Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday ACC Hoops

NORTH CAROLINA @ VIRGINIA, Charlottesville, Va., 12:00 PM, Watch Live Online! TV: ACC Network (XM 190)

WAKE FOREST @ N.C. STATE, Raleigh, N.C., 2:30 PM, Watch Live Online! | TV: ACC Network (XM 190)

FLORIDA STATE @ VIRGINIA TECH, Blacksburg, Va., 3:00 PM, TV: ESPN2 (XM 190)

GEORGIA TECH @ BOSTON COLLEGE, Chestnut Hill, Mass., 4:00 PM, TV: RSN (XM 141)

MIAMI @ CLEMSON, Clemson, S.C., 6:00 PM, TV: ESPNU (XM 141)

Pictures of the Day

NICE, HUSKIE FANS, NICE! Washington fans held up “WHO CARES” signs as the Oregon Ducks were announced before the game at Bank of America Arena in Seattle on Thursday night.  Washington won 87-69. (Photo by Jesse Beals/Icon SMI)
PLAYOFFS? Eastern Washington graduate Melanie Duggan makes a face as she holds a sign before the NCAA FCS Championship Game against Delaware, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, in Frisco, Texas.  EWU made a late rally and won the game 20-19. (AP Photo)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Things That Make You Go…

Hmmm…

Now you tell us where you think this story is headed.

This happy lad in the photo at left is part of Team Russia which has just defeated Canada 5-3 to win the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship in Buffalo, NY. U20 – would be under 20-years-old, so we will assume our Cup hoister is 18- or 19-years-old and happily humming “All I Want For Russian Christmas Is My Two Front Teef.”

Russia overcame a three-goal deficit in the third period to stun Canada 5-3 in the gold-medal game Wednesday night. It was the country's first gold medal since 2003, so a celebration (as under-age as it may have been) seemed in order and likely.

Remember the Cold War…well…things have changed. For the better. And this story is about the Russians learning to “spin” a story in a clever and funny way.

It goes like this.

The kids win the Hockey tournament. They get blasted. They are poured on a bus and taken to the airport where the Delta flight crew tosses them off their 6:10 a.m. flight.

Mikhail Zislis, the team's media officer refutes Delta's claim the group was unruly and accused the crew of overreacting, even after being assured by coach Valeri Bragin (great name huh? “That Val, he’s always braggin!’”) that he'd keep his players under control.

Delta says this, "To ensure the safe operation of the flight, the crew of Flight 1266 denied boarding to 30 passengers who were traveling together and displaying unruly behavior."

Blah, blah, blah.

Zislis claims his players only had champagne in the locker room, but photos show the coaches celebrating with Crown Royal on the ice an hour after the win and Canadian Press video shows the players whooping it up in a hotel bar.

This is conspiracy, yes?

The bus driver who delivered the allegedly over-served celebrating lads, said, “They were definitely intoxicated, that's for sure. They were so drunk they had to carry a couple of the guys onto the bus. I was glad to get rid of them.”

Now in the old days, the Russian authorities would have issued a statement denying everything and blaming everybody else. You know, something about capitalist running dogs doing something untoward to Mother Russia, the righteous homeland.

Well things have changed. A statement posted on the Russian Hockey Federation website said the team would arrive home a day late because it was tardy getting to the airport.

The statement is nothing short of brilliant under the circumstances: "After the success in the final, the guys were overwhelmed by emotion," federation Executive Director Valery Fesyuk's statement said. "Therefore, gathering them took a little more time and the team arrived at the airport with a delay."

And that, ladies and gents, is why Mr. Fesyuk gets paid the big rubles!

After players and managers spent the day at the Days Hotel across the street - where a front desk clerk said they were "sleeping it off" - a team spokesman said the group would fly out in two groups Friday.

You know, after the “delay.”

(Photos by Rick Stewart/Getty Images North America)

Part 2: Things That Make You Go…

Hmmm…

Speaking of winter sports and drinking:  At left, three lads in viking costumes speed down a hill during the annual horn sled race yesterday in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Traditionally the horn sled was used by farmers to bring down hay from the mountain pasture. Now the race carries drunk Germans down the mountain. Note what appears to be blood on the snow.

 This year’s version of the race consisted of over 90 teams of four. The teams raced down a mountain, reaching speeds up to 65 MPH with the winning team claiming the Bavarian Cup and the title of Bavarian Master.

