Thursday, July 31, 2008

Les Miles izzle an idiotizzle

Colege football needs to start right now. When Les Miles is extolling the character of Snoop Dogg in public, things have officially gotten too weird.

“I defend his music, and am much more a fan of the person.” said Miles.

Snoop Dogg has acknowledged working as a pimp and been involved with porn videos, has three arrests for marijuana and weapons posession within the past two years alone, and isn't even allowed in the UK or Australia right now due to his criminal record. I can see why Les thinks he's a great guy. Meanwhile, NC State's Tom O'Brien has acknowledged his love of ABBA. Get these guys back on the field before they hurt themseles.

I lost all confidence in Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen's ability to run the Buccaneers when they totally blew the John Lynch situation. I understood there were salary cap issues and some questions about Lynch pyhsically, but the guy is a total class act. He'd been a cornerstone of their defense for a decade and a standout public face for the franchise. Lynch deserved far better than a 7 AM "by the way we're cutting you" phone call. It was proof they had no idea how to deal with people. It was also proof they're not terribly good at evaluating talent, since after four Pro Bowl years in Denver Lynch may now retire. Notice the difference in the way the Broncos are handling this? Lynch has a shot at Canton eventually, and he'll be a great broadcaster if he's interested in doing that.

Former FSU AD Dave Hart has resurfaced as the number two man at Alabama. Mal Moore can't be the AD there forever, so this may well be an audition for the big job. Hart actually accomplished some things at FSU, improving their facilities and making their non revenue sports much better. He never got to hire a football or baseball coach, though, and went 0 for 2 on basketball hires. Hart also had a cold fish persona that rubbed a lot of people in Tallahassee the wrong way. The spanking Spurrier comments and NCAA tournament whining were embarassing. If he acts the same way at Alabama, he won't be there long.

MLB trading deadline is today. Griffey's supposedly on the way to Chicago, but I'll be watching the Rays and Marlins. Does this Manny Ramirez rent a player deal go down or not? If so, the Rays probably get Jason Bay from the Pirates. If not, Adam Dunn likely comes instead. They can not go into that locker room in St. Pete today and tell the guys, "Sorry, we couldn't get you any help."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Maybe Howard Stern can buy the Jaguars

A comment on a post below asked me if there's any possibility of me returning to my old 11A-1P slot at the Star 99.5 in the near future. I will definitely be hosting the Gator Nation Tailgate Show for them again at Emerson Alumni Hall before a majority of UF home games this season, and likely involved with the daily show in some fashion as well. It can't be as the lead host, though. A change is coming to that slot soon, but I wouldn't be available for the remotes and promotions that a station needs to be doing during fall since I'm in Columbia most days. If all it took was being connected via phone and talking for two hours, I'd be glad to.

West Virginia's Pat White is a possible Heisman candidate, but that's not why I suspect you'll be hearing about him quite a bit very soon. At the Big East's media day, White told reporters that despite being given permission by coach Bill Stewart he didn't play for the Mountaineer baseball team. His reason: because the WVU coach doesn't seem to want black players. The lack of black athletes in college baseball has been an issue in recent years, but what appears to be the insinuation by a prominent player of a coach being a racist will be a big talk topic the next couple of days.

Earlier this week, two Virginia linemen were arrested for stealing beer from the cooler at a nightclub. Not good, but no big deal, right? Unfortunately for the two Cavaliers, the club in question was Club 216, which bills itself as "Charlottesville's only gay and lesbian bar and nightclub". Uh oh. It's going to be a long season for these guys, even if Spencer Hall from EDSBS provides them an alibi/explanation here. Just to be clear, I'm fine with whatever lifestyle anyone chooses, but guys in the locker room, opposing fans, and likely some UVA fans won't necessarily see it that way.

Rush Limbaugh has put the possibility out there that he might look to buy the St. Louis Rams. What a bunch of BS this is. Rush makes great money, and if he wanted to buy a small piece of a team he certainly should be capable of doing so. There's not a chance he gets through the background check it takes to become principal owner of an NFL team. It's a more exclusive club than the Senate, and (unless you're Ted Stevens) pays a lot better too. Limbaugh's legal record may not reflect the prescription pills scandal anymore, but the NFL's quite aware of it. Talk to former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, who got caught up in a Louisiana bribery scandal, to see what the NFL thinks of owners who wind up involved with the legal system. The key word is "former". Couple that with Limbaugh's infamous remarks about Donovan McNabb during his brief run as an ESPN commentator and the NFL would welcome his ownership bid as much as they would a sales pitch for Bennigan's stock.

