OK, that's funny

Marc-Antoine Audette of the group Les Justiciers Masqués put on his best Jean Chrétien impersonation as he held a 12-minute telephone conversation with Selig, which was aired on CKOI yesterday and reported in yesterday's edition of La Presse. Among the highlights and lowlights: Selig qualified the saving of the Expos in Montreal as "mission impossible." He also blamed the former minority partners for creating the problem. He termed their actions "appalling," and wondered why the prime minister hadn't gotten in touch with him several years ago.

Bud Selig is a lying bastard? Whodathunkit?
posted by Poseur 9/05/2003 11:57:00 AM

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!

With 15 m.p.h. winds and a clear, blue sky making it tough to track everything that went up, catcher Chris Widger twice crashed into the brick wall chasing pop flies. Pujols bailed him out nicely on Mark Grudzielanek's foul in the first inning, cutting smartly around the dugout rail to make an unlikely catch. So Taguchi banged into the wall down the right-field line after grabbing an Alex Gonzalez fly.

"With those skies, everybody had to be going for everything," Widger said. "You couldn't take your eye off the ball to look at the wall, so you had to risk your body."

Unlike the Cubs, the Cardinals were put together to win high-scoring games. Edmonds, who hurt himself in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader split, is only one of four All-Stars in St. Louis' lineup.

You couldn't tell it in these five games. Third baseman Scott Rolen was 5-for-22 with three errors. Shortstop Edgar Renteria was 1-for-17. Worst of all, Pujols was 4-for-19.

There are three rivalries which tower over all others in baseball: Sox-Yanks, Dodgers-Giants, and Cards-Cubs. There's over a century of bad blood between these two teams, and when they play in an important Septmeber series, it's just great fun. This was the best baseball series of the year, full of close games, controversy, and clutch hits. It was like a mini-postseason.

Now the Cardinals are in big trouble. The Cubs have a grand total of four games left against teams with a winning record (against the Expos). It is, by far, the easiest schedule of any team in the hunt. So while St Louis and Houston fight amongst themselves, the Cubs will get a steady diet of the Mets and Pirates.

Hey, that makes these nuns happy.

posted by Poseur 9/05/2003 11:54:00 AM

Redskins win

It wasn't dominant or lopsided, or the kind of victory that should send folks to jump on a Super Bowl bandwagon, but it was solid, hard-nosed, fundamental football NFC-style, the stuff you can count on to a great degree week-in week-out, especially as a quarterback tries to gain experience and figures out how to use the talent around him. I bet Spurrier has never run that high a percentage of plays in his coaching career, but it worked.

And it's not like we didn't get to see what the passing game can do. It has been a while since the Redskins had a receiver who did the things Coles did last night. Michael Westbrook was drafted to destroy defenses, but he never did; all he provided was a glimpse here and there. Henry Ellard was a graceful productive receiver, but past his prime by the time the Redskins got him. What Coles has, at 5 feet 11, 193 pounds, is the toughness of Gary Clark, the precise route running of Art Monk and a speed gear even Clark didn't have.

Though the score was close, the game was lopsided. The Skins had more first downs (17-11), rushing yards (160-57), passing yards (167-101), and time of possession (34:46-25:14). There just wasn't any reason for this game to come down to the final kick.

posted by Poseur 9/05/2003 11:39:00 AM


10 minutes til kickoff. Redskins are a three-point dog at home against a team whose best players are now Redskins. Except for the QB, who will spend the game in rehab. Can someone please explain that to me?
posted by Poseur 9/04/2003 07:50:00 PM

NFC preview

Our NFC preview is up! AFC tommorrow. Enjoy opening night!
posted by Poseur 9/04/2003 05:49:00 PM

The Big Crash

By the time Mohr was halfway around second, Newman decided to send him, even after seeing all-star left fielder Garret Anderson aggressively digging Stewart's double out of the corner. The hard-to-refute logic: "Percival, two outs, chances of getting another hit against him slim and none," said Newman, who also had fresh memories of holding up Doug Mientkiewicz at third base exactly one week earlier in a one-run loss at Anaheim in which Mientkiewicz was stranded.

