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Jul 20, 2010

Reggie Who? USC Removes All Public Displays of Bush, Mayo

It was going to take some major to get Your Face is a Sports Blog out of hibernation, and the hiring of Pat Haden as the new USC athletic director is about as big as it gets. While I have some concerns about hiring someone with zero experience in athletic administration, I’m generally OK with it. If you didn’t know, Haden was a Rhodes Scholar, which is something you’ll be hearing referenced a million times this year. He’s also earned a reputation as one of the classiest and most decent people in college football (as evidenced by Bill Dwyre’s sloppy wet kiss in the Los Angeles Times).

It’s obvious why Haden was the right choice for the job right now. He knows USC intimately but wasn’t involved in the recent scandals which have seriously dented the athletic department. If nothing else, the USC athletic program should be run ethically and with dignity, a complete 180-degree turn from the Machiavellian nature of the Mike Garrett tenure. His hiring sends a clear message to the NCAA that the school is serious about cleaning house as it appeals the severity of the sanctions slapped on the football program.

Clearly, new USC President Max Nikias is putting his stamp on the athletic department, and Garrett’s “retirement” is hardly a surprise. But Haden’s hiring is far from the only change coming to the athletic department. A memo sent to all USC employees today shows that the university is willing to go to great lengths to rehabilitate its image - and distance itself from the two players who were at the center of the athletic department’s fall from grace.

Buried at the end of the announcement of Garrett’s departure and Haden’s hiring is the news that the school is removing all public displays involving Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo before incoming students arrive in August. This includes removing Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy statue from Heritage Hall and returning it to the Heisman Trust.

The memo from President Nikias states that the “Trojan Family honors and respects the USC sporting careers of persons whose actions did not compromise their athletic program or the opportunities of future USC student-athletes.” Ouch. Depending on how you look at it, USC is either attempting to wipe the slate clean or conducting a hand-washing of Pontius Pilate proportions. The university has cleared decided to back away from the defiant nature struck by Garrett and Pete Carroll in the immediate aftermath of the sanctions and turned to Plan B: douse everything in bleach and start over.

In addition to pretending that Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo never existed, USC is also creating a new position to oversee the athletic department from the outside. They have hired high-powered Los Angeles lawyer (and former Small College All-American football player) David Roberts to fill the role of vice president for athletic compliance. This position will report to senior vice president of administration Todd Dickey and not the athletic department. Essentially, Roberts will serve as an “outside” source of oversight for the athletic department.

So in case you were wondering: you’ll apparently be able to see O.J. Simpson’s retired number at the Coliseum this fall but not Reggie Bush’s. With the resources of the school’s film program, I wouldn’t be shocked if they tried to digitally alter old game footage to replace Reggie Bush with a generic “RB #5” like from an EA Sports College Football game. The university is apparently very serious about sending the message to the NCAA that is changing the culture of its athletic department (and also apparently willing to make people like Bush, Mayo and Garrett into scapegoats). Whether it makes a difference remains to be seen.

Read the memo here.

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Feb 1, 2010

...Or How I Learned to Stop Thinking and Love the Lingerie Football League

Seattle Mist vs. San Diego Seduction of the Li...Image via Wikipedia

In sports, there’s a level of inverse proportionality that usually comes into play - the more hype there is surrounding an event, the more lackluster it usually becomes. The big fight is a bust, the must-see national title game turns into a blowout…sporting events rarely meet your expectations, much less exceed them. But on Friday night, I not only had my expectations exceeded but exploded like Neil Sedaka guesting on SCTV’s “Farm Film Report”: it blowed up good - real good! And I have the Lingerie Football League to thank for it.

Yes, that Lingerie Football League - the one that’s an off-shoot of the games played during halftime of the Super Bowl. I went to a game at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Friday night expecting tits and ass. But what I got was a lot more - tits and ass, PLUS more hard hits than I saw when USC was playing at the Coliseum all last season. It was a revelatory experience, kind of like when The Whizzer gets struck out by Roy Hobbes in the beginning of “The Natural” - except with more boobs (and thankfully, 100 percent less Joe Don Baker).

The league has ten teams, with only one game a week being played on Friday nights. (Imagine if the NFL was Monday Night Football and nothing else - except with more ass crack.) Last Friday night was the regular season finale, with the hometown Los Angeles Temptation needing to beat the San Diego Seduction in order to make it to the conference finals later this week and a chance at the LFL Finals -played during halftime of the Super Bowl at a Hooters in Florida. I think. (Frankly, it was all pretty confusing.)

