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columnists
G A R Y    L U N D Y

FORUMS | CHAT | PRINT THIS STORY

Players count options if Y2K comes to play

LUNDY
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By Gary Lundy, News-Sentinel sportswriter
December 31, 1999

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Some people are stockpiling batteries and bottled water to prepare for the new millennium. Tennessee punter David Leaverton is limbering up his throwing arm - just in case.

He declared himself Y2K compatible for Sunday's Fiesta Bowl.

"Anything could happen," Leaverton said Thursday at Sun Devil Stadium when asked if he anticipates widespread chaos tonight when the year 2000 arrives.

"I'm really worried about the elevator in the team hotel. It could get stuck. I'm afraid all of the quarterbacks are going to still be in the elevator Sunday night, and I'm going to have to fill in at quarterback.

"So I've been getting my arm warmed up just in case. I know I'm Y2K compatible. All parts will be good to go for the new millennium."

Leaverton isn't confident that Bowl Championship Series commissioner Roy Kramer has everything under control.

"I think the BCS computer could crash when the clock strikes midnight," Leaverton said, shaking his head in despair.

"We could end up with Marshall as the national champion because the BCS computer is not Y2K-ready. That's a very real problem we're facing.

"If the computer is wired wrong with the flex capacitor you never know what could happen. We could even end up as the national champion."

UT tight end Neil Johnson also is consumed by Y2K fears. OK, so that might be a slight exaggeration.

"Hopefully, we'll still be able to play the Fiesta Bowl game Sunday night after martial law sets it," Johnson said.

"Helicopters will be flying overhead. I guess they'll bring in generators for the lights and maybe we'll have 75 or 80 people in the stands watching the game.

"I've heard a lot of things could happen if the BCS computer goes down. MTSU will be No. 3 in the country and (UT guard) Chad Clifton's high school, Martin Westview, will get in the top five in the country."

Vols defensive end Constantin Ritzmann will get the word early today on any problems associated with Y2K. He's from Germany, where the new millennium will arrive at 6 EST, six hours before it does in Knoxville.

"I'll call my family and see how they are doing," he said.

Several Vols said the team might gather for a private party at the Fiesta Bowl stadium tonight with the celebration of the new millennium planned for midnight Eastern time, 10 p.m. in Arizona.

Cornhuskers linebacker Julius Jackson isn't taking any chances with malfunctioning ATM machines because of Y2K meltdowns.

"I have some of my money stashed under my pillow," he said. "At least I'll have enough cash until things calm down in a few days."

In the meantime, Arizona newspapers are carrying stories about how people are snatching up freeze-dried food, camping supplies, water-purification tablets, shotgun shells, generators, blankets and flashlights.

Said Nebraska offensive lineman Adam Julch, "If the world ends, this game won't be that big of a deal."

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