Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Shooting from the lip

tom jones' two cents

Tampa Bay Times staff writer Tom Jones offers up the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

Best coverage

Saturday's Florida-Georgia game wasn't the best-played college football game ever. Actually, it was a dog with both teams playing sloppily.

But CBS's broadcast was superb. Leading that charge was analyst Gary Danielson, who had his best day of the season. Danielson's analysis was spot-on all day, and he was excellent in his anticipation.

His finest moment: In the first quarter, Danielson noticed how a Georgia defensive end crashed toward the running back on a quarterback option play. Danielson pointed out that Gators QB Jeff Driskel could have had a big run if he had held on to the ball and to look for that play later in the game.

Sure enough, in the fourth quarter, Driskel held the ball, that same end crashed the middle, and the quarterback raced for a 20-yard run.

Danielson also had the best line of the weekend. When talking about whether or not a play should be reversed on a video replay, Danielson talked about the different philosophies of replay officials:

"Sometimes,'' Danielson said, "they won't overturn anything unless it's obvious to 10 guys in a bar.''

Worst graphic

WTSP-Ch. 10 put up a graphic during the Florida-Georgia game promoting its postgame show. Nothing wrong with that.

What was wrong was that the graphic once stayed up long enough to block the view of the hold and kick of a critical field goal that made the score 10-9 in the fourth quarter.

Rule No. 1 when it comes to posting graphics: It can never ever get in the way of the play.

Worst game

The NFL continues to push this London game, and I don't get it.

First off, why not make it a big deal in this country? Make it a Friday game. Or a Saturday game. Why not make it the Monday night game? Make it special, instead of just one of the slate of 1 o'clock Sunday games. Sunday's Patriots-Rams game from London wasn't even on in much of this country, including here.

It wasn't a big deal in England either. Media outlets reported there was very little buzz about the game and that much of the country was focused on the highly anticipated soccer match between Manchester United and Chelsea.

If it's not a big deal here and it's not a big deal there, what's the point?

Best sight

ESPN has re-signed college football analyst Lee Corso to a two-year extension.

Corso's only duties these days are as a panelist on Saturday morning's College GameDay. The 77-year-old had a stroke three years ago and it badly affected his on-air work for some time. However, the Florida State alumnus appears pretty much recovered.

Credit ESPN for sticking with Corso and, while Kirk Herbstreit is the star of the show, GameDay wouldn't seem right without Corso. And, let's be honest, watching Corso pick the game of the week by putting on mascot's head is still one of the best moments on TV.

Best news

ESPN signed announcer Dan Shulman to a multiyear extension last week.

Shulman will continue to be the play-by-play man on Sunday Night Baseball, as well as prime-time college basketball telecasts.

Shulman, who has been with the network since 1995, is the best play-by-play voice ESPN has and, on a side note, a heck of a good guy, too.

Coolest gadget

Watching the World Series on Fox has been a dud. That's no one's fault. The series just hasn't been that interesting.

But how cool is that X-Mo ultra slow-motion stuff? While it's interesting to watch the ball hitting the bat, the super slo-mo is most compelling when it shows just how much strain and torque can be seen on a pitcher's arm.

Funniest sight

I don't know what's funnier, watching College GameDay's Kirk Herbstreit scramble away from live animals during the predictions segment or watching the look of horror on his face when co-host Lee Corso fires guns in the air.

Coolest story

ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown analyst Cris Carter was talking about the unwritten rules of football and told a cool story involving former NFL and Gators linebacker and Titusville native Wilber Marshall.

"When you take away the ability of a player to take care of his family or to feed his kids, we know as former players that it is totally out of bounds,'' Carter said. "I broke my collarbone in Week 17 with the Vikings, out the rest of the season. We played the Washington Redskins the next year in the playoffs. We threw an interception early in the game. I'm going to make the tackle. Right before I make the tackle, Wilber Marshall yells out 'Cris!' and I stop for a second. Didn't make the tackle, but he could have ended my career. There are some gentlemen behind these gladiators that play the game.''

Strangest story

Strange doings last week on ESPN2's First Take. It sounded as if Stephen A. Smith, who is African-American, used a version of the N-word. While dismissing the idea that Lakers star Kobe Bryant would miss the season opener, Smith said something that sounded a little like "(N-word) please!''