The league plays seven-on-seven and the rules are like a tackle version of the intramural flag football league you played in during college. The neutral zone appears to be about three yards wide and players can’t line up within a certain width of the ball. (For a more complete description, consult your nearest LFL Rules Book.) As you can tell, I wasn’t that discriminating of a fan coming into it - I had heard through a friend about the game several months ago, then was reminded of it a couple of hours before the 9 p.m. kickoff. A couple of phone calls to find someone else willing to go with me (because going to a Lingerie Football League game alone is basically like hanging out at the strip club by yourself) and a very understanding wife later, and I was waiting in line at the Coliseum for tickets.

In retrospect, it was probably pretty wishful thinking for the Lingerie Football League organizers to book at 90,000-seat stadium for the game. Although the fact that the cheap seats ($21) started at Row 11 (versus twice that much for the first ten rows) tells you that they had a pretty good idea that it wouldn’t be a sell-out. In fact, there were maybe a dozen people who had foolishly bought the more expensive seats only to see the unwashed hordes (like myself) swarm down when they decided to open up the seating so it looked better on video.

I actually watched some of the opening night of play from earlier in the season, and it appeared that most of the “players” performed as expected: like lingerie models who were more interested in not breaking a nail or having a boob fall out of their top than actually playing football. So I had two things I was interested in seeing when kick-off started:

- Tits
- Ass

So what shocked me was how absolutely vicious the game was. The “equipment” is basically an extremely skimpy two-piece bikini, along with lighter shoulder pads and a roller hockey helmet. So I was expecting a lot of rolling around and alligator armed tackles since no one wanted to get hurt before their modeling session next week.

This - emphatically - did not happen. Specifically, the Los Angeles team seemed to decide that they actually cared about making the playoffs and were going pound the San Diego side into the ground. I saw at least a dozen hits that you could legitimately count as “decleaters” where some girl from Los Angeles squared her shoulders and dropped a San Diego player right on her back.

It was like watching Texas take on Louisiana-Monroe in the first game of a college football season. Los Angeles kept scoring and wouldn’t stop (insert your own double entendre here). The final score was 53-0, and ending with the two teams having to be pulled apart after a scrum on the last play of the game. And it wasn’t the roller derby level of fake anger but really we’re going to hang out at the bars together after the game - there was jawing back and forth, pushing, even someone giving the other team the Steve Austin-approved double middle finger salute.

Of course, it was also totally ridiculous. 90 percent of the crowd was totally bombed before the game, which hardly added to the level of intelligent discourse but certain seemed to get everyone fired up. Given the circumstances, even sober I couldn’t resist, especially when the vacuous LA radio personality who was providing play-by-play on the game would say things like “ooh, she got stuffed in the backfield by the LA defense.” Honestly, you guys know me - how am I not expected to shout “oh yeah, I bet she did!” back at this?

Was it worth my $21? Every penny and then some. Would I watch a game on TV? God no. Much like hockey, it’s the type of sport that really only works live. Except with more boobs.

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Jan 12, 2010

Lane Kiffin Is Your New USC Head Coach And I Think I'm Going To Be Sick

I’ve been spending the past hour writing and rewriting a post about Lane Kiffin bailing on Tennessee after one season to become USC’s new head football coach. I get a paragraph or so in, and then I feel like I need to go in a new direction and start from scratch (which, oddly enough, is exactly the opposite of how USC decided to go -HIYOOO!). I’d like to think that I’m a pretty cynical sports observer and that there are very few stories that shock me. But I’ll freely admit that my jaw dropped when I heard the news break over the radio this morning. (More specifically, I gasped like a 12-year-old girl who got to the part in Harry Potter where Dumbledore dies, but that’s beside the point.)


From a purely football standpoint, it’s a good move for USC. Rather than getting an NFL retread like Steve Mariucchi or Herm Edwards (and that lightning isn’t striking twice), they were able to lure an established college coach in who is intimately familiar with the program and has an Insta-Staff in place that can save the recruiting season.

