Miami wins!

6 touchdowns by McGahee. Six. It is now official: everyone in the nation knows who makes the Canes go, and his name isn't Ken Dorsey.

Oh yeah, don't write off Ohio State just yet. We could be in for a real good Fiesta Bowl.

posted by Poseur 12/07/2002 05:53:00 PM

Check out my breakdown of the Heisman race.

Part One
posted by Poseur 12/07/2002 05:50:00 PM

More whining in Alabama

In plain English, this is a messy divorce and there are always hurt feelings. Usually, both sides share in the blame. It's easy to target Franchione -- and he deserves sharp criticism -- but Alabama can't walk away from this disaster without getting in the line of fire.

The school has a dearth of leadership in the athletic department and very little direction or focus from its convoluted Board of Trustees. People criticize Auburn for its monarchy, but things get done. On top of that, the problems with the NCAA at Alabama are significant.
One booster said this week upon hearing Franchione's departure, "This is worse than the death penalty."

No, it's not.

Finebaum mentions the Tide's wrong-doing right at the end of his article, which does nothing but call Franchione a gutless coward. Fran is a traitor, he lied, blah blah blah.... oh yeah, did I mention our school is about to get hammered for the worst recruiting violations in NCAA football history? (and let's face it, that's some stiff competition)

Bama might bear some of the blame? Might?! This is the murdererer blaming his lawyer for having to go to prison. It's not Franchione's fault. Yes, he may have misled you about A&M, but it's not like he dragged it out for a few weeks. A few days and it was over.

And he's gone. Get over it.

posted by Poseur 12/07/2002 12:00:00 PM

I had gone to bed

The deficit grew from 10 to 20 and then 30 points, and the boos echoed through Staples Center. The low murmur of doubters who said the dynasty was done, that the Lakers needed to be gutted, had grown into a roar.

But the Lakers of the past three seasons never did die this easily and - wonder of wonders - they still don't.
All it took was the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in franchise history.

Down 27 points to start the final period, the Lakers reached back and summoned some long-forgotten spirit and forged it into an incredible 105-103 victory over the stunned Mavericks.

Why on earth did I go to bed? I missed it. Actually, I watched Blue Velvet, but I still missed it. Nuts.
posted by Poseur 12/07/2002 11:52:00 AM

Army-Navy needs a new home

In January, West Point and Annapolis will begin evaluating proposals from 14 cities that want to host the game from 2004-2008. Athletic directors at the academies say they may sign a five-year deal with one city, or sign five one-year deals and rotate the game around the country.

"It's America's game," Chet Gladchuk, athletic director at the United States Naval Academy, said of the 103-year-old rivalry. "It's virtually sold out wherever it's been and created an incredible amount of excitement and enthusiasm in those communities."

Honestly, this is a good idea. The game should rotate around the country. Army-Navy is a traidtional game, one that is essentially meaningless in the standings, but maybe the most meaningful to its particpants.

Letting the pagentry play out across the nation makes the game even more of a national event. And that's a good thing. Besides, who wants to play in 10 degree weather when you could play in San Diego?

posted by Poseur 12/07/2002 11:44:00 AM


Roone Arledge's legacy

I've been looking all day for the proper tribute to roone Arledge. Here it is, courtesy of Rudy Martze of the USA Today.

The man changed the way we watch sports.
posted by Poseur 12/06/2002 03:16:00 PM

The conservative sports press

The poor newspaper has decided to redefine the First Amendment after killing a pair of sports columns that differed from its editorial position on Tiger Woods and the Masters. In a recent editorial, the newspaper urged Woods to protest Augusta National's male-only membership by boycotting the golf tournament next April.
Dave Anderson and Harvey Araton, two of the newspaper's sports columnists, had the temerity to express a different opinion in their respective forums, only to have their undertakings silenced.

The Washington Times is accusing the New York Times of editorial bias? Hello pot, it's me, kettle.

But even in their rush to condemn the times, they forget the script for defending Augusta National. To review, the Masters doesn't have to invite women in the club because they are a private organization, and private organizations can to discriminate if they want. So, by that rationale, why can't the Times discriminate?

I'm not saying they do, but stick to the script, you morons. Any time you start to think for yourselves, bad things happen.

Frankly, I don't care one lick about golf. I don't care if the Masters lets in women or not. I don't care if tiger boycotts or not. I'm not watching either way.
posted by Poseur 12/06/2002 03:13:00 PM

Do the Cubs try to lose?

The Cubs are thrilled to add two veteran infielders who, at the very least, will make rookie first baseman Hee Seop Choi and second baseman Bobby Hill earn every at-bat next season.

I've criticized the Thome and Glavine signings, but they weren't incredibly mind-bogglingly stupid. The Phillies think they are a player away and added a big bat. They'll get killed on the back end, but pennants fly forever. And the Mets like to make splashy signings to keep up with the Yankees. I disagreed with them, but they weren't dumb.

