Thursday, January 31, 2008

Other Bold Predictions From Plaxico

This week, Plaxico Burress made headlines by predicting that his underdog New York Giants will beat the undefeated New England Patriots 23-17 in Sunday’s Super Bowl. What went unreported is that Burress made several other bold predictions for the upcoming weekend. Here’s a look at Plaxico’s other prognostications.

The Patriots’ opening drive will stall, after Tom Brady receives a 15-yard penalty for “Excessive Dreaminess.”

The Memphis Tigers will be stunned at home by UTEP on Saturday, because no one leaves this weekend undefeated.

Like many dropouts, Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards will hitchhike across America and try to find themselves.

Cate Blanchett will be booted from the Oscar race after a positive steroid test.

A Super Bowl commercial will spark controversy by not including any Mannings.

During Sunday mass, Pope Benedict XVI will reference “the Gospel of Larry the Cable Guy…”

Skies in Des Moines will be mostly cloudy with a slight chance of precipitation.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will open the Super Bowl halftime show with “Baby Got Back.”

As a Minnesota sports star, Adrian Peterson will prepare for his upcoming trade to a team in the Northeast.

Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow, resulting in six more weeks of the writers’ strike.

Auburn University will expel students supporting Barack Obama, since he has “Bama” in his name.

Sit ‘N Sleep will beat anyone’s advertised price or your mattress is FREEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

After cutting interest rates, the Federal Reserve will announce plans to cut the Knicks’ payroll.

Ozzy Osbourne will demand that February be changed from Black History Month to Black Sabbath History Month.

The 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will include the guy who invented the Cheesehead.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rutgers Now Known As "Keystone Knights"

A perennial doormat in the Big East, the Rutgers men’s basketball team raised eyebrows with an almost unprecedented week. For the second time in the program’s history, the Scarlet Knights notched consecutive victories over ranked opponents. RU followed up Wednesday’s upset over #18 Villanova with a road stunner over 17th-ranked Pittsburgh on Saturday. Clearly the state of Pennsylvania is being good to Rutgers these days, so coach Fred Hill wanted his players to have a constant reminder of the Keystone State. Therefore, the team will be known as the Keystone Knights for the remainder of the season.

Along with an earlier victory over Lafayette, the Keystone Knights are now 3-0 versus Pennsylvania teams this season. Excluding those triumphs, Rutgers is just 7-11 overall and 0-6 in the Big East. Certainly the Sunshine Knights would not have worked, as RU fell to Florida and South Florida by a combined 48 points. The Keystone Cops might have been appropriate, except the actual Keystone Cops committed fewer turnovers. These Rutgers hoopsters had generated so little interest, Don Imus didn’t even bother making racially insensitive remarks about them.

Therefore, no one could have expected the developments of the past week. The 80-68 home win over Villanova was certainly a surprise. Far more shocking was the 77-64 triumph in Pittsburgh. The Knights’ only previous road victory of the season came over the winless New Jersey Institute of Technology. Perhaps this week, they were inspired by another local team – the Giants, who have won ten straight games away from home. It’s a good thing Rutgers wasn’t watching the Nets, who just completed an 0-6 road trip with a loss in Minnesota. Right now, NJIT is begging for a shot at the Nets.

Clearly the Knights were the more focused team against the Panthers during Saturday’s telecast on ESPN Classic. It’s highly possible that seeing the phrases “Rutgers Basketball” and “ESPN Classic” together left Pitt in a state of confusion. Reporters on hand were also perplexed, leading them to frequently use the schools’ initials of “RU” in the post-game press conference. The first question posed to Coach Hill was, “Two wins in a row against ranked teams - RU f***ing kidding me?” Another reporter followed up, “Seriously, RU f***ing kidding me?” This went on for another five minutes.

The pleasant surprise of those two victories was followed by a disappointing realization. Rutgers has no more games on the schedule versus Pennsylvania opponents. The Knights only play Villanova and Pittsburgh once apiece, since the Big East currently includes 52 teams. Hill considered adding a matchup with the 76ers, but he didn’t want to weaken the schedule.

