Monday, June 30, 2008

Mike Tyson's 42 today, and probably pretty surprised about it

Glad to see Earnest Graham get rewarded for last season with a new contract. Having said that, I'd like to know what the signing bonus is. That's the only thing Graham gets for sure, and the Bucs have way too many running backs right now. Knowing Gruden, he'll probably sign Shaun Alexander and see if Emmitt wants to come back before training camp's over.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline has Nick Calathes as his 21st ranked prospect for next season's NBA draft. Calathes seems like a guy who'd benefit from at least two more years to me, but if the money's there you never know what kids might decide to do. Interesting that the SEC has only four guys projected as first rounders for 2009 after having just two this year.

Floyd Landis loses his final appeal to try and keep his Tour De France title. His "maybe the testosterone came from me drinking some beers" defense is perhaps the lamest excuse ever attempted.

The downturn in the economy is taking a bite out of lots of businesses, and it appears one of my favorite stores may be a victim. Steve and Barry's has gone away from their original model of selling only college t-shirts, hats and sweats in recent years, but it's still cool to go into one of their stores because you never know what you'll find. Just picked up an Eastern Michigan shirt at one of their stores last month, because I'm not likely to drop by Ypsilanti anytime soon.

When I saw this on the Wizard of Odds website, it blew my mind. National political radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt thinks Ohio State will slaughter USC. That seems ridiculous enough to me, but Hugh went above and beyond by mixing in nuclear holocaust anti-Obama rhetoric too. I'm just so proud of my line of work sometimes.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Glad I'm not a Memphis Grizzlies fan

The thing I hate about the NBA draft is the way a guy is chosen by a team when it's obvious he's going to be trade bait. Sometimes, like the Toronto pick everyone knew was part of the Jermaine O'Neal deal last night, we know in advance. Most of the time, though, a kid has to walk up on stage and pose with Stern while wearing what will turn out to be the wrong hat. The analysts talk about the impact they'll have on their new team, which they'll never play for. It's maddening. Hope the Minnesota media enjoyed chatting with O.J. Mayo before the big Grizzlies-Twolves deal in the middle of the night. My thoughts on the Sixers taking Speights are in my column at but I will say that's about as well as I thought he could do. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the kid from Rider was not taken by Sacramento at twelve.

Lots of people are jumping on Warren Sapp's revelation that he's been approached about being on the next Dancing With the Stars, but to me the more relevant part of the article is where Sapp goes after Monte Kiffin. Sapp says of the Bucs DC,

"It was always his defense, and he barked people out of the building. It was too much about him."

Let me get this straight, Warren. You wanted big bucks when it was obvious you needed to drop at least 25 pounds to get back to being as effective as you were in your glory days. No one was willing to give it to you except the stupidest franchise in the league, for whom you underperformed the rest of your career. Kiffin's the bad guy? Please. Sapp was a great player for the Bucs, but honest self assessment has never been one of his strengths.

It's clear Dennis Felton would have been fired if Georgia did not go on their miracle SEC tournament run last season. The one and only guy for whom the tornado brushing the Georgia Dome was good news got back to his usual bad luck this week. Number two scorer Billy Humphrey got busted for DUI. Under UGA policies, this will likely mean a half season suspension already. It's Humphrey's third brush with the law in eight months - might be time to say goodbye.

Let's say you are Brandon Inge of the Detroit Tigers, and you are in fact injured moving a pillow. Wouldn't you at least go out to batting practice, take two or three swings, and then grab your arm? Seems like it would be worth it to avoid the embarassment.

Remember the great Shaq "freestyle rap" Kobe dissing controversy earlier this week? The L.A. Times decided to check up on his current CD sales. Total Shaq CDs sold in 2008? Twenty. I'd like to hear what motivated that purchase from one of those twenty people, unless it's just Shaq buying his own stuff while he's on the road.

The guy who played Billy Bear in 48 Hours now wants to be a US Senator from Kentucky. He points out that he worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura, both of whom went on to become high profile elected officials. Two governors and a senator, all from the cast of Predator? This is quite a country. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

When bacon is outlawed, only outlaws will have bacon

The NBA draft is tonight. Very tough to get any legitimate handle on where Marreese Speights will go, but I think he'll fall a little farther than some seem to believe he might. If Miami takes O.J. Mayo, I think they're making a mistake. Lord only knows what the Magic will do in the first round - how's Fran Vazquez coming along? Courtney Lee of Western Kentucky seems to be the guy everyone expects for them, so odds are he's not the guy they take.

