Pokes stun Sooners

75% of respondants to the online poll picked OU in a rout. Maybe it was freeped.

posted by Poseur 11/30/2002 11:05:00 PM

Chamges in Lincoln?

The home crowd booed at times.
And cries for changes on the Nebraska coaching staff will now increase in volume.
Husker head coach Frank Solich remained mum on the subject after Friday's 28-13 loss to Colorado at Memorial Stadium, Nebraska's sixth loss in 13 games.

But one Nebraska assistant indicated changes may be coming.

...cue the ominous music.

Firing all of the assistants in the world won't help. Nebraska now has Bob Davie Disease. They promoted a well-liked, competent coordinator to the head coach postion, and now the guy is over his head. The university doesn't want to fire him because he's a great guy, loyal tthe unviersity, and whatever other circumstance they'd like to invent.

The Huskers are now a mediocre football team. They will remain so until Solich gets axed.
posted by Poseur 11/30/2002 11:01:00 PM

Blogging is light over this Thanksgiving weekend. I'm still high from all of that tryptophan. I'll be back to full speed during the week.

posted by Poseur 11/30/2002 10:49:00 PM

The football gods giveth...

The football gods certainly love a level playing field. LSU beats Kentucky on a miracle 75-yard touchdown pass, then gets deflated by an Arkansas pass with mere ticks remaining. LSU beats Ole Miss by one point last week, loses by one point this week.

So LSU wins on a miracle play and now loses the division on miracle drive. It makes you wonder how the defense could lie down like that in the final minute of the game. After all, they had seen what happens to a team that doesn't play the full time.

The lesson, as always, is:

posted by Poseur 11/30/2002 10:45:00 PM

Thanks to Vandal for this link
Don Banks is stunned

You can't predict anything in the NFL any more. You just wait until the games are over and see what happened. You can't anticipate. The best we can do is react to events. For that, we wear the title of NFL experts? Who are we kidding?

It has been a stunning 10 weeks. With amazing regularity, we're pointing out some performance or occurrence that makes little sense in light of past standards or historical trends. The status quo has become the status no.

Now Vandal says this shows why American football rocks. It's the most competitive sport on earth and really, Rozelle's dream of "Any Given Sunday" is a reality.

So why am I the only person not on board? I like great teams and dominance. I hate the pusuit of mediocrity. And while it's nice just about every team is a threat to make the playoffs, doesn't anyone miss teams like the '86 Bears or even the Joe Montana 49ers?

Or maybe I'm just being too picky.

posted by Poseur 11/30/2002 10:35:00 PM


Sports on TV

Predictions for the Thursday-Friday football games...

The Skins haven't beaten Dalls in a long, long time. It's about 4 years, though I haven't looked it up. Why pick them to break the futility on the road on Thanksgiving. Dallas by 6

The Pats' season is back on track, but the lions are getting progressively better under Harrington. They normally play better on Turkey Day, so let's go with the home sides. Detroit by 3

Man, has State's season come apart or what? Now they limp into their last game against their cross-state rival. I think Manning's injury is worse than they are letting on, and the Dogs pull the upset. MSU by 5.

The Aggies already had their big win and the horns have already had their choke game. UT by 17.

I don't think it will be a humiliating blowout, just a blowout. Miami by 24.

Huge, huge game. And I'll write more about it later. But i'm going with the Trojans. USC by 7.

Who's been more disappointing? UF looks like they've turned the corner, while the noles look to be getting worse. Florida by 10.

The Jackets have had their moments, but the Dawgs are on a mission right now. UGA by 6.

Both offenses are pretty bad, both defenses are great. Who wins the west? At least LSU's close calls were against decent teams. LSU by 2.

What's happened to the Hokies? They have just completely come apart. They salvage their season here. VT by 1.

posted by Poseur 11/27/2002 11:13:00 AM

The Heat?!
(registration required)
Among the reasons O'Neal's return was going to be splashy was the way the Laker schedule turned upon his arrival. They went from playing, among others, San Antonio (twice), Dallas, Portland (twice) and Boston, playoff teams all, into Chicago, Milwaukee, Miami and Memphis, among others, playoff teams none.

It was going to be easier.

It wasn't.

