BLACK MONDAY: As I previewed in my blog entry "Possible NFL Coaching Casulties", there has been a huge coaching turnover. Three Mikes....Tice, Martz and Sherman...all met their fates by Monday morning. Mike Tice was essentially fired in his office about an hour after his team smoked the Bears [which I felt was crappy - let the team enjoy the win and fire Tice on Monday]. Mike Martz, who has been having heart issues, was told that he won't be needed back in St. Louis. As a possible sign that Brett Favre was going to hang it up anyways, Green Bay canned Mike Sherman...the guy Favre said if he was gone that it would greatly affect his decision. Jim Haslett, the only coach to win a playoff game with the Saints, was also fired...ending just a horrible season for N'Awlins. Dom Capers was also fired by the 2-14 Houston Texans. Look for Haslett, Martz and Sherman to get good looks at head jobs elsewhere......and Tice and Capers to look for coordinator [Capers] or position coach jobs [Tice]. Next up: Norv Turner.
BOWL MASSACRE: As Lew has astutely pointed out...my bowl picks have been horrid. But, looking at the betting lines...I wasn't the only one who did the wrong in picking. Aside from my crummy picks...this has been a solid bowl season. We had the missed extra point in overtime by Central Florida in the Hawaii Bowl. We had the offensive explosions by Arizona State and bowl novice Rutgers in the Insight Bowl. We had that amazing final play in the Alamo Bowl by Michigan in their loss to Nebraska. We had an amazing comeback attempt by Boise State against Boston College in the MPC Computers Bowl. We had the defensive struggle [in a bowl?] in the Holiday Bowl with Oregon and Oklahoma. Miami laid the biggest egg of the bowl season in the Peach Bowl. Alabama's duck of a FG kick that cleared the uprights to beat Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl [Bama's defense amazingly held Tech to just 10 pts]. V-Tech, down by 11 points to Louisville in the Outback Bowl....score the final 22 points of the game. Just seeing Ohio State and Notre Dame on the same field in the Fiesta Bowl. And that amazing upset West Viriginia pulled in Atlanta against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Tonight, we get Bowden v Paterno before the ultimate contest in the Rose Bowl on Wednesday. And, Lew, I guess you should be glad I picked USC...lol.
NO BACKING IN BY NFL TEAMS: People don't realize this...but how great was it to see every team that was mathematically needing a win [at the time they played] getting it done last weekend??? The Giants needed a win in Oakland to win the NFC East. They got it. The Buccaneers needed a win over New Orleans to win the NFC South. They got it. The Panthers needed a win in Atlanta to secure a playoff spot. They got it. The Redskins needed a win in Philadelphia to secure a playoff spot. They got it. The Chiefs needed a win over Cincinnati to stay alive for a playoff spot. They got it....though they were knocked out when the Steelers beat Detroit in a game they needed to win the secure a playoff spot. Sure, it sucks for the Chiefs and Cowboys [who laid an egg Sunday night after they were mathematically eliminated]...but great to see playoff teams able to win to get in.
CLARETT ARRESTED: Dude...why are robbing people in an alley behind a bar?? In Columbus. In a place called the "Opium Lounge"?? You are Maurice Clarett...and the one place people will notice you is Columbus, Ohio. Man, I wonder why this guy's career has flatlined since the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
ANDRE DAWSON IN THE HALL??: Perhaps. There are noHall Of Fame clinchers in this year's ballot...so some wrongs could be corrected. One would be putting The Hawk in Cooperstown. Back in the 1980s...I semi idolized Dawson. Playing up in Montreal, I loved his swing, his power, his gun and his speed. In Chicago, his knees essentially gave out...but he still won the 1987 MVP award an a bad last place Cubs team. He has more hits and RBIs than any player not in the Hall Of Fame [and not named Pete Rose]. But why is he not in the Hall? Well, inflation is why. Dawson's number were great....1980s great. At that time, you could hit 36 HRs and win the power title. Now, a 165-lb shortstop does that. The skyrocketing numbers that people today [and several years ago] put up make guys like Dawson, Carter, Puckett and Sandberg look like B-list players. Still...hitting 438 HRs, driving in nearly 1,600 RBIs, 314 stolen bases and 8 gold gloves certainly make a nice resume into the Hall.
DUSTY ARTEST: It is quite obvious by now that the Indiana Pacers aren't "frantically" trying to move Ron Artest. Artest requested a trade...then recinded that request...but the Pacers don't care. They are going to deal him. However, they really don't seem inclined to do so just to get rid of him. Many teams, including the Knicks, Raptors, Suns, Lakers, Wolves and Clippers [among others] are trying to assess their teams and see how they could pry the relatively cheap Artest from the Pacers. Indiana has been without him on their roster...something they've grown accustomed to after his 73 game suspension in 2004-2005 for taking on the entire Palace of Auburn Hills crowd.
COLLEGE HOOPS GET REAL NOW: Again, why I love college hoops. Because there is a tournament...you get great non conference cross-regional matchups. But, let's get real here....the conference matchups are what make it great. After watching the great Arizona-Washington game....I am hyped for the conference season. Duke at Wake Forest, Villanova at Louisville, Michigan State at Illinois, Michigan at Indiana, UCLA at Arizona...and my personal favorite...NC State at North Carolina. And that is just this week.