LSU coach Les Miles can't foresee not winning the SEC West and then beating either UF or Georgia in the conference title game this season. This guy really doesn't grasp yet how lucky he was last season. Hopefully he continues to be as irresponsibly stupid with his clock management and decision making this year, because no one stays that lucky forever.

Your next great American Olympic city: Birmingham, Alabama! The mayor wants to drop 500 grand on the application to host the 2020 summer games. This is why recall elections were invented. I wonder how they'd work Bear Bryant into the Olympic logo?

Has a more easily disliked guy ever emerged onto the national sports scene than Big Brown's trainer Rick Dutrow? Aside from showing no grace or class as a winner, he placed the blame on jockey Kent Desormeaux for the horse's failing to produce at the Belmont. It certainly couldn't have been the fact Big Brown was taken off steroids before the race, or that his back right shoe was loose. Apparently, Dutrow gave Big Brown's steroids to another horse as a bonus portion and likely will be suspended for it. Gosh, that's a shame.

Over the weekend, my friends Al and Ross alerted me to a great crisis going on in California. The new street drug of choice in Los Angeles? Bacon wrapped hot dogs! Al, who lives in L.A., tells me these things are hugely popular and the smell carries for blocks. Drew Carey gives you more details.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No stewardess at JFK looks like Catherine Zeta-Jones - trust me

Sorry for no blog yesterday, but I had to sleep off the nightmare that was Monday's travel. Jet Blue delayed my flight out of Vegas by three hours, stranding me in JFK airport in New York for what was supposed to be six hours. It turned out to be nine, since my next flight was delayed three hours as well with no notice until after we'd been told to line up for immediate boarding. They emailed me a fifty dollar "credit" toward a future flight to apologize. Jet Blue made me live out a small scale version of Tom Hanks's movie The Terminal, and I'm supposed to give them another few hundred bucks to get my fifty dollar discount - riiiiight. It was the single worst experience I have ever had dealing with an airline. Won't make that mistake again.

On to the stuff you actually come here for. While in Vegas, I visited a variety of sports books to get perspectives on the upcoming seasons. The most interesting current proposition wager is at the MGM-Mirage casinos. You can bet the so called "Big Three" to win either the Super Bowl or BCS, or you can bet everyone else. In college, the "Big Three" are Georgia, USC, and Ohio State. A hundred bucks on them will win you back your bet plus 220 if one of those schools wins. (To bet against them, you put 260 out to win 100). In the pros, the "Big Three" are Indianapolis, Dallas and New England. Interesting that the Super Bowl champs don't qualify as one of the three top teams, but a Dallas team which han't won a playoff game in over a decade does. (100 to win 155 on the pro three, 175 to win 100 against). I'll post more tidbits from Vegas throughout the coming days.

The buzz on Marreese Speights has been about him being chosen by Philadelphia at pick sixteen on Thursday. This Sixers reporter's not sold on that being the case. Speaking of sold, for the third straight year the Portland Trail Blazers have apparently bought themselves a late first round pick for three million bucks. How is this acceptable? New Orleans fans must be delighted to know their owner values cash over adding talent. If a team doesn't want to use the pick to add a contract right now, they can draft a European player to follow as he develops. Selling draft picks is completely bush league.

Alabama loses a talented player, as linebacker Jimmy Johns gets busted for cocaine dealing. Apparently he should have stuck to selling pit bulls.

Speaking of bush league, the new owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning wasn't satisfied just to hire ESPN's Barry Melrose, whose career record is 79-101-29, after he's been out of coaching for thirteen years. He let Melrose hire Rick Tocchet as an assistant coach. Whenever you have a chance to hire a guy prominently linked to a sports gambling scandal, you've got to make sure not to let it pass you by. What a fiasco this team has become.

I don't think many people care about Shaquille O'Neal rapping against Kobe all that much. I'm 100 percent sure no one cares about the most notorious publicity hound sheriff in America using Shaq's rap as an excuse for his latest PR stunt.

