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It's Auburn vs. Florida State
Heisman Trophy Quiz: Only three sophomores have ever won it. And the three did so in a row. Name ‘em. [Hint: Since 1990] Answer below.
College Football Review
[My own comments prior to release of the AP and BCS polls.]
What a season...and yet again, what a week.
Saturday started out with No. 17 Oklahoma visiting No. 6 Oklahoma State, a BCS bowl on the line for the Cowboys. In what was a spectacular finish, Oklahoma State took a 24-20 lead with an 89-yard touchdown drive with 1:46 remaining. But the Sooners stormed back, going 66 yards in 8 plays to regain the lead 27-24, and then tacked on a meaningless TD on the final play as the Cowboys fumbled away the ball and Oklahoma scooped it up for a score...33-24. Oklahoma State fans were stunned. I feel sorry for T. Boone Pickens, whose name is on the stadium and who has donated $100s of millions to his alma mater.
So the Oklahoma State loss opened it up for the winner of No. 25 Texas at No. 9 Baylor to grab the Big-12 BCS slot and the Bears put away the Longhorns with ease, 30-10. It is Baylor’s first Big-12 title and first conference crown since winning the Southwest Conference title in 1980. Baylor is headed to the Fiesta Bowl. Additionally, during the week, junior quarterback Bryce Petty announced he was coming back for his senior year.
Then you had No. 3 Auburn and No. 5 Missouri matching up for the SEC Conference Championship. Despite the fact Missouri couldn’t stop Auburn’s amazing running game, Mizzou was only down 28-27 at the half, before Auburn pulled away, 59-42. Tre Mason had a stupendous 46 carries for 304 yards and four touchdowns. Overall, the Tigers rushed for 545 yards and 7.4 per carry.
Well, Auburn then sat back to see what would happen in the final two games of the day that would decide the BCS title matchup.
No. 1 Florida State did its job against No. 20 Duke. After a surprising scoreless first quarter, FSU rolled, 45-7, outgaining the Blue Devils 569-239. Jameis Winston threw for 330 yards and three scores (along with two interceptions). Having avoided charges in the nearly year-old sexual assault investigation, it’s expected Winston will win the Heisman Trophy ballot going away.
[By the way, voting is done online and about 80% of the votes are cast the last day, which is Monday, so for good reason I imagine virtually every voter was waiting to see what would happen with Winston first.]
So then we had No. 2 Ohio State against No. 10 Michigan State for the Big Ten Championship. I wrote last time that I was hoping the Spartans’ vaunted defense showed up and that they got off to a good start.
Well they did. Michigan State was up 17-0 midway through the second quarter on the strength of two Connor Cook touchdown passes.
But then the Buckeyes stormed back and took a 24-17 lead midway through the third. Yes, Florida State-Ohio State seemed a certainty for the BCS title game.
Only the Spartans had other plans. The defense stiffened again, Cook threw for another score, and Jeremy Langford rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown. Final: Michigan State 34...Ohio State 24. Bye-bye 24-game winning streak...and bye-bye any thoughts of a BCS championship.
So it will be Florida State vs. Auburn. No controversy whatsoever.
And what a turnaround for the ages for Auburn. From 3-9 and no wins in the SEC in 2012, to this. Coach of the Year Gus Malzahn has much to be proud of.
No. 7 Stanford blitzed No. 11 Arizona State 38-14 in the Pac-12 Championship for a berth in the Rose Bowl against Michigan State. This should be an outstanding game.
On Thursday, No. 19 Louisville finished the regular season at 11-1 in defeating Cincinnati (9-3) 31-24 in overtime. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the consensus No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, thus far, finished up with 28 touchdown passes and just four interceptions, but Louisville, my preseason pick to play in the BCS title game against Oregon, had just one blemish, a 3-point loss to Central Florida, though the pollsters never forgave them. Truth be told, Louisville also didn’t dominate its opponents like some of us expected them to.