Although traditional Bavarian attire is not required, it is highly encouraged.

By all reliable accounts, there was beer.

German beer.

Good German beer.

Nice, horn sled, NICE!



(Photos by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images Europe)

Pictures of the Day

GOT BEER, EH? Fans of Canada (of legal age?) get ready for play against Russia during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship Gold medal game between Canada and Russia at the HSBC Arena on January 5, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
AND THEN DEPRESSION SET IN…Members of Team Canada stand on the ice after losing to Team Russia 5-3 during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship Gold medal game between Canada and Russia at the HSBC Arena on January 5, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hump Night ACC Hoops

Nolan Smith
#1 DUKE 85, UAB (Blazers, 12,101 students, Birmingham, AL) 64 – ACC Player of the Week Nolan Smith scored a career-high 33 points to help the Blue Devils beat Alabama-Birmingham on Wednesday night, giving Duke its 24th straight victory dating to last season’s run to the ACC and NCAA tournament championships.

Kyle Singler added 15 points, including his 2,000th career point during a game-opening 26-4 run that took the drama out of this one early. The Blue Devils (14-0) never let the Blazers (10-3) closer than 14 points after that in a performance that pleased coach Mike Krzyzewski considering it came in a nonconference game crammed between Duke’s first two ACC contests.

Smith finished 11 for 22 from the field to go with seven rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes. It marked the fifth straight game Smith had scored at least 22 points, a stretch during which he’s averaging 26 points while shooting 62 percent (45 of 73) overall and 63 percent (12 of 19) from 3-point range.

Harvard (Crimson, 21,125 students, Cambridge, MA) 78, BOSTON COLLEGE 69 – Laurent Rivard scored 23 points and Keith Wright had 15 as Harvard upset Boston College and for the third straight season on Wednesday night.

This one may have been payback for all those Ivy League losses. The Crimson beat Eagles first-year coach Steve Donahue, who led Cornell to three consecutive Ivy titles before coming to Chestnut Hill.


Travis McKie

 It was the Eagles’ second home loss to an Ivy school this season, the other a 75-67 setback to Yale on Nov. 18. That’s one more than the Big Red had in the league under Donahue all last season.

 WAKE FOREST 79, High Point (Panthers, 4,500 students, High Point, NC) 63 – J.T. Terrell scored 18 points off the bench and Wake Forest used a key second-half run to beat High Point, ending a four-game losing streak.

Travis McKie added 13 points and Gary Clark and C.J. Harris had 11 each for the Demon Deacons (7-8), who led by as many as 21 points late in the second half.

Nick Barbour scored 12 points for the Panthers (5-8), who lost their fifth straight despite fighting back from a 12-point halftime deficit to pull within four twice early in the second half.

The loss dropped High Point to 0-10 against ACC teams since moving from the NAIA to the NCAA Division I level in 1999.

N.C. STATE 87, Elon (Phoenix, 5,601 students, Elon, NC) 72 – Tracy Smith scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half of his return to the starting lineup, leading N.C. State past pesky Elon.

Tracy Smith

C.J. Leslie scored 19 points and fellow freshman Ryan Harrow added 17 for the Wolfpack (10-4), who twice trailed by 10 in the first half but shot 62.5 percent (30 for 48) and used a strong second half to win their fourth straight heading into the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend.

Chris Long scored 20 points on 5-of-17 shooting for Elon (6-8), which shot 47 percent from 3-point range but was denied its first victory against an ACC team since 2005, falling to 0-4 against that league this season.

Smith, an All-ACC forward who missed 10 games with a knee injury, returned last week against San Diego and had 16 points off the bench in that one. This time, he helped key the Wolfpack’s 11-3 surge to begin the second half in which they were intent on running the offense through some of their most experienced players.

Pictures of the Day

DOWN PAT. Francis Redding sings the National Anthem prior to the start of the game against Miami. Redding has been singing the "Star Spangled Banner" at Duke games for over 30 years. Duke opened the ACC season with a 74-63 win against Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham on Sunday Jan.2, 2011. (Photo by Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News and Observer)
FIVE TIMES! I hit this stupid yellow ball and each time it comes back to me. Kevin Anderson of South Africa hits a forehand return on the way to victory over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in their quarter-final match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament, in Brisbane on January 6, 2011. Anderson won the match 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. (Photo by William West/AFP/Getty Images)
BEER ME. There’s a party in Germany and involves a luge and a marching band! Who’s in?  Here, the band performs as Germany's Johannes Ludwig speeds down during the Luge World Cup in Berchtesgaden, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. (AP Photo)
NOT JUST GOLFERS GET DRESSED IN THE DARK. Andy Roddick of the USA volleys during his quarter final match against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus during day five of the Brisbane International at Queensland Tennis Centre on January 6, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
SKIING IN THE RAIN, I’m skiing in the rain, what a glorious feelin', I'm happy again! Marlies Schild of Austria during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on January 4, 2011 in Zagreb, Croatia. (Photo by Francis Bompard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Europe)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ACC Tuesday Night Hoops

