Shooting from the lip
Picking on ABC's Brent Musburger is like fishing with dynamite. It's so easy. And, frankly, a lot of it is unfair because he isn't that bad of an announcer. Making fun of him has become a running joke for sports fans. But what he said Saturday night at the end of the Florida State-Boston College football game was more than a simple slip of the tongue. It was inexcusable and insulting. Referring to all the No. 2 teams in the country that had fallen, Musburger listed USC, LSU, California and … "Florida Southern.''
Florida Southern? It wasn't that he just had his words turned around, it was completely ignorant. No way that mistake can be made. Seriously, it's like calling LSU "Louisiana Tech'' or calling North Carolina "Western Carolina.'' Maybe USF doesn't have a long tradition and maybe it's just now becoming part of the national consciousness, but as soon as the words came out of his mouth, Musburger should've realized what a horrible mistake he made. And someone in the booth should have said something in his ear so he didn't come off looking like a total buffoon.
Most disturbing story
Outside the Lines had a chilling story on the epidemic of football concussions at the high school level. There is no way to determine exactly how many players suffer concussions. Estimates range wildly between 5 and 47 percent, according to the OTL story. But what is truly scary is how kids lie to get back on the field and concussion symptoms are ignored or not recognized by coaches, staff and, worst of all, parents. One player was playing with a 20-year-old helmet and suffered permanent brain damage because of a concussion. And yet there were reports of parents and coaches encouraging their kids to "get back in there.''
"What's more important?'' Kira Au, a certified athletic trainer told OTL. "Saving your kid's mental health and their brain? Or taking care of their position on the team?'' All parents with kids who play or want to play youth football need to find this piece and watch. And maybe they'll think twice about letting their kids play at all.
The season of embarrassment continued for Notre Dame on the Saturday as the Irish lost to Navy for the first time since Roger Staubach was a junior Midshipman in 1963. Yet, Charlie Weis and his Irish stood respectfully in front of the Navy fans while they sang their alma mater. Weis might be doing a lousy job of running the program on the field, but he still is showing grace and class.
Speaking of Notre Dame
Notre Dame's fall still is hard to fathom. How does a program drop this fast?
Don’t give me that Notre Dame is hamstrung by tough entrance requirements. That has always been the case and the Irish have always ended up with more than their share of blue-chip recruits.
Don't give me that the schedule is too tough. They've played only three teams that are currently ranked and only one (a still overrated Boston College at No. 8) is in the Top 10.
Don't give me bad luck. Sure, it lost in triple OT Saturday, but check out the margins of defeat in the other games: 30, 21, 38, 17, 14, 13, and 38 points. So what gives?
As bad as things are going for Notre Dame, they might even be worse for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are 4-6 after Kansas hung a 76 on them Saturday. On ESPN's Sports Reporters, Stephen A. Smith said:
"(The university) should've had security outside the doors of (coach) Bill Callahan's, banning him from his own office and sending him home in a cab. That was just a disgraceful performance.''
Callahan almost certainly is going to be fired and some think the sooner the better. "It would be better to keep the recruits from going by making the move now,'' CBS college football analyst Spencer Tillman said.
Most interesting story
ESPN's College GameDay did a neat story about four brothers — a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior — who are playing football for the same school: Division III Linfield College in Oregon. It's believed to be the first time four brothers have played on the same college team at the same time. Now the really cool part? They're the grandsons of Meadowlark Lemon, the legendary showman of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Fox NFL insider (and follicly-challenged) Jay Glazer, talking about the chances of the Titans' Pacman Jones getting reinstated this season: "He’s got about as much chance as I have to regrow hair, which is none.''
Our weekly contribution from ABC/ESPN NASCAR analyst, Dr. Jerry Punch. Talking about the obstacles Carl Edwards had to overcome trying to clinch the NASCAR Busch Series title in Saturday's event at Texas, Punch said, "When you're chasing a championship, crickets become dinosaurs.''
I'm not 100 percent sure what that means, but I liked it.
New York Islanders coach Ted Nolan did a cool thing Saturday by inviting Hall of Famer Al Arbour back to coach one day to reach 1,500. And you know, the Islanders could've done it on a weeknight against some lousy team to draw a crowd, but instead made the night truly about Arbour by having him return on a Saturday night against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, one of the marquee teams in the hockey.
Leftover of the week
Analysts are still going back and forth about Georgia's celebration on its first touchdown against the Gators two weeks ago. Some say Mark Richt didn't do anything wrong by encouraging his team to get a celebration penalty. Others still have a problem with it, even after Richt apologized. But CBS analyst Tony Barnhart put it best. No matter which side you come down on, Barnhart said, "I tell you what it did do: It threw a big old bucket of fuel on the Florida-Georgia game next year.''
Geez, Ohio State is looking more impressive each week, even better than last year's team. The past two weeks, the Buckeyes have beaten two good teams — Penn State on the road and Wisconsin. But not everyone is ready to put Ohio State in the national title game.
CBS college football analyst Tony Barnhart said, "Don't put Ohio State in too quick. The best time to play Ohio State is the week before they play Michigan. They play Illinois (Saturday). Illinois has got a lot of athletes. I'm telling you Illinois, then Michigan. Ohio State is not in New Orleans just yet.''
And consider this: three of the past eight seasons, Ohio State has lost the week before the Michigan game and two of those losses came against Illinois.
USF didn't deserve to win Saturday against Cincinnati. No team that commits eight turnovers on a beautiful day ever can complain about losing. But what in the heck was Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly thinking by running a fake field goal to give the Bulls the ball near midfield for the final drive? That's the kind of play that if it ends up burning you — and it nearly burned Kelly — you end up with students putting a "For Sale'' sign on your front lawn.
After the sexual harassment case involving the Knicks, Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan, on ESPN's Sports Reporters, said, "With (chairman James) Dolan and (president/coach Isiah) Thomas as the faces of the organization, the Knicks are an ongoing embarrassment to the NBA, the city of New York and the world of sport in general.''
Maybe it wasn't the worst thing in the world for the Colts to lose the Patriots on Sunday. Yes, it means New England might have just earned a homefield matchup against the Colts in the AFC Championship Game, but the Pats just proved they can beat the Colts under perfect weather conditions. Maybe the Colts, who have a better running game than New England, would have a better shot winning on a cold and/or snowy field in January.