Speaking of No. 16 UCF, they defeated SMU in an Ice Bowl in Dallas on Saturday, 17-13, to move to 11-1, it’s only loss being a 3-point contest against South Carolina. The temperature in Dallas was 24 degrees, UCF’s first-ever game in sub-freezing temperatures, and the coldest game in SMU history. Just a few hundred fans showed up.
So UCF is going to a BCS bowl (probably Fiesta against Baylor), while No. 14 Northern Illinois is not.
Shockingly, the Huskies were never really in their MAC Championship game against Bowling Green (10-3), losing 47-27, as the Falcons’ Matt Johnson totally outplayed Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch; Johnson throwing for 393 yards and five touchdowns, while Lynch was a pedestrian 21/40, 219, 1-2 (INTs), and ‘just’ 126 yards rushing. I watched much of this one...stunned. So Northern Illinois (12-1) will be consigned to a really lousy bowl game.
And in the FCS, Div. I-AA playoffs, my Pick to Click, Maine, lost for a second consecutive time to New Hampshire, 41-27, while Towson ended Fordham’s dream season 48-28. The Rams finish 12-2.
--After eight sterling seasons at Boise State, where he went 92-12, Chris Petersen has finally decided to leave and is taking the head job at Washington, where he has strong ties. USC fans are complaining, ‘Why didn’t we get him instead of Steve Sarkisian?’ but the Washington job is a perfect fit for Petersen. Good for him. Huge blow for Boise State, but they were fortunate to have held onto him for as long as they did.
--Lastly, Johnny Mac and I swapped notes on what a joy it was to listen to Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson do the Auburn-Missouri game. Danielson in particular was superb, the most knowledgeable analyst in his sport, and he’s been that way for years.
Then I pick up Sunday’s New York Post and media commentator Phil Mushnick has this:
“If you ever have time to kill, try this: Find someone in the TV business who doesn’t adore Verne Lundquist – professionally, personally and whatever’s left.
“You’ll have killed time, all right, every second of it, wasted.”
Lundquist is in his 50th year in professional broadcasting.
“Calling games and golf for CBS, no frills, no rehearsed signature stuff, no nuthin’ beyond a familiar and modest natural friendliness and the occasional scold – but only to let us know that he only can take so much.
“There was a moment a few years back when he saw a college football player in a sustained, chest-beating celebration of himself, to which Lundquist, neither raising his voice nor breaking his stride, said, ‘I think he wants to appear on a certain network’s highlights.’
“Fabulous! Lundquist as Ward Cleaver, explaining to Wally the behavior of Eddie (ESPN) Haskell.”
Lundquist also knows his like probably wouldn’t be hired today, telling Mushnick: “I have no shtick, no profile, no gimmicks. I wouldn’t get a second look.”
And your new AP Poll....
1. Florida State (56 first-place votes) 13-0...1496 points
2. Auburn (4) 12-1...1444
3. Alabama 11-1
4. Michigan State 12-1
5. Stanford 11-2
6. Baylor 11-1
7. Ohio State 12-1
8. South Carolina 10-2
9. Missouri 11-2
10. Oregon 10-2
15. UCF 11-1
18. Louisville 11-1
22. Duke 10-3
24. Northern Illinois 12-1
And your final BCS Poll...
1. Florida State .996
2. Auburn .964
3. Alabama .906
4. Michigan State .860
5. Stanford .819
6. Baylor .772
7. Ohio State .771
8,. Missouri .726
9. South Carolina .715
10. Oregon .581
I’ll have some bowl match-up comments next time...but, again, I’m pumped for the Rose Bowl.
Us Jets fans don’t deserve anything good, what with the season we’ve had, but for about 30 minutes after the Jets had defeated Oakland 37-27 to go to 6-7, there was hope both the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins would lose their contests to fall to the same 6-7 for the final wildcard slot.
Alas, after an amazing five touchdowns in the final 125 seconds, the Ravens emerged victorious in beating the Vikings, 29-26, while Miami came back against the Steelers to win 34-28; both now 7-6.
