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LSU Wins the Biggie
[Posted Sun. p.m.]
NFL Quiz: Earlier this season, Cordarrelle Patterson had his seventh career kick return for a touchdown, putting him alone in third all time. Name the only two with 8. Answer below.
College Football Review
[Comments written prior to release of AP poll...rankings used are CFP’s...]
So last chat I said my dream final four was Clemson vs. Ohio State, LSU vs. Oregon, and I’m here to tell you that’s what we’re gonna have.
No. 1 Ohio State, playing without defensive end Chase Young, obliterated Maryland (3-7) 73-14, the Buckeyes (9-0) outgaining the Terps by a staggering 705-139, quarterback Justin Fields with three touchdown passes in just a half, Ohio State going deep into the depth chart in the second.
As for Young, who leads the nation in sacks, and ranked No. 4 in tackles for loss and No. 2 in forced fumbles, he was forced to sit out Saturday while the school looked into “a possible NCAA issue.” In a statement on Twitter, Young said he accepted a loan last year from a family friend he met before arriving at Ohio State in 2017.
“I repaid it in full last summer and I’m working with the NCAA to get back on the field as soon as possible.”
As of today, the feeling is Young would miss four games total, Ohio State playing Rutgers next week, before Penn State (Nov. 23) and Michigan (Nov. 30). This will be a big story this coming week, though Ohio State has plenty of depth on defense, including a potential star in freshman Zach Harrison, who had a sack against Maryland.
So then we had 2 LSU and 3 Alabama (1 LSU-2 Bama / AP) and the Tigers raced off to a 33-13 halftime lead in Tuscaloosa, stunning the faithful. The Crimson Tide lost two fumbles, and had an interception from Tua Tagovailoa in the first quarter, but despite a heroic comeback in the second half, LSU held on 46-41 to move to 9-0, Alabama 8-1 and out of the playoff picture...period. With no chance to play in the SEC Championship game, there simply isn’t a path for Nick Saban’s boys.
Meanwhile, LSU’s Joe Burrow wrapped up the Heisman Trophy with a superb performance, including 18/20, 252, 3-0, in the first half (31/39, 393, 3-0 for the game). Tua, playing on his surgically repaired ankle after just two weeks of rehab, somehow held it together, despite taking numerous hits, going 21/40, 418, 4-1, while ‘Bama running back Najee Harris had a super game with 146 yards rushing and a touchdown, and another 44 receiving plus a score.
In the end, the game met expectations and helped clear up the playoff picture. President Trump received a rousing ovation upon being introduced to the crowd.
So then in Minneapolis, No. 4 Penn State suffered its first loss, 31-26 to No. 17 upstart Minnesota (9-0), as the Golden Gophers’ Jordan Howard picked off Sean Clifford in the end zone with 1:01 to play, spoiling the Nittany Lions’ comeback bid, PSU (8-1) down 24-10 midway through the second.
For Minnesota, quarterback Tanner Morgan was superb on the big stage, 18/20, 339, 3-0, shades of his 21/22, 396, 4-0 performance earlier in the year against Purdue. [Otherwise, he’s been pretty ordinary.]
For Penn State, QB Clifford was picked off three times in all.
So how far does the CFP selection committee move the Gophers up in the rankings? That’s going to be the number one fascination for next Tuesday night (as well as how far ‘Bama drops).
5 Clemson just kept rolling along, 55-10 over North Carolina State (4-5), the game 42-0 at the half in Raleigh. Trevor Lawrence was a cool 20/27, 276, 3-0, plus 59 on the ground and a score, while Travis Etienne had another big game rushing, 14-112-2.
Since eking out its 21-20 win over North Carolina, Clemson (10-0) has played like a defending champion, destroying its last five opponents. They should move up to 3 in the CFP.
6 Georgia (8-1) benefits from the ‘Bama, Penn State losses and will be No. 4 following a 27-0 win over Missouri (5-4), though Georgia is destined to lose to LSU in the SEC title game.
No. 7 Oregon and No. 8 Utah were idle, but the Ducks should be No. 5, if not 6, depending on where ‘Bama falls.
