The Real Top 25

The Worst of the Best in College Football

10. OKLAHOMA (10-2)
Two Sooners—starting middle linebacker Teddy Lehman and reserve tight end Lance Donley—received slaps on their wrists from $2-million-a-year coach Bob Stoops after being charged with disturbing the peace and public intoxication, respectively, the week before Oklahoma's big game against Nebraska. Neither missed the game. Donley's charge was dropped. Lehman pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace and paid $140 in fines and court costs. (Graduation rate, all students: 46 percent; football players: 36 percent)

11. STANFORD (9-2)
Cardinal head coach Tyrone Willingham, an African American, has publicly admitted his desire to join, and expand, the ranks of minority head coaches in the NFL, even though Stanford reportedly pays him roughly $800,000 per annum on a contract running through 2004. The contract hasn't even prevented him from looking into other college jobs, as his involvement in the recent Ohio State and Notre Dame coaching searches indicates. (Graduation rate, all students: 92 percent; football players: 83 percent)

12. LSU (8-3)
Freshman Tim Pope is apparently no saint. Before arriving in Baton Rouge, the linebacker was arrested in Florida over the summer for leaving the scene of an accident, attempting to elude police, and driving with a suspended license. The attempting-to-elude charge was eventually dismissed, but Pope was fined $276 and has to do 50 hours of community service on the other charges. Tiger coach Nick Saban opted not to suspend him at the time, saying Pope was not yet officially a member of the team when the incident occurred. The coach got his chance two months later when, in November, he suspended Pope indefinitely for academic reasons and for coming late to practice. (Graduation rate, all students: 49 percent; football players: 40 percent)

Illustration by Stan Shaw

13. WASHINGTON STATE (9-2)
Wideout Jason White spent three days in jail—and nearly missed the start of spring practice—for reportedly violating his parole. White allegedly failed to complete a community service commitment stemming from a 1999 conviction for residential burglary. He was released after it was determined there had been miscommunication among White, his parole officer, and the court. The same weekend, several Cougar players were reportedly involved in a brawl at a WSU frat party. (Graduation rate, all students: 59 percent; football players: 49 percent)

14. SOUTH CAROLINA (8-3)
Shhh . . . Gamecocks' coach Lou Holtz must have perfect silence. . . . According to a report published on ESPN.com earlier this season, Holtz has said his team will no longer try to perform under adversely loud conditions. The coach made the announcement two weeks after USC lost 10-7 to Arkansas in Little Rock. Holtz blamed the loss, in part, on his team's inability to call signals at the line of scrimmage in front of 55,000 screaming fans. (Graduation rate, all students: 57 percent; football players: 57 percent)

15. VIRGINIA TECH (8-3)
Hokies coaches claim Syracuse suckered their team this season. Literally. In the days following Tech's surprise loss to the Orangemen, associate head coach Billy Hite accused 'Cuse kicker Collin Barber and holder Jared Jones of planting a lollipop stick into the turf to mark the spot where the ball should be placed on field goals. Syracuse coaches laughed off the allegation. Equally laughable is the story of sophomore offensive guard Jake Grove, who was locked out of Tech's Lane Stadium during a game after leaving the field for treatment on an injury. (Graduation rate, all students: 72 percent; football players: 46 percent)

16. GEORGIA (8-3)
Thanks to first-year 'Dawgs coach (and former Florida State assistant) Mark Richt, you can call Athens "Tallahassee North." Defensive end Charles Grant was arrested in January on a charge of offering an undercover policewoman money for sex. He pleaded guilty in June to a misdemeanor charge of pandering and was sentenced to 12 months' probation. Fullback Verron Haynes was arrested in February after a domestic dispute with the mother of his child. Haynes pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges in August and was sentenced to 12 months of first-offender probation. (Graduation rate, all students: 64 percent; football players: 58 percent)

17. MICHIGAN (8-3)
Cornerback Markus Curry will face misdemeanor charges for domestic assault and tampering with a telephone later this month after he allegedly pushed his girlfriend in her dorm room and prevented her from using the telephone to call for help. The freshman, who pleaded not guilty, was suspended indefinitely by coach Lloyd Carr. (Graduation rate, all students: 82 percent; football players: 45 percent)

18. SYRACUSE (9-3)
Last summer, a report obtained by the Associated Press revealed that, in 1996, New York taxpayers paid for Governor George Pataki to fly the 23 miles from an appearance in the upstate town of Skaneateles to Syracuse. Once there, he rushed to the Carrier Dome to take in the Orangemen's game against Miami with SU chancellor Kenneth Shaw (SU lost 28-21). Perhaps Orangemen football coach Paul Pasqualoni should have picked up the tab. Pasqualoni has been the school's highest paid employee in recent years, with a salary of $600,000-plus, nearly three times as much as Shaw. (Graduation rate, all students: 71 percent; football players: 72 percent)

19. BYU (12-1)
Cougar wide receiver Jonathan Pittman was arrested for alleged DUI while serving as a host for a junior college recruit on an official campus visit. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving and was sentenced to 20 hours of community service and fines of $750. Running back Brian McDonald, who was with Pittman at the time, pleaded no contest to an underage drinking charge and received a plea in abeyance, meaning the charge will be wiped from his record if he stays out of trouble for a year. In a separate incident, offensive lineman Teag Whiting was suspended for one game earlier this season after being involved in a fight outside a Salt Lake City bar last summer. As part of a plea agreement with the court, he was found guilty of disturbing the peace and interference with a police officer and sentenced to take an anger management course and pay $350 in court costs. (Graduation rate, all students: 69 percent; football players: 21 percent)

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