Oh well...at least the Jets stay relevant for one more week, though the next game is at Carolina. It was good to see quarterback Geno Smith actually look like a professional; 16 for 25, 219 yards, his first touchdown since Week 7, and an 88.6 rating. [Plus one more interception.] Geno also remembered he had two legs and ran for 50 yards.
Sixth and Final Playoff Spot in AFC
And in the NFC North race...
Chicago...6-6...plays 7-5 Cowboys Monday night
Detroit lost in a raging snowstorm in Philadelphia, 34-20, as Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy had a franchise-record 217 yards on 29 carries, including touchdown runs of 57 and 40 yards. Nick Foles did finally throw an interception, after 19 TD passes without one, one shy of the record for the start of a season. The weather hurt Detroit before the game even started, with Reggie Bush reinjuring his calf during warm-ups on the slippery turf. The Eagles retained the lead in the NFC East at 8-5, pending Dallas’ contest Monday with Chicago.
The Packers stayed relevant under quarterback Matt Flynn, edging the Falcons 22-21.
Then you had the Patriots trying to stay in the hunt for home-field advantage in the playoffs. Down 26-14 to the Browns, New England and Tom Brady scored twice in the final minute, the second TD the result of a successful onside kick. Pats win 27-26 to go to 10-3, but they lost star Rob Gronkowski to a probable torn ACL.
But the Chiefs went to 10-3, breaking their three-game losing streak, in beating Washington 45-10, while the Broncos are now 11-2 after whipping Tennessee (5-8), 51-28. Peyton Manning threw four more touchdowns to hit 45 for the season, closing in on Tom Brady’s record 50 with three games to go.
And then there is Denver kicker Matt Prater. To close out the first half, he hit a 64-yard field goal. Yes, a new NFL record. It was inevitable, but sorry to see this mark go, many of us of a certain age remembering Tom Dempsey and his 63-yarder with the Saints, way back in 1970. [The other three to boot a 63-yarder were David Akers, Sebastian Janikowski and Jason Elam.]
Two more. Arizona moved to 8-5, 30-10 winners over the Rams (5-8), but the Cardinals are still one game behind San Francisco (9-4) for the final wildcard slot in the NFC, the 49ers defeating Seattle (11-2) at home, 19-17. [Neither Colin Kaepernick nor Russell Wilson played particularly well on Sunday.]
--The Houston Texans fired coach Gary Kubiak after an 11-game losing streak. Kubiak was 61-64 in his years there, including AFC South titles in 2011-12, which set the Texans up to be Super Bowl contenders this season and then it just all fell apart.
--After I last posted, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was fined $100,000 for interfering with a kickoff return Thanksgiving night in the game against the Ravens. The team could still lose a draft pick because of Tomlin’s stupid actions.
--If you are going to the Super Bowl, I hope you are making your transportation plans, today. By all accounts it is going to be a mess, and that doesn’t include the ‘Storm of the Century’ that will be hitting.
There was a piece in the Star-Ledger by Paul Mulshine the other day that read in part:
“The NFL is calling this the first ‘mass transit Super Bowl.’ That sounds nice. But only a small fraction of the fans will be arriving by train. Not that many will arrive by car either; the number of available parking spaces has been cut in half.
“Most of the fans will arrive by bus or limo, and all such vehicles are required to park for the entire game.”
All the nearby bars that advertise low-cost parking and shuttle service on a normal football weekend won’t be able to do so. No cabs, either.
Some in the vicinity of MetLife stadium are renting their homes and condos out for the week, but as one official told Mulshine, “That’s nice, but how are you getting to the game? For $35,000 you can have a wonderful weekend in East Rutherford.”
Mulshine: “Many of those people are likely to show up at the stadium on game day expecting to get in, he said.”
Especially for New York-area baseball fans, the Hot Stove League heated up in a huge way.
The Yankees lost second baseman Robinson Cano to the Mariners, who stupidly handed Cano $240 million over 10 years, $65 million and three years more than the Yankees were probably going to offer.
