Monday, January 4, 2010

After the game in Columbia last year, Parsons deserved a moment like that

I was glad to be there for the end of the Tim Tebow era Friday night in New Orleans. There have been lots of terrific players through the years in college football, but I don't think we've ever seen one connect with the public quite like this. Here's a link to a piece I wrote for with some comments from him and the other seniors. That one's free for public viewing, while my piece on what's next for UF football is behind the pay wall. After talking to people with the program, seeing the emotion on Shelley Meyer's face after the demolition of Cincinnati and watching Urban in his postgame press conference, I continue to believe that anyone who thinks they "know" what's going on with him longterm is deluding themselves. The odds are Meyer will coach again, and I'm sure he wants to, but there is no way to know that will actually occur right now.

I can't do justice to how important the Chandler Parsons miracle shot to beat NC State was yesterday. UF gets credit for a road win over an ACC team while picking up win number 11 going into conference play. With Vanderbilt on the road Saturday and Kentucky in Gainesville three days later, there's a great chance the Gators open at 0-2 in the SEC before the schedule lightens up quite a bit. Heading into that stretch with some momentum makes a giant difference in how they'll be perceived, and a clearly achievable nine win conference season guaruntees 20 wins and likely gets them into the NCAAs. The whole season may have turned on that shot. Having said that, Billy Donovan has got to convince the team to ease up on the three point tries. With a chance to win the game on the final regulation posesssion, there's no excuse for the shot to be from 23 feet out when you've been bricking them all day. Anyone can have a tough day, or even a couple of weeks. It's pretty clear by now, this is not a group of long range marksmen waiting to break out. Their game has to start reflecting that.

USC's AD Mike Garrett issued a press release yesterday announcing the school's decision to self impose sanctions on their basketball program as a result of the O.J. Mayo scandal under Tim Floyd. Garrett never makes himself available to the press for interviews, but included this comment...

"When we've done something wrong, we have an obligation to do something about it and that is exactly what we are doing here."

The amount of chutzpah it takes to put that statement out blows my mind. The Reggie Bush scandal has been public for almost half a decade. Joe McKnight's recent mysterious vehicle usage also has the Trojan football program under serious scrutiny. Any signs that USC is doing anything about either of those situations?

It turns out that when you betray someone by selling their personal life's dirty laundry to the National Enquirer, they get mad. Who could have guessed? Apparently not the woman who took 25 grand from the National Enquirer to discuss her supposed friend's affair with Tiger Woods. Ashley Samson whines to the New York Daily News that she's "bitter" about how she's been treated by Rachel Uchitel, the person whose life she chose to make hell in return for her forty pieces of silver. Not only that, but people in the city whose slogan is "What Happens Here, Stays Here" don't want to do business with her now. Shocking! I honestly wonder what planet some of these kind of people who stumble into the news through their sheer cluelessness grew up on.

What would you think if I told you to check out a show featuring sportswriters on television discussing the sports news of the week, with the occasional off the beaten path item mixed in? Sounds like half of every single day's programming on ESPN, right? All the screaming on Around the Horn or the Skip Bayless vs. Random Black Person show can't disguise the fact that the programs are crap. They feature arguing for the sake of arguing - all heat, no light. Once upon a time though, there was a show called the Sportswriters on TV. It was set in a basement and featured a group of Chicago area sportswriters talking primarily about Chicago sports. It aired on Sportschannel, and it was terrific because it was authentic. The guys on the show knew and liked each other, dressed casually and had personalities that were their own rather than forced and annoying like the ones displayed regularly on ESPN's screamfests. Rick Telander, the one "young guy" on the panel, wrote an excellent piece about it for Sports Illustrated in 1990, and the program continued for another decade after that. The Sportswriters on TV was mandatory viewing for me when I wa in high school and college. I was sorry to see that Bill Gleason, one of the primary panelists on the program, died at 87 this weekend. If you missed seeing him and the rest of the guys work, you missed out on a great show.

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