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Tom Jones' Two Cents: sophomore slumps

Joe Charboneau

Ah, Joltin' Joe Charboneau still remains both a fond memory and a bad nightmare for the good folks of Cleveland. The Indians slugger had a monster rookie season, batting .289 with 23 homers and 87 RBIs. His season made him the runaway winner for the 1980 American League rookie of the year. But he injured his back the following season and was batting only .208 when the '81 strike hit. Later that season, he became the first rookie of the year to be sent to the minors in the following season. He finished 1981 with a .210 average, four homers and 18 RBIs. He would go on to play only 22 more games in the majors.

1997 Sugar Bowl

The 1997 Sugar Bowl makes the list because it was the second meeting of that season between Florida and Florida State. In the traditional regular-season finale for the teams, the No. 1 ranked and undefeated Gators travelled to Tallahassee to take on the No. 2 Seminoles. FSU intercepted Gators QB Danny Wuerffel three times in the first half, got 185 yards rushing from Warrick Dunn and held on for a 24-21 win. This game also was known for Florida complaining about late hits and FSU coach Bobby Bowden saying his team played to the echo of the whistle.

That set up what was supposed to be a rematch for the ages in the Sugar Bowl a little more than a month later. The outcome was memorable to Gators fans, but it was a dog of a game. Wuerffel threw for 306 yards and three TDs as the Gators won their first national title with a 52-20 spanking of the Seminoles.

'Slap Shot 2'

Slap Shot, the 1977 classic starring Paul Newman as the player-coach of a violent and dysfunctional minor-league hockey team, is the best sports movie ever made. The putrid Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice with Gary Busey and one of the Baldwin brothers not named Alec is among the worst movies ever made. Breaking the Ice? It should've been called Breaking Bad.

'Caddyshack II'

Here's another sports movie sequel to flush down the toilet. Look, most sports movie sequels are not good. But even the Mighty Ducks and Bad News Bears sequels are like Citizen Kane compared to Slap Shot 2 and Caddyshack II. For Caddyshack II, it's stunning that the producers could talk stars such as Dan Aykroyd, Randy Quaid, Dyan Cannon and Jackie Mason to be in this movie. And, still, a gopher was the best actor in the film. What does that tell you?

The 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey team

Those old enough to remember know just how special the 1980 Winter Olympics were. The U.S. hockey team, made up of a bunch of college kids, shocked the world and beat the mighty Russians in the "Miracle on Ice.'' The thing was, no one really paid attention to Olympic hockey in the United States before then, and the 1980 gold-medal team caught everyone by surprise. However, when the 1984 Olympics rolled around, many tuned in to watch, hoping for another miracle. But that magic could not be repeated ever again. Despite having future NHL stars such as Chris Chelios, Pat LaFontaine and Ed Olyczyk, as well as 1980 holdovers Phil Verchota and John Harrington, the Americans went 1-2-2 in the Olympic tournament and finished seventh.

Michael Jordan's second act

Technically, the greatest basketball player of all time had three acts. He won three titles with the Bulls, then retired for a year to take up baseball. He returned and helped guide the Bulls to three more titles. To me, that's all part of the same chapter of his career. He retired again, then announced a comeback on Sept. 25, 2001.

He would play two more NBA seasons with the Washington Wizards. His numbers really weren't that bad. He averaged nearly 23 points in his first season back and 20 in his second. He still even put up 30- and 40-point games over that span. But he never led the Wizards to the playoffs and seemed more like a cranky old man complaining about a younger generation than anything else. Plus, wearing that Wizards jersey just looked, well, wrong. Don't you wish he had never played those two seasons?

Andrew Raycroft

Raycroft was the NHL rookie of the year back in 2003-04 — the season when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup. Playing goal for the Bruins, Raycroft racked up a 29-18-9 record with an eye-popping 2.05 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. He was set to be the Bruins goalie for years to come. But the lockout canceled the next season and he never regained his form when the NHL returned in 2005-06. He won only eight games that year and eventually lost both the starting and backup job. Raycroft, 32, bounced around through four other NHL teams and now plays in Italy.

Leonard-Duran II

The first fight between welterweights Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran was an epic collision between two of the best fighters of their generation. On June 20, 1980, Leonard tried to go toe-to-toe with Duran and ended up losing a unanimous but very close decision. The anticipated rematch took place five months later and this time, Leonard abandoned his slugger style of the first fight and went to a dance routine. Duran was so confounded and frustrated that he quit in the seventh round by saying his infamous words: "No mas,'' meaning, "no more.'' It was memorable, for sure, but not really the fight all of us wanted to see.

1968 NCAA basketball semifinals

In January of 1968, Elvin Hayes and the No.  2-ranked Houston Cougars upset top-ranked UCLA, led by a center then known as Lew Alcindor (later, he became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). The game, played before nearly 53,000 at the Houston Astrodome, was called the "Game of the Century'' and snapped UCLA's 47-game win streak. The teams would meet again in the national semifinals, only this time it was the undefeated Cougars at No. 1 and the one-loss Bruins at No. 2. The highly anticipated rematch turned into a dud as UCLA destroyed Houston, 101-69. The Bruins would go on to defeat North Carolina for the national title.

tom jones' two cents

The sequel is rarely as good as the original, wouldn't you say? In fact, most are downright awful. Think Jaws II, Blues Brothers 2000 and pretty much all of the Halloween and Friday the 13th sequels. Oh, there are exceptions, of course. The Godfather Part II was awesome. So was The Empire Strikes Back. Even Rocky II was respectable. So why all this talk about sequels? Well, today, the Bucs take on the Carolina Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton, whose second season isn't going nearly as well as the first one. Here's a look at Newton's second go-around as well as other sequels that didn't quite measure up with the first one.

Cam Newton

Last season's offensive rookie of the year, the Panthers QB was the first rookie to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season. He tossed 21 touchdowns, ran for 14 more and had a solid 84.5 QB rating. Start sculpting the Hall of Fame bust, right? Er, not so fast. This season, the 23-year-old has taken a major step back. His QB rating is down to 77.2, and nine games into the season he has accounted for only 12 touchdowns — eight through the air and four on the ground.

Tom Jones' Two Cents: sophomore slumps 11/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 8:11pm]
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