9 Oklahoma (8-1) had to hang on for dear life against a solid Iowa State (5-4) team, 42-41, needing to snuff out the Cyclone’s two-point conversion with 0:24 left. Iowa State had trailed 42-21 after three quarters, but ISU quarterback Brock Purdy threw three of his five touchdown passes in the final quarter as the Cyclones roared back, only to see Purdy’s two-point attempt picked off.
The Sooners’ Jalen Hurts threw for three TDs and ran for two more, but he’s destined to be the runner-up in the Heisman race to Joe Burrow.
And Oklahoma will need a ton of help to be in the CFP hunt come the final weekend.
[I just have to add, outstanding work on the part of both the Sooner and Cyclone cheerleaders. Very impressed.]
No. 10 Florida (8-2) beat Vanderbilt (2-7) 56-0.
12 Baylor stayed undefeated (9-0), but was hardly scintillating in its 29-23 three overtime win over TCU (4-5), a game that was 9-9 after regulation, both sides with three field goals. The Bears don’t deserve to move up more than one spot, if that. Now if they beat Oklahoma next week, we suddenly have a different story. But ask me if I think that is possible.
13 Wisconsin (8-2) beat 18 Iowa (6-4) 24-22 behind Jonathan Taylor’s 250 yards on the ground.
15 Notre Dame (7-2) manhandled disappointing Duke (4-5) 38-7, as Ian Book passed for four touchdowns and ran for 139 yards on just 12 carries.
In the Group of Five, New Year’s Six bowl bid race, 20 Cincinnati moved to 8-1 with a 48-3 win over pathetic UConn (2-8), while 25 SMU (9-1) beat East Carolina (3-7) in a shootout, 59-51, the Pirates outgaining the Mustangs 644-636.
So both Cincy and SMU stay in the New Year’s Six hunt, but it will still come down to Cincinnati and 21 Memphis on Nov. 29.
As for 22 Boise State (8-1), they beat Wyoming (6-3) 20-17, but they weren’t helped one bit when San Diego State fell to 7-2 in losing at home to Nevada (6-4) 17-13. Had these two faced off in the Mountain West title game with one-loss apiece, the winner would have a case against the Cincinnati-Memphis winner, but that’s not in the cards.
One more re the Group of Five race. Appalachian State improved to 8-1 with a big road win at South Carolina (4-6) 20-15, but as much as I like the Mountaineers, there is no way they are getting the New Year’s Six bid, as much as some writers this morning were saying they could still snag it. It’s Memphis or Cincinnati, period. Book it. [Not for nothing but the Apps also just had 202 yards of offense against the Gamecocks. An interception return for a touchdown was a key for them.]
I do have to go back to East Carolina’s quarterback Holton Ahlers, who was 32/42, 498, 6-0, in defeat against SMU, with receiver Tyler Snead catching 19 for 240 yards and three scores. Ahlers, the week before, threw for 535 yards and four touchdowns in the Pirates’ 46-43 loss to Cincinnati. It’s too bad ECU won’t be bowl eligible...they’d be an exciting team to watch.
Oh, to be an Arkansas Razorbacks fan. After a 2-10 season in 2018, Coach Chad Morris’ initial campaign at the helm, Arkansas is 2-8 this season after a humiliating 45-19 loss at home to Western Kentucky. Earlier in the year, the Razorbacks lost to San Jose State, both schools being paid $1.5 million apiece to play the role of Washington Generals, only to turn the tables on Morris’ boys.
Finally, my Wake Forest Demon Deacons saw their hopes of a ‘dream season’ extinguished in Blacksburg, Virginia, the Deacs totally outplayed and outcoached by Virginia Tech, 36-17, dropping No. 19 Wake to 7-2, Clemson up next. It’s a bad loss for the ACC as well because now only Clemson will be in the top 25, though the Tigers are still playoff bound.
What worries Wake fans is that after we get our butts kicked in Death Valley, we still face Duke at home and Syracuse on the road. That normally would mean two wins, and 9-3, but it appears our star receiver Sage Surratt suffered a potentially serious injury yesterday, and another of the sterling trio of wideouts, Scotty Washington, didn’t play yesterday either. We need all three to be healthy to win...that’s our M.O.
And now the new AP Poll....