It is time to panic in LA. How do the Lakers lose to the Heat, even with Shaq at about half-speed? 5-10 isn't good, and the Lakers are 3 games out of ninth place right now. The season is young, but the Lakers better turn it around in the vicinity of now or they won't even get a chance to defend their title.
posted by Poseur 11/27/2002 11:00:00 AM

Lewis is done for the year

Lewis' mind-set is already on carrying this team in 2003.

"I've already looked at next year's schedule, and there are a lot of things I have to get done," Lewis said. "It's a very tough schedule. Every week it's going to be like a Super Bowl.

"We've got San Francisco. So that's Garrison Hearst against Ray Lewis. We've got St. Louis, so that's me and Marshall [Faulk]. San Diego is on the list, so that's me and LaDainian Tomlinson. Seattle: Me vs. Shaun Alexander. That's the way I want it, me against the best running back on-on-one. Next year is going to be great. The league hasn't seen anything yet. I'm going to take my game to a whole new level."

The Ravens have actually had a pretty decent year, especially when you consider their injury problems. It is impossible to replace Ray Lewis, but the Ravens have alos lost chris Redman, half of the offensive line, Mike McCreary, and now Brandon Stokley as well.

Billick is raving egomaniac and many people want to see him fail, but he has really proven himself to be a fantastic coach this season, even moreso than during their Super Bowl run.
posted by Poseur 11/27/2002 10:09:00 AM

Daugherty asks for retirement

Think about it: Seventy-two days of my life, 24 hours a day, doing nothing but watching the Cincinnati Bengals play football. I don't say this to elicit your pity, friends, only to let you know the incredible sacrifice I've made to keep you informed. What I do, I do for you. I love you guys. You know that.

But I'm at the end of my dictionary. I have torn adjectives in my sentence structure. My adverbs are on injured reserve. I'm out of synonyms for "lousy." I'm wa-a-a-y out of synonyms for lousy. Twelve years, friends. Twelve years.

I feel for the guy. Please help put him out of his misery and send him an email to tell him no one needs to cover the Bengals. We have a prohibition against creul and unusual punishment in this nation and I can't imagine what this guy has done to be forced to watch the Bengals.

Maybe we should force Mike Lupica to do it instead.

posted by Poseur 11/27/2002 09:54:00 AM

Tyson and Harding

This is the greatest article ever written. Yeah, it's just a news story, but it's peppered with quotes like:

''I just feel so much good about my transformation and just forming to be a decent human being,'' -Mike Tyson

And then there's Tanya Harding's quest to win the boxing title. It is really impossible to make fun of boxing, it does such a good job on its own.

posted by Poseur 11/27/2002 09:49:00 AM

Dafoe returns

The Thrashers can sign all of the Byron Dafoes in the world, but if they make defensive zone turnovers and fail to clear rebounds even the best goalie can't help.

Well, how do you really feel?

Dafoe's gambit for a better contract blew up in his face, and now he's signed for less money than he made last year on a really bad team. He's a good goalie, but this could be a very ugly year. After all, he's missed training camp and one-fourth of the season.

Let's just say Atlanta shouldn't print up playoff tickets.

posted by Poseur 11/27/2002 09:42:00 AM

UCLA goes down

The first major upset of the young season is here (ok, second, as Miss State lost to UL-Lafayette last week). UCLA has no business losing to San Diego. None. Zero. Zilch.

I have nothing else to say, they choked.
posted by Poseur 11/27/2002 09:34:00 AM

The key to defeat

And then, with 13:37 on the first-half clock, came the shrill sound of a game-changing whistle. It was the second foul on UK's 6-foot-11 center and thus the traditional benchside seat next to Coach Tubby Smith.

Let the record show that pre-whistle, Kentucky led Virginia 18-11. Let the record show that, as Estill watched and winced, the Cats suffered eight minutes and 40 seconds without a single point. Let the record show that once UK had pried the lid off its basket, Virginia forged in front 23-18.

Kentucky is a good team and they will eventually sort themselves out. It's not exactly time to panic after losing to a quality UVa team. However, Estill does have to learn to stay out of foul trouble. He is far more valuable on the floor than on the bench (I know, duh, thanks for the insightful analysis).