U2's new album No Line On the Horizon will apparently be out November 14. Hopefully they'll tour again once it's out. I've gotten to see some great bands live, but this is one I still have to check out in person. Think Bono will break out some of his dance moves from this video for one of my favorites of theirs, "I Will Follow"?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Next year's winner - Valdosta State!

Every year the Princeton Review comes out with its list of party schools, with predictable results. The administration at the top schools always objects and expresses concern, and the student body takes a little pride in their partying being recognized. I never really understood how the list was put together, but now it's pretty clear that it's not a legitimate effort to rank the schools. That's because they put Florida number one on this year's list. Sorry, not buying that. UF students have plenty of fun, but things aren't that crazy in Gainesville. I think this is largely based on the image from television showing the celebration of the three national championships in 2006 and 07. Any list that asks me to accept that LSU is not one of the SEC's five biggest party schools and leaves Michigan State out of the top twenty while putting Randolph-Macon College sixth is not a very good list.

Speaking of bad lists, the ESPN summer time filler stunt is over. While Titletown was a better concept than "Who's Now?", it still was pretty weak. Your winner as America's official "Titletown" - Valdosta, Georgia! There's a Wendy's in Valdosta already dedicated to the "Winnersville" theme. It features a variety of celebrity photos on the walls, many of which appear to be from soap opera stars who appeared at a boat show. Also there are publicity photos of a variety of ESPN talent from around 1991 (I particularly enjoyed the one of Keith Olbermann during his Groucho Marx looking days) and a picture of Sonny Shroyer as "Enos" from the Dukes of Hazzard. I'm sure they'll proudly display this trophy next to the chili toppings. I think the rest of the US will lick our wounds and rebound from the loss quickly somehow.

It's a pretty minor deal to the NBA world, but Taurean Green getting traded again is unfortunate for him. It appears the Knicks have little interest in him - with Anthony Roberson having signed a two year deal, they have their undersized UF guard needs met already - meaning Taurean will likely be a free agent. The Knicks will be the third team to pass him on to someone else.

Congratulations to former UF player and assistant Jerry Odom for his role as assistant head coach with the Arena Football League winning Philadelphia Soul. Once upon a time, to celebrate the Tampa Bay Storm's Arena championship victory, my friend Ross and I went out to the Tampa airport to welcome them back. (Why no, there wasn't much to do in Tampa then if you were under 21 - why do you ask?) The excitement was so high, the Storm actually forgot their trophy. It was a design so ugly it doesn't seem to be available on line, but they replaced it with this in 2004. We could have walked off with the trophy, and probably should have. Wonder what it would get on eBay?

The Big East currently has eight members, meaning they all have to shell out for five non conference opponents every year. To counter those rising costs, they apparently will book Army and Navy for four games each against rotating conference teams each year. This is a pretty clever idea, and with conference realignment likely to happen in the next few years it gives the Big East an easy possible source of new members should they need one.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What about Brett Fav-re?

It's been nice to have a couple of nights in my own bed again after getting back from media days. Blog readership seems to have surged recently - if you're a listener or an old friend who's stumbled across this on the internet, feel free to email and say hi.

This week practice starts for just about everyone in Division 1, so things will get interesting on the college scene quickly. Meanwhile, the first preseason NFL action is just six days away. Maybe Brett Favre will be a Buccaneer QB by then - either way, you can count on all the talk being about him. This crap has gotten really old, really fast. The guy's 3-6 in the playoffs for the past DECADE - let me repeat that, Favre has one more playoff win than the supposedly incompetent Rex Grossman in the past decade. Go away!

Exactly how can Randy Shannon try to sell Miami Hurricanes fans the idea that their program was in worse shape than he realized when he took over as coach, when he was on the staff the entire time? Last year he kept blaming all their problems on the older guys, as if he had nothing to do with recruiting any of them either. Shouldn't someone point out to Shannon that if Miami only beating Nevada 21-20 at a bowl game in BOISE didn't clue him into the fact the Canes weren't too good anymore, maybe he's not observant enough to be their coach?

ESPN teed off on Penn State's program yesterday morning over the number of arrests they've had in recent years. Joe Paterno handled it as he always does any kind of criticism - complain about it, then ignore it. A showdown is coming soon in State College. President Spanier got a contract extension, so he's got leverage. Greg Schiano will be available in a year. Paterno thinks he's untouchable, but even Woody Hayes eventually got fired at Ohio State.