The Cubs trading Hundley for Grudzielanek and Karros is so remarkably stupid, I'm inclined to believe they are so addicted to the loveable losers tag that they are now intentionally trying to lose. It's the only explanation.

Karros? Grudzielanek? Are the cubs aware they have one of the best 1st base prospects in Hee Sop choi and one of the best 2nd base prospects in Bobby Hill? They don't want to give them a shot so, what, they can lose 100 games with a payroll of $10 million more?

For the 6.5 million they'll pay Eric Karros, the Cubs get a 1st baseman who hit 13 homers with a .722 OPS. Grudzielanek makes an even 5 million for no power, speed, defensive range, and a .665 OPS. The Dodgers' brass probably threw a party when they uloaded those contratcs. Who'd be dumb enough to take them?

Oh, the Cubs. Too bad the Orioles weren't on the speed dial, they have no prospects to block.
posted by Poseur 12/06/2002 03:02:00 PM

BartCopSports reader Doctor J has some harsh words for Lee Corso and Ken Dorsey:

Dorsey couldn't hold Palmer's jock, and it would be a travesty if the Heisman went to Dorsey. We all already know the Heisman is a joke, but a Dorsey win would reaffirm that fact all the more.

Read it on today's column du jour.
posted by Poseur 12/06/2002 02:18:00 PM

Big Dog barks loudest

Wednesday night, on the eve of the Atlanta Hawks' lopsided 98-80 victory over the offensively inconsistent Milwaukee Bucks, Allen, Sam Cassell and some teammates visited a shoe store that is noted for catering to National Basketball Association players.

And whom should they run into? None other than Robinson, their former teammate who was traded to the Hawks before the season and has been embroiled in a dispute with Allen since the beginning of training camp.

Words were exchanged at the store - sources say they were heated, although the players deny that - and all involved say their differences were settled.

23 points and face. The Big Dog put some bite behind his bark. He's been awesome this year, scoring almost 30 points a game and playing like the guy most thought he would be come out of college.

It looks like he just needed someone to make him angry.
posted by Poseur 12/06/2002 10:21:00 AM
email Sports

"I say good riddance to the guy."

Reid, a fan who frequently visited Franchione's Internet Web site, pointed out that the site's homepage promotes trust and loyalty. "He has been absolutely none of that," Reid said. "He told us it was an honor to walk on the same sidelines as Bear Bryant. I am not sure if the man can even look himself in the mirror."

Comments on an Alabama fan forum Web site ranged from "See ya" to "The trash is gone."

Jennifer Gilley, an Alabama student from Pinson, was one of many angry students at the athletic complex Thursday evening.

"I'm really shocked," she said. "He continually said he wasn't leaving as late as yesterday. He turned his back on everybody and double-crossed them. The fact he didn't have the guts to tell the players to their face made it even worse. What he did was really unethical.

"We're better off without somebody like him."

Uh huh. Bama is so screwed and they know it. They were lucky to get a great coach like Franchione right before the NCAA hammer came down, and now that the investigators haven't left town, Coach Fran is getting the hell out of Dodge.

Can you blame him? This is a train wreck. A disaster that he had nothing to do with, but he'll be living with the consequences for years if he stayed. So he has two really good seasons and then jumps to another tradition-heavy school, reputation intact.

The comments seem to center around loyalty and trust. It's not like Franchione is one of Bear's Junction boys or anything. He's a hired gun. And, yes, he lied about looking at the A&M job, but bama lied to him about the severity of the penalties. Honesty is a two way street.

Hearing Bama boosters complain about honesty is like listening to the Forum on Business Ethics sponsored by Enron. You cheated and you lied. And now you demand loyalty to one you lied to?

No wonder Alabama voted for Bush.
posted by Poseur 12/06/2002 10:11:00 AM

Someone get this Newsday columnist a towel

Wake me, I think I'm dreaming. With one bold and beautiful and stunning stroke, the Mets have moved straight from the second division to fantasyland.

Tom Glavine is a Met. And today Shea Stadium looks like the Taj Mahal.

Today the "gold" ticket package appears to be a bargain, the "silver"' a steal.

Today Fred Wilpon is Owner of the Year.

And general manager Steve Phillips should come under consideration for a lifetime contract.

Maybe, just maybe, the New York media is getting a little ahead of themselves. The most telling thing about this signing is how the Braves put up no fight for one of their most popular players ever. Glavine's been a starter since mid-1987 for Atlanta.

1987. Reagan was still president. U2 was playing Red Rocks. Tootie had just graduated. You understand, it was a long time ago. So I'm willing to bet the Braves had grown sort of attatched to the future Hall of Famer. and letting him walk tells me everything I need to know about Glavine's gas tank. He's nearing that big "E."

However, the problem with this splashy signing is that it doesn't address the Mets' needs. Their pitching was actually pretty good last year, they sucked because they couldn't score runs. And glavine's a good hitter for a pitcher, but hardly the difference maker they need.

