Times staff writer Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.
It's hard to remember a year when the Heisman race seemed this wide open at this point of the season, although Texas quarterback Colt McCoy is starting to inch ahead of the pack. Anyway, ESPN College GameDay's Desmond Howard listed who he would invite to the Heisman award show if it were held right now.
1. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
2. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
3. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
4. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
5. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
Memo to all media. The next time you think you're going to be funny or smart or insightful and the name Adolf Hitler pops into your head, stop! Take a breath, don't speak, think of another analogy and start over. ESPN college football analyst Lou Holtz, left, is the latest to get in hot water for trying to make some point about Michigan and football coach Rich Rodriguez and saying, "Hitler was a great leader, too."
Holtz apologized Saturday on air, and he won't be disciplined by ESPN. (Wonder how ESPN.com columnist Jemele Hill feels about that considering she was briefly suspended for using Hitler's name in a column about the Celtics?)
Anyway, the old saying goes that nothing good ever happens if you're out after 2 o'clock in the morning. The same thing can be said for ever using Hitler's name in sports.
Best fanfare for the common man
Fox analyst Howie Long blasted the NFL for announcing some Super Bowl tickets will be sold for $1,000.
"With the economy the way it is, with people struggling the way they are ... it totals about $7-million in added revenue,'' Long said. "Divide that by 32, what do you get?"
To answer that question, about $218,750 per team. Chump change for the NFL.
"Is it really worth it? No,'' said Long, who then whipped out a reference from the movie Wall Street. "The Gordon Gekko 'Greed is good' quote ... obviously, greed is not good.''
When Ole Miss kicked a field goal with 5:25 left in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead Saturday, it was the first time all season that Alabama trailed.
Television analysts are paid to give strong opinions, but many seem to remember where their bread is buttered and are careful not to upset the apple cart. Not ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth, who absolutely carved up the NFL when talking about all the players who have been fined this season for illegal hits and dangerous tackles.
"They're not truly worried about the health of these players because once you retire, once you go away like me, they don't care anymore,'' Schlereth said. Then he cut deep into the league by pointing out that you can go on NFLShop.com and, for $19.95, you can purchase a video called Moment of Impact, which features some of the most devastating hits in the league. "That's garbage,'' Schlereth said. "They're making a profit off of it on their own Web site. Stop acting like you care because you don't care.'' For a commentator on a network that has a working relationship with the NFL, that's good stuff.
Best new graphic
Sun Sports has gone to a new scoreboard box at the top of the screen for Lightning games. Have you noticed? The box is much cleaner, much clearer and more readable. Best of all, it's smaller, taking up just a portion of the left corner instead of the whole top of the screen. Whoever came up with the new box should get a raise.
BCS talk of the day
The first BCS poll of the season came out Sunday with no major surprises. The top three, in order, are all undefeated: Texas, Alabama and Penn State. But can any of them finish undefeated? Texas still has No. 6 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 23 Kansas, plus a Big 12 championship game. Alabama has to play No. 13 LSU, archrival Auburn and the SEC championship. Penn State has to travel to No. 9 Ohio State on Saturday. "If you think we had chaos in the past with the BCS,'' College GameDay'sKirk Herbstreit said, "get ready for December.''
It seems as if there will be one or maybe even two one-loss teams playing for the national title. But which one(s)?
Fox's Barry Switzer said, "I wouldn't be surprised if it's Florida vs. Texas.'' My pick for a one-loss team is Southern Cal because the Trojans will not lose again. They don't play a currently ranked team for the rest of the season.
There are always arguments about which college football conference is best. Is it the SEC? The Big 12? Probably depends on which team you root for. But New York Times columnist Bill Rhoden made a point that's hard to argue with on ESPN's Sports Reporters about which is the worst major conference: "In the process of beating Washington State 69-0, USC makes my point that the Pac-10 may be the nation's weakest major conference. There's nobody in the SEC you could beat that badly.''
Most astounding news
If what NFL insider Jay Glazer reported Sunday is true, then Jets quarterback Brett Favre's reputation as a good ol' boy has been tarnished forever. On Fox NFL Sunday, Glazer reported that the former Packer called the Lions earlier this season and spent 90 minutes going over "every single thing'' the Packers do on offense with the Lions coaches. "It's his former team and he's calling a division opponent of a team that he has nothing to do with anymore,'' Glazer said. "He just let loose all the family secrets."
That's about as low down and despicable as one can be, but Favre has denied the allegations. When Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson was asked how he would feel if former quarterback Troy Aikman ever did that to the Cowboys, Johnson said flat-out: "Troy Aikman would never do that.''
No one with an ounce of decency would.