This has been a nightmarish year for road teams on Thursday night football - teams like West Virginia and USC have found out the hard way. Last week Clemson's Tommy Bowden went into Wake Forest as a mild underdog, lost the game and then his job four days later. Tonight his father's team is in Raleigh to face NC State. Bobby Bowden's guys have had plenty of difficulty with the Wolfpack in recent years, and Thursday night hasn't been kind lately either. Having said that, I saw this NC State team in person earlier this year. They've been destroyed by injuries and weren't that good to begin with. If they're ready to play, FSU shouldn't have to sweat this out. Brenda Monk's testimony this weekend, on the other hand, could be rather difficult for the Noles.
Entering this season, Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer had to feel pretty comfortable he'd be remaining for a while as coach of the Vols thanks to a contract extension he signed earlier this year. Finding out that his boss Mike Hamilton already doesn't rule out a midseason firing had to be a bitter pill for Fulmer to swallow. Hamilton seems to finally recognize that the Vol fanbase aren't going to be satisfied with watching their 1998 championship DVDs much longer.
Earlier this year the idea of creating an eighteen game NFL schedule and dropping two preseason games was floated. It stood little chance of success because of the amount of money owners make off those garbage games. Now Roger Goodell is acknowledging the obvious - there will be no change in the number of games played in 2009. The only reason for it to ever happen is to create more product for TV someday - the NFL doesn't need to worry about that right now.
One of my favorite movies is Martin Scorcese's Casino. Robert DeNiro's character Ace Rothstein, the central figure of the film, is based on Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal. Rosenthal died yesterday at the age of 79 in Miami. It's extraordinary to see what Vegas has become these days and realize that just thirty years ago guys like this were in control of the place.