Monday, December 31, 2007

NFL Playoffs: The Collins Edition

Sunday in the NFL, the Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans both claimed the last post-season berth in their respective conferences. The Redskins completed an improbable late-season run led by forgotten quarterback Todd Collins. The Titans also had a Collins under center, as Kerry Collins replaced injured starter Vince Young and rallied Tennessee past Indianapolis.

None of the other ten playoff teams have a quarterback named Collins. However, each of them does relate to a notable Collins in some way. Here’s a look, in order of seeding.


New England Patriots: Mary Cathleen Collins.
Better known as Bo Derek, she’s a perfect 10. The Pats are a perfect 16 and counting.

Indianapolis Colts: Joan Collins. “Dynasty” is the key word, as the Colts hope to repeat. No word on whether they’ve been in cat-fights with Linda Evans.

San Diego Chargers: Doug Collins. He’s a 3-time NBA head coach who works with TNT. Norv Turner is a 3-time NFL head coach who works with LT.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Fort Collins. That’s the location of Colorado State, alma mater of starting linebacker Clark Haggans. Since CSU was 3-9 this year, this is the only way to link the school to a winning football team.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Eileen Collins. She was the first female commander of a space shuttle. Similarly, the Jags hope to make history after they take off from the east coast of Florida.


Dallas Cowboys: Gary Collins.
From 1982 to 1990, he was surrounded by babes as host of the Miss America pageant. Tony Romo is surrounded by babes as quarterback of America’s Team.

Green Bay Packers: Phil Collins. Yes, Green Bay’s roster includes free safety Nick Collins. But no playoff team had fewer rushing yards, so they prefer to keep the ball In the Air Tonight.

Seattle Seahawks: Tom Collins. The cocktail can impair your ability to drive and make you pass out. Pro Bowler Patrick Kerney does the same to opposing quarterbacks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jarron & Jason Collins. Like the NBA big men, Ronde Barber knows what it’s like to have a twin brother in the league.

New York Giants: Francis Collins. He’s the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. Eli Manning also knows the importance of genes.

Sorry, there’s no room for Bootsy Collins on the playoff list. He’s a Bengals fan.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Other Channels Carrying Patriots-Giants

This Saturday, the New England Patriots look to complete the first-ever 16-0 NFL regular season when they pay the New York Giants a visit. The matchup was originally scheduled to be aired only on the NFL Network, unavailable to most viewers. However, on Wednesday the NFL announced that NBC and CBS will simulcast the NFL Network’s feed during Saturday’s contest.

The league later decided that this step did not go far enough. Therefore, the NFL has expanded coverage of the game to numerous other networks. Here are the other channels that will now carry Saturday’s showdown.

ABC, Fox, CW: Might as well get all the broadcast networks involved – they’re suffering through the writers’ strike, too!

History Channel: Forget Ancient Egypt or World War II. 16-0 is REAL history.

HBO: It has a good track record with violent shows set in New Jersey.

Animal Planet: The broadcast will raise awareness of an endangered group of Dolphins.

CSPAN: The excitement of its typical programming will be matched by a Bill Belichick press conference.

Disney Channel: He’s not Hannah, but Tom Brady does get compared to Montana.

BBC America: The Giants won in London earlier this season, so they’re basically Britain’s team.

TNT: Only if the game is close. TNT: We Know Drama.

HGTV (Home and Garden): The Giants play Home games in the Garden State.

Food Network: The hosts will advise the 1972 Dolphins on suitable substitutes for champagne.

MTV: It has featured lots of hidden camera shows. So have the Patriots in Giants Stadium.

Big Ten Network: The NFL Network gets to show Indiana in the Insight Bowl, so there has to be an exchange the other way.

E: Short for “Eli.”

Home Shopping Network: Find out how you can get bargains like Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

Court TV: Actually, it carried the NFL Network broadcast two weeks ago, when the Bengals played.

TLC: Contrary to popular belief, it stands not for The Learning Channel, but Tom “Lovable” Coughlin.

TV Land: It’s always happy to feature a Brady Bunch.

Travel Channel: Chances are, by halftime Giants fans will be focused on that trip to Tampa Bay.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Boldin, Sims To Play For FSU In Bowl Game

After a week of turmoil, prospects seem to have brightened for the Florida State football program. First, offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher decided to stay in Tallahassee instead of taking the top job at West Virginia. Now comes word that a pair of former Seminoles will lend head coach Bobby Bowden a hand. Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin and Lions linebacker Ernie Sims will suit up for FSU in next Monday’s Music City Bowl versus Kentucky.

The short-handed Seminoles will welcome the assistance, as 36 players will not be making the trip to Nashville. Some absentees will be due to injuries, but most of them were involved in an online academic cheating scandal. The issue has caused significant embarrassment for the 7-5 Seminoles. As one disgusted FSU fan put it, “The standards here have really taken a nose dive. At Florida State, we demand renegades who play for the national championship, not renegades who lose to Wake Forest!”

The issue does come with a bit of karma. Cheat at a music history course, and you miss the Music City Bowl. The same standard apparently applies to all Bowden-coached teams. Therefore, Clemson will have to take on Auburn without three players who were caught cheating in their Chick-Fil-A class.

As young NFL stars, Boldin and Sims will certainly provide a lift to the Noles. Both players left Tallahassee with one year of eligibility remaining, so in an unusual decision, the NCAA allowed them to play in one more bowl game. Reportedly, because Boldin and Sims play for Arizona and Detroit, the NCAA felt that they would otherwise never again have the opportunity to play post-season football.

Boldin actually has experience stepping in for suspended Seminoles in a bowl game. Five years ago, with FSU’s top two quarterbacks barred from action, Boldin shifted from wideout to quarterback in a Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia. He won’t have to change positions this time, but he will have to travel from Phoenix to Nashville and take the field just one day after his regular season NFL finale. Fortunately, Sunday’s game is against the Rams defense, so it’s not like he’ll have to exert himself.

Meanwhile, Sims will provide valuable assistance for the FSU defense. The Noles also had hoped to add San Diego cornerback Antonio Cromartie – another early NFL entrant – but he’ll be busy preparing for the first round of the playoffs. One day after facing Brett Favre, at least for part of the game, Sims will line up versus Andre Woodson and the high-powered Wildcats offense. Sims will surely find it strange for his Seminoles to be an underdog against Kentucky. Even more bizarre will be the scene after the game, when UK fans will dread the end of football season and reluctantly turn their attention to hoops.

Speaking of strange developments, the mere participation of Boldin and Sims on Monday comes as a shock to many football fans. But when it comes to these two players, one thing is even more surprising. Between the wide receiver and the linebacker, it’s the LINEBACKER who was a first round pick by the Lions.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Walk Hard: Sports Variations

Starring John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story comes out today in theatres. As you’re no doubt aware, the movie provides a comedic take on musical biopics such as Walk the Line. But what if Dewey Cox had been a sports figure, instead of a musician? Here are ten possible storylines and titles:

While on the mound, Dewey faces Barry Bonds: Intentional Walk Hard

On the mound again, Dewey tries to pick off Jose Reyes: Balk Hard

Dewey fills in during Dick Vitale’s sabbatical: Talk Hard

Dewey has an MVP season for the Rams: Faulk Hard

During the bye week that season, Dewey develops a polio vaccine: Salk Hard

Dewey sits near Jessica Simpson at a Cowboys game: Gawk Hard

Dewey follows her home after the game: Stalk Hard

Dewey reacts after his team is left out of the BCS National Championship Game: Squawk Hard

Dewey works on the Wimbledon grounds crew: Chalk Hard

Dewey plays hoops in Lawrence: Rock Chalk Jayhawk Hard

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Margaret Mitchell Report

The sports world has been abuzz in recent days, following the issuance of the Mitchell Report. The document summarized the findings of former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell after his investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs by major league baseball players. The inclusion of Roger Clemens was the most significant topic of conversation, while other prominent players such as Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, and Barry Bonds were also named in the report.

To many, these revelations are nothing new. In fact, an all-time classic movie from 1939 contained numerous quotes with relevance for the issue of performance-enhancing substances. Gone With the Wind was originally a novel written by another Mitchell (Margaret). The film screenplay was actually adapted by Sidney Howard, but as far as I know, there was no Howard Report in sports this week. Therefore, with quotes from Gone With the Wind, and their relevance to the present-day findings from George Mitchell, I bring you the Margaret Mitchell Report:

“It will come to you, this love of the land.” (Gerald O’Hara): And love of the cream, and the clear, and …

“It ain’t fittin’…it ain’t fittin.’ It jes’ ain’t fittin’…It ain’t fittin.’” (Mammy): A players’ wardrobe after bulking up from steroids.

“With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.” (Rhett Butler): Words to live by, for players named in the report.

“Take a good luck my dear. It’s an historic moment you can tell your grandchildren about how you watched the Old South fall one night.” (Rhett): This quote is a bit off target, since the biggest losers were Yankees.

“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” (Scarlett O’Hara): A player’s response, when warned about the health risks of steroids.

“As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” (Scarlett): Steroid use often leads to an increased appetite.

“I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ babies!” (Prissy): Side effects of steroids include reduced sperm count and infertility.

“Fiddle-dee-dee!” (Scarlett): An expression of ‘roid rage, edited for 1939 audiences.

“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” (Rhett): Substitute “injected” for “kissed,” and it’s how Jose Canseco introduced himself to new teammates.

“You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.” (Rhett): A comment addressing the scores of lame non-apologies sure to be coming.

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (Rhett): 1990s response to the steroid issue from Bud Selig and Donald Fehr.

“After all… tomorrow is another day.” (Scarlett): An obvious statement, just like “lots of major leaguers used steroids.”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This Day in History

Today is December 13, 2007, and I think it’s a great day to look back at the history books. According to Wikipedia, all of these events took place on December 13. For some reason, the online encyclopedia ignores the sports angle to each of these occurrences. Therefore, for each entry I’ve added an extra sentence to fill in the gaps.