Knowing that he needed to keep the Keystone State fresh in his team’s mind, Hill came up with the idea for the “Keystone Knights” nickname. The choice was not quite a slam dunk, since Rutgers is also undefeated over opponents from North Dakota and New Hampshire. However, ultimately the “Keystone Knights” won out over the “Live Free and Die Scarlets.”

The nickname change is only temporary and does not extend to the other sports teams at Rutgers. The men’s basketball adjustment will also include a tweaking of the mascot. Instead of evoking images of jousting and chivalry, the Keystone Knight mascot will be a student dressed up as Bobby Knight, angrily hurling cans of Keystone Beer at spectators.

It remains to be seen whether the name change can help Rutgers against its remaining opponents. But even in Louisville or West Virginia, the Keystone Knights will always have Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Annual Oscars Primer For Sports Fans

The big news in Hollywood today was this morning’s announcement of the nominations for the 80th annual Academy Awards. Leading up to the big night on February 24, most of the attention will be placed on the high-profile categories of Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress. Amazingly, just like last year, every film nominated in those six categories contains a sports-related theme. Here’s a primer:

American Gangster: In a survey of boxing fans, the most common occupation is revealed.

The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford: As a precursor to modern-day bowl games, a showdown is given a long, clumsy title.

Atonement: Lawrence Tynes describes his overtime experience at Lambeau Field.

Away From Her: In reference to Jessica Simpson, Cowboys fans tell Tony Romo where to go.

Charlie Wilson’s War: Staying with the Cowboys, Dallas quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson (born Charles Wade Wilson) describes a discussion about teamwork with Terrell Owens.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: In an effort to slow down Michael Phelps at the Olympics, he is forced to swim the 200-meter butterfly with a cowbell around his neck.

Eastern Promises: After changing conferences, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen find a nice alternative to Western Disappointments.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age: In a stunning last-minute reversal, the 2008 Summer Olympics are moved from Beijing to Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Gone Baby Gone: The LSU basketball program struggles after the departure of Glen Davis.

I’m Not There: Larry Brown responds to the question, “What do you like most about the New York Knicks?”

In the Valley of Elah: That’s the Biblical site where David took down Goliath. Or as it was known last September, Ann Arbor.

Into the Wild: Minnesota hockey fans talk about their team.

Juno: Hawaii football boosters express heartbreak at the departure of Coach Jones: “June!!! No!!!”

La Vie En Rose: I’m not sure what this one is about, but it has a French title, so it makes Roger Federer jealous.

Michael Clayton: It’s a day in the life of Tampa Bay wide receiver Michael Clayton, who looks remarkably like George Clooney.

No Country For Old Men: Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds find out what Major League Baseball will be in 2008.

The Savages: A Philly athlete describes the home fans.

Sweeney Todd: The Colorado Rockies acquire Mike Sweeney, who platoons at first base with Todd Helton.

There Will Be Blood: Gerald Henderson offers a pre-game assessment of a UNC-Duke showdown.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Giants' Request: Move Super Bowl To Foxborough

The matchup for Super Bowl XLII is set, as the underdog New York Giants will attempt to knock off the undefeated New England Patriots. The showdown is scheduled for February 3 in Glendale, Arizona, but the NFC champions reportedly want a change of venue. According to a source close to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the Giants have requested that the game be moved to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

On that site yesterday, the Patriots moved one step closer to history with a 21-12 victory over the San Diego Chargers in the AFC championship game. The Giants punched their ticket by winning a 23-20 overtime classic in Green Bay. The NFC matchup was most notable for the frigid conditions at Lambeau Field, reminiscent of the Ice Bowl in 1967. Or as it would be known today, the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Bowl Presented by Frigidaire.

The triumph was New York’s third straight on an opponent’s home field in these playoffs. The Giants seem to thrive in front of the hostile opposing fans, much more than they do before the hostile home fans. Overall, the Giants have not lost a road game since the season opener at Dallas on September 9. For these New Yorkers in 2007, everything changed after 9/11. Therefore, during his presidential campaign, Rudy Giuliani is taking credit for the Giants’ road success.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin remarked that New York is entitled to another game on an opponent’s home field. He pointed out that the Giants’ “road” game against Miami was actually at a neutral site in London. Therefore, playing the “neutral site” Super Bowl on the Pats’ home field would only be fair. Coughlin added, “This neutral site thing doesn’t work for us. We beat a 1-15 team by a measly three points. So what hope do we have against an 18-0 team on a neutral site? Let us go to their place, where we have a chance!”