This time there would be no waiting for second chances.

Mohr saw shortstop Wilson Delgado's relay throw skim past him to Molina, and lowered his shoulder.

"Once I saw him with the ball, that was the only choice I had," said Mohr, a former high school linebacker, whose impact broke Molina's left wrist in two places and separated him from the ball, which caromed up the first-base line as Stewart continued around third to score the game-winner. Stewart slid under Percival, who was covering the plate.

"He wasn't giving me any part of the plate," Mohr said of Molina, who was charged with an error for dropping the ball. "I feel real bad he got hurt, but at the same time I didn't do anything wrong."

Players and managers in both clubhouses said it was a clean play. "He didn't spike him or anything," Angels first baseman Scott Spiezio said.

"That's a big-league play. That's the way the game is supposed to be played," Gardenhire said. "This is a pennant race and high intensity for us. We threw everything we had at them. It was a huge win for us.

"I think we broke some hearts in a couple other cities, if Chicago and Kansas City were watching."

First off, we spend a lot of time ripping reporters and columnists, so I thought I'd single out Gordon Wittnemyer for his lyrical description of the collision. Read the passage again. Can't you just see the play unfoldng before you? Hear the din of the crowd? Feel the tension? It's a great piece of baseball writing, so it's nice to see even the reporters are in peak form for the pennant race.

And the game was huge. The White Sox loss puts the Twins in a tie for first while the Royals are only one game out. Every game matters. /
posted by Poseur 9/04/2003 12:29:00 PM

Ramirez back in left

Regardless of how you want to play it, Red Sox manager Grady Little decided Manny Ramirez had done sufficient time after a one-game forced absence and restored him to the lineup last night.

"Before we start,'' Little said at the outset of his daily confab with reporters, "Manny is back in left field. He's back in there because he gives us the best chance to win.''

Evidently, having the most prolific righthanded Sox slugger since Jim Rice as your cleanup man met Little's criteria for increasing the odds of winning. The manager was not acting unilaterally; you can be certain the Sox hierarchy signed off on this one (with the possible exception of marketing vice president Larry Cancro, who has Bruce Springsteen's Fenway concerts to worry about).

Talk about much ado about nothing. The guy called in sick. He shouldn't have done it, but I dare any of you to honestly say you've never called in sick when you weren't.

That's what I thought. Manny-gate is the result of the Boston media having nothing else to talk about. Really, who cares? He's back in the lineup, he's still real good, and the Sox still need a big weekend against the Bronx Bombers.

posted by Poseur 9/04/2003 12:15:00 PM

Bills hire a spy

"Man, that would be a nightmare," Centers said. "I try not to dream like that."

Well, the New England Patriots' worst nightmare might just come true. A few hours after Centers uttered those words - and barely 24 hours after the Pats cut Milloy loose - the Bills agreed to terms with the perennial Pro Bowl strong safety, bolstering their secondary and possibly shifting the balance of power in the AFC East.

Tom Donahoe, the old poker player, did it again. In one offseason he rebuilt his defense and in the end he still had cap room to sign one of the league's top safeties. It's enough to make you think Donahoe moved some of his chips to one side, just in case Milloy's name came on the table.

This is a huge advantage for the Bills for their season opener. They now have a guy on the team who certainly knows the bulk of the gamplan of their opponents. Forget that the Bills desperately needed a safety and now they got a Pro Bowler. Forget that they got stronger at the expense of a division rival. forget the Milloy was a a team captain and his sudden exit can't be popular in the Pats locker room.

The Bills know the gameplan. They have no excuse in Week One. Let's see Belichick the Genius go to work.

posted by Poseur 9/04/2003 12:11:00 PM


Boswell on Bonds

How Bobby got on the wrong side of the baseball establishment long ago is ancient history now. What's pertinent is the impact on a son when a father he adores is ushered out of town when he's 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18. How would any son, after that experience, feel toward owners, general managers, managers, coaches, reporters or fans? Would you trust them, consider them fair judges of a person's character? Would you think they'd taken the trouble to know what made you tick?

