Friday, January 9, 2009

REALITY CHECK: THE DEFINITION OF SAD

We don’t typically publish the weekly polls for football or basketball, but we do include a team’s AP ranking (soon to be the ESPN poll ranking) in our recaps of various games.

T.A.H.’s opinion on this is relatively simple (which should come as no surprise considering the source): In basketball ,where there is an actual playoff to decide the National Champion, polls aren’t particularly important on a week-by-week basis.

They matter most in two ways: 1) on a cumulative basis and 2) in March when the Selection Committee’s opinions are being finalized. Being in the top five all year is helpful in securing a No.1 regional seed for the Big Dance. This is important, but plenty of No.2 seeds make it to the Final Four. Being highly ranked all year helps a team keep it’s presumed No.1 seed if they stumble in their conference tournament. So it matters, but only so much.

Enter Duke head coach Mike Krzyzhkbmr3ski. Evidently, it matters to him.

So much so that our beloved Coach K felt it important to notify the media that his Blue Devil squad has ascended to the No. 2 spot in both of this week’s polls. As the very famous line from the long-suffering butler Hobs (John Gielgud) in the movie Arthur so appropriately goes: “I’ll alert the media.”

Duly noted, and appreciated.

Apparently the local wags for the N.C.'s Research Triangle’s newspapers didn’t write a headline one single day in this week’s sports pages that said “DUKE RANKED SECOND IN EARLY JANUARY POLL – ALL HAIL COACH K AND HIS MERRY BAND OF CONSTANTLY ACHIEVING STUDENT ATHLETES.” Unbelievable, no?

The News-Observer’s J.P. Giglio pointed out today that he had published this earth shattering news on the paper’s ACC blog ACC NOW, but it had not been in print until his article today.

"I don't even think it was mentioned in the newspapers here, that we were No. 2 in the polls," Coach K said after Duke's 79-67 win over Davidson on Wednesday. "Fact, I know it wasn't mentioned, so I guess nobody really cares.”

He went on to question the “subtleties of the local press” and said, "I know it's not that big here, but it's pretty damn good. So when this group makes No. 2, it's a new group, they should be celebrated for doing something good. I'm sorry that doesn't happen very much. It's sad."

Hey, Coach, look around the world and you will see legitimate “sad.” In fact, look at the recession right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. and you’ll see a boat load of sad as well. Your boys not being lauded by the local media for winning 13 out of 14 basketball games while having their education paid for at one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the county? Not so sad. Disappointing perhaps, but hardly sad.

Giglio, who we believe to be quite good at what he does, closed his article with:

“So for the record, Duke is No. 2 -- one spot ahead of that other unnamed school.”

WILLIAMS: UNC LOSS TO BOSTON COLLEGE “OVER COVERED”

UNC head basketball Coach Roy “Ol’ Roy” Williams called a press conference moments ago to admonish local and national journalists for “wasting way too much darned ink” on the Tar Heels upset loss to the Eagles last Sunday.

“It’s sad,” Ol’ Roy said. “These kids have sacrificed so much and worked so hard, spent hours on airplanes, buses and in hotel rooms just to play a darn tough game. We’re not talking PRACTICE, Roy Williams is talking GAMES, and after all that hard work and sacrifice, the media reports that we lose.”

“My kids have to go to class, go to frat parties, relentlessly chase co-eds in spite of their obvious height and, at times, awkwardness, and even after all of those sacrifices, the media attacks this fine group of young men with headlines like “BOSTON COLLEGE UPSETS No.1 NORTH CAROLINA." That’s wrong, no, wrong isn't the right word -- it's sad."


Williams was particularly upset with the Associated Press which not only published the headline previously mentioned, but then circulated it to hundreds, if not thousands, of media outlets that rely on their services for content.

“Can you believe that, they sent that story to news outlets all over the darned country including ESPN?” Ol’ Roy queried. “First they write this incredibly inflammatory headline and accompanying story and then they send it out all over the friggin’ country. That’s sad, and Roy Williams knows sad a heck of a lot better than that ‘other’ coach at that ‘other’ school.”

(Editors Note: Words in 'italics' may not actually be true.)

HOTEL BOSTON COLLEGE: YOU CAN CHECK OUT ANYTIME YOU LIKE, BUT YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE

We enjoy Sally Jenkins’ take on the world of sports. The daughter of famous sports writer Dan Jenkins, we find her view from the distaff side of the aisle interesting although we do frequently disagree with her opinions.


Jenkins’ column in Wednesday’s Washington Post was no different for T.A.H. as she applauded Boston College’s firing of their head football coach saying, among other things:

“More than one morally supple sham has noisily demanded commitments from his players, while failing to live up to his own, and Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski is hardly the first coach to treat a signed contract like a disposable tissue. But Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo, rigid conventionalist that he is, thinks a signature on paper ought to be binding.”