Only three NL teams scored less than the Mets last year. And you can blame injuries, but I'm going to blame an outfield of Burnitz-Perez-Cedeno-McEwing. Besides, who is surprised that Mo Vaughn got hurt? I never knew he had injury problems!

posted by Poseur 12/06/2002 10:03:00 AM


Michael Vick is a Clumsy Oaf!

I feel it necessary to make that statement because everyone else has confused Michael Vick with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The media frenzy has hit a crescendo this week and the deification of Vick is seemingly inevitable.

Now, it is true that Vick is impressive. Heck, that’s an understatement. Remember when Vick burst on to the scene in college—he was a phenomenon then and he is doing the same in the NFL. This second-year pro has a TD-INT ratio a seasoned vet would die for. His team is on a roll. We’ve seen him run wild over defenders again and again. He’s playing great and he is definitely exciting.

But the buzz is that he’s already in the Hall of Fame as the best quarterback ever. Huh? He’s played less than a full season! When did everyone start smoking crack and decide that he will be the greatest ever? Doesn’t he have to lead the league in passing or maybe win a Super Bowl first? Look, Vick has shown that he has great skills. He has the potential to be one of the best QBs ever. He has the potential to revolutionize the position. It’s exciting to think that he’s just at the beginning of his career—he’s going to get better. However, at this point, people are getting lost in the hype and jumping to conclusions. In a way, the hype may hurt Vick’s career because people now expect Saint Michael to be superhuman every Sunday. Vick now has a career and a reputation to live up to. I recall similar hype, though not so extreme, over Daunte Culpepper a couple years ago. By contrast, there wasn’t so much hype over Steve Young a decade ago, and he ran for a 40 yard TD against he Vikings too (back then the Vikings had a good defense!). In other words, this coronation is all too hasty, and I think the Bucs might make that point this weekend.

So, there! Michael Vick is a clumsy oaf. He’s slow; he’s got poor instincts. He’s boring and he can’t throw straight. Those comments are as accurate as some of the plaudits I've heard over the last week.

posted by uberschuck 12/05/2002 09:47:00 PM

All right, I keep saying I'll talk about USC and now's as good as time as any. Let me first say that I'm not a Trojan fan and I have no affiliation with the university in any way. So spare me "USC lover" emails.

Now, check out their schedule.

Not including their Pac-10 slate, USC played Auburn, at Colorado, at K-state, and Notre Dame. That is quite possibly the most impressive schedule I've ever seen. So they lost twice. They didn't play any cupcakes. OK, Stanford's not very good and neither is Arizona, but you get the point.

USC lost two games, both on the road against top ten caliber teams by less than a score. Why do we reward Iowa and Georgia for playing easier schedules? That's not to say those schools scheduled the sisters of the Poor, but do you honestly believe they'd have only one loss if they had to play USC's schedule?

That's why USC deserves the BCS bid they will get. It's also why there should be a playoff. The current system punishes USC for playing a tough schedule and rewards teams like Miami for playing a light schedule (sorry, Canes fans, it's not your fault Florida, FSU, and Tennessee all took the year off).

Put them on a neutral field, and I'll take USC over any team in the country. Period.
posted by Poseur 12/05/2002 09:59:00 AM

Franchione to A&M?

What baffles me is why Franchione doesn't understand why people doubt him when he talks all around about staying at Alabama but never comes out and says he's not interested in any other jobs, or more specifically that he's not interested in the opening at Texas A&M.

Asked point blank last night in Selma whether he was going to Texas A&M, Franchione said, "None of my plans have changed." And when pressed further, Franchione refused to answer any more questions.

What does that mean?

I'm glad he asked because I'll tell him. Franchione is going to College Station because the NCAA is still investigating Alabama's program and they could be staring at the death penalty. To expect the man to stick around while the program gets hammered by the NCAA is asking a little much, don't you think?

Yesterday I said the only way the Slocumb firing makes sense is if they can get Franchione. There's simply no other coach of that caliber available to the Aggies, but if they can steal Coach Fran from the Tide, it would be a real coup. And if they already had this lined up when they canned a quality coach like Slocumb, I apologize for wishing that they lose every game.

But only if they get Franchione.
posted by Poseur 12/05/2002 09:48:00 AM

Cleveland wins!

There was no confetti or popped corks on the floor of the Cavaliers' locker room last night following their first victory in nearly a month. The players were so calm that only the box score gave it all away.

"This was a good win, but we want more," said guard Dajuan Wagner after the Cavs' 111-101 victory over the Chicago Bulls. "It was just one game, but we hope this is the start of a lot more wins."

15 losses in a row. Who the hell do the Cavs think they are, the Clippers? Dajuan Wagner said he won this game for Jay-Z, who celebrated his birthday last night. Isn't that sweet?
posted by Poseur 12/05/2002 09:42:00 AM


Palmer wins Unitas Award

Well, now. The Heisman race just got officially interesting. Forgetting that it was criminal for Banks not to even be among the finalists for this award, the Golden Arm Foundation made the correct call among their options and chose Palmer over Dorsey. Palmer is now the offical Stop Dorsey candidate, who is the 2002 version of Gino Torreta.
posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 05:41:00 PM

Moore retires

Moore, 33, ended his career on a disappointing note, playing just one of a possible three games with the Giants and failing to catch a pass. The former Detroit Lions great was signed on Nov. 13 when the Giants were battling a spate of injuries at wide receiver.