Mustapha Farrakhan
(Matt Riley/Virginia Sports)

VIRGINIA 84, Howard (Bison, 10,491 students, Washington, DC) 63 – Mustapha Farrakhan made his first 11 shots from the field, including eight 3-pointers, and scored a career-high 31 points Tuesday night, leading Virginia to a victory over Howard.

Joe Harris hit five 3-pointers and added 16 points for the Cavaliers (10-5), who snapped out of a long-distance funk in which they went 11 for 63 over their past three games. Virginia was 16 for 25 from beyond the arc, falling two 3s shy of the single-game school record.

Mike Phillips scored 21 points and Dadrian Collins 15 for Howard (2-11), which lost despite shooting 53 percent with eight 3s. The Bison couldn’t keep pace with Farrakhan.

The senior had 18 points by halftime. He hit five 3s during a streak of nine consecutive 3-pointers for the Cavaliers, who took command with a 31-12 burst. It gave them a 41-28 lead, and the Bison only cut it to single digits once— briefly—after that.


Jordan Williams
(Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam)

MARYLAND 95, Colgate (Raiders, 2,825 students, Hamilton, NY) 40 – Jordan Williams had 12 points and 11 rebounds for his eighth straight double-double, and Maryland used an early 22-0 run to blow past Colgate on Tuesday night.

Williams’ string of double-doubles is four short of the school record, set by Len Elmore in the 1973-74 season. Williams, a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward, has reached double figures in both points and rebounds in 12 of 14 games this season.

Adrian Bowie scored 16 points and freshman guard Terrell Stoglin had 12 in his first college start for the Terrapins (10-4). Cliff Tucker and Dino Gregory also scored 12 for Maryland, which next faces top-ranked Duke on the road Sunday night.

Joe Hoban scored 10 for the Raiders (1-12), who were coming off a win over Longwood. Colgate has lost to Duke, Syracuse and Maryland by a combined 164 points.

Colgate made the game’s first basket—a jumper by Pat Moore—but started 1 for 16 from the field with two turnovers and fell hopelessly behind, 22-2.

Suits In Indianapolis (Formerly Kansas) Sleep Well Following Sugar Bowl

Pryor
The Suits In Indianapolis (formerly Kansas)’s decision to delay suspensions for Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron and DeVier Posey played a major role in No. 6 Ohio State defeating eighth-ranked Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night.

Well, of course, they made the right decision since they have no jurisdiction over the bowl games (another reason why there is no D1 playoff – don’t believe us, just ask the Suits.).

Pryor passed for 221 yards and two touchdowns, including a 43-yarder to Posey late in the second quarter, and Herron rushed for a 9-yard score. Pryor was also the Buckeyes’ leading rusher with 114 rushing yards for a total offensive contribution of 335 yards.

Herron
Pryor, Herron and Posey were among five players—along with All-Big Ten offensive tackle Mike Adams and backup defensive end Solomon Thomas—who violated NCAA rules by selling memorabilia and getting discounts on tattoos.

The five will serve five-game suspensions next season if they return to the Buckeyes as they’ve pledged to do instead of entering the NFL draft.

(Future headline: “Hey, Coach Tressel, I’m going pro, sue me!”)

Ohio State (11-1) was trying to snap an 0-9 record against Southeastern Conference teams in bowl games and gain some respect for the Big Ten after a dismal performance on New Year’s Day, when the league went 0-5—including three losses to SEC schools.

ACC Basketball Players of the Week

Nolan Smith
Duke's Nolan Smith has been named the ACC Player of the Week, while Wake Forest's Travis McKie was selected the ACC Rookie of the Week following their outstanding performances this past week.