She goes on the deride Jagodzinski for a variety of reasons including his not telling his friend DeFilippo that he was going to interview with the Jets (hmmm…maybe he knew his old buddy would fire him!). In addition, she applauds DeFilippo’s position and notes how in firing Jagodzinski for violating the “spirit” of his contract, he has “made the spine of every other athletic director and college president around the country a little stiffer.”

"We will find somebody who really wants to be at Boston College and will be here for the length of their contract," DeFilippo said.

While we won’t contest anything Jenkins said and we remain fully aware of the hypocrisy that is college sports on so many levels, Jenkins, and others who share her view, are telling just one side of the story.

Let’s rewind. Apparently, and clearly according to DeFilippo, Jagodzinski should be the coach of the Eagles through the term of his contract. Correct us if we’re wrong, but is that a two-way street?

Is DeFlippo going to be waving the “signature on paper ought to be binding” flag when Jagodzinki loses too many games (for any number of reason within or beyond his control) and he fires him just ahead of a pack of screaming and drooling fans, alums and boosters crying out for the coach’s head? We think not.

Do the name’s Mike Shanahan and Phil Fulmer mean anything to the folks who deride Jagodzinski? Both reached the pinnacle of their professions winning Super Bowls and College National Championships and both were removed involuntarily prior to the date on the piece of paper DeFilippo trumpets so proudly.

Nobody in the system – not coaches, one-and-done players, athletic directors, presidents, chancellors, board of visitors, the NCAA and, yes everybody’s favorite whipping boy, the BCS – has cornered the market on “what’s in it for me?”

College football is a business. It ‘s part of the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry with many business components that are similar to the television and movie industries. In spite of the affiliation with institutions of higher learning and the education of our children, we all should be realistic about the business aspect of the games we love. If NCAA schools are going to make millions on football, don’t get all high and mighty when the CEO of the team is acting like a capitalist with the same agenda as the corporate sponsors, universities and television networks that profit from the games.

If you can fire a coach for going 5-9, shouldn’t he be able to interview for a job when he’s 9-5?

Oh by the way, Darrius Heyward-Bey of Maryland, Kevin Ogletree of Virginia and Everette Brown of FSU announced this week that they will be leaving those schools (where they signed a four year commitment) early to pursue economic opportunities in professional football.

Sound familiar?
(Getty Images and Reuters Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

CONGRATS, GATORS. Florida is the best team and Tim Tebow is the best player. Last night in the second half of the BCS Championship game, the former Heisman trophy winner called four plays: Tebow right, Tebow left, Tebow up the middle and Tebow pass.

They all worked.


(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

JUST LIKE FOOTBALL: RANKED TODAY, UNRANKED TOMORROW

Harvard (Crimson, 6,715 students, Cambridge, MA) 82, No. 24 BOSTON COLLEGE 70 - Boston College made big headlines when they played a near perfect game upsetting the then No. 1 Tar Heels last Sunday. In fact, they played so well they fired their football coach (but that's another story.)

In their next game against Ivy League powerhouse(?) Harvard, the Eagles promptly puked all over their shoes. So much for being nationally ranked.

Tommy Amakers' Crimson came into the game off an 8-22 season last year, and boasting a 7-6 record which included big wins over New Hampshire, Holy Cross and Army. Say what? (Yep, you gotta give us the Bill Murray Stripes voice: Arrrrmmmmyyy!)

"I tried to pre-warn them," said Skinner after one of the Eagles' more disappointing regular season losses in many years. "We were capable of being this team and capable of being another team."The Eagles (13-3), who had their 10-game winning streak snapped, defeated the unbeaten Tar Heels 85-78 in Chapel Hill for one of the school's biggest regular season wins to move into the Top 25. Not for long.

"I told them its a short trip from the main house to the big house to the out house," Skinner said. (We'd call that a "pre-warning" if we've ever heard one, but isn't that one too many houses?)

Jeremy Lin scored 27 points to lead Harvard. Oliver McNally had 17 points and Andrew Pusar 13 for the Crimson (8-6), who had never beaten a ranked team before and had lost 15 of their last 16 games against the Eagles. Lin added eight assists before fouling out with about a minutes left.

Corey Raji paced BC with 16 points, Tyrese Rice had 14, Joe Trapani had 12. Rice was held to three points until the final four minutes.

The Eagles Rakim Sanders (seven points) who was en fuego vs. UNC was practically invisible against Harvard.

No. 2 DUKE 79, Davidson (Wildcats, 1,700 students, Davidson, NC) 67 - Jon Scheyer (made crazy faces) and Kyle Singler both scored 22 points, and Duke held off a late Stephen Curry-led charge to beat Davidson. 79-67 on Wednesday night.