1294: Saint Celestine V abdicates the papacy after only five months. Celestine immediately takes over as football coach at the University of Arkansas.

1577: Sir Francis Drake sets out from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage. He hopes his willingness to go on the road will impress the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.

1769: Dartmouth College is founded by the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock. He remarks, “This will be a home for the true student-athlete, after the term ‘student-athlete’ is invented.”

1862: At the Battle of Fredericksburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee defeats the Union Major General Ambrose E. Burnside. The victory earns Lee a title shot against Floyd Mayweather.

1941: Hungary and Romania declare war on the United States. With this action, both countries continue their policy of aggression against inferior soccer countries.

1961: Painter Grandma Moses dies at the age of 101. Her eulogy is delivered by high school classmate Vinny Testaverde.

1967: Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx is born. On Foxx's birthday in 2007, Mike Gundy will call him and scream, “You’re a MAN!!! You’re FORTY!!!”

1996: Kofi Annan is elected as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Darren McFadden comes in second.

2000: Al Gore delivers his concession speech, ending his hopes of becoming the 43rd President of the United States. He was certain that Bush’s 2000 victory would be overturned, but then he realized he was thinking of Marion Jones.

2002: The European Union announces that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members on May 1, 2004. The expansion paves the way for the EU to hold a conference championship game.

2003: Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his hometown of Tikrit. One of his captors remarks, “We can catch anyone – except for Devin Hester.”

2006: The Baiji, or Chinese River Dolphin, is announced as extinct. So at least one Dolphin didn’t have to endure 2007.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Hansbrough & Other Tylers

This young basketball season has been marked by an unusually gifted freshman class that’s high on flash. However, the best player on the #1 team in the country is a junior with a not-so-pretty style. North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough hopes his all-out effort helps Roy Williams to his second national championship in April. In the meantime, here’s how Hansbrough compares to a dozen other Tylers.

John Tyler: He became President of the United States after the death in office of William Henry Harrison. Similarly, Hansbrough entered the spotlight because Sean May, Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton, and Marvin Williams departed early.

Mary Tyler Moore: She memorably tossed up her hat in Minneapolis. Hansbrough memorably tossed away his mask against Michigan State.

Bonnie Tyler: In Total Eclipse of the Heart, she sang, “Every now and then I fall apart.” The Tar Heels said the same thing after the Georgetown game.

Tyler Durden: In Fight Club he insisted, “I want you to hit me as hard as you can!” Hansbrough didn’t make the same request to Gerald Henderson, but it happened anyway.

Tyler Perry: The creator of House of Payne and Why Did I get Married has developed a media empire in Atlanta. As a freshman, Hansbrough also demanded Atlanta’s attention with a career-high 40 versus Georgia Tech.

Steven Tyler: In honor of the singer of Walk This Way, Hansbrough often gets away with an extra step down low.

Liv Tyler: Somehow, she looks like Steven Tyler but is still hot. Equally hard to believe: the guy with the biggest man-crush on Hansbrough is a Dukie (Jay Bilas).

Tyler, Texas: It’s the hometown of LSU quarterback Matt Flynn. Like Hansbrough, he hopes his season includes a victory over Ohio State.

Willie Tyler and Lester: As a ventriloquist, Willie thrives with his wooden partner. Hansbrough thrives with his partners on the hardwood.

Aisha Tyler: Hansbrough defies racial stereotypes as a white basketball star, just as Aisha did as a black person on Friends.

Tyler Green: Obscure, but the former Phillie starter is worth a mention for this bizarre stat: Green pitched in the 1995 All-Star Game, yet only won 18 games in his career. As for UNC’s Tyler, his most recent win came in Philly, with help from Danny Green.

Tyler James Williams: He’s the star of Everybody Hates Chris. Hansbrough plays eight miles from the team everybody hates.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Quick Hits On This Year's Bowl Matchups

This year’s college football bowl lineup is set, with 32 matchups on the way. For in-depth analysis, go to the experts. For quick drivel, I’m your man. The full titles of the bowls are listed, because it’s just funnier that way. Away we go!

December 20:

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Navy vs. Utah.
The title of the bowl is really long, so to compensate they had to take two teams with four letters each. Next year it’s Rice vs. Duke.

December 21:

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Florida Atlantic vs. Memphis.
As he did with Miami and Louisville, coach Howard Schnellenberger leads FAU into a bowl game. Unlike the current coaches of Miami and Louisville.

December 22: Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Southern Mississippi.
Better Ingredients. Better Pizza. So why can’t they sponsor a Better Bowl?

New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico vs. Nevada. For the second straight year, New Mexico plays in its namesake bowl. The same feat was accomplished in 1999 and 2000 by Tostitos Fiesta University.

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl: Brigham Young vs. UCLA. The winners will proudly claim the trophy, until it’s stolen from their hotel room by O.J. and his goons.

December 23:

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Boise State vs. East Carolina.
I think we can give Ian Johnson a pass if this year’s bowl experience doesn’t measure up to last year.

December 26:

Motor City Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Purdue.
It’s a rematch of a September game in which the Boilermakers won by 23. Just a hunch, but I’m guessing Detroit sports fans are a little more excited about Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.

December 27:

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas.
Wait, this is actually a pretty good matchup! How’d it get on the bowl schedule so early?

December 28:

Champs Sports Bowl: Boston College vs. Michigan State.
What do you mean, “Champs” Sports? BC’s here because they LOST their championship game!

Texas Bowl: Houston vs. TCU. I’m pretty sure this bowl doesn’t actually exist, and this is a replay of a Conference USA game from five years ago.

Emerald Bowl: Oregon State vs. Maryland. This name would have been more appropriate for the Seattle Bowl, played in the Emerald City. Remember the Seattle Bowl? Okay, never mind…

December 29:

Meineke Car Care Bowl: Connecticut vs. Wake Forest.
I’ve asked this question many times, but I have to keep asking: Why, oh why, does the Demon Deacon mascot wear a bowtie on his CHIN??? Somebody answer me!!!

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Central Florida. Also known as the BCS National Championship Game, at least on George O’ Leary’s resume.

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Penn State. The Aggies and Nittany Lions square off at the site of the Final Four, where top-ranked UNC hopes to be in April. Yep, 64 teams in bowl games, and this is the only way I could work my Tar Heels into the discussion.

December 30:

Petrosun Independence Bowl: Colorado vs. Alabama.
Four games ago, Nick Saban was planning on a much better destination. But on this same day, his former employer might wind up 0-16. So Shreveport’s not so bad!

December 31:

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. California.
It’s highly appropriate to have a service academy in the Armed Forces Bowl. But Cal hasn’t been armed, or a force, for two months now.

Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl: Fresno State vs. Georgia Tech. Fun Fact: The Humanitarian Bowl got its name because Mother Teresa was a huge fan of the blue turf.

Brut Sun Bowl: South Florida vs. Oregon. In this nutty college football season, it’s only appropriate that two former #2’s will spend New Year’s in El Paso.

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl Presented By Bridgestone (seriously): Florida State vs. Kentucky. These schools squared off in the 1993 Elite Eight. It’s a sad, sad thing that I knew that off the top of my head.

Insight Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Indiana. With 2008 approaching, it’s time to go crazy after the game! I mean New Year’s Eve parties, not Mike Gundy’s press conference.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Clemson vs. Auburn. Only during Masters week will you see more Tiger fans in Georgia.

January 1:

Outback Bowl: Tennessee vs. Wisconsin.
It’s the Vols’ second straight year in this game. But since South Carolina is home for the holidays, I don’t think you’ll hear Steve Spurrier say, “You can’t spell ‘Outback’ without ‘UT!’”

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic: Missouri vs. Arkansas. Heisman winners often have a tough time in bowl games. Fortunately for Chase Daniel and Darren McFadden, that will be Tim Tebow’s problem.

Capital One Bowl: Florida vs. Michigan. A year later, the “Gators vs. Wolverines” debate moves from the message boards to the field. Meanwhile, Lloyd Carr becomes yet another retiree in Orlando.

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl: Virginia vs. Texas Tech. UVA’s Chris Long, like Michigan’s Jake Long, will go early in the NFL draft. Hearing “Long” uttered throughout the draft will make Jay Bilas smile.

The Rose Bowl Game Presented By Citi: USC vs. Illinois. By preserving the sacred Big Ten/Pac-10 matchup, Rose Bowl officials once again prove their devotion to tradition. As long as you ignore that “Presented By Citi” part.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Hawaii. Bulldog fans might be overconfident, but not because of Hawaii’s soft schedule. Remembering the old Falcon days, they just expect to see June Jones lose.

January 2:

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia.
For the Mountaineers, why is it the Fiesta vs. the Sooners? Because of the siesta vs. the Panthers.

January 3:

Fedex Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Kansas.
Fortunately, neither team is from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, or Texas. Because from Florida, you’re not allowed to FedEx Oranges to those states.

January 5:

International Bowl: Ball State vs. Rutgers.
This one takes place in Toronto, so TWO countries get to ignore it.

January 6:

GMAC Bowl: Tulsa vs. Bowling Green.
“GMAC” is a warning message to the only people paying attention to this game: “Gambling with Money: Addictive and Compulsive.”

January 7:

Allstate BCS National Championship Game. Ohio State vs. LSU.
For Buckeye fans, it’s already a victory: a title game with no Gators in sight.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Surprises From Championship Saturday

Fittingly in a tumultuous college football season, Championship Saturday was completely unpredictable. The result is utterly predictable, as once again the much-maligned BCS is a mess. Tonight we’ll officially find out the championship matchup, as well as the other bowls. In the meantime, here’s a look back at Saturday’s surprises.

The #1 team lost, and it wasn’t an upset.

That #1 team was Missouri.

Dave Wannstedt had a huge win in December.

On September 1, an upset BY the Mountaineers made Buckeye fans giddy. On December 1, an upset OF the Mountaineers did the same.

