Shooting from the lip
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr was barely off the field Saturday when news broke that he would announce his retirement Monday and ESPN quickly threw out the names of LSU's Les Miles, Cincinnati's Brian Kelly and West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez as replacements. Good stuff.
The bad stuff: Carr is leaving. Yes, Michigan fans are probably doing backflips today because Carr can't beat Ohio State. But, still, the guy was there 12 seasons and won five Big Ten titles and a co-national championship after the 1997 season. At most places, that will get you a contract extension, not the urge to run you out the door.
Why does any sport even try to go up against the NFL? The latest is Major League Soccer, which held its championship game on Sunday afternoon. Soccer, of all sports, should know better. All soccer people do is gripe about how Americans miss the boat on their sport and how people should watch it and blah, blah, blah. And then they schedule the ultimate game of the season while everyone is watching the NFL. That makes no sense. Why not put the game on at night during the week? At least then you have a fighting chance. By the way, the overnight Nielsen rating for the MLS game was a 0.9 -- meaning less than 1 percent of all homes with TVs were watching. Heck, that's what the LPGA got and even less than some motorcross on Sunday afternoon event picked up.
Fox NFL Sunday analyst Howie Long, talking about why Dolphins running back Ricky Williams is allowed to play in the NFL and the Titans' Adam "Pacman''Jones isn't: "The only person Ricky is going to harm is himself. The only danger you are in around Ricky is secondhand smoke. He's no threat to society. Bad things happen to people who are around Pacman.''
NBC's Jimmy Roberts said: "It has been a crazy year in college football. Florida has lost three games, but individually, who has sparkled more than Tim Tebow?''
Answer: no one. Hard as it is to imagine, this guy is going to win the Heisman Trophy. Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon seemed like the front-runner, but now he's hurt and out for the season. Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel still is in the running, but Tebow's amazing season , regardless of the Gators' record, probably is enough to nudge out Daniel.
Best pat on the back
Legendary Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry is still riding the Vinny Lecavalier bandwagon. He has always loved the Lightning center, but Saturday night, he went a step further and called Lecavalier the "best player in the NHL.''
ESPN's Outside the Lines tackled the Barry Bonds indictment issue and a good point was made as to why Bonds seems to be singled out for steroids even though it's becoming more apparent Bonds wasn't the only who might have used illegal stuff over the past 10 or 15 years.
"When you're the biggest fish and the least cooperative,'' ESPN's Howard Bryant said, "that's a bad combination.''
Most interesting interview
I've ripped Fox's Pam Oliver in the past, so it's only fair to give her credit when she does a nice job getting an athlete to open up like she did Sunday with Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens. T.O. said that former coach Bill Parcells never liked him. "I was really (owner) Jerry'ss (Jones) guy.'' He also said he's done with his antics and will let his "play do the talking.''
But ever the voice of reason, Fox analyst Terry Bradshaw said: "I'm not fooled by it because a lot of that interview was 'me, my, I' and that's the way it's always going to be. I challenge anybody out there to not forget the way he has acted pretty much his entire career. He's a great player, and I'm sure I would've liked to play with him, but I'm not fooled by all this. I would still be skeptical if I was his teammate.''
Just last week, Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN's College GameDay told the Two Cents that part of the reason the show works is the "amazing features'' that might make you laugh or cry. Right on cue, GameDay did both Saturday.
The laugh: 50-year-old analyst Gary Garber got a mohawk for a story about the most popular haircut in college football these days. (By the way, USF quarterback Matt Grothe was, appropriately, featured.)
The cry: A touching story on the bond between the Indiana University football team and Jane Hoeppner, wife of former Indiana coach Terry Hoeppner, who died from complications of a brain tumor at age 59 in June.
Strangest opening to a question
Sideline reporter Craig Sager, filling in for the pregnant Alex Flanagan on NBC's Notre Dame coverage, opened a question to Irish coach Charlie Weis by saying, "Coach, you’re going to be around for many years to come …'' What!? Is Sager now a booster with inside information? Was he trying to suck up to Weis? Maybe Weis will be at Notre Dame for years to come, but after the job Weis has done this season, how can anyone say he will be there for "years to come?''
Watching HBO's Boxing After Dark on Saturday, it dawned on me that former heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis is a good analyst. Check that. A really good analyst. Technically speaking, there might not be anyone better. For example, at one point he noticed how one of the boxer's had a mouthpiece too big for his mouth and how dangerous it is to fight with an open mouth. Lewis has a sense of history, he knows all the current boxers and his quick analysis of the action in the ring might be second to none. Plus, he has a cool accent. What else do you want?
ESPN's Chris Mortensen said on his pregame show that Raiders No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell would make his debut Dec. 2 at home against Denver. Fox's Jay Glazer, on his show however, said the quarterback would see a few snaps on Sunday. Who was right? Well, Russell didn't play Sunday. And it remains to be seen if Mortensen is right on his Dec. 2 prediction.
Most questionable list
CBS NFL analyst Bill Cowher came up with his list of best current quarterbacks. The top two were no surprise: Tom Brady of the Patriots and Peyton Manning of the Colts. Rounding out the top five were Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, Green Bay's Brett Favre and Dallas' Tony Romo. Cowher: "When I did this I used the criteria; Past — what have they done with their career? Present — how are they playing? And, future — what kind of potential do they have? I could only come up with 18 quarterbacks.'' And not one of them was named Jeff Garcia.
Remember when you were younger and at halftime of college football games they would show the marching bands? Now, we're given halftime shows with scores and highlights. I suppose that's good, but I still miss the marching bands. Well, NBC came up with a nice solution during Notre Dame games. You could log on to NBC.com and watch the bands. Unfortunately, NBC's Notre Dame coverage for the season is over, but here's hoping it brings back that feature next season.