Gerald Henderson added 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting for the Blue Devils (13-1). They never trailed, outscored the Wildcats 20-7 to start the second half and won their 67th straight nonconference home game by withstanding a furious comeback attempt that for a while seemed destined to add to Curry's legend.

Curry, the nation's leading scorer, scored 29 points -- the most Duke has allowed any player this season -- on 10-of-22 shooting but was just 1-for-8 from 3-point range and turned it over six times for Davidson (10-3).

No. 3 NORTH CAROLINA 108, Charleston (Cougars, 9,866 students, Charleston, SC) 70 - Tyler Tyler Hansbrough had 24 points to help the third-ranked Tar Heels beat College of Charleston. Deon Thompson added 15 points for the Tar Heels (14-1), who used a 19-2 run spanning halftime to turn the game into a rout.

North Carolina shot 59 percent for the game, played improved defense in the second half and cracked the 100-point mark for the fifth time this year.

After shooting 29 percent in the second half against BC, the Tar Heels became the first team in more than three decades to score 100 points against the Cougars (10-3), ending a 951-game streak that began in December 1977 and ranked second nationally.

Hansbrough finished 10-for-13 from the field to go with seven rebounds, while Thompson and Lawson each had strong bounceback performances after struggling against BC. Thompson had six rebounds and made 5-of-6 free throws after scoring just five points and going 1-for-6 from the line against the Eagles.

Lawson had 15 points and eight assists after scoring 10 on 3-for-13 shooting against BC and Tyrese Rice.Tony White Jr. scored 16 points to lead College of Charleston.

Morgan State (Bears, 6,005 students, Baltimore, MD) 66, MARYLAND 65 - That noise you hear? It's not the wind, it's Gary "Nivea Men Fresh Active" Williams screaming. The Terps are at it again -losing to local teams they should beat. Last year it was American, and now Baltimore's Morgan State.

Reggie Holmes scored 25 points, and Morgan State rallied from a 14-point deficit in the final 12 minutes to shock Maryland. The Bears (6-8), a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team were 0-5 against the Terrapins (11-3) in a series that began in 1988. The Bears won the game with a 21-5 second half run.

Vasquez led Maryland with 19 points.

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, AP Photo/Gerry Broome, AP Photo/Sara D. Davis and AP Photo/Gail Burton)

ACC PLAYER OF THE WEEK LOSES GAME TO BRAINIACS

Boston College's Tyrese Rice has been named ACC Player of the Week, while Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors. In the Eagles' 85-78 win over top-ranked North Carolina Sunday, Rice capped off an outstanding week, scoring a game-high 25 points and handing out eight assists. The Richmond, Va., senior hit on seven-of-13 from the field and nine-of-10 from the free throw line as Boston College ran its overall record to 13-2 with the win. On the week, Rice averaged 21.3 points, 8.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals as the Eagles posted three wins.

In earning the rookie award for the second time this season, Aminu averaged 16.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots in wins over Radford and Brigham Young. The Norcross, Ga., product made 12-of-23 from the floor (.522) and seven-of-10 from the free throw line (.700) in the two games. In Saturday's 94-87 win at Brigham Young, which snapped the Cougars' 53-game home court winning streak, Aminu had 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer and AP Photo/Lynn Hey)

TUESDAY NIGHT HOOPS

VIRGINIA 74, Brown (Bears, 8,025 students, Providence, RI) 50 - Easy win against Brown leaves Wahoos upbeat about final two non-conference games against White on Thursday and Black on Friday. Mike Scott had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Sammy Zeglinski scored 14 points for the Cavs (7-5), who play at state and ACC rival Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Hoos led 39-29 at halftime and used a 23-7 second-half run to coast to the victory -- their 13th straight win against an Ivy league team.

Brown (5-8) was led by Peter Sullivan with 14 points and Adrian Williams with 13, but the Bears commited 16 turnovers that led to 25 Cavaliers points.

GEORGIA TECH 67, Georgia (Bulldogs, 25,335 students, Athens, GA) 62 - Zachery Peacock scored 18 points and Georgia Tech (9-5) rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat Georgia and complete the sweep of its state rival in the two major sports.

Georgia (9-6) was led by Trey Thompkins with 20 points.

No. 11 CLEMSON 66, Alabama (Crimson Tide, 27,052 students, Tuscaloosa, AL) 59 - Trevor Booker had 19 points to help No. 11 Clemson remain unbeaten with a victory over Alabama on Tuesday night. The Tigers (15-0) kept pace with their 17-0 start two years ago when they were the nation's last unbeaten. It took a stellar defensive effort down the stretch to hold off the Crimson Tide (10-4). Alabama led 42-41 with 14:16 to go, but the Tigers went on a 14-0 run to take control of the game.

(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

B.C. FOOTBALL PROGRAM BURSTS INTO FLAMES

Color us crazy, but does this make any sense at all?