From the outset, however, Moore had to fight through nagging injuries and his lack of familiarity with the New York offense. Eventually the coaches simply worked on a scaled-down set of plays for him but it made virtually no difference.

He had signed a one-year contract for the minimum base salary of $750,

He desreved better. Herman Moore was a great receiver. He finishes 15th all-time in receptions and 21st in yardage. And his 123 catches in 1995 is still a single-season record in the pass-happy NFL.

Why do some players go out "on their terms" re-signed to gimmicky one-day deals, whil others get cut like some spare part? Today's theme: life is unfair.

posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 05:25:00 PM

"I can't believe how uninformed you are," she said.

"I know," Marecek said. "Can you help us?"

"Yeah, I can help you, but you know how the media takes it."

"We'll take notes," Marecek said.

Up until that point, no alarms had been set off. But that didn't last long.

"Martz did not insist that he get an X-ray," Brenda said.

Uh-oh! Ding.

"Martz had nothing to do with it," she said. Ohh, boy. Ding, ding, ding!

I suspect the motive behind Brenda's call was probably to chastise us for questioning whether the Martz-Kurt relationship had been damaged. (The "trust level has not been shaken," she said. "Don't even act like the confidence is blown, you don't even know the relationship there.") But the actual result ended up turning into something else entirely.

When I told Brenda that Martz had told me a day earlier that he told Kurt, "You've got to go get an X-ray," she quickly responded with a shocking reply.

"He did not," she said. "He did not. All week long I said, 'Kurt, I am a nurse. You should go get an X-ray.' He said, 'The doctors just think it's bruised.'"

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Gong! Gong! Gong!

Now, Mrs. Warner is just sticking up for her hubby, but the transcript of this call is just too funny to pass up. Even if Martz didn't order Warner to get an x-ray, he should have.

This a non-issue, but it just shows that the Rams are careening out of control. And boy, are they making it fun to watch.
posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 12:50:00 PM

10 game win streak snapped

It was an extremely frustrated Vancouver team that boarded a bus to New Jersey after the game, disappointed in the knowledge that they fought back to tie a game in the third period that they probably had no business being in -- only to see at least a single point blown out of the water on Alexei Yashin's game winner with just 92 seconds remaining in regulation.

"You have to be pissed off a bit, you hate to lose in the last couple of minutes of the game," said Todd Bertuzzi. "That's the real frustrating part, that we played good enough to get a point and try to take it to overtime and win it. But it wasn't meant to be, so we have to hold our heads high and get back to work in New Jersey tomorrow."

Isn't it nice to see a player talk like a human being after a tough loss instead of using the Bull Durham platitudes?

The Canucks winning 10 straight is a huge deal, and they represent the best chance for some other team from the West to win the Stanley Cup.

Even in a game they played poorly in, they had a chance to win at the end. That bodes well. Now they have to bounce back and build off of this win streak to show that they are for real.
posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 09:54:00 AM

Peppers gives up without a fight

"We had to appeal to look at the records," Demoff said. "Once we were able to obtain them and take a closer look at them, and at how the policy is written, it became clear to us that Julius was not going to win an appeal. So we took the path of least resistance and withdrew the appeal."

Peppers said that he regrets taking the dietary supplement that contained the banned substance. He and Demoff declined to say exactly what the supplement was, nor would they identify the specific ingredient or ingredients in it that was on the NFL's list of banned substances.

posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 09:46:00 AM

Webber's father took gifts

Michigan already has put into place self-imposed punishments, but let's just say the NCAA is still snooping around. As much talk as there is about corrupt SEC football, and well there should be, what the hell is going on with Big Ten basketball?

Which is more corrupt? Alabama football or Michigan basketball? Discuss.
posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 09:39:00 AM

Iowa is in the BCS

For all intents and purposes, Iowa is in.

Rose or Orange. Orange or Rose. After winning where it mattered, on the field, the Hawkeyes won where it counted - the backroom. Cigars and brandy on the house.
So what will we take with us from the last two weeks?

Other than a headache?

1.) In bowl games, bet on the Southeastern Conference. In conference calls, take the Big Ten.
2.) Playoffs. As in, they don't sound so bad now, do they?

No system that allows exceptions for Notre Dame should be given this much of our time and energy, let alone column space. And yet I hear suggestions floating for further BCS refinements - such as turning to just one computer ranking, as in basketball's RPI system; or perhaps expanding the "Quality-Win Component" to include victories over top 15 teams again.


It's not official, as BCS reps are predictably mum, but it does seem that Iowa is in the BCS and Notre Dame is out. Of course, if Wazzu loses to UCLA, Notre Dame is back in.

