This and That
Each week I'll give my thoughts on the world of sports:
•Isn't it amazing that at a time when the New York Knicks have improved and the Giants and Jets have played well, the headlines in the Big Apple are about fiascos. That's right, Stephon Marbury's saga goes on and on while David Lee had 37 points and 21 rebounds while Chris Duhon had a team-record 22 assists. Al Harrington burned his former team for 36 points Saturday night. Burress has become a big, big, big distraction. While it was reportedly an accident, he has become a nightmare for the team's hierarchy. Is Burress worth the headache to Tom Coughlin and the Giants? He signed a long-term contract but has had issue after issue this season. The latest problem could lead to legal woes. The Giants know he is a talented receiver, but they have done fine this season without him when he has been sidelined. I feel that after this season, much like Jeremy Shockey, it could be bye-bye. It will be interesting to see if the NFL gets involved in this case as well.
•Football frenzy is wild on collegiate campuses. Oklahoma's football team sent another big-time message with a solid showing at Oklahoma State. If the Sooners and Florida Gators met for the national championship, there would be excitement galore as both offenses have been on fire lately. Urban Meyer's team was impressive at Florida State. Wow, that title game would be something special and I believe Florida would get the W! Both teams still have work to do in their respective championship games. Is it right that Texas Tech or USC could be out of the mix for a national championship. Penn State and USC should play a great Rose Bowl.
•Boise State and Ball State both finished the regular season 12-0 with impressive victories. Both schools may be left out of the BCS, and there is something wrong with that. We live in America, the land of opportunity, and these teams deserve the chance to face off against the big boys in a major bowl. Look at what happened when Boise State faced Oklahoma a couple of years ago! I wish we had a playoff, baby! A team like the Trojans had one small slip, at Oregon State, and is playing as good as anyone right now.
•You cannot tell me that the Syracuse basketball team is the EIGHTH BEST school in the Big East conference. I already feel that the league is the best and deepest I have seen in my 30 years calling games at ESPN. The Orange came from behind to beat Kansas in the finals of the CBE in Kansas City, then rallied to knock off Virginia at home. Jonny Flynn is lightning quick and Arinze Onuaku doesn't realize how good he is inside. Paul Harris does a great job on the glass and the combination of Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf gives Jim Boeheim solid outside shooting. This squad has to be one of the top five in the conference.
•Blake Griffin is off to an incredible start for Oklahoma's basketball team. He seems to put up a double-double every time out, and he has been a terror on the glass. He had 32 points and 15 boards against UAB, followed by 18 points and 21 rebounds in the NIT Preseason Tip-Off championship against Purdue. Tyler Hansbrough sent a message that he wants to repeat as Player of the Year with a great game in the Maui final against Luke Harangody and Notre Dame.
•Allen Iverson made the news again last week, and it involved practice. His decision to miss a Thanksgiving practice did not sit well with the Pistons organization. Joe Dumars made that point clear and hopefully Iverson will learn from this mistake. Having coached in Detroit, it is a hard-working town and the fans will not appreciate Iverson's decision to skip practice.
•I am waiting for the hot stove league to really heat up. There are lots of rumors, but so far little has happened. OK, Kansas City has been active, adding Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs, but many teams have been on the sidelines. It is only a matter of time before a big name moves on via free agency, like Manny Ramirez or CC Sabathia. Then that should spark a flurry of activity.
•I really feel that a college football team that finishes the regular season at .500 should not qualify for a bowl game. I have said that before and I will say it again. If that team then loses in the postseason, it finishes with a losing record. What kind of message does that send? We are rewarding mediocrity just to fill the number of bowl slots out there. I also believe that instead of giving bowl teams a big advantage, let non-bowl participants get extra practice time to improve for the future.
•Notre Dame was humiliated by USC and at 6-6, the Irish is still bowl eligible. Times are tough in South Bend and it was a rough finish to the regular season.
•It took a third place game at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando to get Maryland and Georgetown on the same basketball court again. My friends, rivalries between two powers with regional ties should take place regularly. I would love to see the Terps and Hoyas meet once a year. They can either alternate sites, or they could find a neutral site for the game, perhaps in Washington, DC but not at the Verizon Center since that is the Hoyas home court. It took a while for Louisville and Kentucky to meet annually, let's hope the Georgetown and Maryland can please the fans in the Capital area. The Hoyas blew out the Terps on Sunday.
•Can someone explain the Denver Broncos? One week, Denver wins in Atlanta. Then came a loss at home to the Raiders. Jay Cutler and company went to the Meadowlands and left with a big victory.