And the Yankees lost outfielder Curtis Granderson (though they were not going to re-sign him) to the Mets who are giving Granderson $60 million over four years.
But the Yankees signed (or are in the process of signing) catcher Brian McCann, five years, $85 million; outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, seven years, $153 million; outfielder Carlos Beltran, three years, $45 million; infielder Kelly Johnson, and pitcher Hiroki Kuroda (one year, $16 million)....all before the winter meetings actually begin this coming week.
And the Yankees still don’t know what is going to happen with Alex Rodriguez, though they are praying he’s suspended for at least half of 2014. The Yanks are still looking at free-agent second baseman Omar Infante, who could also play third (like Kelly Johnson, primarily a second baseman).
“How many years in a row can we say (fill-in-the-blank free agent) will not get the money because the industry has absorbed the lessons of the past and won’t do these mega-long deals – only to see fill in the blank get the deal?
“Robinson Cano was fill in the blank this year. The Mariners were this year’s team with the confluence of reasons – desperation and deep pockets – to ignore the inefficiency of free agency, to go where we were told no team would go....
“ ‘I thought after [Albert] Pujols [10 years for $240 million] went so wrong, so quickly, turned into such instant garbage, such a horror show, that the industry had finally learned,’ an NL executive said. ‘I really did think it was the tipping point.’
“It wasn’t. Cano won’t be either. Clayton Kershaw just might get a $300 million deal before this offseason is complete....
“Of the 40 largest total packages signed in big league history before this offseason, one-quarter have been traded during the life of the deal (Rodriguez, Fielder, Manny Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Hampton, Ken Griffey Jr. and Jose Reyes).”
Sherman, in a separate column, also muses, “Would you rather have Granderson for four years at $60 million or Jacoby Ellsbury for seven years at $153 million?” Surely, Granderson would have stayed if the Yankees had offered what the Mets did. If I were the Yanks, I would have taken Granderson back.
The Dodgers are bringing back reliever Brian Wilson, one year, $10 million! [Plus a one-year player option of at least $8.5 million.]
Slugger Mike Napoli is returning to Boston, two years, $32 million.
Outfielder Nate McLouth signs with Washington...two years, $10.75 million guaranteed.
Pitcher Scott Feldman goes to Houston, three years, $30 million.
Miami agreed to terms with first baseman Garrett Jones (two years, $7 to $8 million), infielder Rafael Furcal, and, earlier, Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (three years, $21 million)
Back to the Yankees, the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Costa had the following on team revenues the past few years.
“Proceeds from ticket sales and stadium suite licenses alone totaled $295 million through Sept. 30 this year... That is down from $353 million in 2012, $377 million in 2011 and $384 million in 2010, the records show.”
The figures are only available because the Yankees have to file them with the city “to demonstrate their ability to make payments on the bonds used in the construction of Yankee Stadium. Attendance represents just one of the Yankees’ revenue streams, but it highlights the enormity of the financial incentives for the team to make the playoffs.”
For example, the drop-off in 2013 from 2012. The postseason has normally meant about $50 to $60 million extra in the coffers for the Yanks.
“In other words, a Yankees team that wins 93 games and makes the playoffs brings in about 15% more ticket and suite revenue than a Yankees team that wins 88 games and misses the playoffs,” writes Costa.
2014 World Cup Draw
As feared, the United States received the worst draw, not only placement in the “Group of Death,” but the U.S. is in the worst group ever...Ghana, Germany and Portugal.
As Matthew Futterman writes in the Wall Street Journal:
“(The draw) not only put the U.S. in a group with No. 2-ranked Germany (possibly the best team in the world), it also put them in the same shark tank as Ghana (the team that eliminated the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup) and No. 5 Portugal, the domain of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.”
But why is it the worst (toughest) grouping of all time?
“The current rankings of the teams in Group G – Germany (2), Portugal (5), U.S. (14) and Ghana (24) – add up to 45. Compare that to the collective rankings of every group before the start of each World Cup since the tournament expanded to 32 countries in 1998, and no group of four has ever had a lower total.”