I just can't get too riled up over who goes to which bowl outside of the Fiesta. In the end, what does it matter? The NCAA has created a system where only one game counts, so what's the difference between going to the Sugar Bowl or the Outback Bowl? In both cases, you ain't getting a shot at the title.

The rumble for a playoff is getting louder, but it won't happen unless both Miami and Ohio State lose. Then there would be a jostle of one-loss teams all with equal cliam to the title (and USC with two losses, but more on that later. I know, I keep promising something on USC, I'm getting to it).
posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 09:34:00 AM

Speaking of blown leads...

Joe Herber was one of the last players West Virginia coach John Beilein wanted to take a shot with the game on the line.

Herber, a freshman from Germany, hit a long jumper with 50 seconds left to give West Virginia the lead, and the Mountaineers held on to beat No. 8 Florida 68-66 Tuesday night.

"I couldn't lie to you and say I told him to shoot it. I didn't. I told him to run something else," Beilein said. "Thank God he didn't listen."

Florida's going to be okay, but this is just another one of those upsets that just make college basketball so much fun.

The fact that the regular season means next to nothing kind of detratcs from it, but hey, it's early December, and we have to take what we can get. March is a long way off.
posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 09:26:00 AM

href=""> Indiana takes the rematch

"We got 'em back, didn't we?" said Coverdale, who equaled his career high set against Notre Dame his sophomore season. "I hope everybody knows how good of a team we can be and how good of a team we are.

"For me it's not the same guys, and it's not for the same thing, but sitting here you can't tell me that. I've been thinking the whole summer about the guys who beat us for the national title."

Indiana (5-0), which had only four turnovers in the 45-minute game, trailed by 14 in the first half, 11 early in the second and by four with 39.8 seconds to play in regulation at 68-64.

And it was a great game. The Inidiana-Maryland rematch was the highlight of an otherwise mundane night for the ACC-Big Ten challenge, which didn't give us one other decent game.

In the long run, this game is a positive for both teams. Indiana avenges their title game loss, and Maryland showed they could hang with a top ten team, so they aren't going to fade into the pack. However, in the short run, this was just a devastatng loss for Maryland.

The Terps blew a 14-point lead. They blew a 4-point lead in the final 30 seconds. And if they knew how to manage the clock, and Steve Blake didn't think he was a shooting guard, Maryland wins. At least Gary has something to yell about.

posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 09:22:00 AM

column du jour

Pete Hissey sounds off on free agency...

This year, the owners are getting even sillier than usual. This is perhaps the thinnest free agent crop in a decade, and you’d think it would be a buyer’s market. But nooooooo! Two 37-year old pitchers are getting offers of $40 to $70 million, depending on who you believe, an immobile first-baseman with a bad back just got an offer of $115 million, a mediocre third baseman with a lifetime batting average just barely over .250 got $16 million, and if Reggie Jackson feels like pulling on a uniform, someone would hand him a few million too.

Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux have been two of the best pitchers in baseball for over a decade. Both are likely hall of famers. Both are model citizens. Neither is worth half what they are being offered. I won’t go into all the math and stuff, but the evidence is clear that normal pitchers decline rapidly after age 36. The handful of exceptions, like Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro, Warren Spahn and Randy Johnson, simply prove the rule. Sure, they are both likely to be useful for several more years. Sure, they are marquee attractions. But their best years are over, and for each of them to be chased by three to five teams offering more money than either made in his prime is a joke.

Read all of Pete's comments. and submit your own!

posted by Poseur 12/04/2002 08:16:00 AM


A Second Helping of Chaos

Have a look at the latest BCS rankings. Miami and OSU hold the top two spots, and they are followed by Georgia, USC, and Iowa. It was just a year ago that upset victories by LSU and Colorado exposed the silly, unfair BCS system and allowed pointless things like the strength of scheduling Troy State to propel Nebraska into the BCS title game. This year, it could be worse!

Virginia Tech may have squandered their season, but a win against Miami is still feasible. That would send the Georgia Bulldogs to the Fiesta Bowl to play OSU…assuming Georgia beats Arkansas in the SEC championship game. Both upsets may seem improbable, but that’s exactly how one would describe last year’s turn of events too.

So, if those upsets occur, what might the second annual BCS nightmare look like? USC might slip into the #2 spot and get a ticket to the Fiesta Bowl. That’s right, another 2-loss team playing for the BCS title. No offense to the Buckeyes, but I’d bet on USC. There is the possibility that the pollsters might change votes to keep USC out, much like they tried to boost Oregon a year ago. That may open the window for Iowa to advance to the Fiesta Bowl. Then we’d have two teams from the Big 10 playing for the national championship. Yeah, we all know the BCS was designed for that! Still, it is possible that Miami might only slip to #2 in this scenario and retain a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. Considering the gap in BCS score, that is very possible. There’d be a lot of people complaining if Miami went from a loss to the Fiesta Bowl, though.