Kentucky now plays Gonzaga in the consolation game, and I have to think this game is much more important to the Zags. They have a limited number of games against quality teams and they have to make the most of those opportunities, particularly on a neutral court. No game in November is critical, but this might be as close as it comes. UK might be staring their second loss straight in the face.

posted by Poseur 11/27/2002 09:20:00 AM


Violence in soccer

Blatter said: "If we do not do something about violence in football, I will be very anxious about the future of the sport. Although the situation has not become terrible, it is none the less alarming.

"We must take the necessary measures," said Blatter, without saying what they were.

Gee, thanks for the help, Sepp. I'd like to point out that you are in charge of international soccer. So if you have any ideas, well, it won't be hard to get them implemented. You're in charge, so act like it. Offer a solution.

BTW- mentioning violence in the sport on your tour of Central America is pretty good way to increase its popularity, don't you think?

posted by Poseur 11/26/2002 07:18:00 PM

It's getting ugly
"It's not a cheap shot, but there has to be something where these players look out for each other," Beightol said. "There will be other games. There will be other times. Like the saying goes, every dog has his day. We'll see about him.
"Everyone is fair game. When we see him again, we'll see how that dog fares. We'll cut him every single time. I want him to know that."

Can't we all just get along? Sapp's hit was legal, but borderline. But the Packers coaching staff has been downright irresponsible in dealing with this. This is about as close to putting a hit out on Sapp as you can get. The Packers are better than this. And it's one thing for the players to mouth off a bit, but the coaches should be the voice of reason. And they are only making it worse.

When will they be happy? When Sapp is on a stretcher, too?
posted by Poseur 11/26/2002 02:53:00 PM

20 years later

Virginia won the rematch of perhaps the greatest upset in sports history, when a small school from Hawaii, Chaminade, beat Ralph Sampson's Cavs.

I love the Maui Inviatational, if only to see college coaches wearing obscenely loud Hawaian shirts on the sidelines. It's played in a super-packed high school gym, and usually there is a great assortment of teams. This year has the added bonus of Gonzaga being a tentative favorite.

But anything can happen in Maui. Chaminade proved that 20 years ago.

posted by Poseur 11/26/2002 10:10:00 AM

Bob Foltman's answers
I think how the players react to Theo's return--whenever that is--depends on Theo. If he comes back and plays well and stays out of trouble, the players will welcome him back. He can provide a big lift to the team if he plays the way he is capable of playing. If he comes back and messes up again off the ice, it won't matter, he'll be suspended for the rest of the season and it won't take the players long to get over it. If there was a good time for him to be suspended, it was when it was. It's not as if they have counted on him to carry the offense and be an integral part of the team.

Foltman makes an excellent point. This is a no-risk move for the Blackhawks, who could certainly use a player like Fleury. If he plays well, that's great. If he goes back to substance abuse, he's out of the league. And the Hawks are back where they started.

Man, how badly have the wheels come off of Fleury's life? Ever since he left Calgary, he's been hockey's answer to Steve Howe. It's past the point where we care about his career, let's just hope he doesn't kill himself.
posted by Poseur 11/26/2002 09:41:00 AM

What do you have to do to get kicked off of the Florida State football team? Apparently, free gifts are okay, but check forgery is a big no-no.

Click here

Suddenly, Bobby Bowden cares about criminal behavior of his players. Since when? And why do i have the sneaking suspicion McPherson will be back on the team by next season?
posted by Poseur 11/26/2002 09:34:00 AM

Another day, another arrest

Jesus, the Blazers can't stay out of trouble, can they? Ruben Patterson got his "second chance" in Portland, and he viewed it as an opportunity to beat his wife.

At least he'll have company in the county lock-up. Co-captains Stoudmire and Wallace got pinched last Friday for marijuana possession. Look, I'm all for second chances, but this team is such a collection of criminals and miscreants that it defies description. For a good time, check out the Oregonian's section on the Blazers and the law.

The NBA! It's Fantastic!
posted by Poseur 11/26/2002 09:28:00 AM

You have got to be kidding me.