1. LSU (54) 9-0
2. Ohio State (5) 9-0
3. Clemson (3) 10-0
4. Alabama 8-1
5. Georgia 8-1
6. Oregon 8-1...fret not, Ducks
7. Minnesota 9-0...up six in AP
8. Utah 8-1
9. Penn State 8-1
10. Oklahoma 8-1
11. Florida 8-2
12. Baylor 9-0
16. Notre Dame 7-2
17. Cincinnait 8-1
18. Memphis 8-1
19. Boise State 8-1
20. SMU 9-1
21. Navy 7-1
24. Indiana 7-2...good for them
No reason to go nuts yet, but we await the definitive CFP ranking, Tuesday.
--Rutgers was off this week but there is growing talk Greg Schiano will be returning as head coach. Schiano has all the leverage, though, and he reportedly wants the moon, including a new football-only facility of the kind every other major power has these days.
--We actually had a fairly entertaining game at MetLife Stadium today, as the lowly Jets and Giants faced off (every four years they do), the Jets pulling it out 34-27 to go to 2-7, the Giants now 2-8. [Eegads.]
Daniel Jones outplayed Sam Darnold from a statistical standpoint, Jones 26/40, 308, 4-0, 121.7, Darnold 19/30, 230, 1-0, 97.9, but Jones gave it up as Jamal Adams literally stripped it out of Jones’ hands and sauntered 25 yards for a touchdown to start the third, Jets going up 21-13.
The Giants then roared back to take a 27-21 lead, but the Jets dominated from there.
Saquon Barkley was held to one yard on 13 carries and is now 27 for 29 yards his last two games. Le’Veon Bell wasn’t much better, 18 carries for 34.
As in both teams’ offensive lines totally blow.
--Baltimore is 7-2 after blasting the winless Bengals (0-9) 49-13 in Cincinnati. It was once again the Lamar Jackson show...15/17, 223, 3-0, a perfect 158.3 PR, plus another 65 yards rushing, with a 47-yard TD run to boot. Literally, he’s the entire offense.
Well, Cincinnati is in the lead for Tua, or Joe Burrow.
--Kansas City fell to 6-4, as Patrick Mahomes returned and threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns, but the Chiefs lost at Tennessee (5-5), as the Titans behind Ryan Tannehill (13/19, 181, 2-0, 133.9) and Derrick Henry, 23 carries for 188 yards plus two scores, rallied from a 29-20 deficit with 11:54 left to pull the upset. Tannehill connected on a 23-yard TD pass with Adam Humphries with 0:23 left to seal it.
--Buffalo is 6-3 after losing to Cleveland (3-6) and Baker Mayfield, 19-16, Mayfield a respectable 25/37, 231, 1-0, 93.4, Nick Chubb 116 yards on the ground for the Brownies. It’s hard to tell, still, just who the Bills are. At this point they might not make the playoffs. They’re like ‘mehhh.’
--In a game that literally four people in the country cared about, the Bucs (3-6) beat the Cardinals (3-6-1) 30-27.
--And I have to tell you, there is zero to say about the Falcons upset of the Saints 26-9, in New Orleans, except that the Saints laid an egg to fall to 7-2, Atlanta 2-7. How do these things happen?
--Another game the Western World could have done without, and I admit Jets-Giants is at the top of the list, was Chicago beating Detroit 20-13, the Bears now 4-5, Detroit falling to 3-5-1, with the Bears’ much-maligned Mitch Trubisky having a fine game, 16/23, 173, 3-0, 131.0, even as Chicago was outgained 359-226.
Actually, the story here was Detroit QB Matthew Stafford not being behind center due to back and hip injuries for the first time after 136 consecutive starts. He hadn’t missed a regular-season game since 2010.
--Miami won its second in a row (2-7), impacting the “tanking for Tua” narrative, and putting a major crimp in Indianapolis’ playoff hopes, the Colts 5-4, as Brian Hoyer, subbing for injured Jacoby Brissett, threw three interceptions with a putrid 38.8 PR.
--I did stay up to watch the entire Chargers-Raiders game Thursday night, Oakland 5-4 after a 26-24 win as Los Angeles’ Philip Rivers threw three picks, including a decisive one in the end when the Chargers were trying to get in field position for a game-winning field goal.