Raycom thinks what you want to do during SEC and ACC football games they broadcast is spend time on your computer reading stories. This brilliant idea from the people who brought you the incessant Daughtry promotion last year. (Please note almost none of the clips in the Daughtry montage are from Raycom games - you can tell because they're in focus.) The SEC has to move its TV deal to someone better after this season and stop making fans endure this low quality junk.

George Carlin's last interview turns out to have apparently been with Psychology Today. It's a fascinating look at a complicated guy's thought process, and well worth your time if you have any interest in his work. Sam Kinison and Carlin are gone - at least we'll always have Carlos Mencia plagiarizing their material.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jet Blow

Hope you had a good weekend. I'm writing this while sitting in McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. I'm supposed to have been flying on Jet Blue an hour and a half ago, but we're delayed and there's no end in sight. As a result, I'm going to miss my connection in New York and be stuck at JFK until late afternoon. Not the best way to start the week.

One of the true comedic originals is gone. RIP George Carlin. Now everyone in comedy wants a sitcom or a movie deal, but this guy was all about standup. His skits with language will still be relevant long after Dane Cook is dead and buried.

Fresno State's run in the College World Series is a great story. The ACC, meanwhile, still can't get a championship despite having three teams in the CWS. No one from the conference has won it since 1955 - that's amazing when you consider how strong historically programs like FSU, UNC and Clemson have been.

Curt Schilling looks like he's done. The question of Hall of Fame worthiness will take a while to sort out, unless you're a Boston fan like this guy. It's going to be fascinating to see how much Cooperstown leeway is given to pitchers who spent the majority of their time in the juiced era and aren't believed to have been users themselves. Personally, my gut feeling is that Schilling is not a hall of famer but I wouldn't say there's no chance he makes it.

Most of the movies this year look absolutely awful, but at least people had the good sense to reject The Love Guru. Jessica Alba as the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Mini Me as their coach? What?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New catchphrase: pulling a Goosen

I imagine all of us have experienced that moment where you say something and very soon afterwards you really wish you could rewind things and edit it out. I certainly have. Well, Retief Goosen will now personify that kind of feeling for me forever. With the news of Tiger Woods impending ACL reconstruction surgery and the fact he just won the US Open with two stress fractures in his tibia as well, Goosen's claim that Tiger was "faking it" looks even more spectacularly stupid than it seemed at the time.

Think about it - what's the benefit of claiming Tiger was hamming it up, even if Goosen's right? At best, you have given the greatest player in the world extra motivation to beat you like a drum every time he sees you. If he's not, you look like a real jerk. Goosen's reasoning seems to have been that Woods mostly flinched after bad shots. Gee I don't know, Retief, is it possible that was because the pain is what CAUSED the bad shot? Nice logic, buddy. Maybe Retief got too deep in the Grey Goose again.

NBC has renewed their deal with Notre Dame though 2015. As long as the Peacock keeps enabling the school financially and the Big East keeps rolling over by allowing the non member Fighting Irish football team access to the conference's bowl bids, the most arrogant program in the country will continue to thumb their nose at everyone else.

I'm not too crazy about the Ivory Tower folks on the Knight Commission. Most of their reform suggestions are about as relevant as saying the clouds shoud all be made of vanilla ice cream. This might be different. There's no reason the NCAA couldn't increase its penalties in a meaningful way again. It's been quite a while since they really hammered someone - Alabama is the last one that springs to mind. If I was FSU or USC with high profile open investigations inolving my programs, I'd be a little anxious about this.

Cal's efforts to cut down 44 trees near their football stadium to expand their athletic facility continue to be unsuccessful. You might remember from the coverage of their game with Tennessee last year that a group of modern day hippies has been living in the trees to prevent them from being cut down. This week, the university is trying to dismantle their supply lines, but "Dumpster Muffin" will not go quietly! Looks like we could get more amusement from them this season.

Putting aside the fact that the "world's most expensive burger" is a Burger King PR stunt, from the description I don't think I'd even want to eat it. Give me a little cheese, some barbecue sauce and fresh tomatoes and I'm fine.