First match for the U.S. is Ghana, June 16, and in its three games, the U.S. will end up traveling around 9,000 miles. [Go to a map and remind yourself how big Brazil is. Fifth-largest country in the world. The game locations are scattered all over the place.]
The consensus is Group D is also very tough – Uruguay (6), Italy (7), England (13) and Costa Rica (31)...with the Brits not being particularly happy campers.
Spain and the Netherlands, the two finalists in 2010 (recall, Spain won a dreadful match), open up 2014’s Cup against each other.
Host Brazil will be gunning for its sixth WC title.
But, as I’ve been writing, it’s likely this whole event is going to be marked by excessive violence and clashes between the poor, protesting the huge amount of money spent to hold the Cup in Brazil, and the police.
College Basketball Review
11/17/13: Loss to unranked Belmont despite being a 14-point favorite
11/24/13: Win over No. 3 Louisville despite being a 10-point underdog
12/1/13: Loss to unranked UAB despite being an 8-point favorite
12/4/13: Win over No. 1 Michigan State despite being a 10-point underdog [CBSSports.com]
--Here’s a sleeper NCAA tourney team for you...Colgate! They are 4-3 but with losses to Wake Forest, 89-78; Syracuse 69-50 (in what is normally a 50-point game, historically); and Saturday, Georgetown, 61-55.
In other words, the Red Raiders have acquitted themselves quite well and should be there at the end in the Patriot League. To me, they have proved they can play with the big boys. Now it’s time to beat up on the little tykes; no offense to the other Patriot League alum out there, including from Army and Navy.
--Speaking of Wake Forest, we had a nice win over always tough Richmond, 76-66 in overtime after Wake was down 12 midway through the second half. At 8-2, it’s safe to say we will handily exceed the 13-18 mark of each of the last two seasons. And looking at the ACC, I’m thinking 8-10 in conference this year. Which would mean NIT, baby!
--No. 20 Baylor beat No. 3 Kentucky 67-62, Friday, adding to a nice weekend for the Bears’ sports program.
--Colorado defeated No. 6 Kansas in Boulder on Saturday, 75-72.
--No. 21 UMass remained undefeated (8-0) in beating BYU, 105-96.
--And right before I post, I saw where No. 13 Oregon outlasted Mississippi 115-105 in overtime down in Oxford. The Ducks outscored the Rebels in OT, 26-16! 26 points in one overtime session! For Ole Miss, Marshall Henderson had a career-high 39, shooting 10 of 23 from 3-point land.
--Thursday, all of New York was glued to their television sets for a highly-anticipated game between Gotham’s elite NBA teams...the 3-13 Knicks and the 5-13 Brooklyn Nets. Or as what the Daily News called the ‘Toilet Bowl.’
Stefan Bondy of the News wrote: “The Nets were flushed by the Knicks on Thursday night, 113-83, breaking new ground for rock bottom.”
So the Nets, who your intrepid editor said would win it all in the NBA this season (eegads, it’s early but potentially the worst pick of all time...including my earlier selection of Goliath over David, though it’s not like I was alone in that one, sports fans...), are 6-14 (after a win, Saturday). But, I hasten to add, without star point guard Deron Williams, who has seemingly spent half his life on the injured list.
“Well maybe if you bought him something better than PF Flyers he wouldn’t keep twisting his ankle!”
Meanwhile, the Knicks, after winning their second straight on Friday, lost to the Celtics in Madison Square Garden on Sunday, 114-73! The biggest rout of the NBA season as the Knicks starters were 3 of 23 from the field in the first half.
Tiger and Nelson Mandela
Forget what you think of Tiger Woods today. Almost all of you remember there was a time when Tiger was going to change the world, at least according to his late father, Earl.
It was in 1998, when Tiger was just 22 but had already become the first African-American to win the Masters, when he and Earl had a private lunch date with Nelson Mandela at his home.
