This and That
• Congratulations to Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford on winning the Heisman Trophy. He beat out Colt McCoy of Texas and Florida's Tim Tebow, who was trying to join Archie Griffin as the only back-to-back Heisman winner. Obviously any one of the three would have been deserving of the award. The voting was so close and Tebow finished third despite having the most first-place votes. I have a problem; I find it mind-boggling that anyone would leave Tebow off their top three in balloting. Bradford keyed a Sooners' offense that put up a record 702 points as he led the nation with 48 touchdowns to only six interceptions. Bradford helped put up 60-plus points in five consecutive games, setting another NCAA mark. Now we get to see a rarity as Heisman winners Bradford and Tebow square off for the national championship. Wow!
• My gut is feeling is, when it is all analyzed and evaluated, Tebow will follow the pattern of Tyler Hansbrough. The North Carolina forward loves college basketball, loves being a student and enjoys campus life; he said no to the lure of the NBA dollars to return to Chapel Hill. My belief is the similar scenario will transpire with the Gators quarterback and he will be back in Gainesville next season &just my gut feeling.
• The Yankees hit gold by improving the pitching staff. First it was a $161 million deal with CC Sabathia, the prized gem of the free agent pitching crop. Then came a huge contract for AJ Burnett. My friends, what has happened in the world. I am all for a player making as much money as he can earn. That said, what about the little guy who gets hurt in all of this. He cannot afford to take his family to a ballgame any more, especially given the cost of seats at the new Yankee Stadium. The prices of tickets are outrageous and they just keep skyrocketing. It is all to satisfy the incredible dollars given out during a time where the economy is struggling. People are battling to make a living, to put food on the table, and baseball owners have created something obscene. It is outlandish and crazy because the numbers are mind-boggling.
• You assume Sabathia will win 20 games and you didn't pay that kind of money for him to win 14 games. Well, that simply replaces the 20 victories Mike Mussina posted last season before announcing his retirement. The bottom line is that acquisition keeps them where they were last year. The expectation is a big year from Burnett, though he has had injury problems in the past. Then figure on the return of a healthy Chien Ming-Wang to help the Bronx Bombers. The two additions put tremendous pressure on manager Joe Girardi, who has to win now. There is always pressure in New York and now he has to win it all with this lineup.
• When you look at the other team in the Big Apple, the Mets have done a phenomenal job in improving an area of need, the bullpen. They got Francisco Rodriguez to close and J.J. Putz as an eighth inning bridge. If K Rod. was injured, Putz could revert back to the closer's role. I really feel Omar Minaya struck gold in a positive way for the Mets.
• Ben Roethlisberger simply finds a way to win games for the Steelers. It seems like he is Mr. Clutch in the fourth quarter of games. The win at Baltimore was a perfect example of the way he comes through during winning time. Don't pay as much attention to his overall stats, just look at his team's record and watch the way he gets the job done.
• The Atlanta Falcons continue to surprise people. The win over Tampa Bay in overtime moves Atlanta a step closer to the playoffs, making them a great story in the NFC. Matt Ryan and Michael Turner have been difference makers for the Falcons.
• Nine schools (Colorado State, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Notre Dame, Florida Atlantic, Northern Illinois, NC State, Vanderbilt and Kentucky) finished the college football season at 6-6 and was picked for a bowl game. My friends, we are rewarding mediocrity as any of these teams walking away with an L will have a losing record. I feel that the rules should be changed and teams should need seven wins to quality for a postseason invitation.
• It was a nice weekend for the Atlantic 10 conference. Temple scored a big win over a top 10 team, Tennessee. Dionte Christmas showed why some consider him an All-America candidate by putting up 35 points on the board. Massachusetts, which had struggled early on, got a big W over defending national champion Kansas in the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. That had to be a confidence booster for Derek Kellogg's squad. I haven't even mentioned the top team in the league, Xavier, which remains unbeaten after a win at Cincinnati behind Derrick Brown's solid performance before he was ejected.
• How about a salute to North Dakota State's 5-11 senior guard Ben Woodside. He put up 60 points in a loss to Stephen F. Austin on Friday night, including an NCAA-record tying 30 free throws made (tied the record set by Pistol Pete Maravich!). Then he scored 31 more in a win over Georgia Southern.
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