(I’ll have to admit that as shocked as I am that Lane Kiffin is coming back to USC, I’m positively flabbergasted that Norm Chow is coming back to coach with him. After all, Chow left USC in the first place because he felt Pete Carroll was throwing him under the bus in order to promote the career of his golden boy coordinator-in-waiting - Lane Kiffin. Still, USC’s offense hasn’t been the same since Chow left, and losing him is a huge blow to UCLA. I wonder if Rick Neuheisel knows where the football dynasty in Los Angeles is now?)

But what I keep coming back to is a personal interest I have in the Tennessee football program. I come from a small town in central California, and my old high school’s quarterback is named Tyler Bray. Not only did he lead his school to the section title this season, but he became an elite-level recruit, finally landing at - you guessed it - Tennesee. In fact, he skipped his last semester of high school (where he was also a star basketball player) so he could graduate early and enroll at Tennessee to take part in spring football.

Well, now he’s stuck at Tennessee after the coach who sold him on the tradition and pride of Volunteer football caught a quick flight out of Knoxville for the bright lights of Los Angeles as soon as the plane could leave. Who knows who his coach will be next year (David Cutcliffe? Skip Holtz? Phil Fulmer?) and who knows what shape the program will be in. But unlike Kiffin, he can’t just go looking for the best offer. He’s either stuck eating a year of eligibility to transfer or hope that the new coach is as enamored of his talents as Kiffin was.

And that’s what sticks in my craw about the whole situation. As I wrote yesterday, I was getting tired of the creeping arrogance and smugness in the USC program. Now they’ve brought in a coach who takes all of those elements to another level. Tennessee fans had developed a love/hate relationship with Kiffin in just one year. He certainly wasn’t the genial Southern gentleman fans had become accustomed to in Knoxville. Much like a young Steve Spurrier, he wasn’t afraid to make bold statements and rub opponents the wrong way.

And he wasn’t afraid to play fast and loose with recruiting rules, which had already brought him under the crosshairs of the NCAA in his only season at Tennessee. Which makes him a curious choice for a program with the Reggie Bush situation lingering over its head and a basketball program already having self-imposed major sanctions for all manner of shenanigans. The NCAA might as well save some money by purchasing a condo for the rotating team of investigators who will be watching USC over the next few years rather than get hotel rooms over and over again.

Will it work on the field? It certainly could - Kiffin and Ed Orgeron are a formidable recruiting team, and we all know about Norm Chow’s ability as a coordinator. But if you’re a USC fan, are you really in love with the hire? Does it fill you with Trojan pride or a lingering feeling of dread. I remember having the same feeling when Tim Floyd was brought on to coach the USC basketball team, and we all know how that turned out.

That being said, I’d like to be the first to officially welcome Lane Kiffin’s wife Layla back to Los Angeles. If you are interested in making Your Face is a Sports Blog the site for your first interview as the First Lady of USC, just call me.


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Jan 11, 2010

Coming To Terms With Not Caring About Pete Carroll

Up until today, I’ve been hesitant to write anything about Pete Carroll’s departure from USC to become the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. This might be surprising to a lot of you who know me as a USC grad and proud Trojan. But my reluctance to put pen to paper about this story has nothing to do with any inability to come to terms with Carroll leaving USC, or a lack of ability to separate the animalistic nature of my fandom from my ability to provide in-depth, thoughtful analysis of the situation. No, the answer is far more insidious and something I’ve had trouble coming to terms with since the story first broke: I honestly don’t care anymore.


What was troubling for me in admitting to this fact is that saying that you don’t care that your team is losing a coaching icon seems a lot like saying that you don’t care about that team anymore. And while that isn’t true in the larger context, it is true in the short term. I went to one home game this year (and it was against Washington State, so that barely counts as a game) and I found a lot more reasons this year to catch games on Tivo rather than live. Taking the daughter to the zoo? Catch the game on Tivo. There’s a sprint car race 50 miles away? I can watch the game on Tivo later. Need to do grocery shopping? Kickball practice? Toenail degrouting? Tivo, Tivo, Tivo!

It would be easy to assume that I’m a fair-weather fan, and that my waning interest in the team was a product of the team’s relatively poor showing this year. But let me remind everyone that I went to school during the final years of John Robinson II (aka the Phoning It In Years) and the beginning of the era of He Who Shall Not Be Named (Paul Hackett). I saw some of the worst football imaginable, featuring indifferent or clueless coaches creating ill-advised game plans that were executed by overhyped, outmatched players. And yet those are some of my favorite memories of USC football.