Rivers is the major reason why L.A. is just 4-6, 14 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions, after a 32-12 ratio last year. At least Melvin Gordon returned to form, rushing for 108 yards, and local boy Michael Badgley wasn’t a reason the Chargers lost.
Give credit to Chucky in his second season, after a rough 4-12 first season. Derek Carr is also playing very well thus far at quarterback for the Raiders.
--Green Bay moved to 8-2, 24-16 winners over the Panthers (5-4).
--And as I go to post, Pittsburgh is suddenly 5-4, defeating the Rams, also 5-4, 17-12 in Pittsburgh, as Jared Goff had another poor outing for L.A.
--Friday night in Portland, Damian Lillard had a franchise-high 60 points for the Trail Blazers but it wasn’t enough, as the Nets took them down, 119-115, behind Spencer Dinwiddie’s 34 and Kyrie Irving’s 33.
--Also in a losing effort Friday, the Warriors’ D’Angelo Russell went off for 52 but they lost to the T’Wolves in Minneapolis, 125-119 in overtime.
--The Knicks had an inspired 106-102 win at Dallas Friday, despite Luka Doncic’s 38. Boy, Doncic is going to be an amazing star. He already is. And when running mate Kristaps Porzingis truly rounds into shape (he looks darn good already after his return from an ACL injury, a 20-month absence...but he’ll only get better), that is quite a scoring duo.
--The Celtics suffered a big blow when Gordon Hayward fractured his left hand in Saturday’s win over San Antonio, 135-115. Boston is off to a 7-1 start, in no small part because of the return to form of Hayward, who entered Saturday averaging 20.3 points per game, 56.4% from the field the first seven. Last Tuesday he matched his career high with 39 points in a win against Cleveland.
--So there has been a lot of buzz in these parts over the prospects for the Seton Hall basketball team and its potential to be a player come March Madness, some dreaming of a Final Four, your editor picking them to go all the way.
Such dreams were solely because of the return of one player, guard Myles Powell, who eschewed a probable NBA roster spot to come back for his senior season (while improving his draft position). The other day I was listening to a sports talk show and they were discussing The Hall and I was thinking, ‘Oh, just keep the guy healthy.’
And so what happens Saturday against Stony Brook, but five minutes into the game, Powell suffers a serious ankle sprain, and according to coach Kevin Willard, faces a prolonged absence. The Pirates won the game 74-57, but face Michigan State this Thursday. The best hope of fans should be that Powell is back by January...we’ll learn a lot more Monday.
--No. 14 Memphis is taking a huge gamble in playing freshman James Wiseman, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA draft. He suited up for the Tigers on Friday night despite being ruled ineligible by the NCAA earlier in the day.
Memphis said in a statement Friday that Penny Hardaway, before he was the Tigers’ coach, provided $11,500 in moving expenses to aid the Wiseman family’s move to Memphis, without the player’s knowledge. According to Weisman’s attorney, the NCAA deemed that Hardaway, a Memphis alum, was a booster at the time.
But this is just corruption. While a local judge halted the NCAA’s ruling for the time being, making Wiseman (a 7-foot-1 center) eligible to play Friday (he scored 17 points with nine rebounds and five blocks in a 92-46 win over Illinois-Chicago), here’s the back story.
Wiseman, who was the No.1-ranked recruit in the 2019 class, moved to Memphis from Nashville in the summer of 2017. He attended East High School and played for Team Penny/Bluff City Legends, both of which were coached by Hardaway.
Hardaway was hired to replace Tubby Smith in Memphis in March 2018, and Wiseman picked Memphis over Kentucky in November 2018.
The whole thing stinks. At least Memphis president M. David Rudd gave a somewhat balanced statement, saying in part: “We support James’ right to challenge the NCAA ruling on this matter. The University of Memphis has high standards of ethical conduct for all faculty, staff and students, and we take seriously any allegations or conduct that is not aligned with our mission. We will acknowledge and accept responsibility for proven violations of NCAA bylaws.”
Memphis, owing to Wiseman, and two other five-star prospects, had the No. 1-ranked recruiting class this year. While it starts out No. 14 AP, as ESPN.com’s Jeff Borzello notes, the Tigers attracted heavy betting interest, with the odds for it winning the national title going from 40-1 in May to 8-1 entering the season.