Boston College has terminated the employment of head football coach Jeff Jagodzinski, the University announced Wedesday because he went on a job interview with the N.Y. J-E-T-S-JETS football team.

Do you fire a guy for going on a job interview? An interview for a job he’s probably not going to get, but is doing merely to pad his resume for future reference? You know, in case B.C. goes 6-6 and he gets fired?

Do you have such delusions of grandeur that you believe your football coach should make a long-term commitment and not even sniff at potential millions when they are publicly waved under his nose?

Evidently, Boston College does all of these things. Hey, B.C., we said it before and we will say it again, you aren’t USC or Alabama or Ohio State or Texas or Oklahoma or some other SEC, PAC 10 or Big 12 powerhouse. Nor are you the likes of Virginia Tech or West Virginia for that matter….You are a nice little catholic school in Boston with a pretty decent football team. Wake up and smell the Red Sox.

Simply put, we think this is stupid. If there was a clause in Jagodzinski’s contract that prohibited him from interviewing than B.C. had every right to can him. If there wasn’t, the move just seems delusional and bizarre. The guy just led you to back-to-back Dr. Pepper Gowls in his first two years at the helm. Who’s available who’s better? And don’t you dare say Bill Cowher.

The announcement was made by Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo at a 3 p.m. press conference in the Yawkey Athletics Center on campus.

"As I've said before, Jeff has done a wonderful job here," DeFilippo said. "Today's action relates to a difference of vision for the future."

"My family and I have enjoyed and cherished being a part of this great community," Jagodzinski said. "I am so proud of what these student-athletes and our staff have accomplished during our tenure here. I wish everyone at Boston College the best in the years to come, both on and off the field."

DeFilippo said Jagodzinski was terminated without cause but did not comment on the specifics of Jagodzinski's contract. DeFilippo said the search for Jagodzinski's replacement would include both internal and external candidates. He did not discuss a specific timeline.

(Getty Images and AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

SO YOU THINK YOU HAD A BAD DAY? Nice try.

According to The Smoking Gun and zillions other Internet media outlets, a skier at Colorado's ritzy Vail resort was left dangling upside down and pantsless from a chairlift last Thursday morning. The January 1 mishap apparently occurred after the male skier, 48, and a child boarded a high-speed lift in Vail's Blue Sky Basin. It appears that the chairlift's fold-down seat was somehow not in the lowered position, which caused the man to partially fall through the resulting gap. His right ski got jammed in the ascending chairlift, and that kept him upended since his boot never dislodged from its binding.

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

MUSH! Vroni Ruhsamer screams as she takes a curve with her Pony "Bert" during a fun sledge race in the Bavarian village of Elbach.

Every year farmers from the region meet with their horses for the traditional race.

Just a wild guess, but we say drinking is involved. See the blurry people below.

(Photo by Michael Dalder-Reuters)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

MUSH 2! Participants of a skijoering race compete in Elbach, southern Germany. Skijoering is a winter sport originating from Scandinavia, where a horse pulls an athlete on skis. More than 5,000 spectators came to see the event.

(Photo by Oliver Lang-AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

SPEAKING OF RACING. We’re pretty sure this isn’t Dakar either…Nice mountains, though.

Giniel de Villiers steers his Volswagen during the sixth stage of the 2009 Dakar between San Rafael and Mendoza, January 08, 2009.

(Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

HICKS HEADED TO NFL

No word yet on what the Hacks are thinking….

Ahhh, haaaaaa, haaaaa, ha, ha…ha…ha.

Sorry – inside joke.

For real, North Carolina receiver Hakeem Nicks plans to skip his final season and enter the NFL draft.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior owns the school’s career records for catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions. He also set single-season records this year with 1,222 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns.

Nicks had eight catches for a school bowl-record 217 yards and three touchdowns in the Meineke Bowl loss to West Virginia.
(Getty Images)

MONDAY HOOPS

MIAMI 85, Florida Atlantic (Owls, 25,525 students, Boca Raton, FL) 65 – Dwayne “Bootsy” Collins scored 24 points as Miami closed its non-conference schedule with a victory over Florida Atlantic on Monday night.

Collins scored 18 points in the second half, including 12 straight during a stretch that ended with a short jumper, to give Miami (11-3) a 75-60 lead with 4:37 left.

Jack “Everybody Loved Harold” McClinton finished with 20 points and moved past Mike Wittman for 14th place on Miami's career scoring list with 1,327 points.

Carderro “Angel” Nwoji led Florida Atlantic (4-11) with 20 points but fouled out with 8:10 remaining in the game.

CHARLESTON ASKS FOR CLEMENCY

Bobby Cremins, the former Georgia Tech coach and now head man at the College of Charleston, has asked the University of North Carolina and the ACC to be relieved from his commitment to play the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill on Wednesday night.