So what’s the problem? Part of it is that I couldn’t stand the annual rite of one or two losses to far inferior opponents every year. They had different names: Oregon State, Stanford, Oregon, Washington, but the pattern would play out the same - USC would find a way to sleepwalk through three quarters before being forced to launch a furious rally that would fall short. And then at the end of the season, I’d have to hear other USC fans overload the airwaves, complaining about how if there was a playoff, USC would win the national title because they were playing better than anyone.

Teams lose to lesser competition - this is why football, especially college football, is so interesting. But no team has made such a habit of it as USC did under Pete Carroll. There were always excuses - calls that didn’t go USC’s way, star players being out - but at the end of the day, it always came down to not being ready to play and not being disciplined enough to execute.

USC probably avoided a lot more losses through much of Pete Carroll’s tenure at USC because of one thing - the coaching staff’s ability to make adjustments during the game. USC came out flat more often than not under Pete Carroll, but they were also (in the team’s heyday) as good of a second-half team as any recent football squad. A team could have a double-digit lead at halftime, and the only question would be how many minutes into the second half would it be before USC had taken the lead. And if USC led at the half? Forget it.

But this stopped happening the last couple of season, culminating in the 2009 season, which was a coaching disaster. I’ll have to go back to the dark days of Paul Hackett to remember a team that was so unconcerned about making changes at halftime. Either the coaching staff ran out of ideas about halfway through the season or they kept clinging onto the cute but ultimately wrong-headed notion that they didn’t need to make changes since USC had better players and would eventually smother the other team with talent, speed, power, aggression and attitude.

My indifference to Pete Carroll isn’t about individual choices (starting Matt Barkley as a true freshman, not being able to ever decide on one running back); it’s more about the attitude he fostered. There’s a line between “loose” and “rudderless,” and the team seemed to fall over the waterfall to the latter this season. Mental mistakes, dumb penalties, inattention to detail - these were the hallmarks of USC football the last couple of years. And if you want to credit Pete Carroll for shape the team’s attitude when things were going well, you also have to lay the blame on him when the attitude was clearly part of the team’s lack of success.

Here’s the thing: it was something special to be a Trojan fan during Pete Carroll’s tenure at USC. The highlight of my time as a student was beating a far-overmatched Northwestern team in one of the least compelling Rose Bowls in history. Since Pete Carroll came to USC, the level of achievement has reached unprecedented levels. And no amount of sour grapes or feelings of abandonment can change that.

But everyone knew Pete Carroll would leave for the NFL someday; it was just a matter of when. And the Seattle Seahawks job is about as good of a deal as he’s going to get: a healthy salary to stay on the West Coast, and a chance to be heavily involved in the front office (Seattle may be forced to hire a separate GM thanks to how badly they boned things in relation to the Rooney Rule, but I think we all know any GM who is hired is second banana to Coach Carroll). Plus, Seattle has enough defensive talent that they can compete next year in a weak NFC West.

So the inevitable has happened. The only question now is: what’s next. I have to assume that Mike Garrett is only nominally involved in the coaching search at this point, since he’s clearly a dead man walking at USC, waiting for the new school president to come in later this year and send him off to pasture with a fat “retirement” package. Whether USC hires Jack Del Rio, Jeff Fisher or someone else, it won’t be the same as it was under Pete Carroll - ever again. And I’m OK with that. It was an amazing run, but I was ready to move on, and I’m glad Coach Carroll was as well.



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Dec 29, 2009

Dick Enberg, the Padres and Announcers Who Are Ready for the Retirement Home

A few weeks ago I was perusing some sports news online when I came across a story that literally made me do a double take. It didn't involve a player or a coach, but a broadcaster. It was the news that Dick Enberg was taking over as the play-by-play voice for the San Diego Padres starting next season. Reading this got me very, very angry – and at first I couldn't figure out why.


Why would I be so bothered that Dick Enberg was taking a job doing TV broadcasts for the Padres? After all, he's something of a broadcasting legend, and by all accounts – and I've heard several living in Southern California – nothing but a class act. There was no rational reason I could think of why reading about his new gig in San Diego should bother me so much.

Then I thought back to the last few NFL games that I heard Enberg do and remembered something: he's really, really lost it. In the past few games I've seen him cover, he's mixed up teams and players, forgotten down and distance – all the sort of things that a “veteran” like him shouldn't be doing.