--I bitched that my Wake Forest Demon Deacons* opened the season with an ACC game (losing to Boston College 77-70), rather than easing into the season like in years past, and I wasn’t alone in expressing this sentiment. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was fuming his team had to play Virginia in its opener, and the Orange lost 48-34, shooting 13 of 55 from the field (23.6%).
“You never want to play the elite games early. That’s stupid, it’s just a money grab,” said Boeheim.
He’s right...it’s all about the new ACC Network. Plus the ACC is going to a 20-game league schedule for the first time. This blows.
*I watched the last eight minutes of Wake Forest-Columbia today, the totally pathetic Deacs pulling it out 65-63. What an embarrassment. Yes, Danny Manning has to be fired...as he should have been two years ago...but it will finally happen next spring, as the Deacs win all of four games this season. We are that awful. Little talent and the game’s worst coach of the last 25 years.
--I posted last time before Wednesday’s games so missed the debut of North Carolina’s Cole Anthony, son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony, and let’s just say Cole had a rather auspicious start, 34 points and 11 rebounds in the Tar Heels’ 76-65 win over Notre Dame. Anthony is the preseason freshman of the year in the ACC and sure played like it in his debut.
Yes, Shu, maybe Carolina will be right there come the Monday night before The Masters, a tradition unlike any other...on CBS.
[Anthony had 20 points in his second game, Friday night, a 78-62 win over UNC Wilmington, shooting just 7 of 24 from the field.]
--Johnny Mac alerted me to a rather large beatdown Friday night in Salt Lake City. Utah defeated Mississippi Valley State 143-49.
Yes, 143-49, the largest NCAA Division I margin of victory ever, while the Utes broke their school scoring record. Utah had a 68-28 edge in rebounds; 41-10 in assists.
There’s no telling how long the Delta Devils will take to recover from this. Heck, actually they’re starting the season with a 12-game road trip. Imagine; they don’t have their first home game until Jan. 4!
--The PGA Tour was off this week, resuming next week in Mexico and then Sea Island, Georgia, for the final two events of the fall season.
--But the Champions Tour had its finale, with the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix. And it went to a playoff, between Jeff Maggert and Retief Goosen.
But it’s complicated. Goosen, had he won the event, would have won the Schwab Cup and the $1 million bonus. Maggert, if he won the tournament, would have handed the Cup to Scott McCarron, who finished T-27.
And so it went to a third playoff hole, I was ready to turn it off and move on, when Maggert holed a 123-yard shot for an eagle on the par-4 17th, handing the Cup to McCarron. You will see it more than a few times on the evening sports tonight, or tomorrow.
I did love how all the older set was drinking Miguel Angel Jimenez’ wine in the clubhouse, awaiting the finish.
--I couldn’t care less about the Presidents Cup, but it’s important for the golfers and their Q-ratings, or brand appeal, to be selected for the team. So Tiger Woods picked himself with one of his four captain’s picks, along with Gary Woodland, Tony Finau and Patrick Reed. They join teammates Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson (Go Deacs!) and Matt Kuchar.
The U.S. meets the Internationals Dec. 12-15 at Royal Melbourne (which is a big reason I don’t care, because of the time difference). The U.S. leads the series 10-1-1.
Nope, just give me the Ryder Cup every two years.
--Eddie Pepperell is a favorite of Bar Chat. He’s quirky, and brutally honest, like the time at The Open Championship when he said he got hammered the Saturday night after his third round, thinking he was way out of contention, only to go low and find himself near the top of the leaderboard Sunday, playing with a vicious hangover.
But Pepperell was disqualified from the Turkish Airlines Open yesterday when he ran out of golf balls.
The English pro hit as many as five golf balls – his playing partners were unsure – into the water on the par-5 fourth hole during the third round, playing alongside Martin Kaymer and George Coetzee.
“Eddie hit his shots to the green, then came over to tell us he had run out of balls,” Kaymer told reporters in Turkey. “Then he walked off. I thought he lost four or five.....He did not ask if he could borrow one from me or George. It did not look like he wanted to play.”