Over two weekends, a team rose from #5 to #1 without playing a game. And there’s no legitimate argument against them.

The title game will almost certainly match up two teams who lost at home to then-unranked opponents.

Les Miles potentially set himself up for a huge matchup with Ohio State – by turning down Michigan.

A team (Cal) on the verge of being #1 in October proceeded to lose six of its last seven games.

Two teams that were ranked #2 this year lost to Stanford.

A former #2 (Oregon) lost in multiple overtimes, and it wasn’t LSU.

Karl Dorrell has not yet been fired. I live two miles from UCLA, so any minute I expect him to knock on my door, asking to crash on my couch.

Arizona State, which won a share of the Pac-10 title, beat one opponent that finished with a winning record.

That’s one less than USC, because the Trojans beat ASU.

The lone unbeaten team stayed that way by rallying from a 21-point deficit at home against the worst team in the Pac-10.

A Boston College-Virginia Tech rematch in Jacksonville was played before a huge number of empty seats. Okay, some things aren’t surprising.

Herschel Walker, my prediction for #1, finished at #3 in ESPN’s “25 Greatest Players in College Football” list. He won’t be the only Bulldog to get left out of the top 2 this weekend.

A team (Miami of Ohio) that was in a conference championship game finished with a losing record.

They’re not the only Miami who missed out on bowl season.

A non-conference opponent for Kansas (Central Michigan) is in a bowl game.

The traditional Army-Navy showdown… okay, I admire them for serving our country, but I can’t pretend to care about this game.

A guy (Kevin Smith of Central Florida) finished with 2,448 yards rushing, and you’ve probably never heard of him. I wonder if his teammates call him Silent Bob?

Florida International won a game. Like all great teams, they peaked at the end of the season.


Despite the fate of second-ranked teams this year, teams are now PLEADING to be #2!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Press Release For "Dukie V" Book

A fellow UNC alum wanted to pass along this press release for his new parody book, focused on Dick Vitale and his love for a certain basketball program in Durham. Go here for the book's website.

Dukie V’s Season to Remember:
A hilarious, completely unauthorized collection of parody columns from the 2006-07 college basketball season.
By Brian Allen

College basketball is hotter than ever, with ESPN analyst Dick Vitale personifying America’s passion for the game. A once popular commentator and columnist, Vitale is known for his colorful enthusiasm and his basketball terminology, which includes such curious expressions as “Diaper Dandy” (a promising freshman), “PTP’er” (a prime time performer), and “Maalox Moment” (a nail biting finish). During his rise to fame, Vitale was himself affectionately dubbed “Dickie V” by fans and colleagues.

In recent years, the once respected commentator has become a parody of himself as he has channeled all of his vibrant enthusiasm into an unabashed love for perennial winner Duke University and its head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Fans coast to coast are both amused and annoyed by his seeming inability to comment on any subject without launching into a Duke tribute at every opportunity – regardless of the subject at hand and regardless of what teams are playing before him. In recognition of his glaring bias, college fans, in recent years, modified the man’s personal moniker; he is now known as “Dukie V.”

Equally annoying to fans is an over hyping of Duke University by the media at large. Many fans view Duke as the recipient of favoritism by game officials and the holder of an undeserved pristine image. Similarly, fans resent the media’s description of Coach K – a man legendary for his foul mouth and hypocritical stands on sportsmanship -- as the ultimate “class act.”

"Dukie V’s Season to Remember” is the ultimate sports parody collection, written for the legions of fans who have had it up to their ears with the Duke lovefest. The book presents a season long series of spoof columns, each written to mimic Vitale’s lingo, cadence, and, above all, his nauseating love of Duke. Beginning with pre-season analysis and predictions, the book continues through the regular season and March Madness, and concludes with post-season commentary on subjects ranging from the Don Imus/Rutgers debacle to Kobe Bryant’s trade demands. Each column begins with a legitimate hot basketball issue, (e.g., Bobby Knight's chase of the all-time wins record), but inevitably veers off-course as Vitale blithely spirals into his endless Duke drivel. In addition to spoofing the absurdity of Vitale's blind bias, the parody columns also mock the purported greatness of Duke, a program that has managed a whopping total of three national championships in 100 years of college basketball history.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Top Christmas Toys - For Football Coaches

It’s that time of year again, when kids around the country clamor for the most popular toys as Christmas gifts. The most coveted presents of all can be found here. These prized items – 10 for boys and 10 for girls - can bring joy not only to children, but to football coaches in college and the NFL. Granted, the only fat guy kids care about is Santa Claus, not Mark Mangino or Ralph Friedgen. But here’s a look at those coveted toys, and which coaches would be appropriate recipients of them as gifts.


TMX Cookie Monster & TMX Ernie: Herman Edwards. The Chiefs coach will impart a valuable lesson to the Sesame Street characters. “Why do we play?” Not to build friendships, or smile, or share things, but to “Win the game!”

LEGO Mindstorms: Eric Mangini. “Mindstorms” should appeal to the “Mangenius.” Oh wait, this one should have been on the 2006 list.

Pleo Dinosaur: Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden. They’d get to consult with one of their contemporaries.

Transformers Toys: Urban Meyer. He’ll add to his existing transformer – a quarterback who transforms into a fullback.

Nintendo DS: Brad Childress. Since Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith each had a pick-6 last week, the Vikings coach is happy to add another “DS.”

Nintendo Wii: Cam Cameron. Unlike the Dolphins, at least “Wii” has a W.

R/C Spy Video Car: Bill Belichick. Duh.

Kid Tough Digital Camera: June Jones. Considering his Warriors’ schedule, the Hawaii coach is used to things that are kid-tough.

EyeClops Bionic Eye: Houston Nutt. Taking over at Ole Miss, which went winless in the SEC, he’ll need vision that no one else seems to have.

Power Guitar: Lane Kiffin. Since he works for Al Davis, it’s the only way he’ll get any power.


Webkinz: Nick Saban.
The coveted plush toys inspired a craze, before shortages ensued. The coveted Bama coach inspired crazed fans, before a victory shortage ensued.

FurReal Friends: Dennis Franchione. Having been forced out at Texas A&M, he could probably use some friends these days.

iDog, iCat, and iFish: Mark Richt, Rich Brooks, and Jeff Fisher. They’re Dawg, Cat, and Fish, respectively.

Kid Tough Digital Camera: I just said June Jones! Pay attention, dammit!

Barbie Girls: Wade Phillips. As Tony Romo’s coach, he’s used to having blondes around.

2007 Holiday Collector Barbie: Lloyd Carr. Like the special-edition doll, you won’t see him next year either.

Hannah Montana Singing Doll: Mike Nolan. The 49ers coach desperately needs a Montana on his team.

Digi Makeover: Bill Callahan. He can only hope his next makeover works better than the one he tried in Lincoln.

FurReal Friends Butterscotch Pony: Tom Coughlin. He’ll settle for a pony, but as far as Mannings go, he’d rather have a Colt.

Amazing Allysen: Les Miles. The “AA” initials appeal to him, whether it’s Amazing Allysen or Ann Arbor.

Monday, November 26, 2007

College Football Limericks

In a season filled with surprise
Who will play for the nation’s top prize?
Next Sunday we’ll see
Who the two teams will be
But it won’t be the usual guys

It was thought LSU was the best
They still are – in the SEC West
But thanks to McFadden
Their fans were quite saddened
By the high-scoring Razorback guests

It was heartbreak for Les Miles’ men
With a 3-OT loss once again
Just like at Kentucky
They came up unlucky
Now Les will go to the Big Ten

In the Border War at Arrowhead
The Jayhawks could not stop the spread
At least they have hoops
But they won’t face Bob Stoops
Since in football, their hopes are now dead

A great night it was for Mizzou
As Chase Daniel’s profile grew
There was one central key
To this huge victory:
They were playing against number two

Now unless West Virginia’s upset
A title game shot they’ll get
There’s no way they should fall
In the Backyard Brawl
As long as Pitt’s coached by Wannstedt

But if it’s the Panthers’ night
Or the Sooners exert their might
Then a group of Buckeyes
Will compete for the prize
With no scary Gators in sight

It’s just been a crazy fall
In the world of college football
But this fact, by far
Is what’s most bizarre:
There’s no playoff to settle it all!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Priest & Other NFL Clergy

Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes retired on Wednesday, ending a short comeback after head and neck injuries forced him to the sidelines for 22 months. Holmes reached his peak in 2003, when he rushed for a then-record 27 touchdowns. During his press conference, Holmes declared, “I have truly been blessed with the opportunity to play in the National Football League.” Such a statement is appropriate for a man named Priest. In fact, numerous other prominent NFL players have had a connection to the clergy. Here’s a quick look.

Running Back: Travis Henry (the words “Our Father” often refer to him)

Fullback: Bob Christian

Quarterback: Doug Flutie (always good for a Hail Mary)

Wide Receiver: Art Monk; Irving Fryar (Technically, monks and friars are only considered clergy if they’ve received Holy Orders. With 1,791 receptions between them, Monk and Fryar pretty much received everything.)

Tight End: Leonard Pope

Offensive Line: Keith Bishop

Defensive Line: Deacon Jones; Reggie “Minister of Defense” White

Defensive Back: Blaine Bishop; Marquez Pope

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Current Dolphins linebacker Derrick Pope is a bit too obscure for the above list. But hopefully, like the real pope, he believes in the power of prayer. His team really needs it these days.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bay Area Blues

Much has been made about the amazing run currently enjoyed by Boston sports teams. While the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics have made life great for fans in Beantown, it’s a different story in Northern California. The Golden Gate Bridge may be picturesque, but the sports landscape has been downright hideous in the Bay Area lately. Only the first-place San Jose Sharks have been thriving, and since they play hockey, you’re probably not interested. Otherwise, in just over the past week, here’s an ugly rundown of Bay Area sports.