What got me so mad was the fact that he wasn't getting the gig because of his current abilities but based on what we remember him being like. It's a form of sports nostalgia that we want to hear familiar voices calling games for us. But at some point the people who have been calling games for decades need to realize that they are far on the downside of their careers and make way for some new talent.

Somewhere, some kid in his 20s with a ton of talent who deserves a chance with a big league club is stuck doing play-by-play for the Fresno Grizzles or the Chattanooga Lookouts because there aren't enough spots open with major league teams. Meanwhile, the Padres are signing Dick Enberg to a contract – not because he's going to be the voice of the Padres for years to come but because...well, he's a name and a voice that people know, so he's a safe bet. Chances are that the management who decided to make the hire hadn't heard him call a game in years.

Believe me, I understand the lure of a familiar voice. I'm lucky enough to live in Los Angeles and get the chance to hear Vin Scully call Dodger games on a regular basis. Even though I'm decidedly not a Dodgers fan, I still get goosebumps hearing him call a game. The difference with Vin Scully being that even at his advanced age, I can't remember the last time I heard him make a significant mistake during a broadcast.

I don't mean to pick on Dick Enberg – there are any number of longtime play-by-play guys who are currently holding on to their positions just because of seniority and the work that they've done in the past. One example that comes to mind is Dick Stockton, who managed to screw the dramatic final minutes of the New York Jets vs. Atlanta Falcons game up about as badly as possible. I was watching the game, so I saw and heard it firsthand, but I'll let the august New York Times give you the particulars of the train wreck:

Late in the fourth quarter, with the Jets up, 7-3, Atlanta scored on a pass to Tony Gonzalez. Stockton said: "And Atlanta comes within a point of tying the score with 1:38 in regulation."

Instead of correcting Stockton, Davis analyzed the replay. (It should be noted that Stockton accurately predicted that the fourth down pass would go to Gonzalez.)

As Matt Bryant lined up for the extra point, Stockton said, "And this is a very important point after by Matt Ryan." (Well, in the grand scheme of things, Stockton was right, but Ryan is the Falcons’ quarterback, not their place kicker.)

After Bryant’s successful kick, Stockton said: "We’re tied at 10."

And so the drama of the fourth down touchdown that could have ended the Jets' playoff chances (little did we know how far the rest of the AFC would sink and just how little respect the Colts would have for the integrity of the game) was completely sapped by a comically inept play-by-play call. Of course, if you read Awful Announcing you know this isn't the first time Stockton has blown a call this year.

But yet he's still out there calling big games! Why? Because HE'S DICK STOCKTON! You remember hearing him calling the Lakers vs. Celtics games from the 1980s, right? Are you going to be the guy who tells Dick Stockton that he doesn't have it anymore? Plus, calling any game is better than staying at home when this filly is waiting for you at the pasture:



I could go on. A few weeks ago ESPN let Gary Bender call a couple of NBA games when Marv Albert (a veteran who can still get it done) was down with a sore throat. You might not know who Gary Bender is, which is kind of crazy since he called some of the biggest college basketball games of the last 30 years? Remember when NC State beat Houston on Lorenzo Charles' putback as time expired in 1983? He called that game.

Well, he's still calling games more than 25 years later, but unlike fine wine he's not getting better with age. Here's fknmclane paraphrasing a call of a play involving Lou Admunson and Juwuan Howard (who I still can't believe is still in the league):

Gary Bender: "...and they're going to call a travel on Amundson."

Reggie Miller: "uh"

Gary Bender: "no, it's a charge."

Reggie Miller: "uh"

Gary Bender: "no, it's a block on Howard. They're calling a block on Howard."

Much like old generals, old play-by-play men don't die. But they don't fade away either – they just drift into regional broadcasts and local TV, clogging up the airwaves with their confusion and ineptitude until someone has the decency to put them (and the viewers/listeners) out of their misery.
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Dec 21, 2009

Sports Motivational Posters

Big Huge Labs has a fun program where you can make your own "Motivational" poster. You know, the one that your cheesy boss has of a rock climber that says something like "Endurance: Having the grit to hang tough"? So I thought, there are certainly some posters that could be made involving athletes in the news.





















Brett Favre:
Danica Patrick:
Kimbo Slice:

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Waffle House signs Tiger Woods to endorsement deal


Norcroft, GA - After losing several high-profile endorsements in recent weeks, Tiger Woods gained a rare new endorsement on Sunday, as Waffle House announced they had inked the embattled golfer to a multi-year deal.

Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers said that recent revelations of Woods' infidelity and other indiscretions in his personal life were far from a turn-off for his brand; in fact it brought Woods “closer” to the Waffle House demographic.

“When I heard that he wrecked his SUV after his wife was chasing him in the middle of night with a golf club because he was cheating on her, my first thought was 'Bingo',” Rogers said. “That pretty much sums up why most of our customers wind up eating at Waffle House in the first place.”

Rogers added that Woods' recent fall from grace made it possible for Waffle House to afford bringing him on-board as a celebrity spokesperson.

“Just like our All-Star Special, Tiger Woods is a great deal that's only going to be available for a limited time,” Rogers said. “It's fair to say that much like our hash browns are smothered and covered in gravy, Tiger's been smothered and covered in controversy lately.”

Waffle House will be filming their first commercial with Woods after the New Year. The planned 30-second spot will be dialogue-free and feature Woods drunkenly leering at a moderately-attractive Waffle House waitress. The commercial will end with the restaurant chain's new tag line “Waffle House: If It's Good Enough For Tiger, It's Good Enough For You.”

Woods released a statement through his Web site that was “thrilled” was the new endorsement and “didn't at all consider it to be a massive step down from Accenture or Tag Heuer.”

Woods replaces previous Waffle House spokesperson John Daly, who Rogers said was let go after “failing to live up to the brand image” by failing to get arrested or vomit on himself during a tournament over the past six months.

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Sep 8, 2009

NASCAR reviews in-race Twitter policy after 20-car crash

NASCAR officials today announced that they would review their social media policies after driver Robby Gordon caused a 20-car crash while posting a status update during this weekend’s Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.


“We’ve always been extremely fan friendly, and NASCAR always embraces ways to connect our fans with the drivers,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “However, maybe we need to scale that down a bit, at least during races.”

Gordon apparently took his eyes off the road during lap 72 of the race to attempt to update his Twitter page on the handling of his car. An in-car camera showed that while he was using his iPhone, he apparently did not see the pack of cars ahead of him slowing to go into the first turn, eventually causing a wreck that took out almost half the field.

“I don’t think we need to stop Twittering,” Gordon said. “I mean, it’s too bad that all those cars got wrecked, but the big issue is technology. I think if I can just weld the iPhone to my steering wheel, I won’t have to worry about fumbling for it.”

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Bobby Bowden: now 75 percent lifelike!

I’ve awoken from my stupor of college football, chocolate Zingers and RC Cola to reflect on the opening weekend. And not to get too hyperbolic about it, but I can’t remember a weekend loopier than this. Usually, the first week is nothing but powerhouses squashing “opponents” with the occasional Big Ten also-ran getting beaten by a MAC team, or a secondary player getting hurt.

Not this year, though: within the course of five days, several teams saw their national title hopes either created or destroyed while the reigning Heisman Trophy winner got piledriven into nothingness. And I’m not even getting into Punchgate yet. Here are some random thoughts on three things I learned after the opening weekend of the college football season:

Bobby Bowden is officially fossilized: I watched the entire Florida State vs. Miami game last night (which for once was actually decent) and I’m pretty sure that Bobby Bowden didn’t move once. Perhaps the assistants changed his position on occasion so he looked “lifelike”, but it was pretty obvious that either they’re just rolling out a wax likeness of Bowden, or he’s completely been fossilized like a dinosaur.

As McLane told me, at this point they’re just taking Bowden out “for his weekly walk” and plunking him on the sidelines while Mickey Andrews coaches the team, while Bowden quietly mutters about Charlie Ward’s point guard skills and where the hell is Chris Weinke?

The worst was the time management on Florida State’s final drive. After the Seminoles completed a pass to inside Hurricanes’ five-yard line with 47 seconds to go, they didn’t have another play ready to run. Instead, they had to have receivers running to the sidelines to wait for a play and then rely that to QB Christian Ponder.

Twenty seconds went by before they got the next play off. Of course, Florida State ran out of time to complete their comeback – think those 20 seconds mattered? To make it worse, the Seminoles had a time out and didn’t use it. And while all this confusion happened, Bowden just stood there with a glazed look on his face, as if he was watching the giant unicorns dance with Thelma Todd and Louise Parker somewhere in the distance.

Here’s Mark May breaking down the total collapse – and he’s being generous not to rip Bowden a new one just because he’s old and probably soiled himself (Bowden, not Mark May).