In any event, a Miami loss to Va Tech means that at least one 1-loss team will be on the outside looking in. A loss by Georgia would lead to even greater chaos. Playoff anyone?

posted by uberschuck 12/03/2002 09:25:00 PM

Big Ten-ACC Challenge

Neither Davis or Williams hide behind coachspeak. Refreshing, really, because both are willing to tell it like it is. And both believe they have team with legitimate chances of contending not only in their respective conferences, but on the national scene as well.

"We're good," Indiana coach Mike Davis said of his Hoosiers after winning the Maui Invitational. "The thing that people don't understand is that our three guards (Coverdale, Kyle Hornsby and freshman Bracey Wright) can shoot the basketball. They can really shoot the basketball. This could be the best shooting team (in the country)."

This is the last big basketball event before we hit the exam break. The ACC-Big Ten challenge pits those two conferences, arguably the best in the land, up against one another. The ACC has won all of the challenges, but just barely. Tune in and watch some serious basketball tonight.

Yes, it's contrived made-for-TV entertainment. but it's still good.

posted by Poseur 12/03/2002 06:28:00 PM

posted by Poseur 12/03/2002 04:17:00 PM

Sox, A's swap closers

The small-market A's are trying to pare their payroll by dumping some of their big names--and their big salaries. A year after allowing Jason Giambi to sign with the New York Yankees as a free agent, Oakland has already traded right-hander Corey Lidle.

Koch had a $2.35 million base salary this season and made $150,000 in performance bonuses. He's eligible for salary arbitration this year, and his salary is likely to double.

But the A's are picking up another big paycheck with Foulke. The right-hander is due $6 million next season, the final year of a $10 million, two-year contract. He's eligible for free agency after next season.

I love stories like this. Even when it doesn't fit in the storyline, sportswriters just make it fit, facts be damned. Let's review: the A's are a small market team and have to dump salary. So they are trading a high-priced closer they owe $2.5 million (and in the process pick up a contract worth $6 million). Does the media think we can't add and subtract?

6 million is more than 2.5 million. Therefore, the A's will have a HIGHER payroll after this deal. This means that maybe, just maybe, the A's made this trade for baseball reasons (namely, getting rid of Billy Koch and his nightly flirtation with blown saves).

Laziness is not a vice limited to the Washington press corps, they could take some pointers from those working the sports beat.
posted by Poseur 12/03/2002 04:07:00 PM

Now here's a firing of a coach I agree with. The Flames fired Greg Gilbert. Now the Flames are bad, and they've been bad for over a decade now, and they'll probably be bad next decade as well, but Gilbert took this team to new depths. They have one win and no ties in their last 12 games.

The Flames won the Stanley cup in 1989 and have not won a playoff series since. The next series win seems to be a long way off. This is just sad, and the Flames are practically begging the NHL to put them out of their misery. A small Canadian city just can't compete for the talent out there. What a shame.
posted by Poseur 12/03/2002 03:58:00 PM

Blogger is acting silly today. Try and bear with me. Thanks!

posted by Poseur 12/03/2002 02:01:00 PM

The NFL offers hope, college offers the Tangerine Bowl

It's called hope, and it is the reason the NFL has left college football so far back in the dark ages that there is not even a comparison between the two anymore.

"Hope is the pillar that holds up the world. Hope is the dream of a waking man." -- Pliny the Elder

Somehow, I don't think he was talking about a bid to the Continental Tire Bowl.

The NFL is filled with teams and towns that believe they have a chance.

Yes, in just about every NFL city, the good citizens feel their team can go to the Super Bowl. While that is partly good, we all stay interested in every game and all that, it also shows that they aren't any great NFL teams. Of course, there aren't any great college teams either, but that's another story.

The 6-6 Bills are still in the playoff hunt, while the 9-3 Maryland Terps will go the Peach Bowl. The reason Buffalo fans are still juiced is because the NFL (and most pro leagues) let in a huge number of playoff teams (12 out of 32, that's almost half the league people).

Does that speak to the quality or just the relaxed standards of the playoffs? Why don't we just let every team in so every fan can feel happy about their team?

The NFL is on top right now, it's by far the most popular league in the country. That means even its flaws are considered positives, which just shows how well-run the NFL is. That's the real story here.
posted by Poseur 12/03/2002 12:31:00 PM

Columnist gets call from the governor

You sent me 1,475 e-mails. The ones I read were passionate in their arguments. I read about half. I tallied the numbers: 377 said take the last four games off; 260 said go. I'm on Bengal hiatus. Bless you.

It'll be hard, not seeing all that progress being made, but if somebody's got to not do it, it might as well be me. I appreciated the feedback. It fell into two broad categories.

Stay: "Your insight and humor carry me through the week."

Go: "Put a clothespin on your nose and do your job, whiner."

We've been following Doherty's plea to not cover the Bengals here at Bartcopsports. Well, the governor just called and granted him a reprieve, he's not doomed to attend the last four Bengals games of the year.

