December 29, 2005
Pete Carroll:
If the Texans were thinking about the USC coach, they can forget about it. He signed a 5-year extension, reportedly worth $3 mil per year.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
TROJAN.  WAR.

News of Pete Carroll's 5-year contract extension, reportedly worth $15 million, plus the continuing build up to the Rose Bowl (arguably the best on-paper title game matchup of the ESPN Era) is a great backdrop for the climax of the USC "Place in History" poll that ESPN has been running to figure out where the 2005 Trojans rank among the top teams of all time -- and I'll admit that I'm a little obsessed.

After dispatching '79 Alabama (the No. 3-ranked team) yesterday by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin, USC faces its toughest hurdle -- and where I think the streak will end: 2001 Miami.

Unlike '79 Bama or other teams too old to be appreciated, you know (and fear) these '01 Canes.

They had 11 NFL first-round draft picks. The D was arguably the best in college football history, featuring a secondary with three 2002 NFL first-rounders (plus four other starters eventually drafted in the first round), and which held opponents to a staggering 9.4 ppg, 2nd-best in the ESPN Era. Miami's takeaway margin was 45 (that's 2.4+ per GAME).

Meanwhile, the offense could have given this USC team a run for its stars: Heisman finalist QB Ken Dorsey, RB Clinton Portis, TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Andre Johnson. They beat three ranked teams in their final three regular-season games and could have pinned more than 37 points on Nebraska in the title game, but showed some mercy.

The 2005 USC defense isn't as good as last year's edition, and it would have a hard time keeping up with Miami. Meanwhile, if any defense could keep the Trojans' offense in check, it's this best-ever Miami D. All it takes is 51 percent of fans to agree.

By the way, Chris Fowler chatted on SportsNation Wednesday, and he confirmed my two biggest problems with putting this 2005 USC team in its historic place:

(1) They haven't even proven they're the best in 2005 yet. (Fowler: "Absolutely. They haven't accomplished all their goals … I'd say the comparisons are more valid if USC beats Texas this year. They're chasing history, but haven't quite caught it yet.")

(2) They aren't even as good as the 2004 USC champ. (Fowler: "I think [the 2004 team] was more dominant than this year's, more solid and consistent on defense.")

It won't matter, because I think that the 2005 USC team's "place in history" is finalized today, behind 2001 Miami. Be sure to vote. (See Q It Up.)

(Coming tomorrow: And who ELSE could beat '05 USC?)

Texans Tank Update
Following yesterday's Quickie, more than 85 percent of Quickie readers said they would actively root for their team to lose in order to claim the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

That's more aggressive than the results of a SportsNation poll yesterday that asked, "If your favorite team had a chance at the No. 1 pick and a potential superstar, would you want them to tank the game?" (67 percent: Yes.)

But here's an interesting contradiction: 65 percent of fans said it would be "ethically wrong" for the Texans to bench their starters against the 49ers.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Nebraska: '97 co-titlist "What if?" bowl goes to Huskers
Boston College: Very quietly, BC has won 6 straight bowls
Jon Garland: White Sox breakout SP signs 3 yrs/$29 mil
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Boise St: Loses coach, 31-game home winning streak to B.C.
Ron Artest: Agent admits that there's no return to Pacers
Tedy Bruschi: No word on injury, but likely to miss W17
 
Meanwhile, 86 percent of fans said it would NOT be ethically wrong for the Seahawks to bench their starters against the Packers.

It's obviously a subtle line, but it's refreshing to see so many fans take the long-term view and realize you don't play to win one game; you play to win as many as possible.

'05 Year in Review
Top 10 Most Intriguing News Stories:
10. Ballroom dance: New poker
9. Lance: Tour de Finale?
8. Scandals: Cruises, TopCats
7. UNC hoops: Nets Roy a ring
6. Theo quits: Sox turmoil?
5. BCS yes: Critics foiled
4. Pats win: Yes, a dynasty
3. OTHER Sox: 1917 new 1918
2. "Won't talk about the past"
1. Katrina: Transcends sports

Friday: 2006 Resolutions!

NFL Notes
(1) Brett Favre unsure? I can't believe he actually questions whether the Packers want him back (before the season is over, no less), after they stuck with him even after the season was lost, when they would have been better off giving Aaron Rodgers some development time in games.

