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NU's Murphy looks Green Bay-bound
AD is top pick to be next Packers president
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November 29, 2007

Brett Favre won't have to visit the Big Ten's headquarters in Park Ridge to shoot the breeze with his new boss―but he might want to swing by Evanston.

The Green Bay Packers are targeting Northwestern athletic director Mark Murphy to be their next president, sources confirmed Wednesday.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported the team had begun contract negotiations with Murphy, the search committee's top choice. The team's 45-member board of directors will meet as early as Monday and is expected to approve the hiring.

Murphy declined to comment in depth Wednesday, saying, "I have tremendous respect for the Packers and I have to respect the process."

Earlier reports had pegged Murphy and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany as two of the leading candidates.

Delany, however, said he had pulled out of the search about three weeks ago after having been offered a second interview.

"I declined on the basis that it could have gotten serious, and I wasn't prepared to get serious," Delany said. "When you get to that level, you better be ready to take the job."

Delany said he had not disputed the reports earlier because he could not be reached while on an extended Thanksgiving holiday in North Carolina. That led to speculation that he might be looking to leave the Big Ten after 18 years.

"All my friends are whipping me about it," he said.

Asked if he might be interested in seeking another challenge, Delany replied: "I like challenges. It seems like there are enough around here."

Delany said he didn't know Murphy was a candidate until he read a newspaper report last week.

"I have high regard for Mark," he said. "He's bright, well educated, a good football guy and a prince of a person. If there's a match there, it would be great for him and them."

If he goes, Murphy's four years as Northwestern's athletic director will be marked by his decision to hire former NU star Pat Fitzgerald after the death of Randy Walker, decent play on the football field, outstanding graduation rates, a stagnant men's basketball program, a flurry of success by the softball and women's lacrosse teams and new locker rooms for men's and women's basketball.

Murphy, 52, who was co-captain for two Super Bowl teams for the Washington Redskins, is well liked around campus and viewed as a strong fundraiser.

"A lot of guys don't make a big impact in just four years," Delany said. "But he has. Even though Mark is a low-key guy in every way, he's a very substantive man."

If Murphy goes to the Packers, NU President Henry Bienen is expected to conduct a national search for his replacement.

Rosy outlook?
Delany calls it a "worst-case scenario"―the prospect of the Rose Bowl bypassing Illinois in favor of another at-large BCS team, such as Georgia.

"My job requires me to envision every scenario, even the ones I don't like to envision, so I can be prepared to rebut them," he said.

Illinois needs to improve from 15th to 14th in the standings to become BCS-bowl eligible. With the four ranked teams directly in front of the Illini playing Saturday, breaking into the top 14 is nearly certain.

But Illinois also would need Oklahoma to beat Missouri in the Big 12 championship game, clearing a spot in the BCS title game for Ohio State.

USC can lock up a Rose Bowl berth by beating UCLA. But to hear Delany and Rose Bowl Chief Executive Officer Mitch Dorger tell it, there's no guarantee Illinois would be invited to Pasadena even with a top-14 finish and Ohio State out of the picture.

Dorger called the Rose Bowl's traditional desire for a Big Ten vs. Pac-10 matchup "a very important factor to us, but it's not the only factor. We're looking very hard at Illinois, but there are other options we are examining."

That said, Dorger called Illinois "an exciting team and good friends" and said two other facts help the Illini: They that haven't played in Pasadena since the 1983 season, and they were shuttled to the Sugar Bowl after winning the 2001 conference title.

"This time of year I hear from just about everyone that has a dog in the hunt or thinks they have a dog in the hunt," Dorger said. "I know how excited Illinois is. I've talked to those folks, and we know them well. They're high on our consideration list."

