Mason stresses stadiums after Camp Randall visit

by Aaron Blake

Minnesota football coach Glen Mason got a little jealous Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium, and he’ll be the first to admit it.

Mason said during his weekly press conference Tuesday that the newly renovated on-campus stadium is important to keep Wisconsin’s program successful.

A Camp Randall-record crowd of 83,069 showed up for Saturday’s 38-14 Badgers victory over the Gophers, and the team is undefeated this season at 9-0.

“How could you not be impressed if you were there?” Mason said. “I think the decision-makers over there are very smart. And they made those decisions the last couple years when Wisconsin hadn’t exactly been on top of the Big Ten.”

Mason talked about the “arms race” of facilities in college football that has been going on since the mid-1980s, when he first started coaching.

“It’s great to say, ‘I don’t want to get in the arms race,’ ” Mason said. “OK. You might not be in the race at all if you don’t watch out.”

Buckeyes under fire

Ohio State’s football program came under fire Tuesday when released an ESPN The Magazine story in which former Buckeyes running back Maurice Clarett said he received monetary and material payments from Ohio State boosters and administrators, including coach Jim Tressel.

Clarett’s allegations include use of automobiles, hotel rooms and cash.

Buckeyes Athletics Director Andy Geiger responded publicly Tuesday.

“Let me remind everybody that there was an exhaustive, thorough investigation conducted by the department of athletics and the NCAA into Maurice Clarett’s career at Ohio State,” he said.

“I have tremendous confidence in our compliance program and the thoroughness of our compliance program and the values orientation that we have in our program.”

Tressel released a statement saying all of Clarett’s allegations against him were false.

Alvarez resigned to fate

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez has stopped sidestepping questions about the Bowl Championship Series with his team now 9-0 and ranked fourth in the country with two games to go.

No. 1 Southern California, No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Auburn are also undefeated after nine games, meaning an undefeated team – most likely Wisconsin and/or Auburn – might not play for the national championship in the Orange Bowl.

The Badgers sit fifth in the latest BCS rankings, behind those three teams and California. They’d need to stay undefeated to play in the Orange Bowl.

But Alvarez isn’t publicly bemoaning the system yet.

“The rules are set before the season started,” Alvarez said. “Everybody knew the rules and the guidelines. That just may be the way it works out.”

James up for Lombardi

Badgers defensive end Erasmus James was named one of four finalists for the Lombardi Award – given annually to the nation’s top lineman, offensive or defensive – on Tuesday.

“He has all the physical tools – size, tremendous speed and athleticism, and he can bend, he’s flexible,” Alvarez said. “And he carries all that onto the field. I’ve had other players who were gifted but not nearly as productive.”