Smith averaged 27.0 points, 7.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game while leading Duke to wins over UNC Greensboro (108-62) and Miami (73-62). The Upper Marlboro, Md., senior shot 63.0 percent (17-of-27) from the field, including 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from three-point range, and had a 7.0:1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the week.

Smith scored 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting and added five rebounds, nine assists (zero turnovers) and three steals in Wednesday's win over UNCG. In the Blue Devils' ACC opener against Miami on Sunday, Smith had a season-high 28 points, including 13 straight in a decisive first-half run, to go along with five rebounds and five assists.

In earning the league's rookie award for a second time, McKie averaged 17.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in Wake Forest's two games last week. McKie opened the week with a 19-point, seven-rebound performance in a 90-74 loss at Richmond Wednesday. In Sunday's 73-63 loss to visiting Gonzaga, the Richmond, Va., native had a team-high 16 points to go along with three rebounds and a blocked shot.

Things That Make You Go…

Hmmm…

Evidently, there are still some older men in the sports broadcasting field that simply don’t get it. Hey, guys, wake up and smell the internet, it’s 2011…

The latest to fall victim to his own stupidity is ESPN’s Ron Franklin, most recently heard in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl when Florida State beat South Carolina.

According to Edwards, the trouble started before Friday's game during a production meeting that was also attended by ESPN announcers Rod Gilmore and Ed Cunningham.

Edwards says she was talking with Gilmore about his wife being elected mayor of Alameda, California. After a few minutes, she said Franklin joined in the conversation and said, "Listen to me sweet baby, let me tell you something..." with a condescending tone.

Edwards says she told Franklin not to address her like that. To which Franklin said, according to Edwards: "OK, then listen to me a-hole."

She said she told Franklin she didn't appreciate his attitude -- and asked why he was stooping to such levels. Florida Sate head coach Jimbo Fisher then arrived and they proceeded with the meeting. Edwards and Franklin both worked the game.

Afterwards, a colleague reported the incident to ESPN management. ESPN then tried to pull Franklin from the Chick Fil-A coverage that night but didn't have enough time. With the duo scheduled to work together again Saturday night, ESPN decided to pull Franklin from its Fiesta Bowl radio coverage.

Franklin had been a previous offender of company policy, referring to reporter Holly Rowe as "sweetheart" on air in 2005. He was disciplined internally then, but his stock has fallen steadily, including being supplanted as the lead Saturday night college football television announcer.

The network fired Franklin on Tuesday.

Edwards is no shrinking violet. A New Jersey native, Edwards spent almost 10 years on the racetrack as an exercise rider, apprentice jockey, and trainer in New York and New Jersey before initially getting into television in 1994 as an in-house TV host at racetracks in Maryland – hardly a female friendly work environment. She was not a good candidate to take Franklin's insults lightly...

News & Observer’s Columnist Tudor Unimpressed With ACC Bowl Efforts

Caulton Tudor had this to say about the ACC's bowl season so far:

The coach whose team won by the widest margin – Maryland’s Ralph Friedgen – got fired.

He was replaced by a guy – Connecticut’s Randy Edsall – whose team lost its bowl game by 28 points.

Academic heavyweight Stanford won 40-12 over the best team in the conference – Virginia Tech – after winning 68-24 in the regular season over one of the ACC's weakest, Wake Forest.

Two league wins – North Carolina over Tennessee and the Terps over ECU – were against opponents that finished 6-7.

Such has been the nature of ACC bowl play in this postseason. With one game left – Boston College (7-5) against No. 13 ranked Nevada (12-1) on Sunday in the Fight Hunger Bowl – the ACC still has a chance to escape with a 5-4 bowl record.

But with only a few exceptions, the ACC football season is ending on much the same flat note it began the season – with several embarrassing setbacks….

To read the rest of the column, click here.

Quote of the Day

"Yeah. They want to. There’s not a player who doesn’t want to play. You know what I mean? There’s a lot of timeouts, and I pretty much know what to do with guys in practice."

– Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski when asked if it should be expected that Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler will play 40 minutes on a lot of nights…The question was inevitable after seniors Smith and Singler played the entire game in Duke's 74-63 defeat of Miami in its ACC opener Sunday night.