Barry Bonds's supposed split-personality -- an obsessed, driven jerk within the game, but an amiable nice-guy to everyone who meets him outside a baseball context -- has never seemed mysterious to me. Some players have a chip on their shoulder. Barry carries a grudge. Every time he sets a record, it feels like he's settling a score.

If that's right -- and there'll never be a way to prove it because such things can't be measured -- then Bonds's heart has never beat faster for his father than it does now. The distance he has put between himself and every other player in baseball is enormous. For example, only Albert Pujols (.683) is within 134 points of Bonds's .760 slugging percentage.

These days, we need to ignore everything that Bonds isn't and focus on what he is. Don't ask him to be an ambassador for a sport he doesn't trust. Just appreciate what he is.


I always go back to this, but we don't know these people. The players with the "nice" public persona may not be so nice, and guys who are gruff and stand-offish may be the nicest guys you could ever meet. So don't cast judgements about player's personalities. We simpy, do not know them.

My wife loves Barry Bonds because of the way he acts around his kids. Despite the constant media barrage, she stands up for "Her Boy Barry," who he feels is a big sweetie who just wants to be left alone. I think she has a better measure of the man than most sportswriters.
posted by Poseur 9/03/2003 02:42:00 PM

Clarrett out for the year?

Sources have told ESPN The Magazine's Gene Wojciechowski that sophomore running back Maurice Clarett has been informed that he likely will not play this season for Ohio State.

The same sources told ESPN that school officials told the Clarett family that the running back would keep his scholarship. His status for next season, however, still appears uncertain.

Sources said that Clarett's family is growing more and more exasperated with the process, particularly the handling of his status. This latest turn of events has caused Clarett's family to reassess its position; it now appears that he will consider other options, including transferring to another school or challenging the NFL's early entry rule.

Athletic Director Andy Geiger would not rule out that Clarett could miss the entire year.

I've avoided really getting into the whole Clarrett mess, but I'm going to dive into the deep end right now.

What the hell has this kid done to warant a full year's suspension from football? Seriously. If there has been academic fraud, why isn't the school under NCAA investigation? doesn't the Ohio state program bear responsibility for that? If he's receiving payments, isn't that also a school violation?

The fact that information is being released in fits and spurts while at the same time Clarrett's punishment keeps changing almost daily is grossly unfair to him. If he's guilty of some infraction, tell us what it is. but if the university is just punishing Clarrett publicly in order to hide their dirty laundry, that's just rank hypocrisy.

What has he done? I honestly don't know. And the two infractions that do get media play are infractions not only of student behavior, but of the university at large. The fact that the school can crucify this kid in order to avoid any trouble themselves is pretty disgusting. I'm not saying Clarrett shouldn't be punished. If he cheated, he should be. but it's not like he broke the rules on his own. I'm pretty sure the program helped.

If he's guilty, so are they. And then both should be punished. Throwing up Clarrett as a sacrificial lamb is morally wrong. He's low man on the cheating totem pole. The players have virtually no power in the system, they should not bear the brunt of the punishment.
posted by Poseur 9/03/2003 01:29:00 PM

Captain Kirk hangs it up

No regrets," the six-time all-star forward said Tuesday in announcing his retirement. But lots of good memories. At the top of the list is the 1993 Stanley Cup run with Montreal.

"No question, winning the Stanley Cup and hoisting that cup right there in Montreal," the 37-year-old Muller said from a golf course near his Kingston, Ont., home. "The bonus part was that I had a lot of friends and family that made the drive down to witness it."

6 All-Star Games, a Stanley Cup, 357 goals, 959 points, 1223 penalty minutes, and 1349 games after breaking in as an 18-year old rookie, one of the most respected players in the league calls it a career. He's probably not a Hall of Famer, but he was always one of my favorite players just because he was such a fierce competitor. and it's hard not to feel nostalgic for that Montreal team that won the Cup.