Apparently I should have been an artist. True, I have absolutely no artistic ability whatsoever, but I'm sure I could come up with several ideas at least as stupid as a giant floating banana over Texas. I definitely could fail to follow through and keep the cash I was given to build it.

Did you ever eat any of these cereals when you were a kid? While I remember Mr. T and C-3POs, the onetime existence of "Grins&Smiles&Giggles&Laughs" or "Mr. Wonderfull's Surprize" was news to me. Once upon a time something like Cookie Crisp seemed like a great idea. Now, I eat my Golden Grahams or Honey Bunches of Oats and I'm good, thanks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Subpoena or not subpoena, that is the question

SEC Media Days wraps up today. Day two featured no celebrity skaters, although Jesse Palmer was in attendance and hearing lots of lame Bachelor jokes from people. The highlight of the day was clearly Phillip Fulmer being served with some sort of papers in a lawsuit involving a former Alabama booster. Fulmer had blown off media days three years ago to avoid the possibility of something like this happening. He says it wasn't a subpoena, but the signed document I saw sure looked like one. It wasn't a good day all around for the Vols - I was sitting next to running back Arian Foster when he learned via cel phone that someone back in Knoxville had towed his car away. He was rather upset about this news - good thing we weren't live on air.

Give Steve Bartman credit. As happens fairly regularly, someone tried to lure the Cubs fan into discussing his nightmare evening when he got in the way of Moises Alou making a potential catch during game six of the NLCS. Once again, Bartman turned them down. Not a lot of people pass up a shot at celebrity status and attention these days, even if they're famous for something bad. This guy could cash in and hasn't, which I admire.

The future of college football could be the A-11 offense - two quarterbacks and every other player on the field is a tight end or receiver. It's an interesting concept - the gist of it is that anyone can carry the ball on an end around or reverse, "linemen" included, and anyone can catch a backward pass. UF has run a play like this before, with an offensive lineman running a backwards pattern and nobody covering him because of it. What if that play wasn't being run with Drew Miller as the lineman target, but someone like Cornelius Ingram after he lined up as a lineman? The possibilities are intriguing, although I'd have to see how you can run a whole game full of nothing but plays like that.

Perhaps it appears to you that Big Ten football features slower players than the SEC and Pac-10. This is likely because you have eyes. Or, says retiring Purdue coach Joe Tiller, it could be because you've been reading blogs about it. As a result, he wishes those could be shut down. The capacity for denial of some in the Big Ten is amazing sometimes.

The three most popular teams to play with in EA Sports NCAA 2009, according to one of the game's developers monitoring online play, are 1. Florida, 2. Ohio State and 3. LSU. Your three least popular: 118. Tulsa, 119. New Mexico, 120. Louisiana Tech. Not sure what you can do with that information, but it seemed worth passing along.

We wrap things up here today, then it's goodbye to Birmingham for another year. The featured amusements will include Steve Spurrier as well as Tommy Tuberville and Backstabbin' Bobby Petrino in the same place at the same time. The big news will be the unveiling of the predictions and the all-SEC preseason teams. We've had at least one goofy surprise per day - maybe someone like Jared the Subway Guy will show up too.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SEC Media Days meets the X-Games

The SEC Media Days continue today, with big names like Mark Richt and Nick Saban in the house. While Tim Tebow's appearance was a big deal Wednesday, the other sports celebrity drawing followers was skating legend Tony Hawk. The Wynfrey seems to be the hotel of choice for tours coming through Birmingham, and Wednesday night Hawk's "Boom Boom Huckjam" was in town. I was hoping he might bust out a board and try a 720 on Radio Row, but no such luck. Skating nuts and Tim Tebow worshipping fans crammed into one lobby looking for autographs made for an interesting visual spectacle - I've got to figure out how to start posting photos on this thing.

The US Army received a lot of attention around the time of the NFL Draft for its decision to allow Caleb Campbell to pursue a professional football career despite being a West Point graduate. The Detroit Lions and Campbell had been told Army policy would allow him to play if he was able to make the team and reacted accordingly. Now, on the eve of training camp, the Army has decided to say never mind. This is ridiculous - you either have a policy, or you don't. It's completely unfair to both the team and Campbell to pull this stunt now after he's spent months getting ready to play and agreed on contract terms. Give him credit for the way he's handling it, but it's a bush league move.

That thumping sound you hear is Al Horford banging his head against the wall, as the Atlanta Hawks manage to lose Josh Childress in free agency. Not to another team, mind you, but to Greece. For a franchise that had positive momentum for the first time in over a decade, this is an absolute disaster. The fact they screwed around enough in the negotiations to allow it to happen is inexcusable.