Pictures of the Day

WOO PIG SOOIE. Nothing says a party like Arkansas and New Orleans! Two Arkansas Razorbacks fans pose before the Hogs take on Ohio State Buckeyes in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)
AFTER MARKET. An  Arkansas Razorbacks fan holds up a sign refering to Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)
SHORTCUT? French Francois Lethier drives his Buggy during the 6th stage Boulanouar to Guelb Agantour in the third edition of the Africa Eco Race, on January 4, 2011. The Africa Eco Race started on December 29, 2010 in Nador, Morocco, and continued over 12 days and 6,000 kilometres through Mauritania to "lac Rose" in Senegal. (Photo by Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Orange Crushed

Senior Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies walks towards the sideline during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12. Taylor, the 2010 ACC Player of the Year and winningest QB in the school's history, was playing his final game for the Hokies.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)

#5 Stanford Too Much For Virginia Tech

Andrew Luck threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns Monday night to lead fifth-ranked Stanford past No. 12 Virginia Tech, 40-12. The blowout win was the latest success for a school that went 1-11 just four years ago before hiring Jim Harbaugh as coach.

Afterward, Luck and Harbaugh deflected questions about whether the game might have been their last at Stanford. Harbaugh is expected to be courted by NFL teams and perhaps alma mater Michigan, and Luck is projected as the likely first pick in the draft if he turns pro this year.

The sophomore turned in a performance reminiscent of two sideline spectators, former Stanford quarterbacks John Elway and Jim Plunkett. Elway, who is expected to become the Denver Broncos’ chief football executive this week, served as honorary captain.

 The Cardinal (12-1) likely will end the season ranked in the top 5 for the first time since the unbeaten 1940 team finished No. 2.

Virginia Tech (11-3), playing in a bowl game for the 18th consecutive year, fell to 1-27 against top-5 teams. They were outscored 27-0 by the Cardinal in the second half.

“They’re really good, and we helped them be good,” Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. “There were a couple of long plays against our defense, and then the game got away from us. The thing kind of snowballed.”

Tight end Coby Fleener caught scoring passes of 41, 58 and 38 yards from Luck, all in the final 21 minutes. Zach Ertz had a 25-yard TD reception, Jeremy Stewart scored on a 60-yard run and Stepfan Taylor added a 56-yard run. Fullback-linebacker Owen Marecic scored on a 1-yard run and had a sack.

Fleener had six catches for 173 yards for the Cardinal, who outgained Tech 534-288.

The Hokies could not figure out Stanford’s multiple shifts nor could they mount an effective rushing attack of their own.

The Hokies’ Tyrod Taylor passed for 222 yards, but he was thrown for 70 yards in losses, and Tech twice came away empty after driving inside the Stanford 35.

Taylor’s scrambling skills helped the Hokies score their only touchdown. On third-and-goal he rolled left, retreated, spun 180 degrees near the Stanford bench and threw to David Wilson for an 11-yard score.

Quote of the Day

“Tyrod looked over at me and said, `Was I inbounds?’ I go, `Yes, you were inbounds. And that was one heck of a play, young man.”’

—Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh about Tyrod Taylor’s lone touchdown pass to David Wilson.

(Editor's Note: In an odd twist of fate, there are no published photos of Taylor making what might be considered the most spectacular play of his Virginia Tech career.  His location along the far sideline (to the right of this photo angle) simply meant that most photographers' line of sight was blocked by folks on the Stanford sideline.)

ACC Monday Night Hoops

Josh Wallace
Auburn (Tigers, 25,078 students, Auburn, AL) 65, FLORIDA STATE 60 – Chris Singleton had a game-high 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds, and Derwin Kitchen scored 12 for the Seminoles, who had only lost to No. 2 Ohio State, Florida and Butler entering Monday but the Noles came up short against Auburn.

Freshman Josh Langford scored a career-high 16 points as Auburn notched its fourth win in a row with a 65-60 victory over Florida State.

The Tigers (7-7), whose most significant win entering Monday came against Middle Tennessee State, beat a team that was fresh off a win over Baylor, a 3-seed in last year's NCAA Tournament.

"Since the beginning of the season, we've gotten a lot better," said guard Josh Wallace, who finished with nine points and seven assists. "And it's starting to show."

Florida State (11-4) got off to a frigid start in the first half, shooting 24.2 percent from the floor (8 of 33) and 6.7 percent from 3-point range (1 of 15).

