1. Archive


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

Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom was right when he said on Sunday's Sports Reporters: "When (Oklahoma quarterback) Sam Bradford went down again (against Texas on Saturday), it was a scary moment. It scared a whole lot of underclassmen into turning pro as quickly as they can.'' You have to wonder whether Bradford's pro stock has dropped mightily for fear that he now has a creaky shoulder. On top of that, underclassmen have watched Florida's Tim Tebow suffer a concussion as Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Lions' Matt Stafford are having success and getting well-paid instead after leaving school early. Who can blame a kid for seeing all this and wanting to leave early?

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Worst quote

Advice to the NFL Network's Michael Irvin: Don't say things like this when the team you're talking about has a tough opponent later in the day: "This New York Giants football team is better than the New York Giants team that won the Super Bowl,'' Irvin said Sunday morning. "This is the next team that we use the word 'dynasty' around." Irvin's dynasty then went out and got blown up by the Saints 48-27. By the way, CBS's Bill Cowher not only called New Orleans' victory but said the Saints have the best chance of going undefeated.

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What was CBS's Tracy Wolfson, left,thinking while interviewing Gators coach Urban Meyer after Florida escaped with a 23-20 win Saturday against Arkansas? After gushing over QBTim Tebow, who had a so-so day, Wolfson said to Meyer, "First time this team has really been tested in a while. Talk about their resiliency.''

Thankfully, Meyer pointed out how dumb the question was, saying, "Well, I'm not sure what season you've been watching. We've been tested a lot.''

For some reason, Wolfson thought that was funny because she laughed.

The Gators were tested a week earlier in a 13-3 victory at then-No. 4 LSU. And the funny thing is, Wolfson covered that game!

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Worst graphic

Fox is an innovator in sports graphics. It was the first to run the "Fox Box,'' a miniscoreboard in the upper part of the screen during play, something every other network eventually adopted and no fan can live without. But in the American League Championship Series, it has gone a little overboard with something called "Fox Trax Plus.'' It clocks the speed of a pitch when the ball leaves a pitcher's hand and then gives the speed when the ball crosses the plate. Analyst Tim McCarver seemed amazed that a ball comes out of a pitcher's hand at, say, 93 mph and crosses the plate at 87 mph.

That's not amazing. That's physics.

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Best idea

Every second of ESPN's College GameDay is must-watch TV, but now the network has added another wrinkle to take the show up another couple of notches. It has added a guest "picker'' at the end of the show, a celebrity to help predict the outcome of the big games of the day. Bob Knight, Drew Brees andLance Armstrong have been on. Mark Cuban was on Saturday. Waiting to see who GameDay gets as its guest is as climactic as Lee Corso putting on the mascot's head.

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Best use of Telestrator

Few broadcasters - including national and local ones in every sport at every level - use the Telestrator better than Lightning analyst Bobby "Chief'' Taylor. Any announcer can break down a play when given enough time to look at replays over and over. But Taylor needs only a few minutes during intermission to break down several replays and point out things that even avid hockey fans probably didn't notice.

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Best line

After running for 246 yards against South Carolina in Alabama's 20-6 victory Saturday night, Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram accidently tripped into ESPN reporter Erin Andrews as she was about to interview him and then quickly apologized to her.

"Isn't it interesting that Ingram apologized for tripping into Erin Andrews,'' ESPN announcer Brad Nessler said, "but he didn't apologize for running over South Carolina.''

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Worst schedule

Can you believe college basketball is starting? Midnight Madness was Friday night, and games start in two weeks. Doesn't it seem like a bad idea to start in the middle of football season? Why not push the start back a few weeks to avoid the conflicts?

Anyway, for those who think college basketball can't start soon enough, ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb has listed his top five teams going into the season:

1. Kansas. 2. Texas. 3. Kentucky. 4. Purdue. 5. Michigan State.

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Biggest doubt

Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson is one of those who thinks Gators QBTim Tebow will have trouble making it in the NFL. But he does think Tebow has a shot, under one interesting condition.

"If Urban Meyer is brought along with Tim Tebow, that would be the key,'' Johnson said. "If you're going to bring in Tebow, you've got to make sure the offense comes with him, because Tebow's not going to fit in with a pro-style offense."

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Best radio team

I've never been a fan of ESPN's Sunday night baseball announcing team, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. On TV, they strike me as arrogant know-it-alls who are constantly trying to outdo one another. But strangely, they are more interesting on radio than they are on TV. They are calling the American League Championship Series for ESPN Radio and do a really solid job. They seem to mesh better on radio, and both seem to make the game the focal point as opposed to their voices.

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Three things that popped into my head

1. I don't care whether he's writing for Sports Illustrated or appearing on NBC's Sunday Night Football or at halftime of NBC's Notre Dame coverage, if NFL writer-analyst Peter King has something to say, I'm interested in hearing it.

2. If a big baseball game is on TV, would you rather have anyone calling it than Fox's Joe Buck and Tim McCarver?

3. Doesn't it seem a little early in the season for Lightning general manager Brian Lawton, right, to be reading people the riot act?