By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

Eight strangers were brought together in New York City, divided into two teams and let loose on a monthlong, cross-country version of a scavenger hunt on steroids. The challenge: Be the first to complete 10 (out of 40) sports-related tasks and get to Alcatraz. And oh by the way, they have nothing but the clothes on their backs and their wits.

That's why it's called "Beg, Borrow & Deal" (Tuesdays on our mothership, ESPN). And that's why Page 2 will be tracking their progress each week.

Episode 7: Don't call it a comeback

Team Cobi
Current status: The good news -- up 9-6 and en route to San Francisco after pulling a shift as sports-radio hosts in Denver. The bad news -- their car stalled on a desolate stretch of Wyoming highway.

Ranking the teammate performances this week:

Juliet

Juliet
Juliet

Came up big: Amazingly, no glimpses of her evil twin, and it was Juliet's connections in Boulder, Colo., that hooked the team up with a place to stay the night.
Could have done better: She put a heck of a lot of pressure on her sister to skip her college final exam and drive the team to Salt Lake City. What, the sister didn't have any friends with nothing to do?
Overall: What can we say but we're coming around on Juliet. A second straight week of solid performance.
Big question: Was it just me, or did Juliet drop her voice down an octave while on the radio?

Josh

Josh
Josh

Came up big: For a guy who knows nothing about sports, the big guy made sports-talk radio a heck of a lot more entertaining than it would have been if he had known, say, just a little bit about sports.
Could have done better: The above point aside, let's face it -- Josh's lack of sports knowledge or athleticism is a little sorry.
Overall: Josh knows film. Josh knows show tunes. Let's see if Josh knows hard-core car repair.
Big question: How will Mr. Team Leader react to being stuck in the middle of nowhere?

Bubba

Bubba
Bubba

Came up big: Enjoyed a solid rapport with the sports-radio masses, including an on-the-spot answer to a listener's trivia question about naming a defensive player who has won the Heisman.
Could have done better: He knew it was "a defensive back from Michigan." He didn't know it was "Charles Woodson."
Overall: Bubba is awfully forgiving that he and Josh do the heavy-lifting on the task-set-up phone calls while his two female teammates clean themselves up.
Big question: Does Bubba know anything about car repair?

Kelli

Kelli
Kelli

Came up big: Didn't.
Could have done better: She freaked out with the sports-radio thing because she says she wants to do that for her career. (Hint: Lose the Michigan accent.)
Overall: When you care more about washing your hair or putting on makeup or going for a workout than helping your team, you are the classic definition of "adding no value."
Big question: Did we see the last of "productive Kelli" two episodes ago?

Overall team analysis: Overall team analysis: The team has a commanding lead, and all they need to do is get to San Francisco, do a final task and beg their way to Alcatraz. And, yet, things have never looked shakier. Could they possibly choke?

***** ***** *****

This week's BBD Likability Ranking
Check out the shake-ups!
1 Julian: Can you believe this jump? Neither can we. (LW: 8)
2 Juliet: Another week on our good side. (LW: 1)
3 Josh: Like a metronome -- another solid week. (Last week: 3)
4 Aubrey: Her team is really lost without her. (LW: 5)
5 Bubba: Didn't hurt, but didn't really help, either. (LW: 2)
6 Tony: Never would have pictured him as the clubber type. (LW: 7)
7 Katie: Wish she had been more convincing about the $300 trade-in. (LW: 6)
8 Kelli: Too bad a task isn't "Be obsessed with makeup." (LW: 4)
Team Contact
Current status: Down three tasks, but this is a team on the upswing. Once they got to Dallas, they earned a task when previously worthless Julian sank an NBA 3-point shot on his one and only try. Then they blew the opportunity to earn $300 travel cash by not trading Julian's shot for the money, then re-earning a task point by begging Chris Webber for some endorsement product. They earned a moral victory -- and a bottle of Webber's soda -- and moved on to Oklahoma City, where another task presumably awaits.

Ranking the teammate performances this week:

Julian

Came up big: Sank the 3-point shot to earn the team a task. Hooked up the team with a place to stay in Dallas. Got the team a ride to Oklahoma City with his old college roommate.
Could have done better: Should have supported Katie in trading his task for $300. At least he admitted it afterward. Also, in his e-mail to Mark Cuban looking for help, he called Webber's team the "Seattle Kings." Sonics fans could only wish. ...
Julian
Julian


Overall: All in all, a banner day for a guy who had spent six previous episodes not contributing anything. Don't say we didn't recognize that and reward him this week in the Likability rankings.
Big question: Was this Julian's one shining moment, or the start of a better-late-than-never effort by him?

Aubrey

Aubrey
Aubrey

Came up big: As usual, did the pre-event leg-work on the phone for her lazy teammates. This time, she set up the team with the Mavericks to shoot their 3-pointers.
Could have done better: For a professional cheerleader, she didn't really display the natural rhythm we would have expected at the nightclub.
Overall: We appreciate her logic at turning down the $300 trade-in-the-task opportunity -- she was concerned they wouldn't complete the Webber task and they would leave Texas empty-handed. (Unlike Tony's logic ... see his entry below.)
Big question: Can the gutsy Aubrey carry her team to the unlikely victory?

Tony

Tony
Tony

Came up big: Fondled by Hooters waitresses; hit on all the women of Dallas at the nightclub the team ended up at; drooled all over Chris Webber.
Could have done better: At the night club, he was pretty much the worst dancer of anyone ever seen on TV. It was like The Elaine from "Seinfeld" -- call it The Tony.
Overall: Worse than the dancing was his logic at turning down the $300 opportunity -- "I don't want to win that way." Duh! If it's part of the rules, jackass, it's not cheating; it's supposed to be an advantage for the team that can earn two tasks in the same state. What a moron.
Big question: Besides his HORSE win over Richard Jefferson, Tony hasn't done much for the team. When will he step up, if ever?

Katie

Katie
Katie

Came up big: Quality dancing at the nightclub celebration in Dallas following the big day in Big D.
Could have done better: Unable to convince her teammates it was really in their best interests to trade Julian's task achievement for $300.
Overall: A lot of talking, but not much action from the usually bossy Katie. The rest of the team turned on her when she tried to convince them to take the $300; perhaps it was a reaction to her previously authoritarian rule?
Big question: Does anyone else think that even if they got the $300, they wouldn't have blown it on something stupid?

Overall team analysis: We'll give this to Team Contact -- they know how to have a good time on those rare moments they complete a task. Between the trip to Hooters and the night out clubbing, they are finally enjoying themselves after days of misery. Compare it to that night spent a few episodes ago in the NASCAR RV park. They appreciate the good times.

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. Check back each week for a review of the latest episode of "Beg, Borrow & Deal."




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