I thought the point of broadcasting the Olympics was to give you a feel for the mood during the event in the country where the Games are taking place. Apparently not, since NBC will have its announcers for ten sports sitting in studios in New York rather than China. I wasn't planning on watching the Olympics much already, and this just reduces my interest further.

Day two of SEC media days today, featuring Nick Saban being followed around everywhere, including into the restroom, by hundreds of Bama maniacs. Throw in Mark Richt, Phil Fulmer and Houston Nutt and it should be an interesting day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama? Ehhh... no.

Greetings from Radio Row at the Wynfrey Hotel here in Birmingham. This is my eleventh SEC football media days that I've covered, all in this city. Where we are now is better than at the turn of the decade, when they had us downtown with nowhere to go for food at all, but it still has gotten pretty stale. The ACC media event Monday was at the Ritz-Carlton in Greensboro, Georgia. They move it around to a different high end resort every year. I'm not asking for that, just another city - Atlanta, Nashville, Tampa, New Orleans, Memphis, anywhere but Birmingham! Maybe someday - probably right after I stop covering the conference.

Since internet access issues at the ESPN Zone in Atlanta (where I did yesterday's show) kept me from blogging, here's the ACC event summary. Bobby Bowden looked like he was in good shape and seemed more energetic than the last few times I have seen him. He appears to really feel he can still coach as long as he wants - we'll see if that mood holds once FSU loses to Wake Forest again in week three. Randy Shannon still doesn't seem very comfortable in the public role of being head coach of a program. Whether he likes it or not, that's a big part of the job. I'm not sure he's the right guy to get the Canes back where they expect to be. Butch Davis, who last got them there, seems very comfortable with how things are going as he heads into year two at UNC. Tommy Bowden's Clemson team, which perpetually underachieves, is picked to win the ACC. When he was asked about their history of disappointing, Bowden fell back on the fact the media had never picked them to claim the title before and said it wasn't fair to have expected them to do that if we didn't pick them to. Left unsaid but obvious was the fact that his coaching is the REASON a lot of people didn't make that pick in the past. Nothing like trying to use your own mediocrity as a defense against criticism of it.

If someone asks you something you know won't be happening - for example, "would you divorce your wife if you had the chance to date Lindsay Lohan?" - how would you respond? I'm guessing you'd say "Of course not." Perhaps you'd even point out the question is ridiculous. What you wouldn't say is, "That's hypothetical." Unfortunately, with the topic being whether the Bucs would trade for Brett Favre, that's exactly what Bruce Allen is saying. Favre to the Bucs is a perfect Jon Gruden move - get older and add another quarterback. Sure, Favre hasn't really delivered in the playoffs for over a decade, but repeated postseason disappointments didn't stop the Bucs from signing Jeff Garcia either. This is a terrible idea - I'm sure Gruden will do whatever he can to make it happen.

At SEC media days five years ago, Florida got a ton of grief over the fact they had a giant photo of a crocodile on their media guide's cover rather than an alligator. They also had a picture of Ron Zook where a head coach was supposed to be. At least they spelled Zook's name right, though, which is more than Texas Tech was able to do with their quarterback. Graham Harrell's Heisman candidacy isn't exactly off to a flying start.

The Mountain West Conference's commissioner does everything but take out TV ads to campaign for the Pac-10's soon to be opening commissioner spot. The level of disrespect shown to his current employers for him to be saying that at their media days is off the charts. In that same article, the prospect of the Pac-10 becoming a twelve team conference is raised. In the next two years someone is going to get aggressive about changing their conference. It looks like the Big East is the most likely place for major alterations, but every BCS league could get dragged into it once things start happening.

This piece by raises questions about one of the issues leagues face when signing foreign players. In this case it's a bookie who also serves as an agent for prospects in the Dominican. Other times it's been mobsters with influence on Russians in hockey. It's tough enough to keep track of the US kids who've got trouble around them - good luck figuring out which ones from other countries do. As MLB signs more and more Latin American players this is something to keep an eye on.

Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow are the big stars here today, along with BCS winning dim bulb Les Miles. Vandy and Miss State are the opening acts. I'll be doing special appearances in my old spot on the Star 99.5 each of the three days I'm here, so tune in if you happen to have the time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Time to get back to work

Thanks for checking in on the blog again. I had hoped to post at least once or twice over the past ten days, but once I found out internet access at my hotel in Hawaii was 65 cents per minute I decided it might just be the better choice to wait. To chronicle my wedding and subsequent honeymoon would take quite a bit of time and I doubt the majority of you reading this care much about it, so I won't. I do want to pass along a few observations before getting back to my typical style of blog posting tomorrow.