The Eagles absolutely blasted the Niners, but just one week after losing McNabb, they lose Koy Detmer to injury as well. AJ Feeley (remember him at Oregon?) had to finish the game. And now, it's just too painful to type, the Eagles are considering bringing Randall Cunningham out of retirement.

Randall frickin Cunningham. Is there really that little talent at QB in the NFL right now? Oh yeah, there is.
posted by Poseur 11/26/2002 09:22:00 AM


Jason Whitlock points out the obvious in today's KC Star. The Chiefs' defense blows. and it probably cost them the playoffs.
posted by Poseur 11/25/2002 12:58:00 PM

I like Allen Barra. I think he's one of the best sports columnists out there, as he understands statistics but is not obsessed by them. He has an appreciation for history, but he is not unable to appreciate the present because nothing could live up to his memories. In short, he provides a little bit of everything, and I look forward to his column on every week. That said, I couldn't disagree with him more on deciding a college football national champion.

Back then, the race for No. 1 was an issue to be settled on a college football field during the college season. The 1966 season proved that college football had become such big business that all pretensions to amateurism were an illusion: The game no longer existed for its own sake but as an appendage of the NFL. Within a few years, the wire service polls had decided to wait till after the bowl games to vote for a national champion, and Notre Dame, which had always shunned post-season games (except for a trip to the Rose Bowl in 1927), realized it would have to play on New Year's Day to be No. 1 again. From there, it was inevitable that sooner or later we would have to have an "official" national champion and that the bowl games would have to change their archaic rules to accommodate the new realities.

Read it all here.

Barra's main argument is that the only reason college football tries to crown a champion is because of television, and somehow declaring a national champion perverts amateurism. That's plainly false, as every NCAA sport has a national champion and an organized method to declare one, save football, which Barra correctly points out, does not and has never declared a champion. I must have missed the men's fencing championship on ESPN. Heck, what about the lower levels of football, Division II and III have playoffs without seeing a television dollar (ok, the title games are on ESPN).

Having a playoff to determine the champion in no way undermines the amateurism of Division I football. The bowl games are a much more blatant grab for cash than playoffs, which at least has the appearance of competition. The reason fans want a playoff is because athletic competition should have winners and losers. It's a rough world, but letting two sides argue about why they are better goes against the nature of sports. If there is a question of who is better, put 'em on the field. Besides, the amateurism of college football went out the window a long, long time ago. Let's stop hiding behind phony arguments and have a playoff.

posted by Poseur 11/25/2002 12:44:00 PM

By now, we’ve all seen the clip of Warren Sapp hitting Chad Clifton, then celebrating while Clifton lay on the field, injured. OK, so Sapp’s guilty of bad taste, but does anyone honestly believe he was celebrating an injury? Doesn’t it make a whole lot more sense that he was celebrating a big turnover and then his own crushing block?

The hit was legal and it’d a shame Clifton got hurt, but Mike Sherman had no business telling Sapp off after the game. It was ridiculous and Sapp has every right to be annoyed. Actually, he isn’t really annoyed, here’s his quote:

"[Sherman is] a lying, (manure)-eating hound. … If I was 25 years old and didn't have a kid and a conscience, I would have given him an ass-kicking right there at the 30-yard line."

Yee haw! Read all about it.

posted by Poseur 11/25/2002 09:51:00 AM

It’s things like this which explain why the Phillies suck. There’s really no excuse of it, they have a terrific core of young players in Abreu, Burrell, and Lieberthal. And they used to have Rolen. But why on earth would you pay David Bell this kind of money? It’s just stupid to pay a good, not great third baseman $17 million over 4 years.

Last year, Bell posted a .754 OPS. People, third basemen who can hit like that are not rare in the Major Leagues. Scott Hildebrand hit .789 and no one is rushing out to sign him to a contract worth over $4 million per year. He barely outhit Jared Sandberg for godsakes. The worst thing is, this is his best year, matching his 1998 campaign, and he’s 30 years old. Bell is probably going to get worse. Heck, even if he returns to his 2000 levels, the Phillies have a $4 million third basemen who has a decent glove and will hit .260 with a .720 OPS. That’s almost no bang for the buck.

And it’s another reason why the Phillies will not win the NL East despite their talented core.

posted by Poseur 11/25/2002 09:44:00 AM

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