“I don’t want to play ‘em,” said Cremins who led the Yellow Jackets to the Final Four in 1990 while earning the Naismith College Coach of the Year Award, “I didn’t want to play them to start with, and after Sunday night, I damn sure don’t want to play ‘em now. No freakin’ way.”

Coach Roy Williams said in his Monday ACC teleconference that he agreed to a home and home with Charleston out of respect for Cremins and his love for the low country of South Carolina. “We own a home down there at Wild Dunes. There's no question that it's one of my favorites places to play golf, sit on the beach, and eat seafood, but I don't think I'll be doing any of those three when we come back next year to play,” Ol’ Roy said.

Charleston is a member of the Southern Conference and their hoops squad is off to a solid start posting a 10-2 record. The Cougars also lost their last game – to ranked conference foe Davidson 79-75. That experience will not help them when they face a Tar Heel team which no doubt suffered through tough practices after losing to B.C. in the conference opener.

The Cougars do not have a football program and are best-known for thier men's basketball team. In hoops the Cougars won the NAIA national title in 1983 and have made four trips to the NCAA Tournament (1994, 1997, 1998 and 1999). Charleston also boasts the 2004, 2005, 2006, & 2007 SoCon Champion baseball team, 2004 SoCon Championship men's soccer team and the 2003 & 2005 SoCon Championship softball teams. From 2001 to 2007 the Cougars have won SoCon titles in women's volleyball, men's and women's swimming, diving, men's and women's cross country, women's track and field and women’s basketball. Just the same, on Wednesday night, they won’t be playing softball or soccer or baseball.

In addition they have excellent equestrian and sailing teams, not to mention student rugby clubs for both the men and the women. None of this means diddly squat when they face a very cranky Tar Heel squad tomorrow night.

Cremins became the basketball coach in 2006. The ACC coaching legend had coached Georgia Tech from 1981 to 2000. In addition to reaching the Final Four in 1990, Cremins’ Jackets won three ACC tournaments. Unfortunately, none of that means jack crap when Charleston plays a fired-up UNC team Wednesday.

Cremins is, in fact, so good that prior to his run in Atlanta he made Appalachian State, a football school, a Southern Conference basketball power. The Cremins led Mountaineers won the SoCon regular season or tournament championship in 1979, 1978 and 1981. However, none of that will translate into baskets or rebounds when the Cougars tangle with a recently jilted formerly number 1 ACC powerhouse on their home court.

“Look, I won 100 games at Appalachian State and everybody knows that’s a football school, and I took Georgia Tech, another football school, to the Final Four,” said Cremins, “but, this? This is ridiculous.”

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said, “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta eat. Nothin’ personal, it’s jut bidness. Play ball.”


LEGEND: Italics: Not neccesarily true: Regular type: Pretty much true.

PILE UP ON AISLE ACC

North Carolina losing to Boston College opened the door for Pittsburgh to move into the top spot in the AP poll. The loss, combined with big wins for Duke against conference foe Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, who snapped BYU's 53 home game winning streak, caused a pile up of ACC teams in the 2-4 spots.

Clemson continues to climb up the poll, and B.C. debuted this week at 17 after upsetting the Tar Heels.

When Duke's Jon Scheyer heard the news, he made crazy faces.

AP Top 25
1. Pittsburgh (70) 14-0 1,798
2. Duke 12-1 1,660
3. North Carolina (2) 13-1 1,651
4. Wake Forest 13-0 1,553
5. Connecticut 12-1 1,474
6. Oklahoma 13-1 1,358
7. Texas 11-2 1,348
8. Michigan State 11-2 1,269
9. Georgetown 10-2 1,208
10. UCLA 12-2 1,162
11. Syracuse 14-1 1,113
12. Clemson 14-0 968
13. Notre Dame 10-3 802
14. Purdue 11-3 774
15. Tennessee 9-3 533
16. Xavier 11-2 483
17. Boston College 13-2 453
18. Marquette 13-2 436
18. Villanova 12-2 436
20. Arizona State 12-2 374
21. Butler 12-1 341
22. Minnesota 13-1 290
23. Baylor 12-2 289
23. Louisville 9-3 289
25. West Virginia 11-2 230

TWO MORE REASONS FOR AN NCAA D1 FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

How about Texas and Ohio State?

The Longhorns were just two missed tackles (on the same play) from being undefeated, and surely any sentence that includes the words "among the best teams in the country" should also include the words Texas Longhorns. Need we remind you that they defeated Big 12 BCS Championship Game rep Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweepin' down the plains) on a neutral field?

Then there's Ohio State. Why should the SEC, the PAC 10 or the Big 12 corner the market on beating now consistently overrated Ohio State in a important post season game? Why not give Utah or some team from the likes of the Big East or the ACC a chance to whoop up on a media darling from the now consistently overrated Big 10 (which should be the Big 11 and include another former team of consequence which has fallen on to harder times lately: Notre Dame)?