1. It rained on the day of my wedding, beginning almost instantly once we started to take pictures. As soon as it started, three or four people told me this is supposed to be good luck (as Alanis so annoyingly sang about). When you are wearing a tux and taking around 400 pictures outdoors in Florida in July once the storm ends, the idea that rain is lucky is a load of crap.

2. We stayed on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The natural beauty of the state is staggering. It's mystifying why they allow the part man has control over - the buildings - to look so terrible. There are some impressive skyscrapers and the resorts are well maintained, but lots of structures in prominent places look amazingly dingy. The University of Hawaii's campus has some buildings that look like they should be condemned.

3. The biggest local story on the Honolulu TV news all week was about a whale carcass that had washed up in Kahuku. The thing was enormous, smelled awful and the government couldn't figure out what to do about it for multiple weeks. When they finally did, they buried most of the whale and then tried to transport its bones across town to Hawaii Pacific University Thursday. The bones fell off the truck into the middle of a major intersection. I am 35, and there are not many things about the future I can say with absolute certainty. One I can is that I will not be in a traffic delay caused by two tons of putrid whale ever again.

4. For some reason I can't insert links as part of this post on the computer I'm using to type this, so I can't give you a photo of KITV sports anchor Robert Kekaula. While sitting next to traditionally dressed TV anchors, he grunts his way through the sports in a Hawaiian shirt - it's a remarkable spectacle. In researching to learn more about Kekaula, I found out he's the Hawaii radio network color guy and has also put out three music albums. Maybe I'll see if he's got a spare CD I can buy when the Warriors visit the Swamp next month.

5. The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook, which I stopped by on my way back from Hawaii, has regular season win total lines available for 30 college teams. The Gators are at ten, meaning for you to win your bet they would have to only lose once, and if they lose twice you would get your bet back. A few that surprised me: Illinois is at 7, which seems at least a game too low. Clemson is at 9.5, which seems high considering Tommy Bowden has never won ten in the regular season there and only reached nine twice. West Virginia at 9.5 seems silly considering their massive coaching changeover as well as games with Auburn and Colorado on the road out of conference. Other state numbers: USF - 9, FSU - 8, Miami - 7.5

I'm off to ACC football media days today and then on to the SEC's gathering in Birmingham after that. I'll be picking up my newly improved laptop at my office before then, so I can get back to the usual content routine Tuesday. See you then.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Billy Packer's smirking somewhere today

Ever since he left the Florida basketball program as a result of gambling before the 2001 season, Teddy Dupay has been a peripheral figure. I've heard about him every now and then, and the reports have never been very good. I still hadn't expected anything like the current issues Dupay's dealing with: rape and kidnapping charges that could lead to life in a Utah prison if he's convicted. Dupay has always had a gigantic sense of entitlement. It may have manifested itself here in a very destructive fashion.

A report from the Philadelphia Daily News claims the Weaver family is looking to sell the Jacksonville Jaguars and may be nearing a deal. Wayne Weaver denied that this morning. Owning an NFL team is a license to print money, plus it puts you in the most exclusive club in the US other than possibly the Senate. You don't leave unless something's forcing you to do so, and I dont think Weaver's at that point yet. The threat of moving to Los Angeles sounds intimidating except for one little problem. L.A. doesn't mind not having the NFL. It's a city filled with transplants who are actually pretty happy about there not being a team there, because they get to see the TV doubleheader every week. Every time someone brings up a new plan to build a stadium there, it falls flat. Where are the Jags/Saints/Vikings supposedly going to play, the decrepit Coliseum?

Can't believe I have two Jaguars items today, but former first rounder Matt Jones got busted for coke this morning in Arkansas. Jacksonville fans have been disgusted with this guy for a while now, and I have to imagine he'll be cut at the earliest feasible time for their salary cap. Jones was a terrible pick when they made it, but every year we see teams fall in love with a guy's workout and not bother to consider whether he can actually play football well. Jones was a great athlete without an NFL position he was capable of playing, and now he's a first round bust in more ways than one.

There are certain US cities which have always fascinated me. Detroit is one of them. The way a place that once symbolized American industry has been allowed to rot away is astounding. Online, you can tour the Fabulous Ruins of Detroit as well as several more chronicling the city's blight. Detroit government is a farce, with the mayor under indictment and the city council apparently about to have a large chunk of its members indicted as well. How corrupt is Detroit? Even the television anchors are accused of taking bribes! What a pathetic situation.

