Shooting from the Lip/Nov. 30th edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Most appropriate coverage
CBS went crazy over Tim Tebow's final game in Gainesville on Saturday. It went live for his introduction as he took the field (something you never see at a college game), interviewed him after the game and showed a ton of tributes in between. No network has ever dedicated that much coverage to a college football player.
Was it too much? Did CBS go overboard? Not at all because we're talking about, quite possibly, the greatest college football player ever. The only blunder CBS could have made was not dedicating enough time to Tebow's remarkable career. And it was the perfect game to do it, seeing as how Florida, as expected, blew out the Seminoles.
With the Tebow tribute out of the way, CBS can now dedicate this week's SEC Championship Game to the game itself, which is the way it should be. Saturday was all about Tebow. CBS recognized that and handled the day perfectly.
Most controversial coverage
This Tiger Woods business gets fishier by the day. He had a single-car accident in his neighborhood at 2:30 Friday morning, and he still hasn't spoken to police about exactly what happened. The panel on ESPN's Sports Reporters pointed to this as a crucial time in the public's perception of Woods.
"Somebody ought to sit this young man down and point out all the other people who have gotten themselves into a jam in sports and celebrity,'' said New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, who mentioned David Letterman's recent indiscretions and how Letterman immediately and publicly owned up to them -- something Woods has yet to do.
"The people who try to come up with fish tales are the ones who get themselves in trouble,'' Lupica said. "The gap between the accident and anybody getting anything out of Tiger is going to make people suspicious when they get what I assume will be an incredibly layered and nuanced explanation.''
So was Tiger in an argument with his wife? Exactly how did he hit a fire hydrant and a tree? And where exactly was he going at that time of night? Lupica made an excellent point for all those who think this is a private matter: "Not when you've made billions being a public figure and not when it becomes a police matter.''
Most interesting comment
Bad news for all those anti-Gators out there who think Florida's run as the dominant team in college football will end with Tim Tebow's graduation. CBS analyst Gary Danielson had high praise for Gators backup John Brantley, who is expected to be the starter next season.
"I think Brantley is one of the top five quarterbacks in the (SEC) right now,'' Danielson said.
ESPN's Pat Forde reported who is on Notre Dame's wish list for its next coach. The interesting name is former Bucs coach Tony Dungy. Forde listed Oklahoma's Bob Stoops at the top, followed by Cincinnati's Brian Kelly, Dungy and TCU's Gary Patterson.
Best Dr. Frankenstein imitation
Want to build a perfect NFL quarterback? CBS's Bill Cowher did just that on Sunday's pregame show. His perfect quarterback would have the head of Peyton Manning, the leadership of Drew Brees, the poise and decision-making of Tom Brady, the arm of Ben Roethlisberger, the legs of Vince Young, the experience of Kurt Warner, the courage of Philip Rivers and the exuberance of Brett Favre.
Partner Boomer Esiason had a nice line when he looked at Cowher and said, "I want to build myself the ultimate coach. I'm going to start with the chin.''
Most underrated broadcasters
What a shame that the college football broadcast team of Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge calls the ESPN prime-time game on Saturdays. The shame is that the featured game at that time is usually the best game of the day and is shown on ABC with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit calling the action. Fans don't get to hear just how good Nessler and Blackledge are because they are calling a game few fans want to watch.
Shelley Smith's tear-jerking piece about a 12-year-old fan of Southern Cal on ESPN's College GameDay was not only the best piece of the weekend but a front-runner for best feature of the year. The story was about Jake Olson, a seventh-grader from California who lost one eye as a baby because of cancer. He recently learned that he would have to have an operation to remove his other eye, thus leaving him blind. Olson spent the final weeks of sight hanging out with the USC football team. The feature followed Olson in the days leading up to his surgery, as well as a heartbreakingly detailed account of the morning of his surgery. Then it showed the days immediately after his surgery, including his return to a USC practice.
The story showed the incredible compassion of USC coach Pete Carroll and his players but, more than that, the courage, strength and grace of little Jake.
After the piece aired, the Gator fans in Gainesville during the live broadcast of GameDay began chanting, "Jake, Jake, Jake,'' while analyst Lee Corso threw away a piece of paper.
"I was going to pick UCLA to beat USC, but not after seeing that,'' Corso said.
Will Charlie Weis be fired as Notre Dame’s football coach? If so, who will replace him? Those are the big questions facing Notre Dame these days. But ESPN College GameDay's Kirk Herbstreit has a bigger question about Notre Dame: Why does anyone even care?
"For 15 or 16 years, Notre Dame has been irrelevant when it comes to the upper echelon of college football,'' Herbstreit said. "This is a seven-win, eight-win team every year at best. … So why do we continue to talk about Notre Dame like they’re something special when in the last 15 or 20 years, they're not? Knute Rockne doesn't coach there. This is 2009. They have not mattered since 1993.''
But GameDay host Chris Fowler told Herbstreit: "You're crazy if you don't think Notre Dame is a special place.''
The best sports reality show on television is HBO's 24/7 series, a behind-the-scenes look at two boxers as they get ready for a big fight against one another. It is so good that you have to wonder why HBO doesn't do the 24/7 format for other sports. Well, someone at HBO must have wondered, too, because the network has plans to do a 24/7 series on NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson as he prepares for the Daytona 500. The first episode is scheduled to air Jan. 26, 2010.
Three things that popped into my head
1. When talking about the Canadian Olympic hockey team, it's hard to imagine that the Lightning's Steven Stamkos is not one of the 12 best Canadian forwards in the NHL.
2. A lot of fans are tired of the NBA’s Allen Iverson, but surely there is some team out there that can use a guy who averaged 17 points a game last season. Heck, he's only 34, and for all the criticism, no one who knows anything about basketball can knock the all-out effort Iverson gives during a game.
3. As far as I'm concerned, Stanford running back Toby Gerhart locked down the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night with his 205-yard, three-touchdown performance, which also included throwing a touchdown pass, against Notre Dame. He leads the nation with 1,736 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns and has been the best player in the country this year.