“Woods and his father were taken to a side room, Woods said, and waited for Mandela to join them.
“During this time, however, as Woods has often said, he felt something come over him, to the point he asked his father if he, too, felt it. It was a different energy in the room, Woods said, as he stood waiting. Then Mandela walked into the room.
“ ‘That’s an experience that I will never, ever forget,’ Woods said in the past.”
On Thursday, as he hosted his World Challenge* at Sherwood Country Club that benefits his foundation, Woods spoke again about Mandela after learning of his passing.
“He certainly had an impact on my life and certainly on my father,” Woods said. “I think that time frame when he came out, the country could have fallen apart. It could have gone a lot of different ways, and he led it to where it’s at now, and the world is going to miss him.
“...I don’t think any of us probably here could have survived (Mandela’s imprisonment) and come out as humble and as dignified as he did, and to lead an entire nation and to basically lead the world when he came out.
“That’s a testament to his will and his spirit and who he was.”
Woods later tweeted: “Pop & I felt your aura when we met. I feel it today & I will feel it forever. You have done so much for humanity...”
*Tiger ended up choking on Sunday in his tournament. Zach Johnson holed a shot from a drop zone to force a playoff on 18, then Tiger missed a 5-foot putt to extend sudden death to a second hole, Johnson picking up the win.
Nelson Mandela often said, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”
In reading a piece in the New York Times by Jere Longman, I have to admit I needed to be reminded just how long South Africa’s boycott from the Olympics lasted, 1964-1992.
“Mandela became a huge fan of the activism of Muhammad Ali. A photo of the American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their gloved fists in protest at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics was also smuggled onto Robben Island, further validating for Mandela and other prisoners the value of dissent in sports in bringing social change.”
“On May 10, 1994, Mandela became South Africa’s first black president after three centuries of white domination. After his inauguration, he attended a soccer match at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg to see South Africa defeat Zambia. It was time to re-enter international sport, Mandela told the crowd.
“(Richard Lapchick, a leading anti-apartheid activist in the United States), who sat in the presidential box, said he asked Mandela why he had chosen to watch soccer – the favored sport of the black majority – instead of attending inauguration parties.
“He said that Mandela replied: ‘I wanted to make sure our people know how much I appreciated the sacrifices made by our athletes during the many years of the boycott. I have no doubt I became president today sooner than I would have had they not made those sacrifices.’”
A year later, you had Mandela at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in the same stadium.
“Rugby was the preferred sport of South Africa’s white minority. For blacks, the springbok, the mascot of the national rugby team, was a symbol of tyranny. While imprisoned, Mandela said, he invariably rooted for other countries to defeat his own.”
But in 1995, with just one black player on the roster, the Springboks played the World Cup under the slogan “One Team, One Country.”
Mandela told the players; “Our loyalties have completely changed. We have adopted these young men as our own boys.”
When South Africa defeated New Zealand in the final in Johannesburg, “Mandela ignored the counsel of many advisers and handed the trophy to the Springboks’ white captain, Francois Pienaar, while wearing a green jersey bearing Pienaar’s No. 6. On Mandela, an emblem of repression was transformed into something unifying and restorative.
“ ‘He told me thanks for all we’ve done for South Africa,’ Pienaar said at the time. ‘I reciprocated, telling him we could never have done as much as he’s done for South Africa.’”
I can’t believe I still haven’t seen the movie “Invictus” that commemorates this time.
Ernie Els says he used to receive congratulatory phone calls from Mandela after Ernie won a tournament.
Lindsey Vonn competed in her first race on Friday, 10 months after major knee surgery, and she finished 40th out of 60 starters in a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta. Vonn said, “I was just too nervous. I was really tight, and I skied that way.” But all in all, not bad, really. Her friend and rival Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany finished first.
Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the Birds of Prey downhill at Beaver Creek, Colo., on Friday. Bode Miller was top American, 13th, his best result since his 20-month absence because of a knee injury.