Pepperell could have borrowed a ball from his playing partners but that’s a two-shot penalty.
--I was reading an interview of Joe Namath in Golf Digest, Namath an avid golfer, starting with his days at the University of Alabama, Joe Willie saying Bear Bryant loved the game and didn’t mind his players hitting the links.
But Namath has this tidbit: “One tip that worked for a long time was to swing the handle, not the clubhead. The great Eddie Merrins taught me that while I was a member at Bel-Air Country club in Los Angeles. Eddie got me playing real well with that concept.”
Interesting. Something to work on this coming winter for those of us in the Northeast and Midwest when we’re stuck inside.
--Congratulations to Thomas Walsh, son of a college classmate, for making it to the Final Stage of the Korn Ferry Q-School, meaning at worst he’ll have some playing privileges, as far as I can see. If I’m reading it right, in the finals you then want to be in the top 45 to get full early-season privileges...or something like that. Phil W. (great friend of the father), correct me if I’m wrong.
My Tottenham Spurs continue to dig a deeper and deeper hole with the season basically a third over, Tottenham managing just a draw Saturday with upstart Sheffield, 1-1. Tottenham is already 11 points out of the fourth spot for the Champions League.
Chelsea continued on its roll, 2-0 over Crystal Palace, and Leicester City handled Arsenal 2-0, as the Foxes continue to impress, veteran Jamie Vardy with his 11th goal of the season in just 12 games.
Today, Manchester United beat Brighton 3-1, and then we had the biggie, Manchester City at Liverpool.
It was never a contest, Liverpool jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first 13 minutes, stretching it to 3-0 early in the second half and cruising, 3-1. Shockingly, Man City has slipped to fourth in the standings.
After 12 of 38 matches....
1. Liverpool 34 points
2. Leicester City 26
3. Chelsea 26
4. Man City 25 ...Champions League line
5. Sheffield 17
6. Arsenal 17
7. Man U 16
8. Wolverhampton 16...nice recovery after slow start
9. Bournemouth 16
10. Burnley 15
14. Tottenham 14...yikes
Meanwhile, for all its problems in the PL, Tottenham has righted the ship in the Champions League with two straight wins, including 4-0 over Red Star Belgrade last Wednesday. Man City managed only a 1-1 draw with Atalanta.
We had another great finish today in Phoenix, as Denny Hamlin captured his sixth win of the year, 38th overall, and punched his ticket into next week’s NASCAR Cup finale, along with runner-up Kyle Busch, joining Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. Whoever finishes highest among these four at Homestead takes the Cup. I love this format.
--Distance runner Mary Cain made some serious allegations of abuse during her time with the Nike Oregon Project track club and coach Alberto Salazar in an interview with NBC News and then a New York Times video op-ed released Thursday. Cain, 23, described how a “systemic crisis in women’s sports and at Nike” left one of the sport’s bright young stars with a broken body and spirit.
Cain joined the Nike Oregon Project shortly after Salazar contacted her at age 16. Cain said Salazar obsessed over her weight and forced her to take medication, some of which was banned. Cain said the weight loss led to her having bone disease, losing her period for three years and, ultimately, having suicidal thoughts and cutting herself.
On social media, several former members of the Oregon Project confirmed or added to Cain’s account of Salazar’s fixation on weight.
In a statement Friday, Nike said that it was not aware of Cain’s allegations and that Cain had sought to train under Salazar this year.
“These are deeply troubling allegations which have not been raised by Mary or her parents before,” a Nike spokesman said in an emailed statement. “Mary was seeking to rejoin the Oregon Project and Alberto’s team as recently as April of this year and had not raised these concerns as part of that process. We take the allegations extremely seriously and will launch an immediate investigation to hear from former Oregon Project athletes.”
On Twitter, Cain confirmed she had been in contact with Salazar in the spring.
Christin Brennan / USA TODAY
“Nike’s sports performance reputation is in shambles today, and rightly so.
“Just six weeks after its top track coach was banned for four years for anti-doping violations, former teen running phenom Mary Cain came forward with the chilling accusation that she was ‘emotionally and physically abused’ while training with Nike.
“Once revered for its innovative and bold ways, Nike has become known for something else this autumn.