If I wanted to eat an insanely expensive burger, the Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas would be willing to accomodate me. (I have actually eaten a more normally priced burger there which was good.) I'm headed to Vegas tonight after my show, so I can't promise a blog tomorrow depending on my web access. I do want to make sure you know about the Little Bits of Honey dinner going on in Gainesville tomorrow night. It's a very good cause, Billy Donovan and Urban Meyer will be there and if I wasn't committed to travel elsewhere I would be as well. If you're in town, I encourage you to consider purchasing a ticket to this event.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

That sound you hear is Jeremy Foley laughing

The Nashville paper reports an impending contract for seven years and a salary in the high two millions for Phillip Fulmer to remain coach of Tennessee - the question is why? Who was going to offer Fulmer another better paying opportunity to justfy spending this on him? Fulmer just won ten games and the East in 2007, but hasn't lost fewer than three in any year since 2001. Urban Meyer's 3-0 against him and humiliated the Vols last season. Without David Cutcliffe around, will Fulmer let his offensive coordinator do his job or start meddling again? I swear that ADs sometimes just forget they have the ability to say no to coaches who have no market value. Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno shouln't be getting raises the way 45 year olds with success do, because they aren't going anywhere else. As this stage in his career, neither was Fulmer.

Fulmer became Alabama Public Enemy Number One after he was involved in the Albert Means investigation that led to the Crimson Tide program getting hammered by the NCAA. The money man in that episode, Bama booster Logan Young, died under odd enough circumstances two years ago that the Discovery Channel is now doing a televised investigation of his death. If they're smart, they'll air it the week of the UT-Bama game.

Jemele Hill writes for now, but used to work for the Orlando Sentinel. I will not pretend to know Hill well, but she and I were part of a media group that went out to dinner in Arizona at the 2007 BCS title game and spoken briefly at other events. Every time I have crossed paths with Hill, she has seemed like an intelligent, fairly nice person. Which is why I read about this and shake my head in amazement. There are few absolutes in life, but this is one: unless you're writing about genocide, there are no good comparisons to be drawn with Hitler or the Nazis. Rooting for the Celtics certainly doesn't qualify. She's now been suspended. Don't expect any of ESPN's "screaming sportswriter" shows, including the two Hill regularly appears on, to acknowledge any of this ever happened. As the Dana Jacobson fiasco showed, ESPN likes discussing dirty laundry incessantly as long as it isn't theirs.

When I'm home in Tampa or when I was driving around in Gainesville in afternoons, I'd typically listen to at least some of Steve Duemig's afternoon sports show on 620 WDAE. Our styles are very different, but despite his reputation for bluster and combativeness on air friends of mine who know Steve like him very much. Duemig's known for pushing the envelope on his show, but the thing that's always amazed me is his annual Christmas Eve show where he and others basically hang out on the air and get hammered. I'm guessing he might want to back off of that this year.

One thing that might have UT afraid of replacing Fulmer is the fear of not finding someone better available for anything less than $aban money. If you make an impetuous move, you could wind up with someone like Minnesota's Tim Brewster. Brewster, who'd never been a head coach or even a coordinator before, replaced a mediocre coach in Glen Mason and made him look like a legend. After he took the Gophers to a 1-11 record that included losing at home to North Dakota State, Brewster is trying to convince people to keep the faith. The fact his own son is bailing out of the quarterback competition probably won't help with that much.

In an update to a previous story mentioned here, it turns out the Wii Fit Girl is a UF grad. Now the question is which attractive Gator grad will rack up more video views, her or Erin Andrews?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

David Stern should grow that 1984 mustache again

Yesterday was a wild day for me - the movers arrived at 8:30 to put my stuff in the new house, a US Open playoff I needed to watch in the middle of the day and then my Columbia show to do as usual, and then a Pearl Jam concert. Eddie and company played two and a half hours, and put on a great show. I was quite pleased that they played Off He Goes, probably my favorite song of theirs. No Yellow Ledbetter, but you can't have everything. Anyway, that's why there was no blog yesterday. Sorry to those of you who did take the time to drop in.