The Patriots, of course, are perfect at Gillette Stadium this season. However, New York General Manager Jerry Reese enthusiastically echoed his coach’s comments, saying, “They’re undefeated – they deserve a home game!” Reese also pointed out, “Boston just hosted the World Series, and it will probably host the NBA Finals. So no matter what sport, Boston fans feel entitled to host the championship round. Why should we get in the way of that?”

Despite their arguments, the Giants’ request is unlikely to be granted. While the Super Bowl crowns the NFL champions, the event’s reach goes well beyond football. Huge numbers of parties and corporate events have already been scheduled for Arizona. Reese countered, “The Super Bowl is supposed to be for football fans, not big corporations.” At that point, even he doubled over in laughter at the absurdity of his statement.

Besides the logistical nightmare of a last-minute rescheduling, the other huge stumbling block to a Foxborough Super Bowl would be the weather concerns. Early February in Massachusetts, in an outdoor stadium, could bring a blizzard for the showcase game. Coughlin pointed out, “Well, what about last year? They had it in Miami, and it rained like hell!” Inclement weather could even the playing field against the Patriots, but Coughlin has another reason to wish this year’s Super Bowl were like last year. He has a Manning on his side, but the opposing quarterback is definitely not Rex Grossman.

As it stands, the Giants will likely have to endure the huge disadvantage of a neutral field, instead of the comforts of the hostile crowd in Foxborough. However, they can still find reason for hope, thanks to their narrow defeat to New England in the regular season finale. As Michael Strahan proclaimed, “We almost beat them before. And this time, we won’t have to play them at our place!”

Thursday, January 17, 2008

10 Things To Look For On MLK Day

This Monday, the most enduring figure of the Civil Rights Movement will be honored on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The NBA will be highly visible on the holiday, with 13 games scheduled. Besides the on-court action, here are 10 other things to look for in the sports world on MLK Day.

The Houston Rockets will trade Luther Head to Sacramento, where he will join Kevin Martin. So you’ll see Martin and Luther on the Kings.

The New England Patriots will refer to MLK Day as MK Day, since the letter “L” doesn’t apply to them.

Sprinter Tim will refuse to watch footage of Jerome Bettis, thereby imposing a Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Roger Clemens will stick up for another player named in the Mitchell Report, proclaiming: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to David Justice everywhere.”

John Calipari will join the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, explaining, “Finally, I’m in a Conference that's worth something!”

After LeBron asks who wrote the 95 Theses in 1517, a teammate will reply, “Martin Luther, King James.”

A high-scoring NBA guard of the 70s and 80s will recall the day he changed his name: “World B. Free at last, World B. Free at last, thank God almighty I’m World B. Free at last.”

Appropriately on a holiday honoring a Junior, Ken Griffey and Dale Earnhardt will have the day off.

Rudy Tomjanovich will explain why he coached two NBA champions: “I had The Dream.”

The Redskins will trade Clinton Portis to Buffalo for Marshawn Lynch as part of their “Marshawn Washington” tribute.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

All About the Turners For Chargers

Next weekend, the Indianapolis Colts were supposed to have another AFC Championship showdown with the New England Patriots. However, the San Diego Chargers will make the trip to Foxborough instead, after closing out the RCA Dome with a 28-24 upset on Sunday. The triumph provided vindication for first-year coach Norv Turner, whose predecessor Marty Schottenheimer never took San Diego to the conference championship game. Among other unlikely heroes, Norv can thank backup running back Michael Turner, who replaced injured star LaDainian Tomlinson and rushed for 71 yards. Indeed, the Turner influence is all around for these Chargers.

Tina Turner once sang, “We don’t need another hero,” but San Diego needed heroes wherever it could find them after LT was injured. Missing their superstar, the Chargers were like Turner & Hooch without Tom Hanks. Michael Turner is considered a fine back, but in Pirates of the Caribbean terms, he’s the Will Turner next to LT’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Quarterback Philip Rivers was also knocked out, so Norv Turner figured to meet the same fate versus the Indianapolis defense as brother Ron Turner, offensive coordinator for Chicago in last year’s Super Bowl. Granted, Ron Turner’s problem was that HIS quarterback stayed healthy.

