Hey, I like Brent Musberger
Shooting from the Lip
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Best announcing team of the weekend
I know a lot of people out there don't like ABC's Brent Musberger, but I wonder if that's just more of a cliche for sports fans. "Oh, I hate Musberger,'' they say without really listening to the job he does. He's really not that bad, especially when you compare him to a lot of the dead weight out there calling football games. He and partner Kirk Herbstreit (a commentator who is always good) had an outstanding day calling the rip-roaring game between Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday.
The two were at their best when Oklahoma got a raw deal on a late hit when it appeared Texas quarterback Colt McCoy simply fell into his own bench, causing an uproar on the Longhorns sideline.
"The best officials?'' Musberger asked. "The Texas assistant coaches!''
Later, after another questionable roughing-the-kicker call, Herbstreit cracked, "We're going to have to get rid of yellow flags and get yellow cards out here with all the acting we've seen from some of these players.''
I think Mike Greenberg, half of ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning, was taking a shot at Americans when he pointed out that more people in 24 out of 27 NFL markets were watching a football game instead of the vice presidential debate. "We understand where our priorities are,'' Greenberg said. "The election is important, but it ain't football.''
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are 6-1, setting up this fun exchange on ESPN's coverage from the studio.
Rece Davis: "Minnesota is now bowl-eligible.''
Lou Holtz: "I picked them to be the team to show the most improvement. I knew this was coming.''
Mark May: "They were 1-11 last year. How could you know this?''
Holtz: "That's why I'm here. I got my crystal ball and it tells me, 'Minnesota will be better.'''
Most interesting point
ESPN football announcer Mike Patrick made a point no one has brought up before while calling Penn State's 48-7 victory against Wisconsin on Saturday night. Talking about Penn State's plain, but oh-so-cool uniforms, Patrick said he "swears'' the Nittany Lions used to make the numbers on their jerseys smaller so players would appear bigger. By the way, this team is 7-0 and ranked No. 3 in the country. Anyone who thinks Penn State coach Joe Paterno should not be coaching anymore needs to sit down and shut up before embarrassing themselves any further.
Best national Rays reference
"They've won this kind of game in the second half time and time again and time after time and that muscle memory showed. … I think this baby goes the distance.''
-- Mike Lupica, New York Daily News columnist, on ESPN's Sports Reporters Sunday after the Rays' Game 2 victory in the ALCS.
Best reason to stay up
TBS's late-night, postgame baseball show -- Inside MLB -- has become must-see TV. All the highlights, live interviews, good analysis. The crew of host Ernie Johnson and analysts Harold Reynolds, Cal Ripken and Dennis Eckersley is getting stronger by the day and has settled into a comfortable repartee. The show is not quite as good as the original -- TNT's Inside the NBA -- but it's worth watching.
Of course, the show is a whole lot more fun to watch after your favorite team wins.
The Sunday NFL Countdown show on ESPN is good, but it suffers from having too many people at the desk. All do a good a job, it's just a numbers thing. Too many voices. But one voice stands out, and that's Tom Jackson, who requires you to listen to everything he says because he manages to be level-headed, opinionated and never overly emotional or outrageous just for the shock value. On Sunday, he delivered an absolutely riveting, cut-to-the-bone criticism of the troubled Adam "Pacman'' Jones of the Cowboys.
"I'm going to ask you a question,'' Jackson said to his partners. "We all grew up in a neighborhood. I don't care who you are, you grew up in a neighborhood. Guy gets arrested six times, has 12 altercations with the police over a period of a couple of years, is guarded 24 hours a day like … some guy in prison, what would you say that guy was? It's a rhetorical question. I don't want to get anybody in trouble. What would you say that guy was''
How many analysts out there would have the guts to say something like that? Compare that to CBS's Boomer Esiason, who seemed perfectly content to sweep Pacman's latest troubles under the carpet during the NFL Today pregame show.
Three things that popped into my head
1. Because of Fernando Perez's speed it probably wouldn't have mattered, but could J.D. Drew have made a worse throw from shallow rightfield on the Rays' winning run in Game 2? The thing bounced twice and wasn't even close to home even though Drew was only 140 feet or so away. Boston catcher Kevin Cash probably didn't know whether to catch it or shoot it to put it out of its misery.
2. The Lightning is just going to have to wait until the Rays are done before Tampa Bay fans really pay attention. Judging by how the Bolts are playing at the moment, that might be a good thing.
3. Anyone else getting sick of NASCAR drivers fighting each other?