A bunch of people got riled up enough that ESPN had Smith address the incident on air. He said he didn't use the N-word, but he never talked about what words he might have used that led to the confusion. He only said that he is a New Yorker and that he talks "very fastly'' and was misunderstood.

The whole thing was rather silly, when you think about it. The website Deadspin put it in pretty good perspective, saying it was dumb that white people demanded an apology, that it was dumb that ESPN asked Smith for an explanation, that Smith never really apologized, and that ESPN edited the clip on repeats of the show even though it said it had accepted Smith's explanation.

Then Deadspin's kicker: "We are, as usual, all dumber for having watched First Take.''

Most interesting quote

While reporting on Bucs cornerback Eric Wright facing a possible suspension for using the NFL-banned Adderall, Fox NFL Sunday insider Jay Glazer said, "There are several players in the NFL that are taking Adderall for attention deficient disorder. Some are getting caught and facing a four-game suspension and some aren't. It's a slippery slope."

Here's my thought about Glazer's quote. I'm not so sure these NFL players are taking Adderall "for attention deficient disorder.'' I think there are other reasons and they have to do with gaining a competitive edge.

I do agree with Glazer's final thought. It is a slippery slope.

Three things that popped into my head

1. Okay, I'm sure a bunch of Georgia folks will write me, accusing me of being a Gators graduate or fan, but I'm neither. I'm just saying: The Georgia football team seems like a mouthy, disrespectful, showboating, trash-talking sort. A reflection of the coaches, I suppose.

2. Maybe the USF football team should get blown out next week just to, you know, mix things up a bit.

3. Just as well that the Gators lost. Despite their undefeated record going into the weekend, I didn't think they were in the same class as Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and, apparently, Notre Dame.

Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

Closer Alex Colome was not traded by the Rays to the Cardinals on Tuesday night.But he appeared to be either prepping for or having some fun with the possibility.On his alexcolome37 verified Instagram account, Colome started following the Cardinals o...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Boys basketball: St. Petersburg 62, Countryside 61

CLEARWATER – St. Petersburg already had Serrel Smith, an Ole Miss signee who is the reigning Pinellas County player of the year.The lineup became even better in the summer with the addition of Tampa Catholic transfers Tai and Terrell Strickland...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2 – with some news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2 – with some news

UPDATE, 8:45: Tommy Hunter parlayed his solid 2017 season with the Rays into a two-year deal with the Phillies.UPDATE, 7:13: Unexpected sighting in the meetings lobby: Luke Scott, who looked in great shape at 39 and is at least talking about playing ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season

Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season

Even dealing with a biceps injury and his Bucs at 4-9, Gerald McCoy isn't giving up on playing this season."I'm a fighter," McCoy said Tuesday night. "Y'all know me. I don't quit. I give it everything I have. Even the slightest possibility of being a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS — This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs’ defensive line surprises families with Christmas spree

Bucs’ defensive line surprises families with Christmas spree

The West Club at Raymond James Stadium was packed on Tuesday night with 75 needy local families who thought they were getting a holiday dinner and stadium tour with Bucs players.The defensive line stepped up to give the families a much bigger surpris...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Blues

Andrei Vasilevskiy might have made the save of the year. With the Lightning leading by one midway through the second, an Alex Steen dump-in took a wild carom off the boards. Vasilevskiiy somehow sprawled out for a right-toe save. Then, on his back, V...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 12

Tuesday’s scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 5, Tarpon Springs 0Palm Harbor U. 8, Alonso 0Boys soccerShorecrest 2, Indian Rocks Chr. 0Palm Harbor U. 3, Alonso 0Girls basketballNortheast 65, Dixie Hollins 25...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Leonard makes season debut in Spurs defeat

Leonard makes season debut in Spurs defeat

DALLAS — Spurs star Kawhi Leonard made his season debut Tuesday night, getting the start in a 95-89 loss at Dallas after missing 27 games with a quadriceps injury. Leonard has been recovering from right quadriceps tendinopathy, a condition that cause...
Updated: 4 hours ago