“It has become the Russia of sports performance companies.
“You can’t trust it. You have no idea what it’s doing behind closed doors. And it must be independently investigated....
“(Cain) accused Salazar of shaming her in front of others on the team if she did not meet the weight he wanted for her: 114 pounds. She said he attempted to give her birth-control pills and diuretics to assist with weight loss, even though diuretics are not allowed in the sport.
“What happened then was awful: Her lowered weight caused her menstrual cycle to stop for three years, leading to five broken bones. Incredibly, there was no certified nutritionist or sports psychologist on staff with whom she could consult....
“After what we’ve seen from the morally bankrupt Oregon Project, which is now defunct, it appears the allegations actually might be completely consistent with the way Nike has been operating its athlete training and performance business.
“Cain left the Oregon Project in 2015 but did attempt to return this year, she said on Twitter....
‘(We) all come to face our demons in some way. For me, that was seeing my old team this last spring.
‘I wanted closure, wanted an apology for never helping me when I was cutting, and in my own, sad, never-fully healed heart, wanted Alberto to take me back. I still loved him. Because when we let people emotionally break us, we crave more than anything their very approval.
‘We quickly fell out of touch this summer, and that made the rose color glasses finally fall off. He didn’t care about me as a person; only as the product, the performer, the athlete.’....
“This is a time of great upheaval in the U.S. Olympic community. Sexual abuse, as we know so well, is real. Mental, physical and emotional abuse appears to be real, too. Nike has many crucial questions to answer about how it treated Cain and other top women athletes.
“It must face those questions head on in a thorough, independent investigation. There is no running away from this.”
I wrote of the then-17-year-old Cain in this space 11/18/2013, that she was opting to turn pro and not go to college. In all the above, there’s no mention, including from what I’ve seen from Cain herself, about this poor decision on her part, and that of her advisers. There are a lot of great college track programs and she could have turned pro later.
The great distance runner Shalane Flanagan went to North Carolina and won a few national cross country titles there before turning pro.
--Rachel Bachman / Wall Street Journal
“The U.S. women’s soccer team has been paid less on a per-game basis than the U.S. men’s soccer team and suffered from inferior working conditions, said a federal judge who is presiding over the women’s ongoing pay-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation....
“The ruling is procedural and doesn’t decide the merits of the case, but it provides a window into the judge’s thinking. After mediation talks between the sides broke down in August, the judge set a trial date of May 5, 2020. If the U.S. women qualify for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, as expected, they will begin play in July.
“ ‘It’s very energizing,’ U.S. women’s team veteran Megan Rapinoe said of the judge’s ruling. ‘It’s almost a validation of everything that we’re seeing. I think it’s a really positive step forward in this fight.’”
--The creator of Topo Gigio, the lovable mouse who became famous to American audiences as a frequent guest on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the 1960s and early ‘70s and was known worldwide, Maria Perego, died in Milan on Thursday. She was 95.
Perego, and her husband, Federico Caldura, came up with the 10-inch-tall Topo Gigio in the late 1950s. For those of us of a certain age, we loved when we saw that Topo Gigio, a cross between a puppet and a marionette, was going to be on ‘Ed Sullivan.’ There were three puppeteers, hidden in a black background, that moved various body parts with rods.
According to a book by Bernie Ilson, “How ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ Brought Elvis, the Beatles, and Culture to America,” Ed saw a tape of the puppet from Italian television and booked Topo Gigio for a series of appearances, the first being on April 4, 1963.
Neil Genzlinger / New York Times
“Ms. Perego and two other puppeteers were on hand to impart the movements, and a fourth provided Topo Gigio’s voice – but, Mr. Ilson wrote, Mr. Sullivan had not realized that someone would also have to serve as the puppet’s straight man. Mr. Sullivan, who was famously wooden on camera, stepped into that task for the initial appearance, figuring he would arrange for a professional comic to take over for later ones if the bit caught on.
“ ‘It was evident from the very first appearance, however, that the chemistry between Sullivan and Topo Gigio worked extremely well,’ Mr. Ilson wrote. ‘The exchanges between Sullivan and the mouselike puppet revealed another side of the host, a warm and humanizing element.’....