As for Svindal, he has landed on the podium in 11 of 16 World Cup downhill or super G events since the beginning of the 2012-13 season. He will be a major focus of media attention in Sochi.
On Saturday, Bode Miller, in finishing 14th in the super G, had what was still described as “an electrifying run,” with a mistake in the bottom section denying him a place on the podium. His times for the first two intervals were the fastest of any racer, a good sign in looking at Sochi and his medal hopes. Patrick Kung of Switzerland won the event.
Meanwhile, Mari Hoefl-Riesch won Saturday’s downhill as well (yes, two consecutive days), with Vonn improving to 11th.
But wait...there’s more! On Sunday, Vonn continued to show improvement with a 5th in the super G (Lara Gut of Switzerland won). Vonn said after, “I know I can win again.”
And for the men on Sunday, American Ted Ligety won his fourth giant slalom World Cup race, edging Bode Miller.
[And on the bobsled front, the United States women swept the podium at a World Cup race in Park City, Utah. Sprinters Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams were on the team that took second, and it seems both are headed to Sochi. I’m not sure exactly how the process works, or if this is already a done deal. I thought it was for Jones, but not necessarily Williams as yet.]
--NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship...Final Four...
--A gold medal awarded to Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympics sold at auction Sunday for $1,466,574!
--Temple is cutting seven varsity sports next year, including baseball, to save $3 million and address Title IX issues in its distribution of scholarship money. This really sucks. Nine coaches will lose their jobs and more than 150 returning student-athletes will be affected, school officials said.
Men’s indoor and outdoor track and field is also being eliminated. But then so is softball.
As for Title IX, male athletes now receive 58% of scholarship money to Temple’s student athletes, but make up just 49% of the student body. Don’t get me started. It’s the holiday season. I’m trying to be kind the next few weeks...until after Santa has completed his rounds, if you catch my drift.
--Fans of Manchester United are in full panic mode after losing back-to-back home matches to Everton and Newcastle for the first time since 2002. Not a great start for new manager David Moyes and the boys.
--The New York Rangers signed star goalie Henrik Lundqvist to a 7-year, $59.5 million contract that makes him the highest-paid goaltender in the NHL. So the 31-year-old will most likely finish his career as a Ranger, which has been his goal.
--Golf Magazine in the current issue has “The Most Beautiful Women in Golf,” including professional Anna Rawson (oh baby), Blair O’Neal (hel-loo!) and Natalie Gulbis (I’m speechless).
But also Holly Sonders of Golf Channel.
Would someone please ask me why I’m watching CNBC in the morning when I can watch Ms. Sonders instead? Can I be that much of an idiot? [Don’t answer that....I already know.]
--My high school alma mater, Summit High School here in New Jersey, won its second consecutive state football title on Friday, third in five years.
--The Obama administration announced it would allow companies in the wind-power industry to kill or injure eagles without fear of prosecution for up to three decades.
As reported by the AP’s Dina Cappiello, an earlier investigation by the news service this year “documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret....
Audobon President and CEO David Yarnold said in a statement: “Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check.” The group said it would challenge the decision.
Cappiello writes: “Flying eagles behave somewhat like drivers texting on cellphones; they don’t look up. As they scan below for food, they don’t notice the blades until it is too late.”
In northern California, Altamont Pass, wind farms kill an estimated 60 eagles a year.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Amy Grace, a wind industry analyst, said in an e-mail:
“In 2002, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimated that communication towers kill 4 million to 5 million (birds) per year, cars kill roughly 60 million, cats kill hundreds of millions.”
Almost 1 billion are killed annually from flying into windows and “no one is protesting about bird deaths outside your new home.”
Of course contained in the info above is what keeps ‘Cat’ from making it into the Top 50 of the All-Species List. I’d like to see the Justice Department do a little investigating on this topic.
--New Jersey bird lovers have been flocking to nature preserves at the Jersey Shore to see a very rare visitor, the snowy owl, which normally calls the Arctic home.