Still, the Chargers persevered before the cameras of CBS, not to be confused with TBS (Turner Broadcasting System). Led by Shawne Merriman and Antonio Cromartie, the defense was as hard-hitting as Ike Turner. Whereas Lana Turner was Oscar-nominated for Peyton Place, San Diego gave an award-worthy performance in Peyton’s place. The improbable result was the biggest win in San Diego sports since the Padres took down the Braves in the 1998 NLCS, to the chagrin of Ted Turner.

Now, with an injured roster headed to New England, the Chargers will need some Strong Medicine for their Northern Exposure (both series starring Janine Turner). On February 3, most NFL fans expect Tom Brady to collect his fourth Super Bowl ring, like former San Francisco linebacker Keena Turner. However, San Diego wants to pull a shocker like the Jets in Super Bowl III, in which Jim Turner kicked three field goals and an extra point. Speaking of those Jets, I guarantee Joe Namath wants to kiss Kathleen Turner.

Indeed, like Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Chargers vow, “You ain’t seen nothing yet” as they attempt to knock off the undefeated Patriots. If they succeed, just one step will remain. Or in the profound words of Warrant (founded by Erik Turner), “Heaven isn’t too far away.”

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Comparison of Hillarys

Mountain climbing is not the usual fare here. However, I’ll make an exception due to Friday’s passing of Sir Edmund Hillary, who accomplished one of the great athletic feats in history. 55 years ago, accompanied by Tenzing Norgay, Hillary became the first person to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Of course, another Hillary is in the news these days, attempting to achieve her own historic first. Back when she was the First Lady, Hillary Clinton once met the famed New Zealander in Katmandu. Afterwards, referring to her mother, Clinton remarked to reporters, “So when I was born, she called me Hillary and she always told me it’s because of Sir Edmund Hillary.” Hillary Rodham was born six years before Sir Edmund’s historic climb, so Mrs. Clinton’s comment was clearly inspired by his message of “nothing is impossible.” Here’s a look at how the two Hillarys compare in other ways.

Edmund Hillary: Received worldwide attention this week for dying.
Hillary Clinton: Received worldwide attention this week for crying.

Edmund Hillary: Hugely famous in capital city of Wellington.
Hillary Clinton: Hugely famous in capital city of Washington.

Edmund Hillary: Elated after going up on Everest.
Hillary Clinton: Irate after intern went down on her husband.

Edmund Hillary: Reached the summit in ’53.
Hillary Clinton: Reached the Senate at age 53.

Edmund Hillary: Glory was achieved with Sherpa.
Hillary Clinton: Glory is threatened by Obama.

Edmund Hillary: Founder of the Himalayan Trust.
Hillary Clinton: Target of the Republicans’ mistrust.

Edmund Hillary: Cheered for his health care efforts in Nepal.
Hillary Clinton: Jeered for her health care efforts in the U.S.

Edmund Hillary: Beloved by New Zealand citizens.
Hillary Clinton: Beloved by 39% of New Hampshire Democrats.

Edmund Hillary: Had to overcome icy conditions.
Hillary Clinton: Had to overcome icy image.

Edmund Hillary: Was at home on the mountain.
Hillary Clinton: Is at home on Capitol Hill.

Edmund Hillary: Featured on the 5-dollar bill.
Hillary Clinton: Raises millions of dollars with Bill.

Edmund Hillary: Relished his ascents on peaks.
Hillary Clinton: Regrets her assent for Iraq War.

Edmund Hillary: Became Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Hillary Clinton: Became Junior Senator from the Empire State.

Edmund Hillary: Insisted on wearing the proper climbing gear.
Hillary Clinton: Insists on wearing the proper pant suit.

Edmund Hillary: Labored to reach the North and South Poles.
Hillary Clinton: Labeled as “polarizing.”

Edmund Hillary: Enjoyed the view at 29,000 feet.
Hillary Clinton: Enjoyed the view at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

SEC Basketball Champ To Beat Ohio State in National Title Game

The present-day field of 65 for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has led some observers to claim that major conference tournaments are not particularly important these days. However, this year’s Southeastern Conference tournament will have plenty of meaning. Thomas O’Connor, Chairman of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, announced today that the winner of the SEC basketball tournament will defeat Ohio State in the national championship game.