Best football-related news to come out of Cincinnati since, um, Corey Dillon got the charges dropped.

posted by Poseur 12/03/2002 12:20:00 PM

Slocumb fired

R.C. Slocum was just what Texas A&M needed 14 years ago, but much has changed since then, including the need to keep him.

Slocum was the savior of A&M’s football program on Dec. 12, 1988, when A&M President William H. Mobley and athletics director John David Crow elevated him from defensive coordinator to head coach.

I hope A&M goes back to 3-8 year after 3-8 year. They desrve it after firing a guy who steered the program away from the death penalty and brought it to new heights. So the Aggies aren't a consistenet national contender. You know what? A lot of teams aren't. There are worse fates than going 8-4 every year with an occasional Big 12 title.

What do they want? Who's going to do a better job than Slocumb? Unless Dennis Franchione is going to ditch Bama, the Aggies will be hard-pressed to come up with a coach as successful as the one they just fired.

The Aggies struggled this year, and limped to a 6-6 record, despite huge win over Oklahoma. The team's been beset by tragedy (Fails' death this year, the bonfire collapse of 1999), but it's represented the university well.

A&M won 94 games in the 90s. That includes 3 SWC titles, 1 Big 12 title, and another Big 12 title game appearance.

In the end, that meant nothing, and he got canned for having a 6-6 year. Texas A&M doesn't deserve RC Slocumb.

posted by Poseur 12/03/2002 12:03:00 PM

Dave McNally dead at 60

McNally was more than just a terrific pitcher, he was a key figure in the struggle for free agency. Curt Flood gets a lot of the credit, and deservedly so, but Flood lost his case. McNally actually became a free agent by ruling on December 23, 1975. He had alreayd retired.

He won 20 games for four consecutive years (1968-1971), just missing out on the Cy Young in 1971. He's also the only pitcher to hit a grand slam in the world Series. He's a great pitcher and every ballplayer who makes a million bucks owes McNally a great debt. He made their riches possible.
posted by Poseur 12/03/2002 11:50:00 AM


Thome to sign with Phils

6 years, $85 million. That's about $14 mil a year. And this is for a guy who has made three All-Star teams, never finished in the top 5 in MVP voting, and only has topped 500 at-bats three times in his career.

I don't want to bash Thome. He's a good player, but there's no way he's going to live up to this contract. He's coming off a career year, one in which he had a 1.122 OPS (leading the AL). And he'll probably be a top player for another year or two.

But the back end of this contract is going to absolutely kill the Phillies. The only way this deal makes sense is if the Phillies are a player or two away from winning the World Series. They aren't, so it doesn't.

I'm calling it now: the Phillies plead poverty in two years. Remember this, they did it to themselves.

posted by Poseur 12/02/2002 02:22:00 PM

Hall of Fame Ballot

The results will be announced on January 7th, but here's the ballot. There's some big names appearing for the first time: Eddie Murray, Fernando Valenzuela, Lee Smith, Ryne Sandberg, and Darryl Kile?

Look, there's a reason there's a five year delay before a player can be placed on the ballot. It's so that we have the benefit of emotional distance to determine a player's true worth. Kile was a really good player, and it's a tragedy he died so young, but he shouldn't be on the Hall of Fame ballot.

It's not fair to the BBWAA members, who should (and probably wil) vote Kile down. It'll be tough for them to do, but they'll do it. We just can't judge Kile as a player so close to his death.

Nor should anyone try.

posted by Poseur 12/02/2002 12:10:00 PM

Sutter fired

A professional sports team can do many things when the won-loss record is not so hot early in the season.

Firing the best coach in franchise history should not be one of them.

But that's what the Sharks did Sunday. They dumped Darryl Sutter, who had taken the team to five consecutive playoff appearances -- three more than any other man who has stood behind the Sharks' bench. Along the way, he also won nearly three times as many games as any other Sharks coach.

The Sharks were a trendy pick to contend for the Stanley Cup. Instead, they are looking up at every team in the Western conference except Nashville and Calgary.

The real problem is that San Jose has boasted one of the worst defenses in the NHL. Is a new coach, installing a new system at the quarter pole of the season, going to change that?

Maybe it's that stellar goalie rotation of Nabokov and Kiprusoff? Or maybe it's a decrepid backline? Or maybe the Sharks were just a decent team and only got hyped because we're desperate for anyone outside of the Avs-Wings-Stars axis to win the West?

May the hype machine now move on to Vancouver.

posted by Poseur 12/02/2002 11:03:00 AM

How many ways to say the guy is amazing?

Vick kept running. Chavous watched from a cozy spot on the ground with Biekert. "People like to describe this guy either this way or that way," said Chavous, shaking his head. "But if you don't flat out and go ahead and admit that he is one of the best guys that has ever come into this league, then you are fooling yourself."

Either that, or you haven't been paying attention these days. With apologies to Dan Marino, John Elway and others in or near the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Vick is evolving into the greatest NFL second-year quarterback ever. A trip to the Super Bowl this season would solidify such a tag for Vick, but that might not be necessary.

