by then-head coach Ron Zook in January 2010 agreed in principle to two-year contracts that rolled over every year, and had been assured by Zook as the 2011 season went off the rails that they were safe regardless of what happened to him.

The deals the assistants actually signed in the summer of 2010, however, gave Illinois the right to terminate the contract at virtually any point, which it exercised when it fired Zook last month. "We're living by the language of the contract that was signed by those coaches," said athletic director Mike Thomas. "We basically told the coaches that." [Yahoo! Sports]

We got next. The class of 2012 is more than two months still from putting signatures on letters of intent, but Rivals is already setting its gaze to the top of the class of 2013 with a week-long unveiling of the first five-star prospects. The first name on the list is no surprise: Loganville, Ga., defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who's been earning rave reviews and earnest comparisons to Lawrence Taylor since scouts first laid eyes on him. Nkemdiche's less-hyped brother, Denzel, said earlier this year that his mother wants both sons at the same school, which may turn out to be very good news for Ole Miss. [Rivals]

Quote of the Day, Part One. "The most memorable game I've had this year, I've got to say, was Auburn, because after the first couple of hits, everybody was just backing up. They didn't want to hit at all. ... Before I got to them, they just fell down and just laid on the ground. I actually said, 'C'mon man, you're better than that. C'mon, hit me.' That was like the only game I went home and had no nicks and bruises at all." — LSU fullback J.C. Copeland, on the Tigers' 45-10 win over Auburn.

Quote of the Day, Part Two. "Very rough, very raw. Balls all over the place." — Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain, unfairly excerpted on Logan Thomas' development as the Hokies' starting quarterback.

Quickly… Florida State may be starting four true freshman on the offensive line against Notre Dame. … Georgia has all hands on deck for the Outback Bowl. … Sharrif Floyd plans to move back to tackle after a disappointing season at defensive end. … Profiling the guy assigned to drive Wisconsin's equipment truck to Pasadena. … Kirk Ferentz talks flatulence. … And Notre Dame lineman Louis Nix is finished with the "random acts of violence." You know, because of the spotlight.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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