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Highs and lows from the weekend's televised sports

Second most interesting quote

Former NFL quarterback and former ESPN analyst Joe Theismann thinks Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, left, can make it in the NFL but that he'll struggle, especially if he keeps playing in a spread offense.

"To have any kind of success at the professional level, I think it's important for the young college kids to work under center," Theismann was quoted as saying at an awards ceremony last week in Fort Worth, Texas. "They won't run the spread in the NFL. Not at the quarterback position. They don't have enough quarterbacks in this league now to run the spread."

His advice for Tebow?

"Go to a camp where you learn how to work under the center,'' Theismann, 59, said. "You're going to be a professional football player. Learn to be one. Tim Tebow can be a professional quarterback. But he's going to have to fundamentally be more accurate.''

Most interesting quote

We thought ex-quarterback Joe Theismann's quote about Tim Tebow was the most interesting of the week until we stumbled on a quote from race car driver Danica Patrick, above, made on the Canadian sports talk show Off the Record.

"I love tattoos, actually,'' Patrick said. "Something that is that meaningful that it's there forever. Man, if I got another one … I want something with words in it next time. Mine is a checkered flag-American flag with some angel wings and some stars and stuff.''

As far as location, the tattoo is on Patrick's lower back.

Times staff writer Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of television sports.

Best college basketball game

Who knows what the best game was? So many men's college basketball games are on television these days, it's impossible to determine what really is a "big game.''

Sure, any time Duke plays North Carolina it's a big deal. Then again, those teams play at least twice a season, and sometimes three times if they meet in the ACC tournament. Can it be a big game when they play three times and both make the NCAA Tournament anyway?

Pitt played UConn last week in what was considered a "huge'' Big East showdown. But they play again in a couple of weeks, too. And they could meet again in the Big East tournament.

It's too much. College basketball has oversaturated the market. Regular Bright House digital cable had 30 games Saturday. If you have a sports package with a few of the Fox college sports networks, more than 40 games were on. That's just one day.

For college basketball diehards, it's a dream come true. For the casual fan, however, all these "big games'' start to run together to the point that no game seems like a big deal. If you miss the "big game,'' don't worry, another one's on tomorrow and another 10 on the weekend.

It might be why so many people wait until the NCAA Tournament to start paying attention. Only then — when the winner moves on and the loser goes home — do we recognize what we're watching as a big game.

Worst news for Emmitt Smith

Former Gators and Cowboys great Emmitt Smith is not returning to ESPN as an NFL analyst. Smith seems like a nice enough guy, but you could have played drinking games based on all the times he mangled the language. The Web site Awful Announcing compiled a top 10 of Emmittisms, including this gem: "This kind of inconsistency, against a team like New England, will get you completely blowed out."

Worst injury

Celtics center Kevin Garnett is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks with a knee injury, and a couple of weeks might be enough to wreck the Celtics' chances at repeating as NBA champs. Based on last year's playoffs, the Celtics need homecourt advantage, so they need to finish the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the East. Right now the Celtics are locked in a struggle with Cleveland and Orlando for the top spot. Last season in the playoffs, the Celtics were 13-1 at home, including victories in two seventh games. They were 3-9 on the road. If Boston has to go to Cleveland or Orlando for a possible Game 7, it could spell trouble.

Best list

ESPN NFL draft guru Todd McShay came out with his latest top five players for the April draft:

1. Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

2. Rams: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

3. Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

4. Seahawks: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

5. Browns: Everette Brown, DE, FSU

Most interesting revelation

Counting interim coaches, the Lightning has had seven coaches in its history: Terry Crisp, Rick Patterson, Jacques Demers, Steve Ludzik, John Tortorella, Barry Melrose and now Rick Tocchet. Isn't it interesting that the six coaches before Tocchet were fired and haven't coached an NHL team since? You would think Tortorella would get another chance. Then again, it's a tad surprising no one has hired him yet.

Worst quote for Canadians

President Obama said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that he "has never seen a hockey game.''

He has two teams that he can follow. His adopted hometown, Chicago, has a Blackhawks team that is having its best season in years. Or Obama can go down the street from his house to see the Washington Capitals, who happen to feature the no-doubt-about-it-best-player-in-the-world Alex Ovechkin.

Caps owner Ted Leonsis is already working on an Obama appearance.

"We need action on this matter of national importance,'' Leonsis wrote on his blog to Obama. "Consider this an open invitation to see Washington working at its finest. … A true economic plan that has jelled. A place where change has come!"

Best return

TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley didn't pull a Mark McGwire by refusing to talk about the past or an Alex Rodriguez by sharing the blame with some cousin. Nope, Barkley, left, owned up to his drunken driving arrest that kept him off the air for several weeks by saying "my fault'' repeatedly when he returned late last week.

"All I can say is that it will never happen again,'' Barkley said. It better not. As Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said on ESPN's Sports Reporters:

"The truth is, if he were not so good on the air, so uniquely Barkleyesque, he would not be getting this second and final chance. You've had your mulligan, Charles. Most people in your situation don't get one.''

Three best things on TV over the weekend

1. Watching Caps star Alex Ovechkin with his A game against the Penguins on NBC.

2. Watching NASCAR on Fox. All networks need to take a lesson from Fox on how to cover autos. (Although I can do without the commentators telling the drivers to "have a good day'' to cap off interviews.)

3. Watching Canucks star Mats Sundin return to Toronto, where he played for 13 seasons, to score the winning goal in a shootout.

Highs and lows from the weekend's televised sports 02/22/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 22, 2009 8:41pm]
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