Over and over the past few years I have heard people say of Ron Zook, "he's a good guy, he just didn't coach well enough". Actually, he's not that good of a guy. Zook does some things for charity, loves his family and has some good friends. He's also unquestionably a hard worker. Those are traits people ascribe to good guys, therefore Zook must be a good guy. In reality, Zook is capable of incredible pettiness toward people. He has been caught trying to lie his way out of situations multiple times (the Kinko's incident when he was a Spurrier assistant and the frat house fight situation being two of them). He aggressively pressures guys to play when they are injured and shouldn't do so. None of these traits, you'll note, have anything to do with on field strategy, which is where most criticism of the man usually is focused. I don't know which of those negative Zook traits angered Rashard Mendenhall so much, but he destroyed him publically this weekend. For a player who was drafted in the first round and played in the Rose Bowl to take a public stand against his former coach like this tells you something is rotten in Champaign, just like it was in Gainesville.

Remember Dane Guthrie? He was one of Zook's supposed elite UF recruits who left rather than play for a coach who would actually hold them to any standards of discipline. Now he's washed out at Arizona State as well.

The Birmingham News did a huge project ranking the all time success of SEC schools. They concluded Florida is clearly the dominant athletic program in the conference. For some laughs, though, I recommend this article on the SEC's 20 greatest rivlries. Spurrier versus Fulmer is at 10, Spurrier versus everyone is at 17. Of course, neither of those can hold a candle to rivalry number six, between the Alabama and Georgia gymnastics coaches. Uhhhh, what?

Tonight's the night. Boston will claim title seventeen, their first in 22 years. I can't lie and say it feels anywhere near as special as the ones in 84 and 86 did, but it will still be an enjoyable evening. Check out the 1986 celebration - think the fans will get to run on the court tonight?

Friday, June 13, 2008

RIP Tim Russert

The death of NBC's Tim Russert sends us in to the weekend on a really terrible note. He was as good as it gets in the field of political journalism, and he will be sorely missed this fall.

Remember when Doneal Mack's coach decided to attack Billy Donovan after Florida didn't admit Mack because the school had doubts about his test score? Doesn't appear like they missed out on much, as he's transferring from Memphis.

This hapened a couple of weeks ago and attracted no attention when it came out, presumably because it happened in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Tom Izzo flat out says that coaches are cheating more as a result of the one year out of high school requirement for kids to enter the NBA. Interesting, but if he feels that way he needs to name some names.

Father's Day is Sunday. If you're looking for the ideal last minute gift, how about having Greg Lloyd show up to watch the Pittsburgh/Cleveland game with dad in September? For ten grand, it's a steal! The best part of this is the description of Lloyd's plan to bring friends, potentially eat your food, and leave whenever he feels like after the game.

Can anyone explain why Hollywood thinks we're waiting for this?

Things are a little wild for my schedule right now. As soon as my Columbia show wraps up at 7, I drive back to Gainesville. Tomorrow it's on to Clearwater for my brother's wedding, as well as loading a moving truck and driving it back Sunday. Next week is insane as well. Hope your weekend proves to be a good one.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Maybe Florida Gulf Coast U will hire Corso next

Georgia State is starting a football program, which meant nothing to either of us until today. Then the word came down on who their coach will be - Bill Curry! This is outstanding news on so many levels. College football will once again witness the offensive wizardry of the man who decided to have Tim Couch, the top dropback QB recruit in the country, spend his first year running the option. Remember, Curry decided the place to give Couch his first start was at Florida Field after he spent the first month of his career backing up Billy Jack Haskins. The final numbers still blow my mind - UF won 65-0, while holding UK to 67 yards offense and 0-16 on third downs. If there was such a thing as suing college football coaches for malpractice, Couch should have filed one against Curry at halftime. Now Curry's not only off ESPN at last, but there's still a chance Spurrier will book Georgia State for a game and try to hang another 75 or so on Curry as payback for firing him as QB coach when he took over at Georgia Tech. Happy days are here again!

Looks like one of Urban Meyer's former Bowling Green players is joining the UF staff as an unpaid volunteer assistant. He's playing AFL ball for another couple of weeks. Dwayne Dixon used to play for the Detroit Drive in the Arena League while he was Spurrier's WR coach, so it can be done.

Speaking of guys still chasing the NFL dream in other leagues, Chris Leak is now a Montreal Alouette. Perhaps he can get a poutine endorsement deal.

The latest details of the Tim Donaghy scandal have tons of angles worth pursuing. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop brings you a professional gambler's point of view. One quote unrelated to gambling that still stands out, considering this guy watches 900 plus NBA games a year...