“The appearances often ended with the mouse saying, in a thick Italian accent, ‘Eddie, kiss me good night.’
“ ‘The line became famous,’ Mr. Ilson wrote, ‘and it was not unusual for passers-by to call out, ‘Eddie, keees-a-me good night’ as Sullivan walked the streets of New York.’”
The exposure made Topo Gigio a worldwide phenomenon. But what’s funny is that the character didn’t take off initially in Italy, where Perego was based, nor on other European television outlets. It was really Ed Sullivan who made the puppet famous.
--So Brad K. first alerted me to the wild turkey situation in Toms River, N.J., and then there was a piece in the Star-Ledger on same, the Ledger starting out, “They are finally trying to get back at us for Thanksgiving.”
But the story is they have “reportedly broken house windows, tried to bite people and continue to block residents’ doorways, according to News12 New Jersey.”
“I can’t get out of my door,” one resident said. “Sometimes I can’t get out of my car. They go to attack you.”
“Wildlife officials have warned that turkeys may attempt to dominate or attack people they view as subordinates, according to CBS Boston. This behavior is most common in the fall when young male birds start competing with flock elders, according to experts.”
So then I see that wild turkeys were once extinct in New Jersey, but in 1977, “22 of the birds were transplanted here. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife estimates there are between 20,000 and 23,000 wild turkeys now living in the state. About 3,000 are hunted annually, the division says.”
Former Yankees and Mets third baseman Todd Frazier, who hails from Toms River, has weighed in, tweeting: “I have seen the reports about wild turkeys in Toms River. They are a big problem here. They have come close to harming my family and friends, ruined my cars, trashed my yard and much more.”
The free-agent slugger wants local wildlife officials to act, saying it’s “ridiculous” that they can’t move the wild birds.
Well Frazier got some heat for his tweets, but I support the guy 100 percent! As one mailman wrote, defending Frazier’s stance: “They’ve attacked me numerous times on my route.”
As I told Brad the other day, I was driving through a large nature preserve near where I live (Watchung Reservation) and the traffic suddenly stopped, as ten turkeys walked across the road, single file...exhibiting total discipline. I assume they were armed. We’re doomed.
--The hand of a Scottish tourist who was last seen snorkeling off the French island of Reunion, near Madagascar, was found in the stomach of a tiger shark – and he was identified by the wedding ring still on a finger.
The 44-year-old man, who has not been identified, went missing Saturday while swimming off the coast of the Indian Ocean island, according to the Guardian.
His wife identified the ring, which was recovered during an autopsy of the shark, one of five caught for research purposes on Monday and Tuesday.
It was unclear if the man had drowned before being consumed by the shark or if the fish attacked him.
There have been two fatal shark attacks this year on Reunion, where authorities have implemented a ban on swimming and water sports across almost all of the island’s beaches after attacks in 2013.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he hopes the ban on water sports is lifted by 2022, but added that he wanted “to be sure that it would be safe to do so.”
Top 3 songs for the week 11/10/62: #1 “He’s A Rebel” (The Crystals) #2 “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (The 4 Seasons...the Jersey Boys burst on the scene this year with this one and “Sherry,” both hitting #1...) #3 “All Alone Am I” (Brenda Lee...great tune...)...and...#4 “Return To Sender” (Elvis Presley) #5 “Only Love Can Break A Heart” (Gene Pitney) #6 “Next Door To An Angel” (Neil Sedaka) #7 “Gina” (Johnny Mathis) #8 “Monster Mash” (Bobby “Boris” Pickett and The Crypt-Kickers) #9 “Do You Love Me” (The Contours) #10 “Popeye The Hitchhiker” (Chubby Checker...super first seven...)
NFL Quiz Answer: The two with eight career kick returns for a touchdown are Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington. Washington had three in a season twice, once for the Jets, the other for the Seahawks. Cribbs did it once. Cribbs also had three punt returns for a TD.
Cecil Turner (Chicago, 1970) and Travis Williams (Green Bay, 1967) hold the record for kick returns for TDs in a single season with four.
Devin Hester has the record for most punt returns for a touchdown, career, with 14, plus he had five kickoff returns for a score.
Travis Williams starred in my electric football games.... RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.