One city which has never fascinated me at all is Birmingham. Every year I go there for SEC football media days - will be there the 23rd through the 25th this year. It's not anyone I know's idea of a tourist mecca, but they think maybe a year round SEC attraction of some sort will change that. Good luck with that.

On a personal note, blog postings will be sporadic between now and the 20th. I'm getting married Saturday and then will be in Hawaii for the honeymoon, so lots of web time really isn't in the cards. I'll try to have something fresh tomorrow and then maybe one or two next week when I'm sitting in an airport, maybe not. Back to the regular routine on Monday the 21st, as I'll be covering ACC's football kickoff event.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More Verne Lundquist for everyone

Sports Business Journal is an excellent publication, but to me it buries the lead in this story about potential BCS negotiations this fall. It says the SEC has apparently rejected Fox's efforts to get the league's games and will stay with CBS and ESPN. Fox was the most likely candidate to partner on an SEC TV network. I think that means you can also conclude the SEC will not create their own channel, with CBS College Sports instead doing lots more SEC programming than they already have.

It's fall, so it's time for former UF defensive coordinator John Thompson to take another job. He's going to be defensive coordinator with Bill Curry at Georgia State. When Zook hired Thompson in 2002, it was considered an excellent move. He was gone after one year for the East Carolina head job and has been in as pronounced a downward spiral careerwise as anyone I have ever seen since then. The combination of him and Bill Curry will have every AD in America looking to schedule Georgia State today.

It finally dawned on Rich Rodriguez that "I don't wanna" is not an acceptable reason for refusing to pay a 4 million dollar buyout in a contract you signed. He's going to cough up the cash. Rodriguez should have done it before his lawyer compared his buyout clause to slavery and his agent was exposed as a former 900 number gambling picks line guy. The damage from this episode will stick for quite a while.

Nice work by the Boston Globe unearthing FBI files on a variety of deceased sport figures. The real headline grabber is that some nutcase racist not only sent Bobby Knight a death threat to Red Auerbach but apparently thought he'd help their plot by inviting Auerbach to Indiana so they could kill him. Hard to believe there are people who are this demented, but we know they're out there.

Not sure what's odder about the news that Rick Moranis refuses to take part in the Ghostbusters video game coming out this year: the fact Moranis has apparently retired without telling anyone or the fact someone thinks a Ghostbusters video game is a possible hot seller in 2008. Give Moranis credit, though, because if I broke the ten million income mark I wouldn't be doing anything just for the money ever again either.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The latest Kid Rock song is terrible too, by the way

As a music fan, my worst nightmare is the song that becomes inescapable because every radio station is playing it no matter what their format is. Remember that Kid Rock/Sheryl Crow tune? It was sort of country, so they played it. It was sort of a rock ballad, so those stations had it too. It was Sheryl Crow, who the "Lite" and "Mix" type adult contemporary stations are required to play every ninety minutes under federal law. Kid Rock's name was enough to even get it on some urban formats. It was popular, so all the top twenty focused "we play the hits" stations pounded it into the ground some more. It was the musical equivalent of kudzu - completely undesirable, but all over everything in its path. Last night I realized we now have the sports version of a kudzu song thanks to the "A-Rod gets divorced because of Madonna" story. It hits every possible medium - gossip and entertainment shows because she's a star, sports programming because of him, it's a New York news story so the media will treat it like the biggest thing ever, and since it involves a divorce there will be lots of leaks to the media by both sides and it will stay in the news for months. It's just thrilling to know that as we get closer to an incredibly important election, I will be able to count on hearing about A-Rod's sex life and interest in Kabbalah night after night.

Bad news for FSU, as starting left guard Evan Bellamy is reportedly done for the year with a blood clot. This was rumored last week, but a prominent FSU site is claiming this story isn't totally accurate. At minimum FSU will be without Bellamy for fall drills and a good chunk of the year. The offensive line nightmare continues in Tallahassee. Think the Pounceys would have helped them out a little bit?

Ozzie Guillen's an interesting guy - anyone who Jay Mariotti hates so much can't be too bad, but Guillen has also said and done some foolish things. Guillen makes his email public, so you can write him at if you want. A Chicago Tribune columnist decided to pose as a rude fan as an experiment to see how Guillen would respond. Maybe Mariotti could try that since he's scared to go in the White Sox clubhouse.

Michael Vick has filed for bankruptcy. It's hard to believe someone could blow it this bad, but at least he has a good reason why he went broke. One of the most underreported stories in sports is how many guys wind up a wreck financially before their playing days are even done. As for Vick's potential return to the league next year, Gruden is probably trying to get ahold of his agent right now.

