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.