Shooting from the Lip
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Anyone else have an issue with Oklahoma pouring it on Missouri at the end of Saturday's Big 12 Championship Game? The Sooners were throwing bombs with a 55-21 lead and less than four minutes left. Yeah, yeah, I know. The Sooners were trying to become the first team in I-A history to score 60 in five consecutive games, but to me, that reason is not good enough. Just because you CAN score 60 doesn't mean you HAVE to. There have been plenty of great offenses in NCAA history that could've set such records but chose not to run up the score.
Others might claim Oklahoma needed to win big to assure itself a spot in the BCS Championship Game, but 55-21 was big. No one can tell me that the Sooners would've been denied a spot in the BCS title game if they had won 55-21 instead of 62-21.
And did you notice that the ABC broadcasters -- Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and sideline reporter Lisa Salters -- seemed to enjoy and celebrate Oklahoma tacking on late points? Salters, especially, asked Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and QB Sam Bradford about how much the record meant, and she should've followed up with a question about running up the score.
Oscar De La Hoya has been great for boxing -- a charismatic fighter with an Olympic gold medal and, from all accounts, a pretty decent fellow. But after he was dismantled by Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night, one can't help but question if De La Hoya has been one of the more overrated athletes in recent history. He has lost most of the big fights in his pro career -- to Shane Mosley (twice), Felix Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather and now Pacquiao. He made his name professionally by twice beating up the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, but Chavez was well past his glory days. Now, there's no one we really want to see De La Hoya fight, because who is any good that De La Hoya can beat? He can pretty much do whatever he wants, and he can continue working as a successful promoter. He can go into broadcasting. He can maybe even act. Let's just hope there’s one thing he doesn’t do again: fight.
Surprising stat of the weekend
ABC's Bob Griese had a stat that surprised me. Penn State's Joe Paterno has the longest tenure with one team, having coached the Nittany Lions for 43 seasons. FSU's Bobby Bowden is next with 33 years. And do you know who is third? Frank Beamer, who has been Virginia Tech's coach for 22 years.
Talking about the whole Plaxico Burress mess, CBS's Boomer Esiason managed to take a little shot at Fox and NBC, perhaps inadvertantly. He said to partner Bill Cowher, the former Steelers coach: "Did you win the Super Bowl with Plaxico Burress when he was on your team? No. You actually let him go the year before. That's right where the Giants find themselves -- no Plaxico Burress, no Jeremy Shockey, no Tiki Barber, no Michael Strahan, no Osi Umenyiora, no big problem.'' It's just funny that Esiason would say that with Barber now working for NBC's Football Night in America and Strahan working for Fox NFL Sunday.
Best and worst decision
Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez decided he will play for the Dominican Republic and not the United States in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. A-Rod was going to catch grief either way. He was born in the United States and played for the Americans in the 2006 tournament. His parents are from the Dominican Republic, and he once promised his mother he would play for that country. The way it usually works in hockey is once you start playing for one country in international tournaments, then that is only country you can play for. But if baseball allows players to switch teams and A-Rod wants to play for the Dominican Republic, that's his business, and no one should have a problem with it.
ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale called last week to repeat his belief that college basketball season should not start until Dec. 1. Already this season, we've seen big games such as UCLA-Texas, North Carolina-Michigan State, Duke-Purdue, North Carolina-Notre Dame. But is anyone noticing with all this college football going on?
Best story in college basketball
Well, since I've brought up college hoops, I should mention a nice little story going on at Michigan. The Wolverines were supposed to be an average team at best, but they are 6-2 and already have two victories over teams that were ranked No. 4 when they played them -- UCLA on Nov. 20 and Duke on Saturday. Ann Arbor can use some good sports news with Rich Rodriguez running the football program into the ground.
Best feature that was too short
ESPN reporter Kelly Naqi (the network's best reporter) had a piece on Outside the Lines with Jaguars lineman Richard Collier, who was shot 14 times this year, leaving him paralyzed below the waist and without his left leg from the knee down. Naqi asked all the right questions in Collier's first televised interview, but the piece fell flat because it was too short. It took up only half of the 30-minute program.
By keeping the feature so brief, viewers couldn't get to the bottom of exactly what happened the night Collier was shot, and viewers couldn't get a full grasp of the toll, emotional and physical, this tragedy has had on Collier and those close to him. In the end, it was hard to feel sympathy for Collier. Not because it wasn't an awful tragedy or he's an unsympathetic person, but because we didn't get to know him well enough.
ESPN's investigative work is, at times, outstanding. This piece could've been outstanding, too, if it had been given room to breathe. That's the whole point of Outside the Lines, isn't it, to run pieces that are too long to run on SportsCenter? So why put it on a half-hour show and cut it short?
Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is a beautiful football stadium, worlds better than Veterans Stadium. No one misses that dump. Well, actually, I do. One day a year. I miss when Army-Navy used to play on that dull blue-green artificial turf on cold, gray days. Older readers probably miss the days when the game was played at JFK in Philly. With a new stadium, and new uniforms with stripes and camouflage, it just doesn't seem like Army-Navy anymore.
Three things that popped into my head
1. If I had a Heisman Trophy ballot, I'd vote Texas QB Colt McCoy at No. 1, followed by Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford at No. 2 and Gators QB Tim Tebow at No. 3.
2. How did officials miss calling interference on USF's last play in the end zone on Saturday night at West Virginia? I'm convinced the Big East has the worst officials of the major football conferences, and not just because of that one missed call Saturday.
3. Oklahoma might be the only team in the country that has a chance against the Gators. Florida's victory against Alabama proved you can't beat Florida with a great defense. Your only chance is to outscore them.