November 10:

Cal falls 24-17 at home to USC. Before the season, this looked like one of the games of the year. Now College GameDay decides that Williams-Amherst is a better option. Okay, the Pats, Sox, and Celtics I can understand, but is ESPN THAT fixated on Massachusetts now?

Stanford loses 33-17 to lowly Washington State. On the bright side, the 3-7 Cardinal gets two weeks off – a bye, then a visit from Notre Dame.

November 11:

The Raiders fall 17-6 at home to the Bears. Somehow, Oakland allows the phrase “Rex Grossman heroics” to be used.

November 12:

The 49ers get shut out 24-0 by the Seahawks. “49ers” now refers to their total yardage per game.

November 13:

Vinny Testaverde turns 44. Unfortunately for 49er fans, an old guy’s playing quarterback, and it’s not Joe Montana. Not to be confused with Joe Mantegna, who turns 60 on this day. Yeah, it’s a stretch, but Tuesday’s a slow sports day. Cut me some slack!

November 14:

The Warriors lose 111-104 at home to the Pistons, falling to 0-6 on the season. I’m guessing they’re not quite as high on Jessica Alba’s social calendar these days.

November 15:

Giants’ icon Barry Bonds is indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. For once, Barry doesn’t get a free pass.

November 16:

Okay, some good news: Golden State finally gets into the win column, taking down the Clippers 122-105. Sorry Jessica, didn’t mean to imply that you’d jump ship just yet!

November 17:

Cal loses 37-23 at cellar-dwelling Washington. Once on the cusp of #1, the Golden Bears are now 6-5. At least they won’t have to worry about getting screwed by the BCS.

San Jose State falls 27-23 to Louisiana Tech, eliminating the Spartans from bowl consideration. They already should have been ineligible, since they’re crappy enough to be on Hawaii’s schedule.

The Stanford football team is off, and so is the basketball team, in a 79-67 upset by Siena.

November 18:

The 49ers drop their eighth straight in a 13-9 home setback to the Rams. They thereby enhance their draft position - for the Patriots, who own San Francisco’s first-rounder next spring. I’ll pause now, to allow NFL fans outside of New England to puke.

With a 29-22 defeat at Minnesota, the Raiders lose their sixth in a row. Which makes them the hottest NFL team in the Bay Area.

A’s utility whiz Marco Scutaro is traded to Toronto. Maybe he’s not a franchise player, but it’s just fun to say “Marco Scutaro.”

Friday, November 16, 2007

Duke-Notre Dame Winner To Be #2 in Next Week's Coaches Poll

Much ridicule has been heaped on tomorrow afternoon’s football matchup in South Bend. Notre Dame will host visiting Duke, with the Fighting Irish and Blue Devils each sporting 1-9 records. With the possible exception of Minnesota, tomorrow’s loser will carry the title of worst BCS team in the nation. However, now the victor will claim a less dubious honor. Saturday’s winner will be voted #2 in next week’s USA Today Coaches Poll.

This development comes on the heels of last night’s defeat by the current #2, Oregon, at the hands of Arizona. Hampered by the first quarter loss of Heisman Trophy candidate Dennis Dixon, as well as two return touchdowns by Wildcat Antoine Cason, the Ducks fell 34-24 in Tucson. For the fourth straight November, the Wildcats knocked off a ranked opponent in Arizona Stadium. Given that level of success during the month, the program is now looking into the possibility of playing during September and October as well.

Oregon joined USC, California, South Florida, and Boston College as second-ranked teams to fall since October 6. Given the “Curse of Number 2,” numerous coaches felt it would be appropriate to put the Irish or Devils into that spot. As one coach remarked, “The #2 team is pretty much guaranteed to lose. Well, the same thing is true for Notre Dame and Duke. So why waste that bad karma on a good team?”

The agreement among the coaches will only be in effect for one week, so there does not appear to be any danger of either team sneaking into the BCS National Championship Game. As one coach noted, “You saw what happened last year, when Notre Dame took on LSU WITH Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija. If that happened THIS year? I mean, hasn’t New Orleans seen ENOUGH destruction?”

Still, if the Irish rise to the second spot in the upcoming week, the Curse of #2 will have come full circle. It began when second-ranked USC was stunned by Stanford, led by first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh. Notre Dame could also take on the Cardinal as the #2 team next week. Commenting on Harbaugh, Irish coach Charlie Weis remarked, “Wow, I got a 10-year extension for ALMOST beating USC my first year. He actually won, so what did he get? 40 years?” A nearby Golden Domer added, “It’s incredible that Stanford even won a game this year. Tyrone Willingham was there just six years ago!”

#2 could be a far more unusual position for Duke. Even Steve Spurrier only votes them 25th in the pre-season poll. However, the Blue Devils could be second-ranked for the next week’s UNC-Duke football showdown, billed in previous years as “The Reason John Bunting Won’t Go Winless!” Duke coach Ted Roof has gotten permission from Mike Krzyzewski to add Gerald Henderson to the roster for that game, since he knows that Henderson has no problem hitting Tar Heels in Chapel Hill.

Before the announcement that the #2 ranking would be on the line, the Duke – Notre Dame game was a matchup only Dick Vitale could love. Saturday’s broadcast could be the worst thing on NBC since Veronica’s Closet. However, the new stakes have increased interest among the schools’ alumni. Hearing that Duke will be involved in a late-season matchup with something on the line, J.J. Redick has announced plans to show up and shoot 4-for-19.

Yes, Duke or Notre Dame will get to enjoy being #2 for a week. Down the road, if form holds, the national championship matchup will pit LSU against the Big XII champion. Of course, “if form holds” is the second-most laughable phrase in college football this year. What’s #1? The “Play Like A Champion Today” sign at Notre Dame Stadium.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Surprises From Illinois-Ohio State

Saturday in Columbus, visiting Illinois ended Ohio State’s dreams of a national championship with an upset over the top-ranked Buckeyes. Beyond the result itself, there were numerous surprises coming out of the Horseshoe. Here’s a look at a few of those.

Surprise: Head coach Ron Zook notched his most significant victory since taking over at Illinois.
Why That’s Surprising: We all knew that players recruited by Zook could beat the Buckeyes. We just assumed they had to be coached by Urban Meyer.

Surprise: Illinois improved to 5-2 in Big Ten play.
Why That’s Surprising: The Fighting Illini were 2-30 in conference games the previous four years. And you thought the Cubs had a tough time in the fall.

Surprise: Illinois reclaimed the Illibuck trophy with the victory.
Why That’s Surprising: Is possession of a wooden turtle really much of a motivation? Illibuck joins the Old Oaken Bucket, the Little Brown Jug, and countless other quirky trophies at stake in Big Ten contests. By conference rule, the winner of each game gets something that was picked up at a yard sale.

Surprise: With four touchdown passes, Juice Williams was instrumental in bringing Illibuck back to Illinois.
Why That’s Surprising: Athletes called Juice usually reclaim trophies by barging into a Vegas hotel room with weapons.

Surprise: Normally steady OSU quarterback Todd Boeckman threw three interceptions.
Why That’s Surprising: Today he’s thinking, “Well, at least I’m not Peyton Manning!”

Surprise: The key to staying undefeated was not to be OSU, but to BEAT OSU.
Why That’s Surprising: Among BCS conference teams, Kansas, improbably, is the lone unbeaten after a 40-28 victory at Oklahoma State. Asked why the Jayhawks prevailed, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy screamed, “They came after US! They are MEN! They got FORTY!”

Surprise: The Illini used a total team effort to take down the Buckeyes.
Why That’s Surprising: It has to be hard building teamwork in Champaign. There’s no sensible way to say, “There’s no “I” in “Illini.”

Surprise: Before next week’s Big Ten showdown, neither participant was caught looking ahead.
Why That’s Surprising: I’m talking about Northwestern-Illinois.

Surprise: Matt Sylvester was not involved.
Why That’s Surprising: He was responsible the last time an unbeaten run ended in an Illinois-Ohio State matchup in Columbus, nailing the winning three-pointer for OSU in March 2005. Unlike these Buckeyes, those Illini still got to advance to the national championship game. Because college basketball has this weird, crazy thing called a playoff.

Surprise: The #1 team in the nation lost at home to an unranked team.
Why That’s Surprising: It’s not – have you SEEN college football this year?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The WGA in Sports

This week’s major story in the entertainment world is the strike by the Writers Guild of America. Although that WGA is currently out of action, the WGA acronym is very much alive in the sports world. So even while the writers walk the picket line, you can still get your WGA fix right here.

Most common question at the Bengals’ offices: Who Got Arrested?

Red Sox’ ALDS result: Waxed Guerrero’s Angels

Alternative for Notre Dame fans this Saturday: Watching Georgia-Auburn

Tiger on Sunday with the lead: Woods: Golfing Assassin

NBA’s Tim Donaghy headache: Whistleblower’s Gambling Addiction

NBA viewers’ headache: Walton’s Grating Announcing

Jimmie Johnson fans’ request to other drivers: Wreck Gordon’s Automobile

Kentucky vs. Gardner-Webb result, as told to Judd: Wildcats Gagged, Ashley

Advice Joba Chamberlain should have heeded: Warning: Gnat Attack!

Items in Rams and Dolphins game recaps: Washington Generals Allusions

Recent exclamation from Paul Pierce: Welcome Garnett, Allen!

Braves’ pitching plans: Want Glavine Again

Strange College GameDay locale this week: Williams ‘Gainst Amherst?

Roger Federer each July: Wimbledon God Annually

Soldier Field nuisance: Woeful Grossman Accuracy

Achievement no college hoops’ coach can approach: Wooden’s Golden Age

Inspiration for college football underdogs: Wolverines? Go Appalachian!

Most clutch blogger: Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas

Announcement eliminating team from next year’s World Series: We Grabbed Alex!