Congratulations to a wonderful career.
posted by Poseur 9/03/2003 01:21:00 PM

Cubs and Cardinals split double-header

With two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh inning of Tuesday's second game, Alou hit a ball down the left-field line that Klemm ruled foul. Several members of the Cubs bullpen in left field — including Alfonseca — began yelling at Klemm.

Alou then hit a flyout to left to end the inning, and before the eighth inning began Alfonseca was thrown out of the game and ran out and bumped Klemm. Coming out to the field, Alou also screamed at Klemm and drew an ejection.

Alou had to be restrained by teammate Kenny Lofton, and it appeared that Alou might have spit on Klemm, but crew chief Mike Reilly said that did not happen.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker claimed Alfonseca was thrown out after merely talking with bullpen coach Juan Lopez, and said that when the reliever went out to argue, he slipped on wet grass and bumped into Klemm.

Big suspension coming up for Alfonseca. I don't care if Jesus Christ himself came down from heaven and pushed him into the ump, you cannot touch an umpire. Ever. You do so, you get suspended. And Alfonseca can't get into pointless arguments that put his team at risk during a pennant race. That's just stupid, and he's going to pay for being stupid.

Now, the Cubs did get horribly screwed on the call. But you have to minimize the damage. Alfonseca's reaction only made a bad event worse. Now, the Cubs have to pay for a bad call for more than one game.

posted by Poseur 9/03/2003 01:14:00 PM

Some good news

A record 62% of all scholarship athletes who arrived as freshmen in 1996 graduated within six years, according to the latest survey compiled by the federal government and released Tuesday by the NCAA.

Black athletes made the most notable strides, setting highs almost across the board. Their overall grad rate rose from 48% a year ago to 52%, eclipsing the 41% rate for blacks in the overall student body.

Rates for white athletes changed little, even dropping slightly in the high-profile sports of football and men's basketball.

The NCAA's commitment to academics is mainly a fuzzy sham, but it's nice when some actual goodnews comes out of the corporate offices. Graduation rates are going up. Now, we can't say for sure if it's because they toughened standards. Going back to my college logic class, just because B follows A doesn't mean A caused B. And while rates are climbing, it's not like they have improved dramatically.

But enough killjoy. It's still good news for the NCAA and college sports in general. Boy, do they need it.

posted by Poseur 9/03/2003 01:03:00 PM


This just sucks

Detectives said they do not know if Wilford was the target, but they are convinced Porter was not.

"Joey Porter happened to be walking out at the wrong time," police spokesman Sonny Jackson said.

Porter returned to Pittsburgh yesterday and was being treated at an undisclosed hospital for wounds in the buttocks and thigh area.

Porter did not know Wilford or any of the others who were shot, Jackson said.

Detectives consider it unlikely that the shooter was trying to kill or maim a half-dozen people. Rather, they are leaning toward the theory that one person was the object of the attack and that a spray of indiscriminate shots hit Porter and the others.

Porter was leaving a sports bar. He went there to watch his alma mater, the Colorado Buffaloes, play their cross-state rival. He was probably having a pretty good night, and them some asshole shoots him and a bunch of other people. This is the part of the post where I rant about our gun culture, but I'm just too lazy to make the argument. This is a senseless tragedy.

Porter is listed in stable but serious condition. He will play football again. We all hope so.

posted by Poseur 9/02/2003 02:13:00 PM

O's pull a fast one

The newest Marlin also is the oldest Marlin -- not by age, but by the fact Conine was here at the start, back when a legitimate news story was Billy the Marlin arriving at spring training by helicopter.

His name remains on most of the club's all-time lists. He has lived in Weston full-time since 1995. His three kids go to school here. This year is the 10th anniversary of his charity golf tournament here. He has helped raise millions for Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital here.

Before the game, they played the theme from Welcome Back, Kotter while showing Conine on the scoreboard. Marlins fans, usually noted for their lack of noise, made a decent amount of racket for a guy doing nothing but stretching his hamstrings.

''It's nice to know they appreciate me,'' Conine said. ''That felt very good.''