If Illinois makes the top 14 but doesn't go to Pasadena, the Fiesta Bowl becomes an enticing alternative. Fox Sports, which covets the Chicago market and will televise the game, would push for Illinois to play in Tempe. The Outback Bowl is no longer a possibility because Wisconsin accepted a bid WednesdayCowboys 37, Packers 27, Final
By Toni Monkovic

I'll try to fill in for Tom a little because he's preparing to write the game story for the newspaper.
Cowboys are moving the ball with a 27-24 lead and 11:30 left.
Second and 20: Romo completes two passes to Witten, and the Cowboys have a first down. The clock ticks down to under nine minutes.
A long pass by Romo, and after a delay, a flag comes out. The initial signal was no penalty. But pass intereference is the call, and Dallas will get the ball at the 5.
First and goal at the 5: First play is an incomplete pass to Crayton in the end zone. Second and goal: Barber gets only a yard. It'll be third and goal from the 4. TOUCHDOWN. PATRICK CRAYTON SCORES. That's four touchdown passes for Romo tonight. Dallas 34, Green Bay 24, midway through the final quarter.
7:46 to go: Green Bay will start at its 26, Aaron Rodgers at QB as Favre watches as a spectator with his injured right elbow.
Rodgers completes a short pass to Driver, gain of 6 or 7. Rodgers looking very comfortable. He scrambles nicely to the 45, a 13-yard gain. First down: Dumpoff to Driver, for a first down, gain of 12. Smells like prevent defense. Rodgers throws high and long to Jennings, Incomplete. No flag. Second and 10: Quick throw to the flat to Koren Robinnson, and he gets down to the Cowboy 35. Third and 1: Ryan Grant hits a wall at the line of scrimmage. It's going to be a close call on the spot. The Packers are short by three inches. What do you do here? Do they go for it? It looks like they're kicking it. It's a long one. 52 yards. IT'S GOOD. Mason Crosby makes it with plenty of leg to spare. Cowboys 34, Packers 27, 5:16 left.

Miles Austin with a nice return to the Dallas 35 with 4:57 to go. Barber doesn't get much; let's call it 3 yards. Completion to Witten, and he drags a Green Bay defender, Bigby, for extra five yards. First down. 3:24 to go. Handoff to Barber, and Bigby is called for a facemask. Penalties have killed the Packers.

Ball spotted at the Green Bay 26. Barber spins free for a gain of 6. Dallas is draining the clock. Green Bay calls its second timeout. The Packers are down to one timeout (plus the two-minute warning).
2:59 remaining: Barber again, gets down to the 16.
2:20 left: Handoff to Barber, but this time he only gets 2 yards, to the GB 14. And that takes us to the two-minute warning. Second down and 8. Barber gains 5 yards to the 9. Third down and 3. Green Bay calls its final timeout. Barber is stopped short of a first down after a gain of 2. A field goal here pretty much ends it. Nick Folk comes out on the field. A 25-yarder with 1:06 to go. THE KICK IS GOOD. Cowboys 37, Packers 27, 1:03 to go.
Aaron Rodgers has looked good, by the way, but the Packers couldn't stop Romo. The Packers have been hurt by injuries and they have been penalized for 147 yards, to Dallas's 45.
Green Bay starts at its 19. Rodgers completes a pass to Driver to the GB 35. 49 seconds to go. Completion of 9 yards to Jennings, to the GB 44. Rodgers then rushes up and spikes the ball. No timeouts for GB. Ruvell Martin falls down, and it's an incompletion. Fourth down now. ANOTHER INCOMPLETION. Rodgers rushed his pass to Morency, who was open but not ready for it. Dallas gets the ball on downs and will win this game. Here's the final kneel-down by Romo. Final score: Dallas 37, Green Bay 27.
The other final score: NFL Network 1, Viewers Zip. (Viewers and non-viewers are welcome to comment).
The Cowboys improve to 11-1 and cement their reputation as the N.F.C.'s favorite to be the Patriots' whipping 'boys in the Super Bowl. (New England has already beaten Dallas, 48-27, this season).
Green Bay is 10-2 and awaits the medical reports on Brett Favre. Update: Favre is telling reporters that he also separated his left shoulder, but he half-laughed it off ― it's the left shoulder, you sissies! ― and said he thought he'd be ready to play at Oakland (and keep his consecutive game streak going). He has a longer work week


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