Source of Edmonton players’ happiness in the 80s: Wayne Gretzky Assists

Patriots’ February preference over cold Foxborough: Warm Glendale, Arizona

Oregon Ducks’ only major shortcoming: Wretched Green Attire

Pitchers’ typical approach to facing Bonds: Walk Giant Always

Still doing the job in Green Bay: Wisconsin Grandpa’s Arm

Most surprising revelation in sports: White Guy’s Athletic!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Adrians & Petersons

This week in the NFL was supposed to be all about the showdown between the Colts and Patriots. And the best running back in the Chargers-Vikings matchup was assumed to be LaDainian Tomlinson. But Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson proved to be the top star on Sunday. The rookie standout from Oklahoma rushed for 296 yards, one more than the previous single-game record held by Jamal Lewis. In honor of the historic achievement, here’s how Adrian Peterson compares to other Adrians and Petersons.

Adrian Peterson: Has won once in Soldier Field this season.
Adrian Peterson (the one on the Bears): Has won once in Soldier Field this season.

Adrian Gonzalez: Hit over .300 for San Diego in 2006.
Adrian Peterson: Almost hit 300 yards vs. San Diego in 2007.

Norm Peterson: Buddies shouted “Norm!” to him in Cheers.
Adrian Peterson: Fans shouted cheers to him in Norman.

Adrian Dantley: NBA Rookie of the Year in 1977.
Adrian Peterson: Will be NFL Rookie of the Year in 2007.

Adrian Pasdar: Heroes star who appeals to sci-fi geeks.
Adrian Peterson: Gridiron star who appeals to fantasy geeks.

William Petersen: Puts up huge numbers on CBS on Thursday nights.
Adrian Peterson: Put up huge numbers on CBS on Sunday afternoon.

Adrian Balboa: Husband Rocky’s victories brought joy to Philadelphia.
Adrian Peterson: Last week, opposing Eagles’ victory brought joy to Philadelphia.

Adrian Peterson: On draft day, skeptics focused on his injured collarbone.
Cassandra Peterson: AKA Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, so observers focus on two of her body parts.

Adrian Beltre: As a Dodger, was runner-up for the 2004 MVP.
Adrian Peterson: As a Sooner, was runner-up for the 2004 Heisman.

Adrian Peterson: Young man who likes to score.
Adrian Lyne: Director of Lolita, about a young girl who likes to score.

Morris Peterson: First-year Hornet who plays next to Chris Paul.
Adrian Peterson: First-year Viking who plays next to St. Paul.

Adrian Peterson: On the wrong side of last year’s Fiesta Bowl classic.
Chris Petersen: Boise State coach on the right side of last year’s Fiesta Bowl classic.

Adrian Young: Drummer for No Doubt on “Hella Good” and “Running.”
Adrian Peterson: No doubt, a hell of a good running back.

Adrian Peterson: Father was recently released from prison.
Scott Peterson: Will never get released from prison.

Adrian Zmed: Huge star in the mid-80s.
Adrian Peterson: Huge star who was born in the mid-80s.

Julian Peterson: Bolsters the Seattle Seahawks defense.
Adrian Peterson: Flusters every NFC defense.

Wolfgang Petersen: Directed the movie smash Troy.
Adrian Peterson: In the Orange Bowl, was smashed by the men of Troy.

Adrian Grenier: Hit the jackpot as Vincent Chase.
Adrian Peterson: Hits paydirt while defenders give chase.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Hitchcockian View of College Basketball's Preseason Top 15

The college basketball season is just around the corner, and the preseason USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll was already released on October 26. While the real intrigue is reserved for March, there’s still a place for the Master of Suspense when previewing the season. Alfred Hitchcock’s movies fit in quite well with the top 15 teams. Really, what’s more synonymous with college basketball than a British guy who’s been dead since 1980?

Hitchcock won’t be making one of his trademark cameos in this article. But given his fixation on beautiful blondes, he’d be thrilled to see Erin Andrews reporting from the sideline. Without further adieu, here’s a Hitchcockian view of college basketball’s preseason top 15.

14. (tie) Texas A&M. Rear Window. Can the Aggies continue their success, with Acie Law and Billy Gillespie in their rear view?

14. (tie) Gonzaga. Spellbound. That’s what Josh Heytvelt will be if he can’t lay off the mushrooms.

13. Oregon. The Birds. Despite the loss of Aaron Brooks, the Ducks will continue to be a nuisance in the Pac-10.

12. Marquette. To Catch A Thief. Thanks to his penchant for steals, guard Jerel McNeal was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. But he’s not quite as dashing as Cary Grant.

11. Duke. Notorious. It’s what the Blue Devils are on every campus outside of Durham.

10. Washington State. North By Northwest. The Cougars will once again be strong in the Pacific Northwest. No word on whether they’ll travel to games in a crop duster.

9. Indiana. Dial M For Murder. Kelvin Sampson knows how telephone calls can lead to big trouble.

8. Michigan State. 300. I know it’s not Hitchcock, but it’s the mandatory movie reference for the Spartans.

7. Tennessee. Rich and Strange. It’s an early, obscure Hitchcock film, but it’s a perfect label for Bruce Pearl.

6. Louisville. The Wrong Man. Cardinal fans are still thankful that Rick Pitino was the wrong man for the Celtics.

5. Georgetown. Vertigo. Jimmy Stewart had a fear of heights, so he’d have been terrified of 7’2” All-American Roy Hibbert.

4. Kansas. The 39 Steps. It’s how many steps Bill Self has taken, assuming you need 40 to reach the Final Four.

3. Memphis. Suspicion. Although they’re deep and talented, the Tigers can’t escape suspicion as long as they’re in Conference USA.

2. UCLA. Rebecca. The Bruins, like Rebecca Lobo, won a national championship in 1995. It could happen again, now that Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah are out of the picture.

1. North Carolina. Psycho. Tyler (Psycho T) Hansbrough hopes to lead the Tar Heels to the penthouse, not the Bates Motel.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Why the Red Sox Swept the Rockies

Sunday night in Denver, the Boston Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 to complete a four-game sweep in the World Series. Whether it was Fenway Park or Coors Field, the Sox displayed superiority on the mound and at the plate. But instead of merely winning, why did they sweep? Here are a handful of reasons.

Every Sunday they were in action this October, the Sox wrapped up a playoff series. Looks like the Patriots have been the second-best Boston team on Sundays.

The sweep enabled the Rockies to finish their season on an amazing 21-5 run.

Every 2007 postseason series not involving the Cleveland Indians ended in a sweep. As with most things in life, things are less exciting when Cleveland’s not involved.

The Broncos have an important game tonight, and now the Denver fans can fully focus on them.

The Red Sox rewarded their loyal supporters by limiting further exposure to Tim McCarver.

Boston fans dressing up as witches for Halloween got extra use out of their brooms.

A seven-game World Series would have ended on November 1. The whole campaign was “There’s only one October” – Dane Cook didn’t even mention November!

Helping the Boston sports cause, Bill Belichick got someone to tape the Rockies dugout.

The Red Sox only play classic, seven-game World Series when they lose them in excruciating fashion.

Georgia knocked off Florida on Saturday, meaning that the Gators will finally stop winning championships. So Colorado was screwed as former Gator Josh Fogg took the mound for Game 3.

Seeing how helpless hitters have been against Josh Beckett, the Red Sox wanted to spare the Rockies from that experience tonight.

The symmetry with 2004 was complete, with a first-round sweep over the Angels, a rally to win a 7-game ALCS, and a World Series sweep. And once again, a famous defection to New York was overcome – the Curse of Pedro is finally over!

Three outs from a 4-0 sweep with a dominant closer on the mound, Colorado didn’t have Dave Roberts on the bench.

With Manny Corpas on the losing side, it’s “just Manny sweeping Manny.”

The sweep means that the Red Sox now have a higher winning percentage (61%) in World Series games than the Yankees (60%). Seriously. Dude, I’m not kidding!

Subjecting Boston office workers to fewer late nights will improve productivity this week. Well, after today. And the day of the parade. And…

Jacoby Ellsbury earned a free taco for everyone this Tuesday, so it’s only fair that he has the time to get one himself.

The Rockies hoped to end like the 1986 Mets. Instead, they ended like the 2007 Mets.

Now there’s no need to cancel Two and a Half Men night at Big Papi’s house tonight.

If history continues to repeat from 2004, a Boston sweep in the World Series will be followed a few months later by a UNC national title. That may not be important to the Red Sox, but it is to me.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Boston College Conquers Deuceophobia in Blacksburg

Triskaidekaphobia is the term for a fear of the number 13. While 13 is frequently considered to be unlucky, another number proved to be far more treacherous in college football this month. Number 2 was absolutely deadly for anyone who carried the label, inspiring an outbreak of “deuceophobia” across college campuses. However, Thursday night in Blacksburg, one team refused to give in to this condition. With a dramatic 14-10 victory over Virginia Tech, 2nd-ranked Boston College conquered its deuceophobia.

In completing its comeback, BC became the first #2 team in the AP poll to win in October. First, USC inexplicably fell to Stanford. The Cardinal was just as giddy the next week, when hated rival and new #2 California went down against Oregon State. The hex was not just limited to the Golden State, as upstart South Florida’s one-week stay at #2 was then ended at Rutgers. “Number 2,” of course, is also something you do in a bathroom stall (one of many things, if you are Larry Craig). In this case, the term is particularly applicable. Once teams became associated with number 2, their undefeated seasons went down the toilet.

No one knows for sure why #2 became so unlucky. However, speculation centered largely on New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury on September 24. Conspiracy theorists charged that a bitter McAllister wanted other deuces to suffer, so he imposed a curse on the number 2 in college football. Local favorite LSU was #2 at the time, so as the theory went, McAllister waited a week to allow USC to fall back to 2nd before imposing the hex. Surely he could find plenty of help in New Orleans – a town filled with voodoo specialists AND fans who hate the Trojans.