Well, not at this rate. Vick already has perfected the comeback. He won a thriller at New Orleans, and he pulled the Falcons into an improbable tie at Pittsburgh. You had his near comebacks at Green Bay and against Chicago at the Georgia Dome. Plus, you've had all of those other Vick moments to make Harry Houdini look ordinary.

What else can you say? The guy is unbelievable. He is the most exciting player in the league and looks like he's just beginning a Hall of Fame career.

posted by Poseur 12/02/2002 09:59:00 AM

Gutty, gutty call

The sellout crowd of 68,226 couldn't celebrate until Joe Horn grabbed a 10-yard pass from Jake Delhomme to convert a third-and-8 at the 18-yard line with 1:50 remaining. The play was a run-pass option, allowing Delhomme, who was subbing for injured starter Aaron Brooks, to read the coverage of the cornerback guarding Horn. Horn grabbed the slant in front of Dexter Jackson and the Saints were able to run out the clock on their most important win of the season.

"Had it been third-and-3 or less I probably would have run the ball, but I felt confident of my chances with Joe on that guy," Delhomme said. "I had the option to throw it or hand it off to Deuce. Joe beat the guy and it was actually a pretty easy throw. If I can't make that throw, then I shouldn't be in this league."

A pass play when trying to run out the clock? What a great call. most coaches would be content to run and just punt away, but Haslett risked it all and went for the first down to seal the game. I'm impressed.
posted by Poseur 12/02/2002 09:51:00 AM

Packers clinch

Parallels between the Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packers of 1996 and this year's edition continue to be amazingly similar, to say the least.

Six years ago, coach Mike Holmgren's phlegmatic Packers were looking at a 9-3 halftime deficit in St. Louis after watching their record dip to 8-3 with two consecutive losses. On Sunday, coach Mike Sherman's flat Packers found themselves trailing the inspired Chicago Bears, 14-6, at intermission as they tried to rebound from consecutive losses that also dropped them to 8-3.

Great. Now how much of this is the Packers being really good, and how much is because the NFC North stinks?

posted by Poseur 12/02/2002 09:43:00 AM

Bills wideouts let Madison have it

Getting dressed, encrusted in diamonds after this 38-21 victory, Bills receivers Peerless Price and Eric Moulds stood next to each other in the locker room and laughed at Dolphins cornerback Sam Madison.

''Madison had some choice words for me during the game,'' Price said. ``I ain't going to get into exactly what he said, but after I scored my touchdown I just shouted back at him to let him know that I had arrived.''

Moulds laughed at this.

''I've got the utmost respect for Patrick Surtain,'' Price said. ``He's on the brink of greatness. But Madison . . . ''

Moulds interrupted this with more laughter.

In a word, ouch. The Bills are still somehow alive and the Fish are left looking for answers. How do you lose when Ricky runs for over 200 yards?

posted by Poseur 12/02/2002 09:38:00 AM

BartCop Tennis!
by Chris Marshall

France Is One Step Closer To 2002 Davis Cup Title

France took a 2-1 Davis Cup lead over Russia after the team of Nicolas Escude and Fabrice Santoro defeated the seemingly unbeatable tandem of Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin. Kafelnikov and Safin, both of whom are top five singles players, had a two sets to one lead in the match, but the Frenchmen bounced back to win 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Historically, the doubles match is crucial to the outcome of the tie. The country that has won the doubles match has won the last 24 Davis Cup finals. The French team still needs to win one of Sunday's matches, however. Sebastien Grosjean will take on Safin in the first match, and the late match will pit Kafelnikov against either Santoro or Paul-Henri Mathieu. If France wins, it will be their tenth all-time Davis Cup title and their second in a row. Russia has never won the Cup.

Thai Star Paradorn Srichaphan Will Not Have To Serve in Military

Paradorn Srichaphan, who burst onto the scene with a second round drubbing of Andre Agassi at Wimbledon this year, has been exempted from compulsory military service in his home country of Thailand.

There is a rule that exempts nine professions from the compulsory service, one of which is physical education teacher. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration certified that Srichaphan teaches physical education at a local school, so he will not have to be drafted. Srichaphan is currently number eighteen in the world, a jump of 108 positions from his 2001 ranking of 126 in the world.

posted by Poseur 12/02/2002 09:28:00 AM

Reader Joey Davis has found religion....

...and my God's name is Michael Vick!

Atlanta Falcons go 8-3-1 by defeating the Vikings with a stunning 40+ touchdown run by Vick in overtime.

Is there any doubt who the NFL's MVP is at this point in the season? Is there any doubt who the team to beat is? Have you placed your bets yet for the playoffs?

Whoa to the defenses of the NFL...Mike Vick is coming...and he's bringing hell with him!

Atlanta Falcons - 8 weeks undefeated!

When a guy is right, he's right. Vick has the potential to be the greatest QB in NFL history. Seriously, he's that good. That run is going to be a staple of highlight reels for years to come. Simply put, wow.
posted by Poseur 12/02/2002 09:24:00 AM

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