Awww, let's have a Hallmark moment. It's nice Conine is back home and everybody feels all warm and fuzzy on the inside. but let's get straight to the heart of the matter:

The Marlins got flat out robbed. Conine makes $5 million a year to put up numbers similar to David Millar, a guy who was on the spring trainging roster but the Fish let go for nothing. So, in order to fill the hole their own mismanagemnt created, they trade two of their best pitching prospects to get one and a half years from a guy who makes them feel squishy inside.

The O's can now move Jay Gibbons and his craptacular defense to first, opening up the logjam in right field. Maybe the new O's front office knows what they are doing. They've made some remarkably competent deals this years, a refrshing change in Charm City.
posted by Poseur 9/02/2003 02:08:00 PM

Restructure or die

Ladies and gentlemen, your replacement for team captain Lawyer Milloy will be one of Aric Morris, Chris Akins or Antwan Harris. Not exactly a four-time Pro Bowler among the group. Or Tebucky Jones for that matter. A guy like Tebucky would look pretty good aside Harrison right now, wouldn’t he?

Of course, a guy like the Milloy the Pats had two seasons ago would have been nice too. Milloy had no interceptions or forced fumbles last season.

The message here is clear; Milloy wouldn’t agree to restructure his deal, and Bill Belichick took the hard-line stance of see-ya later. It’s a risky move for sure, releasing one of the best safeties in the league. Whether or not it is a disastrous one remains to be seen.

Everybody loses. NFL contracts aren't guarranteed, so the big long-term contracts are going to get restructured. Players and agents need to accept that. If you don't restructure, you won't have a job. The lesson is, of course, take as big of a signing bonus as you can get.

In this case, Milloy loses a few million dollars. His agent loses the commission and looks pretty stupid. The Patriots lose one of their best defensive players while still having the cap penalty of his contract. And another team gets to swoop in and get Milloy, hopefully not a divisional rival. Not a good day for the Patriots.

posted by Poseur 9/02/2003 12:14:00 PM

Oh, check out the Gambling site.

If you weren't paying attention, I got 18 of 29 picks correct, not a bad ratio.
posted by Poseur 9/02/2003 12:32:00 AM


Finally, the South. You know it's a bad week for the conference when Tennessee beating Fresno by 18 is the second-best thing to happen over the weekend. A few teams played their annual scrimmages, but USC's actually turned out to be close. ULL played it close before losing 14-7. That's right, the Gamecocks beat Louisiana Lafayette by a mere touchdown. And that wasn't the bad news during the weekend.

The bad news was Auburn getting absolutely pasted by USC. I'd been saying that Auburn was overrated, but I didn't think they were that overrated. It was like they didn't even belong on the same field. How do you rush for 43 yards on 36 carries? Hell, how do you get 36 carries to 32 passes in a game you lost by 23 points? Auburn's staff had absolutely zero confidence in Jason Campbell. Let's take a look at the third quarter, before the game got out of hand. Auburn called five, count 'em, five pass plays in the entire thrid quarter. Campbell went 3-5 for 21 yards, which isn't Joe Montana numbers, but they aren't awful. They rushed 12 times for 8 yards. Yee haw. To be fair, that counts two sacks as rushing plays, so let's say they had 7 pass plays for 7 yards and 10 rush plays for 20 yards. But when you're facing 3rd and 6's and a 3rd and 12, it doesn't take a defensive genius to figure out what defense to call.

Having the complete opposite weekend was Georgia. Clemson was a trendy upset pick and why not? Georgia lost a good portion of their line and defense, and the Tigers had some explosive playmakers on offense. The line wasn't dominant, but it was good enough. The team averaged 4.0 yards per rush and allowed 3 sacks. Neither number is terrific, but it's a good start for a very green unit. Perhaps it won't be quite the weakness I had thought. UGa made a statement this weekend, and it was that they are still the team to beat in the SEC.

posted by Poseur 9/02/2003 12:31:00 AM


It's time for the west coasters to gloat a little. OK, Washington got creamed by Ohio St, but the Buckeyes are the #2 team in the country. Other than that game, it was a perfect weekend. USC rolled into Auburn and won. Oregon won in Starkville. Even lowly Cal clobbered a pretty good Southern Miss squad. Time for the Southern boys to eat a little crow.