Football coaches notice trends, so deuceophobia spread rapidly. Some defensive coordinators scrapped their Cover 2 and Tampa 2 schemes. Many offensive counterparts refused to try 2-point conversions. None of them wanted to play on ESPN2. Players were forbidden to watch Austin Powers movies, which feature the character known as Number Two. And all copies of A Tale of Two Cities were removed from locker rooms – a huge blow to the legions of players who depend on Dickens for pre-game inspiration.

Thursday night, it appeared that Boston College was ripe to join the list of victims. The 2nd-ranked Eagles endured 2 interceptions by Heisman candidate Matt Ryan and trailed by 2 scores late in the game. However, BC decided to make the number 2 work in their favor. Ryan executed the 2-minute offense to perfection and threw 2 touchdowns, sending the stunned Hokies to their 2nd defeat. The curse of number 2 was burst, like a balloon filled with helium (whose atomic number is 2).

Perhaps it was fitting that a team from Boston was able to turn the number 2 in their favor. On the same night, 2 runs were enough for the Red Sox to win Game 2 of the World Series. Their mere participation means that Sox fans don’t have to see Derek Jeter wearing #2 in the Fall Classic. Also on Thursday, the Bruins beat the Black Hawks by 2 goals. The Patriots are one of 2 undefeated NFL teams. And the Celtics are ecstatic about landing 2 new stars, including 2-guard Ray Allen. Boston-area native John Adams would have been proud. He was our nation’s original #2 as George Washington’s Vice President before becoming President #2. Alas, he then lost to Thomas Jefferson, who wound up on the 2-dollar bill.

Unlike USC, Cal, and South Florida, Boston College showed that the number 2 does not scare them. But just to be safe, the Eagles will be pulling for Penn State on Saturday.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Boston vs. Colorado: A World Series Breakdown

The 2007 World Series is set, with the Colorado Rockies taking on the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. The Sox have championship experience and far more tradition, while the Rocks are on a historic roll. So who has the edge? Even if you can’t distinguish between a Youkilis and a Tulowitzki, here’s a detailed breakdown to prepare you for the Fall Classic.

Inspirational Nicknames: A Red Sock has already helped Boston in a championship run. But a Rocky took down Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, and Ivan Drago. Advantage: Colorado

Noted Ballpark Features: What gets you more excited: the Green Monster or a humidor? Advantage: Boston

College Hail Marys: Colorado had Kordell Stewart against Michigan, and Boston College had Doug Flutie versus Miami. So there’s “Heisman winner Doug Flutie” and “teammate of Heisman winner Rashaan Salaam.” Advantage: Boston

City Nicknames: It’s Beantown versus the Mile High City. No one ever brags about joining the Bean Club. Advantage: Colorado

Robin Williams: He became famous with Mork and Mindy, set in Colorado. But going to Boston for Good Will Hunting got him an Oscar. How do you like dem apples? Advantage: Boston

Drew Effect: The Rockies have already taken down Arizona’s Stephen Drew, so keeping J.D. Drew off the bases shouldn’t be a problem. Unless there’s a contract offer waiting at one of those bases. Advantage: Colorado

Dennys: Denny Neagle was one of many free-agent pitchers who flopped in Colorado. But Boston Legal’s Denny Crane is worth every penny. Denny Crane! Advantage: Boston

Schilling Trend: Curt Schilling has World Series experience with, in order, Philadelphia, Arizona, and Boston. In the postseason, the Rockies have beaten the Phillies, then the Diamondbacks. It’s like his whole career has been designed for a Rockies championship. Advantage: Colorado

NHL: If the Stanley Cup is any indication, the Colorado Rockies can’t win a championship unless they change their name to the New Jersey Devils. Advantage: Boston

Hills: Boston is home to historic Beacon Hill and Bunker Hill, while Colorado has first base coach Glenallen Hill. Advantage: Boston

Top Hitters: David Ortiz has had numerous playoff heroics. But “Holliday” is a name befitting a celebration, or at least a Madonna song. Advantage: Colorado

1993 Effect: Now in their first World Series, the Rocks entered the majors with the Florida Marlins. So 1993 expansion teams are 2-0 in the Fall Classic. Advantage: Colorado

2003 Effect: Then again, Josh Beckett had a little something to do with that second Marlins title. Advantage: Boston

Don Baylor Playoff Moments: Often forgotten is that Baylor’s 9th-inning home run versus the Angels set the stage for Dave Henderson’s Sox-saving dinger in 1986. Also forgotten is that the Baylor-managed 1995 Rockies were even in the playoffs. Advantage: Boston

Scrabble: In basic letter values, “Colorado Rockies” gets you 24 points, compared to 22 for “Boston Red Sox.” Advantage: Colorado

Youngs: The Rockies had Eric, whereas the Sox had Cy. Maybe someday there will be an Eric Young Award, but for now… Advantage: Boston

Oh Canada!: Colorado ace Jeff Francis and Boston reliever Eric Gagne are both from north of the border. And both are considered assets for the Rockies. Advantage: Colorado

Annoying Catchphrases: “Rocktober” is already getting old, but it has a long way to be as overdone as “Manny Being Manny.” Advantage: Colorado

Envy: Colorado is Spanish for “Red,” and the Rockies’ AAA affiliate in Colorado Springs is known as the Sky Sox. Looks like the organization is a bunch of Red Sox wanna-bes. Advantage: Boston

Tallying up the results, it’s Boston 10, Colorado 9. So the Red Sox’ long title drought since 2004 will finally come to an end.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rockies To Take On Steelers This Sunday

Monday night, the Colorado Rockies completed a sweep over the Arizona Diamondbacks to advance to their first World Series. Their layoff will reach nine days before opening the Fall Classic, so there is concern that the red-hot Rockies could lose their momentum before taking on the Red Sox or Indians. However, manager Clint Hurdle has devised a way to keep his club fresh in the meantime. The Rockies will step in for the Denver Broncos and take on the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night.

The Steelers were already planning to go to Denver this weekend, so their travel plans will not change. However, while they prepared for the Broncos, the Rockies are a completely different animal. Both Denver teams won on September 16. Subsequently, the Rocks are 20-1, while the Broncos are 0-3. Colorado has dominated in Coors Field and Chase Field, so Invesco Field seems to be a logical next step. The scorching ballclub has little in common with the slumping Broncos, unless a young Rockie or two was fathered by Travis Henry.

Skeptics will claim that a major league baseball club, even on a historic run, will have no chance against a top-level NFL team like Pittsburgh. However, Colorado has numerous factors in its favor. In the Steelers’ only trip out west this season, they fell to the Arizona Cardinals. The Rockies, on the other hand, are 3-0 versus foes from Pennsylvania this month. Furthermore, National League clubs tend to be very successful when they face an opponent from Pittsburgh.

Also, while the Steelers have numerous stars, the Rockies seem to match up with each of them. Troy Polamalu can be answered by Troy Tulowitzki. Willie Parker gets balanced by Willy Taveras. And Ben Roethlisberger will be unable to throw the deep ball, since the footballs will be stored in a humidor.

Colorado, for its part, will respond with Todd Helton at quarterback. Helton, as frequently noted, backed up Peyton Manning at Tennessee. Manning is more than happy to help his old college buddy, since a Pittsburgh loss could help Indianapolis with its AFC playoff position down the road. Reportedly, Peyton’s most important piece of advice for beating the Steelers was “keep Vanderjagt off the roster.” Helton is unlikely to put up Manning-type numbers, but he can also be successful handing off the ball. This month the Rockies have been quite proficient at running sweeps.

While many fans will be intrigued to see if Colorado can continue its hot streak in a different sport, there are some dissenters. Chief among them is NBC, which is televising the game on Sunday night. After seeing the ratings for the NLCS, the network wanted no part of the Rockies in prime time. Also, MVP candidate Matt Holliday is adamantly against competing in an NFL game. Thinking back to the decisive play at the plate versus San Diego, he refuses to play a sport that uses instant replay.

Regardless of what happens on Sunday, Colorado will then turn back to its primary goal of winning the World Series. Like the Steelers two seasons ago, the Rockies hope to win a championship as a wild card team. As for Pittsburgh, it must quickly adjust its focus before this weekend. Champ Bailey won’t be waiting, but the NL champs will.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Robert Redford Guide To Football's Unbeatens

For many sports fans, Robert Redford is best remembered as mysterious baseball slugger Roy Hobbs in The Natural. However, the screen legend currently has a stronger connection to football - specifically to the remaining unbeaten college and NFL teams. In All the President’s Men, his Bob Woodward turned Washington on its ear, whereas Ohio State and Arizona State have knocked Washington on its rear. ASU has Sun Devils, while Redford has Sundance. New England and Indianapolis are reminding the AFC of The Way We Were – competing for last year’s Super Bowl berth. And for whatever reason, the NCAA still regards a top-division football playoff as an Indecent Proposal.

Redford’s films share additional connections to each of the thus-far perfect teams. Here’s a rundown.


New England Patriots: Spy Game
. This one was almost too easy. The movie was released on November 21, 2001, and the Pats went undefeated the rest of the way that season. Conspiracy theorists are checking the film to see if Brad Pitt taped the Rams’ sideline.

Indianapolis Colts: The Electric Horseman. Peyton Manning is a Colt who generates lots of electricity.

Division I-A (or whatever they’re calling it these days):

Ohio State: Lions for Lambs. The Buckeyes have mostly faced lambs in their run to #1, but they’ll be tested by the Nittany Lions on October 27.

South Florida: The Candidate. In the national championship chase, the Bulls were like Redford’s Bill McKay on the political scene: a complete unknown who was given no chance in hell by the establishment.

Boston College: Legal Eagles. These Eagles are working on the field, not in court. With a road win at Georgia Tech, they avoided The Sting by the Yellow Jackets.

Arizona State: Jeremiah Johnson. The Sun Devils’ November 3 showdown in Eugene could be impacted by a knee injury to Oregon running back Jeremiah Johnson. Cal visits Tempe the previous week, so like Redford’s character Jeremiah Johnson, ASU will have to survive in the midst of Bears.