Pictures of the Day

BAD NIGHT. Head coach Frank Beamer of the Virginia Tech Hokies looks on against the Stanford Cardinal during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami. Stanford won 40-12. The Hokies fell to 1-27 against top 5 opponents. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
TREE FENCE. Fans of the Stanford Cardinal support their team against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
HOKIE HAIRCUT. A fan of the Virginia Tech Hokies looks on in the parking lot prior to Virginia Tech playing against the Stanford Cardinal during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)
GRAD? Or not a grad? One of the fun things to do at college sporting events is to try and figure out if various fans ever attended the schools they support.  Some of the most passionate fans for any school never carried a book around campus.  You make the call. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)
NICE CATCH. Jarrett Boykin #81 of the Virginia Tech Hokies makes a reception in the second quarter against Johnson Bademosi #27 of the Stanford Cardinal during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
MR. HAPPY AND THE NEW RALPH. Randy Edsall speaks as he is introduced as the University of Maryland Terps new head football coach as Athletic Director Kevin Anderson (L) of the University of Maryland looks on during a press conference on January 3, 2011 at the Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images North America)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kevin Anderson Makes All His Constituents Angry While Creating a Bizarre Edsall/Edsel Comparison

Give new Maryland A.D. credit -- he’s even handed when it comes to pissing off Terps’ fans and alums.

Anderson infuriated the supporters of 2010 ACC Coach of the Year Ralph Friedgen by promising him a final year in 2011 only to force him out of his job a week later.

This move delighted others in Terp Nation as this “strategic business decision” was sure to produce the shiny brand new BCS coach they coveted. However, that group became equally incensed yesterday when Anderson hired UConn coach Randy Edsall.

Nice exacta.

Now to make matters worse, the inevitable “Edsel” comparisons will begin and the story line, while it obviously has not yet played out, already show some disturbing similarities.

For those of you who aren’t old as dirt, you need to know that the ill-fated Edsel was manufactured by the Ford Motor Company during the 1958, 1959, and 1960 model years. The Edsel never gained popularity and sold poorly. Consequently, Ford lost millions of dollars on the Edsel's development, manufacture, and marketing. The name "Edsel" has since become synonymous with failure.

And yet it all started out so promising…

In the early 1950s, Ford became a publicly traded company and was no longer entirely owned by the Henry Ford family. Management now had more flexibility to create models to specifically compete in the marketplace with the wide variety of cars produced by General Motors.

Sitting on a pot of money from the success of the Ford Thunderbird, the brain trust at Ford set out to create a slot in the intermediate market when they moved Lincoln “upmarket.” R&D on the new car began in 1955 under the name “E-car,” in honor of Henry Ford’s kid Edsel B. Ford.

The Edsel was introduced amid considerable fanfare on something Ford touted as "E Day." The car was also promoted by a top-rated television special, The Edsel Show, but those efforts were not enough to counter the adverse public reaction to the car's styling.

For months, Ford had been circulating rumors that led people to expect an entirely new kind of car, when in reality, the Edsel shared its engineering and bodywork with other Ford models. Oops.

(Is this starting to sound familiar?)

To its credit, the Edsel offered several innovative features, but the car sold poorly for a variety of reasons. Ford pulled the plug in November of 1959 at a cost of $350 million lost.

Historians have advanced several theories in an effort to explain the Edsel's failure – because tha’s what historians do! Consumer Reports has alleged that poor workmanship was the Edsel's chief problem. Marketing experts hold the Edsel up as a supreme example of the corporate culture’s failure to understand American consumers. Business analysts cite the weak internal support for the product inside Ford’s executive offices.

According to Edsel scholar Jan Deutsch, the Edsel was "the wrong car at the wrong time," prompting one Ford exec to say "The aim was right, but the target moved"

A part of this long-running debate is the role the name “Edsel” played in the car’s demise. Naming the vehicle after Edsel Ford was proposed early on. However, the Ford family strongly opposed this. Henry Ford II declared that he didn't want his father's good name spinning around on thousands of hubcaps. Ford also ran internal studies, hired any number of consultants and experts and eventually ended up with an advertising firm that suggested 6,000 possibilities.

Ford was not amused, prompting one exec to say the firm had been hired to develop a name, not 6,000 names. Good one, you gotta admit.

Marketing surveys later found the name was thought to sound like the name of a tractor (Edson) and that several consumer studies showed that people associated the name "Edsel" with "weasel" and "dead cell" as in dead battery.

The Edsel is also remembered for its trademark "horsecollar" or toilet seat grille, which was quite distinct from other cars of that time period. A widely circulated insult at the time was that the Edsel “looked like an Oldsmobile sucking on a lemon."

Here’s to hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.

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