Friday, May 21, 2010

The Biggest Loser (in sports)

It's not often that someone reveals themselves to be utterly without redeeming qualities as a human being. Floyd Landis did that yesterday. If I knew a huge part of the reason I had achieved success in my chosen profession was massive cheating, I'd feel lousy. If caught, I might make some lame excuse but then I would slink away in shame. Landis did give ridiculous explanations for his positive test for absurdly elevated testosterone levels. ("I drank a couple of beers" was my favorite initial excuse he gave, edging out "I'm really manly, so I produce a lot of testosterone") Instead of slinking away though, he attacked everyone involved in the testing process. The whole world was out to get Floyd Landis, as he claimed in his book. He raised money for years for his legal fees to clear his name. And after all of that, he then has the gall to try and cast himself now after four years as the whistle blower, a noble truth teller who didn't want to cheat but was dragged into it by the corrupt cycling culture. Naturally he's accusing Lance Armstrong of being dirty, and even though he lacks any supporting evidence he expects people to believe the guy who's lied to everyone's face for years. It wouldn't shock me if Armstrong did cheat, but no one's ever been able to pin anything on the guy. I wouldn't believe Floyd Landis if he told me this was my blog, so I'm certainly not going to take his word for it. If you still don't get how loathsome Landis is, read the opening of Dan Wetzel's Yahoo! column on him. I hope someone will pursue him on fraud charges for his fundraising activities.

Arkansas basketball assistant coaching moves don't normally prompt reaction here, but it's noteworthy that John Pelphrey has hired Brett Nelson as a Razorbacks assistant. Nelson is completing his tour of Billy Donovan assistants, having started his career with Anthony Grant at VCU before joining Donnie Jones at Marshall. He was expected to be a part of the UCF staff under Jones, but apparently being back in the SEC was enough to prompt a change of plans. To be an SEC assistant seven years after your playing career wrapped up is a pretty impressive accomplishment. When I covered Nelson at UF, he never seemed to have the kind of personality that would lead observers to think he had coaching in his future. For guys as sharp as those three to hire him, he's got to be pretty good. I thought maybe he got the Marshall gig because of the obvious home state ties, but if so he clearly did enough to make a big time impression.

With word surfacing of a previously unknown way for the BCS to strip a team of its championship if the school is found guilty of major rules violations, there's suddenly speculation about what might happen with USC's 2004 title. Some are arguing, as Clay Travis does here, that Auburn should be declared BCS Champs for that season since they would be the lone remaining undefeated team. That was a terrific Tiger team, and had they gotten a shot at the title maybe they could have won it. (Although USC had beaten them soundly in Auburn the year before.) To say that Oklahoma, who did get the shot and was thumped 55-19 by the potentially now ineligible Trojans, should be penalized for having played them is absurd. If USC is stripped of its title, that should be the end of the story. The idea of taking the crystal football out of the trash and handling it to Auburn as "champs" six years later would be demeaning to that team and unfair to the Sooners as well. There's not going to be an AP revote based on what they've told the LA Times, and who knows if all the voters are even alive? Some things can't be fixed - what happened to Auburn in 2004 is one of them.

If you've watched sports on television or listened to the radio, you've doubtless come across advertisements for LifeLock. The spots feature the company's CEO giving out his social security number and basically daring any prospective identity thieves to do something with it. Well, the Phoenix New Times reports his identity has in fact been successfully stolen thirteen different times. But hey, other than that the service works really well! Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here Monday. Keep an eye on the twitter feed @heathradio for anything that's amusing and/or interesting between now and then.

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