This smacks of public posturing by an All-Pro media manipulator, and it's unfair to a team that needs to make huge decisions this offseason. (Yes, including how to handle the bigger-than-the-team Favre situation.)

(2) Joe Horn angry? The Saints WR makes a great point when he said that while he was fined $30K for his "celly-bration," Falcons coach Jim Mora goes unpunished for using a cell phone on the sidelines Sunday -- which is also against NFL rules. The league says it's looking into it.

(3) Billick back in '06: Apparently, a couple of high-profile national-TV wins can save an NFL coach's job. The Ravens' owner said the mediocre Billick will be back in 2006. After 6 years, the "offensive genius" STILL doesn't have a solid QB in place.

(4) Shaun Alexander to start: The Seahawks will be grimacing with every carry, hoping their MVP candidate doesn't get hurt, but giving him the chance to break the single-season TD record is the right thing to do. He only needs one more.

(5) Leftwich to play? Speaking of benching starters, even if Jags QB Byron Leftwich is ready, why risk aggravating the ankle injury that has kept him out the last 5 weeks, in an otherwise meaningless game? Why not save him for the playoffs?

More T-Mac
Sure, everyone supported Tracy McGrady leaving Tuesday's game at halftime to be there for the birth of his kid -- even though the Rockets lost the game.

But I tweaked that slightly for the Morning Quickie chat audience, and they couldn't come to a consensus: What if it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and the player's absence would cost his team the game?

"Family first!" suddenly isn't such an easy answer, is it?

Bowlin': Angry Ducks
Holiday (at San Diego)
Oregon vs. Oklahoma: Either the Ducks, so ticked by the BCS snub, come out and rout the Sooners -- or, more likely, so dispirited they get worked. Call that the "NIT Effect": The same thing regularly happens to the last team left out of the NCAA Tournament. (8, ESPN)

Match Bowl 2005
The 3rd Annual Match Bowl!
Test your skills as a desirable consumer whom companies would want to market to! Match bowl to sponsor:

Bowl:
1. Holiday
2. Music City
3. Sun
4. Independence
5. Peach
6. Liberty
7. Houston
8. Cotton
9. Gator
10. Fiesta
11. Sugar
Sponsor:
a. AutoZone
b. Nokia
c. Pacific Life
d. EV1.net
e. Gaylords Hotels
f. Toyota
g. Chick-Fil-A
h. Tostitos
i. MainStay
j. AT&T
k. Vitalis

Bowls that bought the bowl to rename it entirely with their own brand (Emerald, Meineke, Capital One and Outback) are ineligible.

(See Odds and Ends for answers.)

Alamo Bowl officials:
Completely lost control of the end of the game, as Michigan players tried for a miracle, refs let Nebraska players run onto the field. Weak non-call ...
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
USC vs. Miami
Page 2 Index
 
Top 5 Goofy Stories from '05
Vikings sex cruise
Nearly got 'em to playoffs!
 
TopCat cheerleaders
Wow, those 15 minutes are up
 
The Whizzinator
More Vikings pride ...
 
"Fire Millen"
Sparks free-speech craze
 
"Dancing with Stars"
It's the new poker!
 

NBA tonight: Want to see how wide the gap is in the East? Keep your eye on the sizzling Pistons vs. the still-settling Heat.

NBA wrap: Kobe scores 45, Lakers lose; Mo Cheeks loses in Portland homecoming; the surprising and energized Bobcats beat the Bulls.

MLB Hot Stove: Does OF Jeromy Burnitz signing with the O's reduce their interest in trading Miggy Tejada to the Red Sox for Manny (and Matt Clement)?

When fragile Marcus Camby became the NBA's top rebounder this season, who saw his next injury coming? It had to happen: He's out indefinitely (finger).

More Bowlin': Utah-GA Tech in Emerald Bowl (at SF). How many more years do you think Utes fans will bask in that unbeaten '04 team? (4:30, ESPN)

Match Bowl answers: 1-C, 2-E, 3-K, 4-I, 5-G, 6-A, 7-D, 8-J, 9-F, 10-H, 11-B. (How'd you do? See the next line for a guide.)

Match key: 5 or less right: You're normal; 6-8: You're a solid consumer; 9-10: You have issues; Perfect 11: Marketers know your phone number.



SEND PRINT ARCHIVE EMAIL US
Sponsored Links
espn.com