If anyone wanted to know the difference between college football and the NFL, you just needed to watch the two games last night. (At least the two that anyone cared about - sorry, Florda A&M at Winston-Salem State on ESPNU.) If you like offense, crazy plays and wild comebacks, then the Clemson at Georgia Tech game was for you. But if you prefer low-scoring, hard-hitting football that’s kind of not very exciting until the final five minutes, then the NFL kickoff game between Pittsburgh and Tennessee was for you. (Sorry, is my bias showing?)
First let’s talk about the Steelers’ 13-10 overtime victory. Plainly put, Pittsburgh had no reason to win this game. They could not run the ball, gaining a whopping 33 yards. (Note to the guy in my fantasy league bragging about “stealing” Rashard Mendenhall: eat it.) And between Jeff Reed almost shanking the game-tying 32-yard field goal into the offensive line’s backsides and Hines Ward fumbling after a reception took him inside the Titans’ five with a minute to go, they were teetering on disaster.
The good news for Pittsburgh was that Tennessee was equally inept. Stompy McTowelstomp, aka LenDale White, was held to 28 yards rushing (enough to make someone go to the liquor store and pick up a jumbo bottle of Patron) and the two teams combined for five turnovers and to go 8-for-27 on third downs. Yikes.
But there was a big dose of bad news for the Steelers in the win: Troy Polamalu left the game after a blocked Titans field goal with what is being called a strained MCL that coach Mike Tomlin says will keep him out 4 to 6 weeks - although Tomlin admits that’s “all speculation” until they get an MRI tomorrow. Do I even need to remind you who shares the cover of this year’s Madden? As a Cardinals fan, I only have one thing to say: FOR GOD’S SAKE WILL SOMEONE WRAP LARRY FITZGERALD IN BUBBLE WRAP?!?
Now about that college football game: in case you missed it, Georgia Tech pretty much totally collapsed, blowing a 24-0 first half lead, only to find a way to pull themselves together and take the win on Scott Blair’s 36-yard field goal with under a minute to play. And there’s no doubt that Blair was the hero: not only did he kick three field goals, but he also threw a 34-yard touchdown pass in the first half. Forget Tim Tebow: can someone start a “Scott Blair for Heisman” Web site?
Meanwhile, I hardly thought that I would be talking about Jack White on this site unless the guy who does the Rock ‘n’ Punk Baseball Stars cards comes out with another series. But apparently he was quite the youth baseball player in his day (a “smooth left-handed swing” according to his youth coach), and he decided to give back to the Detroit park where he played.
Instead of playing a benefit concert to refurbish Clark Park as he was asked, he wrote an anonymous check for $170,000 to get it done. Which is a pretty good idea, since I don’t know how you would promote a benefit show since he’d probably go through three or four bands by the time the show actually happened. It’s impressive, but if you told me that Iggy Pop dropped some coin to sponsor a Little League team (suggested name: The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs), then I’d really be excited.
- In the latest bit of news in the Tila Tequila/Shawne Merriman saga, Tequila Twittered (a great band name, FYI) yesterday that she is meeting with the DA’s office in San Diego to discuss the case. Which apparently comes as a bit of a shock to the DA, who can’t seem to find that appointment on the calendar. So I guess the moral is to only believe things on Twitter if Terrell Owens posts them?
- After Rafael Nadal’s quarterfinal match at the U.S. Open was suspended due to rain showers, Art Spander at CBS SPORTSLINE asks a relevant question: why can’t they put a retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium? (But don’t hire the Cowboys Stadium architect unless you want every Roger Federer lob to hit a scoreboard.)
- The Pittsburgh Penguins visited the White House to be honored for winning the Stanley Cup. Maybe it was poor form for Alexander Ovechkin to show up and start shouting that President Barack Obama was a liar for calling them “the best team in the NHL.”
- Do you have Madden 10 for the Wii? You’re one of the few, as WIRED reports that the EA Sports release only sold 67,000 copies in August, just more than half of what last year’s version did in the same time frame after its release.
- Midfielder Axel Witsel of Belgian soccer champs Standard Liege has been suspended 11 games for his tackle on Marcin Wasilewski of Anderlucht that left the Polish defender with a leg X-ray resembling a Tinker Toy set that has been attacked with a saw. (Don’t click if you are squeamish…but seriously, you want to click):
- Meanwhile, an adult soccer player in Somerville, MA has been arrested for putting a boot to the back of a youth soccer player during a dispute over field time. Thank God that Alex Witsel wasn’t there.
- IOC President Jacques Rogge is not giving any hints as to the favorite to get the 2016 Summer Olympics…and then said something about a “leather bag filled with cash at the Greyhound terminal” making a big difference.
- Whoa, Nellie: Keith Jackson joins Dick Enberg and six others as 2009 inductees into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
- A NEW YORK TIMES fashion critic isn’t a huge fan of the clothing choices of the top players at the U.S. Open. Someone call Tim Gunn!
- A star running back at Donna High in Texas has been kicked off the team after school officials found that he and two other students had stolen scoreboard equipment worth more than $10,000. If you want to get your name in lights, that isn’t the way.