"If (Greg) Popovich is the guy you lean to if you are unsure of what to do, (Doc) Rivers is certainly the guy you look to if you want to know what NOT to do."

Oh goody. Game four tonight is a big one for the Celtics. They played game three like they expected to lose and they did. If the effort is better tonight, the Lakers look plenty vulnerable. The Rondo injury is a pretty significant concern, though.

Aside from the sickening quality of a show like Celeb Rehab 2 existing, on what planet are people like Rod Stewart's son and a former American Idol contestant considered "celebrities"?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Celtics in six

Desite their win last night, the Lakers are in trouble. If that's the effort they came up with in a must win game with a very favorable officiating crew working the game, they aren't winning three more against Boston.

Former Nebraska star and Carolina first rounder Jason Peter is coming out with a book that looks like it could be the NFL's version of Ball Four combined with Motley Crue's The Dirt. This guy has done every substance known to man. If he teamed up with a good writer, this might be worth reading. The part that stands out from that Peter King article I linked is that Peter found so many ways to use drugs that were illegal but didn't trip the NFL's drug policy.

Congratulations to former Bucs coach Sam Wyche on winning a county council seat in Pickens County. I know he technically only won the Republican nomination, but I can assure you that in South Carolina the two are one and the same. Wyche has aways been a good guy, but was a better offensive coordinator than a head coach.

Has anyone fallen farther faster than Dontrelle Willis? When the Tigers signed him to that 3 year, 29 million dollar deal before he had thrown a pitch for them I was stunned. How many times do we see guys who switch leagues and can't adjust? Some guys work in one city but struggle in another. It's only a matter of time before someone in Detroit starts paying for this season with their jobs.

The Wii Fit Girl video has reached 2 million views. If you're somehow blissfully unaware of this phenomenon, it's explained here. If I taped my woman doing that and posted it on the web without her consent, I'd be looking for a new place to live.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blame Putin for no Monday blog

Apologies for the lack of new material yesterday. You are reading the first post written on my new laptop. That's because some Russian virus has infiltrated my old one, rendering it unusable until I've had time to get it repaired. It was a Compaq and frankly it was a buggy piece of junk anyway, so I bought a new one to get up and running again. I'm still busy getting all my bookmarks and so on back in place, so it'll be a shorter than usual edition today.

My latest article at is on Marreese Speights and why he hasn't gone ahead and signed with a agent to make staying in the draft official.

Chris Simms feels he's being held hostage in Tampa Bay. This just in, Chris - when you're a hostage, they don't PAY YOU! Talk to Jake Plummer if you want to see what being "held hostage" by Tampa Bay really feels like.

Simms has never been a particularly good quarterback on the college or pro levels, but when I covered the Bucs on a regular basis in 2004 he seemed like a nice guy. He's completely oblivious to the real world, though. After he was drafted, Simms said the odds "have always been against me". Simms was raised in a wealthy family, mentored by a Super Bowl winning QB father, touted as the top recruit in the country, and promised the Texas starting job without earning it. Imagine overcoming obstacles like that - it's practically a Disney movie waiting to happen.

While I'd love to believe the Celtics will win game three this evening, it's impossible to forget that this group managed to go seven with the Atlanta Hawks. they only need one in L.A. and this thing is over. My guess is if that happens, it will turn out to be game four. Meanwhile, Hef and his "girlfriends" will be at Staples tonight.

The media who cover Florida have always been among the most talented groups of college beat writers in the country. This year has seen that point driven home in a big way. First Andy Staples left the Tampa Tribune for, then Lindsay Jones left the Palm Beach Post for the Denver Post as a Broncos beat reporter last month. Now, the Orlando Sentinel's Dave Curtis is headed to the Sporting News as a national college football reporter. All of them are are hard workers and great people - their replacements will have big shoes to fill.

Speaking of the Sporting News, they're about to relaunch their product in a major way. This new daily product is an interesting idea, and I assume is where the majority of Dave's work is going to be focused. I look forward to checking it out.

Friday, June 6, 2008

One down, three to go

Nice start to the Finals last night. We got a good, competitive game and the Celtics won. Paul Pierce had an injury that scared the hell out of everyone and then had a big comeback moment. Kobe will not settle for shooting jump shots in game two on Sunday, I suspect.