Why not share the wealth and have a - dare we say it - playoff?

While the bowl games continue to be entertaining, the simple fact that USC, Utah and Texas are outside looking in speaks volumes for an eight or sixteen team playoff and a complete bowl schedule for the remaining teams.

Jeez.

Above left: Wide receiver Quan Cosby #6 of the Texas Longhorns dives into the endzone after a 26 yard touchdown reception against the Ohio State during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images). Above right: Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State makes a leaping 5 yard touchdown reception over Blake Gideon #21 of the Texas. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)


"Bevo" is walked onto the field before the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Texas scores on a 14 yard touchdown rush against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the third quarter. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State with the ball under pressure from Ryan Palmer #13 of Texas. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

NICE CATCH. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals makes a leaping 42 yard touchdown reception over Lawyer Milloy #36 and Chris Houston #23 of the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter of the NFC Wild Card Game on January 3, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

THE TRUTH HURTS. Fans of the Arizona Cardinals hold up a sign during the NFC Wild Card Game against the Atlanta Falcons on January 3, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Cardinals defeated the Falcons 30-24. They had previously hosted an NFL playoff game...er...um...never?

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

ISN'T DAKAR IN SENEGAL? And isn't Senegal in Africa? Oh, well...

Guerlain Chicherit of France steers his BMW during the fourth stage of the 2009 Dakar between Jacobacci and Neuquen, Argentina on January 6, 2009.

Marc Coma of Spain won the stage and keeps the lead of the race.

(Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, January 5, 2009

HEY KIDS, PLAY TIME IS OVER…

BOSTON COLLEGE 85, No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 78

UNC’s Danny Green said he thought the Heels could use a close game, but Tyrese Rice and Boston College’s idea of “close” turned out to be something all together different.

No doubt, various coaches have analyzed the current Carolina squad (13-1, 0-1) and come up with a plan to beat the number one team in the country. Non-conference opponents have a few days or maybe a week to try and figure it out while conference foes have months and years to develop a plan. Clearly, Boston College is figuring it out.

Rice (#4) and the Eagles (13-2, 1-0), have been giving the Heels trouble recently with the wiry B.C. point guard putting up 46 points in last year’s late season meeting. This time it took both Rice and his backcourt mate, Rakim Sanders (#15), to post 47 points, but it was more than enough to knock out the previously undefeated Tar Heels.

Not only did the Eagles design the plan to defeat North Carolina at home, but they also executed it to near perfection. Minimize turnovers? Check. Strong on the glass? Check. Hard nosed defense? Check. Make your free throws? Check. Shoot extremely well, both twos and threes? Check. Boston College did it all, and then got some help from UNC who shot poorly both from the floor (credit B.C.’s defense) and from the charity stripe (credit the basketball gremlins).

With just five minutes remaining in the game, Boston College had committed just seven turnovers. They had held their own on the offensive boards as well. Both items dramatically reduced Carolina’s ability to run and produce transition baskets. On the other end, the Eagles hard-nosed defense held UNC to 38.4% shooting.

Tyler Hansbrough scored more than twenty points per game yet again, notching 21 points and nine rebounds. But the normally reliable Hansbrough missed three of six in the final minutes as the Heels were making a last ditch comeback attempt. His mates were no better as Carolina missed twelve free throws and several of those were at the front end of one-and-ones. North Carolina shot 29 percent in the second half and 15-for-27 from the foul line for the game. That included a 5-for-12 effort in the last 8 minutes as they desperately tried to rally from a double-digit deficit, getting as close as four points in the final minute.

Ty Lawson scored 10 points, making him the 62nd Tar Heels player to score more than 1,000 points in his UNC career. Three others -- Wayne Ellington, Danny Green and Hansbrough -- also currently play for the Heels.

B.C. Freshman Reggie Jackson had 17 points -- including seven in the decisive second-half run -- for the Eagles who led by six points at halftime and pushed the lead to as many as 15 before holding off UNC’s frantic rally.

Boston College was picked in the preseason to finish 11th in the 12-team ACC.

The Tar Heels sounded eager to see how they would handle a tougher game. Most expected that would come with a trip to unbeaten and sixth-ranked Wake Forest next weekend. Instead, North Carolina finds itself at the bottom of the conference standings to start its run for a third straight league title.

"We never sat in the locker room and said, 'Let's go straight undefeated,'" said Tyler Hansbrough, who had 21 points to lead North Carolina. "That was more people outside the locker room talking about that. Now you can put that to rest and bring us back down to reality, and we can all focus on what we need to do better instead of all this hype."

