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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip/Monday edition



Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...


Worst mistake

As Times baseball writer Marc Topkin reported Sunday, it appears Rays television analyst Kevin Kennedy will be back next season under a similar deal he had this season, which means he would call about 100 games and the Rays would patchwork the rest.

What a mistake.

The problem isn't that Kennedy is returning. The issue is having him return on a part-time basis.

Opinions vary on Kennedy. Many of the fans I've heard from still miss Joe Magrane and aren't impressed with Kennedy. I thought Kennedy got off to a shaky start but improved during the season as he became more familiar with the team. And that's the issue. Do you want an announcer analyzing games for a team he's not around for a week or two every month? Furthermore, baseball is about continuity, about routine, about familiarity. Baseball fans don't typically watch every inning of every game. Instead, they drift in and out throughout the summer, watching a few innings a night. They want the same voices, and playing musical chairs with the analyst's chair comes off as amateurish.

Brian Anderson did a solid job filling in when Kennedy was off, but don't be surprised if the Rays lose him next season. Anderson might want to call more than 40-some games, and he could draw interest from other teams to be a full-time analyst.

Bottom line: Kennedy did enough in the booth following a highly popular analyst that he deserves a chance to return. It just would be nice if he was returning for 150 games.


Best announcer

Keith Jackson is forever known as the "voice of college football,'' and it's a title well-earned. But Jackson was a play-by-play guy. Have we ever had an iconic analyst on college football? The two who come to mind are former Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson and former Arkansas coach Frank Broyles, who worked with Jackson back in the day.

But we might have the best college football analyst ever working right now. ABC/ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit seems to know more about college football than anyone on the planet, and he passes along what he knows in a nonbiased, smooth, interesting and entertaining manner. He's not over the top with his enthusiasm, but you can tell he absolutely loves his job. And right now, nobody does that job better. These days, Herbstreit is the "voice of college football.''

Best guest
In a story about what former NFL receiver Plaxico Burress might expect when he goes to prison, ESPN's Outside the Lines interviewed former Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter, who gave a sobering account of what it's like to be in prison and warned that Burress could face those who try to extort money from him. Schlichter spent 10 years behind bars for various fraud and forgery felonies stemming from a gambling addiction.

"You're locked in a cell for a majority of the time, and that's just something no human is used to,'' Schlichter said. "As you go on, each day seems like a week, and each week seems like a month.''


Best and worst fan reaction

Okay, when it came to fans storming the field over the weekend:
Washington: The Huskies, who went 0-12 last season, beat No. 3 Southern Cal. Storming the field? Acceptable.

Virginia Tech: The No. 13 Hokies needed a last-minute miracle to beat a Nebraska team ranked six spots behind them in the poll. Storming the field? Not acceptable.

Best pick
Headline on Sports Illustrated's Web site all day Friday and Saturday morning:

"Why Washington Will Upset USC.''

Sports Illustrated staff writer Stewart Mandel not only called Washington’s 16-13 upset but predicted the margin of victory, too.

Worst pick
Last week, ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso earned kudos for calling Houston's huge upset of Oklahoma State. Sorry, but we have to point out that his big pick Saturday -- "BYU will beat Florida State by three touchdowns,'' Corso said — turned out to be a dud. FSU won by four touchdowns.


Worst attitude

Favorite quote of the weekend goes to ESPN analyst Lou Holtz, who said to partner Mark May, "Is there anybody you do like?''

It was meant as a joke, but there's truth in it. May knows his stuff althought he seems to subscribe to the theory that teams don't win games because they play well, but teams lose games because they don't play well. Even when teams win, May tends to look at the glass as half empty. And following in May's footsteps is ESPN analyst Robert Smith.

Most interesting point
ABC announcer Brent Musberger asked what the college football poll would look like now if there was no preseason poll and rankings were based on actual on-field performance rather than reputation. Musberger suggested that Miami, which is now ranked No. 9, might deserve the top spot after beating Georgia Tech and a Florida State team that knocked off Brigham Young.

Worst graphic
Late Saturday afternoon, ABC posted a graphic that showed the Gators were leading Troy 35-3 with two minutes left in the third quarter. Studio host John Saunders even gave the score before he announced that the graphic was a week old. Florida was actually playing Tennessee.


Most interesting report

NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora said Sunday that former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks could still end up with the Bears.

"They have asked Brooks for a two-week window to assess their linebacker situation,'' LaCanfora said. "If they have a linebacker get hurt … Brooks is on speed dial. Brooks badly wants to play for Lovie Smith, and he's a fit in the Tampa 2 system they run. Brooks feels like he still has something left in the tank, but at this point in his career, he's going to be selective in where he goes. There are some other teams out there that have had some linebacker injuries that are some options, but Chicago looks like the best fit.''

Weirdest moment
How strange was it that a studio analyst on one NFL pregame show was talking about rumors involving an analyst on another network’s pregame show? That's what happened when Fox's Terry Bradshaw said CBS's Bill Cowher could end up coaching Carolina if the Panthers fall apart this season.

"If (QB Jake) Delhomme plays another lousy game with those kinds of turnovers, look for John Fox's career with the Panthers to be over,'' Bradshaw said. "Bill Cowher desperately wants to get back in the NFL. Cowher will go down to Carolina.''


Most honest quote

This quote alone has made me an instant fan of NBC's new studio analyst Rodney Harrison. In the macho world of pro football, how refreshing it was to hear Harrison say this about Giants running back Brandon Jacobs:

"I played 15 years in this league and I went up against many backs -- big, small, fast, whatever. And Brandon Jacobs is the most intimidating running back I've ever had to hit. I can't lie to you, a couple of times I was afraid to hit him.''

How good is that?

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:43pm]


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