Shooting from the lip/Nov. 28th edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Worst attempt at humor
I dont think ESPN college football studio analyst Lee Corso's use of a curse word a week ago on College GameDay was a fireable or even suspendable offense, although I don't understand how someone who has been on television for nearly 25 years makes that mistake. Still, it's not the worst thing that has ever happened on TV, and Corso gets some slack because it was so out of character. Having said all that, I wasn’t crazy about Corso trying to make a joke out of it Saturday by putting a piece of tape over his mouth during his prediction segment. You said a bad word during the middle of the day on a show that kids might watch. You apologized. Now just move on instead of turning the whole thing into a gag.
Take a moment and consider what ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit did Saturday. He was up early enough to be on the air for College GameDay at 9 a.m. in Auburn, Ala. After three hours of top-tier analysis and insight, he hopped on a plane and flew across the country to northern California to expertly call the Stanford-Notre Dame game, which kicked off at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Then he continued to offer excellent analysis on SportsCenter well after midnight. That's something like an 18-hour work day, and everything he said, as always, was first-rate. Best in the business, folks. Best in the business.
Going back to Friday's LSU-Arkansas game, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino was bent out of shape because LSU was still throwing and then kicked a field goal with a 38-17 lead and still more than five minutes left. What was LSU coach Les Miles supposed to do? Still playing hard against the third-ranked team in the country with more than five minutes left and building a 24-point lead doesn't seem out of line.
Meantime, Petrino must have forgotten some of the things he has done this season. Against a pathetic New Mexico team, the Razorbacks continued to throw with a 35-point lead in the fourth quarter on their way to a 52-3 victory. They continued to throw with a 28-point, fourth-quarter lead against Tennessee. They continued to throw with a 17-point lead and five minutes left in a 38-14 victory against Auburn. They kicked a fourth-quarter field goal with a 24-point lead against Mississippi State and then tacked on another touchdown in a 44-17 victory.
Petrino didn't do anything wrong in those games. Miles did nothing wrong Friday. So why was Petrino so rude to Miles after the game?
Trade of the day
New York Daily News sports media columnist Bob Raissman points out that if ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst Bobby Valentine becomes the next manager of the Red Sox, he could be replaced in the broadcast booth by former Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Thus, ESPN and the Red Sox would have, in effect, made a trade. Quite frankly, ESPN would have gotten the better of the deal.
Most chilling audio
ESPN's Outside the Lines on Sunday had audio of a 2002 telephone conversation between Bobby Davis, the former Syracuse ball boy accusing Orange assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of molestation, and Fine's wife, Laurie. Davis taped the conversation with Fine's wife, who seemed to confirm she was aware of the abuse and that Fine "has issues.'' Meantime, a third man has now come forward to claim he was abused by Fine. OTL said it hired a voice-recognition expert to analyze the audio tape, and that expert said the voice on the tape matches the voice of Laurie Fine.
What's interesting is ESPN has had the tape since 2003 but didn't run it until Sunday. On its website, ESPN said, "ESPN did not report Davis' accusations, or report the contents of the tape, because no one else would corroborate his story.''
Fine, 65, was fired Sunday after 35 years as an assistant coach. There's still an awful lot about this story that is sketchy and confusing and a whole lot more messy after ESPN's report Sunday.
Miami Herald columnist Israel Gutierrez, talking on Sunday's Sports Reporters on ESPN2: "If Urban Meyer does end up taking the Ohio State job, then that man is a miracle worker … because in just one year he has cured himself of a serious stress-related illness and watched all of his kids grow up.''
Most on-the-mark comment
All of the Sunday morning NFL pregame shows talked about the actions of Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and, pretty much to a man, the commentators criticized Suh's behavior and dirty style of play. They all said the same thing. They just used different words. But it was ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman who made the best point of all.
"It's turning a lot of people against (the Lions) and a wonderful story,'' Berman said.
Thank goodness Bob Davie was hired to coach New Mexico next season because that means he will no longer serve as a college football analyst on ESPN. As a person, Davie seems like a heck of a nice guy. As an analyst, Davie seems like, well, a heck of a nice guy. His analysis is vanilla, obvious and lacks strong opinions.
Take Saturday night when Davie was asked point-blank by announcer Bob Wischusen if the hit that knocked Gators QB John Brantley from the game was dirty? (By the way, yes, it was.) Davie talked and talked and talked and never really gave an answer. Here's hoping Davie, a former Notre Dame coach, has great success at New Mexico so he can remain on the sidelines.
ESPN's College GameDay gets a thumbs-down for not working the Urban Meyer-to-Ohio State story a little harder. It's understandable that Meyer, who begged out of ESPN assignments on Saturday, wouldn't comment, but it would have been nice if GameDay had done more to address that Meyer walked away from coaching a year ago and now seems poised to take on one of the most pressure-filled jobs in the country.
By failing to address it more than it did, GameDay made it seem like it was not willing to question its current broadcast partner. Hopefully it will show a little more chops this Saturday. If you're going to be the show of record for college football, you need to step up on stories such as when one of the biggest names in coaching takes one of the biggest jobs in the country.
Three things that popped into my head
1. This sums up the sad state of affairs of college football in Florida. You could make an argument that the two worst games of the year were the USF-Miami game on Nov. 19 and the Florida-FSU game on Saturday.
2. When the NHL schedules teams to play on back-to-back nights, it’s an attempt to spice up rivalries. But watching the Lightning and Panthers on back-to-back nights over the weekend wasn’t spicy. It was tedious.
3. I don't care if Tim Tebow knows how to throw a football or not. When he plays, he is fun to watch.