Sacha Baron Cohen continues to work on his Borat followup, which will feature his gay Austrian fashionista character Bruno. While Arkansas cage fighting fans were the victim this time, my favorite Bruno moment to this point is his visit to Tuscaloosa. Think Shaud Williams will go to see the new film?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lyle Lovett was married to Julia Roberts - still hard to believe

Hope you had a good fourth of July weekend. Mine was partially spent in Atlanta for the Tom Waits concert Saturday night. It was a fascinating show from a guy who rarely plays live anymore but still kills when he does - 2 hours and 25 minutes worth. He played one of my favorites, On the Nickel, which was a cool surprise since that's not one of his better known songs. Waits has only played about 25 concerts in the US this decade. I'm lucky I got to see one of them. Wish I could have stuck around Sunday night to see Lyle Lovett, but it's time to get back to work.

Before heading back to Columbia Sunday I stopped by Dantanna's for lunch, walking in with it 6-5 in the fourth set between Federer and Nadal. I'm no fanatical tennis fan, but the tiebreaker and fifth set were as good as anything we've seen from the men's side of pro tennis in years. When the crowd at a restaurant in Atlanta is roaring with back and forth cheers for over a half hour during a tennis match between a Swiss guy and a Spanish guy, you can bet it was pretty special. If you missed it, hopefully they'll squeeze it in between poker and bowling reruns on the sad shell of what once was a great channel, ESPN Classic.

The Rays continue to have the best record in MLB and are five games up on the Red Sox and nine ahead of the Yankees. They're clearly the story of the season so far, even if they don't know Madonna personally. So of course they got two whole All-Stars and no starters. I get the distinct feeling baseball's front office types are hoping this is all some terrible dream they're having and that soon order will be restored. Meanwhile, Milwaukee's going for it this year with a deal for C.C. Sabathia that sends Matt LaPorta to Cleveland. Maybe he can add some punch to the woeful Indians lineup. How's a Brewers-Rays World Series grab you, Fox? Would Joe Buck even show up if a new season of Tila Tequila's show was available to watch instead?

Bad news if, like me, you were planning on having a big NFL supplemental draft party. This year's draft has been cancelled since no one bothered to apply. Once upon a time, Brian Bosworth was the big prize in the supplemental draft. After getting run over by Bo Jackson on Monday Night Football, the Boz's rep took a tumble. This weekend, he did something to boost it back up.

Texas spent three million dollars on a steroids testing program in high school sports. Total number of students caught using: two. That seems like a questionable use of resources, but we're seeing this idea spread to other states. People want to feel like they're doing something about a potential problem, but this is not the right answer.

Someone is putting together a TV movie about the death of Tim Russert. Randy Quaid will play Russert. Cousin Eddie, Tim Russert.... yeah, the same guy's perfect for both roles. As much respect as I have for Russert's work, I wonder what he would think of the ridiculous overreaction that has followed his death.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gruden loves those character guys

Pro Football Talk breaks the news on two players who got into a fistfight at the NFL's rookie symposium. It was two Tampa Bay draft picks, both of whom have had multiple character issues in the past including numerous failed drug tests. Those of you who've wondered why I can't stand having Jon Gruden as coach of my favorite team, picking a loser like Agib Talib in the first round personifies the problem perfectly.

In the most predictable story of the 2008 sports year, Brett Favre is supposedly rethinking his decision to retire. Everyone could see it coming. Sure, his decision to return would screw the team's salary cap planning. Yes, his decision caused them to make personnel decisions based on the idea they were working with a young quarterback. Come to think about it, even the mention of a Favre Packers comeback is totally unfair to Aaron Rodgers. But hey, who cares, right? It's a possible return of the ultimate "team" guy, Brett Favre! For what its worth, I think if he forces the Packers hand they will tell him no. They should.

One of my least favorite national sports announcers is Joe Buck of Fox. He's always struck me as far too smug for his own good. His hysterical, over the top reaction to Randy Moss's simulated mooning of Packers fans (only a piece of which is in that video) was the last straw for me. Now Buck, who's been trying to lobby for his own late night comedy show the last couple of years, has decided to share that he rarely watches televised baseball or football games, finds them boring and prefers to watch the Bachelorette. When you have a great salaried job which 99.9 percent of the world envies, the least you can do is act like you appreciate it.Too much to ask from Buck, I guess.