No, this isn’t about global warming, but seems to be all about finding food, i.e., rodents, and of course New Jersey has lots of those. The shore areas also look like their tundra environment up north.
--Chris K. passed along this horrific story from the Washington Post’s Mary Pat Flaherty:
“Krystine Rivera had a bad day at work Thursday and was waffling over whether to head out for a seven-mile run. She decided to go for it.
“And then her day, as she says, ‘got astronomically worse.’
“She was hit by an airborne deer.
“Rivera, 27, was jogging on a path adjoining Claiborne Parkway in Ashburn near the Dulles Greenway about 6 p.m. A 71-year-old woman from South Riding was driving a Toyota SUV on the road. And the deer – a buck – came from somewhere.
“The SUV struck the deer, which sent the animal flying into Rivera, who remembers running one minute and then coming to in an ambulance as a paramedic told her he needed to cut away one of her favorite running shirts ‘because it had deer blood all over it.’
“ ‘That’s when I knew a deer was part of this,’ Rivera said Saturday.”
The buck died at the scene. The driver was treated and released. Rivera was also later released that evening, suffering a concussion, a cut to her scalp and a bruise to her knee.
Talk about lucky. We wish her the best. She said she runs marathons and will keep running on the same path.
--The other day, Director of Shark Attacks for Bar Chat, Bob S., recommended investors ‘short’ Qantas shares after the two fatal attacks in Australia. This week, Qantas saw its stock crater 15% after issuing a profits warning.
We call this the “Bar Chat Advantage.” Most folks pay $6,000 or more for such advice. You get it for free.
--Sign of the Apocalypse: Want to know how stupid our fellow Americans are? An NBC affiliate in Detroit ran a photo of Alex Rodriguez’ face while remembering Nelson Mandela.
--Scientists have found the coldest place on Earth, an Antarctic mountain ridge, where the midwinter temperature plummets to below -91C. What’s that in Fahrenheit? Minus 131!
The world’s previous coldest temperature was at Russia’s Vostok research station, -89.2C, recorded in 1983.
--Grammy Nominations: Country Album: “Night Train,” Jason Aldean; “Two Lanes of Freedom,” Tim McGraw; “Based on a True Story...,” Blake Shelton; “Same Trailer Different Park,” Kacey Musgraves; “Red,” Taylor Swift.
Pop Vocal Album: “Paradise,” Lana Del Rey; “Pure Heroine,” Lorde; “Unorthodox Jukebox,” Bruno Mars; “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke; “The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience,” Justin Timberlake.
Jay Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” picked up nine nominations, and it’s not supposed to be that good. Kanye West is torqued off because his highly acclaimed “Yeezus” didn’t make the best album cut in the rap category. [Not that I give a flying (burrito).]
--So I was watching Fox and some sports stuff Thursday night and totally forgot to check out “The Sound of Music,” with Carrie Underwood, but it sounds like a lot of you may have. NBC had its best Thursday night ratings since 2009, when it aired the finale of “E.R.” In terms of a three-hour audience, it was the best night for NBC since 2004 and the finale of “Frasier.”
So not bad for live television, which many network execs said wouldn’t fly these days.
Top 3 songs for the week 12/8/79: #1 “Babe” (Styx...song about a pig raised by sheepdogs...) #2 “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” (Barbra Streisand / Donna Summer...you’re telling me ‘enough is enough’...) #3 “Still” (Commodores)...and...#4 “Please Don’t Go” (K.C. & The Sunshine Band...their weak attempt to slow it down...) #5 “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” (Rupert Holmes...kinda thirsty...) #6 “Send One Your Love” (Stevie Wonder) #7 “Heartache Tonight” (Eagles...mailed this one in...) #8 “You’re Only Lonely” (J.D. Souther) #9 “Ships” (Barry Manilow...if you drink the water in Mexico...you get the ships...) #10 “Do That To Me One More Time” (The Captain & Tennille...what? I mean I’m 55!)
Heisman Trophy Quiz Answer: Three sophs to win it...
2007 – Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
2008 – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2009 – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
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