The surprising announcement came on the heels of last night’s BCS National Championship Game, in which the football Buckeyes fell 38-24 to LSU. Like Florida in both football and basketball last year, the Tigers won the SEC championship in the Georgia Dome before going on to beat OSU in the national title game. This year’s SEC basketball tournament is also in the Georgia Dome, so the Selection Committee naturally assumed the pattern would continue this April in San Antonio. Ohio State AD Gene Smith, a Selection Committee member himself, remarked, “As a sports fan these days, there are two things you can be sure of: An SEC team will beat the Buckeyes for the national title, and your favorite athlete is on steroids.”

Last night’s setback continued an amazing pattern of futility for OSU football versus the SEC. Whereas Jim Tressel’s whipping boy Lloyd Carr went 5-2 in bowls against the SEC, the Buckeyes fell to 0-9 all-time versus the powerhouse conference in bowl games. Fully aware of this trend, new Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez has petitioned SEC Commissioner Michael Silve to allow the Wolverines to claim a one-week membership in the SEC each November. As for the Buckeyes, only the Democratic Party has had more trouble with the Deep South.

For the OSU basketball team, today’s announcement actually represents a pleasant surprise. While currently on course for this year’s NCAA tournament, the 11-3 Buckeyes are a far cry from last season’s juggernaut that featured Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr. However, while that team had to sweat out dramatic comeback victories over Xavier and Tennessee in the Big Dance, this rebuilding group is already assured of a spot in the championship game. In fact, the team plans to take a cue from its football counterpart. After Michigan visits Columbus on February 5, the Buckeyes will cancel their remaining games. Therefore, like Jim Tressel’s crew, the hoopsters can follow a matchup against the Wolverines with a two-month layoff before the title game.

The news was far less popular in towns like Chapel Hill, Memphis, and Lawrence. One UCLA supporter was particularly miffed, noting that a pre-set championship matchup will eliminate the need for tournament pools. That anonymous fan, who may or may not be the Bruins’ new football coach, angrily exclaimed, “Now I have to find new NCAA rules to violate!” Another fan remarked, “It’s totally ridiculous when you put two teams into a championship game without a tournament leading up to it!” Overhearing, some nearby men in colorful blazers remarked, “Ridiculous? I think you meant to say, ‘Awesome!’”

On the other hand, a tremendous opportunity will be presented to the members of the SEC. Surprising unbeatens Vanderbilt and Mississippi can now dream of a national championship. However, the most likely beneficiary is Tennessee, as the highest-ranking conference team in the polls. The Volunteers could avenge last season’s Sweet 16 defeat and potentially even be part of dual national championships with Pat Summit’s Lady Vols. Tennessee also hosts Ohio State on January 19, so like Florida last season, it could defeat the Buckeyes twice in the same season. Most significantly, beating OSU in the title game would allow coach Bruce Pearl an opportunity to act like a lunatic on a Monday night in April. Meaning that he would act like “Bruce Pearl on a Monday night.”

The LSU hoopsters seem unlikely to repeat Florida’s football-basketball feat from last year, given their 7-7 record. However, the Tigers do have a legitimate chance to win the SEC if they can suit up Shaquille O’Neal and the ghost of Pete Maravich. As for the rebuilding Gators, most observers are hoping that they don’t rule the SEC this time around. Although the Buckeyes actually beat them in Columbus, forcing Ohio State to lose another national championship game to UF would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

Elsewhere, Kentucky would seem to be a natural for the championship game, if they were fielding a basketball team this year. Perhaps the most intriguing possibility is Georgia. The Bulldogs will have proximity in their favor for the SEC tournament in Atlanta. A triumph there would result in a dream matchup with Ohio State in the Alamodome. This particular dream is the one in which Maurice Clarett enrolls in a class taught by Jim Harrick, Jr.

Until then, the Buckeyes must wait to see which SEC opponent will beat them in the next national championship game. With two consecutive title game appearances, OSU fans will certainly be pleased with head coach Thad Matta. His name alone makes the Buckeye fans happy: no S, E, or C to be found.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ups & Downs of the Bowl Season

29 of the 32 bowl games have been played, including all but one of the BCS matchups. Who’s been up, and who’s been down? Let’s take a look.