Tennessee follows through on their ridiculous raise for Fulmer as a way to make sure he's getting more money than Bruce Pearl. You'll note in that article that Fulmer's buyout isn't mentioned. That's because no one wants to hire Fulmer away from UT, which is why this is so spectacularly wasteful.

The World Series of Poker is underway at the Rio in Las Vegas. I actually went by to get a look at the scene last year since I was already out there. It was worth a quick glimpse, but I have no idea why people would opt to be spectators there for longer than five minutes. At no point did it occur to me to ask what the event would be like as a musical.

This is the worst movie summer ever, with Hancock drawing mixed reviews at best. Eddie Murphy will appear soon in another horrible picture, Meet Dave, but says he's going to retire from movies to go back to standup. I fear this "retirement" means as much as Favre's did, but hope it's true. Murphy was great when he was a comedian. His supposedly comedic movies have been horrid for the last fifteen years or so, with the exception of his voicework in the Shrek series.

Speaking of music, Saturday I will be going to see Tom Waits in concert. He's one of the truly unique American musical talents and rarely plays live anymore, so this should be a really special show. Have a great fourth of July weekend - see you back here Monday.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Knicks will sign Frederic Weis next

The New York Knicks continue to look to trade David Lee. You're a new management team looking to build credibility with New York fans. You've already drafted an Italian guy none of them had ever heard of. What next? Trading your most popular player for a below average point guard seems like a great idea! Supposedly, Mike D'Antoni didn't like Lee coming out of UF because he didn't think he was a good enough shooter. Now he and Donnie Walsh may swap him for a mediocrity like Raymond Felton of Charlotte. Brilliant!

FSU now knows the NCAA hearing date for their academic scandal will be October 18. That's right in the middle of the season, but since players don't have to testify I doubt it will affect them much. Meanwhile, if you want to buy an FSU 1999 national championship ring, it's priced to move at just $3,899.99 on EBay. I always wondered who would buy a ring like that. Do they wear it and try and pretend they were a player? If someone saw your "championship ring", how much fun would it be to say, "Yeah, one of our guys was down on his luck so I picked it up for a few bills - pretty sweet, huh?"

After I made fun of Arkansas yesterday for not keeping up with Georgia in arrests this week, the Razorbacks have rallied. When it comes to road rage attacks on a car, Jack Nicholson could have told him you go with the two iron rather than your hand.

Things really have gotten bad with the economy if the Kentucky Basketball Museum in Lexington has gone out of business. What's next, Starbucks closing down? Oh.

Sex and the City made a bunch of money, so now we may be subjected to the hype buildup for a Friends movie. Exactly what unresolved plot points needed to be dealt with here? I guess with Joey having worked out so well, they just wanted to ride the momentum.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Next up, plagues of locusts!

I was on the Star 99.5 with Terry Norvelle today for the first time since I left the Gainesville airwaves. It was good to be back, and I hope to be much more involved with the station this fall. Stay tuned.

Today is July 1. Tampa Bay has the best record in Major League Baseball. I'm not sure which sign of the Apocalypse this is, but I'm starting to become concerned. When you really look at their young talent, this is not a total fluke either. The pitching is there, and David Price may eliminate the need for a trade to bolster them for a postseason run. Can you imagine what Hank Steinbrenner will do if the Rays beat the Yankees for a playoff spot?

The claim that Alex Rodriguez is making late night visits to Madonna probably won't help Steinbrenner's mood much. I don't buy that there's anything really going on here, particularly since baseball players tend to be pretty busy at night. US breathlessly reports he's been leaving her place "as late as midnight!" He'd barely be back into Manhattan from the Bronx by midnight. Beyond that, if you're A-Rod, what is the appeal of a 49 year old Madonna supposed to be?

Another embarassing off field episode for Georgia football, as three players are arrested. The Bulldogs are lucky they don't have any difficult games the first two weeks, but at some point you have to wonder about the mindset of UGA players. They wouldn't be the first team to respond poorly to an entire offseason of being told how wonderful they were. Arkansas fails to keep up, able to only muster one arrest for the weekend.

Apparently in this years NCAA 09 video game, Florida has dropped to third in home field advantage ranking for the first time ever. Who passed the Gators on the list? LSU is now second, which is inccurate but at least debatable, and Penn State went to number one. Having been to Happy Valley for a big game that they won, I can say with total confidence that that is ridiculous. The crowd is large, but it's far from intimidating. A PSU alum must have been involved in this, because of the venues I've been to they wouldn't make my top ten for fan impact.

Are you wondering if you have too much money? If you want to buy this for 28 dollars, the answer is yes.