I have nothing to say about the Oregon game only that their yellow jerseys are an affront to God.

As for USC, they just physically owned Auburn. How much of it is USC being really good and how much was Auburn? Well, if some coach was to break down the game film, what would he learn? How would he stop Auburn based on this game? Acquire USC's front seven. They didn't win because of schemes, they won because they have an unbelievably talented defensive front. OK, teams will pick on Auburn's corners and try to pressure Jason Campbell, but it's tough to say whether anyone will be able to exacute the plan like the Trojans.

I said it before the game, USC has more talent. On Saturday, they proved it.

posted by Poseur 9/02/2003 12:08:00 AM


Big 12

An interesting weekend in the Big 12, but let's get the formalities out of the way: Baylor and Kansas both stink. OK? On with the program.

I've heard a lot of talking heads blathering on about what this North Texas win means for Oklahoma. That the Sooners answered the questions surrounding their offense and blah blah blah. That is simply ridiculous. Oklahoma beat the tar out of a team from the Sun Belt. Admittedly, UNT is the best the Sun Belt has to offer, but that ain't saying much. Jason White went for 248 yards on 23 of 35 passing. Does anyone think White's ever going to put up numbers like this again (not counting the Baylor game). We learned nothing from this game. It was a tune-up. It's like saying Texas Tech is a great team because they beat SMU 58-10.

Iowa St and Texas A&M both would have liked bigger wins, but I'm invoking the first game rule. Teams often look bad in their first game and go on to a have wonderful seasons. This is their first time out there. If they play nearly as bad next week, then it's time to start worrying. A win is a win is a win.

Missouri has a defense? I'm not real high on Illinois this year, but they do have a pretty good offense. And for all of the hype Brad Smith and the Mizzou offense gets, the defense gets treated like a liability. Which, let's face it, we thought it would be. Instead, they may be the first team to ever successfully play bend but don't break defense. They gave up yards by the trucklaod, but held Illinois to 5 field goals. It's not going to go do down in the annals, but it's still a nice performance.

Colorado has a QB? The CU-CSU game was probably the best game of the weekend, and the difference was Joel Klatt. He faced off against one of the top QB's in the nation in Van Pelt and matched him drive for drive. And, in the end, it was Van Pelt who couldn't pull of the last-minute heroics while Klatt could. If Klatt is for real, Colorado goes from afterthought to legit Big 12 North contenders.

Finally, Oklahoma St has got to have someone on that campus that knows how to call a game better than their current offensive staff. Because that was just putrid. Why on earth were the Cowboys trying to run the ball against a stout defense? Are they aware that they have Rashaun Woods on their team? Have they seen him play football? He's only the best wide receiver in the country, throw him the ball. Woods had 32 yards and a touchdown mid-way through the first. He finished with 47 yards. That cannot happen. And this juts in, Nebraska's offense is terrible. The win is huge, but let's not suddenly think Nebraska is a title contender again. They still have some very serious problems.

posted by Poseur 9/01/2003 11:58:00 PM

The rest tommorrow...
posted by Poseur 9/01/2003 12:27:00 AM

Big Ten

The best team is still awesome, and the worst team is still awful. Other than that, we learned very little in Week One.

Count me among the converted. I rode the OSU bandwagon hard last season and then jumped off in the offseason. I never should have doubted them, and now I've lost my premium seat. Damnit. Rule one, always ride that hobby horse into the ground. OSU's offense did decline without Clarret, but it didn't matter because the defense was spectacular. It covers a lot of weaknesses when you allow a grand total of 7 yards rushing. Don't believe it when people sya they don't miss Clarrett because they do. It's just that they don't need their offense if the defense is this good.

Indiana was simply never even in the UConn game. There's just no way to break it down other than they got beat every which way a team can get beat. They are so clearly the worst team in conference that they might as well start planning basketball season now.