Kansas: The Great Gatsby. Gatsby was named Jay, and was a newcomer to high society who took road trips to Manhattan. KU is named the Jayhawks, and is a newcomer to high society after a winning road trip to Manhattan. I’m pretty sure Redford looked better in a tux than Mark Mangino.

Hawaii: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Sundance Kid was a great Western gunslinger. Colt Brennan is a great Western Athletic Conference gunslinger.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Marion Jones To Enter 2008 Tour De France

The past week has not been kind to sprinter Marion Jones. After years of steadfast denials, she admitted to having used performance-enhancing drugs. This mea culpa came as she pled guilty to lying to federal investigators about her involvement in the BALCO case, as well as check fraud. Jones returned her five medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics and retired from track and field, from which she had been suspended for two years. However, the disgraced speedster has already found an alternative to fill the void. Today Jones announced her plans to enter the 2008 Tour de France.

Jones explained her decision thusly: “Most people assume that everyone in the Tour de France is on steroids. So I’ll feel right at home!” Indeed, Floyd Landis was recently stripped of his 2006 title due to a failed drug test after Stage 17 of that Tour. That same year, pre-race favorites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso were barred from competing on the eve of the race due to doping allegations. In 2007, leader Michael Rasmussen was removed from the race with four stages remaining, amid a dispute with the Danish Cycling Union over his availability for previous drug tests. While 7-time winner Lance Armstrong has never been sanctioned, he continues to be dogged by doping allegations. Jones would fit right in with this environment, even if she breaks away from the peloton to win a stage. She’ll not only be in the clear, she’ll be ON The Clear.

If possible, cycling seems even more drug-infested than track and field. Jones’s admission was stunning to sports fans, at least the ones who ignored that her ex-husband, shot-putter C.J. (“Caught Juicing”) Hunter, was a confirmed drug cheat. Or that the same was true of sprinter Tim Montgomery, the father of her child. Or that her name was all over the BALCO investigation and within the pages of Game of Shadows. Or that fellow track athletes continued to implicate her for doping. Or that…

In response to Jones’s admission, United States Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth apologized to the people of Australia for the impact on the 2000 Games. He noted that one of the returned gold medals would be sent to boxer Roy Jones, Jr., since “he’s a Jones who actually deserved the gold!” Ueberroth also vowed, “We are pledging that we will have a totally clean team for the 2008 games in Beijing." In related news, next year’s U.S. Olympic contingent will consist of the rhythmic gymnastics and archery teams.

Most Tour insiders are skeptical that a cycling novice like Jones will be competitive. However, she has shown that she can succeed in sports other than track and field, having played for North Carolina’s 1994 NCAA women’s basketball champions. Having ruled on the (Chapel) Hill, she feels confident that she can do so in the mountains. Jones has already petitioned tour officials in an effort to improve her chances. She has requested that each stage of the race be exactly 100 meters long.

Whatever the result, her new athletic endeavor will likely prove beneficial for Jones. Currently, she has been besieged by bad publicity in her home country. By participating in the Tour de France, she will avoid any publicity at all in the United States. She will also be a trend-setter as the only woman on The Tour (though a much shorter Women’s Tour de France does exist). Facing potential jail time, Jones could achieve another historic first if she takes the overall lead. She would be the first Tour leader to forgo the traditional yellow jersey in favor of an orange jumpsuit.

Her Tour participation should also help from a financial perspective, especially while the International Association of Athletics Federations seeks to recover prize money and appearance fees from Jones. Tour winnings would help cover amounts owed to the IAAF, but potentially even more lucrative is a pending book collaboration with British author Helen Fielding. The women would join efforts on Marion Jones’s Diary, in which the speedster would intersperse recaps of the race with a neurotic outlook on weight struggles, smoking, drinking, and her obsession with Mark Darcy. A film adaptation is already rumored, with the part of Marion Jones to be played by either Renée Zellweger or Barry Bonds.

It remains to be seen how Marion Jones will adapt to the Tour de France. However, the Olympic movement is showing that it will adjust to the current drug-laden environment. Reportedly, organizers for the Beijing Games are planning a new touch for the lead-in to the opening ceremonies. Rather than a torch relay, a series of runners will pass a syringe to each other.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ups & Downs of the Sports Weekend

It’s been an eventful weekend in sports, with three sweeps in the baseball postseason, a dramatic Saturday in college football, and an action-packed Sunday in the NFL. Here’s a look at who was up, and who was down.

Up: Rudy in L.A. Notre Dame finally ended its futility with a road win over UCLA.
Down: Booty in L.A. USC’s John David Booty threw four interceptions in a stunning loss to Stanford. The downside for the Cardinal? They helped Cal get closer to #1.

Up: Rockies. Colorado finished off a three-game sweep of the Phillies.
Down: Rocky. Philly’s favorite icon saw another title opportunity fade away. On the bright side, Temple won a football game on Saturday. Yes, Temple. Seriously.

Up: LSU Tigers in Death Valley. A dramatic victory over Florida cemented LSU’s #1 ranking.
Down: Clemson Tigers in Death Valley. Clemson self-destructed in a home loss to Virginia Tech, fulfilling their annual obligation to rise to the top 15 before falling back to mediocrity.

Up: Brandon Lyon. He was part of the Diamondbacks’ sterling pitching effort in the NLDS, allowing no runs in three innings of work.
Down: Detroit Lions. A 34-3 trouncing by the Redskins dropped the Lions’ record in Washington to 0-21. Only Congress accomplishes less in D.C.

Up: Jayhawks on the Road. Kansas won at Kansas State to remain undefeated.
Down: Seahawks on the Road. Seeking revenge for Super Bowl XL, Seattle fell 21-0 in Pittsburgh. Completing the sense of deja vu, Jerome Bettis retired after the game.

Up: Travis Hafner. His 11th-inning single won Game 2 for Cleveland.
Down: Travis Henry. Facing a potential one-year suspension, Henry and his Broncos teammates suffered a 41-3 humiliation at home versus San Diego. He’ll need the entire year off to see all of his children.

Up: Michigan Alumni in Coaching. LSU’s Les Miles and Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh notched huge victories.
Down: Michigan State Alumni. With a home loss to Northwestern, they again saw their team go into the tank once October arrived. Look for the Spartans to change their nickname to the A-Rods.

Up: Manny Ramirez. He followed up his Game 2 walk-off shot with a homer in the Red Sox’ Game 3 clincher.
Down: Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs third baseman had no hits in the three-game sweep by Arizona. But at least no one can blame him for 1909 through 2006.

Up: Samuel Peter. He retained his WBC heavyweight championship with a decision over Jameel McCline.
Down: WBC. Its heavyweight champion is some guy you’ve never heard of named Samuel Peter.

Up: Frank TV. As every baseball fan knows by now, it premieres November 20 on TBS. Two more promos ran while I was typing that sentence.
Down: Yank TV. While the Yankees staved off elimination Sunday, they still need two more wins to set up another Boston-New York ALCS. Like LeBron James, Fox executives are wearing their Yankee hats.

Up: Carolina vs. the Hurricanes. Butch Davis collected his first ACC win at UNC with a victory over his old Miami team.
Down: Carolina Hurricanes. They dropped a 2-0 contest to Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Saturday. But since it’s the NHL, no one actually saw it.

Up: Billy Goat. The Cubs still haven’t made the World Series since 1945.
Down: Rams. St. Louis and Colorado State are both 0-5. But to my dad’s delight, the Spring-Ford Rams took down Upper Perkiomen on Friday.

Up: Maurice Jones-Drew. His 52-yard touchdown run sparked the Jaguars to victory in Kansas City.
Down: Marion Jones. The gold medal sprinter finally admitted to taking steroids. Track and field insiders responded, “Well, DUH!!!!”

Up: Buckeyes in Indiana. Ohio State gave Purdue its first defeat of 2007 in West Lafayette.
Down: Buccaneers in Indiana. Tampa Bay was routed 33-14 in Indianapolis. Afterwards, Colts QB Peyton Manning went on a rant, complaining about Frank Caliendo being in more commercials than he is.

Up: Chase Daniel. The Missouri QB threw for 401 yards in a 41-6 rout over Nebraska.
Down: Chase Utley. The Phillie star matched teammates Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell with a .182 batting average in the NLDS. At least the Phils have one thing in common with the Red Sox: Curt Schilling has their most recent postseason victory.

Up: Kris Brown of the Texans. Houston’s kicker made all five field goal attempts, including the 57-yard game-winner versus the Dolphins.
Down: Mack Brown of Texas. Dating back to last season, his Longhorns have dropped four straight Big 12 matchups. But better days lie ahead. “Better days” meaning Iowa State and Baylor the next two weeks.

Up: Pats in New England. Tom Brady and company cruised once again in Foxborough.
Down: Bats Versus New England. The Angels managed just four runs in the three-game sweep by Boston. Looks like the Rally Monkey’s no match for the Green Monster.

Up: Ranked Bulls. South Florida entered the top 5 for the first time ever.
Down: Ranked Bulldogs. Georgia suffered a 35-14 blowout in front of 107,000 at Tennessee. 97,000 if you exclude Travis Henry’s kids.

Up: Undefeated Ohio Teams: Like Ohio State, Cincinnati beat a ranked opponent on the road to go to 6-0.
Down: Undefeated Wisconsin Teams. The Badgers fell at Illinois, and the Packers dropped a heartbreaker to the Bears. If the Bucks had been in action, they would have lost to the Bulls.

Up: National League West. Arizona and Colorado will square off for a berth in the World Series.
Down: AFC West. Ladies and gentlemen, your first-place Oakland Raiders!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Cameron Diaz Guide To the MLB Playoffs

The 2007 seasons of the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves have ended, so you won’t see Mike Cameron or Matt Diaz in the major league postseason. However, the division series will be filled with reminders of Cameron Diaz. Sure, There’s Something About Mary featured Brett Favre, not George Brett. And it was Being John Malkovich, not Being John Kruk. But her other film titles do relate to this year’s playoff clubs. Let’s take a look.