(Photos by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

IT'S NOT FOOTBALL

No. 5 DUKE 69, VIRGINIA TECH 44

Hey, Hokies it’s not football. Thirteen points in the second half is not good offensive production. Yes, that’s not a misprint – thirteen.

Kyle Singler scored 19 points and Gerald Henderson added 15 points, Nolan Smith had 13 and Jon Scheyer finished with 11 for the Blue Devils (12-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
The Blue Devils held Virginia Tech to for-18 shooting and outrebounded them 22-10. Duke also outscored Virginia Tech 30-9 over the final 17 minutes of the game.

Hokie Coach Seth Greenberg had made comments earlier about how much he enjoyed his trips to Cameron Indoor Stadium having upset Duke there last visit. He might be rethinking that after last night’s game. "Going into the 16-minute (media) timeout, we had a chance to win," Greenberg said. "And then we stunk it up."

Malcolm Delaney scored 12 points to lead the Hokies (9-5, 0-1). Leading scorer A.D. Vassallo was held to seven points -- 12 below his average -- and didn't score on 0-of-2 shooting in the second half. Those two and Jeff Allen were a combined 2-for-8 in the final 20 minutes.

The Hokies shot 36.7 percent and committed 18 turnovers in losing its eighth straight game against AP Top 25 teams dating back to an overtime victory two years ago at then-No. 4 North Carolina.

(AP Photo/Sara D. Davis)

YOU GO, NO TROUBLE?

Can the folks at Boston College be this dumb?

According to ESPN, Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski has been told he will be fired if he interviews for the head coaching vacancy with the New York Jets, which is scheduled for today, according to sources.

Fire a guy who has led you to two straight Dr. Pepper bowls for interviewing for a job he probably won’t get…Huh? Hey, B.C. you're not USC or Texas or Oklahoma or Alabama or Florida or Ohio State. For crying out loud, you aren't even Virginia Tech...What are you thinking?

Despite the threat from athletic director Gene DeFilippo, Jagodzinski plans to do the interview with the Jets, the sources said. Those sources said that in the event Jagodzinski is fired, BC would promote offensive coordinator Steve Logan to head coach.

According to the sources, DeFilippo first told Jagodzinski on Saturday that he would fired if he interviewed and then reinforced the school's position Sunday. Jagodzinski declined to comment when reached by ESPN.

BC spokesman Chris Cameron told ESPN's Joe Schad the school would have no comment. But another BC source said Jagodzinski informed his coaching staff of the development this weekend after at least two discussions with DeFilippo.

The Jets did not have a reaction or confirm they are interested in Jagodzinski, but ESPN and other news outlets have reported his candidacy.

Jagodzinski, 45, has been head coach at Boston College the past two seasons, with the team finishing first in the ACC's Atlantic Division each year. In 2007 the Eagles went 11-3, including a victory over Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl. This past season, BC finished 9-5 after losing to Vanderbilt in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl.

Prior to coming to BC, Jagodzinski had worked as an NFL assistant since 1999.

(Photo by Icon/SMI via ESPN.com)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

WHAT THE DUCK? There at it again with the wacky unis at Oregon. First it was printing Oregon in the same color as the jersey which it made it virtually invisible. So this time, they removed it all together. No, they didn’t – it’s right there on the left shoulder under the little green patch. Oregon guard Tajuan Porter models the new look in a loss to UCLA.

(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

SMILE, AND CUT THE DAMN CAKE. They're paying you tons of money and putting you up in one of the coolest resorts on earth all to play a couple games. Act like you might enjoy some of it.

AC Milan's player Gianluca Zambrota, coach Carlo Ancelotti, Emirates Vice President, Commercial Operation for Europe, Nabil Sultan, SV Hamburg player Nigel de Jong and Hamburg's coach cut Martin Jol pose after a press conference on January 5, 2009 in Dubai, on the eve of their Dubai Football Challenge match.

(Photo by Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

LOOK WHO'S BACK? The Eagles were presumed dead some time ago, but now they are back in the hunt.

Here Donovan McNabb passes the ball under pressure from Brian Robison #96 of the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Wild Card playoff game on January 4, 2009 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Eagles defeated the Vikings 26-14.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

SATURDAY HOOPS

No. 6 WAKE FOREST 94, Brigham Young (Cougars, 26,928 students, Provo, UT) 87 – Evidently the key to the country’s longest home winning streak was to never play a ranked opponent – or at least to play as few as possible. Brigham Young had run the nation’s longest successful home stand to 53 while playing just one ranked opponent. The second one they played, No. 6 Wake Forest, put a stop to the fun.

The sixth ranked Deacons won where no opponent had for more than three years while stretching their record to 13-0 just two wins short of their best start ever (15-0).

Wake had to rally from an eight-point deficit in the second half and an entire game of deafening taunts and chants from the home fans, who were loud and rowdy throughout the night.

