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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

USF Bulls off and running again



Shooting from the lip
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

Usf Best team
Haven't we seen this before? USF's football season is looking eerily similar to last year's breakthrough season -- a fast start highlighted by an early season weeknight victory on national television. And, based on the Bulls' schedule, they might again run their record to 6-0 and move into the Top 5 in the polls. In fact, if they keep winning, they should be favored in every game going into the regular-season finale at West Virginia.

After watching USC destroy Ohio State on Saturday night, it's hard to imagine USF could compete with a team like that, but it does appear to be, so far, the class of the Big East. Two ESPN analysts are already singing USF's praises.

Todd Blackledge said, "South Florida has kind of positioned themselves now as the team to beat in the Big East.''

College GameDay's Kirk Herbstreit added, "For South Florida, this is huge. This is one of those years when everybody is trying to figure out early: Who's the team to beat in each conference? This team, I think, has established itself as the team to beat in the Big East.''

Worst pick
I hate to pick on College GameDay's Lee Corso, but he chose UCLA to beat Brigham Young on Saturday. Final score: BYU 59, UCLA 0 — the Bruins' worst loss since 1929.

Biggest criticism
No doubt that Yankees catcher Jose Molina was miffed about being hit with a pitch in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader with the Rays. And, yes, he did slide far outside the basepath while trying to break up a double play on the ensuing batter. But it seemed as if Rays announcer Dewayne Staats was a little hard on Molina while watching the replay.

"That's really cheap!'' Staats said. "That's terrible. That had personal rancor involved with that move right there.''

Maybe Staats was right. Maybe Molina was looking for revenge. Personally, I think he was just trying to break up a double play. My thought is if Staats is going to call out a guy for being dirty, he'd better be right -- and again, maybe he was -- because that's a pretty serious accusation.

Garza Strongest comment
We probably all agree with what Rays TV analyst Joe Magrane said Saturday, but it was still a strong comment: "I think it has become obvious that Matt Garza has the best stuff on the staff.''

Holtz_2 Nitpick of the week
Notre Dame honored former coach Lou Holtz and his 1988 national championship team over the weekend. Holtz even gave a pep talk to the Irish Friday night -- a pep talk that was broadcast by ESPN, Holtz's current employer. Holtz does a good job not showing any favoritism while broadcasting. Still, is it a good idea for ESPN to show one of its employees giving a pep talk to a team that he occasionally must analyze?

Best feature
ESPN's College GameDay showed part of a touching piece on the Iowa football team, which spent part of its summer helping rebuild the high school football stadium in Parkersburg, Iowa, which was hit by a monster tornado in May. Be sure to check out the entire piece on Tuesday night's E:60 at 7 on ESPN. Bring tissues.

Worst sport
Anyone notice how the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez acted like he was backing out of the batter's box and got Rays starter Matt Garza to balk in the Saturday night game? A-Rod was the first one to start yelling for a balk, meaning he knew what he was doing. And it was a cheap thing to do. What is this, Little League?
Of course, this is the same A-Rod who once slapped  a ball out of a player's glove and once yelled, "Mine!'' on a popup and confused the fielders into letting the ball drop, so it really shouldn't be surprising he would pull a stunt like that. But still, he's way too good of a ballplayer to continually do stuff like this.

Boldest prediction
"Drew Brees is your NFL MVP and the New Orleans Saints are going to make it to the Super Bowl. I also believe that the Arizona Cardinals are going to make it to the playoffs as well.''
-- CBS's Boomer Esiason

Phelps Worst performance
Swimmer Michael Phelps might have been the worst host in Saturday Night Live history. Not just worst athlete-host. Worst host ever. Poor guy. He's a swimmer, not a comedic actor. He proved that in painful fashion Saturday night, not that the writers did him any favors. His one good line was, "This is like the ninth greatest moment of my life.'' Phelps, of course, won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.

Best joke
Saturday Night Live did offer up the best joke of the weekend. During the "Weekend Update''’ segment, Seth Meyers said, "Injured New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be replaced by Matt Cassel, an untested, inexperienced backup -- earning him the nickname 'Sarah Palin'.''

Best insight
East Carolina's hot start (3-0, including victories against West Virginia and Virginia Tech) means one thing: Don't expect coach Skip Holtz to be there a long time. CBS college football pregame host Tim Brando said, "Let me tell you something about Skip Holtz. He's the hottest commodity in coaching right now and when an SEC job opens up, he is going to be the first one called.''

Three good quotes
"They honestly looked like an NFL team against a college team.''
-- ESPN Sports Reporters' Mitch Albom, talking about USC's 35-3 victory against Ohio State.

"I'm not positive he can get that locker room back.''
-- NBC's Peter King, talking about the Titans' troubled quarterback, Vince Young.

"It would be one of the great baseball stories of all time.''
ESPN Sports Reporters' Mike Lupica, talking about the Rays making the postseason.

Price Three things that popped into my head
1. If you were Rays manager Joe Maddon, wouldn't you be tempted to put David Price in the starting rotation?
2. If you are an Ohio State fan, aren't you tempted to ask if coach Jim Tressel might be a tad overrated, especially when it comes to big games? Not only do the Buckeyes lose these big games, they get crushed.
3. If you were Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez, wouldn't you be tempted to call West Virginia and ask the Mountaineers if they would take you back?

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:42pm]


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