So much for the “little guys” being little: One of the most infuriating things I saw all weekend was Bob “0-3 in bowls” Davie rambling during the Boise State vs. Oregon game about how teams like the Broncos couldn’t compete week in and week out in “big boy” conferences like the PAC-10 because they lacked the depth. Which I think is a pretty pat and stale argument, but it wasn’t as bad as how he tried to prove his point.

He busted out a graphic that compared Boise State’s players taken in the NFL draft in recent years versus the PAC-10 average. As you would expect, Boise State was behind the PAC-10 average and well behind USC. Therefore, Boise State lacked the depth and the big play talent to compete.

This is, of course, a crock of crap. Looking past the fact that talent does not equal wins (as Davie should know from his wasted years at Notre Dame), let’s think about this for a second. Do you think that there were players from Boise State who were better than players from bigger schools but maybe didn’t get drafted because of where they were from? (Note: the Sarcasm Meter is off the chart at this point.)

I can promise you that at least 25 percent of USC’s late-round draft picks were only drafted because they started at USC, which made it easier for some player development guy to justify taking them versus a small-school player. After all, if he started at USC, he must have talent, right?

If there’s one thing we can take from this weekend, it’s that the “BCS Busters” don’t have to rely on trick plays and getting teams into shootouts to win games. Both Boise State and BYU beat major programs this weekend by playing hard-hitting, physical football and basically imposing their will on the “bigger” teams.

And I don’t want to hear that Sam Bradford’s injury means that there is an asterisk on BYU’s win. It’s not like the Sooners’ offense was burning up Cowboys Stadium before Bradford got hurt. And why was he hurt? Because the Cougars were able to get constant pressure on him, and eventually he paid the price. The Sooners’ offensive line was bad with or without Bradford, and BYU made them pay the price.

Terrelle Pryor can’t throw the football: Let’s put it this way – Navy’s QB looked like John Elway when compared to Pryor. If I were Jim Tressel, I’d be less concerned about Pryor’s message welcoming his boyhood hero Michael Vick back into the NFL and more concerned that Pryor is turning into an on-the-field version of Vick: scrambles into trouble as much as he does out of it; can’t keep his eyes upfield while running; and a powerful arm combined with worthless aim.

I’d really like to see a scenario that someone can develop where Ohio State doesn’t crap the bed this weekend against USC. And “Matt Barkley vomits on himself” is not a valid option – USC is going to run early and often and not put Barkley in a position to make big mistakes.

Posted by The Duke of Everything 0 comments

BallHype: hype it up!

Aug 31, 2009

I'll take the credit for Usain Bolt's long jump plans

I would estimate that 90 percent of the content on this blog is satirical articles with no bearing no relation to reality, where one of us takes a real-life sports situation to the nth degree of ridiculousness (the other 10 percent being blowhardy opinion pieces). Of course no one is going to believe that Tom Brady is actually a zombie or that Vijay Singh has been placed in Gitmo.

So when the real world of sports collides with the fantasy world of this blog, it’s a frightening thing. And that apparently happened over the past week. I was tracking the site numbers earlier in the week (as tears streamed down my face) when I noticed a huge spike in hits for a story from the Beijing Olympics about Usain Bolt getting bored and entering and winning the gold medal in the long jump.

The premise was simple: Bolt is such a freakishly good athlete that he could win something that requires years of training without really even trying. Of course, it seemed like utter lunacy. But after seeing that thousands of people were reading this story, I decided to read some sports news (I hate sports) and discovered that, in fact, the story was freakishly prescient: Bolt is now talking about trying the long jump when his sprint career winds down.

Of course, Bolt may be about as serious in his statement as our original story was. Then again, if this means there at least a chance to Jerry Jones might install a crocodile infested moat at Cowboys Stadium (like from the old “Pitfall” game), I’m all for it. There’s no point in shying away from the power that I have when it could clearly be used for good.

So, I’m taking orders for what you want to see happen in real life. $50 gets you something simple, like your team winning a championship. Injuries to your least favorite players are priced according to the sport and the severity of the injury. I won’t do deaths. (The exception being Al Davis, although I don’t know if even my powers can get rid of him; remember, only cockroaches and Al Davis will survive a nuclear holocaust.)

Posted by The Duke of Everything 0 comments

BallHype: hype it up!