All this week, one of the top stories in college football was about the resurgence of the University of Miami football program after their Labor Day victory over Florida State. They were ranked in the Top 25 for seemingly the first time since Bernie Kosar was behind center, and people were talking about how head coach Randy Shannon had turned the moribund program back into players on the national stage.
Which meant only one thing: The ‘Canes were due to crash and burn last night on ESPN against Georgia Tech. After all, they would certainly be dealing with a team-wide outbreak of swollen heads after their “program changing” win against the Seminoles. Plus, they would have to deal with the Yellow Jackets’ screwy triple option offense, which is tough under any circumstances. All the signs were there for a total meltdown: in fact, it had to happen.
But here’s the thing: the trap might have been set, but it was a really poorly constructed trap, like something Wile E. Coyote would have built if he was in the Viet Cong. Instead, Miami got off to a 24-3 lead and had enough in the tank to hold off Georgia Tech, 33-17. Keep in mind this the same Georgia Tech team that rolled up 472 rushing yards in a 41-23 victory. This season? The Yellow Jackets were held to under 100 yards rushing.
So Miami appears to be back. The question now shifts to if this is a good thing. COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS seems to think it is, but I’m not so sure, because it might seem like forever since Miami was any good, but those of us old enough to remember the late 1980s can tell you all about just how insufferable and miserable Miami fans were.
Before Snoop Dogg started hanging out at USC practices, Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew was allegedly paying “bounties” to players for their performance on the field. Plus, Vanilla Ice wore a Miami hat in the “Ice Ice Baby” video, and if the U is making a comeback, it’s only a matter of time before Mr. Robert Van Winkle drops another lousy rap-rock album or acts like a psychopath on a VH1 reality show.
Staying in Miami, the Heat have announced that they are retiring Tim Hardaway’s number in a ceremony before the team’s 2009-2010 home opener against the New York Knicks. And I’m sure it’s strictly coincidental that the Knicks are in town and will have to see Hardaway’s game-winning shot in the 2000 playoffs against New York replayed over and over.
Hardaway is going to be only the second Heat player to have his jersey number retired, joining former teammate Alonzo Mourning. Normally I might say that the news has made Hardaway very happy and gay, but perhaps for him that’s not the best choice of words. Although Hardway’s own description of how the honor made him feel was pretty strange in its own right:
“Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now, just to be acknowledged as one of the best players in Heat history and getting your number retired,” Hardaway said by phone shortly after the announcement. “When they told me, I had a smile on my face like the Joker.
“This solidifies my career here.”
So Hardaway is comparing himself to a fictional character who leaves nothing but chaos and confusion in his wake? Somehow, that sounds about right, although I think that Stephon Marbury would be my pick for the NBA’s version of The Joker.
- The architecture critic for the NEW YORK TIMES weighs in on the new Cowboys Stadium, and the review isn’t pretty as he calls it “a somewhat crude reworking of old ideas, one that looks especially unoriginal when compared with the sophisticated and often dazzling stadiums that have been built in Europe and the Far East over the last few years.” Also, there’s that whole “punt hitting the scoreboard” thing.
- A columnist for the DAILY EXPRESS in the UK takes British sports fans to task for their generally boorish behavior over the last few years, including booing the U.S. National Anthem (and a choir of school kids) before Ricky Hatton’s loss to Floyd Mayweather and last weekend’s near riot during an Arsenal vs. Manchester City game. Gee, I can’t imagine that the 2012 Summer Games in London are going to be anything but fun.
- A fund has been set up to defray the medical costs of flying Jared Coppola, a high school football player in Boston who was paralyzed during a scrimmage a few weeks ago, to one of the top rehabilitation centers in the country. Here’s the strange part: he’s one of three triplets who played football. One of the other ones had to stop playing after suffering a cervical fracture last season. I think if I was the mom, I’d suggest the third son take up golf.
- The high school in Portland, OR that kept Rick Adelman’s son as head coach despite his second DUI arrest? It’s back in the news again after their head football coach and two assistants pleaded guilty to public intoxication while leaving a UFC fight a few weeks ago.
- Ahead of their game this Sunday, New York Jets safety Kerry Rhodes told the media that he doesn’t just want to beat the New England Patriots but he wants to “embarrass” them. The Patriots refused to publicly respond, but let me say this: when your head hits your pillow tonight, say a prayer for Mark Sanchez.
- Don’t look now, but Cole Hamels is getting right for the Phillies and that’s bad news for the NL playoff contenders. He’s 3-1 with a 1.43 ERA in his last five starts after Philadelphia’s 4-2 win over Washington last night.
- Barring the healing hands of Pete Carroll’s wife working another miracle, it’s almost certain that Aaron Corp is going to start in place of an injured Matt Barkley for USC on Saturday against Washington.
- It’s just been a rotten week to be a famous person with cancer: former Lions and 49ers head coach Monte Clark has died at the age of 72 after a battle with bone cancer.
- A baseball player who was an all-league selection for Medical Lake High School in Cheney, WA this past season is free on his own recognizance after allegedly threatening to burn the school down. I’d hate to see what you have to do in Cheney, WA in order to be considered a risk.
- Charles Rogers is having a worse week than you are. First the former first-round draft pick turned bust was sued by the Detroit Lions, who are trying to collect $6.1 million of his signing bonus. Now he’s back into legal trouble after getting arrested yesterday for a DUI.