Chicago Cubs: Very Bad Things.
That’s what’s been happening to this franchise since 1908.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Mask. Equipment worn by Chris Snyder and Miguel Montero, who catch the NL playoffs’ top starter (Brandon Webb) and closer (Jose Valverde). If they didn’t wear a mask, well, you’d still have no idea who Chris Snyder and Miguel Montero are.

Colorado Rockies: The Holiday. MVP candidate Matt Holliday leads the wild card winners. Even though in the 13th inning on Monday, Cameron Diaz was as close to home plate as he was.

Philadelphia Phillies: Any Given Sunday. Clutch play is crucial at this time of year. Since the Mets didn’t have Any, the Phils were Given the NL East on Sunday.


New York Yankees: Gangs of New York.
Like the Scorsese film, the Bronx Bombers are a big-budget production with high-profile stars. Here’s actually a good World Series omen for Cubs fans: at Oscar time, the movie lost out to Chicago.

Cleveland Indians: Feeling Minnesota. As the Twins did in four of the previous five years, the Tribe won the AL Central. The Twins’ pattern they hope not to follow? Getting bounced by the Yanks in round one.

Los Angeles Angels: Charlie’s Angels. Actually, they’re Vladimir’s Angels. Coincidentally, Aaron Spelling originally planned to call the TV series Charlie’s Angels of Anaheim.

Boston Red Sox: Shrek. The movie franchise and baseball franchise both bring in loads of money and feature a Green Monster. One more similarity in Shrek the Third: the star became a Big Papi.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mets' Collapse By the Numbers, From 1 To 17

After a September 12 victory over the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets led the National League East by seven games with 17 remaining. A 5-12 finish, combined with the Philadelphia Phillies’ 13-4 closing run, left the Mets in second place and out of the postseason. New York thus became the first club in major league history to lose such a lead in the last 17 games. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the Mets’ swoon, from 1 to 17.

1 Number of NL clubs who suffered a three-game sweep at home by the Nationals in 2007, thanks to Washington’s trip to Shea this week.

2 Field goals made (officially) by Auburn kicker Wes Byrum in Saturday’s stunner over the Gators. So unlike the Mets, at least someone stepped up this weekend against Florida.

3 Runs driven in by Bucky Dent on his famous home run versus Boston in 1978 – a game Willie Randolph missed due to injury. Sorry Willie - no one-game playoff for you this year, either.

4 Number of the train that stops at Yankee Stadium, where Mets fans can go to see postseason baseball.

5 Losses, without a win, for Notre Dame – the only team having a worse run than the Mets these days.

6 Emmy acting nominations Ray Romano received for Everybody Loves Raymond. This week the Mets caused more heartache for Ray Barone than his family.

7 Runs by which the Mets lost on Sunday, with their season on the line. Looks like March isn’t the only thing that goes out like a lamb.

8 Consecutive games the Mets have dropped to the Phillies. Only Santa Claus gets worse treatment in Philly.

9 Seasons Matlock was on the air, beginning in 1986. I figured Mets fans could use a reference to 1986.

10 Felonies O.J. Simpson has been charged with committing on September 13. He’s not the only athlete whose fortunes went south after that day.

11 Jersey number of Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins, who proved he had great foresight in January by proclaiming the Phillies “the team to beat in the NL East.” Less accurate predictions from that interview were “It’s the Mavs’ year” and “Kucinich is a real sleeper!”

12 Grand Slam singles titles for Roger Federer, including the recently completed U.S. Open. He’s the only male athlete who got to celebrate in Queens this month.

13 Runs scored by the Mets in Saturday’s victory. Sure, it was their only win of the week, but it was a REALLY decisive win.

14 Career postseason victories for Mets starter Tom Glavine, who trails former Atlanta teammate John Smoltz by one. Looks like Smoltz has bragging rights for another year.

15 Consecutive losing seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates. So at least the Mets finished ahead of one team from Pennsylvania.

16 Points scored by the Giants in a win over the Eagles – Met supporters’ only consolation on Sunday. Unless they’re Jets fans – then they’re totally out of luck.

17 Games during the Mets’ 5-12 collapse in which third baseman David Wright had a base hit. Wright got less support than sportswriters at a Mike Gundy press conference.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rex's Possible Replacements

In a move considered long overdue by most Bears fans, this week Chicago head coach Lovie Smith demoted beleaguered quarterback Rex Grossman. While at first glance the decision to make Brian Griese the starter seems appropriate, it’s also far too obvious. Other current Chicago athletes, or figures associated with the Windy City, would have been far more interesting choices. Here’s a look at the QB credentials of a few of these possibilities.

Lou Piniella: As umpires would tell you, the Cubs manager is great at throwing things.

Alfonso Soriano: The perfect situation for him: let him put up big numbers, and you don’t need him to play defense.

Kerry Wood: In case the Bears want to go the “powerful right arm, injury-plagued career” route again.

Steve Bartman: Among Chicago sports fans, he’s probably more popular than Rex.

Ozzie Guillen: Non-stop swearing at the quarterback would be replaced by non-stop swearing BY the quarterback.

A.J. Pierzynski: He can take a hit – assuming Michael Barrett is rushing the QB.

Mark Buehrle: Unlike Rex, when he throws the ball, the opponents usually don’t score.

Joakim Noah: Like Grossman, he’s a Florida Gator who’s now in Chicago. And he actually HELPS his team in a championship game.

Luol Deng: As Northwestern proved two weeks ago, Dukies can win football games in Chicago. Just nowhere else.

Ben Wallace: He’s not known for his offense, but neither is Rex.

Martin Havlát: As the points leader for the Black Hawks, he’d love for Chicago sports fans to actually see him when he scores.

Oprah Winfrey: She reigns supreme on weekday afternoons, so why not do the same on Sunday afternoon?

Peter Cetera: He’s experienced in leading a group called Chicago.

Richard Daley: He’s won six mayoral elections in the Windy City. So at least someone in Chicago knows how to go for six.

Bill Murray: The quarterback position would continue to be a source of comedy.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Brett Favre Limericks

After Sunday’s NFL action, five teams stand at 3-0. The most surprising unblemished record belongs to Green Bay, which turned back visiting San Diego 31-24. One not-so-shocking aspect of the game was that Packers quarterback Brett Favre tied another league record, matching Dan Marino with 420 career touchdown passes. Clearly Favre’s resume is impressive enough to warrant some limericks in his honor. Here are a few.

There is a QB named Brett
Lots of NFL records he’s set
It’s easy to state
What’s made him so great:
He doesn’t suit up for the Jets

He’s linked to Miami’s Marino
Setting records just like the Bambino
“Your QB won’t fail
If he’s not stuck in jail”
Says Falcons coach Bobby Petrino

Brett’s always been quite a dice roller
Not afraid to get smacked in the molars
He replaced Don Majkowski
And like The Big Lebowski
He’d soon be a Super Bowler

He played college with Golden Eagles
With the Packers his status is regal
Every year it’s the same
He misses no games
Just like the old punter Jeff Feagles

He makes escapes like MacGyver
Thanks to help he gets from Donald Driver
Brett knows to succeed
A good partner you need
Like Arnold has Maria Shriver

For him it’s the ultimate rush
To leave Soldier Field fans in a hush
A three-time MVP
It’s easy to see
Why he’s John Madden’s biggest man-crush

For so long this franchise he’s led
But soon comes the day Pack fans dread
He will have to go
And you’ll see at Lambeau
Lots of tears underneath the Cheeseheads

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Spotlight On C.C.

His name is Sabathia, but they call him C.C. Why?

Cleveland Craves a Championship Celebration like the Cardinals, Colts, and Spurs, who left the Cavaliers Crushed. Sure, the locals are Currently Chipper after Crennel’s Constantly Criticized Crew outscored the Carson/Chad show on Sunday. But the Cursed City, thanks in part to Craig Counsell, has no titles since the year Cassius Clay became more than a Cocky Challenger. Since 1948, Indians have often been slaughtered as if Christopher Columbus were around. They’ve Clumsily Committed pratfalls like Chevy Chase and often been less exciting than Chinese Checkers, without the Charmingly Crappy appeal of the Chicago Cubs.

But Wednesday’s win over Detroit made Sabathia’s Cy Credentials Crystal Clear, leaving him ready to join the Coveted Company of Chris Carpenter and Cooperstown’s Carlton. His Current Career win total leaves him one shy of the Century Club, though he’s younger than Chelsea Clinton. He could be a Commanding Closer like Chad Cordero, but he’d rather pitch Complete Contests. Right now he’s hotter than Cindy Crawford in the early 90s, with his Consistently Confounding performances leaving bats as silent as Charlie Chaplin. Hitters are Cruelly Confused, like the Cameron Crazies at a football game. Yes, he’s scarier than Carrie, Cujo, or anything else in Stephen King’s Chilling Collection.

To teammates, his pitching is sweet as a Candy Cane or Chocolate Cake. Charmed Catcher Victor Martinez grins like a Cheshire Cat. Helping the cause are Fausto Carmona, Casey Blake, and Grady Sizemore, the Centerfielder Chicks adore. Sabathia used to play with Coco Crisp, whose name sounds like a Children’s Cereal like Cap’n Crunch or Count Chocula. Soon, with the Central Clinched, it will be Case Closed for the Tigers. The Indians will Chug Champagne, unlike Cincinnati, Colorado, and other pretenders.

MTV once showcased his California Crib. But now he’s the focus of ESPN, the Connecticut Cable giant where Colin Cowherd Cashes Checks. Like Serena Williams (with whom he once formed a Celebrity Couple) on Center Court, Sabathia hopes to Clobber Competitors in the postseason. If so, expect lots of Curtain Calls for C.C.