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Shooting from the lip: Schilling great choice to replace McCarver on Fox

Best possible replacement

Word is ESPN's Curt Schilling would love to replace Tim McCarver (left) as Fox's lead baseball analyst. McCarver is retiring after this season. I tell you who else would love to see Schilling replace McCarver: me.

Before his work on ESPN, Schilling often came across as a know-it-all. But he is a tremendous analyst, and it's that know-it-all attitude that helps make him so good. And from what I can tell, he really does know it all. He's honest and doesn't mind ruffling feathers but doesn't say crazy things just to ruffle feathers.

He's better than anyone Fox has in its stable. Plus, I think he and Joe Buck would work well together because both can be wise guys, and I mean that in a good way. Buck has suggested he wasn't sure he wanted to continue doing baseball if he couldn't work with McCarver, but perhaps a pairing with Schilling might change his mind.

Best worst

The NFL Sunday Countdown crew of Tom Jackson, Cris Carter, Keyshawn Johnson and Mike Ditka ranked the eight teams that were 0-2 going into Sunday. From best to worst, they had it: Vikings, Redskins, Giants, Steelers, Bucs, Panthers, Browns and Jaguars.

Jackson said, "I actually believe Alabama would give (the Jags) a hard time."

Please, TJ, tell me you are kidding because I don't care how good a college team is and how bad an NFL team is, an NFL team would destroy a college team.

Later, the crew discussed the hard-nosed ways of Bucs coach Greg Schiano and came to the conclusion that if you don't win right away, that military style many college coaches have will not work.

"When I saw him,'' Johnson said, "I said, 'He's not going to last in this league.' "

About the Bucs, Jackson added, "I don't know exactly what it is. Something is wrong."

Biggest criticism

ESPN's old/new face, Keith Olbermann, certainly is delivering the goods. He blasts someone pretty much every show.

The latest, and the most deserving, was Major League Baseball. In the past, such as after Sept. 11, 2001, when the Mets wanted to wear hats honoring the New York Fire Department, MLB has said no to teams wearing anything but MLB-approved hats.

Last week, the Nationals wanted to wear Navy-themed hats after the shootings at the D.C. Naval Yard. The Nats wore the hats before their doubleheader against the Braves but were not allowed to wear them during the game.

"Whenever the right thing has involved wearing something as stupid and different as a baseball cap,'' Olbermann said, "Major League Baseball has made sure it tried as hard as it could to not do that right thing."

Best line

Why in the world aren't the hapless Jaguars going after Jacksonville native Tim Tebow (left)? After all, what could it hurt at this point?

On his ESPN show, Highly Questionable, Dan Le Batard said, "What would you rather do: Lose and not have any people there, or lose and have Tim Tebow as your quarterback and have people there? Because they're going to lose either way. So why not sell some tickets?"

Biggest change

There's a major shakeup with CBS's college basketball coverage, and quite frankly, I'm not sure why.

Greg Anthony (top) and Clark Kellogg (bottom) are switching roles. Anthony moves from the studio to the lead analyst alongside play-by-play man Jim Nantz. Meantime, Kellogg moves from lead analyst to the studio although he will still do the odd game here and there. One would assume Anthony now will call the Final Four with Nantz and Steve Kerr.

What doesn't make sense is both seemed perfectly suited for the roles they were in. Anthony is a strong studio analyst, and Kellogg did a fantastic job breaking down games at courtside. I like both, and it's not like they are parting ways with either. Maybe they will adjust quickly to their new roles and make for great college basketball coverage on CBS.

Still, I thought CBS already had it right.

Best move

Nice move by ESPN to take their traveling show, College GameDay, on the road to Fargo, N.D., on Saturday. The show came from North Dakota State, home of the two-time defending I-AA national champion Bisons as they hosted Delaware State. The Bisons, you might recall, upset Kansas State earlier this season.

GameDay usually goes to the site of the marquee matchup of the day, but there really wasn't a marquee matchup Saturday. Instead of forcing it and trying to drum up interest for an average game such as Tennessee-Florida, Auburn-LSU or Notre Dame-Michigan State, ESPN did the smart thing and highlighted a team we know little about but should appreciate.

The game, as expected, was a blowout as the Bisons crushed Delaware State 51-0.

Worst record

The Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight shattered the record for highest-grossing pay-per-view fight with about 2.2 million buys, generating about $150 million, according to boxing writer Dan Rafael of ESPN. That total will go up as revenue from more outlets, such as the 500 movie theaters that showed the fight, is added.

So sure, that's all great.

Or is it?

I still say by keeping all of the major fights on pay-per-view and off free TV — or even HBO or Showtime — boxing is ultimately killing itself.

Last week, Ken Norton (left) died at age 70, and it was a big deal because people knew who he was. How did they know? Because he often fought on live, free television. In those days, you had recognizable heavyweights fighting at the same time: Norton, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Jimmy Young, Earnie Shavers, Jerry Quarry, Duane Bobick and more.

Quick, name three active heavyweight boxers.

Boxing will pat itself on the back for all of the PPV money the Mayweather-Alvarez fight made. But boxing, sadly, continues to fade further and further from the sports landscape.

Three things that popped into my head

1 The Rays might catch a bit of a break next weekend when they play the Blue Jays, who have shut down Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus. Rasmus is on the DL after being hit in the face by a warmup toss before an inning last week.

2 Is it okay if I don't get all weepy that Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte is retiring? I don't know if any player has gotten more of a pass for being involved in performance-enhancing drugs than Pettitte.

3 Chris Berman was tending to his ill father, so he missed Sunday NFL Countdown. Trey Wingo replaced him and, not surprisingly, did an outstanding job. We now know who will be the logical replacement for Berman, although don't expect Berman to leave that anchor chair any time soon.

tom jones' two cents

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

Shooting from the lip: Schilling great choice to replace McCarver on Fox 09/22/13 [Last modified: Sunday, September 22, 2013 9:14pm]

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