The steroid dealer linked to a member of the Falcons has evidently been murdered soon after meeting with NFL security. This case has been largely below the public's radar, but a killing like this has a way of making lots of media pay more attention. Talk to Gary Condit about what can happen once enough media start digging into a case.

Marreese Speights continues to go through workouts with the NBA. Yesterday he was in D.C., this weekend it's apparently Phoenix. No one expects him back, it's just a matter of when he finally will announce it.

Mike Tranghese will retire as Big East commissioner next year. He's been a BCS supporter, plus his league is part of the support system which allows Notre Dame football to remain independent by giving them regular rights to a bowl bid in Jacksonville and a place for their other sports to play. If the new guy has different feelings on those two issues, things could get interesting.

The licensing agreement for the Hockey Night In Canada theme song is up, and negotiations to extend it have been unsuccessful. I, of course, am not Canadian and was not familiar with the tune. Possibly losing this really qualifies as a great national crisis up there?

The other night before Obama gave his nomination clinching celebration speech, he and his wife did a quick fist bump. Didn't seem all that shocking - lots of people I know do the same thing, including noted hipster Steve Spurrier (the Ballcoach doesn't like handshakes because of germs). The national media, meanwhile, is apparently hearing about this "street" gesture for the first time. What will these crazy kids think of next?

After the show today, it's back to Gainesville for the weekend - can't wait. See you back here Monday.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This mall has everything!

Didn't forget about you today, but my internet service has been acting up. Fortunately the wireless here at the Columbiana Mall Food Court is working. So, over lunch from the Cajun Cafe Grill (which like all mall "cajun" places, is staffed entirely by people of Asian descent), a few quick thoughts....

Tampa Bay went young with its draft pick, selecting shortstop Tim Beckham. Beckham may turn out to be a great player, but why couldn't the Rays trade this pick? Other sports do it without a problem, and MLB would be wise to look at doing the same thing. If the Rays could have used this pick to help their bullpen right now as they compete in the AL for the first time ever, I suspect they would have preferred that option to adding another top talent that may play for them in three years.

Bad news for the Canes, as one of their top defensive ends had surgery yesterday. Georgia had a defensive end be a bonehead and likely will suspend him. Mark Richt may be the best coach in the SEC when it comes to fast and firm discipline of his misbehaving players, yet it seems every year the Bulldogs have a bunch of kids screw up in the offseason.

You have a choice to make as the result of winning a contest. On the one hand, you get to go all expenses paid to see the Rose Bowl. On the other, you get to eat lunch with the College Gameday guys. See you in Pasadena, right? Eh, no. I know and like Chris, Lee and Kirk but that is some seriously flawed decision making.

Since I'm coming to you from the mall food court, here's the best music video ever shot in this setting: New Radicals with "You Get What You Give". The Blues Brothers had the right idea. I really hope my internet's working when I get home.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Super Sweet.... 29?

Phil Steele publishes the best college football guide for pure information. That and Blue Ribbon are my two mandatory preseason reads, with Sporting News a little lower priority and the others all irrelevant. Steele's mag is out now, but he also has a good website with some of his info. Check out his ratings for hardest schedules this year - three in the SEC alone are in the top five. UF is at 12. Steele also picks UF number one.

A Notre Dame blog tries to claim Jeremy Foley is a candidate for the Fighting Irish AD job. Well of COURSE he is. Why would Foley want to be at a school where he has total control, a supportive president and a big dollar long term contract when he could be under incredible public scrutiny and viewed suspiciously an outsider? I forgot - the beauty of South Bend will convince him!

I like Chris Leak, but signing up to be one of five battling for a job in the CFL doesn't look promising. Guess the Chiefs and Bills tryouts didn't work out. If it doesn't happen, blame Canada!

Why did Mark Richt get into coaching? Apparently, because he stunk as a bartender. Good stuff from several coaches with Ivan Maisel.

Exactly when did this trend of athletes celebrating their birthday like it's a multi-city concert tour begin? The most recent over the top example is Santana Moss, but this has been a big phenomenon lately. I do not mention my birthday on the air unless someone who knows like Pat forces my hand by doing so. Everyone who knows me at all is aware that I'd be mortified if we were out to dinner and the singing crew came over. It's not because it bothers me to be a year older, I just am a big believer that no one outside of those close to me remotely gives a crap. Is it just me, or do you tend to prefer things low key as well?