The rest of the conference is a mixed bag. It's just tough to get a read. Michigan played Name That Score over CMU as did Minnesota against Tulsa. They both got wins for glorified scrimmages. Penn St, Wisconsin, and Michigan St should have won by more, but it's early and maybe they were just shaking off rust. Or maybe things are bad. Illinois lost a game they should have, but kept it close. Northwestern beat an anemic Kansas team, which gives them confidence for their future matchup with Indiana.

The only team that we may have learned something about was Iowa. Miami's a good team, but Iowa just punished them. Roethlisberger got his yards, which was inevitable, but the Iowa D forced four picks, killing a lot of drives. Chadnler was boring but effective as the new QB and the running game really got going. Maybe the offensive line is in good shape. Or maybe it's just a win over a MAC team and we shouldn't read anything into. it. Still, in our preseason projections, Gioia rated Iowa as an upper division team, I had them in the bottom half. I'm thinking that my judgement was too harsh.
posted by Poseur 9/01/2003 12:27:00 AM

Big East

No real surprises. Miami? Still good. Rutgers? Still bad, but not as bad as last year. This year, they managed to beat Buffalo! Most places, a win over one of the worst programs in Division 1 would not lead to any celebrations, but Rutgers needs to take what they can get. VT went up 28 on UCF, let them back in the game, and then won by 21. It's safe to say they are a pretty good team, too.

The big games were both losses to Big Ten teams, but the Big East showed some strength, even in those losses. Nobody expects Temple to ever beat Penn St, but with five minutes to play, the Owls were within 10 points (they'd lose by 13). That's a remarkable acheivement for a down and out program. They also completely sbut down Zack Mills and moved the ball quite well on PSU's defense. West Virignia also lost, but they really impressed me. They blew a 17-7 lead to be sure, but Wisconsin is a Big Ten title contender. WVU went toe-to-toe with the Badgers and almost came out on top. They look like they are capable of beating one of the top three in conference this season. Anthony Davis rushed for 167 yards, but he's going to do that to a lot of teams. Also, Wisconsin's comeback took place with WVU's two best offensive players on the bench due to injuries. That's not an excuse, but an explanation. They look like a team that will pull an upset this season, and they showed themselves to be the #4 team in conference.
posted by Poseur 9/01/2003 12:14:00 AM


It's not a week the ACC will put on its future advertisements. They ventured out for five OOC games and went a staggering 2-3, and one of those was over 1-AA powerhouse Western Carolina. The ACC can't expand fast enough, because they did not ook like a very good conference in Week One.

We learned almost nothing about the top teams, only that they are far better than the worst teams in conference. Since Duke and UNC will fight all season for the cellar, it was nice of Virginia and FSU tostart them out on the right foot: shutout losses.

So what's up with the losses? Clemson just looked terrible against Georgia. Frankly, I don't think UGa is that much better skill-wise, so while the loss wasn't surprising, the 30-0 score certainly was. Unless Bowden can pull out one hell of a run, I think he's playing with borrowed time. His career in Clemson is probably over. They won't can him for another two months or so, but 7-5 doesn't play well down there and being a Bowden can only carry you so far.

Maryland got beat because they couldn't catch a single pass. NIU came out fired up, but even so, the Terps should never have lost this game. What's striking is that this is the first time in Friedgen's tenure that his team has lost a game it should have won. That's what makes this upset so big. Friedgen's never been upset before as a head coach. His receivers need to learn how to catch by next Saturday, or FSU is going to win by a two touchdowns.

The less said about BYU-GT, the better. And let's close on a positive. Wake Forest beat BC. The Deacons erased two fourth-quarter deficits to win the game. Even after going ahead in the final two minutes, the defense forced the game-sealing turnover on the following BC drive. BC fans are probably shaking their heads as they were clearly the more talented team, but they somehow managed to lose this game. BC had more first downs (28-15) and yards (448-316). Turnovers were even, 3 to 3. The difference? Wake didn't commit penalties, BC did. Jim Grobe keeps his teams in games by not making stupid mistakes. We said it in the preview, I'll say it again: Jim Grobe will not be at Wake Forest long so Deacon fans should appreciate this terrific coach while they still have him.
posted by Poseur 9/01/2003 12:02:00 AM

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