Up: Temple. Missouri’s Tony Temple rushed for 281 yards and four touchdowns, and Temple coach Al Golden took himself out of the running for the UCLA job.
Down: UCLA. Some guy decided he’d rather coach at Temple.

Up: New Year’s Eve Cowboys. Oklahoma State routed Indiana in the Insight Bowl.
Down: New Year’s Day Indians. The Illini went down in flames versus USC. But at least the Rose Bowl Committee kept their traditional Big Ten-Pac 10 matchup. And thank God, since those Rose Bowls with Texas were total yawners.

Up: Florida Atlantic. The Owls earned their first-ever bowl victory by downing Memphis.
Down: The Rest of Florida. Central Florida, South Florida, Florida State, and Florida all went down to defeat. For good measure, the ’72 Dolphins had a lousy week, too.

Up: Red. The Texas Tech Red Raiders rallied to win the Gator Bowl, and Red Grange was named the greatest college football player of all time by ESPN.
Down: Yellow on Blue. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets flopped on the blue turf. I know the game is ACC vs. WAC, but someone should figure out a way to put the Volunteers in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Up: Carr. The Wolverines gave Lloyd a victorious send-off.
Down: Stars. The top three Heisman finishers (Tim Tebow, Darren McFadden, and Colt Brennan) all lost. Somewhere, Chase Daniel is smiling.

Up: Boston College. The Eagles won a bowl game for the eighth straight year, downing Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Down: Boston College. No one cares when you win eight straight mediocre bowl games.

Up: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia. Oh, sorry. I thought we were talking about hoops.
Down: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia. We’re actually talking about Stoops.

Up: Mister Burns. Kodi Burns’s touchdown run in overtime led Auburn past Clemson.
Down: Sideshow Bob. An online cheating scandal was a huge distraction for Bobby Bowden. Just one more reason for an old man to fear computers.

Up: Boilermakers. Led by Curtis Painter’s 546 passing yards, Purdue won the Motor City Bowl.
Down: AA. Star Houston running back Anthony Aldridge had just 30 yards rushing in a Texas Bowl loss. The game was on NFL Network, but for some reason CBS and NBC passed on simulcasting this one.

Up: Pac-10 in Texas. Cal and Oregon ended losing streaks with victories in Fort Worth and El Paso, respectively.
Down: Pac-10 vs. Texas. Arizona State was pounded by the Longhorns. ESPN even showed some live action on occasion, in between the endless shots of Mack Brown’s stepson.

Up: Erik Ainge. The Tennessee quarterback threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over Wisconsin.
Down: Erik Ainge’s Offensive Coordinator. David Cutcliffe now takes over at Duke. “Accepting the Duke football job” is the sporting equivalent of “entering the witness protection program.”

Up: Mangino. The Kansas coach knocked off Virginia Tech to cap a 12-1 season.
Down: Reno. Nevada lost 23-0 to New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl. Apparently, you only get to score if your team is part of the bowl’s name.

Up: East and West. East Carolina and West Virginia pulled upset wins.
Down: Central. Central Michigan and Central Florida both went down to defeat. On the bright side, Comedy Central gets The Daily Show and The Colbert Report back, resuming action Monday after a long layoff. Just like Ohio State.

Up: Bulldogs. Mississippi State, Fresno State, and Georgia all won.
Down: Bulls. South Florida got waxed by Oregon in the Sun Bowl. Paying homage to neighboring Mexico, these Bulls played matador defense.

Up: The Beaver. Oregon State moved to 9-4 with a win over Maryland.
Down: June. Coach Jones and his Hawaii Warriors had a tough trip to New Orleans. Louisiana trips are a lot more pleasant when you’re playing LA Tech.

Up: 81 For Coach Joe. 81-year-old Joe Paterno got an Alamo Bowl victory.
Down: 31 For Coach Groh. Up 28-14 with four minutes remaining, Virginia lost 31-28 to Texas Tech. The ACC was 0-5 from New Year’s Eve onward. In this one, ACC stood for “Al’s Cavaliers Choked.”