"In the ACC, there's some great crowds but this one was amazing," said Jeff Teague who has scored in double figures in 17 consecutive games and led the Deacs with 30 points.

James Johnson had 22 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for Wake Forest, who pulled away with an 8-0 run near the end and improved to 13-0 for the first time since the 1996-97 season. The Deacons have a week off before top-ranked North Carolina visits Winston-Salem on Jan. 11.
Wake Forest won despite “pulling a Clemson” going 16-for-25 from the foul line in the second half. That allowed the Cougars (11-2) to stay within range until the final minute. The crowd of 26,096 was the second-largest in Marriott Center history and the fans, thousands in matching white BYU T-shirts, were boisterous from the time the Deacons started warming up until the game ended. At one point, BYU coach Dave Rose had to tell the crowd to chill after a water bottle was tossed on the court.

BYU had not lost at the Marriott Center since Nov. 18 2005, against Loyola-Marymount in Dave Rose's coaching debut for the Cougars (11-2).

Notre Dame now has the nation's longest home win streak at 43.

No. 16 CLEMSON 79, East Carolina (Pirates, 25,590 students, Greenville, NC) 66 – Jerai Grant had a career-high 14 points and gave the Tigers a boost in the middle as the Tigers improved to 14-0 for the second time in three seasons. K.C. Rivers led the Tigers with 18 points. Booker had 13 points and nine rebounds. East Carolina slipped to 8-5 while losing their fifteenth straight to a ranked opponent.

No. 2 Xavier (Musketeers, 4,000 students, Cincinnati, OH) 84, VIRGINIA 70 – B.J. Raymond scored 24 points and hit four of No. 22 Xavier's nine 3-pointers Saturday, and the Musketeers (11-2) took a big early lead and never let up.

MIAMI 76, NC. Central (Eagles, 8,383 students, Durham, NC) 42 -- James Dews scored 16 points as Miami (10-3) shook off an early challenge from winless North Carolina Central on Saturday.

Alabama (Crimson Tide, 27,052 students, Tuscaloosa, AL) 88, GEORGIA TECH 77 – Playing like he did during his all-conference season three years ago, Ronald Steele scored 23 points and had 10 assists to lead Alabama (10-3) to victory over Georgia Tech (8-5) on Saturday.

The Tide used fast break points to jump out to a 19-point halftime lead and led by as many as 30, before the Yellow Jackets used a full-court press to close the gap in the final 10 minutes.

FLORIDA STATE 69, Texas A&M-CC (Islanders, 8,345 students, Corpus Christi, TX) 48 – Toney Douglas scored 17 points and Derwin Kitchen added 13 as Florida State beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (6-8) on Saturday.
The Seminoles (13-2) closed the game by outscoring the Islanders 29-14 over the final 11 minutes.

Florida (Gators, 35,528 students, Gainesville, FL) 68, N.C. STATE 66 – Nick Calathes (#33) scored 32 points and Dan Werner added 10 as Florida rallied to beat North Carolina State 68-66 on Saturday.

Calathes scored 24 points in the second half as the Gators overcame a 10-point halftime deficit.
The win was the sixth in a row for Florida (12-2), while the Wolfpack dropped to 9-3 heading into ACC play next week.

MARYLAND 85, Charlotte (Forty-niners, 13,654 students, Charlotte, NC) 75 – Greivis Greivis Vasquez scored 27 points and fueled a second-half surge that carried Maryland to its seventh straight victory over the team formerly known as UNCC on Saturday.

The Terps (11-2) trailed by 11 points in the first half, were down 3 at halftime and tied the game with 14:51 remaining before Vasquez drilled a 3-pointer to spark a 16-point run. The run gave Maryland a 65-49 advantage with 11:27 to go.

Vasquez went 8-for-19 from the floor, made four 3-pointers and sank all seven of his free throws. He fell one point short of matching his career high.

Landon Milbourne scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half and Maryland improved to 9-0 at home.

RaShad Coleman led Charlotte (5-7) with 21 points, but he made only two baskets after halftime .

Photos: Wake’s Chas McFarland dunks. (AP Photo.) Maryland's Greivis Vasquez (21) and Dino Gregory (33) battle for the ball against Charlotte's Phil Jones (30) during the second half. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) Florida's Nick Calathes (33) pushes his way for a shot against North Carolina's Ben McCauley (34) in the second half. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin) Virginia guard Calvin Baker (4) is fouled by Xavier forward Derrick Brown. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR. Matt Ryan former ACC Player of the Year via Boston College was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. Ryan’s Falcons made the playoffs, but were eliminated yesterday by the Cardinals.

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

TWO MORE REASONS for an NCAA D1 football playoff – Utah and Alabama. : Wide receiver Brent Casteel #5 of the Utah Utes attempts to avoid a tackle by Javier Arenas #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 75th Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Utes defeated the Tide 31-17.


(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

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