Don't forget, game six of the Stanley Cup finals tonight - it will be worth your viewing time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bo Diddley's a Gunslinger

Hopefully you watched the Penguins stay alive against Detroit last night. There is nothing like an elimination game in hockey, and the level of intensity in that game showed why. If you didn't see it, at least give game six on Wednesday night a shot.

First Rich Rodriquez had an attorney who represents him embarassingly compare a coach's buyout clause to slavery. Now his agent has admitted to being a front man for one of those incredibly lame "handicapper" services that makes claims like "We've correctly picked every Monday Night Game since 1949!" Rich - pay West Virginia the money. You signed the contract, you owe them 4 million. This will not go away, and it is not helping you.

The Reggie Bush story continues to drag on, with there being new accusations of him trying to stonewall questions in his deposiation. Reggie - pay them the money and it will go away. Otherwise, unless you're Karl Rove, you don't get to refuse to answer questions just because you don't want to. The NCAA doesn't have subpeona power in the Bush case, but wants the information from these depositions. The state of California DOES have subpeona power, which is why the O.J. Mayo case got a lot more interesting over the weekend.

Somehow there's a controversy involving these Upper Deck cards of Obama and Clinton. My question continues to be, who wants a lame caricature of ANY politician as part of their baseball card buying experience? I can only imagine the joy some youngster will feel when he opens a still sealed 2008 pack in five years hoping for a Jay Bruce rookie card and gets a Mitt Romney instead. Did they find the guy who drew these on the Midway at the Alachua County Fair? They made Obama's teeth the size of Stonehenge.

RIP Bo Diddley. Aside from the great music, he gave us one of the great sports commercials as well.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ditka versus "It's A Small World" - who wins?

This turned out to be a busier weekend for me than I had expected. Once Lewis Preston left the UF basketball staff for Penn State, which I believe he was strongly encouraged to do by the head coach, I got a tip on who the next UF assistant would be. I had the story up on Saturday night - get ready to say hello to Clemson assistant Shaka Smart. For those lacking a membership there, Gary Parrish of CBS reported it Sunday as well. Looks like a solid choice - Smart is very well regarded, while Notre Dame people were thrilled someone had taken Preston off their hands.

So, how about those SEC baseball teams, huh? Nine make the field and seven are eliminated without even making it to Monday of the first week. UF will get better as Kevin O'Sullivan upgrades the overall talent, but "2 and barbecue" at the SEC tourney and NCAAs is definitely a tough way to end the season.

Word is UF/Hawaii will be a 12:30 kickoff for Raycom in week one. Second year in a row Gator fans have been subjected to this nonsense. With this being the last year of the TV contracts, hopefully there's a change next year that prevents this from happening. No southern fanbase should have to sit in early afternoon heat in August. The game will kick off at 7:3o AM Hawaii time. I'm sure the Warriors and their fans will appreciate that. Not sure if I'll be able to do Saturday pregame shows in Gainesville for the Star 99.5 this year yet or not, but if I do get to I know starting at 8:30 AM won't be a blast either.

Orlando "has an interest in" Marreese Speights. No idea whether they'll take him or not, but enough teams will say they're interested that he's going to stay in. When a kid's eager to go, he hears what he wants to hear.

One of my core theories on athletes is the Knucklehead Postulate: People who are knuckleheads tend to remain knuckleheads. The latest evidence to support the theory: FSU basketball's Ryan Reid.

Winning a championship shouldn't ensure a coach has a job for eternity, but if this crazy crap about the Tampa Bay Lightning's new owner wanting to dump John Tortorella for Barry Melrose is true than I won't have to worry about seeing my team involved in playoff hockey again for quite a while. Tortorella didn't trade away Fredrik Modin for a handful of magic beans, nor did he fail to draft and/or develop any quality goalies in the Tampa Bay minor league system. He didn't arrange for the league to have a lockout and waste all the Lightning's post Stanley Cup momentum, and he certainly didn't ask for a salary cap that forced them to let go of quality young guys like Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko. This is a horrible move.

If you're planning an Orlando vacation this summer, have you taken the time to ask yourself, "Where would Mike Ditka want me to stay?" Maybe he'll even sing while you sit out by the pool.